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The Teachings of Jesus according to the Catholics and to the Gnostics Compared
Vivificat - from contemplation to action ^ | 22 September 2009 | TDJ

Posted on 09/22/2009 10:48:30 AM PDT by Te骹ilo

Speaking of Gnosticism (since yesterday we were speaking about C.G. Jung) , I want to share with you yet another table, this one comparing two diametrically opposed “Jesuses” and what they say and think, the biblical Jesus held by Catholics and other Christians as “the Only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages,” and the one proposed by the Gnostics, today’s dabblers in the Occult, hermeticism, religious syncretism, and the New Age on the other. The table is inspired by the one printed in the book Stolen Identity: The Conspiracy to Reinvent Jesus, by Dr. Peter Jones, a professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. I added some details where I thought needed it, since I don’t have the same limitations Dr. Peters faced on the printed page, and changed one or two details to bring a couple of statements in line with Catholic teaching.

Jesus’

Gnostic

Biblical

God

Universal, impersonal spirit God in everything  who hates the blind creator God – the God of the Bible

God of creation, good Father; Redeemer who reveals himself and requires obedience from His creatures

Message and Ministry

Speaks of no kingdom because there is no king; states that the Kingdom is completely within, that created reality is evil and that anyone claiming to be “king” must be defeated.

God rules over his creation; He is the rightful King over his people; His Kingdom is not univocally within; transforms the earthly into the heavenly.

Birth

Jesus not  born physically, no family lineage, not born of a woman.

Jesus of Jewish lineage, really born as a human baby from a real woman; born under the law, in time and space.

Humanity

No interest in history; no chronology; no context for Jesus’ life.

Jesus really embodied; suffered temptation; knows physical weakness.

Divinity

Everyone is divine, nothing special about Jesus’ divinity; not His disciples’ Master; everyone’s a Messiah.

Jesus is the only begotten (monogeneis) God; the disciples fear Jesus; He’s Master over his creation; with God before creation.

Spirituality

Quiet the mind; knowledge, not worship; meditation, not prayer; spirituality of “joining opposites.”

Faith, not gnosis; rational reflection; prays to the Father in heaven.

Sexuality

Sex a spiritual experience; androgyny; ecstatic unity with all things; extreme libertinism or extreme asceticism.

God-created heterosexuality; meant for producing physical offspring; unity, communion, and communication between one man and one woman.

Morals

No law, therefore no sin (“Sin is ignorance”); the Creator regarded as evil; we make our own law; we have no king, no master.

Sin is judged; sin demands punishment; God’s law defines sin; we are made righteous by the Spirit of God.

Death

Physical life is to be despised; death cannot touch divine soul; someone else died in place of Jesus; the death of Jesus illusory.

Death is an enemy; Jesus’ death is redemptive; it was a real, physical death; death was defeated by His resurrrection.

Resurrection

Resurrection is symbolic; it’s a escape from the body’s prison; it’s spiritual, not physical.

Resurrection is physical; a transformation; a New Creation.

I believe we can recognize the Gnostic “Jesus” in many major religions, movements, and “spiritualities” throughout the world past and present. The Gnostic Jesus is the Jesus of Islam, who didn’t die in the Cross but who was replaced by Judas; is the Jesus of Theosophy, one “ascended master” among many others and not necessarily the highest or most important one; it’s the Jesus who blesses homosexual activity, same-sex marriage and gender identity-ism for whom objective masculinity and femininity do not exist. He’s Nietzsche’s Übermensch who transcends every value and moral category by forging his own; a Jesus who would’ve approved of something like the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members thought their bodies hindrances and suicide a liberation.

One item that is not recorded in this table but that I think should be in it is that the Gnostic Jesus is both Anti-Semitic and Anti-Judaic, that is, he hates Jews as a people and Judaism as a religion. That’s why Gnostic hate the Old Testament or Hebrew Scripture, because they were inspired by the evil creator or demiurge of this world, and also hates the Jewish people as the standard-bearers of these Scriptures. Throughout history we have seen where this has led and what has happened whenever and wherever we have allowed this Gnostic illness to infect the attitude of too many Catholics against the Jews.

Ironically, it is the Gnostic Jesus the one that gets all the good press nowadays, while the real one is reduced to the status of fable, legend, and “big misunderstanding.” Place the template of Gnosticism against many of the things that are happening today in the world and you will understand the meta-text behind the history of our times better.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Other non-Christian
KEYWORDS: catholic; gnostic
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Typos. Blunders. Mine.
1 posted on 09/22/2009 10:48:30 AM PDT by Te骹ilo
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To: NYer; Salvation; bornacatholic; mileschristi; rrstar96; Nihil Obstat

PING!


2 posted on 09/22/2009 10:49:19 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Good comparison!


3 posted on 09/22/2009 10:53:32 AM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: Godzilla

Thanks! :-)


4 posted on 09/22/2009 10:57:11 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Verrrryyyy Interrreeesssttttinnnnnggg.


5 posted on 09/22/2009 11:19:30 AM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (To those who believe the world was safer with Saddam, get treatment for that!)
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To: Te贸filo
Would you mind listing some of the Gnostic sources used for this compilation?

Gnostics were a diverse and rather heterodox group. I think trying to lump them all into one theology is disingenuous. Most of the books the Church disagreed with were destroyed by the Church, so we mostly know what the Church says the Gnostics believed. In other words, we are reading only the case made by the prosecution and not the defense. Pretty one-sided, don't you think?

Gnostics actually pre-date Christianity. Some Gnostic groups were attracted to early Christian proponents, especially to SS. Paul and John, in whom they found many of their own beliefs, because there are aspects in their writings that suggest the line between Gnostic beliefs and early hellenized Christian beliefs were not always clear cut, because Christian theology was not clearly defined for the first 300 years after Christ, especially regarding the nature of God, the concept of Trinity, and Mariology.

We could just as easily collect some of the contemporary saying and writings of various posters on FR, diverse Internet sites identified as Christian, or actual churches in existence today, and make comparable charts that show that an amazing array of what those who who call on Christ as their Savior believe regarding any of these topics, and the spectrum of the list would not be too far from what you posted.

6 posted on 09/22/2009 11:46:03 AM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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To: kosta50
Most of the books the Church disagreed with were destroyed by the Church, so we mostly know what the Church says the Gnostics believed.

Which Gnostic books "were destroyed by the Church"? And, why is it that what the Fathers said about the Gnostic can't be trusted?

To answer your question, I can't. The table seems to be a distillation of what the author says in the book. Fortunately, the book is online in Google. The table is found on Chapter 10 and may be accessed here.

Check out also the Bibliography and the chapter notes.

-Theo

7 posted on 09/22/2009 12:02:45 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo
Yet the question which begs to be asked is why Catholicism/Orthodoxy failed to timely respond to the twentieth century's definitive work on Gnosticism, “The Gnostic Gospels” published in 1979. I read this work by Elaine Pagels and it was an outright attack on the validity of Catholicism/Orthodoxy. She claimed present day Christianity is the fruit of Irenaeus work. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons , had written the definitive work against Gnosticism around 180 A.D.. Pagels alleges Irenaeus wrote his book on Gnosticism to keep “Men” in power to the exclusion of women. Sexual repression was also one of the aims of these early church fathers. In fact notwithstanding its title, Pagel's book the Gnostic Gospels really isn't about the lost Gnostic Gospels. The Gnostic Gospels is a feeble attempt by Pagels to explain which side of Christianity won and why it was victorious. We all know Catholicism was the villain.
At the time of the release of the Gnostic Gospels in 1979, only Joseph Fitzmyer S.J writing in “America” and Phem Perkins in another review offered any meaningful analytical criticism of Pagels “Intellectual Gem”. Fitzmyer really excoriated her book resorting to some name calling which surprised me given his lofty status and the status of the magazine publishing his review.
It took twenty five years before another member of the Society of Jesus finally revealed to the world that Elaine's masterpiece which served as her PHD dissertation at Harvard, was in fact the result of academic fraud since the little dear had manufactured references from Irenaeus to serve her intellectual dishonesty.
Since Pagels was questioning the legitimacy of the institutional church I could never fathom why the church took so long to refute her outrageous allegations or her faulty logic as when she claimed "Winners Write History". So what Elaine, that doesn't make their history inaccurate. In essence I consider her to be a questionable scholar. The fun of reading the Gnostic Gospels is to read Jesus telling Mary Madaline, His wife/girlfriend , oh wait, that is a different comedy. Anyway Jesus tell Mary she has to become like a man to enter heaven. Yet Pagels is telling us Catholicism/Orthodoxy is sexist not the Nasty Gnostics. In addition these Gnostics are very Antisemitic, but Pagels skips over this problem.
8 posted on 09/22/2009 1:01:08 PM PDT by bronx2
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To: Te贸filo
Which Gnostic books "were destroyed by the Church"? And, why is it that what the Fathers said about the Gnostic can't be trusted?

Not just Gnostic books, Teofilo, all non-orthodox books. There are no Arian writings that survived, no Pelagian manuscripts. We only know about Arian beliefs and Pelagian heresy from their accusers, as they paraphrased them. The Book of Enoch, which was originally red in churches and was very popular among early Christians (and is in fact part of the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) has been destroyed to the last copy at least in Greek and Latin versions, etc.

Even Gospels whose versions did not conform to the 4th century orthodoxy as established by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils and the subsequent late 4th century Christian canon, have disappeared. We know they existed indirectly from quotes of various Christian writers who quote from Gospel versions no longer extant. An example is Eusebius, who quoted Matthew's Great Commission no less then 17 times without the Trinitarian formula prior to the First Ecumenical Council and five times with Trinitarian formula following the Council.

Thanks for the links. I will review them.

9 posted on 09/22/2009 1:02:35 PM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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To: bronx2
Yet the question which begs to be asked is why Catholicism/Orthodoxy failed to timely respond to the twentieth century's definitive work on Gnosticism, “The Gnostic Gospels” published in 1979.

I can think of two reasons: 1., No one thought she was going to be taken seriously and, 2., I was too young! ;-)

-Theo

10 posted on 09/22/2009 1:04:30 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: bronx2; Te贸filo
In addition these Gnostics are very Antisemitic, but Pagels skips over this problem

I have no problem with your criticism of Elaine Pagels, and her agenda, but let's not try to diminish the anti-Semitism of the Church as well, because then your criticism of her questionable schoalrhsips becomes equally questionable.

Nothing Irenaeus wrote can be taken for granted since the oldest surviving copy of his complete works is a later 4th century Latin copy. So, using Irenaeus to prove or disprove anything is equally dubious. A scholar should know that. That Elaine Pagels doesn't is not surprising.

11 posted on 09/22/2009 1:15:10 PM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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To: Te贸filo

Most of the books the Church disagreed with were destroyed by the Church, so we mostly know what the Church says the Gnostics believed.

This is not true. Anybody can read the Gnostic Nag Hammadi writings, I have the book, “The Nag Hammadi Library” myself, moreover, I haven’t tried, but I suspect it is available on the net somewhere.

I have read them and they are bizarre occult-like drivel.


12 posted on 09/22/2009 1:16:46 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: kosta50
...Even Gospels whose versions did not conform to the 4th century orthodoxy as established by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils and the subsequent late 4th century Christian canon, have disappeared...

There were, in fact, 40 other writings which where called "Gospels." I've read a bunch of them. They are clearly pseudoepigraphical and dependent on the four canonical Gospels. They are also very arid reading.

We know they existed indirectly from quotes of various Christian writers who quote from Gospel versions no longer extant. An example is Eusebius, who quoted Matthew's Great Commission no less then 17 times without the Trinitarian formula prior to the First Ecumenical Council and five times with Trinitarian formula following the Council.?

Isn't that an argument from silence? Just because Eusebius didn't quote it doesn't mean he didn't know about it. The verse is quoted by other Fathers before Eusebius.

And to my knowledge, there are several Pelagian manuscripts, just not contemporary with the controversy. Most Augustinianists know and quote from them. I believe that a bibliography of them is contained in Peter Brown's Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue). You are right on the Arian books, I can't think of any right now. But the assertion that there was a systematic book-burning by the Catholic/Orthodox Church is one that needs to be substantiated to my satisfaction. After all, we still have those books around.

-Theo

13 posted on 09/22/2009 1:18:16 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Gross misinterpretation of Gnostic views and bad comparison...distorting Gnostic views by lumping in a hodge-podge of others, with no sourcing.


14 posted on 09/22/2009 1:25:14 PM PDT by FTJM
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To: FTJM

Link to the sources has been provided. Look it up on the thread.

The table is a summary of the author’s research. The book is also good. A link has been provided both to Amazon and to Google Books for your inspection.

With very few reservations of a Catholic nature, I recommend the book. Its indictment of Gnosticism is devastating.

-Theo


15 posted on 09/22/2009 1:42:28 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Again, the contents are a gross misinterpretation of Gnostic cosmology, and include other beliefs from several esoteric “groups”. I encourage you to educate yourself independently on Gnostic views for a true comparison. There is no specific sourcing for each or any of the contents, a link to a book on Amazon (sic) notwithstanding.


16 posted on 09/22/2009 1:46:14 PM PDT by FTJM
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To: sasportas

I have read them and they are bizarre occult-like drivel.

I might add, I have also read Ireneaus’ rebuttal of Gnostism. Irenaeus was spot on, reading the Nag Hammadi writings, only recently discovered, validates Irenaeus. In his writings against Gnosticism, he was making an accurate representation of what Gnostics believed.


17 posted on 09/22/2009 1:51:49 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: kosta50

My critique of Pagel’s casual dismissal of Gnostic anti Semitism has no relevancy to any such prejudices exhibited by institutional churches. It is an entirely discrete matter. Any attempt to conjoin the two is a project of flawed interpretation. As for the common complaint the the “Pure” Gnostic sources have been destroyed and we are forced to rely on the adversaries of the Gnostics, this complaint has been registered and found wanting by many scholars. To mention just one common refutation of your comment, Phillip Jenkins in his work the “Hidden Gospels” mentions this banal criticism and replies that the writing of Irenaeus was one of the most comprehensive polemics on this subject. Jenkins states that while Irenaeus writings made no pretense at objectivity, they were richly informative about the core ideas of various Gnostic movements and as more heretical texts have been found scholars can see that the early church fathers were quoting their enemies opinions quite fully and accurately . Orthodox writers plausibly felt that the views they were quoting were so contorted and ludicrous that the Gnostics were best condemned out of their own mouths. Given judgments rendered on this subject by present day scholars, and absent the introduction of empirical evidence to refute the his credibility of Irenaeus , your contentions must be summarily dismissed as having no substantive basis.


18 posted on 09/22/2009 2:35:39 PM PDT by bronx2
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To: Te贸filo; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Ping!


19 posted on 09/22/2009 3:11:00 PM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: sasportas
Anybody can read the Gnostic Nag Hammadi writings, I have the book, “The Nag Hammadi Library” myself, moreover, I haven’t tried, but I suspect it is available on the net somewhere

Nag Hammadi scrolls were hidden lest they be destroyed like the rest. That they survived is a miracle, which is what makes them that much more valuable.

The Nag Hamamdi collection represents only one of the many heterodox Gnostic groups and only some of the Gnostic many beliefs.

From the Christian point of view, Gnostic as well as any other belief is "drivel," so that's hardly an objective assessment.

To outsiders, the idea that one eats the flesh of a dead man and drinks his blood may seem occult-like drivel too. Obviously, such an assessment would be a superficial and inaccurate characterization of the theology behind it.

Awareness that condmenations are often based on ignorance should be a guiding principle when approaching any belief on a superficial level, such as thisd article.

20 posted on 09/22/2009 3:27:05 PM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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