Thoughts on Hal Taussig’s The New New Testament

Hal Taussig has not assembled anything but a nice literary collection of ancient documents related in someway to one another through an early Christian experience, either heterodox, orthodox, or flat-out heretical. While he maintains that a new New Testament is needed, he only suggests this due to his inability to accept the old New Testament, the history of canonization, the meanings of various words such as authority, tradition(al), and scripture.

There are two ways of taking this book. First, you can take the book along with the pseudo-spiritual hype presented on the back cover and in the various front matter material (written by John Dominic Crossan and the author). If you do this, then you might as well as add the Qu’ran and other, much later, documents that each purport to tell some hidden story of Jesus. You might even want to include Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Secondly, and this is the not just the only right way to take this book but so to the most helpful way to take this book, you can take this book as an essential literary tool to use as you read early Christianity. That is how I take this book, generally because I do understand and appreciate the terms mentioned above.

Taussig has done much of the homework of the patristic scholar for them. He includes gnostic material such as prayers and the Gospel of Thomas (from Nag Hammadi), various Odes of Solomon (which has been found in other canons), pseudo-gospels (Mary, Truth) created to tell other a particular story or theme for certain groups, as well as secret revelations. While not completely comprehensive of early Christian and heretical groups literary traditions, it does serve as a path forward. He uses the Open English Bible translation for the base of the New Testament while looking to other authors to provide translations of the new books. The translations are easy to read and does solid literary justice to some of the harshness of the Greek-to-modern readers’ English we see in stilted, so-called word for word, translations.

I am going to tepidly recommend this book, but only if you take it as patristic learning tool and not in any sense as how it is presented on the back cover

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7 Replies to “Thoughts on Hal Taussig’s The New New Testament”

  1. This guy is a heretic and anyone who follows his unscriptural views, will be led astray…see below:

    According to the August 27, 1990 National and international Religion Report, Heidinger said that some Methodist seminarians are adopting nontraditional refer­ences to God as “Mother God” or “Mother-Father God.”

    The Religion Report article added that “two United Methodist pastors, Susan Cady and Hal Taussig, published a book on goddess worship in 1989 that contains prayers to a deity named Sophia and litur­gies for a communion service — including an endorsement of witchcraft and New Age practices.

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