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October 8, 2001

Yale's Pelikan to speak on Russian Christ

By Elaine Justice


Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the world’s most distinguished and honored historians and theologians, will deliver a series of lectures Oct. 9–11 to help inaugurate Emory’s McDonald Chair for the Study of Jesus and Culture.

Pelikan, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University, will give five lectures on campus dealing with Russian spirituality and the Russian Christ. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Pelikan currently is the distinguished visiting professor of ancient rhetoric in the Annen-berg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently was appointed a senior distinguished visiting scholar at the Library of Congress.

Pelikan is the author of the best-selling Jesus Through the Centuries (1985), one of the most acclaimed works of intellectual history in recent years. The New York Times lauded its “rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on ‘the general history of culture,’” adding that the book is “unique among current publications in bridging scholarly and popular discourse on the prophet from Nazareth over the past 2,000 years.”

Pelikan has since supplemented the work with The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries (1997), and his writings span all of Christian history, including such major works as the five-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (1971–89), The Excellent Empire: The Fall of Rome and the Triumph of the Church (1987) and Christianity and Classical Culture (1993).

The McDonald Chair is a distinguished visiting professorship devoted to the person and teachings of Jesus and their cultural impact. The focus of the chair is the appreciation of the ways in which Jesus has affected culture, and the ways in which culture has helped shape the figure of Jesus.

The McDonald Chair is interdisciplinary in character, allowing scholars to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives. Future chairholders will include artists, musicians and poets, as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences. The constants in the professorship are its focus on the figure of Jesus and its involvement both with the faculty and students of Emory and the Atlanta community through public lectures and performances.

The McDonald Chair was established with funds from The McDonald Agape Foundation, a private charitable foundation established by Alonzo McDonald, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees. The foundation is dedicated to the encouragement and support of non-denominational, Christ-centered activities and programs that can influence the thinking of future leaders.
Pelikan’s lecture schedule is as follows:

• Tuesday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. “The Dynamism of the Christological Tradition: Orthodoxy as ‘Pravoslavie.’”

• Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. “Christ as Example and Exemplar in Russian Spirituality.”

• Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. “A New Gospel Parable: The Grand Inquisitor.”

• Thursday, Oct. 11, 2 p.m. “The Gospels in Action: The Christ of the Russian Icon.”

• Thursday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. “The Gospels in Action: Russian Liturgical Music.”

All lectures will be held in 208 White Hall. For more information call


Back to Emory Report October 8, 2001