The Bible Tells Them So

The Discourse of Protestant Fundamentalism

By Kathleen C. Boone

Subjects: Religion
Paperback : 9780887068959, 152 pages, November 1988
Hardcover : 9780887068942, 152 pages, December 1988

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. By Inspiration of God: The Plain Book
3. For Doctrine: The Inerrant Text
4. For Reproof: Literal Sense(s)
5. For Correction: The Interpretive Community
6. For Instruction in Righteousness: The Authority of Interpreters
7. The Twoedged Sword: The Doctrine of Hell
8. Of the Joints and Marrow: Conclusion
Works Cited


Exploring its vigorous hold on believers and its influence on American public life, Boone approaches the authority of fundamentalism through its discourse. She uses literary theory to explain how the Bible actually functions in sermons and other discourse. Emphasizing the critical problem of any appeal to the "text itself," the book demonstrates that the authority of fundamentalism is ultimately an authority of the text and of the interpreter, equally. Without the Bible, the preacher is powerless, but without the preacher's interpretations, the text loses its binding authority.

The book examines principles of interpretation with extensive reference to such literary theorists as E. D. Hirsch, Stanley Fish, and Edward Said. The sensitive juxtaposition of fundamentalism and literary criticism not only opens a new window on fundamentalists, but also provides insights that will unsettle partisans of other persuasions.

Kathleen C. Boone is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Daemen College.


"It is well researched, well written, and innovative in treatment and emphasis. An informative, challenging book that is also enjoyable to read. It is a rare accomplishment in that it is very fair, while at the same time being "engaged" scholarship. I would certainly include (this) study on a list of the most important half-dozen or so scholarly works on American fundamentalism. " — Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary