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Northwestern Professors Join the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center as Affiliated Scholars

Friday, July 27, 2018


To help people learn how the Bible inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth and others, the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has named Dr. Nancy Koester an affiliated scholar.

Koester is an American religious historian and expert on how 19th-century women helped spur faith-inspired social reforms. Her award-winning book, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life (Eerdmans, 2014), highlights how faith shaped Stowe and her public fight against slavery, as well as her personal struggle through deep grief to find a gracious God.

Koester is now writing a biography on Sojourner Truth, the African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

“We want visitors to see how from past to present, the Bible has changed those who changed America, and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sojourner Truth are two powerful examples,” said Faith & Liberty Discovery Center Director Patrick Murdock. “We are excited about how Dr. Koester’s research and writing will help make us become a national hub of public history and educational excellence.”

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is a $60 million attraction that will open on Independence Mall in fall 2020 and is expected to draw 250,000 visitors annually. The immersive experience is being designed by the award-winning firm Local Projects, which recently spearheaded the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and ranks as one of the most innovative in the nation.

Koester joins a distinguished scholarly team that is helping shape and review the narrative experience while ensuring full historical accuracy.

Koester has taught in Northwestern’s history department and for our Master of Arts in Theological Studies and Master of Divinity programs. She was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and has served as a pastor specializing in spiritual direction. She’s eager to help spotlight the influence of the Bible on individuals in key historical and personal moments.

“Too many think the Bible has been a book of oppression,” Koester says. “While many in history certainly have used the Bible to oppress peoples like African-Americans, Native- Americans, and women, the Bible has largely been a cultural force for social reform and progress in the American liberty narrative.”

“It’s a complicated story that needs to be told well.”

About the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center explores the relationship between faith and liberty in America from its founding through today, illuminating the influence of the Bible on individuals in key historical and personal moments. Among America’s essential founding documents, the Bible is a significant organizing cultural force that has inspired, influenced, and informed American ideals of liberty that continue to shape our national identity as a free people.