Esteemed Religion Historian Thomas Kidd Assumes a Leadership Role within Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion

Aug. 25, 2014
Kidd appointmentThomas Kidd, Ph.D. (Courtesy photo)

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Waco, Texas (Aug. 25, 2014) — Thomas Kidd, Ph.D., one of the nation’s most respected historians of religion, has accepted a post as associate director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR).

Kidd’s appointment “represents a major step forward in advancing ISR’s mission as a national leader in producing research on the role of religion in society,” said Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at ISR. “Not only has Tommy Kidd written a number of important and highly regarded books on the role of religion in early America, he and Philip Jenkins (Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor) have developed many thoughtful symposia and research events as part of ISR’s successful Program on Historical Studies of Religion.”

For Byron Johnson, Ph.D., co-director of ISR, “Tommy’s appointment is a testament to our strong relationship with Baylor’s outstanding department of history, where a number of professors are also affiliated with ISR. Professor Kidd’s leadership has been instrumental at ISR, and we know he will be an even bigger asset as the associate director.”

Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor, stated that “Thomas Kidd is respected and admired by scholars across the country, and this new position certainly bodes well for ISR and Baylor University.”

Kidd said that he is “honored to be associated with such a stellar group of scholars as those at the Institute for Studies of Religion. I hope I can help the institute in its efforts to make Baylor the preeminent university in America for the study of religion across the disciplines.”

Kidd completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of Notre Dame. He has written or edited eight books. His next book, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, will be released in October with Yale University Press.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Launched in August 2004, The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, philosophy, epidemiology, theology, and religious studies. Our mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history. It also embraces the study of religious effects on such things as prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development, and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, our scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.

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