In his fictitious novel, The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown suggests that one of the motives for Constantine’s alleged banning of the Gnostic writings was a desire to suppress women in the church. So was Constantine a sexist? Would the inclusion of the Gnostic writings in the Bible have elevated women? [Read more…]
The Gnostics thought they had secret, special knowledge hidden from ordinary people. Their name comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” As Christianity spread, the Gnostics mixed some doctrines and elements of Christianity into their beliefs, morphing Gnosticism into a counterfeit Christianity. Perhaps they did it to keep recruitment numbers up and make Jesus a poster child for their cause. However, for their system of thought to fit with Christianity, Jesus needed to be reinvented, stripped of both his humanity and his absolute deity. [Read more…]
The wealthy merchant Marcion (d. c.160 A.D.) didn’t like what he thought was the cranky God of the Old Testament, so he removed this God from his version of the Bible. He amputated the entire Old Testament as well as any New Testament books that to him sounded like the Old Testament. We generally know what was in his Bible, and it contained much of what is in ours. What he amputated is harder to discern. The important point is that Marcion’s partial list of New Testament books in 135 A.D. affirms their acceptance 200 years prior to the Council of Nicaea. [Read more…]
In 1945 a discovery was made in Upper Egypt, near the town of Nag Hammadi. Fifty-two copies of ancient writings, called the Gnostic gospels were found in 13 leather-bound papyrus codices (handwritten books). They were written in Coptic and belonged to a library in a monastery.
A few Gnostic scholars have gone so far as to assert that these recently discovered writings are the authentic history of Jesus instead of the New Testament. But does their faith in these documents square with the historical evidence? Let’s take a deeper look to see if we can separate truth from fiction. (read more)