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Antifundamentalism in Modern America$
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David Harrington Watt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448270

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448270.001.0001

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The First Fundamentalists

The First Fundamentalists

(p.49) 3 The First Fundamentalists
Antifundamentalism in Modern America

David Harrington Watt

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the people who were part of the fundamentalist movement—who they were, what they believed, and what set them apart from other Protestant Christians. The fundamentalist movement was created in the 1920s by Protestants who feared that America's churches had drifted away from the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. They proudly called themselves fundamentalists, and their opponents called them that, too. The chapter then shows that the defining characteristics of global fundamentalism have often been said to include a penchant for reading texts literally, a proclivity for mixing politics and religion, a determination to resist modernity, and a predilection for militancy. As it turns out, none of the supposed characteristics of global fundamentalism can be neatly applied to the fundamentalists of the 1920s and 1930s.

Keywords:   fundamentalist movement, Protestant Christians, Christian faith, American churches, global fundamentalism, modernity, militancy

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