I was not aware, until this morning, that Christian historian Peter Marshall had died recently. We used some of his books when homeschooling our children:
"Christian historian and author Peter Marshall has died after suffering a massive heart attack at a gym in Orleans, Mass., Sept. 8. He was 70. Marshall co-authored three best-selling U.S. history books titled, The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1965 . . ."
Historical fundamentalism is marked by the belief that a particular and quite narrowly defined past-”the founding”-is ageless and sacred and to be worshipped; that certain historical texts-”the founding documents”-are to be read in the same spirit with which religious fundamentalists read, for instance, the Ten Commandments; that the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired; that the academic study of history (whose standards of evidence and methods of analysis are based on skepticism) is a conspiracy and, furthermore, blasphemy; and that political arguments grounded in appeals to the founding documents, as sacred texts, and to the Founding Fathers, as prophets, are therefore incontrovertible. (p. 16)
Wow. Where does one start? "Historical fundamentalism." That's cute. I've been involved in various aspects of Christian ministry since 1979. I've worked for one national ministry, visited scores of fundamental and evangelical churches, co-produced a documentary which focused on the religious underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution, and written articles on the subject and yet I've never met one person - "religious fundamentalist" - who thought "the founding" is "to be worshipped" or that "the founding documents are to be read in the same spirit . . . [as] the Ten Commandments."
Actually, such notions would be considered sacrilegious by orthodox believers with even the most basic understanding of the Christian faith; since the Ten Commandments expressly forbid believers from having other gods or worshiping anything (or anyone) other than the God of the Bible. One has to wonder if the author is even remotely familiar with the Ten Commandments or understands the sincere reverence most believers have for them. Apparently not.
Furthermore, the notion that "religious fundamentalists", in any significant number, believe "that the academic study of history . . . is . . . blasphemy" is almost as ridiculous. This excerpt is one of the most ridiculous and misinformed statements regarding Christians who recognize the Judeo-Christian traditions of the founders that I've ever read. So typical of much of academia.
Ironic that the same absurd statements coming from an academic historian would, however, make part of that same statement true:
"the academic study of history (whose standards of evidence and methods of analysis are based on skepticism) [sic] is a conspiracy"
There's some truth there - a conspiracy of misinformation.
*I've not read the book. I'm commenting only on the excerpt noted here.