Holy Spirit:History & Traditions


The Holy Spirit: History & Traditions (IST 3101)

Summer Term 2019 - 4 Credits; History-Depth Course (HI-D)

Instructor:   Albert Hernández , Ph.D.

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.



Students will participate in and complete FOUR separate on-line class discussions/open forums on different topics/themes selected by the instructor during the course.

Each one of the four class discussions/open forums will be worth 10 points for a total of 40% of the Final Grade in this course.   

In order to earn full-credit on each of the Group Discussion Assignments, each student must log-on and post responses two separate times to each group discussion topic/theme by the respective deadlines.

Posting a late initial response to the week's discussion topic will result in a point deduction for that week's Group Discussion Forum. Be sure that your first posting arrives in a timely manner so as not to hold-up or delay the discussion forum for the rest of the class. 

Please remember to log back in to the Group Discussion/Open Forum to post your second required response to the respective week's theme or topic, and to extend the conversation by engaging your classmates before moving on to next week's course topics and reading materials.

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 to have viewed the week’s recorded lecture(s) 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" section of the syllabus.


Each student will write a three to four page essay (approx 500 words) on a theme/topic related to the course as selected by the instructor. Details about this Mid-Term Assignment will be forthcoming via Canvas by the Fourth Week of class, and the submission guidelines and deadline will be announced as well on Canvas.   


Option 1 - Final Exam 35%:  Each student who chooses this option will complete and submit a take-home final exam by the due date comprised of comprehensive essay questions on the material covered in the course. Students will be allowed to choose several questions from a list of essay topics and then develop and discuss each answer separately.   Students will be expected to write a total of about 9 to 12 pages for this final assignment option. The final exam will be distributed to students on Canvas by the instructor. The due date for submitting the final exam by email to the instructor will be announced in class and posted to Canvas.

Option 2 – Final Research or Reflection Paper 35%: If you have already taken an advanced or survey/breadth history course at I.S.T., then this final assignment option may be the best choice for you this term.  Each student who chooses this option will write a final Research Paper or a final Reflection Paper/Essay based upon her/his proposed topic. Papers should not exceed a total of 9 to 12 pages in length.  All final Research or Reflection Papers will be submitted by email to the instructor by the assigned deadline. The due date will be announced in class and posted on Canvas.

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. Second Edition. Baker Academic, 2018.

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 to Purchase)

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

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

Kevin Madigan, Medieval Christianity: A New History . Yale University Press, 2015. (Since most of this course focuses on content about the Holy Spirit, pneumatology, and religious movements during the Middle Ages, --I recommend this book for any student who wants a background/survey resource covering Christianity in the period of the Middle Ages).


Accessing and Regularly Checking the Canvas Course Site:

Guidelines for Online Group Discussions/Open Forums:

Writing Lab:

Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site. , which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft.

Academic Integrity and Core Values:

All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity Links to an external site. , as published in the Masters Student Handbook (Links to an external site. ) Links to an external site. , or the Joint PhD Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site. , as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site. .

Incomplete Grades:

Additional Policies & Services:

For information about A.D.A. Accommodations , or for information about additional Iliff School of Theology "Policies & Services" go to this tab/section of our Canvas course page or go there by clicking on this Link.

Jun 12, 2019WedWelcome Message & Course Overview Videodue by 05:59AM
Jun 16, 2019SunWeek One: Introduction to the History of Pneumatology and to the Traditions of the Holy Spiritdue by 05:59AM
Jun 21, 2019FriWeek Two: Biblical & Ecclesiastical Perspectives on the Holy Spiritdue by 05:59AM
Jun 23, 2019SunWeek Two Discussion: Group Discussion/Open Forum #1: Religious Experience & Logical Positivism Due by Saturday June 22nd, 2019 due by 05:59AM
Jun 24, 2019MonWEEK TWO - Discussion (Continued. . . . .)due by 05:59AM
Jun 29, 2019SatWEEK THREE - The Holy Spirit & Celebrations of Pentecost : From the Early Church to the Early Middle Agesdue by 05:59AM
Jun 30, 2019SunWEEK THREE - GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM #2: Medieval Views/Practices of the Holy Spirit in the Natural Environmentdue by 05:59AM
Jul 01, 2019MonWEEK THREE - Discussion (Continued. . . . .)due by 05:59AM
Jul 08, 2019MonWEEK FOUR: The Church of the Holy Spirit & the Future of Christianity (c.1185-1348)due by 05:59AM
Jul 14, 2019SunWEEK FIVE: The Holy Spirit in the Italian Renaissance & the Scientific Revolution due by 05:59AM
Jul 20, 2019SatWEEK SIX: The Rise of Modern Science, Christian Renewal, Pentecost Traditions, and the Power of the Holy Spiritdue by 05:59AM
Jul 21, 2019SunWEEK SIX: Mid-Term Assignment & Grade---GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM----What Does the Rise of Science have to do with Christian Renewal, Pentecost, and the Presence/Power of the Holy Spirit?due by 05:59AM
Jul 22, 2019MonWEEK SIX: MID-TERM DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENT (continued. . . .)due by 05:59AM
Jul 28, 2019SunWEEK SEVEN: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Reformation, PART I ( c. 1490's-1600)due by 05:59AM
Aug 03, 2019SatWEEK EIGHT: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Reformation, PART II ( c. 1500--Early-1600's). Also GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM #3 will be due this week. due by 05:59AM
Aug 04, 2019SunWEEK EIGHT: Group Discussion/Open Forum #3---Reflecting on the Legacies/Lessons of the Era of the Reformations (c.1517 to c.1619)) due by 05:59AM
Aug 05, 2019MonWEEK EIGHT: Discussion (continued.......)due by 05:59AM
Aug 11, 2019SunWEEK NINE: (A) The Holy Spirit in the Wesleyan Tradition; (B) Healing & The Holy Spirit; (C) Closing Reflections on the Holy Spirit & Pentecost in the History of Christianity. Also fourth & final GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM due this week.due by 05:59AM
Aug 12, 2019MonWEEK NINE: GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM #-4----Closing Reflections on Healing, the Imagination of Pentecost, and the Fullness of the Spirit. due by 05:59AM
Aug 13, 2019TueWEEK NINE: Discussion (continued.......)due by 05:59AM
Aug 19, 2019MonWEEK TEN - OPTION #-1: FINAL EXAM ESSAYS: Instructions and List of Essays. DUE:---Sunday August 18th, 2019 by 11:59 PM (CMT) due by 05:59AM
Aug 19, 2019MonWEEK TEN - OPTION #-2: FINAL RESEARCH or REFLECTION PAPER:----DUE: Sunday August 18th, 2019 by 11:59 PM (CMT). Not recommended for first-year students.due by 05:59AM