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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.