Donald B. Kraybill, Ph.D.

Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow,
Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
Joint appt., Sociology and Religious Studies departments

The Young Center, Elizabethtown College
One Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Email:      Fax: 717-361-1443

Curriculum Vita [pdf]



Current and Recent Research

Young Center Books:
Johns Hopkins Press

Young Center for Anabaptist  and Pietist Studies

Amish Studies web site


The Riddle of Amish Culture

Donald B. Kraybill

Johns Hopkins University Press

rev. edition / 424 pages / paperback / 74 illustrations

The Riddle of Amish Culture has become recognized as a classic work on one of America's most distinctive religious communities. Donald Kraybill explores the riddle of Amish growth: How is it that a tradition-laden people who spurn electricity, the Internet, automobiles, and higher education are not merely surviving but are, in fact, thriving in the midst of postmodern society? The answer, he argues, lies in how the Amish negotiate with modernity—rejecting, accepting, and adapting contemporary views, practices, and technology in order to both survive and thrive.

Topics in the book include cultural values, religious beliefs and practices, the rise of Amish schools, Rumspringa, technology, social change, and interaction with the larger culture. Kraybill shows how the dramatic shift away from farming into owning small businesses is transforming Amish culture in many ways. Using the concept of social capital, he demonstrates how Amish recreation and social gatherings have preserved the identity and solidarity of their community. This landmark study of Amish life in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, offers keys to understanding the riddles of Amish culture in other Amish communities in North America.