Holy Spirit:History & Traditions

The Holy Spirit: History & Traditions (IST 3101; 4 Credits; HI-Depth)

Instructor: Albert Hernandez, Ph.D.

Pentecost-Bernini.jpg Image result for images of medieval crusading

Course Overview:

This course focuses on the history of pneumatology and traditions of Pentecost from the early middle ages to the 1700's. What have Christians believed and written about the Holy Spirit through the centuries? Why does Pentecost show up in such different ways across the pages of Christian theology and literature? In the midst of the European Enlightenment, why did John Wesley hold such special reverence for the role of experience in Christian thought and education? Why has the Pentecostal legacy functioned simultaneously as a subversive trope for critiquing dominant church paradigms while also sparking creative, re-interpretations of Christian tradition among so many reformers and visionaries?  These are just a few of the questions explored in this course as we discuss historical and theological works by contemporary scholars in pneumatology and the history of Christianity.

(1) Students will acquire a basic understanding of major themes and trajectories in the study of pneumatology from antiquity to the contemporary period.

(2) Students will examine and discuss the changing relationships between ecclesiology and pneumatology in different periods of the history of Christianity.

 (3) Students will develop an understanding of the creative and liberating role played by the Holy Spirit in the imagination of Christian visionaries and reformers through the ages.

 (4) Students will cultivate a critical appreciation for the “different ways of knowing” advocated by Christian pneumatological movements and writers over the centuries.

 (5) Students will acquire basic familiarity with the academic study of spirituality and scholarly reputable approaches to the study of interiority and pneumatology.  

DEGREE LEARNING GOALS in HISTORY (For all I.S.T. Master’s Degree Programs)

Historical Development and Expressions of Religious Traditions (HI): Demonstrate awareness of religious traditions as historically-situated movements that interacted and changed in relationship to their surrounding cultures and subcultures over time, resulting in various expressions located within and influenced by social structures and institutions, ideologies, historical events, ethnicity and gender, and cultural worldviews.

Required Course Textbooks and Readings:

Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis. Scotts Valley, CA:  I.A.P., 2009 (Any edition or format is OK)

Albert Hernández, Subversive Fire: The Untold Story of Pentecost. Emeth Press, 2010.

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective. Baker Academic, 2002.

The remainder of the required course readings will be provided for you as PDFs or as web links on the Canvas site for each week of our course.

SUGGESTED ADDITIONAL READING : (Optional texts; Not required)

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Spirit and Salvation. A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World, Vol. 4. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2016.

Elizabeth Dreyer and Mark Burrows, eds. Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

Arthur Holder, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.


Accessing and Regularly Checking the Canvas Course Site:

Guidelines for Class/Group Discussions:

Mandatory Attendance:

Incomplete Grades:



Each student will participate in and complete four separate on-line group discussions about different topics/themes selected by the instructor. In order to earn full-credit on each of the Class/Group Discussion Assignments, each student must log-on and post responses two separate times to each discussion topic/theme by the respective deadline.

Students will be expected to have read the assigned textbook sections, and the assigned primary or secondary source readings for each respective discussion topic/theme, and the respective week’s recorded lecture before participating in the respective Class Discussion assignment posted on Canvas. For further details see the Guidelines for Class/Group Discussion under the Course Procedures & Expectations syllabus section.


In addition to the mandatory attendance requirement at the on-campus/residential portions of the course on Thurs. July 12th and Friday July 13th, students will receive 10 percent of their final grade for Class Participation during the class lectures, discussions, and activities held on-campus. Effective Class Participation during these two on-campus/residential class sessions means that each student will come to class prepared for reflective, positive discussion with peers and with the instructor by having read all of the assigned materials and by being fully engaged in the seminar setting of the class. 


Each student will complete and submit (via email attachment) an at-home final exam comprised of comprehensive essay questions provided by the instructor on the material covered throughout the course. Students will be asked to choose three essay questions from a list of essay topics provided by the instructor, and then develop and write a three to four page answer for each essay. The list of final exam essays will be distributed to students via Canvas by the instructor during week seven of the summer term. The due date for submitting the final exam essays to the instructor by email will be posted on our Canvas course page and is also listed herewith:  11:59 PM – Saturday August 18, 2018.


Jun 12, 2018TueWelcome and Course Overview - Videodue by 05:55AM
Jun 13, 2018WedWeek One: Introduction to the History of Pneumatologydue by 05:59AM
Jun 15, 2018FriWeek One Discussion - Religious Experience & Logical Positivismdue by 05:59AM
Jun 18, 2018MonWeek One Discussion: Religious Experience & Logical Positivism (Continued....)due by 05:59AM
Jun 23, 2018SatWeek Two: Biblical & Ecclesiastical Perspectives on the Holy Spiritdue by 05:59AM
Jun 28, 2018ThuWeek Three - The Holy Spirit: From the Early Church to the Early Middle Agesdue by 05:59AM
Jun 29, 2018FriWeek Three Discussion - Medieval Views/Practices of the Holy Spirit in the Natural Environmentdue by 05:59AM
Jul 02, 2018MonWeek Three Discussion: The Holy Spirit & the Natural Environment (Continued....)due by 05:59AM
Jul 09, 2018MonWeek Four: The Church of the Holy Spirit and the Future of Christianity (ca.1185-1348)due by 05:59AM
Jul 12, 2018ThuWeek Five: On-Campus Class Sessions - Thurs. July 12 and Friday July 13, 2018; 1 PM to 4:30 PM; Iliff Hall, Room-202due by 05:59AM
Jul 19, 2018ThuWeek Six: The Rise of Modern Science, Christian Renewal, Pentecost Traditions, and the Power of the Holy Spiritdue by 05:59AM
Jul 21, 2018SatWeek Six Discussion: What Does the Rise of Science have to do with Christian Renewal, Pentecost & the Power of the Holy Spirit?due by 05:59AM
Jul 23, 2018MonWeek Six Discussion: (Continued)due by 05:59AM
Jul 28, 2018SatWeek Seven: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Reformation, PART I ( ca. 1490's-Early-1600's) due by 05:59AM
Aug 04, 2018SatWeek Eight: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Reformation, PART II ( ca. 1490's-Early-1600's) due by 05:59AM
Aug 09, 2018ThuWeek Nine: "Contextual Pneumatologies" and Closing Reflectionsdue by 05:59AM
Aug 11, 2018SatWeek Nine Discussion: "Contextual Pneumatologies" and Closing Reflectionsdue by 05:59AM
Aug 13, 2018MonWeek Nine Discussion: (Continued)due by 05:59AM
Aug 19, 2018SunWeek Ten: Final Exam Essays Due Saturday August 18, 2018 by 11:59 PMdue by 05:59AM