(Posted October 10, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A University of Maryland classics professor and a professor of religious studies from Juniata College will explore the beginnings of Christianity in a lecture and discussion, "Kingdom of God vs. The Empire of Rome: How Christianity Took Over Imperial Rome" at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Steve Rutledge, associate professor of classics at Maryland, and Robert Miller, associate professor of religious studies at Juniata, will trace how Christianity evolved from an insignificant, persecuted religious sect to become the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Some of the topics open for discussion are the religious "competition" between Jesus Christ and the Roman gods, the social roles of Christian women, the Christian ethic of caring for the poor and sick, and the effects of Christian persecution and martyrdom.

Rutledge is no stranger to the Juniata campus, having lectured at the college in 2000 on the Roman trial of Jesus as part of the Calvert Ellis Lectureship. Miller is a Biblical scholar who teaches a variety of courses that use the Bible as a historical document.

Rutledge is the author of "Imperial Inquisitions: Prosecutors and Informants from Tiberius to Domitian" as well as many scholarly articles. He earned a bachelor's degree in classics from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and went on to earn a doctorate in classics from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He also has studied at the American Academy in Rome program in archeology and at the American School for Classical Studies in Athens, Greece.

Miller joined the faculty at Juniata in 2003. He worked as a professor of religion and philosophy at Midway College in Midway, Ky. from 1988 to 2000. He received the Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 1999.

He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1975 from St. John's College in Camarillo, Calif. Miller earned a master's degree in religious studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1978 and went on to earn a master's degree in philosophy from the Claremont Graduate School in 1980. He earned a doctorate in religion from the Claremont Graduate School in 1986.

Miller is the author of Born Divine: The Births of Jesus and Other Sons of God (2002) and The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics (1999). He also served as editor and contributor for the books The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate (2001) and The Complete Gospels (1992). Miller is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and The Jesus Seminar.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.