A Feature Review of
The Forgotten Creed:
Christianity’s Original Struggle against Bigotry, Slavery, and Sexism
Reviewed by Alden Bass
According to Stephen Patterson, Paul was reluctant to make the statement which we now know as Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” As Patterson explains in his new book, these words were already well-known when Paul took up his pen to write to the Galatians, a bit of liturgical language which would have been familiar to any Christian who recited it at their baptism. Paul incorporated the formula into his letter in an effort to ease tensions in the nascent Galatian Christian community between Jews and Gentiles. The old social order built on race, gender, and class differences was dead, at least among those walking “in newness of life.” Paul hesitated, Patterson suggests, because these words were dynamite.