The Scopes Trial of 1925 is often regarded as a turning point in the history of American fundamentalism and evangelicalism. It is claimed that Scopes was a public relations defeat that sent fundamentalism into retreat from mainstream culture.
In Fundamentalists in the Public Square: Evolution, Alcohol, and the Culture Wars after the Scopes Trial, Madison Trammel argues that such a characterization is misguided. Using documentary evidence from newspapers in the 1920s and 1930s, Trammel shows that fundamentalists remained fully active in seeking to transform the culture for Christ, and they remained so through the rise of Billy Graham’s ministry.
Grounded in historical evidence, Fundamentalists in the Public Square offers a fresh take on the relationship between fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and the public square.
The fundamentalists who censured theological modernism in the 1920s are often supposed to have been inactive in the public square because they believed in concentrating on saving souls. However, in Fundamentalists in the Public Square, Madison Trammel clearly demonstrates that they were strongly engaged in opposition to evolution and in support of prohibition. By drawing on a wealth of evidence from the press of four states, he also shows that they suffered less condemnation at the hands of public opinion than might be expected.
—David Bebbington, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Stirling
Over and over again people have been startled to discover that conservative Protestants are suddenly a public force to be reckoned with on political and social issues. Madison Trammel’s convincing and insightful Fundamentalists in the Public Square prompts us to rethink the premise behind such surprise. In light of this valuable revisionist study, we can start to see the Scopes Trial of 1925, the Moral Majority of the 1980s, and today’s Culture Wars as all part of one continuous way of being Christian in America.
—Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College
Seldom does a volume decisively propose a new interpretation that dislodges an ‘everyone knows given’ in historical accounts. But Madison Trammel’s Fundamentalists in the Public Square does just that. This book may change the way the story of American fundamentalism in the Twenties is told.
—John Woodbridge, research professor of church history and the history of Christian thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.
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Madison Trammel is publisher at B&H Academic.