ANT101: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
January 26, 2013
The Life of the Amish
The Amish are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination. Amish are also sometimes known as Amish Mennonites, they are known for their separation from society, for living in isolated Amish communities, for the rejection of most modern technology and for the way they dress. In the United States, Amish communities are mostly found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.
There are several denominations that are developed out of the Radical Reformation in the 16th century Europe, Amish are one of them. Therefore the Anabaptists are the radical reformers came to be called, different from the mainstream Protestants in their rejection of all church authority. They believe that only adults can be baptized not infants, we do this the opposite way than the Amish do. They believe that infants cannot make the decision on what they would like to believe in as they would when they are adults.
In 1693, the Amish emerged from the schism and among the Swiss Mennonites. Jakob Amman was the leader, his followers applied the Mennonite practice of shunning and were very strict about it, also condemned other Mennonites for not doing so. The Amish communities went high in Switzerland, Alsace, Germany, Russia and Holland. As of today there are no Amish remaining in Europe. In the 19th and 20th century many of the Amish moved away to North America and the ones that stayed slowly adapted with the Mennonite groups. Although in the 18th century that is when the first Amish actually moved to North America, after the years went by that is when the rest went. They first settled in eastern Pennsylvania, where still today a large group of Amish still remains there. There was a split between the traditional Old Order Amish and the New Order Amish in 1850. The New Order Amish accept the changes in social and technology innovation, still they so continue to use most of the Amish practices. As of today, there are now around 200,000 Old Order Amish living in more than 200 in the United States and Canada that are settled. The largest communities for the Amish are in Pennsylvania and Ohio along with seven other states. The Amish are world- famed agriculturalists.
Amish people believe in the significance of an individual Bible study and obey by living free of sin after adult baptism. The Amish are separated from the world and are high of importance on the values of humility, family and the community. There are two concepts to understand the Amish practices, which are their strong feelings of Hochmut and the high value they place on Demut and Gelassenheit. Hochmut means pride, arrogance and haughtiness. Demut is humility and then Gelassenheit, which are calmness, composure and placidity. The willingness to commit to the will of god, as expressed through group achievements/ behavioral, is at odds with the individualism that is central to general American culture.
The Amish do have religious services. They celebrate the Holy Communion twice a year and also practice foot washing. Each district has a bishop, two to four preachers, and an elder and is very independent; there are no Amish general conferences or cooperative agencies. When an Amish person is between the ages of 17-20 they have to choose to be baptized or not. When they are, they are officially a member of the church. Amish religious services are spoken in German. This is very strange because they speak Pennsylvania Dutch when at home or in daily activities. Religious services are held at different Amish homes each time. Amish use their homes for their services and not a church. Each home has walls that move especially for these occasions. Large wagons that are filled with benches, dishes and food for the meal would be pulled to the home that the service is being held. Amish people do not use musical instruments in a church service or at any time, it...