‘Puritans, Baptists and the Powers of Darkness:’ ISR Lecture to Discuss Devil Worship and Sexual Obsession in English and New England Societies

  • Puritians
    Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion will host the lecture "Puritans, Baptists and the Powers of Darkness" from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 18
  • Phillip jenkins
    Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, will discuss the supernatural (Photo from Christianity Today)
  • Crawford Gribben
    Crawford Gribben, Ph.D., cultural and literary historian and Professor of Early Modern British History at Queen's University Belfast, will discuss Puritan history (Photo from Queen's University Belfast)
April 13, 2018

Media Contact: Terry_Goodrich, 254-710-3321
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WACO, Texas (April 13, 2018) – Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion will host the lecture “Puritans, Baptists and the Powers of Darkness” from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at Cox Lecture Hall, Armstrong Browning Library, 710 Speight Ave. Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, and Crawford Gribben, Ph.D., cultural and literary historian and Professor of Early Modern British History at Queen's University Belfast, will discuss the supernatural.

“During this lecture, we will be looking at stories of ghosts and witches as a means of looking into Puritan history,” Jenkins said. “Puritans believed in ghosts, witches and demons because, to them, that proved that the supernatural existed. There was a lot of debate over this topic. How real are the powers of darkness? This was a world living in devil worship and sexual obsessions, and people were frantically trying to determine if this was a result of demons or mental illness.”

Jenkins will begin the day with his lecture “Katherine Bowen’s Nightmare: Baptists and Witches in Seventeenth Century Britain” at 2 p.m. According to Jenkins, this is one of the greatest ghost stories of all time, in which the wife of an atheist is visited by the demonic ghost of her husband.

At 3:15 p.m., Gribben will present his lecture “Ghosts and Signs of Grace: Baptist Spirituality in Cromwellian Ireland.” Gribben is a leading scholar of the history of Puritanism and evangelical origins. He works in the development and dissemination of religious ideas, especially in terms of apocalyptic and millennial thought, in the print cultures of Puritanism and evangelicalism. Among his many books is “John Owen and English Puritanism: Experiences of Defeat.”

"Gribben is one of the best-known historians of Puritans on both sides of the Atlantic,” Jenkins said. “His studies and research have a global reputation for excellence.”

The event will conclude with a general discussion at 4:30 p.m. The lecture is free, but guests must register beforehand through the Baylor ISR website or by calling 254-710-7555.

For more information and to register for the event, visit the Baylor ISR website.

by Brooke Battersby, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION

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, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. For more information, visit Baylor ISR website.

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