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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative analysis,
This review is from: Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)Don't be deceived by how short this book is. It is an intellectual powerhouse that cleverly presents the major developments and nuances of fundamentalism in its varied religious, political and social forms. Author Malise Ruthven is an exceptional guide on this semantic, religious and social journey as he delves into uncharted territories that a casual reader would never even begin to think are related to this complex subject. In this provocative book, Ruthven draws amazing links among conceptual beliefs and modern issues, including globalism, feminism, nationalism, modernism and politics. Given how well this little gem sustains its high level of intelligent investigation, getAbstract recommends it to readers intrigued by the subject. Even if you know what the newspapers say about fundamentalism, you will learn something here.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS FUNDAMENTALISM OUR FUTURE?,
This review is from: Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)This wide-ranging study brilliantly charts the spread of fundamentalist ideas within the world's various religious communities. Christian, Jewish and Muslim belief systems are shown to have been penetrated by extreme political ideas which are quite new, yet often present themselves as rooted in a mythical past.
Ruthven makes very clear that fundamentalism can have a variety of ambitions. The fundamentalism of America's Christian right aim to justify global evangelization and strengthen America's power. On the other hand, the Islamist ideas of Sayyid Qutb, which inspired al Qaida, have at their root a disgust with Western society or, as Ruthven puts it, reflect Islam's much resented loss of cultural hegemony. The Islamic fundamentalism of the Palestinian Hamas movement is essentially about territorial claims.
By going into fascinating detail about these ideas, Ruthven manages to explain their appeal to growing sections of society and their ability to justify violence on a massive scale. This makes for a terrifying scenario, but also for a fascinating read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent purchase!,
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)Dr. Malise Ruthven has written an excellent short introduction to Fundamentalism. He discusses the ambiguities and nuances of the concept, explains how "fundamentalism " did not first appear "as a term of criticism or abuse" and appeared, not in the "Bible Belt of the Old, but in southern California". The belief in the early return of Jesus "to rule over an earthly kingdom of the righteous after the defeat of the Antichrist" is an early Christian belief which has animated US Protestants from their beginning. While fundamentalism is used in reference to Islamic groups, both Christianity and Judaism are, and have been, associated with fundamentalist movements in one form or another. Dr. Ruthven gives a good treatment of these movements. In essence, religious beliefs, warped or otherwise, provide the basis for many contemporary fundamentalist movements in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic societies.
My opinion is that it is charismatic men (not women) who interpret their sacred texts to accord with their particular values and beliefs (or fears and prejudices). These interpretations then serve as the basis for further (mis) interpretation, with promises of reward and punishments for adherents. The emergence of a fundamentalist orientation in the Islamic world seems particularly associated with political movements that seek to revive dispirited and oppressed peoples with the dream of reclaiming past glories, to ensure a fairer distribution of the state's wealth, and to counter what is seen as an economic and cultural oppression by the West. I imagine that the US policy of unstinting financial and hi-tech military support to Israel,and of regularly vetoing any UN criticism of Israel must foster intense anger among Muslims. For Israel was founded on Arab land with the help of the Irgun and other Israeli terrorist groups, which managed to expel both the British and local Palestinians. The result is a 40+ year-old occupation of Palestine, the continual building of settlements on Palestinian land, and subjecting Palestinians both to discrimination and brutality on a fairly regular basis. You might like to read Noam Chomsky and Jimmy Carter on this last point of mine.
Dr. Ruthven is very objective and fair in his discussion of the relationship between fundamentalism and nationalism. Readers will benefit from learning that fundamentalist movements with political overtones can be found,not only in Islamic societies, but also in Israel and Christian countries. When we think of fundamentalism we often think of terrorism, and inevitably of Muslims; but the words of Noam Chomsky are worth remembering: "The terrorism of the weak is a response to the terrorism of the strong".
I strongly recommend the reading of this short text!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of fundamentalism - one or two assumptions challenged,
The book is a short, but very precise introduction to fundamentalism, which is highly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentalism book,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars extensive but biased,
My main gripe and the reason i didn't give it a 5 star is that he riducles the Biblical Exodus account as myth on more than one occassion and at the end of the book (p135) attacks Christians as being selfish, stupid and greedy. Even though it is well written english and informative he lets his guard down and reveals his contempt towards other faiths. I suspect he is sympatic to muslims, maybe one himself (he is also author of the short intro to islam book). So perhaps it's not surprising that he is unable to criticse and ridicule islam also.
Moreover, he neglects to tackle some of the more fundamental points of islam (which i believe would be one of the main reason for buying this book) such as , leaving islam for another faith, violent jihad, treatment of women and muslim attitudes towards Jews and Christians. so in some ways a bit disappointing.
Apart from that it's worth reading, but beaware of the biased point of view.
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Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Malise Ruthven (Paperback - 25 Jan 2007)