King's Evangelical Divinity School

11 September 2009

Two Research Areas (Part 1)

Aside from bread-and-butter teaching areas and interests, there are two academic foci I research and write about, the first of these being Pentecostal Studies. This is a fascinating area, though sometimes misunderstood by Evangelicals who personally might lean away from a non-Charismatic theology or experience. Technically, Pentecostal Studies is an academic discipline, that is, a sub-branch of theology which explores the history, theology and practice of the movement, regardless of whether this is done from an internal-participant or external-observer perspective. Thus, one does not necessarily have to be Pentecostal or Charismatic to specialise in Pentecostal Studies, while many specialists in the field keen to determine its social and political impact explore the movement strictly as a social phenomenon. Indeed, some students of Pentecostalism are agnostics or even atheists.
There are all sorts of angles from one which one may approach the study of Pentecostalism - theological, historical, sociological, regional, practical - none of which  are mutually exclusive. Thus, given the generally interdisciplinary nature of the subject there is plenty of overlapping. My interests in the movement are varied, but there are two areas which particularly interest me. The first concerns Pentecostalism in Latin America, the second is Pentecostalism and politics generally. I have written in both areas, and my approach is strongly interdisciplinary.
In time I'll post more on this blog about both of these areas of Pentecostal Studies. In the meantime, to learn more about the field a good starting point is the Society for Pentecostal Studies, which publishes Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (published by Brill, Leiden and Boston). Aside from this, there are several university theology departments which specialise in this field. In my next post I'll list some Pentecostal Studies resources.
I began this post by explaining how there are two main academic areas I research and write about. I'll shortly post something about the second of these, which is completely different from Pentecostal Studies. However, it is related in that it concerns theology and politics.

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