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).