Christus Theological Institute annual conference to feature Rev. William Harmless, S.J.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 2:00pm
Rev. William Harmless, S.J.

MOBILE, Ala. – Rev. William Harmless, S.J., professor of theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., will be the featured speaker at the Christus Theological Institute annual conference. The annual conference will be April 14-15 at Byrne Memorial Hall on the Spring Hill College campus.

“Defending the Gift of Conversion: New Perspectives on St. Augustine and the Pelagian Controversy”

Thursday, April 14, 7 p.m.

This talk will look at new perspectives on Augustine’s greatest and most influential controversy, the Pelagian controversy, and in particular, how Pelagius’ attack on Augustine’s conversion experience was a crucial factor in the debate and how that attack has influenced how later Christians have come to understand what the grace of God is and means. Harmless will be drawing from his new book “Augustine in His Own Words.”

“Augustine in the 21st Century: Exploring Newly Discovered Works, Correcting Old Misconceptions, Mining His Pastoral Wisdom”

Friday, April 15, 9 a.m.

In this presentation, Harmless will challenge various long-standing, widely held prejudices against Augustine (e.g. his supposed views on sexuality and on predestination) and discuss how they have been inaccurately understood. In addition, he will discuss some new discoveries of long-lost works of Augustine. Finally, he will highlight how scholars now emphasize seeing Augustine in light of his work as a North African pastor.

Harmless is a member of the Society of Jesus and specializes in the history and theology of early Christianity. He is the author of “Augustine and the Catechumenate” (Liturgical Press, 1995), “Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism” (Oxford University Press, 2004), “Mystics” (Oxford University Press, 2008), and most recently “Augustine In His Own Words” (Catholic University of America Press, 2010). In addition, he serves on the board of the Augustinian Heritage Institute, which is overseeing the translation of the complete works of St. Augustine into English.

The Christus Theological Institute is a grassroots consortium of Mobile Bay area churches joined in the quest to promote a deeper understanding of the Christian faith. The institute is housed at Spring Hill College.

The event is open to the public. Admission is free for Christus members. The charge for guests is $5 for the April 14 lecture and $3 for the April 15 lecture. For more information about the Christus annual conference, visit or contact the Theology Department at (251) 380-4458 or