Harriet A. Harris

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199237777
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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Protestant fundamentalists regard the Bible as foundational for faith, and believe that if the Bible were found to be flawed, Christianity would collapse. They therefore also feel concerned at the prospect of more than one meaning to a biblical passage, for their foundation would then seem more like shifting sand than solid rock. Since the late 1970s, so-called fundamentalist movements have been identified across the world's faiths. The term ‘fundamentalism’ has now become so elastic that a core definition is difficult to retain. Within Protestant fundamentalism, notions of biblical authority must be understood in relation to the foundational status given to Scripture. Other religious resurgent movements around the world are foundationalist in some respect, and many select and absolutize particular interpretations of particular texts. This article analyzes fundamentalism as biblical or textual foundationalism to help illuminate points of comparison and contrast across the fundamentalisms of the world.

Keywords: Protestant fundamentalism; biblical foundationalism; Bible; faith; Christianity

Article.  13268 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies

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