University Hosts New Testament Scholar for Annual Kermit Zarley Lectures

Simon Gathercole
Dr. Simon Gathercole presents the Zarley Lectures at the University November 14 and 15.

Dr. Simon Gathercole to deliver lectures November 14 and 15

CHICAGO (November 12, 2012) – A senior lecturer in New Testament studies at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom will present lectures at North Park University focusing on early Christinity. Dr. Simon Gathercole will address "Jesus in canonical and extra-canonical gospels," November 14, and "Who are the Gnostics?" November 15, at the University's Anderson Chapel. Each lecture begins at 3:30 pm. 

Gathercole is the presenter for the twelfth annual Kermit Zarley Lecture series, sponsored by the University's Biblical and Theological Studies Department. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Gathercole's recent research work is in early Christianity, said Dr. Joel Willitts, North Park University associate professor of biblical and theological studies. One of the lectures will be about interpretations of Jesus in the New Testament, and in texts such as the Gospel of Thomas – one of the early "Gnostic Gospels" -- which contains a number of sayings attributed to Jesus. The second lecture will address the Gnostic Gospels and their Christian influence. The Gnostic Gospels are a collection of 52 texts based on teachings of several early prophets and spiritual leaders. While they do not appear in standard Bibles of Christian denominations, they have gained greater public attention in recent years.

Gathercole was asked to present the lectures because "he's an academician who is also committed to the church," said Willitts. "He also teaches at a university, and has broad experience in relating to students through teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and supervising doctoral students," he said. "We wanted someone who could communicate with younger people who may not have much experience with the New Testament."

The lecture series is named for Kermit Zarley, a professional golfer, with an interest in biblical and theological studies. Zarley has provided support for the lectures, hosted by the University since the series began in 2001.

Past presenters have included Cardinal Francis George, bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago; D.A. Hagner, author and emeritus professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.; Phyllis Tickle, contributing editor in religion for Publishers Weekly, noted authority in religion, author, and lecturer; and Bishop Kallistos Ware, an English bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church and theologian.

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