Dr. Barr Awarded Louisville Institute Grant

March 6, 2024
Faculty Headshot

We are proud to share that Dr. Beth Allison Barr is a 2024 recipient of Louisville Institute’s Sabbatical Grant for Researchers. She received this award for her project “Left Behind: How Southern Baptists Forgot Medieval History and Why It Matters for Women.” She will be taking her sabbatical during the 2025 calendar year. This is the second time the Louisville Institute has recongnized Dr. Barr's work with an award.

Dr. Barr is the James Vardaman Endowed Professor of History here at Baylor. Her research focuses on women and religion in medieval and early modern England. Most recently, her research includes modern evangelicalism, but her approach is always rooted in the medieval world. Dr. Barr has authored several books, including her latest, The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth (Brazos Press, 2021). 

Dr. Barr's research project, “Left Behind,” will answer some lingering questions that she found when writing The Making of Biblical Womanhood. First, drawing from the history curriculum of the six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, she will examine how medieval Christianity (a time in which women were especially visible in Christian leadership) was taught to pastors. She will also explore if a correlation exists between the history curriculum and policy changes that pushed female seminary students out of pastoral classes. Second, drawing from the repositories of sermons by pastors influenced by SBC seminaries, she will further analyze how pastors implemented what they learned to teach their congregations. Third, comparing academic scholarship with SBC narratives about medieval Christianity, she will research how history taught at SBC seminaries contributes to a theology that limits female leadership.

"This sabbatical grant is such an honor to receive. The Louisville Institute supports projects it believes will have a positive impact on the modern church, and I am grateful that they believe my project will be able to make this kind of difference. I am also grateful for the support of the History Department and the College of Arts & Sciences in helping me be successful in competing for this grant."

The Louisville Institute’s Sabbatical Grant for Researchers provides sabbatical grants up to $40,000 to support research projects about Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, religious trends and movements, Christian and other faith-based institutions and religion and social issues. Funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment, the Louisville Institute’s mission is to bridge Church and academy through awarding grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements, and thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens Church, academy, and society, and ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the Church.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Barr on this prestigious award! We look forward to the insights and contributions that her research will offer to the academic community and beyond.