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that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son
of Man is within you. Follow after Him! Those who seek Him will find
--Gospel of Mary Magdalene
said, "Images are visible to people, but the light within them
is hidden in the image of the Father's light. He will be disclosed,
but his image is hidden by his light."
--Gospel of Thomas (#83)
A number of us
have come across Elaine Pagels'
The Gnostic Gospels and/or her recent book Beyond
Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. Although branded as
heretical by the orthodox church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Gnostic
thought played a significant role in early Christianity and some of
their writings contain striking precursors to Quaker thought. Central
among these is the belief that God is to be known inwardly through continuing
Here are some resources
for exploring these writings in comparison with the canonical gospels.
Gospel of Thomas
collection of commentaries on the Gospel of Thomas (Note the link
to parallel sayings in the Biblical gospels and other writings in
the top right-hand corner!)
of Thomas FAQ (internet jargon for "Frequently Asked Questions")
Gospel of Philip
Gospel of Truth
Gospel of Mary Magdalene
A collection of sayings of Jesus (with many striking parallels in the
Gospel of Thomas) that was incorporated into the gospels of Matthew
and Luke. Q no longer exists as an independent manuscript;
what we know of it has been reconstructed from Matthew and Luke. It
is from Q that we get such memorable passages as The
Lord's Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount.
Nag Hammadi Library. The largest repository of Gnostic writings
was unearthed in a large urn at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. This web site
is a rich resource with numerous links to online versions of the texts
themselves and related materials, including a series of audio lectures
available on the internet in Real Audio format.
brief introduction to Gnostic history and thought
Gnostic Society Library: is a starting point for exploring Gnostic
writings known before the Nag Hammadi discovery.
Christian Writings web site is a massive online collection of canonical
and non-canonical writings of the early church. This is a wonderful
resource and a portal into comparitive study among these writings. Being
digital documents, searching for words or phrases is especially easy.
The Bible (Revised
Standard Version, many
other online versions)