HGIA: The Amish

Amish girls roller blading
Photo © by Keith Baum, <http://photobaum.com>.

The Old Order Amish trace their origins to the Anabaptist movement in Central and Western Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Core tenets of the Anabaptist Christian faith include the practice of adult (believer’s) baptism and the maintenance of a symbolic distance from the rest of society. Amish Christians evoke this symbolic distance more visibly than many other Anabaptist groups, notably their close spiritual cousins, the Mennonites, by dressing distinctively and accepting only selectively some of the material aspects of modern life, such as inline skates. The image shown here is paradoxical for observers, who are inclined to view Amish society in negative terms (NO electricity, NO cars, NO fun …).

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