Both Jesus and the Comforter came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis



"If you are looking for a complete collection of the gnostic works, I can definitely recommend this book. As it also includes the gospel Judas it is a good complement to the bible and many of its writings challenges what is commonly believed in Christianity today. In the these scriptures Jesus is urging people to become like him (instead of just believing in him). There seems to be much more profoundness to Jesus teachings than what is grasped by religion. Jesus did not come to earth to form a new religion, he came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis."- Sophia Gunterberg

Elaine H. Pagels
What are the Nag Hammadi Scriptures?


Currently, in discussions among scholars throughout the world, the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library is transforming what we know about Christianity—and its mysterious founder. For more than fifteen hundred years, most Christians had assumed that the only sources of tradition about Jesus and his disciples are those contained in the New Testament, especially in the familiar gospels of 'Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John'. Suddenly, however, the unexpected discovery of over fifty ancient texts, most of them Christian, has demonstrated what the church fathers long had indicated: that these familiar gospels are only a small selection from among many more traditions—and gospels—that, from the early generations of the Christian movement, circulated among groups throughout the known world. Now, for the first time in more than fifteen hundred years, scholars could open and read other gospels - the 'Gospel of Thomas', the 'Gospel of Truth', the 'Gospel of Philip', and the 'Gospel of Mary' ('Mary' had been discovered in 1896) - sources that enormously widen our understanding of the scope of the early Christian movement.

Those who first investigated these writings quickly recognized that some of them, at least, date back to the earliest centuries of the Christian movement, but they assumed that these must be 'false' gospels. Certain"fathers of the church"had mentioned by name such writings as the 'Gospel of Thomas' and the 'Gospel of Truth', but apart from the names, such writings had remained virtually unknown, since some of the same church leaders had attacked them as "heresy."Irenaeus of Lyon, for example, who wrote around 160 CE, had discussed—and denounced—passages from the 'Secret Book of John', discovered complete at Nag Hammadi; [9] and his famous contemporary Hippolytus, a Christian writer in Rome, quoted some of the opening lines from perhaps the most famous book of the discovery, the 'Gospel of Thomas'. [10] This shows that both of these texts—and, no doubt, many others—had been written and widely circulated among Christian groups by the middle of the second century. Irenaeus also mentioned a 'Gospel of Truth', which he said was written"recently," perhaps around 130-60 CE, by the Egyptian Christian poet Valentinus or one of his followers—perhaps the same 'Gospel of Truth' now discovered at Nag Hammadi. [11] Irenaeus specifically mentioned the 'Gospel of Judas', which, he said, teaches that Judas alone"knew the truth as no one else did"And enacted the "mystery of the betrayal," obeying a command from Jesus to initiate his sacrifice. [12] The 'Gospel of Judas', actually discovered only in the 1970's, has now been translated from Coptic and published for the first time in nearly two thousand years. [13]

Yet since scholars who relied upon Irenaeus's account also noticed that the bishop had classified all such gospels—and many other writings he dismissed along with them—as both"Illegitimate"And"Apocryphal," they assumed that the recently discovered texts they were reading must be what Irenaeus called them—"heresy."Irenaeus had insisted that such writings were"Wholly unlike what has been handed down to us from the apostles," and he called those who revered such writings"heretics."He concluded, indeed, that"The heretics say they have more gospels than there really are; but really, they really have no gospel which is not full of blasphemy."[14]

Thus those who first read and published these texts assumed that the Christian texts among them were not really Christian, but"heretical"—the work of heretics who accepted what Irenaeus called"falsely so-called gnosis."What apparently had happened to these texts only confirmed that impression. Although they were originally written in Greek, like the New Testament gospels, these texts discovered in Egypt had been translated into Coptic, perhaps by Christian monks who treasured them as holy books in the library of one of the oldest monasteries in Egypt. But the monks' reverence for such writings apparently upset Athanasius, the archbishop of Alexandria, who sent out an Easter letter all over Egypt in the spring of 367, ordering believers to reject what he called "Illegitimate and secret books."[15] Athanasius, who admired his predecessor Irenaeus for his strong stand against"heretics," also included a list of twenty-seven books of which he approved, calling them the"springs of salvation."Strikingly, the twenty-seven books he names in this letter are precisely those that came to constitute the collection we call the"New Testament"—for which his letter provides our earliest known list. But apparently some monks defied the archbishop's order to reject all the rest; instead, they saved and protected over fifty texts from their library by sealing them in a heavy jar and burying them away from the monastery walls, under the cliff where they were found sixteen hundred years later.

Yet as we have seen, many of these writings already had been circulating widely throughout the ancient world before the archbishop took action. Two hundred years earlier, as we noted, Bishop Irenaeus, after charging that the many Christians among his congregation in rural Gaul (present-day France) who treasured such writings were actually"heretics," went on to insist that of the dozens of gospels revered by various Christians only four are genuine. And these four, Irenaeus declares, are the gospels now included in the New Testament, called by the names of Jesus's followers—'Matthew', 'Mark', 'Luke', and 'John'. All the rest are illegitimate, because, he says," there cannot be more than four gospels, nor fewer."[16] Why not? Irenaeus explains that just as there are four corners of the universe and four principal winds, so there can be only four gospels—which he seems to take as a kind of scientific explanation. To those who would ask," Why athese' four?"Irenaeus declares that only theses are written by eyewitnesses of the disciples like Luke and Mark. Few scholars today would agree with Irenaeus. In the first place, we cannot verify who actually wrote any of these accounts, and many scholars agree that, although certain traditions were associated with certain disciples, the disciples themselves may not be their authors; second, nearly all the other"gospels"that Irenaeus detests are also attributed to disciples—often disciples from the same group as these.

When an international group of scholars first read and published the 'Gospel of Thomas' in 1959, [17] the primary question in their minds, not surprisingly, was this: what can the 'Gospel of Thomas' tell us about"Gnosticism"—that is, about "heresy"? Since Irenaeus and others had denounced such gospels, they assumed that athomas' must not only be a false," Gnostic"gospel, but also that, being a "false gospel," it must have been written later than the"real"gospels. And since most people agree that Mark's gospel was written earliest, some forty years after Jesus's death, around the year 70, 'Matthew' and 'Luke' about ten years later, and 'John' about 90-100, they assumed that athomas' must be later than any of these, and so they guessed that it dated to about 140 CE.

Further, since they assumed that this gospel was"heretical," they knew what to expect in terms of content: after all, church fathers like Irenaeus basically had defined—or, some would say, invented—heresy. Irenaeus explains that heretics are"Gnostics," by which he means dualists who believe that the world was created by an evil power, and so they have a dismally negative view of the world and the God who created it. Furthermore, following Irenaeus's lead, many of these scholars also assumed that heretics are"nihilistic"[believing in nothing: denying all reality] and that the works they revered would be full of philosophical speculation and bizarre mythology. [18] When the first editors of Thomas's gospel found in it virtually no evidence for dualism, nihilism, philosophical speculation, or weird mythology, most assumed that this just goes to show how devious heretics are: they do not say what they really mean. Many scholars decided that even if they could not find these elements in athomas' explicitly, they must be there implicitly; consequently, some decided just to read them into their understanding of the 'Gospel of Thomas'. Most of the first publications did this; some still do even now.

When the discovery became available to scholars throughout the world, many of us shared the excitement of investigating these nearly unknown texts. Hearing about the discovery astonished everyone who heard it. This certainly was not what we had expected to find in graduate school—nor, in fact, what we had hoped to find. Most of us who set out to find out about Jesus and the early history of Christianity imagined that we could find in first-and second-century sources a kind of"golden age"of early Christianity, a simpler, purer Christian teaching that existed when Jesus wandered with his disciples around the hills of Galilee—what Professor Krister Stendahl, then dean of Harvard Divinity School, ironically called"play Bible land."And since we assumed that there must have been only one original, pure form of Christianity back at its beginning, we never imagined that we would be asking the question that this discovery now raises for us: what different Christian groups—and thus what 'kinds' of early Christianity—were there at the beginning of the movement? [19]

Yet by the time many of us arrived in graduate school, certain scholars already had begun to embark upon a second stage of research. Examining the 'Gospel of Thomas', scholars first noticed that it is not a narrative, like the New Testament gospels; instead, it consists simply of a list of sayings attributed to Jesus. Scholars like Helmut Koester, James M. Robinson, and John Dominic Crossan observed that many sayings in athomas' are strikingly similar to sayings long familiar from the New Testament gospels attributed to Matthew and Luke—for example, such well-known parables about the kingdom of God as the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the sower and such sayings as"Blessed are the poor, for yours is heaven's kingdom."[20] The research of this generation of scholars opened up new questions: could the 'Gospel of Thomas', for example, possibly be not a late," Gnostic"gospel, as many of us first assumed, but, on the contrary, an early collection of Jesus's teaching—perhaps even one that Matthew and Luke used to compose their own gospels? Could it be the so-called Q source, a hypothetical first-century list of Jesus's sayings? Is it possible that the 'Gospel of Thomas' might tell us a great deal not about heresy, but about Jesus and his teachings? Could this be an early source—maybe even our earliest source—of Jesus's teachings, collected in an unedited, unvarnished form?

Questions like these inspired a movement among a group of scholars looking for the"real, historical"Jesus and what Jesus actually taught. Professor Helmut Koester came to conclude that the 'Gospel of Thomas' perhaps could be dated as early as the mid-first century—about twenty years after Jesus's death? [21]—which would make it the earliest gospel we know, and certainly one of the most important. John Dominic Crossan and others have written books that follow this view, and many people are still engaged in this research.

At present, however, many do not share the view that the 'Gospel of Thomas' is a kind of rough quarry of early Jesus sayings strung together with minimal editorial point of view. Even though our evidence cannot tell us for sure what came from"The historical Jesus," it can tell us a great deal, more than we ever knew before, about the early Christian movement—how it emerged and the astonishing variety of forms it took.

Recognizing this, many scholars today throughout the world have accepted the challenge articulated by our colleagues Michael A. Williams in his book 'Rethinking"Gnosticism": An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category' and Karen L. King in 'What is Gnosticism?' Instead of regarding the many texts found at Nag Hammadi as a corporate collection, scholars today more often analyze each one separately or in relationship with contemporaneous Jewish, Christian, and pagan sources. Instead of assuming that all these texts deviate from what is "normal, mainstream"early Christianity, we are finding that they have opened to us a far wider range of what we now understand to be early Christian sources. Instead of discriminating simply between what we used to call"orthodox"And "Gnostic" (or"proto-orthodox"And"proto-Gnostic," which amounts to the same thing), many scholars working on the Coptic texts are now investigating the new evidence along with the old to ask different questions. Many of us are discussing questions like whether it is misleading to classify these texts as "Gnostic."Given how varied they are, we realize that it is more accurate to look at them simply as a wide range of early Christian traditions that are unfamiliar to us, because the bishops intended to downplay viewpoints that diverged from their own. Professor Karen King has suggested that we should ask what evidence these many texts offer for various kinds of"early Christianities"; simultaneously, scholars of Judaism are investigating a wide range of"early Judaisms."[22] Finally, such investigation raises the question of what our familiar terminology means—and what it obscures. What do we mean when we speak of what is"orthodox"And what is"heretical"? What characteristics differentiate and define what we mean when we speak of"Judaism" or"Christianity"?

In many ways, investigation of the Nag Hammadi texts is just beginning. This volume invites readers to participate in exploring the early Christian movement—with far more evidence of its amazing range than we had known before.

The Nag Hammadi Scriptures (The International Edition)
Edited by Marvin Meyer; Advisory Board: Wolf-Peter Funk, Paul-Hubert Poirier, James M. Robinson; Introduction by Elaine H. Pagels
Introduction p.5-10
HarperCollins Publishers - New York
ISBN:978-0-06-052378-7
ISBN-10: 0-06-052378-6

Notes:
[9] 'gainst Heresies' 1.29.
[10] 'Refutation of All Heresies' 5.7.20. The renowned Egyptian teacher Origen, writing about a generation later, also mentions the 'Gospel of Thomas', along with the 'Gospel of Matthias' and"many others" ('Homilies on Luke 1').
[11] 'gainst Heresies' 3.11.9.
[12] 'gainst Heresies' 1.31.1.
[13] Kasser, Meyer, and Wurst, eds., 'the Gospel of Judas'.
[14] 'gainst Heresies' 3.11.9.
[15] 'Festal Letter' 39.
[16] 'gainst Heresies' 3.11.8.
[17] Antoine Guillaumont, Henri-Charles Puech, Gilles Quispel, Walter Till, and Yassah 'bd al-Masih, 'the Gospel According to Thomas'.
[18] See the influential book by Hans Jonas, 'the Gnostic Religion', an abridged translation of his 1934 monograph published in Germany under the title 'Gnosis und spatantiker Geist'.
[19] See, e.g., Karen L. King," Which Early Christianity?"
[20] John Dominic Crossan, 'Four Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of the Canon'.
[21] Cf. Helmut Koester," The Gospel of Thomas," in James. M. Robinson, ed., 'The Nag Hammadi Library in English', 125: "In its most original form, it may well date from the first century (the middle of the first century is usually considered the best date for the composition of 'Q')."
[22] See King," Which Early Christianity?"


Both Jesus and the Comforter came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis

Oct 23, 2009

Dear Violet and all,

i am going to thoroughly enjoy"The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition", one of the best book available. Since this is a recent addition to the Nag Hammadi collection (May 29, 2007) it has all the advantages of the latest research, better understanding and general acceptance.

More than that it is the message of Jesus that will attract modern humans, many of whom will find that the radical teachings of the Savior exclude the Church from salvation. Redemption and salvation to attain the eternal afterlife is from the Kingdom of God within, a cardinal rule laid down by the Comforter Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. Both Jesus and the Comforter did not come to earth to form a new religion. They came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis.

The Nag Hammadi , February 14, 2009
By Sophia Gunterberg"Sophia" (Sweden)

"If you are looking for a complete collection of the gnostic works, I can definitely recommend this book. As it also includes the gospel Judas it is a good complement to the bible and many of its writings challenges what is commonly believed in Christianity today. In the these scriptures Jesus is urging people to become like him (instead of just believing in him). There seems to be much more profoundness to Jesus teachings than what is grasped by religion. Jesus did not come to earth to form a new religion, he came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis."

Without question"The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition"Will help us spread the Good News that the Comforter has brought on behalf of Jesus and God Almighty. It is a great blessing to all who dedicate their lives to fulfil God's Plan for humanity. All you need to do is tell/point to the truth as it is that very truth that attracted us in the first place. That truth cannot be challenged by any human, or even by billions. Even the most fanatical will sulk away in silence rather than deny their own revered Scriptures as both Jesus and the Comforter/Ruh/Holy Spirit/Divine Mother/Aykaa Mayee/Tao came here to show and lead people to truth and knowledge, Gnosis, collectively found in their Holy Books.

The great Adi Shakti explains how the knowledge (Gnosis) of this mystical inner world (Kingdom of God) will eventually awaken, transform and bring about fellowship and harmony among all peoples and nations during the Golden Age of the Resurrection and Last Judgment. This unprecedented knowledge and remembrance of Jesus' mystical teachings, to be delivered by the Comforter, is the final breakthrough in human evolution."But, if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised from the dead Christ Jesus shall quicken your mortal bodies also through His Spirit who dwells in you."The divine agent, then, is the Holy Spirit, in unity with the human spirit"[1];"The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious)"[2];"He (Jesus) is the Sign of the Hour (of Resurrection)"- Surat az-Zukhruf 43:61 [3]. The eschatology of all three monotheistic faiths is harmoniously fulfilled by Devi.

regards to all,

jagbir

Note:
[1] F. J. Lambretch, Resurrection in the New Testament, page 297;
[2] Eric Eve, The Jewish Context of Jesus' Miracles, p. 195;
[3] Holy Qur'n


"Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, For if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16.7

Shri Jesus promised humankind that He will send the Comforter who will explain all that was taught by Him. The Bible contains little of what Shri Jesus preached. Anyone with common sense and unbiased mind will come to this conclusion, based on these questions:

- How is it possible that only 3 ½ years of His adult life is recorded?
- Why is that all that He spoke in 3 ½ years hardly amounts to an hour of actual speech?
- Why does recent archeological discoveries such as the Nag Hammadi Library and The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal esoteric truths spoken by Shri Jesus that are completely missing from the Bible?
- Why is the Knowledge of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi related to these esoteric Truths of Shri Jesus?

Moreover, Lord Jesus knew that after His departure those seeking power would cannibalize His teachings, and the remaining carcass misunderstood. Centuries later the Church, seeking total submission and subjugation, edited from the Bible all that empowered humans. The Gnostics, those early Christians who realized the divinity existing within all humans, became the earliest victims of the Church's long, murderous history to subdue self-salvation. The Gnostics were proclaiming that individual souls are masters of their own destiny, needing no priest or organization for guidance. (Shri Mataji keeps repeating this same Message.) But those consolidating their powers — the clergy of the infant Church — could scarcely afford such radical freedom of the masses to seek the Spirit on their own. The multitude had to be rendered morally and spiritually incapable of self- salvation. They had to be made into religious retards by various dogmas and decrees, a debilitating religious disease that still threatens to infect the twenty-first century.

Now, in order to again enlighten and empower humanity—and release them from begging for salvation from the corrupt Idols—Shri Jesus had to send someone divine, and backed by irrefutable proof from the Universal Soul.

Shri Mataji, who took Her birth in a Christian family, directs all humans to find the Kingdom of God within. Her Knowledge is that of the Spirit within and how to attain it. The essence of Her Message is exactly that of Shri Christ: Seek the Kingdom of God within for"Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever love and makes a lie."She has come to provide peace, security, surety, solace, bliss, consolation, cheer, reassurance, and irrefutable proof that God and His Kingdom exist. She is the promised Comforter!

Shri Adi Shakti: The Kingdom Of God, 1999 page 514-5


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