Capture“Split the piece of wood. I am there,” Jesus says. But not in any Scripture you’ve ever read.

Seventeen hundred years ago, the so-called Gnostic “non-canonical” gospels were rejected by scholars who believed they were written much later than those of the first eyewitnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection. And throughout our history, every time someone tried to bring them back to life, these writings have been deemed heretical by doctrinally-sound experts.

“This is the first revision of the Christian canon. Period.” So says the Rev. Hal Taussig, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York and is co-pastor of Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church. He is releasing A New New Testament as A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts on Tuesday.  This new new bible contains 10 gospels, letters, and prayers that never made it into the Bible.

Taussig explains why we need to explore heretical writings as truth:

The new new bible contains standard texts PLUS writings from the documents that were rejected by the first church council (at Nicea in 325), attributed to Andrew, Barnabas, Bartholomew, Eve, Gamaliel, Judas (discovered in the last decade), Mary, Peter, Philip and Thomas, not to mention the Apocryphal Gospel of John, Gospel of the Birth of Mary, Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, Gospel of Truth, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Gospel of the Egyptians, Gospel of the Ebionites, and Gospel of the Hebrews.

The minister selected these writings with the help of a council of 20 spiritual leaders. We don’t know who they are, but we do know that “nine were women, six were people of color, all were North American, and they ranged theologically from centrist to very liberal with a strong feminist outlook.” This would explain a lot.

Read more here and here.