The origin of Gnosticism is generally believed to come from 3 main sources: Much of its philosophical tendencies came from Platonism, speculations on the origin of evil may ha…ve come from the Persian religion and the Buddhism of India may have been the origin of the doctrine of antagonism between matter and spirit. Gnosticism was named for "gnosis = knowledge" and was mainly concerned with the origin of sin rather than how one is saved from sin.(MORE)
In early Christian times, Christianity was highly fragmented. Gradually, two main branches developed - what is now called the proto-Catholic-Orthodox branch and the Gnostic b…ranch. Gnosticism, by its very nature, coulkd never become united under one set of beliefs, and never had a strong, disciplined hierarchy. Because of this, Constantine saw Gnosticism as of no benefit to the governance of the empire, and merely undermining the unity of Christianity. Thus, the Gnostics did not receive state patronage and their beliefs were strongly discouraged. The Catholic-Orthodox branch of Christianity developed into the Christian Church we know today. Prior to the time of Constantine it may not have been evident that the Catholic-Orthodox branch would succed over Gnosticism. For that reason, it could be misleading to refer to Gnosticism as a cult. Because there was no single Gnostic Church, it would not have been a sect (school) of Christianity, but could perhaps be referred to a a group of sects. Gnosticism and the beliefs arising from it are cults. Some claim that Gnosticism is a cult, yet a cult by definition is a set of collectivist views shared by all members. Gnostics are INDIVIDUALISTS. An Individualist can not be a cult member because it conflicts with the definition of a cult. I suggest you do a little more research before you label the Gnostic beliefs as a cult. Remember, they were put to death because the essentially "knew too much" and questioned the tyrannical power of the catholic church so they were exterminated. They believed that God encompassed all things and the path to God was within yourself. Like I said INDIVIDUALISTS not cult or collectivists. Just because someone has opposing beliefs to you does not make them a cult (MORE)
Gnosticism began as early as 200 BCE, despite that much record of its existence became shrouded due to the onset of the Dark Ages brought about by the actions of the Catho…lic Church. In regards to precisely where and when it originated is open for discussion, as it could have began anywhere near the Mediterranean Sea and Asia Minor. Good scriptures to read from, if you have further inquiry into the subject of Gnosis are the Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic Gospels and the Pistis Sophia Unveiled. All in all, gnosis means "knowledge." The insinuation that "gnosis" means "hidden knowledge," is a misconception commonly propagated by members of the Catholic and Protestant religions via the Catholic Office of Propaganda (Sacra Congregatio Christiano Nomini Propagando). (MORE)
I have also built up a quite substantial home library that I use for reference. I have written and published online articles, each of around 2000 words, on nearly ever book in the New Testament, using some of the latest scholarship available but also providing my own analysis where appropriate.
When Emperor Constantine came to power he granted the Christian Church state privileges and patronage, but this was only to apply to the Catholic-Orthodox branch of Christ…ianity. While he ensured the return of any Church property to this branch of Christianity, he permitted the property of the Gnostic branch to remain expropriated. throughout the fourth century, the Gnostics were treated as heretics and persecuted, along with the pagans. When Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 CE, ha added that this was Christianity "as preached by the bishops of Rome and Alexandria," thus outlawing the Arian Church and the Gnostics sects. The bishops led Christian mobs in burning all publications, some extremely ancient, that did not further the objectives of the official Church. So, not only were the pagan books burnt and destroyed, so also were the sacred texts of the Gnostics. Some Gnostic gospels and other texts were hidden to avoid destruction, including the library at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, where the extremely dry air has allowed the Gnostic gospels to be preserved up to their twentieth-century discovery. The Gnostic gospels were banned and then almost destroyed out of intolerance, bigotry and prejudice. (MORE)
The Cathars were a late Gnostic Christian sect that appears to have begun in Cologne, Germany and then spread into southern France. The earliest known references to Cathar…ism dates from about 1143-44, when the movement was led by the archbishop of Cologne, who was later burnt for refusing to recant. Scholars believe that the Cathar movement arose out of the Bogomil sect in the Balkans. The Bogomil sect, in turn, is believed to have developed, much earlier, out of the Paulicists, with possible direct influences from the Massalanians and perhaps Manichaeanism (both known as Gnostic Christian sects). The Cathar faith spread long after the time when Gnostic Christianity was at its peak, and had developed in some of its beliefs and practices away from early Gnosticism. Just as Manichaeanism had the Elect and Auditors, so Catharism had its Parfait and Believers. They held similar dualistic beliefs and were vegetarians, just as most Gnostic sects were. In the years after Jesus was crucified, many people began to read the scriptures that were spreading across Europe. These people formed many different concepts of Christianity. They called themselves many different names. Cathar, Fraticelli... You can read some about this in: 'Huguenots and Jews of the Languedoc'. The term "Cathars" derives from the Greek word Katheroi and means "Pure Ones". They were a gnostic Christian sect that arose in the 11th century, an offshoot of a small surviving European gnostic community that emigrated to the Albigensian region in the south of France.The medieval Cathar movement flourished in the 12th century A.D. throughout Europe until its virtual extermination at the hands of the Inquisition in 1245. There are an ever increasing number of historians and other academics engaged in serious Cathar studies. Interestingly, to date, the deeper they have dug, the more they have vindicated Cathar claims to represent a survival of the Earliest Christian Church. (MORE)
Most gnostic sects were Christian, although arguably there were some Judaic gnostic sects, including the early period of the Sethians. The early Gnostics do not appear to hav…e called themselves 'Gnostics', considering themselves simply as Christians. In fact, there was quite a diversity of early gnostic Christian sects and it can be quite difficult to define the common threads that really identified a sect as 'gnostic' rather than what we would now consider 'orthodox'. Scholars generally agree that the defining characteristic of gnostic Christianity was that salvation was to be gained by knowledge, rather than by forgiveness of sins. Individual sects had their own specific ethical laws and their own interpretation of the scriptures, although adherents were encouraged to extend their personal knowledge. (MORE)
In Christian Gnosticism, the 7 archangels are Gabriel, Raphel, Barachiel, Michael, Uriel, Sealtiel, and Jehudiel. Note that the the First Book of Enoch lists seven…, but three are different - Remiel, Raguel, and Sargael take the place of Barachiel, Sealtiel, and Jehudiel. (MORE)
I have also published more than 70 substantial online articles on all aspects of the Christian faith. My home library includes a wide selection of works on Christian theology and philosophy. I have also published online articles, each of around 2000 words, on nearly ever book in the Bible. My several Wammy awards include Best Researched for 'What are some of the criteria used to establish what Jesus really said?'
A: We do not really know what Jesus believed, as there is probably little that is genuinely historical in the New Testament gospels. However, the epistles of the… apostle Paul contain some passages that suggest his theology might have been mildly gnostic. Mark's Gospel contains some intriguing references to hidden knowledge, a common sign of gnosticism. The non-canonical Gospel of Thomas is mildly gnostic in character. These form the earliest surviving Christian writings and at least point to the likely existence of gnostic Christianity in the very earliest years of Christianity. (MORE)