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Release date:
Sept. 28, 2001
Contact: Elaine Justice, Assistant Director, 404-727-0643, or

Renowned Christian Historian Jaroslav Pelikan To Give First McDonald Lectures On Jesus and Culture

Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the world’s most distinguished and honored historians and theologians, will deliver a series of lectures Oct. 9-11 for the inauguration of Emory University’s McDonald Chair for the Study of Jesus and Culture. Pelikan, who is 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 open to the public free of charge.

Pelikan currently is the distinguished visiting professor of ancient rhetoric in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He also recently has been appointed a senior distinguished visiting scholar at the Library of Congress.

The lecture schedule is as follows:
• 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 —"The Dynamism of the Christological Tradition: Orthodoxy as ‘Pravoslavie’"
• 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 —"Christ as Example and Exemplar in Russian Spirituality"
• 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 — "A New Gospel Parable: The Grand Inquisitor"
• 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 — "The Gospels in Action: The Christ of the Russian Icon"
• 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 — "The Gospels in Action: Russian Liturgical Music"

All lectures will be held in room 208, White Hall, 480 Kilgo St. on the Emory campus, except the liturgical music presentation Oct. 11, which will be in Cannon Chapel, 515 Kilgo St. For more information call 404-712-8434.

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" (1971-1989), "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 holders of the chair 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, long-time member of the Emory 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.

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