Fundamentalism and American Culture

Overview

Many American's today are taking note of the surprisingly strong political force that is the religious right. Controversial decisions by the government are met with hundreds of lobbyists, millions of dollars of advertising spending, and a powerful grassroots response. How has the fundamentalist movement managed to resist the pressures of the scientific community and the draw of modern popular culture to hold on to their ultra-conservative Christian views? Understanding the movement's history is key to answering ...

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Fundamentalism and American Culture

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Overview

Many American's today are taking note of the surprisingly strong political force that is the religious right. Controversial decisions by the government are met with hundreds of lobbyists, millions of dollars of advertising spending, and a powerful grassroots response. How has the fundamentalist movement managed to resist the pressures of the scientific community and the draw of modern popular culture to hold on to their ultra-conservative Christian views? Understanding the movement's history is key to answering this question. Fundamentalism and American Culture has long been considered a classic in religious history, and to this day remains unsurpassed. Now available in a new edition, this highly regarded analysis takes us through the full history of the origin and direction of one of America's most influential religious movements.

For Marsden, fundamentalists are not just religious conservatives; they are conservatives who are willing to take a stand and to fight. In Marsden's words (borrowed by Jerry Falwell), "a fundamentalist is an evangelical who is angry about something." In the late nineteenth century American Protestantism was gradually dividing between liberals who were accepting new scientific and higher critical views that contradicted the Bible and defenders of the more traditional evangelicalism. By the 1920s a full-fledged "fundamentalist" movement had developed in protest against theological changes in the churches and changing mores in the culture. Building on networks of evangelists, Bible conferences, Bible institutes, and missions agencies, fundamentalists coalesced into a major protest movement that proved to have remarkable staying power.

For this new edition, a major new chapter compares fundamentalism since the 1970s to the fundamentalism of the 1920s, looking particularly at the extraordinary growth in political emphasis and power of the more recent movement. Never has it been more important to understand the history of fundamentalism in our rapidly polarizing nation. Marsen's carefully researched and engrossing work remains the best way to do just that.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Marsden reveals a great deal of history, showing the origins, development and growth of evangelicalism and fundamentalism. His is a focused yet broad scholarly work that has stood the test of time, a worthwhile history resource on fundamentalism in America."—Congregational Libraries Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195300512
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/9/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

George M. Marsden is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Before fundamentalism
I Evangelical America at the brink of crisis 11
II The paths diverge 21
III D. L. Moody and a new American evangelism 32
Pt. 2 The shaping of a coalition
IV Prologue : the paradox of revivalist fundamentalism 43
V Two revisions of millennialism 48
VI Dispensationalism and the baconian ideal 55
VII History, society, and the church 62
VIII The victorious life 72
IX The social dimensions of holiness 80
X "The great reversal" 85
XI Holiness and fundamentalism 93
XII Tremors of controversy 102
XIII Presbyterians and the truth 109
XIV The fundamentals 118
XV Four views circa 1910 124
1 This age condemned : the premillennial extreme 125
2 The central tension 127
3 William Jennings Bryan : Christian civilization preserved 132
4 Transforming culture by the word 135
Pt. 3 The crucial years : 1917-1925
XVI World War I, premillennialism, and American fundamentalism : 1917-1918 141
XVII Fundamentalism and the cultural crisis : 1919-1920 153
XVIII The fundamentalist offensive on two fronts : 1920-1921 164
XIX Would the liberals be driven from the denominations? 1922-1923 171
XX The offensive stalled and breaking apart : 1924-1925 176
XXI Epilogue : dislocation, relocation, and resurgence : 1925-1940 184
Pt. 4 Interpretations
XXII Fundamentalism as a social phenomenon 199
XXIII Fundamentalism as a political phenomenon 206
XXIV Fundamentalism as an intellectual phenomenon 212
XXV Fundamentalism as an American phenomenon 221
Pt. 5 Fundamentalism yesterday and today (2005) 229
Afterword : history and fundamentalism 259
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