Who Are the Plain Anabaptists? What Are the Plain Anabaptists?

Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies

Anderson, Cory. 2013.


Research Points
  • The plain Anabaptists are Anabaptists who fall into one of seven traditions: Swiss Mennonite, Russian Mennonite, Hutterite, Amish, Brethren, Apostolic Christian, or Bruderhof. These seven traditions sometimes cross-pollinate, as with River Brethren (Swiss Mennonites and Brethren) or Nationwide Mennonites (Swiss and Russian Mennonites).

  • Within these groups are conservatives, who have adopted some evangelical practices but still retain distinctive, separatist practices, and Old Orders, who focus more on separatism and non- engagement with society.

  • Plain people may be measured along a scale, but really, such scales should be multidimensional as variables do not line up consistently from one point to another.

  • While some scholars have portrayed plain Anabaptists as along a ladder or escalator, or plain people think in terms of “drift”, these processes are all portrayed as uni-directional, constant, and without agency. An elevator is a more fitting analogy, as it is bi-directional, and people get on and off at different places as “movements” come and go.

  • What are the plain Anabaptists? They contain elements of religion (sect, social movement, counter-culture), ethnicity (inward focus, symbols, language) and somewhat akin to minority or transnational people, and a social system (group institutions).

© 2024 Cory Anderson • All Rights Reserved