John O. Voll

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:


The term modernism refers to efforts to create a synthesis combining existing and continuing traditions of culture and society with the new perspectives, methodologies, and structures of modernity. Modernism represents one distinctive approach among the many possible types of intellectual, religious, and ideological approaches by individuals and groups in the modern era. It is part of a broad spectrum of perspectives ranging from a rejection of the continuities of tradition to a rejection of the changes represented by “modernity.” Modernism and debates about “the modern” are an important part of religious life and thought in the modern era. These experiences are not limited to one or two religions, but instead, as was argued in the prescient and well-informed "Modernism as a World-wide Movement", written in 1925 by A. Eustace Haydon, “all the religions of the world have been shocked into awareness of a strange and startling transformation of the religious problem of the planet. Modernism is now a world-issue.” Haydon also gave a clear, if emotive, definition of modernism: “In one sense modernism is the struggle of the future to free itself from the clinging hands of a dying past; in another it is the anxious effort to adjust old values to a new era of larger knowledge and more complex activity.”

Article.  4056 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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