Spirituality in the Midst of Violence

Karen King, Harvard Divinity School professor, author and authority on gender issues in early Christianity, will deliver the 2011 Lane C. McGaughy Lecture in Ancient Studies on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Willamette University’s Hudson Hall. Sponsored by the university’s Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, the lecture is free and open to the public.

King’s lecture, “Spirituality in the Midst of Violence: The Heritage from Christian Heretics and Martyrs,” will examine how early Christianity was forged in a violent world. King will illustrate her lecture from accounts of early Christian martyrs, including the prison diary of a mother sentenced to die in the arena and a bishop pleading to be allowed to suffer for God, as well as from theologians who refused to believe that God desires these brutal deaths. King will discuss how Christians dealt with the ethical and spiritual challenges of a violent world by considering these stories and reflecting upon the controversial legacy they left in theological imagination and practice.

King is the first woman to be appointed as Harvard University’s Hollis Professor of Divinity, the first endowed faculty position in the United States. Her research interests are in discourses of orthodoxy, heresy and gender studies. She is author of numerous books, including “Revelation of the Unknowable God,” “The Secret Revelation of John,” “The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle,” “Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity” with Elaine Pagels, and “What Is Gnosticism?”

Books will be available for sale, and the lecture will be followed by a book signing. For more information, contact Andrea Foust at (503) 370-6654.