Holy Spirit: History & Tradition


The Holy Spirit: History & Traditions

Winter Term 2021 - History-Depth Course (HI-D)

Iliff School of Theology - Course #: IST 3101; 4 credits

DU/IST J.D.P. - Course #: RLGN 4501; 4 credits

Instructor:   Prof. Albert Hernández, Ph.D.

Course Description:

This course focuses on the history of pneumatology and traditions of Pentecost from the Early Middle Ages to the early-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? What is the relationship of healing and science to certain key ideas and religious traditions about the Holy Spirit?  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 and socio-political injustice while 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.

Course Objectives & Iliff Degree Learning Goals

(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.

Evaluation, Required Assignments, & Grading Procedures:


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.



"Holy Spirit: History & Traditions" will be meeting on Zoom on the following Winter Term 2021 dates/times:

Tuesday Week Two---January 12th---10:30 am to 11:45 am (MST)

Tuesday Week Five---February 2nd---10:30 am to 11:45 am (MST)

Tuesday Week Eight--February 23rd--10:30 am to 11:45 am (MST)  

Student attendance in these three synchronous class sessions is required, and participation in all three sessions accounts for 15% of the Final Grade in this course.    



***Details and due date about mid-term assignment coming very soon***



Option 1 - Final Exam 30%:  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 via Canvas by the instructor. The due date for submitting/uploading the final exam to Canvas  will be announced in class and posted on Canvas.

Option 2 – Final Research or Reflection Paper 30%:   If you have already taken an advanced or survey/breadth history course at I.S.T., then this final assignment option might be the best choice for you this term.  If you are an Iliff/DU J.D.P. Doctoral student, then I strongly recommend this option for you.  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.   Iliff and DU J.D.P. Doctoral students may write longer papers if they want to.   All final Research or Reflection Papers will be submitted/uploaded to Canvas by the assigned deadline. The due date will be announced in class and posted on Canvas.

Required Textbooks and Course Readings:

Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis. Pantianos Classics/Create Space Independent Publishing, 2016. (Any edition or format is OK to read. Book is also available for free as a public domain text).

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. (Be sure to purchase the Second Edition of this now classic book).

Additional Required Readings:---- All other readings from primary or from secondary sources, will be made available to students as PDF's on the "Files" tab of our Canvas course site, and will be listed in the "Course Summary" section of the Syllabus for each week of the course in which the reading is due to be completed with full author, title, and page number information. Any relevant internal or external links to required readings available in the public domain will also be listed in the "Course Summary" of the Syllabus for each secondary source or for each excerpt from a primary source text.

Suggested Optional Readings:---- (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.

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 from the Middle Ages, --I recommend this book for any student who wants a good background/survey resource covering Christianity in the Medieval period).

Course Procedures and Expectations:

Accessing and Regularly Checking our 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 . , 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 Policies & Statement on Academic Integrity as published in the Masters Student Handbook , or the D.U. & I.S.T. Joint Doctoral Program's Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook and as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values.

Incomplete Grades:

Incomplete Grade petitions will be granted only in the case of documented and verifiable medical circumstances or other personal or family related emergencies. In the event a student requires this option, the final grade for the course will be assigned as a "Pass" (P) or "Fail" (F) grade.

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.

Jan 05, 2021TueWelcome Message and Course Overview Videodue by 06:00AM
Jan 08, 2021FriWEEK ONE: Intro to the History of Pneumatology & The Traditions of the Holy Spiritdue by 06:59AM
Jan 10, 2021SunWEEK ONE: Group Discussion/Open Forum #1: Religious Experience & Logical Positivism. Due Saturday January 9th, 2021. due by 06:59AM
Jan 11, 2021MonWEEK ONE: Group Discussion/Open Forum #1 - Continued. . . . . . .due by 06:59AM
Jan 16, 2021SatWEEK TWO: Biblical & Ecclesiastical Perspectives on the Holy Spiritdue by 06:59AM
Jan 22, 2021FriWEEK THREE - The Holy Spirit & Celebrations of Pentecost: From the Early Church to the Early Middle Agesdue by 06:59AM
Jan 24, 2021SunWEEK THREE - GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM #2: Medieval Views/Practices of the Holy Spirit in the Natural Environmentdue by 06:59AM
Jan 25, 2021MonWEEK THREE: Group Discussion/Open Forum #2 - Continued. . . . . . .due by 06:59AM
Jan 29, 2021FriWEEK FOUR: The Church of the Holy Spirit & the Future of Christianity (ca.1185-1348)due by 06:59AM
Feb 01, 2021MonWEEK FOUR - OPTIONAL & UNGRADED - OPEN FORUM: Empowerment & Liberation in the Coming Age of the Holy Spiritdue by 06:59AM
Feb 06, 2021SatWEEK FIVE: The Holy Spirit in the Italian Renaissance & the Scientific Revolutiondue by 06:59AM
Feb 12, 2021FriWEEK SIX: The Rise of Modern Science, Christian Renewal, Pentecost Traditions, and the Power of the Holy Spiritdue by 06:59AM
Feb 16, 2021TueWEEK SIX: Mid-Term Assignment & Grade---GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM----What Does the Rise of Science have to do with Pentecost And the Power/Presence of the Holy Spirit?due by 06:59AM
Feb 20, 2021SatWEEK SEVEN: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Reformations, PART I ( ca. 1490 to ca. 1600)due by 06:59AM
Feb 27, 2021SatWEEK EIGHT: The Holy Spirit in the Period of the Spanish Reformation, PART II (ca.1490's to ca.1700's).due by 06:59AM
Mar 06, 2021SatWEEK 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 Christianitydue by 06:59AM
Mar 08, 2021MonWEEK NINE: GROUP DISCUSSION/OPEN FORUM----Closing Reflections on the Imagination of Pentecost, Healing, and the Fullness of the Holy Spiritdue by 06:59AM
Mar 16, 2021TueWEEK TEN - OPTION #-1: FINAL EXAM ESSAY QUESTIONS: Instructions and List of Essays. DUE:---Monday March 15, 2021due by 05:59AM
Mar 16, 2021TueWEEK TEN - OPTION #-2: Instructions & Details for FINAL RESEARCH PAPER or FINAL REFLECTION PAPER. DUE:---Monday March 15, 2021due by 05:59AM