Stephen Patterson

Department Chair, George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies

Stephen J. Patterson came to Willamette in 2010 as the George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies. Prior to his arrival here he was for more than 20 years Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

Dr. Patterson is an historian of religion specializing in the beginnings of Christianity. 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), as well as the co-authored volumes, The Q-Thomas Reader (Polebridge, 1990), The Search for Jesus (The Smithsonian Institution and the Biblical Archaeology Society, 1994), The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age (Trinity, 1998), and The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate (Polebridge, 2001). His many essays and reviews have appeared in The Harvard Theological Review, The Journal of Biblical Literature, The Journal of Religion, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Theology Today, among other publications both professional and popular. You will occasionally see Dr. Patterson in various documentaries dealing with biblical subject matter airing on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He holds membership in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. He is also a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and leads the Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins, a group of 150 scholars of early Christianity dedicated to disseminating biblical scholarship to the general public.

Dr. Patterson is currently at work on a commentary on the Gospel of Thomas for the series Hermeneia (Fortress Press).