Posts Tagged ‘anti-intellectualism’

Anti-Intellectualism and the Creation of National Myths

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter

NwswkPopulism.jpg-550x0At the dawn of the 1960s Richard Hofstadter was in his prime as a historian. A recipient of a Pulitzer for his book, Age of Reform, he had been part of an elite group of thinkers who were attempting to re-shape the national discourse in the United States. Among these thinkers were Lionel Trilling and Reinhold Niebuhr. Like all historians, Hofstadter admitted that he wrote for the present and that his efforts were in the service of a larger vision of American democracy.

It took him seven years to write his next book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.  It was a deeply personal work, a kind of thinking man’s guide to populist rage in which Hofstadter took on middle-class America for what had happened during the Eisenhower years (1953-1960).

The era had been launched by Arthur Miller’s indictment of McCarthyism in The Crucible. It would end with Hoftstadter’s indictment of Midwestern populism and evangelical revivalism as hostile not only to intellectuals, but to the life of the mind itself.

Hofstadter set out to construct a new national narrative for America, one that would find its way into the work of Robert Mapes Anderson who studied at Columbia during the 1960s and into the work of Mark Noll who utilized Hoftstadter to foist blame for the scandal of the evangelical mind upon those belonging to the Holiness-Pentecostal movement. It was, in short, the creation of a new National Myth.

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Letter to a Pentecostal Scholar II: the nature of Pentecostal anti-intellectualism

Monday, July 16th, 2012 by Wolfgang Vondey

Dear Prudence,

I half-anticipated your stormy response to my first letter. You are upset by the accusation that Pentecostals are anti-intellectual and at the same time you know it to be true. Pentecostals become scholars (and sometimes the other way around) but continue their work only with a sense of uneasiness amidst the ivory tower of the educational and academic system so dominated by the ideals of Western pedagogy that they reflect little (if anything) of a Pentecostal ethos. If I continue, it may sound like a defense of Pentecostalism; but I must try to be honest with you, with myself, and also take an authentic look at Pentecostals. I promised you more thoughts on the nature of Pentecostal anti-intellectualism. I hope I can answer some of your questions and stir up some new ones. Read the rest of this entry »