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Karen King
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Karen King is Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University in the Divinity School. An occasional consultant to the Ford Foundation on Religion and Human Rights, Dr. King has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, Harvard Divinity School, the Irvine Foundation, and Occidental College. She is the author of The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, The Secret Revelation of John, What Is Gnosticism?, Revelation of the Unknowable God,  and scores of articles in scholarly publications.


  • Reading Judas (with Elaine Pagels), 2007
  • The Secret Revelation of John, 2006
  • The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, 2003
  • What is Gnosticism? 2003
  • For the Children, Perfect Instruction. Studies in Honor of Hans-Martin Schenke on the Occasion of the Berliner Arbeitskreis für Koptisch-gnostische Schriften's Thirtieth Year, 2002 (co-editor with Hans-Gebhard Bethge, Stephen Emmel, and Imke Schletterer)
  • Women and Goddess Traditions in Antiquity and Today, 1997 (editor)
  • Revelation of the Unknowable God: NHC XI.3 Allogenes, Introduction, Critical Text, Translation and Notes, 1996
  • Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism, 1988 (editor)

Academic Appointments

  • Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University in the Divinity School. 2003
  • Professor of New Testament Studies and the History of Ancient Christianity, Harvard University, The Divinity School, 1997–2003
  • Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Occidental College, 1984–1997

Academic Credentials

  • B.A., University of Montana
  • Ph.D., Brown University

Special Study

  • Freie Universität, West Berlin, 1982–1983
  • Berlin koptische-gnostische Arbeitsgruppe, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, 1982–1983
  • Voss Gymnasium, Voss, Norway, 1971–1972

Awards and Honors

  • Ford Foundation Grant for research on religion and social change, 2005
  • The Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History, endowed chair, Harvard University, 2003
  • The Sterling Award, Occidental College, 1995
  • The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship, 1994–1995
  • Women's Studies in Religion Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School, 1994–1995
  • Sojourner Truth Award, Occidental College Women's Center, 1993
  • Irvine Foundation Grant for Curricula Development, 1992
  • Irvine Foundation Grant for Curricular Development, 1991
  • Graves Award for research leave, 1990
  • Student Affairs Award for exceptional service to student life, Occidental College, 1989
  • Loftsgordon Award for excellence in teaching, Occidental College, 1989
  • Study Visit Grant, Deutsche Akademische Austauschdient, 1986
  • Travel to Collections Award, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1986
  • Direct Stipend for doctoral research, Deutsche Akademische Austauschdient, 1982–1983

Professional Service

  • Member, organizing committee of the Gnosticism and Nag Hammadi Section, Society of Biblical Literature, 1995–
  • Fellow, Westar Institute, 1986–
  • Chair, Religious Studies Department, Occidental College, 1991–1994, 1995
  • Member, steering committee, Thomas Christianity Section, Society of Biblical Literature, 1992–1994
  • Chair, Women's Studies Program, Occidental College, 1989–1990, 1991–1993
  • Chair, Section on "Female and Male in Gnosticism," Society of Biblical Literature, 1986–1992
  • Member, editorial board, journal Religion, 1992–
  • Co-convener, Conference on Women and Goddess Traditions, 1992
  • Member, International Association for Coptic Studies, 1985–
  • Convener, International Conference on Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism, 1985

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