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An Island in the Lake of Fire: Bob Jones University, Fundamentalism, and the Separatist Movement Paperback – February 28, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., the Christianity preached by religious right figures such as Jerry Falwell is rejected?becase it is too liberal. Three generations of Bob Joneses have run this militantly fundamentalist and separatist institution, passing the role of university president from father to son. Dalhouse, who teaches history at Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University), draws on extensive primary sources to tell the story of BJU, and then places this story in the broader context of American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. He highlights the curiosities of the school (strict parietals for students, including bans on kissing and holding hands; an honorary doctorate awarded to segregationist Alabama governor George C. Wallace) along with its achievements (students' acceptance rate into recognized graduate schools and their success in business careers; a film production program that can claim a Cannes Film Festival award). He also shows how BJU has promoted a strict doctrine of separatism from theological liberalism, and has attacked even attempts by conservative Protestants to make common cause with conservative Catholics and Jews. The only great flaw is that the book is so short?there is clearly much more to say about BJU and its place as the self-anointed guardian of U.S. fundamentalism.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

University officials granted Dalhouse (Truman State Univ.) unprecedented access to their resources. The resulting work approaches its subject in a dispassionate, neutral manner. It is as much a portrait of the ultra-fundamentalist patriarchs Bob Jones Sr., Jr., and III as of their institution. They insist on total separation from almost all other Christians, including Jerry Falwell and former student Billy Graham, both of whom collaborate with Mormons and conservative Catholics. School discipline approaches "in loco parentis in extremis." The Greenville, South Carolina-based university has strong programs in cinema, education, and business but refuses to submit itself to the accreditation review by outsiders. Evolution cannot be taught, but Dalhouse does not discuss the school's approach to other sciences equally troubling to biblical literalists, such as cosmology or paleontology. In a straightforward, unremarkable work, Dalhouse offers a useful discussion of a little-known subject. Recommeded for specialized library collections.?Richard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty. Lib., Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780820340968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820340968
  • ASIN: 0820340960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,617,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dr. Dalhouse has provided those interested in the history of Christian fundamentalism with an intriguing, outsider's look at Bob Jones University. He is correct when he states that the role of BJU in fundamentalist history has been largely overlooked and minimized by secular historians. This work helps to correct that oversight. Dr. Dalhouse's study is quite even-handed, especially when compared with typical comments and reviews of BJU. Dalhouse probes some of the paradoxes in the BJU worldview, but at times he overly magnifies these issues. Four stars for Dalhouse's book. Must reading for anyone interested in understanding Bob Jones University.
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Format: Hardcover
Dalhouse has done a service to the history of Fundamentalist Christianity in this book. For whatever reasons, the Joneses and Bob Jones University have been routinely overlooked by the historians of fundamentalism, making Island a nearly unique study. For a second look at BJU, scholars and interested readers should take note of Daniel L. Turner's Standing Without Apology. This more recent history of BJU, when paired with Dalhouse's book, give a thorough look at a most unique Christian educational institution.
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Format: Hardcover
With a few exceptions writings about BJU usually cast the institution as either the greatest thing since the reformation or one of the worst forces in American history. I am exaggerating, but only slightly. The are few subjects in which the poles are further about. Dalhouse does a good job of looking at BJU and the place it has played in American Fundamentalism and the Seperatist movement. There is very little scholarly work in this area by non BJU scholars and this is a wlecome work. Dalhouse does an excellent job of looking at the cultural and historical forces that lead to the positions BJU take. And he is correct that there are paradoxes within the school and the stand it takes. But, I agree with another reviewer that at times Dalhouse makes more of the paradoxes than he should. It is posible to seem paradoxical and yet be consistent. This is a line that BJU walks occassionally slipping to one side or another but in general staying consistent.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having escaped from Bob Jones University (i.e., graduated with honors,no less), I was traumatized for many years. About 15 years after I graduated, I wrote an article entitled " Evangelical Totalitarianism: Depart From Me." Dalhouse describes the milieu of BJU rather well; this is an intelligent and well researched book. While he is a bit hard on Bob Jones, Jr., he gets most things right, a real accomplishment for an "outsider" in a paranoid system. I heartily recommend the book, but if you are a sincere Christian, the university will be dangerous for your spiritual life.
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