Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
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03-04-2014, 11:41 AM
Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
Reading Elaine Pagels 'The Origins of Satan' she refers to the texts, known as the Nag Hammandi texts or The Gnostic Gospels found in 1945 buried in an earthenware jar. In fact one of her other books is in fact 'The Gnostic Gospels'. I also have this but have yet to read it.

Texts such as the Gospel of Thomas depict the kingdom of god as being a state of consciousness rather than a place. While others depict Mary Magdalene as being incredibly special to Jesus, so much so that he kisses her on the mouth and they talk of her having the authority to teach. It also says she was given teachings by Jesus that the other disciples were not. Which, it appears Peter was not too thrilled about.

This got me wondering what today's Christians think about these texts? Are they ever discussed and how do they fit in, if anywhere, with their belief system? Or are they simply dismissed as they are not included in the bible?

"The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species." - Christopher Hitchens

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03-04-2014, 11:48 AM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
I'm reading The Nag Hammadi Scriptures right now.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0061626007...mdsc?dsc=1

Marvin Meyer, the editor, is a professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman U. I think there's simply not much awareness about the existence of the documents, as they've been kept out of canon because they simply don't fit the dogma, even though they're from as early as 2 AD.

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03-04-2014, 12:07 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
In my experience from my bible thumping days, most christians aren't even aware they exist.

Granted I came from the Dutch Reformed church/ Evangelical and there it was never mentioned. I have read part of them after finding out of them, and find them quite interesting.

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03-04-2014, 12:18 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
(03-04-2014 11:41 AM)Eva Wrote:  This got me wondering what today's Christians think about these texts? Are they ever discussed and how do they fit in, if anywhere, with their belief system? Or are they simply dismissed as they are not included in the bible?

That depends on the Christian. From what I understand, these types of things are rarely, if ever mentioned in sermons. I'm sure many people assume they're either hoaxes or are inaccurate, even if genuine. Yes, their reasoning for rejecting them is likely circular.

That being said, these types of works are mentioned in my wife's church in book studies or even their early service (a small-group setting). Quite a few of the members are fine admitting that the Bible isn't literal and is largely the work of men who are writing about what was important to them, but not necessarily ghost-written by God.

Taking a view like that makes it easier to jettison some of the more grizzly parts of the Bible, although it does raise the question: why believe the base of Christianity at all? Now I'm getting off topic. Shy
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03-04-2014, 12:22 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
(03-04-2014 12:07 PM)Blackhand293 Wrote:  In my experience from my bible thumping days, most christians aren't even aware they exist.

Granted I came from the Dutch Reformed church/ Evangelical and there it was never mentioned. I have read part of them after finding out of them, and find them quite interesting.

They do give a different slant to the usual writings. It's a shame a fair few of them were burnt as the mother of the guy who found them threw them in the stove not knowing what they were.

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03-04-2014, 12:41 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
The Hypostasis of the Archons does give a slightly more internally consistent tale of Eden than the canon bible. Also it explains why YHVH is such a dick. Consider

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03-04-2014, 12:47 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
Probably the majority of Christians, and certainly the Fundamentalist Christians, will say that they are not in the Canon for a reason. Many/most Christians see the Bible as God's words to mankind, and if something was left out, then it must have been God's will that it was so.

Some are viewed as hoaxes or inaccurate (as was mentioned), though some Christians will look at them with interest and will get information from them like they would from a textbook. The fundies who take an interest will often likely compare them to a "man-made" textbook that is to be read with a grain of salt, as opposed to the "God-breathed" Bible which they read with all gravity and reverence.

Beyond that, the ones who are aware of the texts will typically ignore it or avoid it with suspicion. The fundies anyway.
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03-04-2014, 02:35 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
I read Elaine Pagels book on the Gnostic Gospels and wondered the same thing. One thing that struck me was how much more "spiritual" the Gnostic Gospels were. They were almost zen in nature. It's been a while since I read the book but as I remember "sin" wasn't such a big thing and the interpretations of the Gnostic Gospels was up to the individual which doesn't make for a strong, coheasive religious movement.

The thing that I took away from the book was how the early Christian fathers fashioned their church (Roman Catholic) exactly as the Roman government was set up with the Ceasar at the top then the Senators then representatives and on down the line. This was the only way they knew how to organize a religious orginization.

I've read that some Christians dismiss the Gnostic Gospels as hearasy and evil. Most probably don't even know they exist.

Dr. Bart Ehrman wrote a book called Lost Christianities. I haven't read it yet but I've read almost everything else he's written.

http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Christianitie...0195182499

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03-04-2014, 06:00 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
Those who know of them are embarrassed by them.

I've read Lost Christianities. An excellent piece of work.

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03-04-2014, 06:21 PM
RE: Nag Hammadi texts. What do Christians make of them?
Some don't care, if it doesn't say KJV it aint worth shit to some of them.

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