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Scholar Profile: Dr. Nancy Koester

American Discovery, Vol 2. Issue 1
Scholar Profile: Dr. Nancy Koester American Discovery, Vol 2. Issue 1

Dr. Nancy Koester

Dr. Nancy 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.


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 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, 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.”
Patrick Murdock, Faith & Liberty Discovery Center Director

Koester joins a distinguished scholarly team – top historians, religious experts, and legal scholars from across the nation – that is helping shape and review the narrative experience while ensuring full historical accuracy. To date, the scholars have included a Pulitzer-prize winning author, the Librarian of Congress Emeritus, a legal historian whose scholarship has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a member of the federal commission that is planning the 2026 celebration that will mark the nation’s 250th birthday.

Koester has taught at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and the University of Northwestern in St. Paul. 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. 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.”
Dr. Nancy Koester

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More from American Discovery, Vol 2. Issue 1
Locke, Liberty, and the Bible
An Interview with Dr. Joseph Loconte
Who was John Locke and why is he important to the American founding and Americans today?
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Q&A for American Bible Society – Peter Saylor
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Construction Update
After three and a half years of planning, designing and resource mobilization, the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has started construction!
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