What are the Gnostic gospels?

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The Gnostic Gospels are a collection of about 52 ancient books based upon the teachings of different writers. These texts were written from the 2nd to the 4th century AD. The word gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge,” which is often used in Greek philosophy to refer to “enlightenment.” The Gnostic Gospels are often pointed to as the supposed “lost books of the Bible.” The discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in northern Egypt in 1945 represented a major discovery of Gnostic gospels.

Gnosticism was a Jewish movement which appeared in reaction to Christianity. After the first century of Christianity, two primary divisions developed – the orthodox and the Gnostics. The orthodox Christians held to books we now have in the Bible and to what is today considered orthodox theology while the Gnostic Christians held to different view of the Bible, of Jesus Christ, of salvation, and of virtually every other major Christian doctrine.

There are countless contradictions between the Gnostic gospels and the true Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gnostic gospels fraudulently attached the names of famous Christians to their writings, such as the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Philip, the gospel of Mary, etc.

Gnosticism is a belief that points to a body of teachings that stress the acquiring of “gnosis,” or the inner knowledge which is not only intellectual in nature but mystical and comes from within each person. This philosophy teaches that God is in all humans and it is the aim of humans in life to be illuminated with the true knowledge of this divine nature that already exists in them. The Gnostic believers are taught that salvation doesn’t come from receiving and worshiping Jesus but is found in the psychic or pneumatic souls learning to free themselves from the marital world through enlightenment and revelation. Scholars like Edward Conze and Elaini Pagels state that Gnosticism is a clear mix of Christianity and the teachings found in the Eastern pagan religions.

Unfortunately, Gnosticism is experiencing a revival in our day, and is being promoted through various publications, like the popular novel of The Di Vinci Code, and through the media in special documentary-style programs that publicize the ancient Gnostic writings (including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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