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 Texts, edited 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.
(Please note: The Zoom meeting is online approximately 10 minutes before and during the meetings.)
Wisdom for Today from Extracanonical Texts
Monday, October 23, 2023
8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Facebook Event Page (coming soon)
Dr. Hal Taussig and Natalie Perkins (with host Dr. Shirley Paulson)
The modern discoveries of ancient texts from the second century offer up a remarkably diverse collection of things that people wrote about. Hal Taussig and Natalie Perkins will discuss eight of them that demonstrate both their diversity and their shockingly relevant meaning for today. These texts were written before many kinds of Jesus people even knew the word ‘Christian,’ but they all sprang from some kind of positive connection with Jesus. This kind of pre-Christian orientation generates a response today for people who identify themselves as either Christian, non-Christian, or even still searching for what to call themselves. Hal and Natalie discuss the wonderfully creative and innovative writings they have selected for their new book, In Trembling Boldness: Wisdom for Today from Ancient Jesus Peoples. These include The Gospel of Thomas, Thunder: Perfect Mind, Acts of Paul and Thecla, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Truth, The Thought of Norea, Odes of Solomon, and the Prayer of Thanksgiving. In case anyone thinks these texts should remain buried in the ancient sands, they will be delighted and surprised to hear how intensely related they are to twenty-first century postmodern people, queer people, often ruggedly impoverished people, people of color and blackness, and anyone “with ears to hear.”
Texts: (All of these texts are available online, but preferred translations are in Hal Taussig’s A New New Testament.)
Gospel of Thomas, Sayings 30 42, 50, 95
Thunder: Perfect Mind, 1:5-7; 2:12-18; 4:13
Gospel of Truth: 17:11-14; 19:1-5
The Thought of Norea (all of it)
Odes of Solomon: 36