The Earliest Christian Records…The Original History of Christ ???
Gnosticism and Nag Hammadi
The DaVinci Code makes some very strong statements about something called Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi documents. The DaVinci Code says the Nag Hammadi writings are the “earliest Christian records” and they represent “the original history of Christ” and in addition they speak of the ministry of Jesus in “human terms” (This is found in the DaVinci Code on pages 234 & 235) The DaVinci Code also goes on to explain that Gnostic groups highly valued women and participated in a ritual known as Hieros Gamos. (The DaVinci Code pages 125-126 & 308-310)
These are important items of evidence that the “truth of the DaVinci Code” is built upon. So is it true and what about Gnosticism and Nag Hammadi?
DeCode the Code !
Since you are doing some investigating here lets begin with Gnosticism.
The word comes from a Greek word “gnosis” which means knowledge.
Gnosticism is a religious movement that blended elements from pagan mythology, Greek philosophy, Judaism, and Christianity into a single thought process in which followers attempted to achieve “gnosis” or a special level of insight into the inner nature of the cosmos.
Until the mid-twentieth century not a whole lot was known about Gnosticism outside the writing against it by the early church fathers. The discovery of the ancient library of Gnostic texts near Nag Hammadi (ah-ha…there is the nag again) in Egypt revealed more about their early theology and practices.
Most Gnostics shared at least three beliefs….
Number One: The deity that created the universe WAS NOT the supreme and true God. The creator-known by some Gnostics as “Ialtabaoth” was an evil entity that most Gnostics believed to be the God of the Old Testament. They believed that Jesus was sent to earth by a greater and higher deity.
As you DeCode the Code recognize that these were a people who believed not in one true God but in multiple Gods. This is a result of the hodge podge of belief systems and philosophies they meshed together to build their own religious slant.
Number Two: Since an evil deity created the universe then everything physical was evil. They viewed sexuality, especially the woman’s part in procreation to be disgusting and vile.
As you DeCode the code remember we mentioned above a ritual called Hieros Gamos. This was a sexual ritual. Two books of their writings, The Gospel of Eve and The Gospel of Philip do describe some sexual practices. It is unclear whether these were actually physical acts or symbolic acts. Still, since the entire physical world was evil the attitude was whatever they did with their bodies was of little consequence. It does not take a rocket scientist to see a bunch of philosophers pondering this subject matter does it?
The Gnostics also viewed women as inferior and unworthy. According to the last verse of the Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic gospel, “Simon Peter says to Jesus, “Let Mary leave us; women are not worthy of life,” Jesus replied, “I will lead her to become male, so she can become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
As you DeCode the Code you will not find it surprising that early followers of Jesus rejected the Gnostics view of women, life, and the world. Clearly because it did not line up with the ancient writings of the Old Testament and the first hand accounts of the first century followers of Jesus.
Now many of you have not read the writings found at Nag Hammadi which were the Gnostic gospels. In line with what we have been investigating, here are a few quotes or thoughts…
“Physical intercourse produces beasts, so Gnostic believers must abandon bestiality” (Book of Thomas the Contender, 139:8-11, 28-29)
“Annihilate the works which pertain to the woman [i.e. childbearing]…so that they [the works of creation] may cease” (Dialogue with the Savior, 144:19-20)
“Femininity is unclean” (Zostrianos 131:5-8)
“Marriage is defilement” (Gospel of Philip 82:4)
Number Three: Because they believed that everything physical was evil. Gnosticism held to the belief that Christ only seemed human. According to the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, the man whose hands and feet they nailed to the cross was not actually Christ, because Christ had no body.
As you DeCode the Code you remember that the earliest Christians knew that Jesus is not only fully God but also fully human. The apostle John surely was countering an early form of Gnosticism, which later became known as Docetism in some of his writings and he wrote that Jesus had come in the flesh and that men saw Him and recognized Him. The emphasis as John and others in the New Testament wrote emphasized the “realness” of Jesus.”
Now that you know a little bit about Gnosticm…return to the DaVinci Code. But wait…a skeptic will scream “HOW DO YOU KNOW THE DESCRIPTION OF GNOSTICISM ABOVE IS TRUE !?!” (Do you hear them screaming?)
The answer is simple. It is written by the Gnostics in their Gnostic texts, also known as the Gnostic Gospels, or the Nag Hammadi writings. In other words we know the above is true because they described themselves in this way. (Duh!)
DeCode the Code
Were the Nag Hammadi writings the “earliest Christian records”?
In truth, the earliest Gnostic texts were written around AD 150.
This is a century after Paul’s earliest letters and at least a half a century after the latest Gospel as Christians know them.
MOST of the Gnostic texts were written in the second and third centuries.
At this point, the DaVinci Code history unravels. Not only is it wrong, but is off by many years. This is a crucial building block in the DaVinci Code, if it is not true. Then the credibility of much of the other history is wrong as well. Please notice this has nothing to do with faith or Christianity or Gnosticism. This is simply a lie about the historical date of documents. As a DeCoding Specialist you already know that if you are going to rewrite or revise history you should make sure you get the correct date on the documents you use to build your history on!
Were the Nag Hammadi writings the “original history of Christ”?
Far from it! Gnostic writings represent a view of Jesus that emerged decades after his earthly ministry. That is why they were rejected from the books that were included in the Bible as history unfolded. They were not credible…not because of their content only but because they were created and written by a hybrid of quasi spirituality that decided to mix and match and create what they “wanted” to believe and what they wanted others to believe about Jesus. As a book the DaVinci Code is big on selling conspiracies. The only accuracy at this point is the conspiracy that Dan Brown bought into the weave together his non-historical and inaccurate background studies.
Do Gnostic writings really speak about Jesus in very human terms?
As an entire group of writings “no.” There are a few gospels that really deal with Jesus in the human physical sense, but remember the basis of Gnosticism…Jesus was not really a living, breathing human. He was something different in the mind of the Gnostic. So again as you decode remember that these pieces just don’t fit together.
And while the implication is made that these early documents hold women in high regard and attempt to even make them goddess like…well, the truth is far different and the Gnostics did not value women at all according to the texts.
Any more nagging about the Nag Hammadi documents?
One more bit about these documents. Found near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt these documents are anything BUT the “earliest Christian records”
The documents in the New Testament were written between 40AD and 100. Most of the texts found at Nag Hammadi were copied between the third and fifth centuries AD. In fact the OLDEST document at Nag Hammadi is probably the Gospel of Thomas, which seems to have been written around 140 AD. This places it nearly a half a century later than the latest New Testament Text.
In DeCoding the Code so much of Dan Brown’s work on the DaVinci Code hinges on the dates and contents of these Nag Hammadi texts it seems a shame that he seemed to have gotten nothing about them correct. But now you know and have successfully DeCoded the DaVinci Code on these matters. And you probably know a lot more about the subject than most of the people who have so blindly believed them or The DaVinci Code to be true. Congratulations!
Click the link below to continue your DeCoding Adventure
© Copyright 2003 by CCC Ministries