The Forgotten Creed: A Conversation with Stephen J. Patterson

Historian of Religion, Stephen Patterson, reconstructs one of the earliest Christian Creeds that Emphasized Radical Egalitarianism.

One of the earliest creeds of the Jesus Movement may be embedded in one of the letters of Paul. It is an unusual creed in that it says nothing about the nature of God or salvation, but rather what it means to be human. Historian of religion, Stephen J. Patterson, returns to Progressive Spirit to talk about this creed and his book, The Forgotten Creed: Christianity’s Original Struggle Against Bigotry, Slavery, and Sexism. It was utilized and altered by Paul in Galatians 3:26-28, but Stephen Patterson reconstructs the original creed to be the following:

For you are all children of God in the Spirit.
There is no Jew or Greek, 
there is no slave or free,
there is no male and female,
For you are all one in the Spirit.

Dr. Patterson argues that this ancient creed is timely for today as it challenges ethnic, class, and gender divisions.

Stephen J. Patterson is the George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University. A historian of religion, Patterson specializes in the origins of Christianity, especially the hidden histories founding books that were not included in the Bible. He has authored and co-authored nine books and more than a hundred essays, articles, and reviews, including most recently, The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Origins (2013) and The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins (2014). 

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The Jesus Hoax: A Conversation with David Skrbina

Dr. David Skrbina makes the case that Christianity started as a hoax by St. Paul:

“Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most famous men in history.  There are good reasons to believe that he walked the earth some two thousand years ago, and was eventually crucified.

But what about Jesus Christ, son of God?  What if he never existed?  What if the divine, virgin-born, resurrected Jesus Christ was a myth, a lie—even a hoax?  That would have huge implications for modern-day Christianity; it would mean that there is a gigantic falsehood at the core of the religion of some two billion people.

In this book, Dr. David Skrbina presents a profound and stunning theory:  that St. Paul and a band of friends constructed a ‘Jesus hoax.’  They took a kernel of truth based on Jesus, the man, and turned him into the divine savior of humanity.  They did so as a way to strike back at the hated Roman Empire, and to undermine its strength among the common people.”

That is from the back cover of The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years, by Dr. David Skrbina.

This is the third part of series on Revisioning Christianity. Different scholars bring different views to help us understand the history of Christianity and its future. How did Christianity become empire’s religion? Is it believable today? Was it ever believable?

Does it yet have a message to inspire peace and justice? Or is it the result of a malicious hoax and a bad idea?

John Shuck’s five guests include

1) Bart Ehrman, author of the newly released, The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,

2) John Dominic Crossan, who with his wife, Sarah Sexton Crossan have just released Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision.

3) John Shelby Spong, author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today,

4) Angela Yarber, creator of the Holy Women Icons Project, and this week,

5) David Skrbina, author of the newly released, The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years,

Dr. David Skrbina is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, where he’s taught since 2003.  His areas of expertise are philosophy of mind, philosophy of technology, and history of religion. Professor Skrbina’s books include Panpsychism in the West, The Metaphysics of Technology and Mind that Abides.

Professor Skrbina corresponded extensively with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and in 2010 published Technological Slavery. This was the first book written by Ted Kaczynski.  It contains the only corrected version of his manifesto, five previously unpublished essays, and about 100 pages of letters to Dr. Skrbina.

Dr. Skrbina is a pioneer in eco-philosophy encompassing ethics, metaphysics, and cosmology and is Deputy Director of the Eco-Philosophy Center. He ran for Lieutenant Governor for the state of Michigan in 2006 with the Green Party. He has a master’s degree in Mathematics and a Ph. D. In philosophy.

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The Triumph of Christianity: A Conversation with Bart Ehrman

Bart Ehrman asks how did a religion that began with a small group of illiterate day laborers become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire in just three centuries? What was gained and what was lost when the Roman Empire became the Christian Roman Empire?

This is the second part of series on Revisioning Christianity. Different scholars bring different views to help us understand the history of Christianity and its future. How did Christianity become empire’s religion? Was Christianity a hoax? Is it believable today? Does it yet have a message to inspire peace and justice?

John Shuck’s five guests include

1) John Dominic Crossan, who with his wife, Sarah Sexton Crossan have just released Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision.

2) John Shelby Spong, author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today,

3) David Skrbina, author of the newly released, The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years,

4) Angela Yarber, creator of the Holy Women Icons Project, and this week,

5) Bart Ehrman, author of the newly released, The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,

Bart Ehrman is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. He is the author of more than 30 books and is Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has been on my program three times previously. Previously we discussed his books, Did Jesus Exist? Jesus Before the Gospels, and How Jesus Became God. Today we explore the question, “How did Christianity triumph?” His book is The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World.