Memoranda

Introduction

Most of the subjects I have written about (see Index of Essays) have either come up in casual conversations with friends or through email correspondence referrals. By composing my thoughts in writing I have accomplished two things. First writing down ideas gives me a chance to edit and revise my own thoughts and thereby hopefully develop a reasoned position on a subject. Secondly, writing memorializes my ideas and provides me with a quick resource to consult when the subjects addressed arise again in some future conversation. The information comes from two main sources: independent readings about religious history and college level courses offered by the Religious Studies Departments of San Jose State University, Stanford University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

Finally, I need to make an important disclaimer. I am not interested in arguing about questions such as “Does God Exist?”, “Does man have a soul?”, “Is there life after death?” or any other religious dogma of a metaphysical nature. Neither am I interested in diverting anyone (whether atheist, agnostic, deist or theist) away from his beliefs. My interests are limited to the study of contemporary university scholarship on the subject of Biblical history,  the origins of Christian and Jewish religious thought, and the place of religion in American history, in the founding of the United States,  and in contemporary culture.

College Level Classes in Religious Studies

  • History and Interpretation of the Book of Revelation – San Jose State University (Brent Walters)
  • Protestant and Catholic Traditions – San Jose State University (Brent Walters)
  • The History of the Bible (Old and New Testaments) – San Jose State University (Brent Walters)
  • The Israel – Palestine Conflict – Stanford University
  • An Introduction to the World’s Five Major Religions – Stanford University
  • The Old Testament – Vanderbilt University Divinity School (Amy-Jill Levine, Ph.D. – The Teaching Company lecture series)
  • The New Testament – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D. – The Teaching Company lecture series)
  • Radical Christianity – Stanford University (Thomas Sheehan, Ph.D. – Religious Studies Department)
  • The Hebrew Bible – Stanford University (Mark Mancall, Ph.D. – Professor of History, Emeritus)
  • The Historical Jesus – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D. – The Teaching Company lecture series)
  • The Historical Jesus – Stanford University (Thomas Sheehan, Ph.D. – Religious Studies Department)
  • The Origin of Christian Doctrine – Stanford University (Robert Gregg, Ph.D. – Religious Studies Department)

List of Books Read

  1. The Selling of Christianity
  2. Constantine’s Sword: the Church and the Jews: a History by James Carrol
  3. The Gift of the Jews by Thomas Cahill
  4. How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
  5. Desire of the Everlasting Hills by Thomas Cahill
  6. Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell
  7. The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
  8. Asimov’s Guide to the Bible by Isaac Asimov
  9. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  10. The Old Testament in the Christian Church by A.H. McNeile
  11. Teaching of the Twelve Apostles – The Didache by Hitchcock & Brown
  12. Jewish and Christian Apocalypses by F. Crawford Burkitt
  13. The Early Christian Apologists by W.H. Carslaw
  14. A Study in the History of the Eucharist by James Thomson Shotwell
  15. Epistle to Diognetus – W. S. Walford
  16. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  17. The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
  18. How Christianity Must Change or Die by Bishop John Shelby Spong
  19. Ante-Nicene Christianity by Orr, Hort and Box
  20. St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp by C. P. S. Clarke
  21. Clemens Romanus: An Apologetical Study by D. W. Simon
  22. St. Polycarp: Bishop of Smyrna by Blomfield Jackson
  23. The Christology in the Apostolic Fathers by Alonzo Rosecrans Stark
  24. Judaism by Michael A. Fisbane 
  25. The Sacred Canopy (Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion by Peter L. Berger (University Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston College)
  26. The Origins of Satan by Elaine Pagels (Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University)
  27. Beyond Belief – The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels
  28. Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  29. The First Coming How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity by Thomas Sheehan, Ph.D. Stanford University. Religious studies Department
  30. Beyond the Passion – Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus by Stephen J. Patterson, Prof of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary
  31. Who Killed Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Prof of Religious Studies, DePaul University
  32. Jesus Interrupted Revealing hidden contradictions in the Bible by Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Academic Degrees and Post Graduate Work

  • BS – Marine Engineering, U.S. Naval Academy
  • MBA – Finance, Columbia University
  • Post Graduate work in Scientific Computing & Computational Mathematics, Stanford University