Walter Hollenweger

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Walter Jacob Hollenweger (born 1927 in Antwerp; died 10 August 2016) was a Swiss theologian, recognized as an expert on worldwide Pentecostalism. His two best known books are The Pentecostals (1972) and Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (1997).


From 1949-1958, Hollenweger served as the pastor in a Pentecostal Mission, but in 1962 was ordained in the Swiss Reformed Church.[1]

In 1955 he began studying at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich. He wrote a ten volume doctoral dissertation Handbuch der Pfingstbewegung (Handbook of the Pentecostal Movement) published in 1966. The core of this work was published in various languages and became a standard work on Pentecostalism. His numerous publications in the years following made him one of the premier interpreters of this movement.[2]

Hollenweger, who served as the first Secretary for Evangelism in the Division of World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches from 1965 to 1971, long continued to be a staunch advocate of ecumenism for Pentecostal churches.[3]

During 1971 to 1989 Hollenweger was Professor of Mission at the University of Birmingham and Selly Oak Colleges at Birmingham, U.K.[4]

After his retirement, Hollenweger and his wife Erica relocated to Krattigen. He died on 10 August 2016.[5]


The Hollenweger Center at VU University, Amsterdam, was established in his honor as an academic platform for and across different disciplines within the field of Pentecostal/Charismatic studies, providing opportunities to study Pentecostalism on MA and PhD level (theology, missiology, religious studies, anthropology of religion).[6]


  • Hollenweger, W. J., The Pentecostals (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1972).
  • Hollenweger, W. J., Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (Hendrickson Publications, 1997).


  1. ^ European Pentecostal / Charismatic Research Association, Press Release, July 17, 1999 Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved Oct 6, 2007.
  2. ^ European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism, ‘‘Bibliography Walter J. Hollenweger’’, 2005 Archived 2007-12-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved Oct 6, 2007.
  3. ^ David Bundy, The Ecumenical Quest for Pentecostalism, Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research Retrieved 23 Sep 2007.
  4. ^ Postgraduate Programmes in the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at the University of Birmingham, Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham Archived 2007-09-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 23 Sep 2007.
  5. ^ O'Connor, Dan (7 October 2016). "Professor Walter Hollenweger". Church Times. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  6. ^ "Hollenweger Centre". Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2019.

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