“The entire history of Christian and pagan Gnosticism is shrouded in the deepest mystery and obscurity; for, while the Gnostics were undoubtedly prolific writers, little of their literature has survived. They brought down upon themselves the animosity of the early Christian Church, and when this institution reached its position of world power it destroyed all available records of the Gnostic cultus. The name Gnostic means wisdom, or knowledge, and is derived from the Greek Gnosis. The members of the order claimed to be familiar with the secret doctrines of early Christianity. They interpreted the Christian Mysteries according to pagan symbolism. Their secret information and philosophic tenets they concealed from the profane and taught to a small group of especially initiated persons.” ~Manly P. Hall
While I have found much useful information in the writings of Mr. Hall, I have problems with a lot of what he wrote in this particular section.
He tells us that the Gnostics were an offshoot of the early Christian church. Actually, the original Christian church run by St. Peter and St. James, the brother of Jesus, was very much a Gnostic church. But the ideas of Gnosticism come from earlier groups, particularly the Essenes. Some people argue against the idea that Jesus and his family were members of the Essene sect, but cannot say what sect they did belong to. Surely Mary and Joseph belonged to one of the Jewish sects. If it wasn’t the Essenes, which one was it. Continue reading “Gnosticism in Christinity”