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Divinity school’s Lim named as Henry Luce III Fellow in theology

by Apr. 12, 2011, 9:56 AM

Paul Lim (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)

Paul Lim, a historian at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, is one of seven scholars of religion named as a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2011-2012.

“It’s a great honor,” Lim said. “As a historian, the Luce Fellowship is encouraging me to raise questions about how religion operates in contemporary society instead of sticking to studying the past for its own sake, as I hope to offer a revisionistic account of the rise of modernity and the role of religion in the Enlightenment.”

The fellows will research for a year, then gather at the annual Luce Fellows Conference to present and discuss their findings. The program is supported by a grant from The Henry Luce Foundation and administered by The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

Potential fellows submitted proposals to conduct creative and innovative theological research for a year in various areas of theological inquiry.

Lim will research the early English Enlightenment (1660-1750) in an attempt to offer creative interpretive possibilities for today’s cultural and religious challenges. He wishes to unearth the historical origins of the clash between traditional religion and its cultural opponents, i.e. how it adapts and absorbs to culture and how it sometimes positions itself opposite mainstream society.

“I’m working on a book titled The Problem of God in Enlightenment England,” Lim said. “It will explore how issues surrounding the various aspects of belief in God and intellectual progress are complementary or contradictory in late 17th and early 18th century England. In society today, these questions are still being pondered.”

Lim, assistant professor of the history of Christianity, earned his degrees from Yale (B.A.), Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Cambridge (Ph.D.). As faculty head at Crawford House in The Commons at Vanderbilt, Lim mentors first-year students as they adjust to college life.