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Karen King: "Reimagining the World: The Gospel of Mary"
This event is part of the annual Ptarmigan Foundation Lecture Series on Early Christianity and the Ancient World.
Abstract: When early followers wrote narratives about Jesus, they were not just telling his history, they were engaged in reimagining the world. Four of these gospels came to be in the Bible but other stories were written in the early centuries as well. One of these is the Gospel of Mary, attributed to Mary Magdalene. In elaborating on her encounters with Jesus after his crucifixion, it offers new insights into the importance of storytelling for the religious imagination.
Speaker: Karen L. King was appointed to the Divinity School in 1997 and from 2003 to 2009 served as the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History. In October 2009, she became the first woman appointed as the Hollis Professor of Divinity, the oldest endowed chair in the United States (1721).
Trained in comparative religions and historical studies, she pursues teaching and research specialties in the history of Christianity. Her books include The Secret Revelation of John; The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle; What Is Gnosticism?; Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (with Elaine Pagels); and Revelation of the Unknowable God. Other publications include Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (ed.) and Women and Goddess Traditions in Antiquity and Today (ed.).
Her particular theoretical interests are in discourses of normativity (orthodoxy and heresy), gender studies, and religion and violence. She has received research grants and awards for excellence in teaching and research; among them are grants from the Luce Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, and the Graves Foundation. King is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the International Association for Coptic Studies, and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.