VDS Events: The Cole Lectures

Philanthropist Edmund W. Cole, president of Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and treasurer of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, endowed the annual Cole Lecture Series in 1892 “for the defense and advocacy of the Christian religion.” Cole’s gift provided for the first sustained lectureship in the history of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt University Divinity School is pleased to welcome Elaine Pagels as the 2013 Cole lecturer. The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels joined the Princeton faculty in 1982. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Pagels is the author of The Gnostic Gospels, The Origin of Satan, and Adam, Eve and the Serpent. She has published widely on Gnosticism and early Christianity and continues to pursue her research interests in late antiquity. Pagels’s most recent books include Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas and Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity, coauthored with Karen King of Harvard Divinity School. Her current book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation, explores the New Testament Book of Revelation and other Jewish, Christian, and Pagan books of Revelation written around the same time.

As this year’s Cole lecturer, Pagels will deliver two presentations based upon her scholarship of ancient texts.

Thursday, October 3, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Art, Music, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

The first lecture will explore questions about the author and the circumstances under which the Book of Revelation was written and will examine the astonishing range of ways Christians have read the text from the seventh century to the present.

Friday, October 4, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
New Reflections on Gospel Traditions: The Gospel of John and The Gospel of Thomas

Previous Cole Lectures have been delivered by such distinguished scholars as Harry Emerson Fosdick, George Buttrick, Rudolph Bultmann, H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Walter Brueggemann, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, James Barr, Gustavo Gutierrez, James Cone, Edward Farley, Don Beisswenger, Gene TeSelle, David Buttrick, Jim Wallis, Lamin Sanneh, Mark Noll, Randall Balmer, James Lawson, John O’Malley, R. Scott Appleby, and Anthea Butler.

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