The Forgotten Creed
with Author Stephen J. Patterson
Thursday, September 26, 7:00pm at First-Plymouth Church
Keynote lecture followed by Q&A, and book signing
This event is free and open to the community. A free-will donation (suggested $10) will be taken at the door. Copies of Stephen Patterson’s books will be available for purchase before and after the lecture. A book signing will follow the lecture.
Long before the followers of Jesus declared him to be the Son of God, Jesus taught his followers that they too were the children of God. This ancient creed, now all but forgotten, is recorded still within the folds of a letter of Paul the Apostle. This ancient creed said nothing about God or Christ or salvation. Its claims were about the whole human race: there is no race, there is no class, there is no gender.
This is the story of that first, forgotten creed, and the world of its begetting, a world in which foreigners were feared, slaves were human chattel, and men questioned whether women were really human after all. Into this world the followers of Jesus proclaimed: "You are all children of God. There is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male and female, for you are all one." Where did this remarkable statement of human solidarity come from, and what, finally, happened to it? How did Christianity become a Gentile religion that despised Jews, condoned slavery, and championed patriarchy?
Christian theologians would one day argue about the nature of Christ, the being of God, and the mechanics of salvation. But before this, in the days when Jesus was still fresh in the memory of those who knew him, the argument was a different one: how can human beings overcome the ways by which we divide ourselves one from another? Is solidarity possible beyond race, class, and gender?
Stephen J. Patterson A scholar, teacher, and writer, Patterson is the George H. Atkinson endowed chair in Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, where he teaches courses on the history of religion. He writes and lectures widely on the hidden histories of earliest Christianity, especially the lost gospels, Q and the Gospel of Thomas.
Patterson holds graduate degrees from Harvard and Claremont, and he was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. In nine books and more than seventy-five articles, essays and reviews, he has explored the origins of Christianity, especially through texts often overlooked because they are not in the Bible.
For more than 20 years Patterson was professor of New Testament at Eden Seminary in St. Louis. He was also a leading figure in the Jesus Seminar and has appeared on many documentaries in connection with his work on the Gospel of Thomas, Q, and the quest for the historical Jesus.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.