Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and the Baptist Academy

Call Extended to March 21, 2015

The deadline for proposals for Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy on John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress has been extended to March 21, 2015.  Successful applicants will receive $1000 stipend for travel and room/board at Regent’s Park College, Oxford.


Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy
July 14-17, 2015
Regent’s Park College, Oxford

John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress stands alongside the West’s great books. Baptists historically have cherished it: it is their singular contribution to the canon. More than that, its dramatic allegorization of Christian life embodies abiding Baptist convictions.

Bunyan’s trope of a pilgrim’s progress aptly expresses biblically-grounded Baptist insights and practices in such varied dimensions of Christian witness as doxology, ecclesiology, eschatology, ethics, evangelism, ministry, and political economy, among others. For when we, like Bunyan’s protagonist, Christian, live as “strangers and sojourners” (1 Pet 2:11), we dwell gratefully in the land as God’s people, use wisely the resources of the earthly city without seeking to dominate it, pass faithfully through temptations posed by the Slough of Despond and Vanity Fair, and progress in hope toward loving communion in God’s Celestial City.

YSBA invites paper proposals addressing these and related aspects of Baptist faith connected to “pilgrim’s progress.” Prospective participants need not directly engage Bunyan’s allegory, although they are indeed invited and encouraged to do so. Participants selected for the seminar will have opportunities to examine early editions of Pilgrim’s Progress, visit the Bedford jail where Bunyan’s faithful resistance landed him, and see firsthand other historically significant sites of Baptist significance.

Senior Scholar: Curtis Freeman, Duke Divinity School
Travel and Commentary Scholar: Paul Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxford and Principal Emeritus of Regent’s Park College​

Suggested Topics/Themes

Allegory, narrative, and moral imagination in theology, proclamation, evangelism
Baptist higher education as Christian pilgrimage
Bunyan’s eschatology/doxology/ecclesiology/political theology
The church as a pilgrim people
Companionship, friendship, and hospitality to family and neighbor
Nonconformist Spirituality
Political theology in the earthly city
Practices, developments, or challenges of religious liberty


To apply send a 700 word proposal and current CV to roger_ward@georgetowncollege.edu. (YSBA Proposal in the subject line)

Deadline March 1, 2015.

All scholars identifying with the Baptist tradition are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to scholars in graduate school and Associate/Assistant positions. Travel support will be available on an as-needed basis. Room and board at Regent’s Park will be provided for all selected participants. Information about Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy is available at

Download the Program Booklet

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