David Gowler

The Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Professor of Religion and Director of the Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement

David Gowler



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 previously taught at Berry College and was assistant dean for academic affairs 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, the 2014 Emory Williams Teaching Award, and a national award, the Jerry G. Gaff Award for Faculty Excellence from the Association of General and Liberal Studies. Gowler also has received numerous grants for teaching, Pierce Institute initiatives, and his academic research, including a stint as a visiting theologian on theFaculty of Theology, University of Oxford, England.

As the founding director of the Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement, he created and manages the Pierce Institute, which now houses 27 affiliated programs that focus on ethics, leadership, and community engagement. Gowler also joined the faculty of 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?; and James through the Centuries. Four of his books have been translated into other languages (French, Korean, and Japanese).

He also has published dozens of articles, book chapters, and book reviews, is the editor or coeditor of 19 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 current writing project is a book on the reception history of the parables that will be published by Baker Academic Press in 2016. His blog, A Chorus of Voices, chronicles the writing of that book as well as focusing on the reception history of the parables.

More information may be found on his Pierce Institute page.


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.