King-KarenHollis Professor of Divinity
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Karen King is Hollis Professor of Divinity 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, What Is Gnosticism?, Revelation of the Unknowable God, and scores of articles in scholarly publications.


  • 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 Credentials

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

Special Study

  • Freie Universität, West Berlin, 1982–1983
  • Berlin koptische-gnostiche Arbeitsgruppe, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, 1982–1983

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of New Testament Studies and the History of Ancient Christianity, Harvard University, The Divinity School, 1998–
  • Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Occidental College, 1984–1998

Professional Service

  • Member, organizing committee of the Gnosticism and Nag Hammadi Section, Society of Biblical Literature, 1995–
  • Chair, Religious Studies Department, Occidental College, 1991–1994, 1995
  • Member, Seminar on Gender and Methodology funded by AAR Collaborative Research Grant, 1988–1995
  • Member, steering committee, Thomas Christianity Section, Society of Biblical Literature, 1992–1994
  • Member of Nominating Committee, Society of Biblical Literature, 1991–1994
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, Society of Biblical Literature, 1992–1993
  • Advisory Board, Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist-Ecumenical Commentary and Translation, 1990–1993
  • Chair, Women’s Studies Program, Occidental College, 1989–1990, 1991–1993
  • Panel Presentation, “Women in the Profession,” Society of Biblical Literature National Meeting, November 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, Council of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1988–1990
  • Working Member, International Committee for the Manichaean Codices of Medinet Madi, 1986–1988
  • Member-at-Large, Pacific Coast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, Executive Committee, 1985–1988
  • Member, International Association for Coptic Studies, 1985–
  • Research Council, Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, 1985–
  • Convener, International Conference on Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism, 1985
  • Co-Chair, Section on Greco-Roman Religion, Pacific Coast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature

Awards and Honors

  • 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
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