Author Topic: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?  (Read 2209 times)

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Offline BadCat

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The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« on: March 05, 2008, 11:41:31 AM »
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« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 05:51:25 PM by BadCat »
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Offline The Night Owl

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 07:28:49 AM »
Let's discuss the Gnostic Gospels.
Why were they left out of the "modern" versions of the bible?
Are they valid biblical teachings, heresy or just some neat history?

I don't know much about the Gnostic Gospels, but I can understand why Christian denominations and sects which believe that the Bible is perfect and complete as it is might be resistant to considering the Gnostic Gospels to be canonical.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 07:51:54 AM »
Gnocchi
Recipe Courtesy of Mario Batali
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, extra large
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup canola oil

Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.

Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.

Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.

Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.
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Offline Splashdown

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 08:16:25 AM »
From what I've read, the early church fathers believed that many of the Gnostic gospels took the emphasis off of Jesus' divinity--or even Jesus himself, and therefore, didn't make the Biblical canon.
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God alone suffices.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008, 12:00:41 PM »
From what I've read, the early church fathers believed that many of the Gnostic gospels took the emphasis off of Jesus' divinity--or even Jesus himself, and therefore, didn't make the Biblical canon.

Further complicated by the fact that a number of gnostic accounts that were discovered among the "Dead Sea Scrolls" may not have even been known at the time of establishment of the Cannon at the Council of Niecea.

doc
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Offline Duke Nukum

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2008, 02:30:49 PM »
I have some sympathy with the gnostics but am not in complete agreement with their teachings.

I do believe that all true know edge arises from within.  That no knowledge that is imparted can be true knowledge until we internalize it.  I find dogma and hierarchy to be somewhat detrimental to the development of the soul.

On the other hand, I don't believe the material world was created by an evil demiurge and that souls are trapped in matter.

Gnostic scriptures are more symbolic and that is one reason for their exclusion.  Many gnostic sects felt Jesus was a pure spirit and because of their position on the material world, they felt there was no way a pure spirit like Jesus could take on the mantle of a material body.  Because of this belief, they did not believe that Jesus died on the cross and one of the gnostic gospels has Jesus with his disciples watching himself be crucified and laughing at the idea of death and suffering.  Which, not taking the story literally, but as an illustration, I can get behind the idea of suffering and death as an illusion of the material world.  Or, as my understanding increases, the idea that suffering comes from how we think or choose to view events.  That the material world is the slave of thought.  But I digress.

At any rate, there are a lot of reasons for the exclusion of gnostic texts but I always see the gospel of John and the letters of John as fairly gnostic.

But another reason for their exclusion is the early church was at war with the dualistic heresy.  After wiping out early gnostic sects, they reappeared again as the Cathers in Occitania in the 12th and 13th century and the Bogomils in the East.  In the West, the Albigensian Crusade wiped out the Cathers and gave Occitania to France.  I believe the Western church applied some pressure on the Eastern church to wipe out the Bogomils but I think the Bogomils flourished for a while longer and died out due to Muslim influence.  Who knows, in some forgotten corner of the East some Bogomil sect might still exist.

Anyway, one usually doesn't include the scripture of a mortal enemy in one's own cannon, and I believe that is the main reason for the exclusion of the Gnostic scriptures.  Still, like all forbidden works, they hold a certain fascination.  For a while I had the Nag Hammadi library and used to enjoy reading it but I lost it in a move many years ago.  It's a shame really because I think I would appreciate it better today.  OTOH, I am most interested in reading other type of materials today so perhaps it is for the best.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 02:42:41 PM by Duke Nukum »
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Offline Rebel Yell

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2008, 02:36:54 PM »
I'm sure TNO will be by shortly to explain it all to us.  Until then we'll have to remain lost on the topic. :bow:
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Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: The Gnostic Gospels - History or Heresy?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2008, 04:55:50 PM »
This might come as a surprise to many moderns, but even the ancients understood the science of textual criticism. They didn't blindly accept texts just because it started with, "No, really, God told me so."
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."