Gnosticism (was Re: A Very Deep Secret)

Nat Case ncase at
Mon Sep 10 19:22:27 EDT 2001

If you are interested in historical gnosticism, I recommend THE 
GNOSTIC GOSPELS by Elaine Pagels (heck, I recommend pretty much 
anything by her; she has a fascinating perspective on early 
Christianity).'s review of the book includes a rough 

"Gnosticism's Christian form grew to prominence in the 2nd century 
A.D. Ultimately
denounced as heretical by the early church, Gnosticism proposed a 
revealed knowledge of
God ("gnosis" meaning "knowledge" in Greek), held as a secret 
tradition of the apostles. In
The Gnostic Gospels, author Elaine Pagels suggests that Christianity 
could have developed
quite differently if Gnostic texts had become part of the Christian 
canon. Without a doubt:
Gnosticism celebrates God as both Mother and Father, shows a very human Jesus's
relationship to Mary Magdalene, suggests the Resurrection is better 
understood symbolically,
and speaks to self-knowledge as the route to union with God. Pagels 
argues that Christian
orthodoxy grew out of the political considerations of the day, 
serving to legitimize and
consolidate early church leadership. Her contrast of that developing 
orthodoxy with Gnostic
teachings presents an intriguing trajectory on a world faith as it 
"might have become." The
Gnostic Gospels provides engaging reading for those seeking a broader 
perspective on the
early development of Christianity. --F. Hall "

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