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The Bible and Beyond Discussions

Monthly Monday Textual Study

Once a month, at 8:00–9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday nights (generally the fourth of the month), Early Christian Texts hosts a presentation and discussion of one of the early Christian texts.  Dr. Shirley Paulson generally leads the sessions by first sharing a well-framed overview of the particular subject and after that providing time for all participants to ask questions or share their own insights.

There is no charge, but attendees are invited to donate or become a Bible and Beyond patron. You may attend any or all sessions — you are welcome any time.  We look forward to your participation.

Folks who need a brief introduction to these rather surprising and deeply moving texts are invited to watch the archival videos below, or, for those who would like a more in-depth introduction, we think you’ll 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.  

Transitioning from Head to Heart

Following each one-hour discussion program, participants are invited to stay connected to the the Zoom meeting and participate in a 20-minute period of spiritual reflection. Rev. Karen Hagen will guide us through a practice based on the subject covered in that month’s discussion. We expect the Head to Heart portion of the discussions to lead to deeper understanding and to help participants move beyond simply taking in information to finding personal inspiration and transformation. This practice is based on the concept that the divine has given us our whole self — thoughts, feelings, memories, intuition, body, and intellect — to use in discerning the divine presence. The divine is always seeking to be in more relationship.

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    Upcoming Discussion

    (Please note:  The Zoom meeting is online approximately 10 minutes before and during the meetings.)

    What Did Jesus’s Disciples Do after He Was Gone?

    Monday, March 27, 2023
    8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
    Click here for the Zoom meeting link
    Facebook Event Page

    Presenter: Dr. Shirley Paulson (with guest scholar Dr. Christine Shea)

    Wouldn’t we love to know what Jesus’s disciples did after his crucifixion and resurrection? There just weren’t any historians keeping track of them to record their works for posterity. But we can put some clues together and draw conclusions for the scraps of information we do have. Most people know whatever they know about the disciples from the Bible, but not much else. So we’re going to look at some of the other texts that were circulating during the first couple of centuries after Jesus to see if we can get a better picture. Although there are quite a few texts we could be looking at, we’ll zero in on three gospels not in the canon. The Gospel of Judas, the Letter of Peter to Philip, and the Acts of John all provide some information about how the followers of Jesus understood the people in Jesus’s closest circles and what was going on after Jesus’s departure. We’ll consider the differences between fact, fiction, and in between. We’ll also think about why the authors of these texts might have knowingly made up these particular stories – and even other stories in the Bible.

    Texts Used:

    Gospel of Judas

    Chapters 1 and 2 (if you have King/Pagels ( pp. 109 – 111 mid page)
    (or else from Gospels.net:  Introduction and Jesus Criticizes the Disciples)

    Letter of Peter to Philip

    Find this text on Early Christian Texts
    (by chapter number) 2:1-3, 3:1, 7:6-8
    (by bold page number) 132.10 – 133.10, 140.10

    Acts of John – John in Ephesus

    Find this text on Gnosis.org
    Paragraphs 18, 20, 32, 33, 37, 114, 115