Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

Frank Anthony Thomas

Committee Member

Sandra Sarkela

Committee Member

Leroy Dorsey


How does one analyze the impact of televangelist Joel Osteen? Attempts have been made to answer this question primarily from a theological perspective and occassionally from cultural and media perspectives. Though these analytical lenses have provided some limited insight into Osteen, his rise to prominence, and the growth of his ministry, none has sufficiently addressed or critcally analyzed Osteen's discursive artistry. Utilizing important analytical principles and research tools from the field of Communication, this dissertation provides three new critical lenses: first persona, second persona, and third persona. These lenses will help televangelist studies uncover the artistry and compliexity of how Osteen constructs his audience, creates a nexus with that audience, and builds a personal presence that is grounded in tradition and hope. The first persona analysis reveals that his ethotic appeal is based on maintaining a dialectical dance between depictions of Osteen as both divinely and humanly created. The second persona analysis shows that Osteen's ideal auditor is motivated by a threefold consciousness: wealth, health, and strong relationships. Finally, Osteen's third persona analysis reveals how the consciousness of his imagined audience simultaneously constructs and excludes such groups as the poor, those suffering from mental illness, and same gender loving persons.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.