I have been fairly impressed with some of James Barr's other works in different areas (eg. 'Semantics of Biblical Language') and I ventured into 'Fundamentalism' with an open mind, but was disappointed. By 'fundamentalist' he basically means most conservative evangelicals; his particular gripe is with the doctrine of inerrancy, though he levels plenty of other charges at conservatives: they don't believe non-fundamentalists are 'true' Christians; they only make use of critical scholarship when it suits their own agenda; they elevate their own traditions to infallible status. Of course all these have been true of some evangelicals at one point or another, but Barr makes all of these more or less blanket accusations that he wants to make out are an inherent part of conservative evangelicalism. He frequently draws attention to extreme examples that many (or most) thinking evangelical scholars would disown, eg. Harold Lindsell's infamous harmonisation of Peter's denial (which had him postulating a sixfold denial). He picks on Howard Marshall for harmonising the two ascension accounts in Luke and Acts, suggesting that this is typical of evangelical harmonisation whose only motivation is to protect the Bible from error, when in fact it is only common sense to assume that the SAME event recorded by the SAME author is more likely than not to be able to be harmonised. Barr's work is full of double standards: he despises the way conservatives, when asked by a layman about liberal theology, will be directed to a book written by a conservative intending to refute the liberal position, and yet Barr himself writes with the intent of introducing non-conservatives to HIS interpretation and refutation of fundamentalism; he complains about the animosity shown by some conservatives towards biblical scholars, and yet his own work is marred by a hostile and unfriendly attitude. In fact, if it weren't for the blatant hostility demonstrated towards conservative evangelicalism throughout the book, and the fact that every accusation he raises he tries to elevate to 'typical' status within 'fundamentalism', he might actually have some good points to make. He doesn't seem to realise, however, that many of these criticisms have been raised WITHIN evangelicalism, by people who hold firmly to inerrancy, which Barr seems to see as the Achilles' heel of evangelicalism. Barr thinks that evangelicals have been wrong to reject biblical criticism? Good! Many evangelicals say the same thing, and it is only one narrow stream of evangelicalism who have rejected it outright, whereas many conservative scholars have used biblical criticism honestly and responsibly. Barr is fed up with crass harmonisations and ludicrous attempts to explain away 'errors'? Good! Many evangelical scholars are equally fed up, yet they remain inerrantists. Barr is tired of partisan propaganda from fundamentalists, of their failure to interact sufficiently with non-conservative scholarship, of being uncreative in theology and unwilling to step out into new territory? Good! Join the rest of the world of evangelical scholarship who have been raising the same objections for many years, from within a Bible-believing, inerrantist framework. Barr would like his readers to think that all the problems he finds in conservative evangelicalism are as a direct result of holding to inerrancy, but the evidence is against him. I have recently done my BA thesis on Barr's criticisms, particularly as they relate to inerrancy and interpretation, and I have come across many evangelical scholars who share Barr's concerns, and yet feel no need to abandon inerrancy (Craig L. Blomberg and Moises Silva were those who impressed me most). I found 'Fundamentalism' misleading and, in fact, almost vicious at times. I had to restrain my anger just to be able to learn from Barr's criticisms, because the underlying tone completely obscured any positive contributions Barr might have had to make. Barr is generally a good scholar, but he went beyond the bounds of good scholarship this time, and 'Fundamentalism' is more akin to the 'rubbishy partisan literature' he so despises than any fair, academic treatment of a subject which deserves attention.