Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

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9780199827695: Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

How have millions of American Christians come to measure spiritual progress in terms of their financial status and physical well-being? How has the movement variously called Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, or simply prosperity gospel come to dominate much of our contemporary religious landscape?

Kate Bowler's Blessed is the first book to fully explore the origins, unifying themes, and major figures of a burgeoning movement that now claims millions of followers in America. Bowler traces the roots of the prosperity gospel: from the touring mesmerists, metaphysical sages, pentecostal healers, business oracles, and princely prophets of the early 20th century; through mid-century positive thinkers like Norman Vincent Peale and revivalists like Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin; to today's hugely successful prosperity preachers. Bowler focuses on such contemporary figures as Creflo Dollar, pastor of Atlanta's 30,000-member World Changers Church International; Joel Osteen, known as "the smiling preacher," with a weekly audience of seven million; T. D. Jakes, named by Time magazine one of America's most influential new religious leaders; Joyce Meyer, evangelist and women's empowerment guru; and many others. At almost any moment, day or night, the American public can tune in to these preachers-on TV, radio, podcasts, and in their megachurches-to hear the message that God desires to bless them with wealth and health. Bowler offers an interpretive framework for scholars and general readers alike to understand the diverse expressions of Christian abundance as a cohesive movement bound by shared understandings and common goals.

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About the Author:


Kate Bowler is Assistant Professor of American Religion at Duke Divinity School.

Review:


"[A] magnificent study."--Heath W. Carter, Journal of Cultural Economy


"Highly entertaining...and deeply human."--David F. Ruccio, Journal of Cultural Economy


"Very readable and engaging...Blessed is the best history of the development of the prosperity gospel written to date. It is an important addition to the library of pastors or scholars who regularly encounter the prosperity gospel in their ministry."--Southwestern Journal of Theology


"Bowler shows how the prosperity gospel movement has drawn from multiple denominational, racial, ethnic, and even secular subtraditions. She identifies both the dazzling diversity and the common understandings that have given the prosperity gospel coherence"
--Christian Century


"Bowler's respect for her subjects and her ability to locate them in the larger American religious narrative mean that serious scholars dismiss the prosperity gospel at their own peril. Bowler shows us that its deep roots and vibrant future, even after the recent recession, place it solidly in the category of religious movements to watch." --Church History


"Marvelous this is a stunningly empathetic book. By pushing far beyond caricature, Bowler has produced a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the prosperity gospel and how it is, even now, remaking the American religious landscape." --The Christian Century


"An important account of an audacious contemporary religious phenomenon." --Booklist


"[A] riveting historical account." --Publishers Weekly


"The 'prosperity gospel' is as much despised by its detractors as it is embraced by its millions of adherents. Yet until Kate Bowler's Blessed, no one has attempted a balanced, informative, inquisitive survey. Her book is a metaphorical godsend for those with an outsider's curiosity about one of the fastest growing religious movements in contemporary America and a literal one for those inside." -- Mark A. Noll, author of Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction


"Though often maligned and misunderstood, Bowler's comprehensive and exciting examination of the prosperity gospel demonstrates the ways 'health and wealth' has been a staple of American Protestant life since the 19th century. Blessed provides a thorough and nuanced account of the phenomenon, as it skillfully examines varying attitudes toward prosperity which emerged across racial, regional, and denominational lines. This is a grand contribution to the field of American religious history." -- Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Professor of Religion and Society, Harvard University


"This book propels Kate Bowler into the first rank of younger historians of religion in America. The author's keen ear, her perceptive insights, and her command of history make this a remarkable and unforgettable book-and her conclusion that the 'prosperity gospel consecrated America's culture of optimism' rings very true." -- Randall Balmer, author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America


"Blessed is worthwhile reading for what it is-a history of the prosperity gospel and not a theology of the prosperity movement. I've benefited from time spent working through it and would recommend it to those seeking to learn about this topic." --The Gospel Coalition


"Blessed is a good history of the rise and flourishing of the gospel." --The Blade


"...[A]n unprecedented historical examination of health and wealth as spiritual subjects in American Christianity by tracing the rise, development, and transformation of the prosperity gospel in the United States." --Religious Studies Review


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Millions of Americans have fallen in love with the prosperity gospel and its new kind of preachers, who originally cultivated their fame with personal appearances in sold-out arenas. Now podcasts, Internet streaming, and daily television programming carry their sermons to millions. At almost any moment, day or night, the American public can tune in to see these familiar faces and a consistent message: God desires to bless you. Catherine Bowler s Blessed represents the first attempt to examine the twentieth-century American prosperity gospel movement as a whole, seeking to introduce readers to its major figures and features. Bowler offers an interpretive framework for scholars and non-specialists alike to understand these diverse expressions of Christian abundance as a cohesive movement bound by shared understandings. She first traces the movement s burgeoning theology of faith from the postwar revivals to its maturity in the late 1980s, and then focuses on its continuing pursuit of divine wealth, as believers look to their bank accounts for proof of their spiritual progress. Bowler examines divine health through the same lens, as believers use their bodies as barometers of faith. The book concludes with an exploration of the contemporary movement s expectation of victory, as participants orient their lives toward unimpeded progress. Inspired, they count themselves blessed. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780199827695

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Book Description Book Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2013. 352p. Hardback. The great gift of this book is that Bowler takes the prosperity gospel on its own terms and offers it the kind of sustained engagement which has so far been lacking. The Revd Jesse Zink, Church Times 2014 (Publisher's information). Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 42508

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