Fundamentalism in America: Millennialism, Identity and Militant Religion

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Edinburgh University Press, 1999 - Religion - 223 pages
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This important book challenges the idea that religious fundamentalism can adequately be understood as a paranoid, xenophobic faith. It demonstrates instead how it draws upon a long tradition of evangelical and millennialist scripture in its engagement with issues at the spiritual and ethical core of postmodernity in America. The author examines the contradictions of fundamentalism as they appear in prophecy, sermon, film and fiction, including work by Gore Vidal, Peter Matthiesen, Thom Jones, Alison Lurie and Pete Dexter. He shows, in an original reading, how scripture, race and politics have combined in the conservative opposition to the Clinton presidency in the writings of influential figures such as Pat Robertson, Salem Kirban and Hal Lindsey. Clinton's failure, in this view, had less to do with sexual depravity than his abandonment as a Southern Methodist of the Church's evangelising mission, so essential in fundamentalist belief to the advent of the millennium. In its wide-ranging consideration of the rhetoric of the 'New World Order', the literature of prophecy, Cold War films, tele-evangelism, cross-border texts and postnationalist writing, this book provides a vital and compelling account of the present crisis in religious and national identity in the United States.

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About the author (1999)


Philip Melling is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea. He is author of Vietnam in American Literature (G.K.Hall,1990) and Man of Amman (Gomer, 1994).

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