Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gnosticism: Nag Hammadi

I am currently taking an amazing class entitled Early Christian Thought. It's taught Oxford tutorial style. The main focus is the reading. There are three (kind of four) of us in class, and we each are assigned a time period to read all the original sources on. We read about 300 pages a week for three weeks, and then write an essay responding to a question the teacher proposes based on the reading. We then present the essay to the rest of the class. My classmates will grill me and we will discuss my topic. My first assignment was Gnosticism. So I had the privilege of reading the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, which also included the Gospel of Judas.  

Gnosticism is dark. One of the main characteristics is that Yahweh is not the highest god, but either ignorant of the fact or maliciously trying to wipe out the truth. That idea can really play with people and shake their faith. I know it did mine. I think it would be wise to give a cautionary note before students read, just letting them know what they are in for and to stay close to God.