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Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World [Hardcover]

Nancy Tatom Ammerman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1987
Bible believer (also "Bible-believer, ""Bible-believing Christian, ""Bible-believing Church") is a self-description by conservative Christians to differentiate their teachings from others who see non- or extrabiblical tradition as higher or equal in authority.In normal usage, "Bible believer" means an individual or organisation that believes the Christian Bible is true in some significant way. However, this combination of words is given a unique meaning in fundamentalist Protestant circles, where it is equated with the belief that the Christian Bible "contains no theological contradictions, historical discrepancies, or other such 'errors'," otherwise known as biblical inerrancy.

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About the Author

Nancy Tatom Ammerman spent a year in 1979-1980 participating in, observing, and interviewing the members of a suburban Connecticut congregation, described on its church sign as "Independent, Fundamental, Premillennial, and Baptistic." Although she is not a fundamentalist, Ammerman's own background was similar enough for her to fit in easily and to be accepted and trusted.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
This is a good book, and I recommend it, but it's not perfect. Although Ammerman did a lot of ethnographic work, it seems like she relies mostly on interview material rather than direct observation, and that was sort of frustrating. I have to assume that if what she was told by her subjects had contradicted what she saw, she would have said so, but I still found myself wishing I had a clearer picture of daily life in the congregation. Still, I don't know of a better book on the same subject -- that such a good book as this has these limitations only shows how difficult a subject it was to tackle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable and Thoughtful book March 12 2001
Format:Paperback
Having read dozens of books on evangelical Christianity and Fundamentalism for my Masters Degree, this one truly stands out. Nancy Ammerman spent months with a medium-sized fundamentalist Church in New England, observing services, attending meetings, and interviewing members of the congregation. The result is this fine book that very fairly points out some of the successes and flaws of this church, and fundamentalism in general. It is well-footnoted and easy to read, quite an accomplishment in an academic book. I highly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Nov. 30 2006
By cs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an intelligent, well written book that conveys how Fundamentalists structure their lives and what their world view is. It was just perfect for my interest as a psychotherapist who is trying to understand this mindset in a client. The writing style is analytical without being ponderously academic, dry or theoretical. It is also extremely even-handed, neither favoring not condemning a mindset but rather just describing how Fundamentalists make sense of the world and what measures they take to maintain their beliefs in the face of the larger secular society. It assumes no religious bias on the part of the reader, which I find intelligent and refreshing. For me, it clarified in accessible, dispassionate terms what the (psychological) benefits of membership are, as well as the (psychological) sacrifices and limitations which membership imposes.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an important source on fundamentalist Christianity July 20 2001
By Lalalalaura - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good book, and I recommend it, but it's not perfect. Although Ammerman did a lot of ethnographic work, it seems like she relies mostly on interview material rather than direct observation, and that was sort of frustrating. I have to assume that if what she was told by her subjects had contradicted what she saw, she would have said so, but I still found myself wishing I had a clearer picture of daily life in the congregation. Still, I don't know of a better book on the same subject -- that such a good book as this has these limitations only shows how difficult a subject it was to tackle.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. May 20 2011
By J. Reames - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had Ammerman as a professor years ago. She knows the wherefore of which she speaks, having grown up in this background. The fact she can write about it with a fair hand, a *neutral* hand, says a lot about her grasp of cultural relativism. But it also gives her a unique insight as to exactly what makes these communities tick (and more largely, what drives Fundamentalism itself, as a worldview.)
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