‘The Greatest Leader of All’

The faces of leadership and Christianity in contemporary Brazil (1980s–2010s)

Authored by: Karina Kosicki Bellotti

Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138182509
eBook ISBN: 9781315646435
Adobe ISBN:


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Leadership can be defined as the ability to exert influence over others to accomplish a goal. Real leaders produce other leaders, according to many leadership and self-help books that are based on the example of Jesus Christ as the ultimate role model, given his enduring influence on humankind through Christianity. This text analyzes the discourses and practices regarding leadership in the Christian field in Brazil in the past 30 years, when US books on the leadership of Jesus were translated and helped to construct secular and religious notions of leadership for a general audience. This chapter begins with a brief contextualization of Brazilian religious pluralism, the development of the religious media, and considerations on the theoretical frames of religion, media and culture, and religion and economy, self-help scholarship, leadership studies, and the US representations of Jesus in popular culture. Finally, there is the analysis of books on Jesus’s leadership and of the marketing of leadership development services and training offered by Christian professionals. The aim is to examine how such discourses relate to the development of leadership skills in both secular (primarily business) and Evangelical fields in Brazil in a context of globalization and neoliberalization of religion.

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