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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“The miracle lady”: Kathryn Kuhlman and the gentrification of charismatic Christianity in twentieth-century America
by Artman, Amy Collier, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2009, 302; 3387061
Abstract (Summary)

Healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman was a leader in the transformation of charismatic Christianity from a suspect form of religion to a respectable form of religiosity that was accepted and even celebrated by mainstream Christianity and culture. Charismatic Christianity, known for its emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, operated on the fringes of American religion and culture until the middle of the twentieth century. During the course of Kuhlman's life, 1907-1976, charismatic Christianity began to move from fringe to center, from questionable to respectable, even desirable, for a growing number of American Christians. I call this transformation gentrification. The term "gentrification" is evocative and provocative when used in reference to urban areas, and no less so when applied to the changes charismatic Christianity experienced in the twentieth century. In urban neighborhoods, as interest builds, there is a change in public perception of an area from being uninteresting or even dangerous to being the new "hot spot." Charismatic Christianity experienced this kind of media-driven metamorphosis. By the late 1960s, it was not just tolerable, it was trendy, as popular culture and mainstream Christianity began to perceive charismatic Christianity as a valid, if still peculiar, religious choice. The journey of charismatic Christianity from religious and cultural contempt to acceptance, albeit somewhat uneasy acceptance, was the narrative of Kuhlman's life and is the focus of this dissertation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brekus, Catherine
Commitee: Blumhofer, Edith, Gilpin, Clark
School: The University of Chicago
Department: Divinity
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biographies, Religion
Keywords: Charismatic, Christianity, Kuhlman, Kathryn, Miracles, Twentieth century
Publication Number: 3387061
ISBN: 978-1-109-52921-0
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