Everything I know about Gnosticism


The circular, harmonic cross was an emblem used most notably by the Cathars, a medieval group that related to Gnosticism.. Click to enlarge.

Um, I’m guilty. I made an empty post and titled it “Everything I know about Gnosticism”. I then password protected it. It was a tongue in cheek joke because gnosticism is fundementally concerned with “hidden knowledge”, and I had hid the “knowledge”. I thought it hilarious but I’ve received enough emails to show that not everyone caught it and even fewer were ROFL (Rolling On the Floor, Laughing). Basically I just confused an audience.

So to make amends here is a definition, a few interesting facts and one or two links.

Gnosticism is really a broad grouping of individual cults, linked by a common goal to combine elements from different systems. They general teach the little god gospel (humans, ultimately, are divine), shun the material and exult spiritualism. They profess to teach a hidden knowledge, a deaper truth, not known to most believers, which sets them apart.

My favorite author is John, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, 3 epistles and the Book of Revelation. He had a mannerism about him. Firstly I love the way that he presents Jesus Christ, the way he describes the signs and wonders that accompanied the savior and how he refuted false teaching. And it’s the refutation of false teaching that relates to this posting. Remember the Gnostics shunned the physical, material existence we live in; well John spent much of his time describing the physical features and realities of our Christ. Remember Thomas touching Jesus’ hands and side after He was raised from the dead? Remember Jesus eating fish on the beach with the disciples? Consider the great introduction to 1 John 1:

1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us– 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

It’s believed that the beginnings of Gnosticism were right there, at the beginning of the Church, and John even was already having to devote much of his time and writings to refute and correct it.

Much is now made of the Gnostic gospels, the accounts of Peter, Thomas and even Judas Iscariot. Before I run out of word count: these were written by this religious cult removed from the facts of Christianity by time, place and Theological construct.

I found the wiki on gnosticism quite informative and as ever gotquestions.

Read any of the Gnostic Gospels? How about other extra Biblical material? The Apocrypha?

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