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© Richard C. Saxon Photography
© Richard C. Saxon Photography
© Richard C. Saxon Photography
© Richard C. Saxon Photography
© Richard C. Saxon Photography
© Richard C. Saxon Photography

Thanks to all of you who made the "Enlivening Scripture:

Resurrecting New Texts and New Meanings for 

Yesterday, Today, and Beyond" a success!

The Tanho Center held it's inaugural conference October 20th through 23rd at First United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado.  Featuring John Dominic Crossan, Ann Graham Brock, Chebon Kernell, Celene Lillie, Natalie Perkins, John Rogers, Deborah Saxon and Hal Taussig, and hosting participants from around the country, our first conference was a resounding success!  Many thanks to all who attended, our members, and First United Methodist Church--without you this would not be possible!

Want to learn more about the conference?  See below!

John Dominic Crossan examines cutting edges of emerging new pictures of the beginnings of Christianity in two lectures as a part of this three-day national conference launching a new organization for the promotion, study, and spiritual potential of the many new texts from the earliest Jesus and Christ movements.  Rethinking resurrection in the earliest texts and visual portrayals, Professor Crossan first lecture presents a dramatic new way to make sense of the meanings of resurrection very new.  In his second lecture, Crossan portrays the surprising young woman leader, Thecla, in a first and second century context.  

This new membership organization, called the Tanho Center, has roots in the many colleges and universities, spiritual movements, and churches who have discovered the value of newly discovered ancient documents like Gospel of Mary, the Acts of Thecla, the Thunder:Perfect Mind, the Gospel of Truth, and other texts from the first two centuries CE/AD.

The conference centers around new ways to find meaning in both newly discovered texts and traditional texts through a broad set of venues including: 

-workshops introducing new texts 

-lectures by internationally known scholars and spiritual leaders 

-new films and videos about these ancient texts

-classes for church leaders on how to introduce these texts 

-new theater and musical versions of these ancient texts 

-re-thinking the categories of orthodoxy and heresy

-optional spiritual exercises each day.   

These broad selections are meant to appeal to a broad variety of interested people from spiritual seekers to regular church members, from trained scholars to curious members of the public, and clergy.

Featured Speakers:

John Dominic Crossan is almost certainly the New Testament and Early Christian professor and author most in demand in the western hemisphere.  He is author of 21 books, including How to Read the Bible and Still be a ChristianFour Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contour of Canon; God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome Then and Now; The Birth of Christianity; and The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.  He is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, and has given hundreds of lectures in academic and church institutions around the world.

Ann Graham Brock teaches New Testament and early Christian Origins with special interests in extracanonical texts, archaeology, and gender issues in religion.  One of the world's leading experts on Mary Magdalene, her best-selling book, Mary Magdalene, the First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority, is in its third printing and has recently been translated into Japanese. She has also co-edited five other books, and had numerous encyclopedia and journal articles published in German, French, and English. She has taught New Testament and World Religion courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as Iliff School of Theology, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard University where she received an Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to speaking engagements around the country and internationally, Dr. Brock has also appeared on the History Channel in its presentation of The Twelve Apostles, on the Discovery Channel in The Real Da Vinci Code, and in several British television documentaries. 

Hal Taussig has recently retired from his 17-year post as Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  Among his 14 books are the more recent A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Including Traditional and Recently Discovered Texts; Re-reading the Gospel of Mark Amidst Trauma and Loss; The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introdutction; and In the Beginning was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Westar Institute and of the Tanho Center, as well as the Co-Chair of the Westar Institute’s Christianity Seminar, as well as a member of four steering committees for the Society of Biblical Literature over the past 25 years.  He is an ordained United Methodist minister, and has pastored churches for over 30 years.

Celene Lillie is the Director of the Tanho Center for a new New Testament.  Recent recipient of a Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity from Union Theological Seminary in New York, she is author of the forthcoming Fortress Press book, The Rape of Eve, due out in early 2017.  Among others, she is co-author of The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction and Director of Translations for Hal Taussig's A New New Testament.  She has also been an adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary as well lecturing and leading workshops at colleges and churches throughout the United States.  In addition to her Ph.D., she holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University.

Chebon Kernell is the Executive Secretary for all indigenous and native ministries around the world for the United Methodist Church.  He was a member of the New Orleans Council which selected from among new ancient texts to be included in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Including Traditional and Recently Discovered Texts.  He was the Westar Institute’s first recipient of its Public Religious Literacy Award in 2015.

Deborah Niederer Saxon does research focusing on newly-discovered early Christian texts and the differing viewpoints they offer.  She delights in debunking the notion of “Gnosticism” as well as highlighting the roles of women in these recently-found extra-canonical texts. She also has a passion for helping people from different religious traditions explore these texts together as this provides many engaging opportunities for dialogue and inclusion of diverse perspectives. She has a B.A. from Baylor University, a dual M.A. from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from a joint program between the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver.    She currently lives in Franklin, Indiana with her husband, John, and serves as adjunct faculty at Christian Theological Seminary.  

Natalie Renee Perkins Natalie Renee Perkins is a professional actor and writer living in New York City. She is a contributing writer for Daily Guideposts. Most recently, she was seen in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's production of Hairspray in Concert with John Waters and George Wendt. She is also a member of the USO Show Troupe. She can be reached via social media at--, Twitter: @DivaDoesDiviniT, Facebook: Diva Does Divinity, YouTube: Diva Does Divinity. In 2014 she was named a national Young Religious Leader by the Westar Institute.  She was awarded the Feminist Preacher of the Year award by Union Theological Seminary in New York.   

John Rogers is the coordinator of the Tanho Center's film studio and a producer of the studio's recent film The Acts of Paul and Thecla.  He was a history major and also studied filmmaking at Davidson College where he produced a documentary on Mike Maloy, who helped integrate college basketball in the South.  After living in Belize for two years, John enrolled at Union Theological Seminary for a Masters of Divinity.  He presented a paper on the Sermon On the Mount at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in 2014 and two papers on the Letter from Peter to Philip at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2015.  He is also the Associate Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, New Jersey. 

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