Was Judas a hero who alone of the disciples understood Jesus and, in betraying Him, was carrying out Christ's secret instructions?Writings from the second through fourth centuries either make these claims outright or suggest them to modern readers.Dear Elaine: In this e-mail, I want to address the formation of the canon, the Gospel of Thomas, and the role of Gnosticism in early Christianity.This is a tall order for a single e-mail, but I will do my best. I, along with the majority of New Testament scholars, do not think we can really talk about there being an extant belief system called "Gnosticism" in the first century A. Most scholars prefer the term "proto-Gnostic" for ideas found in some documents that may date to the first century A. The earliest of the so-called Gnostic Gospels is generally agreed to be Thomas.From The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels Vintage Books, New York: 1979 pp.
Weighing in are two preeminent Bible scholars: Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton and author of the bestselling Beyond Belief; and Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and author of numerous books.
Thirty years later the discoverer himself, Muhammad 'Alí al-Sammán; told what happened.
Shortly before he and his brothers avenged their father's murder in a blood feud, they had saddled their camels and gone out to the Jabal to dig for sabakh, a soft soil they used to fertilize their crops.
Gnostics did not call themselves by that name and there were many variations of what we now call Gnosticism.
While some forms were completely unrelated to Christianity, others considered themselves a higher type of Christian.