The Fascinations of Gnosticism, Part III

The Fascinations of Gnosticism, Part III September 3, 2012

Now it’s time to let you see some of the most interesting and easiest to understand passages from the Gnostic writings.


[From the Gospel of Thomas]

His students said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”

Jesus said, “It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”

Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.”

His students said to him, “When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?”

He said to them, “What you are looking forward to has come, but you don’t know it.”

His students said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?”

Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”

[Hey, y’all, face it: Here Jesus is telling his followers to work skyclad!]

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his students, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom.”

They said to him, “Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?”

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female equal, so that the male will not be dominant nor the female be submissive, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

Jesus said, “Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.”

Mary said to Jesus, “What are your students like?”

He said, They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. when the owners of the field come, they will say, “Give us back our field.” They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them. [Skyclad again!]

Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.”

Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her masculine, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself masculine will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

The students said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”

Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”

Jesus said, “When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.”


Excerpts from The Gospel of Philip  

Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. Truth brought names into existence in the world for our sakes, because we cannot learn it (truth) without these names. . . . Truth is one single thing; yet it is many things for our sakes, in order to teach us about this one thing in love through many things. . . . Truth, which existed since the beginning, is sown everywhere. And many see it being sown, but few are they who see it being reaped.

Some said, “Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.” They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?

The Lord would not have said “My Father who is in Heaven” (Mt 16:17), unless he had had another father, but he would have said simply “My father”.

Philip the apostle said, “Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross.”

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his consort.1 His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary. . . . The consort1 of the [Lord was] Mary Magdalene. [He] loved her more than all the other studernts, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the students [were upset…]. They said to him “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered,”Do I love her more than you?”

[1 The eminent R. McL. Wilson has said that this term does mean a person with whom one has been sexually intimate.]

The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. […] he said, “I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like those inside. I came to unite them in the place.” . . .

[…] God created man. […] men create God. That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be more fitting for the gods to worship men!

Great is the mystery of conjugation! For without it, the world would not exist. Indeed, marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of this world, how much more is the enlightened marriage a true mystery!


[From”The Dialog of the Savior”]

Jesus said, “When you rid yourselves of jealousy, then you will clothe yourselves in light and enter the bridal chamber. . . . Strive to rid yourselves of anger and jealousy, and to strip yourselves of your pride.”

Jesus said. “You, as children of truth, do not clothe yourselves with these transitory garments. Rather, you will become blessed when you strip yourselves! For it is no great thing [to wear the finery of the world].” [Skyclad yet again!]


[retroverting some from Irenaeus]

We have grace as our own special possession. It has descended on us from above by our celebration of our holy conjugation; and hence more will be given us. Therefore  we must always practise the mystery of conjugation, for “Whosoever being in this world does not so love a woman as to gain her, is not of the truth, nor shall attain to the truth.”

Therefore we prepare a nuptial couch, and celebrate the rite of Holy Conjugation   with those who are being initiated, saying,  “Adorn thyself as a bride who is expecting her bridegroom, that thou mayest be what I am, and I what thou art.” This is a spiritual marriage that we celebrate, like that celebrated by the Gods. . . . Then comes the marriage feast, common to all who are saved, until all are equal and know each other.

That’s plenty for today. Next I’ll share some from the amazing “Gospel according to Mary” (that’s Magdalene).

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