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Historian Kyle Harper will give our 2023 Austin Lecture on “Christianity and the Idea of Human Dignity” on Monday, September 11 at 7 p.m. The lecture will be held at the University Avenue Church of Christ in partnership with the Center for Christian Studies. To register, please visit 

To sponsor or make a gift in support of our annual Austin Lecture, please visit and write “Austin Lecture” in the memo line.

What is dignity? Where does the idea come from and what role has it played in the development of ideas of human rights? In this lecture, Harper will explore the historical roots of ideas about human dignity and the legacy of early Christianity in the history of human rights. Then, he will consider how understanding this history helps to elucidate the challenges of our contemporary world.

Harper is the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, professor of Classics and Letters, senior advisor to the president, and provost emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. His contributions to the pages of First Things include “The First Sexual Revolution” (January 2018).

His first book, Slavery in the Late Roman Worldwas awarded the James Henry Breasted Prize. His second, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality, received the Award for Excellence in Historical Studies from the American Academy of Religion. And his fourth book, Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History, was the 2021 PROSE winner for best book in the history of science, technology, and medicine.