Karen Leigh King

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Karen Leigh King (born 1954) is an American academic working in the field of early Christianity and Gnosticism.


She had been Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard Divinity School, from 1998 - 2008; in October 2009, she succeeded Harvey Cox to become the first woman appointed to the Hollis Chair, the oldest endowed chair in the United States (1721).[1]

She was described by Newsweek as "an authority on women's roles in the early church."[2] From 1984 to 1997, she was professor of religious studies at Occidental College.

She is a member of the Jesus Seminar, of the Westar Institute.

The Gospel of Jesus' Wife[edit]

Main article: Gospel of Jesus' Wife

In September 2012, King published details of what she described as the Gospel of Jesus' wife at the International Congress of Coptic Studies,[3] that she considers to be authentic.[4] In a 2012 documentary, King commented on the implications of the fragment:

The question on many people's minds is whether this fragment should lead us to re-think whether Jesus was married. I think however, what it leads us to do, is not to answer that question one way or the other, it should lead us to re-think how Christianity understood sexuality and marriage in a very positive way, and to recapture the pleasures of sexuality, the joyfulness and the beauties of human intimate relations.[5]


King's books include:

King also co-authored Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity with Elaine Pagels, and was the co-editor of Women and Goddess Traditions: In Antiquity and Today (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity).


External links[edit]