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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Noted theologian and best-selling author John Dominic Crossan will offer a lecture on “Rome Then is America Now” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in Giffels Auditorium, Old Main. His visit is being sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. There will be a book signing afterward.

Crossan is the author of 24 books on Jesus, the history of Christianity and the historical Paul, five of which have been national religious bestsellers for a total of 24 months. The scholarly core of his work is the trilogy from The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant through The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus to In Search of Paul: How Jesus’s Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom, co-authored with the archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed. His next book, God & Empire. Jesus against Rome Then and Now, will be published by HarperSanFrancisco in February 2007. His work has been translated into 11 foreign languages, including Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

“If we get the history of the first century right, we will get the theology of the 21st century right - and if not, not,” said Crossan. “I am never interested in the past as history or as merely ancient but rather as a contemporary model, warning and challenge. In other words, there is always a then and now emphasis in my lectures, and my primary focus is on imagining a foundational theology for the Christian future that is in strict continuity with its first-century origins.”

Crossan was educated in Ireland and the United States, received a doctorate of divinity from Maynooth College, Ireland, in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. He was a member of a 13th-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites, from 1950 to 1969, and was an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969. He joined DePaul University, Chicago, in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He is now a professor emeritus in its department of religious studies.

He has lectured to audiences across the United States as well as in Ireland and England, Scandinavia and Finland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. He has been interviewed on 200 radio stations, including four times on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. He has also been interviewed on television networks such as ABC’s PrimeTime, CBS’ Early Show and 48 Hours, NBC’s Dateline, and Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, as well as on cable programs such as A&E, History, Discovery and the National Geographic Channel.

He was chair of the Parables Seminar from 1972 to 76, editor of Semeia. An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism from 1980 to 1986 and chair of the historical Jesus section within the Society of Biblical Literature, an international scholarly association for biblical study based in the United States.

He has received awards for scholarly excellence from the American Academy of Religion in 1989, DePaul University in 1991 and 1995, and an honorary doctorate from Stetson University, DeLand, Fla., in 2003.

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