Monday, December 22, 2014

Duke Divinity School Professor Kate Bowler’s book on the history of the American prosperity gospel will be featured at a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Conference on Faith and History at the American Historical Association conference being held Jan. 2-5 in New York City.

Bowler earned the distinction for her first book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, published in June 2013 by Oxford University Press and addressing the question of how millions of American Christians came to measure spiritual progress in terms of their financial status and physical well-being.

She spent eight years traveling across North America and to Israel interviewing and researching archives to tell the first broad account of the prosperity gospel, one of the most popular religious movements of the last 50 years. Her book traces the roots of the prosperity gospel, explores its themes, and focuses on contemporary figures including Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Joyce Meyer.

The Jan. 4 roundtable discussion will be chaired by John Wigger, department chair and professor of history at the University of Missouri. Panelists will include: Bowler; Jay Green, professor of history at Covenant College; Randall Stephens, reader in history (American Studies) and programme leader in the American Studies Department at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom; and John Turner, religious studies professor at George Mason University.

Bowler teaches courses at the Divinity School in American Christianity and world Christianity with an emphasis on historical and ethnographic methods. Her research interests include contemporary evangelicalism, pentecostalism, megachurches, and religion and ethnicity.