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  • Email
    karen.torjesen@cgu.edu
  • Degrees
    PhD, Religion, Claremont Graduate University
    MA, Religion, Claremont School of Theology
    BS, Chemistry, Wheaton College
  • Research Interests
    Constructions of gender and sexuality in early Christianity; Authority and institutionalization in the early churches; Hermeneutics and rhetoric in late antiquity; Comparative study of Greek and Latin patristic traditions;
    Transnational feminism

Karen Jo Torjesen holds the Margo L. Goldsmith Chair of Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her research interests include constructions of gender and sexuality in early Christianity, authority and institutionalization in the early churches, hermeneutics and rhetoric in late antiquity, and comparative study of Greek and Latin patristic traditions.

At CGU, Torjesen founded an MA and PhD program in Women’s Studies in Religion in 1990 and collaborated with Jean Schroedel in political science to design an MA in Applied Women’s Studies in 1995. Torjesen has spent nearly a decade teaching and developing graduate courses on gender, religion, and transnational feminism. In early 2014, she received a Fulbright Scholar grant that has supported her as a visiting faculty member at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

During her tenure as assistant professor of patristic theology at the University of Goettingen (Germany), her book Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Structure in Origen’s Exegesis was published by de Gruyter (1985). Her other publications include When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity (Harper San Francisco, 1993); Women in American Christianity (edited with Cheryl Kirk-Dugaan, ABC-CLIO, 2010), and Indigenous Peoples and the Modern State (edited with Susan Steiner and Duane Champagne, AltaMira Press, 2005).

Torjesen’s recent activities have focused on southern Africa, where she served as an advisor for the development of a Gender Research Center at the University of Botswana.

Co-edited with Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan. Women and Christianity. Santa Barbara: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2010.

“Clergy and Laity.” In The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies, edited by Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David G. Hunter, 389-405. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Co-edited with Duane Champagne and Susan Steiner. Indigenous Peoples and the Modern State. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2005.

When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993.

Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Method in Origen’s Exegesis. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1985.

Comparative Religion: Theory & Practice
Christianity: 1st Millenium
Introduction to Women’s Studies in Religion
Bishops and Orthodoxy
Gender, Body, & Sexuality in Early Christianity
Transnational Feminisms