Co-Directors of Historical Studies
Baylor ISR Distinguished Professor of History
Baylor ISR Senior Fellow of Religious History and Professor of History at Baylor University
The program in Historical Studies of Religion is a new venture sponsored by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). It is designed to create the world’s preeminent interdisciplinary venue for historical research and writing on religion. Historical Studies of Religion will fulfill this aim by fostering influential and broadly-tailored historical scholarship in religion.
In addition, we hope 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 hope to counteract this by making knowledge widely available to non-specialist audiences.
The primary purposes of Historical Studies of Religion will be to:
*encourage interdisciplinary historical research on religion among new and existing Baylor faculty,
as well as ISR-affiliated scholars
*sponsor and host major international conferences on the history of religion
*welcome prominent and promising historians of religion to Baylor through visiting faculty programs and postdoctoral fellowships
*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 has two administrators, Philip Jenkins and Thomas Kidd who will work in concert with Byron Johnson and Rodney Stark, the co-directors of the Institute for Studies of Religion. Jenkins and Kidd will primarily promote the work of the program through writing and lecturing and will also focus on the development of conferences and visiting scholars programs. They will work with Ph.D. students in the Baylor history department’s Ph.D. program
David Bebbington, ISR Non-Resident Scholar & Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at Baylor University History of Religion, University of Stirling, Scotland and J. Gordon Melton, Baylor ISR Distinguished Professor of American Religious History, will also serve as major faculty advisers to the center.