Paul Lim

Professor of Humanities

Paul Lim will be Professor of Humanities starting in Summer 2024. He previously taught at Vanderbilt University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminar. Lim is an historian of Reformation and post-Reformation Europe. His Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012), won the 2013 Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.  He has published two other books in that areaThe Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and In Pursuit of Purity, Unity, and Liberty: Richard Baxter’s Puritan Ecclesiology in Context (Brill, 2004).

Current Project

Lim’s current book project is The Forgotten God? Christology in Enlightenment EnglandIt traces key debates on the ontic and economic identity of Jesus, particularly the onslaught of challenges on the deity of Christ. Key story-tellers of this theological narrative are the Quakers (Elizabeth Bathurst, George Keith), clandestine anti-trinitarian Anglican clergy (Stephen Nye), a Vice Chancellor of Oxford University in the 1650s (John Owen), a radical whose allegorical interpretations of Jesus’ miracles led to his loss of professorship at Cambridge (Thomas Woolston), and an Irish intellectual gadfly whose denial of mystery as a theological category and espousal of “Jewish Christianity” proved to be prescient (John Toland). The hoped-for consequence of this inquiry in intellectual history is to remedy the tendency to neglect theological, especially Christological, issues when considering the narratives of Enlightenment, whether in France, Germany, or in this instance, England. In so doing, Lim offers a much more contested and nuanced agonistic narrative of the “triumph” of Enlightenment modernity, which was—at least seen from the perspectives of those living in it—far less inevitable and much more volatile, overlapping, and, frankly, truer to the messiness of lived religion and printed theologies.


  • Ph.D. in History, University of Cambridge, 2001
  • Th.M. in Church History, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1997
  • M.Div., Biblical Theological Seminary, 1995
  • B.A. in Economics, Yale University, 1990

Publications - Books

Publications - Articles

“From Loci Communes to Practical Divinity: Range of Puritan Theology in Old and New England,” in Oxford Handbook of Puritanism, ed. Francis J. Bremer, Ann L. Hughes, and Greg Salazar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2024).

Review essay of David D. Hall, The Puritans: A Transatlantic History, in Church History 91 (2022): 681-684.

Learning about Jesus from Muslims and Jews: In Search of the Identity of Christ from Eighth-century Baghdad to Seventeenth-century Hague,” Church History 90 (2021): 753- 775.

“Owen the Polemicist,” in T&T Clark Handbook of John Owen, ed. Crawford Gribben and John W. Tweeddale (London: T&T Clark, 2022), 197-222.

Atheism, Atoms, and the Activity of God: Science and Religion in Early Boyle Lectures, 1692-1707,” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 56, no. 1 (2021): 143-167.

Reformed Theology in North America,” (with Drew Martin) in The Oxford Handbook of Reformed Theology, eds. Michael Allen and Scott McSwain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, pp. 154-170.

“From the Spirit to the Sovereign to Sapiential Reason: A Brief History of Sola Scriptura,” in The People’s Book: The Reformation and the Bible, eds., Jennifer Powell McNutt and David Lauber. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017, pp. 207-24.

Not Solely Sola Scriptura, or, a Rejoinder to Brad S. Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation,” in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46:3 (September, 2016): 555-82.

“‘But to know it as we should do’: Enthusiasm, Historicizing of the Charismata, and Cessationism in Enlightenment England,” in The Spirit, the Affections, and the Christian Tradition, eds., Amos Yong and Dale Coulter. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016, pp. 231-57.

The Platonic Captivity of Primitive Christianity and the Enlightening of Augustine,” in God in the Enlightenment, eds. William J. Bulman and Robert G. Ingram. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 136-56.

“Herbert, Edward (Lord of Cherbury),” and “King James I and VI,” “William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury,” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (Berlin: Water de Gruyter, 2009-16). Vol. 11, pp. 830-31, and Vol. 16, pp. tbd.

An Asian-American Renewal Historical Theologian’s Response to the Duke African- American Nouvelle Théologie of Race,” in Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 36 (2014): 386-96.

“Corinth, Calvin and Calcutta: Trinity, Trafficking and Transformation of Theologia,” in Ex Auditu: An International Journal of Theological Interpretation of Scripture, ed., Klyne Snodgrass vol. 30 (2014): 117-31.

Hypothetical Universalism and Real Calvinism in Seventeenth-century England,” Reformation 13 (2009): 193-204.

Introduction,” (with John Coffey) and “Puritans and the Church of England: Historiography and Ecclesiology,” in Cambridge Companion to Puritanism, eds. John Coffey and Paul Lim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 1-18, 223-40.

“Adiaphora, Ecclesiology and Reformation: John Owen’s Theology of Religious Toleration in Context,” in Persecution and Pluralism: Calvinists and Religious Minorities in Early Modern Europe 1550-1700, eds. Richard Bonney and D.J.B. Trim. Bern: Peter Lang, 2006, pp. 243-72.

“John Bunyan,” “John of the Cross,” “Cyril of Jerusalem,” “Bartolomé de Las Casas,” “Abraham Kuyper,” “William Laud,” “Moïse Amyraut,” in Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, ed. Daniel Patte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, s.v.

“The Reformed Pastor of Richard Baxter,” in Devoted Life: An Invitation to Puritan Classics, ed. Randall Gleason and Kelly Kapic. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004, pp. 224-43.

“Henry Bartlett,” “Samuel Wells,” “Benjamin Woodbridge,” “John Woodbrige,” in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, s.v.

“Richard Baxter,” in The Dictionary of Historical Theology, ed. Trevor Hart. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000, s.v.

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