BETHANY, W.Va. – Dr. Rebecca Denova, Renner Visiting Professor in Religious Studies, will present a series of four lectures on competing beliefs of Christianity in late antiquity during the spring semester at Bethany College. Topics will include, "Lost Gospels: Lost Christianities," "Who Were the Gnostics?" "The Battle for Orthodoxy," and "What Have We 'Discovered' in the Lost Gospels?" Each lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in Weimer Lecture Hall on the campus. The lectures are free and open to the public.

The first lecture, "Lost Gospels: Lost Christianities," will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25. This lecture will introduce the topic, highlight the discoveries and examine how and why such various Christian views were able to emerge throughout the Roman Empire.

"Who Were the Gnostics?" will be presented on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The lecture will examine this curious and esoteric strain of Christianity in light of the Greek philosophical tradition as well as why Gnosticism achieved its popularity.

The third lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 29. "The Battle for Orthodoxy," will highlight the struggle to achieve consensus on Christian beliefs, the rationale behind the arguments of both sides and how and why the New Testament eventually emerged as canonical scripture.

The final lecture in the series, "What Have We 'Discovered' in the Lost Gospels?" will take place on Wednesday, April 26. This lecture will focus specifically on "The Gospel of Thomas," "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene," and "The Gospel of Truth," to examine the ways in which contemporary scholars are utilizing this new-found material in their reconstructions of the history of early Christianity.

Donova, who holds degrees from Bethany College and the University of Pittsburgh, is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh. She has served as an Associate Professor in Bethany College's Department of Religious Studies, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, a Visiting Professor at Boston University, and an Instructor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Donova has authored numerous publications and papers and has presented many public lectures and community seminars on religious topics.