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Timothy Larsen, Ph.D. - Wheaton College. Wheaton, IL, US

Timothy Larsen, Ph.D. Timothy Larsen, Ph.D.

Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought | Wheaton College


Dr. Larsen studies issues of faith and doubt.







Dr. Larsen’s primary intellectual interests are in the areas of historical theology, Christian thought, and intellectual currents and controversies. He also specializes in British history. Another current interest is faith and the academic disciplines, especially anthropology. His research and writing tends to explore theological and intellectual ideas as they were appropriated and wrestled with in specific cultural, social, and historical contexts.

Education (3)

University of Stirling, Scotland: Ph.D., History 1997

Wheaton College: M.A., Theology 1990

Wheaton College: B.A. (Hons.), History 1989

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests (10)

Evangelical Thought Evangelical Practice Evangelical History Atheists and Secularization Faith and Doubt Christianity and Modern Thought History of Christianity Christianity in the Modern World Evangelical Politics Evangelicals and Catholics

Professional Affiliations (10)

  • Spiritual Lives Biography Series, Oxford University Press : General Editor
  • Journal of Religious History : Editorial Board
  • Fides er Historia (Journal) : Editorial Board
  • Books and Culture (Journal) : Contributing Editor
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David : Honorary Research Fellow, School of Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies
  • Royal Historical Society : Fellow
  • Royal Anthropological Institute : Fellow
  • Trinity College, Cambridge : Visiting Fellow (2007)
  • All Souls College, Oxford : Visiting Fellow (2012)
  • Northwestern University : Visiting Scholar (2014)

Media Appearances (4)

The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy

Charisma News  online


Wheaton College professor Timothy Larsen comments that "it has been demonstrated that biblical literacy has continued to decline. ... Gallup polls have tracked this descent to a current 'record low.'"

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Victor Turner, anthropology and Christianity

University of Oxford Podcasts  online


Timothy Larsen (Wheaton College, Illinois) discusses the impact of Christianity on the research and careers of Victor and Edith Turner, looking in particular at their work in Rhodesia. An anthropology departmental seminar...

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Nicodemus, the mystery man of Holy Week

The Washington Post  online


Nicodemus might not be on the minds of many modern evangelicals, but they care deeply about his conversation with Jesus in John’s Gospel, said Timothy Larsen, a professor of Christian thought at Wheaton College in Illinois. Most consider being “born again” essential to salvation and a hallmark of their faith. “Evangelicals have traditionally cared a lot about when this happened,” Larsen said of the born-again experience. “It is the hinge moment in a person’s life.” When Chuck Colson moved from Nixon hatchet man to evangelical eminence, he titled his autobiography “Born Again.”...

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Prisons Purging Books on Faith from Libraries

The New York Times  online


Timothy Larsen, who holds the Carolyn and Fred McManis Chair of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, an evangelical school, looked over lists for “Other Christian” and “General Spirituality. There are some well-chosen things in here,” Professor Larsen said. “I’m particularly glad that Dietrich Bonhoeffer is there. If I was in prison I would want to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” But he continued, “There’s a lot about it that’s weird.” The lists “show a bias toward evangelical popularism and Calvinism,” he said, and lacked materials from early church fathers, liberal theologians and major Protestant denominations...

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Presentations and Event Appearances (6)

Nineteenth-Century Spiritual Autobiography: Carlyle, Newman, Mill

The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity  University of Notre Dame, ID.


Victorians and the Bible Beyond Belief

The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity  University of Notre Dame, ID.


Teaching the Bible Outside Theology

The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity  University of Notre Dame


Exploring Religion and Literature Methodologies

The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity  University of Notre Dame, ID.


High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain

Contextural Lecture Series  Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK


Frazer, Anthropology and the Bible

Anthropology and Religion in the 19th Century  Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge, UK.


Academics and Published Research (4)


- Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, for the Trinity term, 2012
- Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, for the Lent and Easter Terms 2007
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
- Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute (FRAI)
- Visiting Scholar, Department of Religious Studies, Northwestern University, Winter and Spring Quarters 2014
- Honorary Research Fellow, School of Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, 2014-

Courses Taught

- BITH 315 Christian Thought
- BITH 372 Historical Theology
- BITH 489 Theology and Art, 1000-1600
- BITH 576 History of Christianity to 1900
- BITH 653 Historical Theology: Early Church
- BITH 654 Historical Theology: Medieval Church
- BITH 677 Modern British Religious History
- BITH 677 History of Evangelicalism
- BITH 677 Faith, Doubt, and Secularization
- BITH 683 Historiography
- BITH 883 The Bible in the Nineteenth Century
- ANTH 495 Anthropology Senior Capstone

Editorial Work

- General Editor, Spiritual Lives biography series, Oxford University Press
- Editorial Board, Journal of Religious History
- Editorial Board, Fides et Historia
- Contributing Editor, Books & Culture


- Modern British religious history
- History of Faith and Thought
- Anthropology and Religion
- Evangelical history and theology
- Christianity and women
- The history of biblical criticism and interpretation
- Secularization theory
- Christianity and politics; church and state issues
- History of academic disciplines

Grants and Fellowships (1)

Honorary Fellowship with the School of Divinity

The University of Edinburgh 

September 2018 - August 2021

Select Articles, Chapters, Reviews, and Other Publications (9)

E. B. Tylor, Religion and Anthropology British Journal for the History of Science

Larsen, T.


The Bible and Belief in Victorian Britain Cahiers Victoriens et Édouardiens

Larsen, T.


The Book of Acts and the Origin of the Races in Evangelical Thought Victorian Review

Larsen, T.


Biblical Commentaries as Prose Nineteenth-Century Prose

Larsen, T.


Nineveh Cities of God: The Bible and Archaeology in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Larsen, T.


The Bible and the Varieties of Nineteenth-Century Dissent: Elizabeth Fry, Mary Carpenter, and Catherine Booth Dissent and the Bible in Britain, c. 1650-1950

Larsen, T.


The Evangelical Reception of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture

Larsen, T.


Christina Rossetti The Decalogue through the Centuries: From the Hebrew Scriptures to Benedict XVI

Larsen, T.


Evangelicals, the Academy, and the Discipline of History Beyond Integration? Inter/Disciplinary Possibilities for the Future of Christian Higher Education

Larsen, T.