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Brethren Society

The Cultural Transformation of a "Peculiar People"

Carl F. Bowman

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In the first book ever written on the subject, Carl Bowman examines how and why members of the Church of the Brethren—historically known as "Dunkers" after their method of baptism—were assimilated faster and earlier than their Amish, Mennonite, or even Hutterite cousins.



This model study of a small denomination's history, sociology and anthropology will inspire scholars who study larger, less definable religious groups... Bowman provides a good chronology of events and shows the walls of rural protection, sectarian ethos and geographical distance breaking down.

A welcome addition to an expanding collection of scholarly books about 'plain people,' including Amish Society and Hutterite Society, both by John Hostetler, and Mennonite Society, by Calvin Redekop, all published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Brethren Society is unique, creative, and well written. There are virtually no other books to compare with it.

Thoroughly and richly researched, clearly organized and cogently written. Bowman's account will be the standard reference on the subject for years to come.

This brilliant analysis will shape the interpretation of Brethren history for many decades.


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Carl F. Bowman

Carl Desportes Bowman is associate professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Bridgewater College.