Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Welcomes Elesha Coffman

Elesha Coffman
Elesha Coffman, courtesy photo
Feb. 14, 2014

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 14, 2014) - The Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion will welcome Elesha Coffman, Ph.D., assistant professor of church history at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary at 3:30 p.m. Monday, February 17, 2014, in Armstrong Browning Library's Cox Lecture Hall. She will speak on the development of mainline Protestantism in the years following World War II.

Coffman writes on religion and media in American culture. Her first book, "The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline," narrates the history of the flagship magazine of the liberal Protestant tradition from the early 20th century to 1960, when it was first called the mainline.

Byron Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion, says Coffman was invited to speak because she is one of the "best people doing the best work" in the field.

"We want to invite people who are writing very good books to come and engage students and faculty in discussions," Johnson said.

Coffman has specialized in this area of religious history through hours of research, Johnson said.

"She looks at the Protestant mainline and has spent an enormous amount of time reading various publications and trying to piece together what was happening religiously among mainline denominations in the years after World War II," he said.

Coffman earned her undergraduate degree at Wheaton College and her master's and doctorate degrees at Duke University. Before her graduate studies at Duke, she served as managing editor of Christian History magazine. She also spent a year as a fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University.

She has published articles in American Catholic Studies and Religion and American Culture and has presented numerous papers at the American Academy of Religion and American Society of Church History annual meetings.

For more information, contact the Institute for Studies of Religion at (254) 710-7555. Armstrong Browning Library is located at 710 Speight Ave.

by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute's mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve. For more information, visit

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