Baylor Symposium Will Explore the University's Religious Revival Roots

Oct. 13, 2011

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Baylor University is known for its Baptist faith, but few understand the purpose of its establishment.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, the Historical Studies in Religion, which is part of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, will host an all-day "Symposium on the Revival that Founded Baylor: Baptist Faith in Frontier Texas" to shed light on the revival that helped inspire the university's founding.

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a panel of speakers in Cox Lecture Hall of Armstrong Browning Library, 710 Speight Ave. Speakers include history professors Beth Barton Schweiger, Ph.D., from the University of Arkansas; Kelly Elliott, Ph.D., from Abilene Christian University; and Joseph Stubenrauch, Ph.D., from Baylor University.

The session speakers are expected to discuss topics including Bible reading in the early years after the United States' founding and Baptist conversion in the early 1800s.

The symposium will peak with keynote speaker David Bebbington, Ph.D., a renowned religious historian who has taught at the University of Stirling in Scotland as well as Baylor University, at 4 p.m. in the Hankamer School of Business's Kayser Auditorium, 1428 S. Fifth St.

"By accepting much of the thought of the Enlightenment, the Baptists identified with the revival overcame their more traditional co-religionists who wanted nothing to do with organized missions or colleges," Bebbington said while describing his lecture.

"A new college, which became Baylor University in 1845, was proposed to ensure the future effectiveness of the Baptists identified with the revival. The event reveals much of the ideological struggle of the times to shape the future of Texas," Bebbington said.

Thomas Kidd, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Baylor and one of the event's organizers, said it is important for the Baylor community to remember that a blend of religious and intellectual commitment has "motivated our university from its very founding," and that the symposium is designed to bring attention to this topic.

"The Institute for Studies of Religion wanted to highlight Dr. Bebbington's research into this relatively unknown aspect of Baylor's founding," Kidd said. "Dr. Bebbington is one of the world's leading experts on 19th-century evangelical Christianity in the English-speaking world, so he can speak with unique insight into the historic religious context in which Baylor was established."

For more information, visit the Institute for Studies of Religion or call (254) 710-7555.

by Carmen Galvan, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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