Vanderbilt University Divinity School announces the 2018 Mafoi Carlisle Bogitsh Lecture
to be delivered by
Paul C.H. Lim
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
Associate Professor of History, College of Arts & Science
Associate Faculty of Religious Studies, College of Arts & Science
Associate Faculty of Asian Studies, College of Arts & Science
February 22, 2018
Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room
Reformation, Race, and Rights: An Underexplored Narrative of Modernity
How does one evaluate the significance of the Reformations - of Catholic and Protestant - in this 501st commemorative year? Whereas much of current scholarship has tended to focus on the theological breakthroughs of Martin Luther, various cultural significations of late medieval Catholicism and its discontent, or increasing socio-political fissures that inexorably proved to be the harbingers for the Reformation, in this talk, Paul Lim shows that the emerging concerns of human rights and racial taxonomies ought to figure more significantly in the way one thinks about the Reformation past, as well as post-Reformation present in which issues of race and rights are often considered without due attention to the way these very same issues were imagined and articulated.
By looking at a sixteenth-century Spanish Catholic as well as a seventeenth-century English Protestant whose identities provide an intriguing mixture of "hero-as-complicit-participants" in the emerging colonial empires of Spain and England, this lecture shows the complexity of the narratives regarding the birth of modernity: how less-than-inevitable such things indeed were.
This lecture will be of interest not merely to those who care about historiographies of early modern religious reform in the age of Empire, but also for those who wish to learn from the way such efforts to racialize and marginalize certain groups of human beings were resisted and shalom for all sought.
Professor Paul C.H. Lim is an award-winning historian of Reformation- and post-Reformation Europe. His latest book, Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2012), won the 2013 Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history/theology by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. He has published two other books in that area: The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge, 2008); and In Pursuit of Purity, Unity, and Liberty: Richard Baxter’s Puritan Ecclesiology in Context (Brill, 2004).
In addition, history of evangelicalism and global Christianities are his other foci of research. Currently, he is writing a book on the transformation of global evangelical attitudes toward and endeavors on eradication of human trafficking and structural poverty.
Professor Lim welcomes inquiries from students interested in graduate studies in: (1) history of theology and intellectual history of the Long Reformation period; (2) global Christianity and changing trajectories of evangelical theology and praxis; (3) early modern English history, particularly religion and politics.
His research has been funded by fellowships and grants from the Luce Foundation (Luce Fellowship in Theology, 2011-12); the Folger Shakespeare Library; the Yale Center for Faith & Culture; the Vanderbilt University Research Scholars Grant.
He has delivered papers and lectures at Oxford, Cambridge, London, St. Andrews, Rotterdam, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, and Pomona College, as well in Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Switzerland, France, Ethiopia, Kenya, China, Japan, and South Korea.