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Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture: American Fundamentalism between the Wars (Hardback)
  • Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture: American Fundamentalism between the Wars (Hardback)
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Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture: American Fundamentalism between the Wars (Hardback)

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£60.00
Hardback 258 Pages / Published: 07/12/2016
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Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture focuses on the founding generation of American fundamentalism in the 1920s and 1930s and their interactions with modernity. While there were culture wars, there was also an embrace. Through a book culture, fostered by liberal Protestants, and thriving periodicals, they strengthened their place in American culture and their adaptation helps explain their resilience in the decades to come. The most significant adaptation to modernist culture was the embrace of the modern, secular university as a model for evangelical higher education. After political battles along sectarian lines in the twenties, fundamentalists learned to compete in a pluralist society. By the thirties they were among the strongest supporters of Jews and began working with Catholics to fight communism. In politics and higher education they encountered issues of race, gender, and class. While opposing higher critics of the Bible, their approaches to texts were in some cases similar: a focus on the original languages, commitment to scholarship, ambiguities about both the role of reason and the interpretation of key doctrines. Several had graduate training, some even in European universities. With their views of end times, they continued innovative approaches to prophetic texts from nineteenth-century dispensationalists. In response to evolution and prophetic texts, in a time-conscious age, they also had innovative ideas about biblical time. Fundamentalists engaged in debate with Freud and, while rejecting his ideas, absorbed elements of psychology. Some understood William James' effort to accommodate religion and modern ideas. Although rejecting John Dewey's pragmatism, fundamentalists found value in studying modern philosophy. They tapped a secular, Enlightenment philosophy to defend their supernatural Christianity. Between the wars they even participated in the interest in Nietzsche. Usually dismissed as fractious, they rose above core differences and cooperated among themselves across denominational lines in building organizations. In doing so, they reflected both the ecumenism of the liberal Protestants and the organizational impulse in modern urban, industrial society. This study, the first to focus on the founding generation, also covers a broad spectrum of fundamentalists, from the Northeast, Midwest, the South, and the West Coast, including some often overlooked by other historians

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498545051
Number of pages: 258
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 237 x 160 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture: American Fundamentalism between the Wars, Douglas Carl Abrams offers a nuanced exploration of fundamentalist leaders, ideology, and responses to modernist culture during the early twentieth century. . . . Overall Abrams does a masterful job of demonstrating that fundamentalism between the wars was not a monolithic movement. No one leader spoke for all fundamentalists; instead, many offered a variety of interpretations of the threats presented by modernity. Abrams's view helps the reader understand how fundamentalist leaders struggled with these issues in American society between the wars. * Journal of Southern History *
Abrams has provided us with a much-needed corrective to narratives that present the early fundamentalist movement as isolated from mainstream cultural conversations. Meticulously researched and thoroughly documented, this eye-opening study shows that the fundamentalist leaders of the 1920s and 1930s were highly conversant with developments in secular and liberal book culture and with the latest trends in education and the social sciences, and that they engaged in a creative, selective appropriation of modernism, never compromising their fidelity to the Bible in the process. This book also offers a learned reassessment of fundamentalist political engagements after the Scopes trial and of the movement's negotiating of issues of race and ethnicity that should prove most useful for a deeper understanding of biblical Christian fundamentalism. Dispassionate, scholarly, and brimming with insights and new discoveries, this book is an unusually valuable addition to the corpus on the history of religion in the 20th century United States. -- Markku Ruotsila, author of "Fighting Fundamentalist: Carl McIntire and the Politicization of American Fundamentalism"
Abrams' thought-provoking book offers a timely, critical reassessment of Protestant fundamentalism's founding generation and its attempts to engage, wrestle with, and adapt to-not merely flee or oppose-the most important progressions of the day. With a judicious and accessible style, clear command of the archives and the latest scholarship, Abrams ably shows how this purportedly anti-intellectual class came to acknowledge the requisites of the modern American mind. -- Darren Dochuk, University of Notre Dame

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