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Wisdom for Today from Extracanonical Texts

A Bible and Beyond Discussion

Monday, October 23, 2023
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Guest Scholars: Dr. Hal Taussig and Natalie Perkins
with host Dr. Shirley Paulson

Wisdom for Today from Extracanonical Texts

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 MaryGospel 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