The Hermeneutics of Fundamentalism

Abstract
No one can turn on the news these days without hearing of fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalists form the fastest growing sect in the United States and are arguably the most politically potent. Both the president and vice-president, as well as prominent members of the Cabinet call themselves “fundamentalists.” In the Islamic world, fundamentalism has an equal currency. Everywhere ascendant, it has, since September 11th, become linked to terrorist attacks and the actions of suicide bombers. Among the Jews of Israel, it also has a growing influence. The fundamentalist “settlers” of the West Bank, most observers agree, hold the political process hostage. What, then, is fundamentalism? What do Christian, Islamic, and Jewish “fundamentalists” have in common that makes them worthy of this name? One answer is that all three religions are “religions of the book.” They all define themselves in terms of a religious text.1 There is here a certain reciprocal constitution. What makes a person a believer in one of these faiths is that he holds a certain text sacred—be this the Christian Bible, the Koran, or the Torah. Reciprocally, what makes these texts sacred is just such belief. It forms the context, the constitutive medium which allows the sacred character of these texts to appear. When the belief goes, so does this character. No one, for example, takes the ancient hymns to the Latin Gods seriously. We use the names of Jupiter (or Mars or Venus) neither to swear nor to blaspheme. Lacking the ancients’ belief, such actions would be pointless. Of course, not every believer in the sacred character of a text is a fundamentalist. Something else must be added. The thesis I am going to defend is that 2 fundamentalism is a way of reading a religious text. Those who engage in it maximize the “staying power” of this text. The price they pay, however, is that of denying the transcendence that the religions of the book claim for their texts..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,085
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Massimo Leone (2013). The Semiotics of Fundamentalist Authoriality. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 26 (1):227-239.
Mark R. Reiff (2007). The Attack on Liberalism. In Michael D. A. Freeman & Ross Harrison (eds.), Law and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Anastasia Mitrofanova (2007). Religious Politicization. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 7:111-115.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-12-22

Total downloads

5 ( #227,243 of 1,101,622 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #292,059 of 1,101,622 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.