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Early Christian Texts Discussions
Presented by the Tanho Center

Tanho Monday Textual Study

Once a month, at 8:00–9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday nights (generally the fourth of the month), the Tanho Center sponsors a presentation and discussion of one of the early Christian texts.  Each Monday session is led by a trained scholar of these texts.  Discussion leaders will share a well-framed overview of the particular text, and give time for all participants to ask questions or share their own insights about the meanings and potential for these texts.

There is no charge, but people are invited to give donations to the Tanho Center.  One does not have to attend every session, and anyone is welcome any time.  We look forward to your joining these textual studies.

Folks who need a brief introduction to these rather surprising and deeply moving texts are invited to check out the several short films on the Tanho website home page. People who would like a larger introduction will enjoy the book, A New New Testament: A Bible for the Twenty-First Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Textsedited by Hal Taussig and published by Houghton, Mifflin, and Harcourt.  

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The Tanho Center is dedicated to the study and interpretation of the large range of early Christ movement texts discovered in the last 150 years. By incorporating recently discovered texts into contemporary practices, we hope to signify exactly what tanho means in Coptic: “to make or be alive.”

Click to donate to the Tanho Center to support the Monday Discussions

Click the button above to donate to the Tanho Center to support the Monday Discussions.

Upcoming Discussions

(Please note:  The Zoom meeting links are only active approximately 10 minutes before and during the meetings.)

No Such Thing as ‘Gnosticism’?

Monday, June 24, 2019
8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/499027361
Facebook Event Page
Presenter:  Deb Saxon

Read discussion information and texts here.

Those of us who participate in Tanho know the value of extra-canonical texts, but we may struggle with how to classify them. When we continue to use the old label of ‘Gnostic,’ these texts are seen as dangerously heretical by some and sensationalized as exotic objects by others. Over the past two decades, scholars have compellingly argued that the category of ‘Gnosticism’ is inaccurate, misleading, and leads to the continued marginalization of these texts. In our next session, Deb Saxon will tackle this complex topic and engage us in understanding just why it is important to avoid this label and how we can envision alternatives. We hope you’ll join us and add your own two cents’ worth to a scholarly conundrum that has real stakes for issues of inclusion far beyond the ivy tower.

The Thunder: Perfect Mind

Monday, July 22, 2019
8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/499027361
Facebook Event Page (coming soon)
Presenter: Hal Taussig

Click here for the text we’ll be using in this discussion.

The Thunder: Perfect Mind was found in a jar in the Egyptian desert in 1945 along with 51 other documents in what has come to be called “The Nag Hammadi Library.”  Much more widely known than all but one of the other 51 documents, “Thunder” is already being celebrated and taken seriously by hundreds of thousands.  Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison, quotes it as the epigraph for two of her novels.  Multiple Oscar award-winning director Ridley Scott has made a film about it.  Julia Dash, the first African American woman director in Hollywood opened her award-winning full-length film, Daughters of the Dust with an eight-minute quote from “Thunder.”  A key chapter in Umberto Eco’s famous novel, Foucault’s Pendulum, features this document from the Egyptian sands.  Leading early Christianity scholar, Elaine Pagels probably is most responsible for spreading the news about “Thunder,” quoting it extensively in her popular books.  In 2013 “Thunder” was one of ten newly discovered ancient texts added to a “new New Testament” by an international Council of spiritual leaders and scholars and published broadly by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt.  University of Pennsylvania professor Andrew Lamas calls this poem “one of the ten most important documents in history.”

Past Discussions

“The Sentences of Sextus”

Monday, April 29, 2019
8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Facebook Event Page
Presenter:  Hal Taussig

Learn and discuss one of the intriguing Nag Hammadi text, “The Sentences of Sextus.”

“The Letter of Peter to Philip”

Monday, May 20, 2019
8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Facebook Event Page
Presenter:  Hal Taussig

“The Letter of Peter to Philip” is a text that was first discovered in the famous Nag Hammadi jar found in Egypt in 1945.  Click here for the text that was used in this discussion.