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John Paul II and Benedict XVI: An Enduring Legacy

Brennan C. Pursell, Ph.D., will address the idea that Benedict XVI is a continuation of John Paul II, as many claim him to be. Although basically contemporary and presumably theologically in sync, can Benedict XVI and John Paul II be considered to be liberal and conservative simultaneously? Dr. Pursell discusses whether the reputation of being both at the same time suits Benedict XVI as it did for John Paul II, the people’s pope.

He argues that Benedict XVI, a German bishop who was elected the first pope of the 21st century, bears the mantel of John Paul II, a Polish bishop who was elected the last pope of the 20th century, as an heir to his legacy.

Drawing from his latest book, Benedict of Bavaria: An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His Homeland, Dr. Pursell will present his ideas on the legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI on Mon., Mar. 23, in the first floor lounge of Falvey, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

An associate professor of history at DeSales University (Center Valley, Pa.), he teaches courses on ancient, medieval, early modern and modern European history. Dr. Pursell also leads annual travel-study hybrid courses to Germany and Austria with his students.

Dr. Pursell has appeared on CNN, EWTN and various other television stations, nearly 80 radio outlets and has given interviews for various American newspapers while promoting his latest book. His work has been featured in History, The Historical Journal, The Sixteenth Century Journal, The Court Historian, German Studies Review, the Royal Historical Society’s Camden Fifth Series, the American Historical Review, LOGOS: a Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture and other publications.

After graduating from Stanford University with an AB in history, Dr. Pursell devoted two years to work and travel in various parts of the world before pursuing graduate training in European history from Harvard University. For research on his dissertation, he worked in archives in Germany, Austria, Spain, England and several other countries.

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Last Modified: March 9, 2009