Early Christian Texts: The Bible and Beyond

Early Christian Texts: The Bible and Beyond

Those who have immersed themselves in these texts have been strengthened, shocked, inspired, and healed by relating to them. They contain extraordinary gems of wisdom, but also challenge preconceived notions about what it meant and what it means to identify as a follower of Jesus.

Events and Live Appearances

Visit the Event page to learn more about Early Christian Texts events.

Please contact us to request more information about upcoming events.

Westar Christianity II Seminar

Spring Session: “Healing and Health in Emergent Christianity”

Shirley will present her paper, “Spiritual Healing (Without Medicine) at the Heart of Christian Crossroads.”

Countering traditional understandings that early Christians were primarily concerned with spiritual salvation, this Conference will take us into an in-depth exploration of healing and health in emergent Christianity. Acknowledging that the healing arts toolkit included both medicine and magic, we will examine sources that afford access to traditions of bodily wholeness and those who used them. We will likewise query whether the combination of medicine and magic held true across Christian communities or if unique healing practices served to demarcate distinct forms of the religion. Four invited scholars with expertise in ancient healing, medicine, and magic will engage these and other themes related to the healing arts.

Presenters:  Andrew Crislip, Meghan Henning, Joseph Sanzo, and Shirley Paulson

Session Preview (registration required, free):
Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 7:00 pm Eastern
Preview of the actual seminar to follow. Zoom link provided after registration. Registration link for this free session coming soon.

Session Events (registration required, fee):
Registration required. Registration link coming soon.

Friday, March 22, 2024, 11:00 am and 1:30 pm Eastern
Paper summaries followed by discussions (Shirley presents during the 11:00 am session)

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 11:00 am Eastern
All Four presenters engage together in a panel discussion, followed by 20–30 mins. of Q&A

Healing Violence in the World:
Letter of Peter to Philip

6 Online Discussion Sessions
Every other week on Thursday evening
March 7 through May 16
8:00 pm Eastern


After Jesus Before Christianity

6 Online Discussion Sessions
Every other Tuesday
March 19 through May 28
7:00 pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Special focus for Christian Scientists


About scheduled times:
You can convert to your time zone here. Please keep in mind that dates are important because Daylight Savings Time changes may happen during the run of a course and Daylight Savings Time changes happen on different dates in the U.S. and Europe.

Bible and Beyond Discussions

The Bible and Beyond Discussions

Once a month, at 8–9 pm Eastern Time on Monday nights (generally the fourth of the month), Early Christian Texts presents an online discussion pertaining to the early Christ movement texts.  These discussions, hosted or presented by Shirley Paulson, PhD, begin with a well-framed overview of the particular text, and then participants ask questions and share their own insights about the meanings and potential for these texts.

The Secret Revelation of John Course

Fourth in the Nag Hammadi Series the Secret Revelation of John, expands readers' modern understanding of the biblical world in extraordinary ways. Written about the same time or just a bit later than other biblical texts, it reveals a side of the Jesus movement that was invisible to the world for over 1600 years. In this online course, Dr. Shirley Paulson explores the book’s three major ideas – gems – that support its healing and saving message.

The Thought of Norea: Christ’s Sister Savior

Third in the Nag Hammadi Series The Thought of Norea, found in the Nag Hammadi texts in 1945, not only indicates the reality of this female Savior, but in her divine-human state, she illustrates for humanity how her divinity might be attainable by others. This course, the third in the Nag Hammadi series, is presented by Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Hal Taussig.

After Jesus Before Christianity: New Discoveries

This course, After Jesus Before Christianity: New Discoveries, is presented by Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Deborah N. Saxon. The course is designed to help you gain a better understanding of early Jesus people by examining information from a wide variety of sources, including the book After Jesus Before Christianity.

Healing Violence in the World: Letter of Peter to Philip

Second in the Nag Hammadi Series Presenters Dr. Shirley Paulson and her co-instructor, Dr. Hal Taussig, guide you through some surprising new ideas about Jesus in this little-known text, the Letter of Peter to Philip. Jesus gives his ambassadors (i.e. disciples) instructions in six steps that lead his followers (from long ago and now) to experience peace, joy, and even healing in the face of violence.

The Gospel of Thomas Goes Public

First in the Nag Hammadi Series Presenters Dr. Shirley Paulson and her co-instructor, Dr. Hal Taussig, explain the complex but extremely important relationship between the recently discovered Gospel of Thomas and the Bible, while helping you gain confidence in your own ability to interpret and make use of it.

Ancient Christian Texts for Modern Healing

This class, offered by Early Christian Texts and taught by Dr. Shirley Paulson, is an introductory course constructed especially for spiritually curious people who don’t have much experience with the books circulated during the early days of Christianity.  As well as providing a foundation for more the advanced courses, Ancient Christian Texts for Modern Healing gives users insights into the healing beliefs and practices of early Jesus followers.

Illuminating the Secret Revelation of John: Catching the Light

The Book by Shirley Paulson

The Secret Revelation of John was probably written around the same time some of the later books of the Bible took shape, but it was lost and buried around the 4th century. Although it was hidden throughout most of Christian history, its message seems especially relevant today because it appeared at a time somewhat like our own. Shirley Paulson introduces readers to the ancient text in her new book, Illuminating the Secret Revelation of John: Catching the Light.

Learn more here!

The Bible and Beyond Blog

The Bible and Beyond blog explores historical and spiritual questions about Jesus, women, salvation, healing, the meaning of life, and where Christianity came from. This blog opens the conversation that will help all writers and readers unlock some of the mysteries from extra-canonical books, forgotten scriptures, so-called “gnostic” gospels, and the Bible.  Read Shirley Paulson’s introductory post here.

The Bible and Beyond Podcast

The Bible and Beyond podcast is a series of interviews with scholars who are able to unlock mysteries from extra-canonical books, forgotten scriptures, so-called ‘gnostic’ gospels, as well as the Bible. Host Shirley Paulson, Ph.D., and her guests explore historical and spiritual questions about Jesus, gender, women, salvation, healing, and the meaning of life. The discoveries these scholars share don’t always fit with what we’ve been told, but time and again they lead us toward a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, TuneIn, and many other apps.

Bible and Beyond Presentations

Introductory and In-Depth Online or In-Person Presentations by Shirley Paulson, PhD

The Bible and Beyond Presentation series offers courses and workshops designed for use by churches, conferences, and organizations. Providing a unique opportunity for participants to experience introductory or in-depth classes on various aspects of early Christian texts, the presentations can be offered in-person or online. The combination of Shirley Paulson’s experience with healing, scholarship, and research in Practical Theology evokes ever-new questions and conversations based on ancient texts. Shirley has nearly two decades of experience presenting lectures, classes, and workshops on early texts. Learn more about the variety of presentations offered.

Bible and Beyond Presentations

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