The term "fundamentalism" originated in the United States during the early 20th century when it was applied to a group of Protestant Christians who defended traditional Christian beliefs in the face of modern ideas. Now, religious fundamentalism is associated with a range of political and social events in the early 21st century, most notably the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. Yet, due to frequent misrepresentation in the media, fundamentalist groups are often misunderstood.
Fundamentalism explores the many ways the term "fundamentalism" is used in the media. It offers a more precise definition of what constitutes fundamentalism and analyzes the roots, ideas, and goals of fundamentalist groups around the world. This enlightening volume begins with a historical outline of the economic, social, and intellectual forces and trends that contributed to the development of Protestant fundamentalism. Ideal as a starting point for discussion, this historical outline addresses the adequacy of "fundamentalists" as an umbrella term for groups derived from other faith traditions; the various attempts to categorize fundamentalist groups; and the disagreements regarding their potential for personal or political violence. Next comes a closer study of specific fundamentalist movements in the United States, as well as four other regions: Europe (ultratraditional Roman Catholicism); Israel (fundamentalist Judaism); the Middle East (the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas); and India (fundamentalist Hinduism).
Maps. Index. Bibliography. Glossary. Chronology. Tables. Graphs.
About the Author(s)
Rebecca Joyce Frey is a professional editor and writer. She earned a B.A. in history from Mount Holyoke College and M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees, as well as a Ph.D. in the history of Christian doctrine, from Yale University.
Foreword author Peter L. Berger, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of sociology and theology at Boston University and director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. Berger previously taught at the New School for Social Research, at Rutgers University, and at Boston College. He has written numerous books on sociological theory, the sociology of religion, and Third World development, which have been translated into dozens of foreign languages. Among his more recent books are Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience; Modernity, Pluralism and the Crisis of Meaning; The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty; and The War Over the Family: Capturing the Middle Ground. In 1992, Berger was awarded the Manès Sperber Prize, presented by the Austrian government for significant contributions to culture.