David Gowler

The Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Professor of Religion, Director of the Pierce Program in Religion, and Senior Faculty Fellow, Center for Ethics, Emory University

David Gowler

Contact

770.784.8413

Dr. David B. Gowler came to Oxford College in fall 2000 as the Pierce Professor of Religion, one of the distinguished chairs of Emory University. He also directs the Pierce Program in Religion. 

He previously taught at Berry College and was assistant dean for academic affairs, chair of the religion department, and professor of religion at Chowan University. Since arriving at Oxford, Gowler has received numerous teaching awards, including the Phi Theta Kappa Teacher of the Year, the Mizell Award for Superior Performance in Furthering the Education of Students (twice, in 2009 and 2016), the 2014 Emory Williams Teaching Award, and a national award, the 2010 Jerry G. Gaff Award for Faculty Excellence from the Association of General and Liberal Studies. Gowler also has received numerous grants for teaching, Pierce Program in Religion initiatives, and his academic research, including a stint as a visiting theologian on the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, England.

Gowler also became a Senior Facuty Fellow at Emory University’s Center for Ethics in August 2009.

Gowler is the author of the books, Host, Guest, Enemy, and Friend: Portraits of the Pharisees in Luke and ActsWhat Are They Saying about the Parables?What Are They Saying about the Historical Jesus?James through the Centuries; and The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millenia. Four of his books have been translated into other languages (French, Korean, and Japanese). His blog, A Chorus of Voices, chronicles the writing of his book, The Parables after Jesus, as well as focusing on the reception history of the parables.

He also has published dozens of articles, book chapters, and book reviews, is the editor or coeditor of over 30 books, including a volume with Oxford University Press, Radical Christian Voices and Practice, and has served as coeditor of Emory Studies in Early Christianity since 1991 and as associate editor Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity since 2014. Both book series are published by the Society of Biblical Literature Press.

Gowler’s most recent book is a 2018 co-edited volume with Dr. Kipton Jensen of Morehouse College: Howard Thurman, Sermons on the Parables (Orbis books).

His current writing project is a revised and expanded edition of his What Are They Saying about the Parables?

 


Accomplishments

The Mizell Award for Superior Performance in Furthering the Education of Students at Oxford College, Oxford College of Emory University, 2016.

Emory Williams Teaching Award 2014: Emory University’s highest award for excellence in teaching. This award honors faculty for fostering participation, inquiry and creative expression in the classroom; proving a model for teaching and scholarship; and serving as a mentor to students.

Faculty Marshal, Oxford College of Emory University, 2012

Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award for Faculty Excellence in General and Liberal Education 2010, an annual award given by the Association of General and Liberal Studies (AGLS).  Presented at the 2010 AGLS Conference in Austin, Texas, October 8, 2010.  The Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award is given to those faculty members who have demonstrated leadership on their campuses in the area of general and liberal education, shown evidence of outstanding teaching in general and liberal education courses, and have a record of achievement in curriculum development, innovation, or implementation in general and liberal education.

Emory University Office for University-Community Partnerships Community-Engaged Learning Initiative Implementation Grant.  Awarded in collaboration with Crystal McLaughlin, Oxford College, and the Ethics and Servant Leadership Program of Emory University’s Center for Ethics.  The title is:

Enhancing Oxford’s Community Engagement with Newton County through the Implementation of an Ethics and Servant Leadership (EASL) Forum Program, Academic Course, and Ethics Training. 

This program integrates ethics, academics, student leadership, and community engagement activities by introducing a new course (Ethics and Servant Leadership), a new program (the EASL Forum), and a new ethics training initiative for many of Oxford’s current leadership and community engagement programs.

Faculty Mentor, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, Emory University, 2011–2013.

The Mizell Award for Superior Performance in Furthering the Education of Students at Oxford College, Oxford College of Emory University, 2009.

Emory University, University Research Committee Grant, “Researching James Through the Centuries at the Centre for Reception History of the Bible at the University of Oxford.” Spring, 2006.  

Visiting Theologian, Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, May–June, 2006.  

Oxford College Career Development Award:  “From Nazareth to Jerusalem: ‘Images’ of the Historical Jesus,” Oxford College of Emory University, 2005.  Included a research trip to Israel (2005) and release time to finish writing the book, What Are They Saying About the Historical Jesus? (Published in 2007).

Featured in the “Great Scholars/Great Work,” Emory University Provost’s website: emory.edu/PROVOST/greatscholars_old/David Gowler.htm

Featured in “Distinguished Professors” website of Emory University: provost.emory.edu/faculty/Distinguished-Professors/Named_chairs1.html

Featured in the “Distinguished Chairholders” website of Oxford College of Emory University:  oxford.emory.edu/academics/centers-institutes-programs/center-for-academic-excellence/chairholders/

Featured as a Senior Faculty Fellow at Emory University’s Center for Ethics: ethics.emory.edu/people/Faculty/David%20B.%20Gowler.html

Faculty Fellow, Emory University Office of University Community Partnerships, for the project “Creating the Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement at Oxford College of Emory University,” 2004–2005.

Phi Theta Kappa Teacher of the Year,  Oxford College of Emory University, 2002–2003.

Best Teaching Ideas Award, Emory University, Spring, 2002.

Oxford College Scholarship of Teaching Team Project, “Expanding the Classrooms Walls Through Information Technology in Religion 348:  The New Testament and Its Contexts (SW),” 2002.  Assisted by Oxford College of Emory University student, Elizabeth Devereaux.

Syllabus of the Year Award, First Place, Emory University, 2001.

University Advisory Council on Teaching Consultation Award (with Prof. Clark Lemons), Emory University, 2001.

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion Grant, “Integrating an Interdisciplinary Approach to Religious Texts through the Religion Curriculum,” 2000.

Publications

Books  

The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Press, 2017.

James Through the Centuries.  Blackwell Bible Commentary Series.  Chichester, West Sussex, UK:  Blackwell Press, 2014.

Petite histoire de la recherche du Jésus de l’Histoire: Du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours. Revised, expanded, and translated edition of What Are They Saying About the Historical Jesus?  Translated by Jean-Bernard Degorce.  Paris:  Editions du Cerf, 2009.

What Are They Saying About the Historical Jesus?  Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2007. 

What Are They Saying About the Parables?  Mahwah, NJ:  Paulist Press, 2000.

Host, Guest, Enemy and Friend:  Portraits of the Pharisees in Luke and Acts.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 1.  New York, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Paris:  Peter Lang Publishing, 1991

Host, Guest, Enemy and Friend:  Portraits of the Pharisees in Luke and Acts.  Paperback edition.  Eugene, OR:  Wipf & Stock, 2008. 

Contributing Editor with Kipton E. Jensen: Howard Thurman, Sermons on the Parables. Edited and Introduced by David B. Gowler and Kipton E. Jensen. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2018.

Contributing Editor with Zoë BennettRadical Christian Voices and Practice:  Essays in Honour of Christopher Rowland.  A Festschrift for Christopher C. Rowland, The Dean Ireland Professor for the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2012. 

Contributing EditorSea Voyages and Beyond: Emerging Strategies in Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation.  By Vernon K. Robbins.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 14.  Blandford Forum, UK:  Deo Press, 2010. Reprint:  Atlanta: SBL Press, forthcoming, 2018.

Contributing Co-editor, with L. Gregory Bloomquist and Duane F. Watson:  Fabrics of Discourse:  Culture, Ideology, and Religion.  Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003. 

Co–Editor, with Vernon K. Robbins and Peder Borgen:  Recruitment, Conquest and Conflict:  Strategies in Judaism, Early Christianity and the Greco-Roman World.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 6.  Atlanta:  Scholars Press, 1999.

Contributing EditorNew Boundaries in Old Territory:  Form and Social Rhetoric in Mark.  By Vernon K. Robbins.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 3.  New York, Bern, Frankfurt am Main:  Peter Lang Press, 1994.

Articles, Book Chapters, and Notes: 

“A Chorus of Voices: The Reception History of the Parables.” Sole author of a blog chronicling the journey of writing a book for Baker Academic Press on the reception history of the parables of the New Testament Gospels. Started December 9, 2013: http://parablesreception.blogspot.com

In process/under contract: “The Reception History of the Letter of James,” a 6000-8000 word chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Hebrews and the Catholic Epistles. Edited by Patrick Gray. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020. 

“Sit and Listen; Go and Do: The Parables of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son in Howard Thurman’s Life and Thought.” in Anatomies of the Gospels and Beyond the Gospels. E. J. Brill Biblical Interpretation Series. Edited by Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Mikeal C. Parsons, and Paul N. Anderson. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2018.

“Howard Thurman (1899-1981): ‘Tutor to the World.’” co-authored with Kipton E. Jensen, in Howard Thurman, Sermons on the Parables. Edited and Introduced by David B. Gowler and Kipton E. Jensen. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2018.

“Luke,” a 6000-8000 word chapter in the Oxford Handbook of New Testament Rhetoric. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

“The Continuing Relevance of Howard Thurman,” August 8, 2018:

“Would the Trump Administration separate Jesus from Mary and Joseph?” History News Network, published by The George Washington University. June 13, 2018: https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169289.

Interview with and cited by cnn.com’s John Blake, “Sessions isn’t the first to ‘textjack’ the Bible. Here are five of the most misused scriptures,” June 22, 2018: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/22/us/misused-bible-verses-sessions/index.html.

Interview with and cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Gracie Bonds Staples, Life with Gracie, “Of Cakes, Children and Christ: Moral Dilemmas Abound” (about the Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS decision and the immigration policy of separating children from their parents), June 19, 2018: https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/cakes-children-and-christ-moral-dilemmas-abound/wJv2RtLslSVrMOmIfbkzSN/

 “The Four Horsemen of Evangelical Hypocrisy: How They whitewashed Donald Trump.” Salon, May 18, 2018: https://www.salon.com/2018/05/18/the-four-horsemen-of-evangelical-hypocrisy-how-they-whitewashed-donald-trump/.

 “Today is a National Day of Prayer: How Solid is the Wall between Church and State?” The Washington Post, May 3, 2018: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/05/03/today-is-a-national-day-of-prayer-should-that-be-legal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e6df00dac911

 “Let’s Be Honest: Paul Ryan Would Fire Jesus as House Chaplain,” a commentary on Jesus of Nazareth’s views on money, power, and politics, Fortune, May 1, 2018: http://fortune.com/2018/05/01/paul-ryan-house-chaplain-father-patrick-conroy-jesus/

 “The Parables in Visual Art,” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Volume 14. Edited by Dale Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Choon-Leong Seow, et al. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming 2019.

 “The Characterization of the Two Brothers in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32): Their Function and Afterlives,” pages 55–72 in Characters and Characterization in Luke-Acts. Edited by Frank Dicken and Julia Snyder. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.

 “The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20).” Author of web pages for the Society of Biblical Literature public scholarship website, Bible Odyssey: http://www.bibleodyssey.org/passages/main-articles/parable-of-the-sower.aspx  

“The Epistle of James in Visual Art,” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Volume 13. Edited by Dale Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Choon-Leong Seow, et al. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

 “James the Brother of Jesus in Visual Art,” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Volume 13. Edited by Dale Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Choon-Leong Seow, et al. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

 “The Holy Family in Christian Art,” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Volume 12. Edited by Dale Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Choon-Leong Seow, et al. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

 “The Good Samaritan in Visual Art,” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Volume 10. Edited by Dale Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Choon-Leong Seow, et al. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015.

 “Parables.” Essay on parables (2000 words) for the “Early Christianity” section of the “Ancient Thought” website: http://classicaltimeline.co.uk

 “The Enthymematic Nature of Parables:  A Dialogic Reading of the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-20),” Review and Expositor 109:2 (2012) 199-217.

 “The Limits of Radicalism: A Dialogical Response to ‘Liberation’ in Luke 13:10-17,” in Radical Christian Voices and Practice:  Essays in Honour of Christopher Rowland.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2012.  Pp. 1734.

 “‘Action is the Life of All’:  Radical Christian Voices and Practice” (with Zoë Bennett), in Radical Christian Voices and Practice:  Essays in Honour of Christopher Rowland.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2012.  Pp. 113.

 “The life and writings of Christopher C. Rowland” (with Zoë Bennett), in Radical Christian Voices and Practice:  Essays in Honour of Christopher Rowland.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. 275289.

 “An Overview of the Quest for the Historical Jesus,” in The Blackwell Companion to Jesus.  Edited by Delbert Burkett.  Oxford:  Blackwell Press, 2010.  Pp. 301–318.

 “Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation: Textures of a Text and its Reception,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33:2 (2010) 191–206.

 “The End of the Beginning: The Continuing Maturation of Socio-Rhetorical Analysis,” in Sea Voyages and Beyond: Emerging Strategies in Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation by Vernon K. Robbins.  Blandford Forum, UK:  Deo Publishing, 2010.  Pp. 1–45.

 “The Chreia,” in The Historical Jesus in Context. Princeton Readings in Religions, Volume 12.  Edited by John Dominic Crossan, Amy-Jill Levine, and Dale Allison, Jr.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2006. Pp. 132–148.

 “The Contexts of Jesus’ Parables,” Christian Reflection:  A Series in Faith and Ethics 21 (2006) 11–18.  

 “‘At His Gate Lay a Poor Man’: A Dialogic Reading of Luke 16:19–31,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 32:3 (2005) 249–265.

 Contributor (several essays four times a year):  Understanding God’s Word in the Daily Scripture Readings.  Edited by James E. Adams.  St. Louis, MO:  Creative Communications for the Parish, 2005–2006.

 “Text, Culture, and Ideology in Luke 7:1–10: A Dialogic Reading,” in Fabrics of Discourse:  Culture, Ideology, and Religion.  Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2003.  Pp. 89–125.

 “Ethics, Diversity, and Teaching,” Academic Exchange:  A Place for Scholarly Conversation at Emory 6:1 (2003) 7–8, 14. 

 “Heteroglossic Trends in Biblical Studies: Polyphonic Dialogues or Clanging Cymbals,” Review and Expositor 97:4 (2000) 443–466.

 “Introduction,” co-authored with Vernon K. Robbins, in Recruitment, Conquest and Conflict:  Strategies in Judaism, Early Christianity and the Greco–Roman World.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 6.  Atlanta:  Scholars Press, 1999.  Pp. 1–13.

 “Academic Uses of FrontPage97,” co-authored with Carol Taylor, in The Technology Source, February, 1998. 

 “The Development of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism,” in New Boundaries in Old Territory:  Form and Social Rhetoric in Mark.  Emory Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 3.  New York, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Paris:  Peter Lang, 1994.  Pp. 1–35. 

 “Hospitality and Characterization in Luke 11:37–54:  A Socio-Narratological Approach,” Semeia 64 (1993) 213–251. 

 “Knowledge, Virtue, and Power,” Chowan Today 38:1 (1993) 4–5.

 Research and editing for the concordance and reference system for the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, 1990.

 “Characterization in Luke:  A Socio-Narratological Approach,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 19:2 (1989) 54–62.

 “Worry about Nothing?” The Upper Room 55:4 (1989) 20.

 “A Future Hope and a Present Reality,” Pulpit Digest 66 (March/April, 1986) 43–46.

Presentations

Keynote Speaker, three lectures for The OnWord Conference: “The Prodigal: A Curated Experience of Art and Scripture,” sponsored by the E. P. Wahl Centre of Taylor College-Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

  • “Why Reception History?” (September 29, 2017)
  • “What do Parables Want?” (September 30, 2017)
  • “The Afterlives of the Two Brothers in the Parables of the Prodigal Son as a Test Case.” (September 30, 2017)

“The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia.” St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, Tucker, GA, April 30, 2017, and May 7, 2017.

“We have met the prodigal, and he is us?: Thomas Hart Benton’s Prodigal Son.” Oxford College Community Classroom, Oxford City Hall, Oxford, GA, March 16, 2017.

“The Genesis of Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation at the University of Illinois, 1978-1984.” The Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity Group,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Atlanta, November 17, 2015.

“The ‘Reception’ of the Prodigal.” Allen Seminar. Oxford College of Emory University, April 25, 2015.

“The Belated Return of the ‘Son’: Thomas Hart Benton’s Prodigal Son.” “The Visual Arts and the Bible Section,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 23, 2014.

“Killing the Fatted Calf: Some Variations on the Reception of the Prodigal Son.” The Hussey Seminar. The Bible in Art, Music, and Literature Interdisciplinary Seminar sponsored by the Faculties of English, History, History of Art, Theology, and Music. The Centre for Reception History, Trinity College, University of Oxford, UK. June 16, 2014.

“A College of Integrity,” Convocation address, Oxford College of Emory University, August 29, 2007.

“The End of the Beginning:  The Development of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism, 1975–1996.”  “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 20, 2006.

Moderator and Presentation of Fabrics of Discourse:  Culture, Ideology, and Religion.  “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, November 19, 2004.

“A Response to ‘Ethnicity, Ethnocentrism, and the Matthean Ethnos’ by Dennis Duling,” Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, Bonn, Germany, August 1, 2003.

“Expanding the Classroom Walls through Information Technology: Religion 348: The New Testament in its Contexts.”  Cross-Disciplinary Inquiries into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Oxford College of Emory University, October 15, 2002.

“Response to ‘Why We Need Socio-Rhetorical Commentary and What It Might Look Like,’ by Duane F. Watson.”  Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, Durham, England, August 5, 2002.

Presider, “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, November 19, 2000.

Presider, “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, November 21, 1998.

“A Response to ‘Narrative as Persuasion:  Epideictic Rhetoric and Scribal Amplification in the Stephen Episode in Acts.’”  Presented in the “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section,” at the 1996 SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, November, 1996.

“A Socio-Narratological Response to Feasting and Social Rhetoric in Luke 14.”  Presented in the “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section,” at the 1995 SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, November 18, 1995.

Drafts of two chapters from What Are They Saying About the Parables? presented to members of the NEH Summer Seminar:  “The Sacred, Secular, and Profane:  Bible and Literature in Bakhtinian Perspective.”  Yale University, June 10 – August 3, 1995.

“Shall We Marry Our Enemies (Part II)?:  The Rocky Courtship of Literary and Social–Scientific Criticisms in New Testament Studies.”  Presented in the “Social Science and New Testament Interpretation Section,” at the 1994 SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 22, 1994.

“Emerging Interdisciplinary Trends in New Testament Studies:  The Dialogue between Literary and Social-Scientific Criticisms in New Testament Studies.”  Berry College, March 28, 1994.

“The Parable of the Good Samaritan:  Where Literary, Social, and Historical Approaches Intersect.”  McKendree College, March 10, 1993.

“Knowledge, Virtue, and Power,” Honors Day Convocation, Chowan University, January 21, 1993.

“Hospitality and Characterization in Luke 11:37–54:  A Socio-Narratological Approach.”  Presented in the “Biblical Criticism and Literary Criticism Section” at the 1992 SBL Annual Meeting in San Francisco, November 22, 1992.

Presider, “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, November 23, 1992.

“Righteousness for Everyone Who Believes”:  A Response to Per Jarle Bekken, “Restoration, Conversion, and Mission:  Some Reflections on Paul’s Missionary Theology in Romans 10 regarded in its Jewish Context.”  Trondheim International Symposium on “Recruitment, Conquest, and Conflict in Judaism, Early Christianity and the Greco-Roman World.”  Trondheim, Norway, August 4, 1992.

Presider, “Rhetoric and the New Testament Section.”  Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, November 24, 1991.

Presentation of Host, Guest, Enemy and Friend:  Portraits of the Pharisees in Luke and Acts.  Presented to the Divinity Faculty, Biblical Studies Division, at the University of Glasgow.  Glasgow, Scotland, November 2, 1991.

“The Characters of Luke from a Socio-Narratological Perspective.”  A paper presented to the Theology Faculty of the University of Loyola in Chicago, March 1, 1990.