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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 Dustbin of History

The Dustbin of History

(p.104) 6 The Dustbin of History
Antifundamentalism in Modern America

David Harrington Watt

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores three different attempts to write a fitting obituary for Protestant fundamentalism. The first, Stanley Kramer's 1960 film Inherit the Wind, portrays fundamentalism as a reactionary movement whose intellectual bankruptcy was dramatically revealed in a famous trial about the teaching of evolution. The other two obituaries—Norman F. Furniss' The Fundamentalist Controversy, (1954) and Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963)—were both written by professional historians. Both books present fundamentalism as a form of Christianity that in the past blocked Americans' search for knowledge; both assert that religious fundamentalism's influence peaked in the 1920s and then went into steep decline.

Keywords:   Protestant fundamentalism, Stanley Kramer, Inherit the Wind, Norman F. Furniss, The Fundamentalist Controversy, Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

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