What Is Gnosticism?
I have been talking about how I came to learn about the Gnostic Gospel of Judas, the most significant Christian document discovered in modern times (since the 1940s). Now I want to explain what the Gospel is. I have just called it a "Gnostic" Gospel, and so to begin I need to say something about what Christian Gnosticism was. It is a fascinating topic, but widely misunderstood. The reading-public-at-large was *somewhat* introduced to it in the 1950s with the publication of the Gospel of Thomas (which scholars today are reluctant to label "Gnostic," as it turns out); but it became much more widely known in the 1970s when Elaine Pagels published her blockbuster, The Gnostic Gospels. She too has changed her views on lots of things (including the Gospel of Thomas), but her book is still a terrific read. I assign it to my undergrads. I talk about Gnosticism in a number of my books. The following is some of the basic information from my textbook on the New Testament. In the next post I'll [...]