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Have You Read the Nag Hammadi?

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posted on Jan, 5 2006 @ 10:26 PM
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I've been reading the Nag Hammadi. I am a Christian and was just wondering if there was anyone else around who's read it? The NH is something, I think, the church tries to steer us parishoners away from.

After reading some of it, I do confess, it is not for the layman. It'll make the marbles in your head fly around, it's so unlike anything I've read - next to the Revelation in the Bible. Actually, the NH makes Revelation seem sensible and discernable.

That's why the scholars left it out, for sure. It's out there. And it is important. If you've read it, too, lemme know. I'm looking for someone else's take onnit.




posted on Jan, 5 2006 @ 10:36 PM
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I've read it. It did make my head swim, but suddenly, I realized I was finally swimming instead of mired down!

Things began to make a whole lot of sense--both the bible and everything else I had ever researched/studied/wondered about...

Oddly enough, it is the reading of those things deemed 'unapproved' or 'heretical' or whatever, that finally cleared the fog between the canon and my mind.


The bible is complete in its message (which is for the individual) but that message is esoteric and occult (hidden). Sacred texts of many times and cultures can be extremely enlightening for those who seek to study the Bible, and who do not define their thoughts according to religious fidelity.



posted on Jan, 5 2006 @ 11:44 PM
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Hello EastCoastKid,

Ironically, just 5 minutes ago I was reading the Apocryphon of John, from The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus by Marvin Meyer.

I'd have to agree with queenannie, as the Nag Hammadi Library has broadened my view and understanding of the Bible. Many people will try to tell you that the two (Bible and NHL) have opposing messages, yet in my opinion it has only reinforced what I believe to be true.

It also shows us that Christianity, at its conception, was a much broader movement then we've been led to believe. The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas is believed by some scholars to have been written as early as 50 AD! The reason that it has caused so much interest is because it is a sayings Gospel. Before the NHL was found, scholars believed that the Synoptic Gospels were compiled with the help of a fifth sayings Gospel, commonly known as "Q". Since the Gospel of Thomas contains a large amount of sayings that appear in the Synoptic Gospels (and John for that matter) many believe that it could have been used as a source for compiling the NT Gospels.

The Nag Hammadi Library has allowed me to look at the New Testament from a new angle, instead of accepting the interpretation of mainstream Christianity. Unfortunately, because of all the doctrine and labels that have been attached to Gnosticism by scholars (such as a non-physical Jesus, the world being created by a demi-God etc....), many people are hesitant to read the NHL. We need to realize that these labels have been attached by scholars who are trying to intellectually trying to understand something that can only be understood through direct experience, in other words Gnosis. For example, the Gospel of Thomas does not convey the idea that the world was made by a demi-God, or that Jesus was not a physical being. Instead it presents to us the real essense of Gnosticism, that knowledge of oneself leads to Gnosis, knowledge of the divine that transcends theory, dogma or belief.

Inverencial Peace,
Akashic



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 07:50 AM
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Yes. And the DSS , and various writings based on these scrolls. And writings published by the Jesus Seminar.

One of my favorite quotes is from Robert W. Funk founder of JS and its parent organization,




Knowledge appears to make no contribution to the credentials of an authority; opinions firmly held, expressed loudly, and buttressed by ignorance are quite adequate.
RWF



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 10:41 AM
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The nag hammadi are a collection of some of the "gnostic" gospels. These gospels weren't included in the bible because the majority of people didn't find them beleivable. The Acts of St. Thomas, for example, seems to be pretty obviously a forgery; it talks about thomas being sold as a slave by jesus, going to india, but having nothing indian in it, and having names that are at best parthian, it talks about non-eastern and rather roman things, like reclining at dinner, and stresses odd things like married couples remaining celebate. Its thought to have been written in the 200's, in edessa, in armenia, by a local gnostic.

Many of the other gnostic texts have similar histories. Basically, if the people at the time didn't consider them authentic, why should any of us, 2,000 years later?



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 03:59 PM
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Nygdan, I have to differ with you that many of the Gnostic texts were not concidered believable. The Gnostics were attacked as heritics so the church saw them as a threat to their authority, so obviously someone believed in the writing and beliefs contained in the texts themselves. The major fear of the church Imo was that the Gnostics felt no need for a grand organizing church with final authority on thier redemption. Also I don't think you can't group all texts concidered Gnostic, and judge them by one or two that might have been forgeries. Besides, many texts that you may concider a forgery were written with no intention to fool anyone, using names of religious figures was a style of writing back then, before the time of plagerism and such. Also Many Gnostics felt that if you wrote from the position of gnosis that was authentic enough to be valid.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 12:00 AM
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Thank you all for adding your thoughts..

Here's my little contribution to gnosticism.. "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin is playing...:w:

Seriously, though, I think the stuff found in the Nag Hammadi is just a tad bit deep for the average American churchgoer.

Thanks all for your comments.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 01:10 AM
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Originally posted by EastCoastKid
Here's my little contribution to gnosticism.. "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin is playing...:w:

Right on.



Seriously, though, I think the stuff found in the Nag Hammadi is just a tad bit deep for the average American churchgoer.

That's the whole point...



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 07:47 AM
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SavageCupid makes an excellent point about the context of what is commonly referred to as "gnostic texts". One must never forget that most of these texts are believed to be written by different individuals and most of them probably never met the others. Each individual was likely to be writing from what they considered sincerely "true" points of view with some genuine "divine inspiration" and with a pure hearted attempt to share with others.

You see the same kind of thing on ATS in a manner of speaking. I don't wish to pick on the Christians but they, as a group, are the best represented group. So, with that qualifier, I see the Christian posters here on ATS posting sincerely about articles of their faith and yet, they disagree on several points.

Getting to the point of this ramble, and echoing much of what has been said, the Gnostics didn't place much, if any, real value on organization and codification. Some sects are believed to have felt that it was "unG-dly" to even attempt to organize under any kind of earthly leadership or to recognize any human as a spiritual leader. So, of course, this body of gnostic texts tends to be sort of all over the place at times and it is simply unfair and inaccurate to try to reconcile one with another.

I also believe, based on histories that I've read, that the "organized church" (mostly those of Rome and Constantinople) felt compelled to stamp out this heresy (after all, they invented the whole concept of heresy) and "save" the future of Christianity from these "rogue" sects. If they had to slaughter some women and children in the process, well, that was just the price they were willing to pay to get this fledgling religion up and running in an orderly fashion.

Edited to add this qualifier:
I have NOT read all the texts - I'm actually more interested in the histories behind them than what they actually say. So, I've spent a lot more time reading the historical accounts than the "gospels" themselves even though I do own a copy of the book referenced at the beginning of the thread.

[edit on 7-1-2006 by Al Davison]



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 08:38 AM
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These gospels weren't included in the bible because the majority of people didn't find them beleivable.

It was not a " majority" of " people" it was a council of high ranking "bishops".
and they were so in agreement that at times they came to blows over the
subject. As I recall Arius was knocked unconcious then banished from the empire in one dispute.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by savagecupid
Nygdan, I have to differ with you that many of the Gnostic texts were not concidered believable. The Gnostics were attacked as heritics so the church saw them as a threat to their authority, so obviously someone believed in the writing and beliefs contained in the texts themselves.

True enough, but it seems that the bulk of the christians didn't buy into the 'gnostic' version of the faith. I think that that is important. We are talking about a time when there was no 'church', when 'the church' was people meeting in private in their homes and maybe groups electing a metropolitan/bishop/whathaveyou for their city.

Besides, many texts that you may concider a forgery were written with no intention to fool anyone, using names of religious figures was a style of writing back then,

True enough again, however, they're still forgeries. They're not authentic, and the public overall seems to have not beleived them. For example, no one is going to throw away the gospel of saint thomas if they think its authentic, no matter what some prelate says. Also, consider that lots of these prelates were also beleivers themselves, if something is widely considered to be an authentic text, a copy or a coallation of stuff written by an actual apostle, they're not going to all throw it out because of cynical reasons.

"Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin is playing

I guess I'll keep rambling.


Al Davidson
I also believe, based on histories that I've read, that the "organized church" (mostly those of Rome and Constantinople) felt compelled to stamp out this heresy (after all, they invented the whole concept of heresy) and "save" the future of Christianity from these "rogue" sects

Thats what heresey is all about though. Think about it. You have these most accepted gospels, the ones in the bible know, and they tell a pretty coherent story, their background and reference is the old testament and old judaism, and their vision of christ meshes with one another. Then you have these texts popping up in egypt and turkey, claiming ot be authentic, relating events that couldn't've happened or make no sense, and talking about a religion that is pretty different, ie the masses don't get the real knowledge of chritianity, its to be kept secret from the profane, jesus owns and sells thomas as a slave, sex is forbidden for everyone, even married couples, etc etc,. And notice that these aren't things that people like to associate with 'good old gnosticism'.

The group of christians have to be able to make a decision about these things. There are other variations on christianity that can be mixed with the mainstream, and then there are these things that are so completely different as to basically be entirely other faiths, and they can't have Gnostic Bishops giving communion to non-gnostic christians or baptising some people and ordaining other sets of preists. Certainly they can't just pretend that they're all the same church. So they are marked as heterodoxic, and a set of beleifs that are from the most authentic gospels and traditions are set as Orthodoxic.
And of course, much later, this whacky bishop in rome says crazy stuff like you can have an un-orthodox universal church that incorporates other sects, but still not the outright heresies, ie Catholic.

It was not a " majority" of " people" it was a council of high ranking "bishops".

The bishops didn't do this, as, say, is alleged to have happened at the Council of Nicea. The christian community had already come to accept certain cooks as authentic, on its own. As the cannon formed, the nascent Orthodox church recognized these books as somewhat official, they noted agreement with the general christian public as to what was authentic and what was not. They didn't just select some books that made a nice little powerbase for themselves and then burned all the rest.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 01:02 PM
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Nydgan - I don't think you meant to say it like this (or maybe you did) but, your argument just says "whatever was most popular and widely believed became the truth". Right?



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 01:20 PM
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Sure.

I have no idea what The Truth is. But I would have to think that the early christian community would be better at recognizing the truth of the first century ad than any of us. If they recongized that what are now the cannonical gospels and letters as the authentic ones, then that, to me, is in itself a good argument to accept them as such.

THere are other reasons to accept and reject the various gospels, cannonical and noncannonical, as authentic or not in addition to this of course.

But regardless I don't think any such analysis can get at "The Truth", which is a matter of faith.

To me, it seems unlikely also that jesus was a gnostic movement, but then that there were fraudulent non-gnostics who made up these non-gnostic texts and spread them everywhere. Also, it seems to me that the gnostic branch of christianity is a hybrid of the older gnosticism, ie that its 'mainline christianity' with 'gnosis' added to it.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by stalkingwolf



These gospels weren't included in the bible because the majority of people didn't find them beleivable.

It was not a " majority" of " people" it was a council of high ranking "bishops".
and they were so in agreement that at times they came to blows over the
subject. As I recall Arius was knocked unconcious then banished from the empire in one dispute.


True, true. Reading "On the Origins of the Earth," as a Christian was kind of mind-blowing. A rattling experience for one taught caution in these spiritual matters. I was seeking out anything covering the anti-deluvian era, which I believe to be an earthly era filled with literal demons. What I came away with after reading OtOoE, was something I had stumbled upon the summer of 2001 after reading "Rule by Secrecy" by Jim Marrs: the bizarre creation story barely touched on in the Old Testament of the bible. The one thing that tripped me up, tripped me out and inspired my curiosity (from the bible) was the vague reference to "making them in OUR own image." It suggests a deviance from the creation story taught in church. That there are more Gods where ours came from.....

Heresy!


[edit on 1/7/06 by EastCoastKid]



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 02:46 PM
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The 'our image' references are often noted to be indicative of a polytheistic period amoung the hebrews. Infact, with respect to the creation story, some have noted that there are two creation stories in the cannonical bible. One that has the creation from nothingness with the orgnaisms and finally man, and another which has the ad hoc creation of the entire garden and man being put into it, with other specifics out of order.

Biblical scholars, citing primarily grammatical and linguistic evidence I beleive, have noted that these two stories seem to come from two different traditions. The idea is that the first one is a polytheistic tradition amoung them, the second that of the creation story from the cult of yahweh. Later in their history, these different groups come together and their creation stories are synthesized or undergo syncrisis between one another, leaving what is today thought to be one story with 'weird' stuff in it, like 'our image'.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 02:58 PM
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Here's what freaks people out with regard to the Nag Hammadi and other texts....

The warning found at the end of the book of Revelation:



I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." - Rev. 22:18-19, NIV



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by EastCoastKid
Here's what freaks people out with regard to the Nag Hammadi and other texts....

The warning found at the end of the book of Revelation:


Do you think that the writer of the Book or Revelation was referring to the later to be canonized bible with this warning?

Most likely he/she was not, and was simply referring to the the Book or Revelation itself.

Inverencial Peace,
Akashic



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
True enough, but it seems that the bulk of the christians didn't buy into the 'gnostic' version of the faith. I think that that is important. We are talking about a time when there was no 'church', when 'the church' was people meeting in private in their homes and maybe groups electing a metropolitan/bishop/whathaveyou for their city.

True, however only in regard to 'true gnosis'...
'Gnostic' wasn't even a formal idea/philosophy/version until 'christian' became a 'household term;' something accepted and approved (and not certain execution) by the powers-that-be. Then, of course, there was a shift of where the 'truth' in essence, dwelt. But that was the end of the scattering, and what rose up after that in the name of Gnosticism (Valentinius, Marcion, the Sethians, etc) was just a new variety of perversion of a single ages-old 'truth.'

Some of the Nag Hammadi is anonymous and therefore mysterious to the analyzers--but these are the rogue works of true gnostic souls... As Al Davison said:


One must never forget that most of these texts are believed to be written by different individuals and most of them probably never met the others. Each individual was likely to be writing from what they considered sincerely "true" points of view with some genuine "divine inspiration" and with a pure hearted attempt to share with others.


I perceive three 'categories' in those texts, as far as my own personal standards of 'authenticity:'
1. Later works that reflect the later 'gnostic sects' ideas and theologies.
2. Many whom felt they were qualified to write scripture (with the unknowing good intentions that Al describes above) and wanted to share, but still had a blind spot or two--this is of the same nature of the 'zeal' that can consume a person.
3. Some truly priceless gems of pure gnostic revelation that literally become the 'golden key' for the reader--some fit better than others for each respective reader--and in some cases, the proverbial door is finally cracked open. (of course this can happen in countless other fashions, too...)

Then there are basically 3 kinds of readers, and a fourth non-reader. The readers roughly correspond to the 'categories' of originating source, and so it actually is a lot like the parable of the seeds sowed by the wayside--only a portion of a portion actually germinate and thrive--but the true abundance harvest is manifested over time, little by little, one crop at a time.


True enough again, however, they're still forgeries. They're not authentic, and the public overall seems to have not beleived them.

At the time they were written they were not done with the purpose of deceiving anyone, then or later. To forge is to purposely deceive. As odd as it may sound, in those times, what you are seeing as a forgery was basically what we would now call an 'endorsement.'
If we are fooled these days, it is not because they set out to deceive us, and the public's overall disbelief/disregard is not related to authorship, but rather to the fact that the deepest truths are hidden--in eveything. We just don't see it--so we have no chance to really believe what we do not see--we are not decieved, just still perspectively impaired.


Thats what heresey is all about though.


But heresy is a human tool...
IF there is a God, and IF God is the source of 'truth', then no heresy can do any harm to God.
Or, from a non-god-related viewpoint:
If something is a fact, because it has been proven empirically and can be witnessed and confirmed--yet a person chooses to absolutely 'believe' and insist otherwise--the fundamental 'fact' is not one bit altered or even budged a micrometer, by that one person's opinion (belief). If the situation is reversed, is the outcome changed at all?


Think about it. You have these most accepted gospels, the ones in the bible know, and they tell a pretty coherent story, their background and reference is the old testament and old judaism, and their vision of christ meshes with one another.
Well, unless one chooses to closely examine them from a non-religious POV--then they reveal themselves to be something else, entirely.
Religion dictates these things, not scripture and sacred texts, themselves.



Then you have these texts popping up in egypt and turkey, claiming ot be authentic, relating events that couldn't've happened or make no sense, and talking about a religion that is pretty different, ie the masses don't get the real knowledge of chritianity,

Christianity is not synonymous with gnosis, in meaning or in function/position as far as spiritual education.


its to be kept secret from the profane,jesus owns and sells thomas as a slave, sex is forbidden for everyone, even married couples, etc etc,. And notice that these aren't things that people like to associate with 'good old gnosticism'.


As far as what is believed to be 'gnosticism,' I guess not. But 'gnosticism' is not the same thing as gnosis--I think we have created gnosticism out of yet another misunderstanding of gnosis and those who have experienced it.


The group of christians have to be able to make a decision about these things.

Well, by being 'christian,' is that not basically their decision?


And of course, much later, this whacky bishop in rome says crazy stuff like you can have an un-orthodox universal church that incorporates other sects, but still not the outright heresies, ie Catholic.


In all creations of man--art, literature, architecture, religion, government, et al...
There is truth--mixed in with a whole lot of other kinds of delusion/deception/illusion/misinterpretation. There truly cannot be any truly '
'catholic' (universal) truth that still maintains the idea of something being 'heretical.' It is paradox and so is not 'holy.' (pure)


The christian community had already come to accept certain cooks as authentic, on its own. As the cannon formed, the nascent Orthodox church recognized these books as somewhat official, they noted agreement with the general christian public as to what was authentic and what was not. They didn't just select some books that made a nice little powerbase for themselves and then burned all the rest.

Yet, any way it is examined, nothing was determined by God--only men, whether it was the clergy, the laity, or even a bunch of heinz 57 voodoo--
men chose, divided, and approved according to what they thought they knew and more than that, probably that which they believed they truly 'understood.'

For me, that translates to 'whatever the majority approved as being in alignment with the already commonly established religious doctrine of the times.'



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 03:47 PM
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Those are good questions. I've always believed that the bible is the enerrant word of God (perhaps as revealed to the white bread of the world). The Nag Hammadi was revealed to me much later in life. It is perplexing and beyond deep. Do I take the warning in Revelation to be a serious caution against the exploring of texts revealed after the magnificant, church-sanctioned compilation was signed, sealed and delivered?

ECK shakes head.. pulls stocking cap out of Baby the pit bull's mouth.. It did make me pause, as good indoctrinated Christian.





posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by EastCoastKid
Do I take the warning in Revelation to be a serious caution against the exploring of texts revealed after the magnificant, church-sanctioned compilation was signed, sealed and delivered?

Do you really want an answer?

It is my answer, though--bear that in mind, as a disclaimer...

Take that warning as a warning against these kinds of things:


How terrible it will be for you experts in the law! For you have taken away the key to knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you kept out those who were trying to go in."
~Luke 11:52

... it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
~Daniel 8:12

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
~2 Timothy 4:3-4


This is the religion that religion warned us about...





[edit on 1/7/2006 by queenannie38]



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