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Early Christian Texts Events

Interested in booking Shirley Paulson or Hal Taussig of Early Christian Texts to speak or present a series or workshop?  Click here to for booking information.

A variety of presentations on early Christian texts, including seminars, classes, workshops, and lectures

Some topics include:

  1. Relationships between the Bible and extracanonical texts
  2. Issues in the early formation of Christianity
  3. Exploration of divine and human vulnerability
  4. Spiritual practice emerging from study of extracanonical texts
  5. Healing ideas from the ancient texts
  6. Theological and spiritual concepts from the ancient texts

Presentations and events can be created to work perfectly with your event. If you have a specific topic related to the early Christian texts, be sure to send a message to ask about it.

Fragment from the Gospel of Mary

Fragment from the Gospel of Mary, unknown photographer, public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bible and Beyond Discussions
Monday Textual Studies

Once a month, at 8–9 pm Eastern Time on Monday nights (generally the fourth of the month), Dr. Hal Taussig presents an online discussion of one of the early Christ movement texts.  These discussions, hosted 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.

Upcoming Conference Presentations and Similar Events

Title: The Gospel of Thomas and the Bible: The “Marvelous Coincident” (of special interest to Christian Scientists)
Presenter: Shirley Paulson, PhD
Type: Presentation (via Zoom)
Date: June 8, 2021
Time:  1:00 pm – 2:15 pm and 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm (Central)
Where: Principia Summer Session (Online) Register Here
Description: The Gospel of Thomas lies in an intriguing location in Biblical history and contemporary significance for Christian Scientists. Mrs. Eddy had a surprisingly meaningful relationship to it, even though the full text of the Gospel of Thomas wasn’t even discovered until 1945—some 35 years after her passing. We’ll talk about what’s in this ancient text and why it mattered to Mrs. Eddy.

Title: The Gospel of Thomas and the Bible: Why It Matters to Christian Scientists
Presenter: Shirley Paulson, PhD
Type: Presentation (via Zoom)
Date: June 17, 2021
Time:  1:00 pm – 2:15 pm and 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm (Central)
Where: Principia Summer Session (Online) Register Here
Description: The Gospel of Thomas comes to modern Christians cloaked in controversy over its relationship to the Bible. It is so similar in some ways, but it hints at a kind of spirituality that alarms those who think it might be a ‘gnostic’ text. We’ll take a closer look at a bit of the content of the book and consider some of the gnostic accusations in the context of Christian Science.

Title: The Secret Revelation of John, a 2nd Century Healing Text: Was it Christian, Gnostic, or Something Else?
Presenter: Shirley Paulson, PhD
Type: Presentation (via Zoom — registration is here)
Date: July 22, 2021 — Facebook event page is here
Time: 6:00 pm Eastern (5:00 Central, 4:00 Mountain, 3:00 Pacific)
Where: Admiral Church, Seattle, WA
Description:  Buried for more than a thousand years in the sands of Egypt, the Secret Revelation of John has stayed a secret far longer than it should have. Even now, 75 years after its discovery in 1945, it eludes easy understanding even as it shines with the message of God’s loving presence amid suffering and pain. We will discuss the Secret Revelation of John’s three gems of healing wisdom that have been encrusted in a millennium of doubt and theological limitation.

Past Events

Title: “Race, Ethnicity, and the Bible”
Presenter: Dr. Hal Taussig
Type: Four 75-minute Presentations (via Zoom)
Date: September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 2020
Where: Online

Title: “How Do Early Followers of Jesus Speak to Us Today?”
Presenter: Shirley Paulson, PhD
Type: 45-minute Presentation (via Zoom)
Date: September 27, 2020
Where: Clearview Home Annual Meeting (Online)

Title: “If Not Christian, Then What”
Presenters: Hal Taussig with Brandon Scott and Erin Vearncombe
Type: Seminar discussion of paper presentation
Date: May 9, 2020
Where: Westar Institute Spring Meeting of Christianity Seminar (Online)

Title: “Enlightenment on Psychological Aspects of New Testament Healing from Nag Hammadi
Presenter: Shirley Paulson
Type: Scholarly Paper Presentation
Date: July 4, 2019, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm (during the SBL International Meeting)
Where: The Pontifical Biblical Institute

Title: “Healing and Gender in Bible Times
Presenter: Shirley Paulson
Type: One Week Course
Date: June 24–28, 2019
Where: Elsah, Illinois
(Principia College)

Title: “Healing in a Fractured Time: Wholeness for the Early Followers of Jesus”
Presenter: Shirley Paulson
Type: Lecture
Date: November 18, 2018
Where: Denver
(Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist)

Title: “Healing Theologies and Practices in the Early Christian Church”
Presenter: Shirley Paulson
Type: Two-week course
Date:  June 11 – 22, 2018
Where: Elsah, IL
(Principia College)


I was very interested in Dr Paulson’s talk on healing among early Jesus followers. I now know what it means to be an “early Jesus follower” and why that term is used. The context of life at the time, the overview of the Secret Revelation of John, the ideas shared on the beliefs and practices during Jesus’ day were fascinating. After this talk, I look forward to learning more!  — Bonnie Jean Schlaepfer, Denver, CO

One thing you can always count on when Shirley Paulson speaks:  her passion and conviction about her subject.  She takes complex material and breaks it down for a newcomer to the material to understand.  Her tremendous academic training has prepared her to share these early texts in new, fresh ways that bring the latest scholarship to bear.  Enjoy! — Madelon Maupin, Newport Beach, CA (Founder, Bible Roads)

Recently I was privileged to take a fascinating 2-week course from Dr. Shirley Paulson, based on her years of research on early Christian texts. To be able to study extracanonical texts, discovered in 1945, added greatly to my understanding of theological issues both then and now. — Lucy Harper, Atlanta, GA

Your message was incisive, powerful, and focused … Your broader theme assures us that, regardless of whatever outward turmoil seems to be present, by keeping our focus on the three gems, we can experience the harmony of God’s creation right here and now. — Dennis Page, Trabuco Canyon, CA, Attorney at Law

From anonymous evaluation forms:

Such amazing, eye-opening, helpful information. The fruits of your study research digging are so helpful…

Getting exposed/acquainted to the ancient extracanonical texts for the first time – now I need to go home and study them.

Interested in non-canonical healings; how early Christian churches organized; explanations about the Council of Nicea and its impact on history; closer historical context; great perspective: explanations through good metaphors.

There was so much here that I could take this again and continue to learn more — have more texts been found? Grateful for all. I think you were very thorough. I appreciate your bibliography and back-up for many of the ideas given.

I enjoyed all of it and got a lot out of it.