Charles Hedrick reviews ancient Coptic documents
Read my new book!
Parabolic Figures or Narrative Fictions? Seminal Essays on the Stories of Jesus.

"Hedrick contends that the parables do not teach moral and religious lessons; they are not, in whole or part, theological figures for the church. Rather parables are realistic narrative fictions that like all fiction literature are designed to draw readers into their story worlds where they make discoveries about themselves by finding their ideas challenged and subverted—or affirmed." (From the back cover.)


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Charles Hedrick is Inducted
into the MSU Wall of Fame

 Latest Publications 

“The Church’s Gospel and the Idiom of Jesus,” The Fourth R 30.4 (July-August 2017), 3-7, 26.

“Liberator of the Nag Hammadi Codices. In Memoriam James McConkey Robinson June 30, 1924 – March 22, 2016,” Biblical Archaeology Review (July/August 2016), 51-54.

“Is the Bible the Word of God, Charles W. Hedrick and Lee M. MacDonald in Dialogue,” The Fourth R 29 issues 3-5 (2016).

“Dating the Gospel of the Savior: Response to Peter Nagel and Pierluigi Piovanelli” in Apocrypha. Revue international des litératures apocryphes 24 (2013): 223-36.

“Secret Mark. Moving on from Stalemate” in the recently published book edited by Tony Burke: Ancient Gospel or Modern Forgery. The Secret Gospel of Mark in Debate. Proceedings from the York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium (Wipf and Stock, 2013), 30-66.

“Questioning the Historical Reliability of the Gospels. A Hopeful Pessimism Struggles between Optimism and Skepticism.”in The Fourth R

Click here to read a review of Charlie's book, Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel According to Thomas


Blogs Published Elsewhere

The Fourth R 27.3 (May-June 2014: 21)
“Yahweh—The God Who Changed His Ways.”

The Fourth R:
“Where does Evil Come From?”

Springfield News-Leader:
Is the Bible Really the Word of God?
Bible varies on topic of marriage
Man turning into a god is ancient idea
Mosque opposition hides real motivation
Give science credit for universe
Don't blame destructive forces of nature on God

Freethinkers of Colorado Springs:
Does Our God Have a Future?

 About Me 

I was educated at a small Southern Baptist liberal arts college in the deep south (Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi, 1958) and a Southern Baptist Seminary (Golden Gate, Mill Valley, California, 1962). After seminary, I was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Needles, California for three years, resigning to return to my studies in 1965. I worked as a Deputy Probation Officer in Los Angeles County (Juvenile Probation) for 13 years while I completed an M.A. at the University of Southern California (1968) and a Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate School (1977).

I retired as a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain (Colonel) after 30 years' service. My highest award was the "Legion of Merit." I have served as pastor of churches in Mississippi, California, and New York City. In December 2004, I retired from teaching in the Religious Studies Department at Southwest Missouri State University, where I taught classes related to Christian Origins.

My research interests are Christian Origins. I taught classes in that subject at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri from 1980-2004 (viz., Jesus of Nazareth, New Testament Introduction, Parables, Gnosticism, etc.). My publications have been primarily in the areas of Gospels, Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, the Graeco-Roman world, and related topics.

My first book on parables, Parables as Poetic Fictions, raises what I regard as substantive significant issues for the study of the parables, which is the backbone of the Jesus tradition. Another book, The Gospel of the Savior is the first publication of a fragmentary gospel manuscript, written in Coptic, whose composition dates before the latter half of the second century C.E. I found in fragments languishing in the West Berlin (Germany) Egyptian Museum.

When History and Faith Collide is an inductive study for students that describes the problems of describing Jesus of Nazareth as a historical human being. The book is intended to help students engage the problems for themselves.

My second book on parables, Many Things in Parables establishes a consistent theory for a literary approach to Parables and is written for the non-specialist.

Four recent books stumble into the subject of what to do with the earliest Jesus traditions. House of Faith or Enchanted Forest? is a collection and revision of newspaper articles I published in the local newspaper critiquing unreflective Christian belief. When Faith Meets Reason is an edited work in which I challenged contributors to be completely honest about what they really believed. Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel according to Thomas shows the remarkable way the Jesus traditions were understood at the end of the first century in one early Christian text. The Wisdom of Jesus. Between the Sages of Israel and the Apostles of the Church sets out my understanding of Jesus of Nazareth.

If you are interested in more information on my research, publications, or activities look at the Curriculum Vitae.

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Charlie and Peggy Hedrick

Copyright 2017
Charles W. Hedrick, Sr.
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Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel According to Thomas, A Radical Faith for a New Age When Faith Meets Reason, Religion Scholars Reflect on their Spiritual Journeys House of Faith or Enchanted Forest? American Popular Belief in an Age of Reason Many Things in Parables: Jesus and His Modern Critics Parables as Poetic Fictions: The Creative Voice of Jesus When History and Faith Collide: Studying Jesus Gospel of the Savior Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and Early Christianity Apocalypse of Adam: A Literary and Source Analysis (Ancient Texts and Translations) The Gospel of John, The Movie Wisdom of Jesus Parabolic Figures Wry Thoughts About Religion Blog