Gnostic "Gospels"

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by HuckFinn, May 11, 2004.

  1. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

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  2. roly

    roly Senior Member

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    whats gnostic and i'll tell you!
  3. know1nozme

    know1nozme High Plains Drifter

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    The same question could be asked of the books in the New Testament. All there is to go on is faith. The books which made it into the New Testament were decided upon by consensus. By people who may well have had had their own agendas in mind. The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdeline were not testimonies which the church could use to further consolidate it's power, in fact, the words therein might have been used to challenge the power of any organized religion which claimed to be interlucutor between the pepole and God. It is no mystery why they chose as they did.

    Believe what you wish.
  4. gnrm23

    gnrm23 Senior Member

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    gnostics don't need no stinkin' "objective historical basis" for to bolster their claim to "the real deal" ...
    gnostics got them a hot line to god & require no intermediary, mmmkay?
    & besides, the mainline church (= exoteric) is for those sheep who follow samael, the blind craftsman; those "in the know" (gnosis = direct knowledge) (& esoteric = hidden from the uninitiated) are tuned into to the real source of light, the god above the pleroma, high in the realms of illumination...
    or so goes the story, hehheh...
  5. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

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    I contend that there is plenty of evidence to support the authenticity of the New Testament:

    Yes, but if they're going to try to claim Jesus as one of their own, then they need to offer more than bald assertions.
  6. know1nozme

    know1nozme High Plains Drifter

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    I take no sides in this debate. I am merely pointing out that arguments for or against ANY of the Gospels or other NT documents (either included in the canon or apocryphal) are equally valid/invalid. I have no intention of arguing this point. I could give you a list of sites, but instead, I will use just one:

    Through this well put together site, you can find over a hundred links with representation from ALL SIDES. The debate has raged for years and scholarly arguments for and against continue to be published. New "evidence" and new "rebuttals" are thrown back and forth ad nauseam. It would take months of reading just to go through what has already been written on the subject.

    I contend that none of these arguments matter. What is the point of arguing about it? People will believe what they want to believe. Period. Ultimately it comes down to one thing: faith.

    If you are in doubt, read the research yourself and make up your own mind.
  7. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

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    That's utter nonsense. The very large number of early extant New Testament manuscripts and citations is a matter of fact, not opinion. (Even liberal scholars now generally acknowledge that most New Testament texts were written in the 1st century. The major debate these days is whether the synoptic Gospels were written before or after the fall of Jerusalem.) By contrast, there is little or no evidence that any of the Gnostic "Gospels" were written before the 2nd century.
  8. Juiceman3000

    Juiceman3000 Banned

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    This is an excellent topic and hopefully will allow us to keep the suddenly surging Gnostic Gospels discussion in one thread.
    (Previously there were constant new threads being created about the same subject)

    Now.. without getting into all the details and texts, let me just point out what is 'happenin' to those not up to speed.

    Every few years a 'new angle' of critisism and what some call 'Higher Critisism' or 'Liberal theology' will surge through the seminaries, churches and media.

    Im generalising here but one of the most succesful 'waves' came just prior to Hitlers Germany.
    A lot of your 'comparative religion' professors are a tinge embarrassed about that and will often refer to the original authors by letters i.e. 'The W theory' etc.

    Ok, Im digressing...

    The last big hurrah was something called 'The Jesus Seminar' and it was one of the first to recieve a massive show of support from the media!

    The latest fad has been coming from the same sort of people but is no longer called 'Higher Critisism' or even 'Liberal Theology'.
    You will see this new wave on the cover of 'Time' during Easter with titles like 'The Fifth Gospel'
    You will see this especially on A&E and even recently ABC with 'Bible Specials'.

    The key word often used is 'The Historic.... Jesus, Paul, Church, etc'
    The word 'Historic' needs to be explained here:

    They are not using the word in the regular sense. They are saying 'Historic' to refer to any Jesus manuscripts/stories that the early church did NOT think was valid or reliable history.

    So .. they really mean "We decided to believe these are reliable and valid, therefore WE are calling them 'Historic' to reflect our faith"

    Just so you know - its their opinion ... not a 'conclusion'.

    Ok.. now the latest sensation is 'The Gnostic GOspels'.

    The idea is simple.... To get YOU to question the authenticity of the Bible by convincing you of the authenticity of other 'Jesus' texts.

    Trick number one: The 'Exposing' of 'new' Gospels.

    This is hilarious to the studied.
    They present these Gnostic Gospels to you 'As if' they have been hidden, suppressed, recently discovered or that old white popes have finally been 'forced to admit' they exist LOL!

    Sorry folks but Gnostic Gospels (and especially Gnositicism in general) are WELL understood today and were well understood by early Church fathers.
    The very fact you can read all about it IS BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER HIDDEN OR COVERED-UP in the first place!

    The problem for Gnostic Gospel promoters - How do you expect the public to believe there was a 'cover-up' when most of the info you have IS FROM the Early Church debates over them???

    Trick Number two: Use the word 'Scholars now agree' as much as possible.

    This is a favourite of A&E specials and Time magazine. Its deceptive because its 'technically' a true statement.
    What they DONT TELL YOU is that they are usually refering to the same 20 liberal 'Higher critisism' Jesus Seminar scholars all the time!

    Well,,,after all they are 'scholars' with a plural right?

    Now the secret is - interview 3-4 of these extremely liberal Scholars for every one 'moderate' Scholar.
    The public is ALWAYS sucked in by this. They actually believe that 'Well.. after all Peter Jennings had 'all sides' on and even the most traditional guy admitted there 'might' be .... bla bla'.

    The Third trick works kinda the same: Media Blitz!

    Good golly... These Gnostic Gospels 'must' have something to them!... After all, there were three specials on TV, Time, Newsweek and my Newspaper (Religion AND Literature sections) have ALL been talking about them... Plus.. Ron Howard is making a movie about the Gospel of Mary Magdelene...

    .... there 'MUST' be something to this!

    The truth is - there really is no 'shocking controversy' among the vast majority of Christian scholars.
    Yes, the Gnostic Gospels are certainly examined and the histories are considered and there are some lively debates over some aspects.
    The Media storm and astonishing amount of 'airtime' given to these same 20 fringe scholars doesnt come close to reflecting any big picture among Christendom.

    Ok.... I know that didnt get into the Gnostic texts themselves... I just wanted to give a realistic overview of what is happening.

    Oh... another thing. Most 'Gnostic Gospel' promoters DO NOT believe these texts are true and real texts.
    They just want YOU to believe they are 'as' legitimate as the Four Gospels.

    (Later they will turn on the Gnostic Gospels faulty history and untruths and insist that reflects on the traditional Four Gospels... that is a preview of the Final Trick)
  9. ChiefCowpie

    ChiefCowpie hugs and bugs

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    the gospel of thomas was disregarded because it undermined the authority of paul and his teachings through augustine
  10. Juiceman3000

    Juiceman3000 Banned

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    I fail to see any problem with that decision.

    Shows the early Christians could tell a shitty piece of fiction from real inspired teachings.
  11. Alsharad

    Alsharad Member

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    The "gospel" of Thomas isn't really a gospel at all. It is a collection of supposed sayings of Jesus. The big problem is that the sayings are completely removed from historical context. There is nothing in the gospel itself to show what Christ was talking about. When the statements are removed from historical context, they lose their grounding and can easily lead to confusion. Without context we can have no idea what Christ was talking about. What we do know is that we have no copies from before the second century. The point is simply this, the book looks more like a fraudulent attempt to add to the Christian faith than the actual teachings of Jesus.

    In my opinion, this is an example of someone who was trying to alter the Christian faith. It has nothing to verify it historically, and it has no context to help us better understand what was being said. It simply adds confusion and is, in my opinion, nothing more than a jumbled bunch of statements lacking any sort of meaning.
  12. Juiceman3000

    Juiceman3000 Banned

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    Thanks for pointing that out ALsharad,

    Some here love touting the 'Gospel of Thomas' and talk about it as if there was no good reason (other than power mad bigots at Nicene) to reject its 'wonderful teachings'.

    The big problem is that Thomas is nothing more than a collection of 'saying' some of which may by from Jesus.

    Others are most certainly not from Jesus.

    Here is a saying from 'Thomas' which most of the Gnostic promoters dont like to mention and many Gnostic Promotion actualy remove:

    (114) Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    Basically, all you need to do is read this 'Scripture' and immediately realise this has nothing to do with any known Judeo-Christian teachings, thinkings, attitudes.... its just simply sheer stupiditity!

    The point is, when you have 25 well understood, well explained consistant docuements and then there is 1 bizarre and 'dodgy' document. .. you DONT choose the dodgy oddball and force the 25 to live with it.

  13. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

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    I've studied a bit the gnostic gospels, they're quite interesting, as weak as they may be. You have to understand too, that because they're not part of the bible, that they've worn with age and there are many pieces of it missing... but it does give an interesting perspecitive on the live of Jesus.
  14. superNova

    superNova Member

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    i think one of the greatest problems with interpreting the gnostic gospels is that people dive into them with no knowledge of gnosticism and try to compare them to the canonical, orthodox gospels. there are a lot of differences between the gnostics and the orthodox christians that must be understood before the different gospels can really be compared.

    if all it took was pointing out one line in an ancient text that is difficult to align with modern interpretation to discredit the entire text (as someone here did about the gospel of thomas), then we could easily sit around and discredit the whole bible. however, doing so would be pretty stupid, eh?
  15. Lucy_In_The_Sky

    Lucy_In_The_Sky Member

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    The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of traditional Sayings
    (logoi) of Jesus. It is attributed to Didymos Judas Thomas, the
    "Doubting Thomas" of the canonical Gospels, and according to many
    early traditions, the twin brother of Jesus ("didymos" means
    "twin" in Greek).

    We have two versions of the Gospel of Thomas today. The
    first was discovered in the late 1800's among the Oxyrhynchus
    Papyri, and consists of fragments of a Greek version, which has
    been dated to c. 200. The second is a complete version, in
    Coptic, from Codex II of the Nag Hammadi finds. Thomas was
    probably first written in Greek (or possibly even Syriac or
    Aramaic) sometime between the mid 1st and 2nd centuries.
    There has been much speculation on the relationship of
    Thomas to the canonical Gospels. Many Sayings in Thomas have
    parallels with the New Testament Sayings, especially those found
    in the synoptic Gospels. This leads many to believe that Thomas
    was also based on the so-called "Q" Document, along with Matthew,
    Luke, and Mark. Indeed, some have speculated that Thomas may in
    fact be "Q". Unlike the synoptic Gospels, and like "Q", the
    Gospel of Thomas has no narrative connecting the various Sayings.
    In form, it is simply a list of 114 Sayings, in no particular
    order. Comparison with New Testament parallels show that Thomas
    contains either more primitive versions of the Sayings, or
    developments of more primitive versions. Either way, Thomas seems
    to preserve earlier traditions about Jesus than the New

    Although it is not possible to attribute the Gospel of
    Thomas to any particular sect, it is clearly Gnostic in nature.
    As the preamble indicates, these are "secret sayings", and are
    intended to be esoteric in nature. The Sayings are not intended
    to be interpreted literally, as their New Testament parallels
    often are, but to be interpreted symbolically, as attested by
    Saying #1. While a literal interpretation may make sense, only by
    understanding the deeper meanings of the Sayings can one truly
    understand them. Thus in Saying #114, it is to be understood that
    "male" symbolizes the pneumatic (spiritual, or Gnostic)
    Christians, and "female" symbolizes the psychic (unenlightened,
    or orthodox) Christians, rather than actually referring to males
    and females. Keep in mind that true understanding of this text
    was meant to come from PERSONAL contact with the Divine,
    inspiration from within.

    (Other Apocrypha, The Gospel of Thomas)

    This is in the preface of the version of the gospel of Thomas I have on my pc, thought you might like to read it.
  16. BlackGuardXIII

    BlackGuardXIII fera festiva

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    Looks like Huck Finn has made up his own

    You suggest studying all sides myself and then making up my own mind?
    What kind of crazy talk is that? The concept is virtually non existent in this thread. It sounds too liberal, letting all of us freely read, interpret, and then make our own choices as to what sounds more reasonable to us.

    where's the dogma? the blind faith?
    The majority of people seem to not welcome such freethinking, and that makes it unlikely they will accept the idea as being valid.
    I sure do though, and don't care what the majority thinks, cuz that doesnt make it right for me.

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