Ernest Sandeen's Roots of Fundamentalism remains a landmark work in the history of religion. A National Book Award finalist, it was the first full-length study to present an intellectual historical critique of the Fundamentalist movement in America.
Sandeen argues that our understanding of this movement has been grievously distorted by the Fundamentalist-Modernist debate of the 1920s, as symbolized by William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes trial. Rather than viewing Fundamentalism as a chiefly sociological phenomenon of the 1920s, Sandeen argues from a transatlantic perspective that the Fundamentalist movement "was a self-conscious, structured, long-lived dynamic entity" that had its origins in Anglo-American millenarian thought and movements of the nineteenth century.
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