Evangelical fundamentalism : an historical-theological study

Meiring, Michael J. (2010-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In essence this thesis attempts to answer two questions: Broadly, what is “fundamentalism,” and particularly, “evangelical fundamentalism”? Ever since the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001, “fundamentalism” has become a synonymous term for these and any other militant Islamist attacks. Yet fundamentalism is historically an American and Protestant phenomenon. However, because fundamentalism is not merely a Protestant phenomenon but more distinctively a “sub-species” of nineteenth century evangelicalism in America, and because one cannot historically separate fundamentalism from evangelicalism, I prefer to adopt the term “evangelical fundamentalism.” Yet there is more to the term than simply defining it appropriately within a certain historical context. For example, many conservative evangelicals can neither be labeled, historically or theologically, as “fundamentalists” nor as “evangelical fundamentalists.” Definitions change over time. An understanding of the movement’s history—its resistance to modernity and engagement with postmodernity— will need to be examined as it opens up more questions concerning its identity and theology. After summarizing its historical development and evolution, I emphasize the fact that a simple definition does not exist—the movement is too heterogeneous. I therefore identify and adopt a plurality of senses or perspectives to the term and to what it means to be an “evangelical fundamentalist” today.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In essensie poog hierdie tesis om twee vrae te beantwoord: Breedweg, wat is “fundamentalisme,” en in die besonder, “evangeliese fundamentalisme”? Sedert die terroriste-aanval op die tweelingtorings in New York op 11 September 2001, het “fundamentalisme” ‘n sinonieme term geword vir hierdie en soortgelyke militante Islamitiese aanvalle. Tog is fundamentalisme histories ‘n Amerikaanse en Protestantse fenomeen/verskynsel. Omdat fundamentalisme egter nie slegs ‘n protestantse fenomeen is nie, maar meer spesifiek ‘n “sub-spesie” van neëntiende eeuse evangeliekalisme of evangeliesgesindheid in Amerika, en omdat fundamentalisme en evangeliekalisme histories nie van mekaar geskei kan word nie, verkies ek om die term “evangeliese fundamentalisme” aan te neem. Daar is egter meer aan die term as om dit eenvoudig toepaslik binne ‘n sekere historiese konteks te definieer. Vele evangeliesgesindes kan byvoorbeeld nie histories of teologies as “fundamentaliste” of “evangeliese fundamentaliste” geëtiketeer word nie. Definisies verander met verloop van tyd. ‘n Begrip van die beweging se gekiedenis – sy weerstand teen modernisme en sy verbintenis met postmodernisme – sal ondersoek moet word aangesien dit meer vrae omtrent sy identiteit en teologie aan die lig bring. Na ‘n opsomming van sy historiese ontwikkeling en evolusie, belkemtoon ek die feit dat ‘n eenvoudige definisie nie bestaan nie – die beweging is te heterogeen. Ek identifiseer en verbind daarom ‘n pluraliteit/verskeidenheid van perspektiewe met die term of begrip van wat dit beteken om vandag ‘n “evangeliese fundamentalis” te wees.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5169
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