What Is Gnosticism? Definition and Beliefs Explained
Gnosticism (pronounced NOS tuh siz um) was a religious movement that emerged in the second century and claimed that salvation could be obtained via a specific sort of hidden knowledge (NOS tuh siz um). Gnostic instructors and views were denounced as heretical by early Christian church leaders such as Origen, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, and Eusebius of Caesarea, among others.
Gnosis, which means ″to know″ or ″knowledge,″ is the root of the term Gnosticism, which means ″to know″ or ″knowledge.″ Because this information is not intellectual, but legendary in nature, it can only be obtained by a specific revelation from Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, or through one of his apostles. The secret wisdom gives the solution to the problem of redemption.
Beliefs of Gnosticism
- Gnostic ideas were in direct conflict with orthodox Christian teaching, resulting in intense arguments among early church leaders over the problems at hand.
- By the end of the second century, a large number of Gnostics had either seceded or been ejected from the church.
- They established alternative religious communities based on belief systems that were considered heretical by the Christian church.
- While there were numerous differences in views across the many Gnostic sects, the following fundamental features were found in the majority of them.
- Gnostics held the belief that the universe was divided into two distinct realms: the physical and the spiritual.
- The created, material world (matter) is wicked and, as a result, stands in contrast to the world of the spirit, and only the spirit is good, according to this belief.
- Those who followed Gnosticism frequently concocted a wicked, lesser deity and Old Testament entities to explain the formation of the world (matter), while considering Jesus Christ to be an entirely spiritual God, according to the Bible.
- God is frequently described as being unfathomable and unknown in Gnostic teachings.
- That is in opposition to the Christian ideal of a personal God who seeks to establish a personal relationship with human people.
- As well as this, Gnostics distinguish between the lower god of creation and the higher deity of redemption.
Saving Knowledge: Gnosticism asserts that hidden knowledge is the foundation of salvation.It was thought by adherents that secret revelation liberates the ″divine spark″ that exists inside humanity, allowing the human soul to return to the divine world of light to where it is meant to be.Christians were separated into two groups by Gnostics, with one group considered carnal (inferior) and the other considered spiritual (superior) (superior).Only those who were spiritually superior and divinely enlightened were able to grasp the secret teachings and achieve real redemption.
- According to Christian doctrine, salvation is open to all people, not just a select group of people, and that it is obtained via grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), rather than through study or good deeds.
- The Bible, according to Christian belief, is the only source of truth.
- Jesus Christ (Hebrew: ): There was a rift among Gnostics about their ideas concerning Jesus Christ.
- One school of thought maintained that he simply looked to be in human form, but that he was truly only a spirit.
- His heavenly spirit, according to the opposing school of thought, entered his human body during baptism and left it before the crucifixion occurred.
- In contrast, Christianity believes that Jesus was both fully human and completely divine, and that his human and divine natures were both present and essential in order to give a sufficient payment for humanity’s sin.
The following is an outline of Gnostic doctrines, according to the New Bible Dictionary: ″The ultimate God resided in unapproachable splendor in this spiritual realm, and he had no involvement with the world of matter or with any of its inhabitants.The Demiurge, a lower-level creature, was responsible for the formation of matter.He, with with his helpers the archns, was responsible for keeping people imprisoned inside their material life and obstructing the passage of individual souls attempting to go to the spirit world following death.Despite this option, however, it was not available to everyone.
Because only those who possessed a divine spark (pneuma) had any prospect of escaping from the confines of their physical bodies.Even those who possessed such a spark did not automatically become conscious of their own spiritual predicament, as they needed to obtain the illumination of gnsis in order to become aware of their own spiritual predicament.This enlightenment is attributed to a supernatural redeemer who descends from the spiritual realm in disguise, and who is frequently identified with the Christian Jesus in the Gnostic doctrines recorded by the church Fathers.
As a result, salvation for the Gnostic consists in being alerted to the presence of his divine pneuma and then, as a result of this understanding, escaping from the material world and entering the spiritual realm after death, as described above.″
- The number of gnostic texts is enormous.
- Numerous so-called Gnostic Gospels are portrayed as ″lost″ books of the Bible, but in reality, they did not fit the requirements for inclusion in the Bible when it was first put together.
- They are in direct conflict with the Bible in several situations.
- Nag Hammadi, Egypt, was the site of the discovery of a massive library of gnostic writings in 1945.
- In conjunction with the works of the early church fathers, these documents served as the primary sources for recreating the Gnostic religious system.
- ″Gnostics,″ in The Westminster Dictionary of Theologians (First edition, p. 152)
- ″Gnosticism,″ in The Lexham Bible Dictionary
- ″Gnosticism,″ in The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 656)
- ″Gnosticism,″ in The Lexham Bible Dictionary (first edition, p. 152).
How Did the Gnostics View the Crucifixion of Jesus?
- Easter weekend is the pinnacle of the Christian faith, with every other component of the religion serving as a minor footnote to the main event.
- However, the death and resurrection of Jesus are also relevant in Christian Gnosticism, which may come as a surprise given that Gnosis is supposed to be the core tenet of the religion.
- Even more unexpected, as will be shown, is the fact that Gnosis and the Cross are not mutually incompatible – even if the notion of atonement for sins is essentially non-existent in Gnosticism – as they are in Christianity.
- For the same reasons that they had varied views on Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Gnostics held varying attitudes toward these events as well.
- These ranged from the most basic literal to the most extreme metaphorical.
- Take your cross and join me as we journey up to several Golgotha’s in search of these distinct mindsets.
The Valentinian view
- According to Einar Thomassen’s book The Spiritual Seed: The Church of the Valentinians, numerous perspectives of how the Valentinians perceived the Passion of Christ are presented.
- One of the most intriguing is that at the time of Jesus’ death, a cosmic explosion occurred, totally awakening the Pneumatic (the Elect) and presenting the Psychic with a last decision (those straddling the fence between the spiritual and material realms).
- It is possible to characterize Christ’s death as a Gnosis Bomb.
- Valentinus himself writes a section about the crucifixion in his book, The Gospel of Truth, that is both inspiring and instructive: As a result, error was enraged with him, and as a result, it punished him.
- The fact that he was affected by it rendered him impotent.
- He was nailed on a cross for the rest of his life.
- He was transformed into a manifestation of the Father’s wisdom.
- He did not, on the other hand, annihilate them because they consumed the substance.
- As a result of this finding, he rather induced people who consumed it to feel ecstatic about it.
- Valentinus also declares: This is the book that no one has been able to grab since it has been reserved for the one who will take it and be slaughtered.
Valentinus further declares: As long as the book had not been published, no one could be manifested among those who believed in salvation.As a result, the compassionate and trustworthy Jesus remained patient in his sufferings until he accepted that book, knowing that his death would bring life to countless people.The All had been hidden for as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source, just as in the case of a will that has not yet been opened because the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so too in the case of a will that has not yet been opened because the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden.As a result of this, Jesus emerged.
- He claimed that book as his own, and he was hung on a cross for his actions.
- He nailed the Father’s decree to the crucifixion with a hammer.
- In other words, in many Valentinian belief systems, the death of Jesus and the attainment of Gnosis are actually one and the same.
- In some ways, the Cross resembles the Tree of Knowledge (Gnosis).
- This is especially fascinating since Sophia appears in The Secret Book of John as a tree, which is a reference to the Tree of Knowledge.
- The Valentinian Gospel of Philip, on the other hand, draws a relationship between the Cross and the Tree of Life, as follows: When asked about Joseph the carpenter, Philip the apostle responded, ″He cultivated a garden because he required wood for his craft.″ He was the one who fashioned the cross out of the trees that he had planted.
His own descendants were reliant on the crops he had cultivated.He produced Jesus as a result of his planting, which was the cross.″ However, the Tree of Life is located in the center of the Garden.Although the olive tree provided us with the chrism, it was the resurrection that came about as a result of the chrism.It is also a Valentinian work that Jesus declares, ″Remember my cross and my death, and you will live!″ (The Secret Book of James is another Valentinian work.)
The Sethian and other views
- It is important to note that not all Gnostic groups held the Passion account in such high regard.
- Even though they are mainly ambivalent about the crucifixion, the Sethians in the Gospel of Judas express hatred for any form of atoning death.
- A passage in which Jesus mocks the Apostles and their belief in Jewish Temple ceremonies that include blood sacrifice reveals his point of view on the matter.
- Some academics, on the other hand, believe that Jesus does not view his destined execution as an entirely terrible event because it will result in his abandoning his human clothing and resuming his Aeonic existence.
- In my piece on Judas and the terrible force of fate, I express my disagreement with this point of view.
- Many Gnostic scriptures, such as the Letter of Peter to Phillip and the Gospel of Mary, merely regard Jesus’ death and resurrection as a brief break in the process of imparting Gnosis to his disciples – as well as a test of their faith.
- Following in the footsteps of the Sethian attitude, the great mysteries are truly passed on only after Jesus has returned in an angelic manifestation and can no longer be harassed by the Archons (the Pistis Sophia claims that Jesus continued to teach his disciples for a further 12 years after his resurrection!).
- Some Gnostics were simply opposed to the notion that Jesus Christ might suffer while on Earth, and they were not alone (or that he even possessed a human form).
- Jesus mocks his execution and the spectacle that surrounds it in the Apocalypse of Peter, with some translations claiming that Satan has been replaced on the Cross: Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been revealed, to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the first-born, and the home of demons, and the stony vessel in which they dwell, of Elohim, of the cross, which is under the Law: Nevertheless, he who stands close him is the live Savior, the first in him, whom they had grabbed and then freed, who stands happily looking at those who had done him damage, while they are split between themselves.
- As a result, he makes fun of their lack of perception, knowing well well that they were born blind.
Following the crucifixion, Jesus comes to the Apostle John, according to the Book of Acts.He reveals to the ″Beloved Disciple″ that in Golgotha, there were two crosses to bear the blood of Jesus.For example, there is the Cross of Light, which rises beyond the earthly world and serves as a portal to faith and hope as well as knowledge and the Pleroma itself.The other was the Cross of Wood, which reflects the lower element of mankind that prevailed inside all those who witnessed the crucifixion of a phantom and represents the lowest aspect of humanity.
- According to Basilides, the crucifixion was a prank intended to humiliate the Demiurge and his heavenly mafia, with the exception of poor Simon of Cyrene, who was nailed to a cross.
- Jesus has been replaced with a Simon in the Second Treatise to the Great Seth, although it is not clear whose Simon it is.
- Jesus escaping death via a sleight of divine hand was eventually borrowed by Islam, increasing the possibility that Mohammed had contact with Gnostic groups, or that the belief itself was still prevalent among certain Christians in the sixth century, according to some scholars.
- In an unusual turn of events, the most widely read Gnostic literature, the Gospel of Thomas, includes no mention of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- According to one interpretation55, Jesus is calling for individuals who would wear a cross like him, while some scholars believe this was a typical statement during the period of rampant Jewish killings by the Romans.
An eternal and mythic view
- There is a similar thread running through most interpretations of the Passion tale, notwithstanding the diverse ideas held by Gnostics.
- The Savior appears in a form that humans can recognize; his form is destroyed by the demonic agents who rule the universe (the blame is never placed on the Jews or the Romans); and finally, he returns in an astral manifestation to impart his greatest teachings to those who have both faith and have understood his message from the start.
- Following the lead of the Bishop of Rome, most Gnostic and Protestant churches will be celebrating Easter on Sunday.
- However, the significance of the celebration is considerably more profound and ageless, because the death and resurrection of a Godman is a classic theme seen in many civilizations, indicating the regeneration of many parts of Creation and even farther.
- Furthermore, because Gnostics believe in the possibility of becoming Christlike while still living, the death and resurrection of the Savior serve as a metaphor for a stage in the Gnosis process itself.
- Anyone seeking ultimate spiritual liberation must die to his or her lower self, which is identified with the material world.
- Then he must awaken as a changed being who is not only securely attached to the Godhead, but who is also capable of instructing others on the path of soul-ascension.
- Rather of being a member of the throngs gathered under the Cross of Wood, looking at phantoms, a person finds themselves within the Cross of Light, replete with faith, hope, knowledge and the Pleroma.
- Beyond this lovely picture, the Book of Acts of John goes on to elaborate on this promise, saying: Please consider me to be the slaughter of a Word, the wounding of a Word, the hanging of a Word, the suffering of a Word, the fastening of a Word, the death of a Word, the resurrection of a Word, and the definition of this Word, which I mean every man!
- It is possible for Christ and humanity to become one when the Gnosis Bomb detonates and spreads in the shape of what appears to be a cross of light.
Check out Do Gnostics Believe in Charity and Good Deeds?for more information.
What did the Gnostics believe about Jesus?
- When it came to Jesus’ death and resurrection, various gnostics had diverse beliefs. The death and suffering of Jesus were considered to have occurred just in appearance, or if they did occur, they did not occur at the heart of Jesus’ spiritual existence, according to some. These individuals are known as docetists. More information may be found by clicking here. So, what did the Gnostics think about the nature of salvation? Consequently, while Gnostics, like other Christians, seek salvation via the words of Jesus, they do so not to be saved from sin but rather to be saved from ″the ignorance of which sin is a result.″ They think that the malevolent creator God and his angels are to blame for this state of ignorant bliss and blissful ignorance. A related question is: what exactly is Gnosticism in layman’s terms? Those who believe in Gnosticism believe that people are heavenly spirits who have become trapped in the ordinary physical (or material) world. According to legend, the world was created by an imperfect soul. The imperfect spirit is supposed to be the same as the God of Abraham, despite the fact that they are not. Jesus was seen by certain Gnostic sects as having been sent by the highest deity to impart gnosis to the Earth. In light of this, what do the Gnostic Gospels have to say about Jesus? However, some of the gnostics who penned these gospels disagreed, claiming that self-knowledge is synonymous with knowledge of God, and that the self and the divine are indistinguishable. Second, unlike the ″living Jesus″ of the New Testament, the ″living Jesus″ of these writings speaks of illusion and illumination rather than sin and repentance, as does the Jesus of the Old Testament. Who are the Gnostics in the modern era? Gnosticism in modern times includes a variety of contemporary religious movements that are derived from Gnostic ideas and systems that were prevalent in ancient Roman society
- the Mandaeans are an ancient Gnostic sect that is still active in Iran and Iraq, with small communities in other parts of the world
- and the Essenes are an ancient Gnostic sect that is still active in India and Pakistan.
Do Gnostics believe in Jesus?
- Does the Gnostic believe in Jesus Christ?
- Who are the Gnostics today?
- What does the term ″gnostic″ mean?
- Who was the founder of Gnosticism?
- Is there a Gnostic Bible?
- Is there a Gnostic Bible?
- The Gospel of Mary: Is it accurate?
- What exactly are the ″Lost Gospels″?
- What are the differences between Gnosticism and Christianity?
- Sophia’s Biblical identity
- Who is Sophia in the Bible?
- What do you name a person who does not adhere to any religion but still believes in God?
- What is the message of the Gnostic Gospels?
- Is the Nag Hammadi story accurate?
- Who was the author of the gospel of truth?
- What is the total number of gospels?
Do Gnostics believe in Jesus?
When it came to Jesus’ death and resurrection, various gnostics had diverse beliefs. The death and suffering of Jesus were considered to have occurred just in appearance, or if they did occur, they did not occur at the heart of Jesus’ spiritual existence, according to some. These individuals are known as docetists.
Who are the Gnostics today?
A number of theological doctrines and systems known collectively as gnosticism emerged in Jewish-Christian milieux during the first and second centuries CE and later spread throughout the Mediterranean world. The Mandaeans are an ancient Gnostic sect that is currently active in Iran and Iraq, as well as in a few other countries throughout the world, including the United States.
What Gnostic means?
matter is evil
Who started Gnosticism?
Is there a Gnostic Bible?
The Gnostic Gospels: The 52 writings discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, include’secret’ gospels, poetry, and stories ascribed to Jesus, as well as sayings and beliefs that are diametrically opposed to those found in the Christian Bible. Elaine Pagels, a scholar, examines these texts and the consequences they have.
Is the Gospel of Mary true?
The Gospel of Mary is a book that is regarded non-canonical in Christian orthodoxy. It was found in 1896 in a 5th-century papyrus codex written in Sahidic Coptic and is believed to be non-canonical in Christianity.
What are the Lost Gospels?
Gospels have been discovered. They had discovered many early Christian writings, including the gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary, that had been buried for almost 1,600 years before their discovery. There were other alternative texts about Jesus that were not included in the Christian Bible, and these gospels were among them. There are a lot of things.
How does Gnosticism differ from Christianity?
Gnostics were dualists who worshipped two (or more) gods; Christians, on the other hand, were monists who worshipped just one God. Gnostics were concerned with the eradication of ignorance, whereas Christians were concerned with the removal of sin.
Who is Sophia in the Bible?
In Gnosticism, Sophia is a feminine entity who is equivalent to the soul, but she is also one of the emanations of the Monad, which is also a feminine figure. Her followers believed she was the syzygy of Jesus (also known as the Bride of Christ) and that she was the Holy Spirit, one of the three persons of the Trinity.
What do you call a person with no religion but believes in God?
In philosophy, agnostic theism, also known as agnostotheism or agnostitheism, is a philosophical position that embraces both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a God or gods, but thinks that the foundation of this belief is either unknown or fundamentally unknowable by human beings.
What do the Gnostic Gospels teach?
The Gnostic Gospels, on the other hand, fully divorced Jesus from Israel and the history of Israel in relation to God. The God of the Old Testament, as depicted by the Gnostic Gospels, is regarded as malevolent, and Judaism is regarded as having been abandoned completely.
Is the Nag Hammadi true?
The manuscripts unearthed at Nag Hammadi are usually believed to date from the fourth century, but some scholars question whether they were originally composed in this period or later. The Gospel of Thomas is often considered to be the first of the so-called ″gnostic″ gospels to have been written. Scholars generally agree that the work was written in the early to mid-2nd century.
Who wrote the gospel of truth?
To Valentinus, from Irenaeus
How many gospels are there?
What Are the Gnostic Gospels?
- An important source of opposition to early Christianity was the movement known as Gnosticism, which was appealing to people of many backgrounds because of its amorphous and syncretistic character. The Gnostics had a number of common beliefs, which were as follows: An existence of a spirit-matter dualism in which all materialism was regarded to be wicked
- Convoluted system of many divine spirits populating the various sectors of the celestial kingdom, which is difficult to comprehend.
- It is the human desire to be saved from the evil of materialism
- The notion that salvation came about as a result of obtaining a secret ″gnosis″ or piece of information
- When a movement emerged that linked Gnostic principles with Christian beliefs, Gnosticism became a more serious challenge to the early church than it had previously been.
- These are the early beginnings of the Gnostic Gospels in the form that we are familiar with.
- An increasingly diverse ″Christian-Gnostic″ movement grew in popularity throughout the second century.
- They maintained a strong belief in the dualism of spirit vs matter, and placed a great value on the ″spiritual″ world.
- The idea that Jesus had a human body with human flaws was unsettling to them, and they proposed alternative explanations such as Jesus seeming to have a body or Jesus having a supernatural body to counteract their discomfort with the idea.
- They saw Jesus as a superior divinity in comparison to Yahweh, who was seen as a lesser and even sinful deity.
- For them, redemption meant achieving freedom from the bonds of enslavement to the body and the material world.
- They thought that they were in possession of the hidden salvation wisdom or information that Jesus had revealed to the apostles in the New Testament.
- The Gnostic Gospels are a collection of literature that is both Christian and Gnostic in nature.
- They claimed that these Gospels were written by apostles such as Peter, Phillip, Thomas, and Judas, among others.
Why Are the Gnostic Gospels Not in the Bible?
The recent discovery of a portion of the Gospel of Judas has rekindled interest in the so-called Gnostic Gospels, which have long been debated.When people learn of the existence of a Gospel from Judas, they are often perplexed.Is this a genuine Gospel written by a follower of Jesus, or is it a forgery?What about other Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas, and how do they compare?Can we put our faith in the Gospels as recorded in the Bible?A famous scholar on the New Testament, N.T.
Wright, has identified four significant distinctions between the biblical or canonical Gospels and the Gnostic Gospels.Wright’s little book ″Judas and the Gospel of Jesus″ (2006, pp.68-83) outlines and explains these four discrepancies in detail.According to N.T.Wright, the four most significant discrepancies between the Canonical Gospels and the Gnostic Gospels are as follows:*
- As the continuation and completion of God’s redemptive narrative with Israel, the Gospels confirm Jesus as such in their writings. They describe how the long history of God’s activity through Israel culminated in the person of Jesus, who was the culmination of that history. The Gnostic Gospels, on the other hand, fully divorced Jesus from Israel and the history of Israel in relation to God. The God of the Old Testament, as depicted by the Gnostic Gospels, is regarded as malevolent, and Judaism is regarded as having been abandoned completely. The Gnostic Gospels made no link between Jesus and the country of Israel, nor did they make any connection between Jesus and the actions of God recorded in the Old Testament. These may be the most important reasons why the Gnostic Gospels were not included in the Bible
- the biblical Gospels told the story of Jesus in connection with the lives of the early followers of Jesus in order to show all Christians a plan to follow as they followed Jesus
- and the Gnostic Gospels were not included in the Bible for a variety of reasons. The Gnostic Gospels, on the other hand, place Jesus in the position of imparting hidden knowledge (a ″gnosis″) to certain of his initial disciples (the ″Gnostic disciples″), who are then tasked with passing it along to others in a secrecy. Those who believed in a secret message were implicitly rejecting the ″mainstream″ Christian church and Christians as well as their open message to the world. The biblical or canonical Gospels, in telling the story of Jesus, declared that God had manifested and launched his kingdom on Earth through Jesus (as it was in heaven). The Gnostic Gospels, on the other hand, were hostile to the notion of Jesus as the representative of God’s kingdom at work on Earth. This world did not hold much appeal for the Jesus of the Gnostic Gospels
- instead, he was more concerned with escape from his earthly body and returning to the spirit realm.
- The Gospels of the Bible were written in the first century AD, according to tradition (around AD 70-90). Gnostic Gospels, on the other hand, are believed to have been written in the second century AD: ″The canonical gospels were being read and quoted as carrying authority in the early and middle second century, whereas we do not even hear of the non-canonical gospels until the middle or end of that century,″ according to Wright (2006).
Are the Gnostic Gospels Reliable?
The existence of these four fundamental distinctions between the canonical or biblical Gospels and the Gnostic Gospels is a strong evidence that the Gnostic Gospels are not truly apostolic in their authorship, content, and chronological context.The Gnostic Gospels are not credible sources for information about the life and teachings of Jesus, as is commonly believed.References *Wright, N.T., and others (2006) Judas and the Gospel of Jesus: Have we lost sight of the real meaning of Christian faith?Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan These are the author’s own views and opinions, and they do not necessarily reflect those of Grand Canyon University.The views and ideas stated in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the university.
Any sources that were quoted were up to date at the time of publication.
According to Gnosticism, human beings are endowed with a bit of God (the ultimate good or a divine spark), which is said to have fallen from the immaterial realm into their physical bodies.Everything made of physical stuff is prone to the processes of decay, rot, and death.As a result, those bodies and the material universe, which were created by a lower-level entity, are wicked.The parts of God, who are trapped in the material world but are unaware of their actual state, require knowledge (gnosis) in order to be informed of their true position.Knowledge of this nature must come from a source other than the material world, and the person who provides it is known as the savior or the redeemer.In the first three centuries of Christianity, there was no central authority until the conversion of Roman emperor Constantine the Great in 312 CE, at which point there was a strong central authority.
Many distinct points of view were taught in Christian communities.A group of Christians known as the Gnostic Christians claimed to have possessed’secret knowledge’ regarding the nature of the cosmos, the nature of Christ, and the significance of his advent on earth around the second century C.E.In the middle of the 2nd century CE, a number of Christian leaders (including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others) produced volumes in opposition to these Gnostic Christians, which have been retroactively referred to as the Church Fathers.The Gnostics, as well as the Church Fathers, were trained in a variety of philosophical schools throughout history.Many of the schools were influenced by Plato’s beliefs (428/427 – 348/347 BCE) and his vision of the cosmos.
″God″ (or ″the ultimate good,″ in Plato’s view) resided beyond the material cosmos and was thus flawless, and as a result, would not have created an imperfect world.He proposed the presence of a parallel entity, the ″Demi-Urge,″ who he claimed was responsible for the creation of matter, the substance of the physical world.This was the viewpoint advocated by the majority of Gnostic systems.
- Gnostic views are similar to those of existentialism, a contemporary school of thought that asks ″how and why do we exist?″ Gnostics pondered and addressed issues such as ″Who am I?″ and ″What is my purpose?″ ″Can you tell me where I came from?″ ″Can you tell me what the point of life is?″ ″What am I doing here?″ as well as ″Who am I in my truest form?″
In response to Gnostic beliefs, the Church Fathers devised the notions of orthodoxy and heresy, which are still used today.Gnostics advocated for profound dualism as the governing principle of the cosmos.This was divided as the soul/spark vs the flesh, and the light versus the darkness, among other things.God, who does not create, initially exuded archons (powers), which were visible but not tangible, like the light emitted by the sun.In a moment of weakness, one of the archons, Sophia (″knowledge″), gave birth to the Demi-Urge, who then went on to construct the physical universe, which included mankind.When it comes to philosophical philosophy, logos (″word″) was the principle of rationality that served as a link between the greatest deity and the physical universe.
Some religious systems asserted that Adam and Eve existed as fabled ″pre-Adam and Eve″ beings before their emergence as humans in the Garden of Eden.According to Gnostic belief, the fall occurred as a result of the physical creation of the world.In accordance with the ″oneness″ of the everlasting God, Gnostics championed the notion of androgyny, or the merger of genders, as a way of reconciling the two worlds.After the fall, the logos, the pre-existent Christ, appeared on the world in human form to teach mankind how to return to its original androgyny and re-establish a relationship with the Almighty Creator.Those who believe in God believe that Christ came to restore the original cosmos.
Because the holy spark that is inside people has fallen asleep, it has lost track of its beginnings.It was necessary for humans to be made aware of the presence of this portion of god inside them, which was a notion borrowed from Zen Buddhism.The dominion of the archons would come to an end if this were accomplished.
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The Invention of Orthodoxy/Heresy
In response to Gnostic beliefs, the Church Fathers devised the notions of orthodoxy and heresy, which are still in use today.When you think about it, these notions did not exist in the ancient world.Because there were hundreds of diverse local cults in the Mediterranean Basin, there was no centralized authority that decided what people should believe or how they should believe it.Orthodoxy (which means ″true belief″) and heresy (which comes from the Greek term haeresis, which means ″a school of thinking″) are essentially two sides of the same coin.Those who disagree with them refer to them as heretics, yet both sides feel they have the true principles in their respective fields.According to the Church Fathers, the Gnostics were heretics because they believed in the following things:
- Despite the fact that Christianity was established as a separate religion from Judaism by the 2nd century CE, Christians maintained a belief in the God of Israel as well as many of the teachings of the Jewish Bible. Gnostics accepted that the creator God of Genesis created the cosmos, but they believed that the universe was made up of bad stuff rather than good. Some Gnostic systems held that the God of Israel was not only bad, but that he was really Satan himself. In this way, God’s commands to the people of Israel were declared unenforceable.
- It was believed by Gnostics that their teachings were straight from Jesus. Secret matters were also imparted to the disciples during those moments when Jesus took them apart in order to further enlighten them. These secrets were passed down to them through the generations. Against this, the Church Fathers argued that their teachings were passed down from Jesus to his first disciples, who in turn passed it down via generations of bishops to the founding bishops of their own communities.
- The human body, which was made out of physical stuff, was a source of evil. Jesus was not incarnated into a human body, according to the majority of Gnostic doctrines. docetic, also known as ″appearance,″ was the philosophy that they advocated. In order to speak with humanity, Jesus manifested in the shape of a human being for a limited time. If Christ never had a physical body, the major pillars of Christianity, the crucifixion and the resurrection of the dead, would be rendered null and void
- a Gnostic, after being awakened, would study the sky and discover the means to travel the different strata of the cosmos
- and Consequently, Gnostics considered salvation to be an individual affair rather than one that required the participation of the entire society. As a result, redemption could not be attained by means of the cross, church hierarchy, or regulations.
- Once one has successfully navigated through the higher atmosphere, one’s spark, which is now home, is merged with the godhead
- in certain systems, one is elevated to the status of God.
- In Gnostic systems, there is a rejection of what was becoming conventional Christian teaching, eschatology, or the eventual return of Christ to usher in the kingdom of God, which was growing increasingly popular. Gnostics believe that the kingdom of God is inside each human.
Gnostic Christians were baptized, and they were allowed to partake in the celebration of the Eucharist (communion).Gnostics did attempt to encourage female ministers in the Eucharistic celebration, which caused them to be at odds with the Church’s early fathers of the faith.In Gnostic ritual, ″The Bridal Chamber″ was the most contentious, since it was the place where one acquired ″Christhood.″ A union with Christ was depicted in the Exegesis of the Soul, a Gnostic treatise in which the language and images of marriage were utilized.Gnostics were the first people to practice celibacy (i.e., not entering into a marriage contract) and chastity (i.e., not having children) (never indulging in sexual intercourse).The schools of philosophy taught that one should care for one’s spirit above one’s body (apathea – ″no passions″), rather than allowing one’s bodily desires to govern one’s life as they did in the past.Such instructions were seen as ascesis (″discipline″), in the same way that athletes discipline their bodies in sports competition.
Gnostic Christians believed they had complete power over their bodies.Their practice of celibacy (i.e., not entering into a marriage contract) and chastity were among the earliest in history (never indulging in sexual intercourse).The usual life-cycle was disrupted in this way; no more heavenly sparks would be confined in a corporeal body in the future.It’s possible that a tiny percentage of Gnostic groups held the contrary point of view.Goverments, man-made rules, and social customs were no longer legitimate because they were a part of the wicked physical universe.
Several Church Fathers argued that this was a contributing factor to sexual immorality.It is not known if these organizations engaged in such acts, but by the 18th century CE, these individuals had been called ″libertines″ following publication of writings by French philosopher, the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814 CE).Despite their displeasure with the Gnostics, the Church Fathers embraced the notion of celibacy for the priesthood.
- It was seen as a live sacrifice as a result of this (in giving up a normal wife and children).
- With a feeling of sanctity, this notion placed the clergy above the members of the congregation.
- Gnostics, like everyone else who had received philosophical training, made use of the literary form known as allegory.
- Allegorical literature includes stories, poems, and paintings that may be read to disclose a hidden meaning, which is often moral or political in nature.
- Many of the Gnostic works, on the other hand, appear to be extremely esoteric and perplexing to the general reader who is not familiar with the allegorical symbolism or meaning of their symbols and meaning.
The impression one gets from such writings is that their authors spent their lives in ivory towers studying the universe.They did, however, engage in the activities of the churches to which they belonged.They had study groups, but the topics they focused on were the higher realms of the universe, where gradients of power might be found.When a Gnostic died, his spark/soul was liberated from his wicked body, but it then had to undertake the long journey back to the source of his power.
- On the journey, he/she needed to be aware of the passwords that would allow him/her to get through and around the powers without being sidetracked.
- Some systems stated that there were seven heavens, while others said that there were 365 levels of existence.
Gnostic Writings – The Nag Hammadi Library
The Church Fathers were zealous in their condemnation of Gnostic texts, and they were adamant in their opposition to Gnosticism.Scholars, on the other hand, were suspicious, and it wasn’t until 1945 CE that they could be certain that the quotes were true.Then, when mining for nitrate in the Egyptian desert near the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, two brothers came across a big jar packed with codices.They immediately stopped digging (early books).They escorted them to the home of a man they knew who was involved in the illegal antiquities trade.There were a total of 13 volumes, which included treatises, gospels, and Gnostic legends.
The Nag Hammadi Library, which contains all of them, is a single book.After everything is said and done, the Church Fathers did an admirable job of copying.Rather of just quotations, we now have the whole texts of each document, allowing for a more in-depth investigation of each document.Gnostic gospels differ from the canonical gospels of the New Testament in their presentation of the gospels.They are frequently devoid of a narrative or a tale, and instead consist only of the teachings of Jesus in order to clarify the existence of the true God.
The Gospel of the Resurrection The Gospel of Truth was considered to have been authored by Valentinus, a Gnostic teacher from Alexandria who was later condemned by the Church of Rome because of his teachings (c.150 CE).Gnostic gospels are known for personifying abstract concepts such as Error, Fear, and Hope as real creatures.
- He is considered one of the most spiritual of the Gnostic gospels.
- Christ is referred to as the manifestation of hope in the Bible.
- The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (also known as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene) As a result of the text’s incompletion, the only surviving copy begins in the middle.
- Following Jesus’ death, the disciples are left feeling leaderless and despondent.
- One of the disciples approaches Mary and begs her to pass along whatever knowledge she may have about Jesus, since it has been recognized that he had a particular relationship with her.
When Mary is confronted with the fact that she had a post-resurrection revelation from Jesus, she discloses that Jesus articulated many of the Gnostic concepts that we have already encountered.The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of stories about a man named Thomas who lived in the first century AD.Although it is said that Jesus’ twin brother Thomas wrote the gospel, the gospel of Thomas actually contains 114 logia, or sayings of Jesus.In addition to criticizing the traditional view of Jesus as Messiah and portraying Jesus more as an enlightened philosopher, the author was well-versed in many of the canonical parables and teachings.
- According to Jesus, there is no worldly kingdom of God to seek; rather, the kingdom of God is sought in the turning of the inner person.
- A populist Christian movement known as Liberation Theology, which promotes self-reflection of each individual as the Christ inside them, has given rise to a popularization of the Gospel of Thomas in recent decades.
- The word was coined by Gustavo Gutierrez in his 1971 CE book, A Theology of Liberation, which was published in Spanish.
- He accused the Catholic Church in Latin America of distorting the fundamental teachings of Jesus and of polluting them.
The inclusion of women in their study groups, as well as their encouragement of female eucharistic ministers, drew the admiration of many modern feminist theologians when the Nag Hammadi writings were made public.Meanwhile, New Age groups revered Sophia for what they perceived to be her elevation of the divine feminine in her writings.The Gnostics, on the other hand, were not the same as contemporary feminists.Each text should be scrutinized for its conceptual underpinnings.The Gospel of Thomas comes to a close with: ″Let Mary be expelled from our midst,″ Simon Peter told him.
″Women are not worthy of life!″ he said.’Jesus said,’ he continued ″See, I’m going to sketch her in such a way that she appears to be a man, so that she, too, might become a living spirit like you guys.For every woman who has transformed into a man will be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven ″118.The number 118 refers to the number 118 in the Roman numeral system.
- When women renounce their gender and their traditional roles as spouses and mothers, they will be able to save themselves and the system.
- In this way, a woman may be reconciled with the notion of androgyny, and her oneness with the world.
- The Gospel of Philip is a collection of stories about a man named Philip.
- Attempts by the Gnostics to reach a compromise with the proto-orthodox beliefs of the Church Fathers may be seen in the Gospel of Philip, for example.
- Attempts by the Gnostics to reach a compromise with the proto-orthodox beliefs of the Church Fathers may be seen in the Gospel of Philip, for example.
- For the purpose of this gospel, the twofold form of Christ was promoted: Christ was the pre-existent redeemer figure who was temporarily transformed into the human Jesus of Nazareth for the duration of his mission.
When the dove landed on Jesus’ head at his baptism, Christ entered the person of Jesus.At the moment of the crucifixion, Christ had left the body, and it was the human Jesus who was crucified in place of the divine Jesus.Another Gnostic school in Alexandria, founded by Basilides (120-140 CE), preached that the crucifixion had been a bait and switch, and that it had been Simon of Cyrene (as recorded in the canonical gospels) who had been crucified, not Christ himself.Aside from this, the Gospel of Philip is well-known for the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, which was made famous by Dan Brown’s novel, The DaVinci Code.The sentence ″.
- Jesus usually welcomed you with a kiss on the cheek″ is repeated from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which indicates that Jesus had a particular relationship with her.
- The statement is followed by a hole in the text, which indicates that Jesus did not kiss her.
- This sentence may be important, or it may simply relate to the fact that the early Christians (including men and women) used to greet one another with a kiss on the lips when they first met.
The Gospel According to Judas In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus and Judas Iscariot have a series of talks with each other.The National Geographic Society released a translation of the book in 2006 CE, following its rediscovery.Prior to this, it was only known from the writings of Bishop Irenaeus, who wrote his work Against All Heresies in the 2nd century CE.
- In contrast to the canonical gospels, which portray Judas as a betrayer, this gospel asserts that Jesus commanded Judas to betray him on the orders of the Father.
- The genuine message, which Jesus taught to Judas, had not been passed on to the other disciples.
- The other eleven disciples, who can only see reality via their bodily senses, are frequently discussed by Jesus and Judas in several of the events.
- Despite Jesus’ mocking of the Eucharist as ″cannibalism,″ they continue to offer animal sacrifices in the hope that martyrdom would rescue them.
Concepts of Radical Monism
Many of the Gnostic works were considered heretical because they questioned the accepted idea of personality.Older philosophical conceptions of monism held that a person was made up of a physical body and a personality.In both the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism and the schools of Greek philosophy, a second material was incorporated into the human body, which was called the soul (dualism).Most systems had a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul.In Gnostic literature, the body and the soul compete with one another for supremacy.In their most esoteric writings, Gnostics resorted to monism, the belief that there was only one person who existed in an undifferentiated state.
Furthermore, some books stated that both the material world and the very concept of life itself were illusions.The ancient notions found in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, as well as Gnosticism, come together in this area.
Constantine I made the decision to convert to the Christianity of the Church Fathers in 312 CE.Any opposition from their teachings was seen as heresy, and any writings that did not conform to their beliefs were burned.At Nag Hammadi, we believe that this is the time when someone (perhaps a monk?) buried the manuscripts.Heresy was now seen as a form of treason.Gnostics virtually disappeared from society, only to reemerge in the Middle Ages in the Balkans (as the Waldensians) and southern France (as the Gnostic movement) (the Albigensians).Their teachings served as the impetus for the medieval Church to establish the institution of the Inquisition in the 12th century C.E.
as a result of their actions.Today, we use the term ‘agnostic’ to describe someone who believes there is something out there in regard to the divine but is unsure of what it is or how to find out.The original name was invented by a priest in the 18th century CE who claimed to be an agnostic, and it originally meant ″not a gnostic – not one of those people.″ Its current meaning is ″not one of those people.″ On the basis of the premise that all knowledge must be founded on reason, Aldous Huxley (1894 CE) established the term agnosticism in his novels.For his theory of archetypes, the psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961 CE) drew on Gnostic principles discovered in medieval alchemy and incorporated them into his psychology.In recent years, science-fiction films have begun to include gnostic notions, beginning with Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982 CE).
The short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?by Philip K.Dick served as the inspiration for the film.
- In the story, ideal androids were created, but as a result of memory implants implanted in their systems, they began to experience human emotions and eventually became sentient.
- The Matrix, a blockbuster film from the Wachowski brothers’ 1999 CE release, relies on Gnostic Christianity and Buddhism to represent humanity’s fundamental issue and its solution in terms of ignorance and enlightenment, respectively, in the film.
- People mistake the material world for something genuine because they are ignorant, but they may awaken from this dream with the assistance of a guide who teaches them about their actual nature.
- Did you find this definition to be helpful?
- Prior to publication, this paper was checked for correctness, dependability, and conformance to academic standards by two independent reviewers.
Crucifixion, Gnostic Conception of
For a period of many centuries, beginning in the first century C.E., Gnosticism was a pre-Christian religious movement that engaged in a competitive relationship with Christianity.Gnosticism produced its own type of Christian theology, which served as a counterpoint to the theology offered in the works that were subsequently gathered together as the New Testament.Gnosticism is based on the belief that the created, material universe is evil, which is a fundamental principle.It was not created by the actual God, but rather by a lower-ranking entity.Salvation can only be obtained by escaping from the worldly world and entering the spiritual realm.This, according to the Gnostics, explained why there was evil in the universe since the genuine God could not have created anything less than flawless.
Because the material body is inferior and bad, the soul of a person is forced to live in an alien environment due to the nature of the material body.In light of this concept, the Gnostics saw Jesus as a human being who got the Christ component during his lifetime, most likely at the time of his baptism in the Jordan River.From that point on, Jesus began to perform miracles as a result of his extraordinary abilities.Prior to it, he had been utterly unaware of his mission’s significance.Because Christ did not (and could not) physically suffer and die on the crucifixion, he was exalted to the right hand of the Father, who had sent him: ″And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who came by, going out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross″ (Matthew 27:46-47).
(Mark 15:21).The Gnostics asserted that a piece of the true account of the Crucifixion was never written down, and that this was the case.The gnostics thought that after the Resurrection, the man Jesus was given a new body composed entirely of ether, which was why the disciples did not recognize him after the Resurrection.
- He acquired from God the perfect knowledge of spiritual truth, known as gnosis, during his presence on earth following his resurrection, which he then conveyed to the tiny number of apostles who were capable of receiving it during that time.
Jacques Lacarriére is the author of this work. The Gnostics are a sect of Christianity. The year is 1977 in London. Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Miscellany is a book written by G. R. S. Mead. The year is 1921 in London. University Books reprinted the edition in New Hyde Park, New York, in 1974.
What if Jesus had a wife and her name was Ana? What if this was Ana’s story? Jee reviews ‘The Book of Longings’ by @suemonkkidd @VikingBooks #Bookreview #WhatIf #historicalfiction
Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings is the title and author of the novel.Viking Publishing Company is the publisher.Pages counted: 429 In a nutshell (according to the publisher): A young lady called Ana is the subject of Sue Monk Kidd’s fascinating fourth work of fiction, in which she adopts an innovative approach to history and employs her well praised narrative abilities to conceive her story.Affluent and ambitious, she was raised in a family with links to the king of Galilee.She had a smart intellect and a bold attitude, despite her upbringing in a rich household.She pursues educational endeavors in the shadows and produces narratives about women who have been neglected or silenced.
Ana is supposed to marry an older widower, which is a scenario that she despises and finds terrifying.A chance encounter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus alters the course of his life.In Nazareth, where Ana has made a home with Jesus, his siblings, and their mother, Mary, their marriage develops with love and strife, humor and drama, and eventually ends in divorce.In the midst of the tumultuous opposition to Rome’s rule of Israel, which is headed in part by Ana’s brother Judas, Ana’s longings for her brother grow more intense.Yaltha, her brave aunt, is there to support her and keep a powerful secret from her niece.
When Ana does a rash deed that puts her life in jeopardy, she travels to Alexandria, where she encounters stunning disclosures and even greater perils, and she seeks sanctuary in the most unexpected places.Ana selects her own fate as a result of a startling convergence of circumstances that are believed to be among the most significant in all of human history.The Book of Longings is an inspiring and unforgettable account of one woman’s courageous struggle to realize the passion and potential she possesses while living in a time, place, and culture that was designed to keep her quiet.
- The book is based on meticulous research and written with a reverent approach to Jesus’s life that emphasizes his humanity, and it is a must-read for anyone who loves Jesus.
- From a superb writer at the pinnacle of her skills, this is a feat of storytelling that is both relevant and ageless in nature.
- I tried all I could to take it slow and relish it, but the plot kept me flipping the pages!
- I highly recommend it!
- My ideas are as follows: This is a reinterpretation of the Book of Revelation.
Jesus was engaged to be married.Ana was the name of his wife.And that was her side of the tale.Ana was compelled to marry Nathaniel, a friend of her father’s, when she was fourteen years old.
- However, when that failed to materialize, she was coerced into another marriage with the tetrarch Heron Antipas, this time as his concubine.
- Because she did not have a good childhood, Ana has always resorted to her passion for writing for comfort and consolation.
- Upon meeting Jesus, she discovered love.
- It was he who she eventually married, much to the displeasure of her parents, who had little option but to accept her decision by that point.
She followed Jesus to Nazareth, where she stayed with his family for a while.In that place, she began a new life, one that she was not accustomed to living.She was lonely when Jesus was gone on business, and she wished she could accompany him on his travels.Finally, she was given the opportunity when Jesus invited her to accompany him to John the Immerser’s home.With the help of John the Immerser, Jesus discovered his actual mission and calling.
His announcement to Ana of his decision to join him caused her to be distraught because women were not permitted to be his followers.Antipas realized what she had done at around the same time, and her life was put in risk as a result.She escaped to Alexandria with her aunt, Yaltha, out of fear for her life, with the hope of locating Chaya, Yaltha’s long-lost daughter, as well.Ana urged her brother, Judas, to let her know when it was safe for her to return to Nazareth, which he promised to do.
- As a result, she began a new life in Alexandria, one that was filled with promise and purpose, yet it was not without its share of terror as well.
- A number of things about ‘The Book of Longings’ appealed to me, including its characters and its story.
- Its locales and the amount of research that went into it were also appealing.
- Ana was one of my favorite people.
- What a fascinating individual.
- Bold, loud, passionate, impetuous, and, at times, proud and rebellious, these individuals are.
She was not afraid to speak out for herself, and she managed to escape being Antipas’ concubine despite being on the verge of being stoned to death.She chose her husband; she suffered and endured the loss of her child; she risked her life in an attempt to save Phasaelis, whom she cherished as a friend; she stood up for Tabitha and fought for her; she continued to write despite the disapproval of her family and Jesus, who stated that ‘the only women who wrote were sinners and necromancers’.She was a remarkable woman.When it appeared like the entire world was against her, she rose to her feet and battled back, time and time again.Many other characters, particularly the female characters, shone out as well.
- Her aunt Yaltha, who treated her as if she were her own; Tabitha, her friend who gave her a reason to smile when she was forced to marry Nathaniel, a friend of her father’s; Phasaelis, Antipas’s wife, who was forced to marry as well as her, and they identified themselves in each other; even her servant Lavi, whom she later referred to as her ‘brother’; and, of course, Jesus.
- I think Kidd did an excellent job of capturing the essence of his character.
- In addition, the storyline was outstanding.
Every detail, every place, and every person sprang off the pages because to Kidd’s vivid descriptions – from Ana avoiding marriage to falling in love, from the scents and rush and bustle of the marketplace to the magnificent library of Alexandria.And gosh, the Therepeutae are incredible.I wasn’t aware of them and hadn’t heard anything about them until recently.
- Originally, it was a religious group, a community of people who lived a contemplative life and spent their time to fasting, prayer, and studying the scriptures.
- In addition, I’d like a visit to the Library of Alexandria, where I’d be able to feast my eyes on the volumes while watching the librarians walk up and down the ladders to get books for the academics.
- Is this something I would recommend?
- It is possible if you appreciate what-if scenarios, recreated stories, and historical fiction!
- Also, be sure to read the Author’s Note.
It’s mind-boggling to realize how much research went into this to create such an engaging read.An fascinating, engrossing, and uplifting story of strength, hope, love, and longings, told through the eyes of memorable individuals.This is a book that will remain in my memory for a long time to come.Tweet Have you taken the time to read this book?
What did you make of it?If you haven’t already, do you have any plans to do so?Do you find the idea intriguing?Have you read any of the other books written by this author before?
Please let me know what you think of this!Until then, HAPPY READING and PLEASE BE SAFE AND WELL!