Patrides Lecture: World History and God’s Grand Design

Event Date: 
01 Jun 2017

World History and God’s Grand Design: the historical imagination in the Middle Ages and Reformation

Professor Euan Cameron (Union Theological Seminary/ Columbia University)


This year's distinguished Patrides Lecture will take place on Thursday 1 June  at  6.30pm in the Bowland Lecture Theatre, Berrick Saul Building, followed by a drinks reception and an opportunity to meet our speaker.  


Euan Cameron  was appointed in 2002 as the first Henry Luce III Professor of Reformation Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York, with a concurrent appointment in the Department of Religion in Columbia University. His publications include Waldenses: Rejections of Holy Church in Medieval Europe (2000), Interpreting Christian History: The Challenge of the Churches' Past (2005), Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion, 1250-1750 (2010) and The European Reformation, 2nd edition (2012).


This is a public lecture and all are welcome. Please register via Eventbrite for your free ticket.



Pre-modern historians in the Christian tradition were convinced that the hand of God could be seen in the rise and fall of empires, even (or especially) those empires that did not acknowledge the God of ancient Israel and the Christian tradition. History could be interpreted through the words of the Hebrew prophets, who had (it was believed) foretold in detail the destinies of the warring kingdoms of the Eastern Mediterranean.


That conviction helped the people of the Reformation to believe that God was in control of the Church even when the Church was so badly astray as to be unrecognizable. In the era of the Protestant Reformation, reforming historians had to demonstrate both that the “true” church had never failed, and that it was quite consistent with God’s oversight of the human community for the Church to deviate disastrously from its proper path.


This lecture will endeavour to sketch out a provisional arc for the evolving theology of history as it developed through the Middle Ages and the Reformation period.