The Preacher's Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.4 X 1.2 inches | 1.9 pounds

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About the Author

Kate Bowler is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel and the New York Times bestselling memoir Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved (Random House), which she wrote after being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. She is associate professor at Duke Divinity School and lives in Durham, North Carolina. Twitter @KatecBowler


"Filled with vivid human portraits, The Preacher's Wife is an absolute joy to read. Kate Bowler's account demonstrates, with great insight, the difficult balance megachurch women must constantly maintain, stepping into the limelight but never appearing to monopolize it. The book advances our understanding of evangelicalism and women's role in modern American religion."--Margaret Bendroth, author of The Last Puritans: Mainline Protestants and the Power of the Past
"The Preacher's Wife is a smart, thought-provoking account of contemporary women in megaministry, but it's also a book about the extraordinary pressures faced by all women, religious or not, today. With empathy and humor, Kate Bowler paints an unforgettable portrait of a fascinating group of evangelical women."--Catherine Brekus, author of Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845
"This is a surprising book: scholarly yet accessible, critical yet kind, feminist yet not ideological. Kate Bowler managed to help me understand these women, marvel at these women, and even respect the creative tenacity of these women, when on my own, and without her guidance I would have only ever criticized these women--and for that I am grateful. She is a marvel."--Nadia Bolz-Weber, New York Times bestselling author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
"With her characteristic blend of sympathy and searing analysis, scholarly rigor and utterly absorbing prose, Kate Bowler explains how enterprising women in 'megaministry' built their own theological kingdoms by embracing strategies of celebrity--a Faustian bargain that has exposed them to the starkest vulnerabilities and trade-offs. This is a masterful book."--Darren Dochuk, author of Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America
"With the accuracy of a historian, the insight of a scholar, and the heart of a Christian leader, Kate Bowler explores an influential phenomenon within Christianity in this challenge to today's church leaders. Readers of Bowler's previous books will not be disappointed."--Phil and Debbie Waldrep, founders of the Women of Joy ministry
"Kate Bowler provides an extraordinarily rich portrait of Christian female celebrities who are breaking church barriers on women's roles even as they uphold a carefully crafted stance of holy obedience. With generosity, perceptiveness, and wit, Bowler analyzes these women in all their intricacy as they manage beauty, sexuality, family life, and money on a public stage. A truly splendid book."--R. Marie Griffith, author of Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics
"Fascinating, insightful, and utterly illuminating, this book shows why historians need to be involved in all of our theological conversations. Kate Bowler throws the lights on, bringing us a desperately needed perspective on the invisible rules governing how, when, and which women lead in the religious marketplace. As a woman in public ministry, I'm grateful for the clarity and challenge of Bowler's findings as well as her kindness, camaraderie, and wisdom. I won't see my work the same way again."--Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Miracles and Other Reasonable Things
"I cannot overstate the effect this book had on me. Whether you are a student of American religious history, a follower of popular Christian culture, or someone who has never thought twice about the women who grant legitimacy to the powerful men they marry, Kate Bowler will take you places you could not have gone on your own. She is a scholar who knows how to tell a story, a theologian who can make you laugh out loud, and the kind of listener who earns the trust of her subjects and readers alike. She won't tell you what to think, but she'll introduce you to people you'll never forget, and you'll be the better for it."--Barbara Brown Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Learning to Walk in the Dark
"Bowler (Everything Happens for a Reason), professor at the Duke Divinity School, explains in this excellent analysis how some evangelical women have managed to become mega-ministry celebrities by transforming the limited roles allotted to women in evangelical culture into positions of power. Framing these women's work as that of wives, mothers, homemakers, and teachers--rather than pastors or business leaders--Bowler reveals how figures including Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Victoria Osteen wield enormous power in their husbands' ministries, both on stage and behind the scenes. . . . [This] wonderful work provocatively considers what women gain and lose in becoming 'market-ready' for evangelical communities."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Bowler, the author of the wildly popular Every-thing Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved, is a thorough researcher and witty writer."---LaVonne Neff, Christian Century
"[Bowler writes] with empathy and also humour. . . . This book opens up for many of us a new world. It shows the pressures faced by talented evangelical women and raises by implication questions about how women in general, religious or not, are treated today."---Paul Richardson, Church of England Newspaper