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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 as the Hollis Professor of Divinity, the oldest endowed chair in the United States (1721). She was described by Newsweek as a 'leading authority on women's roles in the early church'[1].

Her books include The Secret Revelation of John, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle , What Is Gnosticism?, Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (Studies in Antiquity & Christianity), and Revelation of the Unknowable God: With Text, Translation, and Notes to Nhc Xi, 3 Allogenes King co-authored Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity with Elaine Pagels, and is the co-editor of Women and Goddess Traditions: In Antiquity and Today (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity) with Karen Jo Torjesen, an historical researcher on the role of women in the early Christian church.

King has received many research grants and awards in teaching and research including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, grants from the Ford Foundation and the Graves Foundation. She is also an active member of the American Academy of Religion, the International Association for Coptic Studies and the Society of Biblical Literature.


  • Allogenes, a critical edition (1984)
  • Gnostic studies: Revelation of the Unknowable God (1995)
  • What is Gnosticism? (2003)
  • The Gospel of Mary of Magdala (2003)


  1. ^ The Bible's Lost Stories.

External links


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