A conference honoring one of Candler’s most distinguished faculty members kicks off with a public keynote address that explores the life and accomplishments of the country’s foremost religious leader of the 20th century.

“Theology, National Character, and Religiosity: A Conference in Honor of E. Brooks Holifield,” begins with an address from one of Holifield’s colleagues, Duke Divinity School Professor Grant Wacker, whose keynote “American Icon: Billy Graham and the Shaping of Contemporary Culture,” takes place Thursday, May 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room.

The conference, which runs from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 10 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, pays tribute to Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History, Emeritus, who retired in 2011 following an award-winning, 41-year career on the Candler faculty. Currently a senior fellow at Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Holifield’s current research focuses on patterns of change in American religious history. A renowned scholar of church history, the most recent of Holifield’s seven books is God’s Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America.

Theologians from Candler and beyond lead sessions ranging from 17th century theology to a comparison of religion in the United States vs. Canada. Some presenters, like Val Ziegler, professor of religious studies at DePauw University, are Holifield’s former students and they topically push the envelope while crediting their former professor. The eye-catching title of her presentation is “Pastoral Care in America and Christian Erotic Wife Spanking: How I Learned from Brooks Holifield to Write about Sex and Humor.”

Wacker, professor of Christian history, is the co-editor or author of seven books. His eighth, Billy Graham and the Shaping of Modern America, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. The keynote address is free and open to the public.

Conference registration is $25 for students ($75 for nonstudents), and tickets to the Friday banquet are an additional $40 per person.

Click here for more information and to see the full conference agenda.