Lost Gospels, More then The Gospel of Mary

The Lost Gospels

The lost gospels of the bible are rarely known about and ever more rarely understood to any degree. The problem of course being the 'lost' nature of the gospels. There are many who have not hear of the lost gospels or have heard of one.

The one most likely to be known of by average people is the lost gospels of Thomas, and this is down to a hollywood movie (not the most reliable of sources to any skeptic out there). The movie I am referring to here is Stigmata. In the movie there is a massive conspiracy around the church distorting and editing out teaching of Jesus (Yeshua Ben Yosef).

This fictional story planted the seeds of wonder, regarding the lost gospels. Did lost gospels exist? What did they teach? How would they have effected the evolution of religion?

This movie itself may be nothing more then a fictional bit of fun but for me at least it raised some serious questions.

The lost Gospel of Thomas

The first lost gospel to come to my attention was the lost gospel of Thomas. This gospel is referenced in the movie Stigmata. A movie of course is not enough to convince me that somthing is real, so I got to digging.

The gospels of Thomas were discovered in 1945 by Nag Hammadi in Egypt. "The Sayings of Jesus" is thought to be the original title of this gospel due to it being indicated in the prologue of the gospels text.

The Gospel of Thomas is thought to predate the four canonical gospels and is considered a more original form of the sayings and teachings of Jesus. What garners my respect is the lack of belief in a universal theological dictatorship that is embraced by those who accept the gospel of Thomas as reliable. I cannot say if this gospel is better then one of the 4 found in the bible but I, for my own reasons have no belief in a universal theological dictatorship and am interested in these teachings as they warn against just this.

The basic portrayal of this lost gospel in the movie Stigmata is pretty accurate, this gospel being a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus that paint a different picture then the conventional image of Jesus. This image of Jesus is more of a Zen master then a political messiah or incarnate god.

The Lost Gospel of Mary

The lost gospel of Mary is of the highest interest to me. Scholars are not in agreement as to which of the Marys is the central character in the gospel of Mary but there are strong arguments in favor of it being Mary Magdalene. The strongest argument is in the final scenes in the Gospel of Mary, where Levi defends Mary and her teachings by telling Peter "Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more then us". This is then backed up in the Gospel of Philip where a similar statement is made. I am happy that this gospel is that of Mary Magdalene.

I find this gospel of such importance mainly because I am a woman. Traditionally women of the bible do not have great roles. We have the virgin Mary as a religious female role model and that is it really. The female perspective on spiritual matters is woefully missing from the bible as it stands.

If you click the amazon link you will find a huge number of reviews on the page. I would recommend reading those reviews to anyone with any interest what so ever in this lost gospel. The reviews there are a lot more extensive then I am able to do here in this article and are probably better written then my skills allow.

The Lost Gospel of Judas

The lost gospel of Judas is not one I knew of prior to writing this. This gospel was condemned as heresy by the early church because it portrays Judas Iscariot in a very different light. In this gospel Jesus asks Judas to betray him.

I can see why the church would condemn this book as it is a plain contradiction to the story of Judas as the betrayer. This book was hidden away in a cavern in Middle Egypt and was discovered by farmers in the 1970's. It suffered damage before finding its way into the hands of experts who could restore it.

Why read these books? Why not accept the bible as it is and ignore anything that wasn't deemed worthy of being included? This last gospel was condemned as heresy. It is easy to see why most people have not heard of these gospels let alone read them. The bible is taught in all corners of the world but these books have actively been buried and lost to time, for a time.

My reasons for wanting to read these books is actually pretty simple, I like to think for myself. I look back at the history of the church and what I see is a corrupted institution. I look at the crusades and the inquisition, the persecution of anyone who did not hold the same religion around the globe, the heresy accusations and wonder what happened to the message of Christ? These gospels go a long way to revealing how a church based on love has been used as a tool for domination and control.

It is my strong belief that if anyone is going to accept religion into their life, and allow it to influence their decision making, their life choices must know everything they can about it. It is irresponsible to accept a religious doctrine that will influence your life choices and values if you cannot hear all sides of the story and think for yourself and draw your own conclusions. To blindly accept religious doctrine is to become a puppet and to repeat the crimes of the church of the past.

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Comments 15 comments

Seakay profile image

Seakay 5 years ago from Florida

Great write and explanation! Thank you.


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

Seakay - I am glad you enjoyed my hub. I hope that those who do not know of these lost gospels find this so that they can decide for themselves to check them out or not. People cannot make their own decisions if they don't have access to all options :)


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Who knows what other lost gospels will come to light over the years to challenge orthodox christian thinking? Blind belief in anything is not healthy, so the more we read, explore and think the deeper our perspective will become. I think a lot of christians are afraid to read outside of the approved biblical scripts and do not want to have their views challenged, as change is what frightens a lot of people the most


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

CMHypno - I totally agree that blind belief in anything is unhealthy and quite frankly dangerous. I agree that the more we read and explore the deeper our perspectives and beliefs are. I often wonder if a person who is afraid or hesitant to read outside of the 'approved' texts of their religion is possibly afraid because they lack confidence in their ability to come to satisfying moral conclusions on their own. In effect their faith would somewhat like a fair weather friend, easily lost. I find for myself that my sense of self and my confidence is such that I can take a look at spiritual type stuff from any perspective I am presented with, if it leaves me feeling doubtful of what I previously believed then I see that as an opportunity to gain a deeper sense of my spiritual self. It is a chance to learn if something can make me doubt, if it does not make me doubt then it didn't really do any harm to explore out of respect for others.

Thanks for posting, very stimulating :D


HubCrafter profile image

HubCrafter 5 years ago from Arizona

The literary world is filled with intriguing books. Theories abound regarding the historical, biographic "truth" surrounding the lives of many celebrities and political figures even today.

Before reading the latest gossip in search of tid-bits some readers entertain and inform themselves with reading an actual history...something which also describes the events and the times surrounding their subject.

If someone was to attempt to read everything written about Jesus Christ, for example, you might never finish the task, lol. (So much has been written.)

It has been my experience, as a reader, to look for a book which treats the subject in general terms...something which lays out the facts in a simple, general way.

Books like this typically have a bibliography and also introduce us to some of the other important people living during the time of our subject. Usually, the closer the person is to our subject the better. All the others are getting their information after the fact.

But there is a caveat, a hidden danger in this too. Not all contemporaries will write "just the facts". There are few writers like Joe Friday, from Dragnet anyway. So we must also be aware that each writer has their own point of view...not everything we read is the "gospel truth".

Which brings us to the non-canonical Gospels. Why weren't they accepted? Who decided this? What must an accepted book have if it is to be included as scripture?

If these books are unreliable as scripture...how should we treat their information?

I enjoyed your hub. It offers so worthwhile thoughts to consider.


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

HubCrafter - I am glad you enjoyed my hub, it seems to have sparked some intriguing thinking which is my goal. You point out that not all will write "just the facts", I have heard arguments that any human interpretation of the facts is always an interpretation. That the human mind cannot record the facts without distortion due to our human nature and emotional reactions to the facts. I am not sure I agree with this theory completely but it does spark yet more questions. Where the gospels written without the distortions of the writers point of view, value system and any limitations they have in understanding?


nell79 profile image

nell79 5 years ago from United States

I've always enjoyed reading about the history of the bible. It's interesting to hear about these lost books and theories on why they've remained "lost."

You're right that people should be informed before deciding what they believe. It certainly makes for a stronger foundation!

Thanks for the interesting read!


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

nell79 - Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. It was a shock to me when I learned that there were gospels that did not make it into the bible for whatever reason (often there seem to be implied conspiracies, which are fun in their own right but not necessarily real). The one I feel strongest about is the gospel of Mary simply because the female contribution to the bible is practically non-existent.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Interesting, and should at least give pause to those who insist on a literal reading of the Bible. Who chose what was included and what was not included, and for what reasons?

Love and peace

Tony


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

tonymac04 - I do hope it gives pause and reason to ponder the motivation behind those who included this bit but not that bit. If for no other reason then that thinking is exercising our mental muscle, the brain. People may come to a different conclusion then me but if I can see there was a lot of thought then the debate should be fun, not a fight over who is wrong and I do love a good friendly debate :D


HubCrafter profile image

HubCrafter 5 years ago from Arizona

Kirstenblog - Your hub was so very intriguing I went to Wikipedia to research some of these lost gospels.

There's a very good article about the Gospel Of Thomas. (I just typed in the title.)

Here are some quotes from this very worthwhile article.

"No major Christian group (today) accepts this gospel as canonical or authoritative.

"The Early Church believed it to be a false gospel."

"The Gospel of Thomas may have been excluded from the canon of the New Testament because it was believed:

not to have been written close to the time of Jesus;

not to have been written by apostolic authority or was forged in Thomas' name;

not to have been used by multiple churches over a wide geographic range;

to be heretical or unorthodox;

not to have been useful or comprehensible;

to be secret - or for adepts - as the first sentence of the gospel declares".

You can read the complete article in Wikipedia....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

HubCrafter - I just want to say first that I am rather pleased that my hub inspired you to do a little digging of your own, that is what I was hoping for in writing this.

I actually did read that wikipedia article, I did not quote it heavily or include it heavily as I was trying to remain as neutral as I am able. To include information saying that it is a false gospel and heretical would then require I make the opposing argument. That of course being the conspiracy theory stuff around the gospel of Thomas, that the teaching were such that they went against the very notion of church. That no organized church or religion could include teaching that go against organized religion and church. I figured it was best to let folks just know they exist and decide for themselves.

However you look at it, the history is fascinating in my opinion. I do hope the readers that hit this hub are as inspired as you where, to want to find out more whatever the result of that may be :)


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

HubCrafter - I just want to say first that I am rather pleased that my hub inspired you to do a little digging of your own, that is what I was hoping for in writing this.

I actually did read that wikipedia article, I did not quote it heavily or include it heavily as I was trying to remain as neutral as I am able. To include information saying that it is a false gospel and heretical would then require I make the opposing argument. That of course being the conspiracy theory stuff around the gospel of Thomas, that the teaching were such that they went against the very notion of church. That no organized church or religion could include teaching that go against organized religion and church. I figured it was best to let folks just know they exist and decide for themselves.

However you look at it, the history is fascinating in my opinion. I do hope the readers that hit this hub are as inspired as you where, to want to find out more whatever the result of that may be :)


HubCrafter profile image

HubCrafter 5 years ago from Arizona

Kirstenblog:

The thing that fascinates me about these "gospels" is how very differently they view Jesus Christ.

Some say Jesus is a spiritual "force" (like the gospel of Thomas). And to follow this force we'll need some special initiation into the "mysteries" of (what today we call)Gnosticism.

I'm sure we're all fascinated by mysterious things...me included, lol.

But the odd (and unaccepted) gospels were rejected. They said things that were often very different than what was written by the original eyewitnesses.

And they had been written much later.

The text of the Gospel of Thomas dates to about 350 A.D. So it's really a late comer..like the horse who finished last.

The question about gospels is...what do they say about Jesus Christ?

The four Gospels, all written during the first century, were accepted and circulated widely among the churches.

Those coming later were not universally accepted. As time went on, second century church fathers wrote about the "other" gospels.

They noted their odd ideas and beliefs...they called them false...false gospels.

It's probably a very good thing to understand for ourselves...what do we believe about Jesus Christ.

These late comers, the false gospels; they come in last place...not just because they were late...but because what they say about Jesus is untrue...they don't line up with what Jesus said and did.

For those of us who have bowed down to Jesus Christ..it's hard to believe someone could write these things about Jesus.


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 5 years ago from London UK Author

HubCrafter - I too am fascinated by the different views of Jesus that abound, the one thing I have noticed is that those differences of option exist within the Christian/Catholic churches along. So many do not agree with some seemingly small different interpretation of a verse or set of verses, enough to split off and form a 'new' church. I guess it is safe to say that that is part of why I tend to most closely fit the term agnostic. When the world is ones church and God is literally everywhere then there is no division of church, the world cannot be anything but whole ya know.

A Gospel of Thomas quote:

Cleave a (piece of) wood: I am there. Raise up the stone, an ye shall find me there.

That is what I call church, finding the divine in everything in this world. "When two people gather in my name, that is church" (not sure where that one is found but it would mean that you and I have been having church, in the comments section of a hub! no less!)

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