Charles Hedrick reviews ancient Coptic documents

Unmasking Biblical Faiths: The Marginal Relevance of the Bible for Contemporary Religious Faith

"This book aims to address many of the challenges to traditional Christian faith in the modern world. Since the eighteenth century Age of Enlightenment, human Reason, formerly tethered by the constraints of organized religion, has been set free to explore the universe relatively unchallenged. The influence of the Bible, on the other hand, weakened due to the successes of modern historical criticism, is found to be inadequate for the task of enabling the faith 'once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3), in that it cannot adequately respond to the many questions about religious faith and the world that human reasoning raises for modern human beings. In a series of short but tightly reasoned essays, Charles Hedrick explores the confrontation between traditional Christian faith and aggressive human reason, a conflict that is facilitated by Western secular education." (From the back cover.)

Click here to watch an interview in which I discuss the book: Ozarks First

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 Charlie's Blog 

Wry Thoughts About Religion Blog
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 News and Video 

Why should anyone care about Jesus and the Jesus Tradition?

Christianity Before Constantine

Using Jesus as the Gold Standard for Being Christian:

Charles Hedrick is Inducted
into the MSU Wall of Fame

 Latest Publications 

 Lost Legal Tender in the Streets: Ditties, Rhymes, Whimsical Verses

 Stories from the Life of a Delta Boy

Faith Critically Examined. The Fourth R 33.1 (January-February 2020), 23.

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 literatures 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 2024
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 Unmasking Biblical Faiths