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Seminar: Fundamentalism, Secularization and the 'Three Religions of the Book'

Please join the Center for European Studies in the seminar presented by Professor von Braun.

Abstract. Usually, fundamentalism is considered a phenomenon of religion, and indeed it is mostly so. Yet, taking a closer look at the characteristics of fundamentalism it becomes apparent that this can hardly be the case. A common trait of all forms of religious fundamentalism ­ be they Jewish, Christian or Islamic ­ is a deep set belief in the Œtruth¹ of the Holy texts. This characteristic described as Œliteralism¹ takes the text as describing historical truth, rather than being understood as an allegory for religious beliefs and their historical development. With the age of Enlightenment Œliteralism¹ begins to the belief in the absolute truth of science. And yet, Enlightenment was a way of thinking that developed within Christian culture and traditions and carries many of its religious heritages into the secular world. Moreover, the history of literalism is more deeply rooted in Christian thought, based on a full (vocalized) alphabet, than it is in the other two ŒReligions of the Book¹ where the Holy texts are written in consonant alphabets. The talk will focus on the influence enlightened Œliterarism¹ had on fundamentalist movements in the three monotheistic religions.

Sponsored and organized by Duke Center for European Studies.

Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:15pm – 10:15pm GMT (no daylight saving)
240 John Hope Franklin Center, Duke University (map)