Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). xi + 337 pp. $34.95 hardback.

Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University... The prosperity gospel has attracted many names in the United States, not all of them complimentary: the “faith” or “word of faith movement” is used alongside “positive confession,” “health and wealth,” “people that love” ( PTL ), “pass the loot,” and so on. This range of epithets indicates the moral ambivalence (or distaste) many have felt towards prosperity ideas, from within as well as beyond Christian circles, but also the ambiguities of what is actually being described. Is it a gospel, a movement, a confession, a loose network, a form of piety—or all or none of the above? Such questions of identity are compounded by two further issues. First, there is the considerable length of time that prosperity-related ideas have been extant in the United States, ranging at the very least from the New Thought Metaphysics of the nineteenth century through varieties of positive thinking in the middle of the twentieth, toward the more therapeutic varieties that are now on offer in airport bookstores as well as megachurches. Second, as Kate Bowler points out in her very well-researched book, there is the fact that few of the leading lights of the movement wish to be “stereotyped” as prosperity http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pneuma Brill

Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). xi + 337 pp. $34.95 hardback.

Pneuma , Volume 36 (3): 469 – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
ISSN
0272-0965
eISSN
1570-0747
D.O.I.
10.1163/15700747-03603018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The prosperity gospel has attracted many names in the United States, not all of them complimentary: the “faith” or “word of faith movement” is used alongside “positive confession,” “health and wealth,” “people that love” ( PTL ), “pass the loot,” and so on. This range of epithets indicates the moral ambivalence (or distaste) many have felt towards prosperity ideas, from within as well as beyond Christian circles, but also the ambiguities of what is actually being described. Is it a gospel, a movement, a confession, a loose network, a form of piety—or all or none of the above? Such questions of identity are compounded by two further issues. First, there is the considerable length of time that prosperity-related ideas have been extant in the United States, ranging at the very least from the New Thought Metaphysics of the nineteenth century through varieties of positive thinking in the middle of the twentieth, toward the more therapeutic varieties that are now on offer in airport bookstores as well as megachurches. Second, as Kate Bowler points out in her very well-researched book, there is the fact that few of the leading lights of the movement wish to be “stereotyped” as prosperity

Journal

PneumaBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2014

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