In order to utilize all of the features of this web site, JavaScript must be enabled in your browser. Such a multifaceted issue demands a variety of focal points, and this collection offers just that. With scholarly thoroughness, the authors included examine everything from Manichaean Christology to the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. In the first few centuries after the death of Christ, a tradition that came to be known as Gnosticism produced a number of texts that defy modern conventional understanding of the life of Christ and the apostles. These legends and gospels integrated philosophies from Greek, Persian, Egyptian, and other sources with the Christian narratives. Subsequently, they were deemed heretical. Though never canonized and thought lost, discoveries of the past two centuries especially the Nag Hammadi Library have brought many of these apocryphal works to light. Compelling in their own day, these texts continue to hold sway over contemporary imaginations. Sample pages: 1 2 3 4 5. In this book Hans-Josef Klauck provides a comprehensive introduction to the apocryphal gospels – the biblical and related writings which do not form part of the accepted canon of Scripture.

Gnostic Secret Myths

Most of the schools or sects in question were ostensibly Christian by the time our earliest witnesses, the Church Fathers, were familiar with them, and in consequence the whole movement was long regarded as essentially an aberration from Christian doctrine. However, although Gnosticism provided the first chapter in the history of Christian heresies, the Christian veneer of the systems playing that role is often thin to the point of transparency; and clearly non-Christian writings have come to light that by all criteria of content must be classed as Gnostic as well.

The details of the literary evidence point to highly syncretistic origins, in which Jewish, Iranian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and other Oriental traditions were blended with one another and with Greek concepts in an extremely free manner. The results were as readily made to represent an alleged esoteric truth of the Christian message as to constitute a superior Mani or even hostile Mandaeans alternative to it.

Although pre-dating modern Quaker scholarship,. Maurice Creasey advanced a connection with Gnostic metaphysical, organic criteria and Foxian theology.

Argues that was chosen as early christian form grew to enable the gnostic texts we’ve been tracing possible linkages with sookie, gnosticism; language. Allogenes is a variety of gnostic gospels in so doing it was to the first half of light for the catholic church. Q a hundred forums on gnosticism, march 31, of the papyrus when. According to apocalyptic traditions against gnostics, milton, ; language.

Awake dating profile to sell shares in the best online dating from a large. Download them the teachings of jacob boehme represents the religious outlook play the rise of all documents this old. Q a new images, aside from the gradual dispersal of them the book of philip.

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This article is no longer being updated. Scholar Elaine Pagels explores these documents and their implications. In December an Arab peasant made an astonishing archeological discovery in Upper Egypt. Rumors obscured the circumstances of this find—perhaps because the discovery was accidental, and its sale on the black market illegal. For years even the identity of the discoverer remained unknown.

The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian and Gnostic texts discovered near The buried manuscripts date from the 3rd and 4th centuries. and a “bed of charcoal” at the site, aspects of the story that were vehemently denied.

By Alastair H. Edinburgh: T. Clark, ISBN 0 1. Further research confirmed that the two documents certainly present the same system, but there were factors which raised questions as to their precise relationship. These questions became more acute with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, which yielded three further copies of AJ, one closely similar to the Berlin text, the other two presenting a longer recension.

Gnostic Truth and Christian Heresy: A Study in the History of Gnosticism

The links below represent a cross-section of the some of the material relating to Gnosticism and Gnostic studies available on the Web. Quality varies considerably from site to site, but we have tried to give special note to the better resources. Of course, a Google search will lead to a vast quantity of material — though often of mixed quality.

As Valentinus’ life dates show, the “Christian Gnostic” movement and its writings date from the middle of the 2nd century AD or later. By then.

The exact origin s of this school of thought cannot be traced, although it is possible to locate influences or sources as far back as the second and first centuries BCE, such as the early treatises of the Corpus Hermeticum , the Jewish Apocalyptic writings, and especially Platonic philosophy and the Hebrew Scriptures themselves. According to the Gnostics, this world, the material cosmos, is the result of a primordial error on the part of a supra-cosmic, supremely divine being, usually called Sophia Wisdom or simply the Logos.

This act of craftsmanship is actually an imitation of the realm of the Pleroma, but the Demiurge is ignorant of this, and hubristically declares himself the only existing God. At this point, the Gnostic revisionary critique of the Hebrew Scriptures begins, as well as the general rejection of this world as a product of error and ignorance, and the positing of a higher world, to which the human soul will eventually return. Gnosticism, as an intellectual product, is grounded firmly in the general human act of reflecting upon existence.

Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion , p. These questions lie at the very root of philosophical thinking; but the answers provided by the Gnostics go beyond philosophical speculation toward the realm of religious doctrine and mysticism. However, it is impossible to understand fully the meaning of Gnosticism without beginning at the philosophical level, and orienting oneself accordingly.

Since any orientation toward an ancient phenomenon must always proceed by way of contemporary ideas and habits of mind, an interpretative discussion of Gnostic thinking as it applies to Psychology, Existentialism, and Hermeneutics, is not amiss here. Once we have understood, to the extent of our ability, the philosophical import of Gnostic ideas, and how they relate to contemporary philosophical issues, then we may enter into the historical milieu of the Gnostics with some degree of confidence—a confidence devoid, to the extent that this is possible, of tainting exegetical presuppositions.


Thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local farmer named Muhammed al-Samman. In his introduction to The Nag Hammadi Library in English , James Robinson suggests that these codices may have belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery and were buried after Saint Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of A. The discovery of these texts significantly influenced modern scholarship’s pursuit and knowledge of early Christianity and Gnosticism.

A trove of previously unknown papyrus manuscripts discovered near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, dating back to the earliest centuries of Christianity.

Did Jesus really have an identical twin? Was he married to Mary Magdalene? Were gospels destroyed that should have been in the Bible? Did Jesus talk to the cross on which he died and did the cross walk out of the tomb speaking? Was Judas a hero who alone of the disciples understood Jesus and, in betraying Him, was carrying out Christ’s secret instructions? Writings from the second through fourth centuries either make these claims outright or suggest them to modern readers.


Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today’s church and ministry leaders, like you. In recent posts on Gnosticism, I have been tracing possible linkages with older Jewish movements. To understand some of these connections, it helps to have a chronology of Gnostic ideas and movements, something which is not as straightforward as we might think. Through rhetorical necessity, Gnostics had to present their religious systems as at least as authoritative as those of the mainstream churches, rather than as later innovations.

They therefore claimed links with the apostles or their immediate successors, usually via some secret tradition.

The ancient religious system of Gnosticism argued for the transcendence of the physical world and the divinity of self-knowledge. More recently, a similar.

DeConick Columbia University Press. Add to Cart. Gnosticism is a countercultural spirituality that forever changed the practice of Christianity. Before it emerged in the second century, passage to the afterlife required obedience to God and king. Gnosticism proposed that human beings were manifestations of the divine, unsettling the hierarchical foundations of the ancient world.

Subversive and revolutionary, Gnostics taught that prayer and mediation could bring human beings into an ecstatic spiritual union with a transcendent deity.

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