Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus
A lecture by Stephen J. Patterson
From the Westar Summer Institute 2006.
Early followers of Jesus said many things about his death and what it meant to them. But did their words mean the same thing then that they do today when repeated by Christians in the twenty-first century? In this seminar Stephen J. Patterson will try to answer this question historically, by placing early Christian claims about the meaning of Jesus’ death in the context of the ancient Mediterranean basin in which they were first uttered. Why did early Christians say Jesus’ death was “for us?” Why did they call his death a “sacrifice?” Where did this language originate? The answers to these questions are sometimes quite surprising.
Stephen J. Patterson (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School) is the George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. Prior to this position, he was Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, for more than 20 years. His research and writing have focused on the Gospel of Thomas, Q, and various aspects of the historical study of Jesus. Among his books are Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus (Fortress, 2004), The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Trinity, 1998) and The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus (Polebridge, 1993).