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The Missing Bible

November 4-5, 2016
Auburn, California

  • What early Christian literature is missing from the Bible? And why?
  • Why is the oldest known gospel not included? How do we know it’s missing? What’s in it?
  • Twelve apostles, all men! What happened to Junia, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene?
  • What remarkable gospel from Edessa was discovered in 1945? How will it change our ideas about Christian origins?

Common knowledge has it that the Bible contains 66 books—39 in the Christian Old Testament and 27 in the New. But Bibles vary in contents and number of books. This workshop explores missing texts both inside and outside the Bible.

Photo of Steven J Patterson

Stephen J. Patterson (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School) is Geo. H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies. A specialist in the study of the historical Jesus and Christian origins, he is the author of many books, most recently The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins (2014).

Deborah Niederer Saxon (Ph.D., Iliff School of Theology-University of Denver Joint Program) is adjunct faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Her research explores the potential that newly-discovered early Christian texts provide for contemporary ecumenical and interfaith partnerships.

Program Details

The Missing Scriptures

In the first three centuries of Christian history the followers of Jesus wrote dozens of gospels, “romances” such as the Acts of Paul and Thecla, treatises, apocalypses, and letters. What happened to all that literature? And why and how did we get the New Testament we have today? In this opening session Deborah Niederer Saxon will explore the “missing scriptures.”
Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm

A Missing Gospel

The oldest known gospel is missing. What was it, and how do we know it is missing? Do we know what was in it? How do we know? In this workshop Stephen Patterson will answer these and other questions about the lost gospel, “Q.”
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am

Missing Apostles

Twelve apostles—all men. Really? What about Junia, “preeminent among the apostles,” or Mary of Bethany, a disciple of Jesus himself, or Mary Magdalene, the first person to experience Jesus after his death? Scholars today no longer believe that all of Jesus’ disciples were men. There were many women too, and they left behind a legacy of literature. Saxon will explore this literature and what it tells us about the apostles who treasured it.
Saturday, 11 am – noon

Missing Places

Most early Christian writings come from the Roman Empire, but not all of them. In 1945 a gospel was discovered from another place—another sort of place: Edessa. This was the remarkable Gospel of Thomas. After 50 years of study, scholars are just now beginning to understand how it may change ideas about how Christianity began. In this workshop, Patterson explains.
Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm

What’s Missing?

In this final workshop, Patterson and Saxon will answer questions about the missing literature of early Christian groups, and lead a discussion of what you (and they) would like to recover.
Saturday, 3–4 pm


First Congregational Church of Auburn UCC

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

First Congregational Church of Auburn UCC
710 Auburn Ravine Rd.
Auburn, CA 95603

For local information, contact:

Barbara Grandstaff
[email protected]

Hotel Information:

These hotels in Auburn are all near the church:

Holiday Inn Auburn**
120 Grass Valley Hwy
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 887-8787

**They will give JSOR a discounted rate of $134 until 10/31. Attendees need to mention they are with JSOR.

Best Western Golden Key
13450 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603-3238
Phone: 530/885-8611

Red Lion Inn & Suites
1875 Auburn Ravine Rd
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 885-1800

Quality Inn Gold Country
13490 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 885-7025

Super 8 Motel
140 E. Hillcrest
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 888-8088

Motel 6
1819 Auburn Ravine Rd.
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 888-7829


All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by Oct 22) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.