THE GNOSTIC JESUS

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Gnostic Jesus
Basic Gnostic Library
Gnostic Jesus
Gnostic Meditation
Gnostic Jesus
What Is Gnosis?
Gnostic Jesus
Gnostic Gospels
Gnostic Jesus
Gnostic Terms and Concepts
Gnostic Jesus
What Is Gnosticism?Overview
Gnostic Jesus
Persian Gnosticism
Gnostic Jesus
Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism
Gnostic Jesus
Early Gnostic Groups
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Medieval Gnostic Groups
Gnostic Jesus
Medieval Inquisition
Gnostic Jesus
Modern Gnosticism
Gnostic Jesus
History of Gnosticism
Gnostic Jesus
Fathers and Proto-Gnostics
   

 
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The Basic Gnostic View

Gnosticism is the mystical arm of Christianity. Mysticism is the search for the Divine within one's self. It is a search within. Gnosis is a Greek word for "knowledge." However, this is not mere book learning; not a garnering of facts. The Gnostic path is a path of direct enlightenment or direct experience - inner subjective knowledge. Once gained, this experience cannot really be communicated to others with words. Gnostics believed that the point of the teachings of Jesus was to pursue this inner path. In Luke 17:21 Jesus advises us that the Kingdom of God is within us. He is asked where the kingdom could be found. He recounts that others will say "look here" or "look their" but the Kingdom of God is not something that can be seen - it does not come with observation. Thus he is truly telling us that the Kingdom of God is within us.

Gnostic Antagonists

In the early formative years of Christianity, the Gnostics had antagonists. These were the camp that believed they alone held the torch of Jesus by right of apostolic succession. In other words, if we common folk wanted God, or Jesus, we had to get it from them. They alone had the right to absolve our sins. We could only get the Divine from them. This was quite a position of power and prestige and it was challenged by the Gnostic view that anyone could get at the Divine by going within themselves. A great verbal war arose from this.

The Roman Emperor Constantine was the first to embrace Christianity but he did not do so because he was a convert. This is evidenced by the fact that he did not receive baptism until he was on his deathbed. At the time he embraced Christianity as part of the Roman landscape he did so as a matter of political expediency. It was a means of controlling the masses. For this reason he sided with the hierarchy of priests, deacons and bishops as they were also declaring the right to control the flock. The Gnostics did not fit in to Constantine's plans. Gnosticism was self-empowering. This is not conducive to control by others.

Gnostic Gospels

As we might imagine, Constantine banned the Gnostics and ordered a book burning. Fortunately, a Gnostic or group of Gnostics buried a large stash of Gnostic scrolls in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. These were discovered in 1945 and were thereafter called the Nag Hammadi library. These are a compendium of 13 ancient works called codices containing more than 50 texts. This discovery was truly astonishing. We knew about many of these heretofore missing texts because they are referred to in other works. For example, the Bible refers to the Book of Jasher in two places. The Nag Hammadi library contains a significant number of primary Gnostic texts. These had been thought destroyed in the purge of Constantine. Three of the most important texts are the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Truth and, perhaps the most famous, the Gospel of Thomas.

The translation of the Nag Hammadi library was finished in the 1970s and has provided the fuel for a revolution in how we view early Christianity and the nature of Gnosticism. A great introduction to this fascinating turn of fate and its profound implications may wish to read The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels.

Within the pages of this site is a complete history of the Gnostics and their sects as well as a translation of the Gnostic Gospels.

The Nag Hammadi Library

Until the discovery of the codices at Nag Hammadi, the only known literature about Gnosticism was derived from heresiologists. In 1945, the world of Gnosticism was forever changed. Here, the Nag Hammadi Library is unlocked and its story is told. From its discovery, to its translation to a guide to its codices, this section of the site is your one-stop place for truly uncovering the texts of the Nag Hammadi Library.

Gnostic Terms and Concepts

Before beginning any of the reading on this page, it is strongly suggested that the novice reader starts by reviewing this list of Gnostic terms and concepts. By being familiar with these terms, the study of this beautiful Gnostic religion will be a much easier feat!

What Is Gnosticism?

To help our readers to fully comprehend Gnosticism, we have taken the time to break Gnosticism down into easy to read articles. These articles provide a wonderful starting point before delving into the Gnostic Bookstore. Here, you can find articles explaining a General Overview of Gnosticism, The Gnostic Creation Myth, The Importance of Sophia to Gnosticism, Gnostic Rituals, Gnostic Morals and Ethics, and Gnosticism’s Relation to Dualism and Monism.

Modern Gnosticism

Contemporary Gnosticism is extremely interesting, as it is prevalent in nearly every aspect of our society. While it is important to stay abreast of current Gnostic Studies, it is also essential that any self-proclaimed Gnostic is aware of the current and past Gnostic Scholars, the prominence of Gnosticism in Popular Culture (including Gnostic Books, Gnostic Movies, Gnostic Music and Art, and Gnostic Games). There are also many modern Gnostic Revivals occurring all over the world. Also included here is a links page to find Gnostic Churches and Organizations in your area.

Early Gnostic Groups
The development of Gnosticism has been broken down here so that you can explore for yourself the diversely fascinating groups of Gnosticism. While each sect here varies in beliefs and texts, it is important to understand these early Gnostic groups in an effort to fully comprehend the history of Gnosticism and how it has affected present-day Gnosticism. Also included in this section of the site are essays explaining the plight of the Medieval Gnostics, the Persian Gnostics and the Syrian-Egyptian Gnostics.

History of Gnosticism

It has been said that winners write their own history. Certainly this is the case with the Gnostics. In this section of the site, we have probed into the origins of the Orthodox Church and how Gnosticism was eventually regarded as heretic. Included here is a timeline of Christianity and Gnosticism, an analysis of the influence of Pythagoreanism on Gnosticism, an essay on Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, and information on the heresiologists and their works that ensured that Gnosticism was not a tolerated religion in the ancient world.

Fathers and Proto-Gnostics

Gnosticism did not develop on its own. The proto-Gnostics are considered to be the first Gnostic teachers and messengers. Subsequently, the founding fathers of Christian Gnosticism have made a large impact on what we regard as Gnosticism today. Some of these founders even began their own schools of Gnostic thought, which can be read about in our section of early Gnostic groups.

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