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Peter J. Gomes
Peter J. Gomes dies at 68; Harvard's longtime spiritual leader
Peter J. Gomes dies at 68; Harvard's longtime spiritual leader

In a sermon some years ago, the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Harvard University's longtime spiritual leader, offered a precise, if unconventional, definition of hell. He said hell is "being defined by your circumstances, and believing that definition." Gomes, 68, who died of stroke complications Monday in Boston, was never one to let circumstances or the opinions of others dictate his sense of himself. He was a black Republican, a Baptist preacher in a stronghold of secularism, a descendant of escaped slaves who rose to become president of the Pilgrim Society. Further complicating this bundle of contradictions was his voice, a baritone that was as commanding as the Rev. Martin...

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