Prof. Karen L. KingHollis Professor of Divinity

    Research Profile

    Prof. King’s academic work centers on the problematics and practices of how to write a critical-inclusive history of ancient Christianity.  She works primarily with practice theory approaches, emphasizing ethical-theological issues and feminist/gender studies.  Her prior work has analyzed the continued use of the ancient discourses of orthodoxy and heresy within modern historiographical practice, and offered attempts to analyze specific texts (Gospel of Mary, Secret Revelation of John, Letter of Peter to Philip) and specific issues (e.g., early Christian diversity, religion and violence, instrumental agency, women’s authority, textual criticism) outside the framework of that discourse.  She is currently working on two research projects:  Martyrdom and its Discontents in Ancient Christianity and a commentary on the Gospel of Mary.

    Teaching Profile

    Trained in comparative religions and historical studies, her teaching and research specialties in the history of Christianity lie in women’s studies, orthodoxy and heresy, and Nag Hammadi and other Coptic literature.  Her current masters-level courses include:  “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Ancient Christianity,” “Women, Sex, and Gender in Ancient Christianity,” and Sahidic Coptic.  She also teaches specialized doctoral courses on feminist and practice theory approaches to the study of ancient Christianity.

    Selected Publications

    “Nicht länger marginal: Vom Diskurs über Orthodoxie und Häresie zur Kritik der Kategorien und darüber hinaus.” Pp. 18-33 in Antike christliche Apokryphen. Marginalisierte Texte des frühen Christentums. Ed. Outi Lehtipuu and Silke Petersen. Die Bibel und die Frauen: Eine exegetisch-kulturgeschichtliche Enzyklopädie. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2020.

    “Jesus.” Pp. 407-427 in The Oxford Handbook of New Testament, Gender, and Sexuality. Ed. Benjamin H. Dunning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

    “1 Apocalypse of James and Valentinians on Martyrdom.” Pp. 252-271 in Valentinianism: New Studies. Ed. Einar Thomassen and Christoph Markschies. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 96. Leiden: Brill, 2019.

    “‘What is an Author?’ Ancient Author-Function in The Apocryphon of John and The Apocalypse of John.” Pp. 15-42 in Scribal Practices and Social Structures Among Jesus Adherents: Essays in Honour of John S. Kloppenborg. Ed. William Arnal, Richard Ascough, Robert Derrenbacker, and Philip Harland. Bibliotheca Ephermeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium. Leuven: Peeters, 2016.

    “Mystery and Secrecy in The Apocryphon of John.” Pp. 61-85 in Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices. Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty. Ed. John Turner, Ismo Dunderberg, Christian H. Bull and Liv Ingeborg Lied. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2011.

    The Secret Revelation of John. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.

    The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle. Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2003.

    What is Gnosticism? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

    “Willing to Die for God: Individualization and Instrumental Agency in Ancient Christian Martyr Literature,” in: J. Rüpke (ed.): Religious Individualization in the Hellenistic and Roman Period. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

    “Which Early Christianity?” in: S. A. Harvey/D. Hunter (ed.s): The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology. Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2008, 66-84.



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