Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism

By George M. Marsden | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK PROVIDES an overview of the history of American fundamentalism and evangelicalism plus interpretations of some important themes. It is designed for readers who are seeking either a brief introduction to these topics or some deeper analysis, or both. It is thus meant to be suitable as a supplement text for colleges, seminaries, or church study groups where these topics are being considered.

Although each chapter has been edited to fit this volume, this book developed largely from a series of essays written during the 1980s. At the beginning of that decade I published Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of TwentiethCentury Evangelicalism, 1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980). That book coincided with the reemergence of fundamentalism as a conspicuous force in American life. During the next years I was asked to elaborate on themes in the Fundamentalism volume, particularly as they shed light on recent developments. This book collects some of those reflections.

Unlike most books of essays, however, this collection includes a narrative survey of the subject as well as analysis of particular themes. The majority of this narrative comes from a section of Eerdmans' Handbook to Christianity in America on American Christianity from 1870 to 1930 that I have adapted

-vii-

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