The Gnostic Gospels Part 8; “In Conclusion”

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

History is written by the winners, their way. No surprise that the traditional accounts of the origin of Christianity are written from the viewpoint of the successful majority. Ecclesiastical Christians coined the terms “Orthodox” & “Heretical” then proceeded to say their victory was “guided by the Holy Spirit.” Not mentioning the fact that once the Catholic Church received political and military backing from the Romans, the “War for Christianity” turned violent and was really soldiers vs. pacifist; with, of course, the soldiers coming out on top.

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 7; “Gnosis: Knowledge of Self”

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

The Gospel of John is one orthodox book that the Gnostics also claim “as their own” and is used as a primary source of teaching. Within the emerging church, there was opposition to include John in the New Testament. What made John acceptably “orthodox” while the church rejected the Gospel of Thomas and other “Gnostic” writings?

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 6; “Whose Church is the True Church”?

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

For 2,000 years Christian tradition has denounced Gnostic teachings and virtually destroyed all over their writings. With the discovery at Nag Hammadi we finally were able to see another perspective in the evolution of Christianity. Gnostics felt persecuted by not only pagans but by fellow brothers in Christ who viewed Jesus’ message differently from their own.

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 5; “The Passion of Christ”

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

There is only one fact on which nearly all accounts about Jesus of Nazareth, whether by hostiles or those devoted to him, agree upon; he was condemned and crucified (circa 30 A.D.) by the order of Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate. An aristocratic Roman Historian Tactius (circa 55-115 A.D.), knowing virtually nothing about Jesus, mentions only this in his writings of Rome.

Relating the history of Emperor Nero (circa 54-58 A.D.) he states Nero had people; “…punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of persons hated for their vices, which the crowd called Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty… by sentence of procurator Pontius Pilate… the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not only in Judea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where everything horrible or shameful in the world gathers and becomes fashionable.”

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 4; “God The Father. God The Mother”

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

The God of Israel was deemed a masculine God with no female divinity. He is normally characterized with such masculine epithets as king, lord, master, judge and father. The absence of feminine symbolism for God marks Judaism, Christianity and Islam in contrast to the religious traditions in Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Rome, etc; all of which have feminine symbolism included. While many believe God is not to be considered in sexual terms at all, much of the actual language used to describe him (much like I did right there) gives off the impression of a masculine deity. Even within Catholicism which calls upon Mary the mother of God; not God the Mother.

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 3; “One God, One Bishop”

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

The Christian creed begins with the words, “I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” Some scholars suggest this was formulated to exclude followers of the heretic Marcion (circa 140 A.D.) from Orthodox Churches. A Christian from Asia Minor who pointed out the contrast in the God of the Old Testament, who demands justice and punishes every violation of his law, and the Father whom Jesus proclaims in the New Testament to be the God of love and forgiveness. Marcion asked why God would create a world of suffering, pain and disease. He concluded it has to be two different Gods. Many Christians deemed that a dualistic view, resulting in the orthodox view being one God who is father almighty and created Heaven and Earth.

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The Gnostic Gospels Part 2; “The Controversy over Christ’s Resurrection”

The Controversy over Christ's Resurrection

The following blog contains notes gathered from “The Gnostic Gospels” by Elaine Pagels detailing the origins of Christianity.

“Jesus rose from the grave” may be considered the fundamental element of Christian faith. Many religions celebrate cycles of birth and death but Christianity introduced the first case of the dead coming back to life. The disciples were said to be in awe and under the impression that they were seeing a ghost until Jesus asked for food and ate broiled fish with the disciples. Anyone who denies the resurrection of Christ is deemed a heretic and not a Christian.

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