The Holy Spirit in Protestant Thought and Experience, 1500-1900

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Date / time: 23 September - 25 September, All day

St John's College

The Holy Spirit in Protestant Thought and Experience, 1500-1900

An interdisciplinary conference on the Holy Spirit, history and Protestant spirituality

Keynote Speakers:
• Susan Schreiner (University of Chicago)
• Alec Ryrie (University of Durham)
• Tom Greggs (University of Aberdeen)

This conference will explore the Holy Spirit and pneumatology as core theological and practical concerns in historical Protestantism, from the Reformation to the eve of Pentecostalism. Diverse movements, groups and individuals across this period and throughout global Protestantism claimed experiences of the Spirit, developed distinctive theologies of the Spirit, and defined themselves against other traditions on the basis of beliefs and practices concerning the Spirit.

Studying this aspect of Protestant thought and experience remains fraught with methodological and epistemological problems. Historians are increasingly enjoined to ‘take seriously’ the accounts and interpretations of past actors themselves. Yet how should scholars avoid reducing spirituality to the status of cultural or anthropological artefact, or discourse?

This major British Academy-funded conference at the University of Oxford will re-examine the history of Protestant Christianity through the lens of appeals to the authority and experience of the Holy Spirit. It aims to bring historians into dialogue with theologians, literary scholars, philosophers of religion and others, to explore comparative approaches and parallel concerns.
4 core themes for the conference are anticipated:

• Authority and dissent
• Marginality and gender
• Mediation and experience
• Methodological problems

For more information contact: