Peace studies/Christian fundamentalism

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Aims and Objectives

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Introduction to the Topic

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According to theologian Alister McGrath, ""Fundamentalism" arose as a religious reaction within American Protestant culture during the 1920s to the rise of a secular culture in society at large." It derived its name from a series of twelve books entitled "The Fundamentals", which set out a conservative Protestant perspective on cultural and theological developments at this time. The term originally and properly designates a movement within Protestant Christianity in the United States, especially from around 1920 to 1940, characterised by its determination to confront, at all times, the secular culture that surrounded it.

Learning Materials

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Reading List

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Marsden, George. Fundamentalism and American Culture. 2nd edition. New York:Oxford University Press, 2006. This is perhaps the single most important book on American Christian Fundamentalism.

Marsden, George. Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1991. These two movements have some things in common but are often wrongly lumped together in media accounts. This book helps to distinguish the two and surveys some issues related to science and politics.

Assignment:   Write two definitions which distinguish the two movements.

Carpenter, Joel A. Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism. New edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. This is an excellent book on fundamentalism, its organizations and personalities through 1950.

The Fundamentals: A Testimony to Truth. 12 volumes. Chicago: Testimony Publishing Company, 1910-1915. Reprinted : Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1994 (4 vols.). These volumes are the basic documents of the Fundamentalist movement. They present the traditional orthodox Christian doctrinal positions and address various issues of apologetics and biblical studies. They were written by a variety of Christian authors.

Assignment: Browse through a set of The Fundamentals. Identify 10 issues of controversy that were being addressed. Why did the Fundamentalists believe these issues were important?


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