Biblical scholar promises ‘revelations’ in upcoming address
Few books in the Bible inspire more conversation and controversy than the Book of Revelation. For some, it is read as a blueprint of future events. For others, it is a tantalizing glimpse into the worldview of first century Christians as they suffered persecution at the hands of Rome.
One of the pre-eminent scholars of early Christian history, Dr. Elaine Pagels will present the research from her most recent book Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation as part of the 7th annual Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium at the University of Science and Arts.
Pagels is scheduled to deliver her keynote address beginning at 7:30 p.m. on March 7 in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.
In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross in March of last year, Pagels revealed that she became fascinated with the Book of Revelation because “it's very different than anything else you find in the New Testament.”
"I don't think we understand this book until we understand that it's wartime literature," Pagels said. "It comes out of that war, and it comes out of people who have been destroyed by war."
Pagels is a professor of religion at Princeton University.
She has been on the forefront of religious scholarship since her work with the Nag Hammadi library manuscripts (discovered in 1945) that gave voice to early Gnostic Christian communities hitherto only known by early Christian writers who condemned them as heretical.
Her first book The Gnostic Gospels (1979) placed these writings in a historical and theological context with other Christian writing of the same period and underscored the diversity of Christian communities in its earliest period.
Her research and writing on the Nag Hammadi library earned her worldwide acclaim and numerous awards and fellowships including a Rockefeller Fellowship (1978), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1979) and a MacArthur Fellowship (1981) as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award (1979) and the National Book Award (1980).
Since, Pagels has written numerous books on the Christian faith including Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (2003), Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (2007).
Pagels is scheduled also to participate in a panel discussion about the role of spirituality in history and art that begins earlier in the day at 2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Zach Simpson, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, who occupies the Brad Ableson Religious Reconciliation Chair.
USAO’s Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium series is sponsored annually by the USAO Foundation and was inspired by endowment funds created by Oklahoma College for Women alumni Gladys Anderson Emerson and Nance Foules Wier.
More information can be obtained by calling (405) 574-1362 or visiting the symposium webpage online at www.usao.edu/emersonwier