Walter Hollenweger

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Walter Jacob Hollenweger (born 1927 in Antwerp died August 10, 2016)[1] was a Swiss theologian and author, recognized as an expert on worldwide Pentecostalism. His two best known books are: The Pentecostals (1972) and Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (1997).[2]

From 1949-1958, Hollenweger served as the pastor in a Pentecostal Mission, but in 1962 was ordained in the Swiss Reformed Church.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

During 1971 to 1989 Hollenweger was Professor of Mission at the University of Birmingham and Selly Oak Colleges at Birmingham, U.K.[6]

Named in his honour, the Hollenweger Center[7] at VU University, Amsterdam, is 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).


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