Perspectives on a Contested History
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Series: Studies in Comparative Religion
Title Page, Copyright
Series Editor’s Preface
Frederick M. Denny
As series editor of Studies in Comparative Religion and as a religious studies professor who has addressed “fundamentalism” for many years in courses and discussions with students and colleagues, I am confident that this book will take the extensive, diverse, and often passionate discourses on fundamentalism to a newer and higher level as we think of the concept globally and comparatively. As editors...
We are very grateful for the generous support we have received from the Harris Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the American Academy of Religion, the Midwestern Political Science Association, Columbia University, and Monash University all gave us opportunities to try out our ideas about fundamentalism before intelligent, generous, and...
Simon A. Wood, David Harrington Watt
This book explores the ways in which the concept of fundamentalism does and does not illuminate developments in modern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. For reasons elaborated below, Asian religions are not examined in detail. At issue is whether the word fundamentalism captures something important that is not captured—or not as well—by some other word. Readers will quickly discover...
Fundamentalists of the 1920s and 1930s
David Harrington Watt
The term fundamentalists was invented in 1920 in order to talk about a specific group of Protestants. Nearly everyone agrees that calling those Protestants fundamentalists is a perfectly legitimate thing to do; almost everyone agrees, too, that a proper definition of fundamentalists has to be structured in a way that includes them. And many people would go on to say that the validity of describing other...
The Idea of Militancy in American Fundamentalism
Dan D. Crawford
By the time Curtis Lee Laws, the editor of the conservative Baptist magazine Watchman-Examiner, proposed that the “men among us . . . who still cling to the great fundamentals and who mean to do battle royal for the fundamentals shall be called ‘fundamentalists’” (in 1920), the terms fundamental and fundamentals had already been widely used in evangelical circles. It was first put into active service as the title of a twelve-volume series...
Fundamentalism and Christianity
Fundamentalism is a Christian word, at least in its original incarnation. It came into play in the early twentieth century to describe a series of complex disputes among white, mostly American Protestants concerned about the state of society and of the churches. Their disagreements covered a range of thorny issues, from the timing of Christ’s Second Coming to tenure at Princeton Theological...
“America Is No Different,” “America Is Different”—Is There an American Jewish Fundamentalism? Part I. American Habad
Fundamentalism is arguably one of the most widely used and least understood terms in the popular discourse about religion. We find it applied to all kinds of groups, religions, communities, even societies. The formal term applies to a defined group of American Protestants at the beginning of the twentieth century who viewed themselves as part of a particular spiritual trajectory that extended...
“America Is No Different,” “America Is Different”—Is There an American Jewish Fundamentalism? Part II. American Satmar
When Hillary Clinton was campaigning for a New York State Senate seat in 2000 she met with a group of Hasidic women from the town of New Square in Rockland County, north of New York City. New Square is an incorporated village made up almost exclusively of Hasidic Jews, mostly descendants from the Hasidic town of Skver and it environs in present-day Ukraine. She began her talk by noting what a...
The Jewish Settler Movement and the Concept of Fundamentalism
Jean Axelrad Cahan
It is not clear when the term fundamentalism was introduced into the scholarly literature with regard to Judaism. It may have been in the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but it is also possible that the development of Khomeinism was itself in part a reaction to the Six-Day War of 1967.1 Be that as it may, in this essay I argue that the term fundamentalism, when applied to the Israeli–Jewish...
The Concept of Global Fundamentalism: A Short Critique
Simon A. Wood
The concept of fundamentalism as a global rather than merely a Protestant phenomenon has been a controversial topic for at least three decades, particularly since the publication of the Fundamentalism Project (edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby) in the 1990s. Yet one point acknowledged by most scholars who write about fundamentalism is that the concept is—or has been—somewhat...
Muslim “Fundamentalism,” Salafism, Sufism, and Other Trends
Khalid Yahya Blankinship
When the term fundamentalism began to be applied to various trends among Muslims in the 1970s, it soon came into wide and somewhat indiscriminate use. But what exactly its users meant by the term and why especially they began to use it at that time have remained rather unclear. While at its origin in 1920, the term referred to a specific Christian movement and tendency in the United...
Fundamentalism and Shiism
This essay points to features of Shiism that inhibit the growth of Islamic fundamentalism seen in the Sunni world.1 Much has been written, including many essays in the works of the Fundamentalism Project, about fundamentalism in relation to the Iranian Islamic revolution and other Shiite movements, but there has been no attempt to relate it to Shiism as a religious tradition with its own characteristics...
Fundamentalism, Khomeinism, and the Islamic Republic of Iran
In the preceding essay I point out that the fundamentalism currently seen in Islam is not originally a Shiite phenomenon. Islamic fundamentalism began in Sunni circles and then found its way to the Shiite world. This influence was always limited by features of Shiism not consistent with Sunni-style fundamentalism such as quietism, nonliteralism, and extraordinarily strong clerical authority. Nevertheless, some...
Fundamentalism Diluted: From Enclave to Globalism in Conservative Muslim Ecological Discourse
David L. Johnston
In this essay I argue that as religion continues to expand as a key factor related to globalization the notion of “fundamentalism” must be seen in a new light. Contrary to expectations, the world became more “religious” in the late 1970s. This phenomenon caught the attention of scholars and the Fundamentalism Project was launched. But as time passed, it became increasingly clear that facile and confident...
Islamic Education and the Limitations of Fundamentalism as an Analytical Category
Past decades have seen the confident reassertion of religion in public life in many parts of the world. Seemingly defying predictions of religion’s demise in modernity, religion reentered the public stage as a key player in the political and moral discourses over the public life of citizens and the state. Variously described as the “desecularization” or “deprivatization” of religions, this process has challenged...
Gordon D. Newby
This is a book at war with itself over the term fundamentalism. This is intentional, for the definition of the term, its use, and the ability of the term to be used in comparative and transnational contexts are highly contested among scholars and the general public. At one extreme there are those who contend that the term should not be used except in a very narrow, historical way to refer to the original...
Simon A. Wood, David Harrington Watt
Clearly, this book has not resolved the question of whether or not comprehending certain modern forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is facilitated by labeling them examples of “fundamentalism.” But it has, in our view, presented some of the major current arguments on both sides of this debate. The views of Shaul Magid and Lynda Clarke, who cogently argue that...
Margaret Bendroth is author of Fundamentalism and Gender, 1875 to the
Present (1993) and most recently contributed the essay “Fundamentalism” to the
Cambridge History of Religion in America (2012). She is the director of the Congregational
Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
Khalid Yahya Blankinship is associate professor in the Department...