Programs & Research

Program on Historical Studies of Religion

About The Program

The program in Historical Studies of Religion operates within Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) as an interdisciplinary venue for historical research and writing on religion. Historical Studies of Religion (HSR) fosters influential and broadly-tailored historical scholarship in religion. In addition, we seek to raise public awareness of the very substantial work that has been done in the history of religion in recent decades. While academic research has boomed, it has also suffered from issues of over-specialization, so that much excellent work is chiefly available in technical academic journals and presses, in which scholars speak chiefly to scholars. We will counteract this by making knowledge widely available to non-specialist audiences.

The primary purposes of HSR are to:

  • encourage interdisciplinary historical research on religion among new and existing Baylor faculty, as well as ISR-affiliated scholars
  • sponsor and host major national and international conferences on the history of religion
  • sponsor and host major seminars and lectures on the history of religion
  • seek external funding for the program’s activities from private and public sources
  • communicate the findings of specialized scholarship to an interested public
  • stress the value and legitimacy of excellent faith-based scholarship

Historical Studies of Religion is directed by Philip Jenkins, who works in concert with Byron Johnson, the director of the Institute for Studies of Religion. Jenkins promotes the work of the program through writing and lecturing and also focuses on the development of conferences and visiting lecture programs.

Historical Studies of Religious Events

Some representative examples of events organized by HSR in recent years include: