University of Dubuque

Elesha Coffman

Assistant professor of church history
B.A., Wheaton College; M.A., Ph.D. Duke University; joined UDTS in 2012.

Contact Info: 
207 Severance | (563) 589-3103 |


“Though I grew up in the church and attended a Christian college, I learned very little about church history. When I found my way to the subject after college and then studied it more seriously in graduate school, I was amazed at the ways getting to know Christians from the past deepened my faith, enriched my reading of the Bible, and broadened my concept of the church. It’s not just names and dates. Church history is like a laboratory where questions about faith and culture, men and women, Scripture and interpretation, fallenness and holiness have been explored in vibrant detail. I believe this academic discipline is foundational to theological education and to better understanding ourselves and our world.”

Dr. Coffman is a member at First Congregational Church in Dubuque. Before coming to U.D.T.S., she taught at Waynesburg University, a historically Presbyterian college in southwestern Pennsylvania, and spent a year at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Prior to graduate school, she edited Christian Historymagazine, a publication that made scholarship accessible to an audience of pastors, Sunday school teachers, and other laypeople. She is committed to equipping both clergy and laity for life and ministry.

Her first book, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline (Oxford University Press), traces the early history of what has often been called “the most influential Protestant magazine in America” as a way to explore mainline history and identity. She also has published essays in Evangelicals and the Early Church (Cascade) and the academic journals American Catholic Studies and Religion and American Culture, as well as numerous articles in Books & Culture and Christianity Today.