Hutterites: Lives and Images of a Communal People
"The Hutterites" is an ambitious undertaking for a young man who ran away from a Hutterite colony in 1983 and became successful as a writer and illustrator of classic books which document his Hutterite childhood (Born Hutterite and Dance Like a Poor Man). In his latest undertaking, years in the making, Hofer has taken on nothing less than a complete and straightforward account of the Hutterite experience, an explanation of its religious basis and the source of its communal life, the life cycles from birth to death and nearly 500 years of history of this most successful of the anabaptist Christian sects, right up to present-day schisms and struggles to survive into the 21st Century.
What makes "The Hutterites: Lives and Images of a Communal People" unique among books dealing with Hutterites is the author's insightful and equitable perspective on his subject. Unlike other Hutterite who have left the "ark of communal life, Hofer has no bones to pick, no great cause to espouse. While the book is peppered with engaging anecdotes of his Hutterite upbringing, he describes the Hutterite experience with the objectivity and dispassion worthy of a professional historian or sociologist -- but in plain language stripped of jargon and pretense. His accessibility to the Hutterite communities and to others who have left the colonies has given him a wealth of stories and examples which help to make the Hutterite experience vivid and engaging. A reader comes to know not just about the Hutterites but also what it is like to be a Hutterite. The work is studded with 140 photographs, a valuable visual record in itself.
While scholars will treasure this work for both its breadth and its detail, casualobservers of Hutterite life will find it both an easy and an illuminating read. Hofer has written for the common reader who is curious about the people whose dress and language have set them apart from the multitude of other cultures, not just for professors or for other disaffected Hutterites. He pierces the myth and misconceptions that have arisen about the communal people and builds a bridge of understanding that may be crossed by anyone conscious of our common humanity. In doing so, he has created that rare book that not only informs, but serves the cause of goodness.
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Schools and Vocations page
Sermons and Songs page
The Final Rite page
Hutterites in Canada page
Hutterites in a Changing World page
Prairieleit Hutterites page
Japanese Hutterites page
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