Gospel of Thomas and The Secret Book of John (Apocryphon of John), Codex II The Nag Hammadi manuscripts

Everything You Need to Know but Have Never Been Told – Insights from the Ancient Nag Hammadi Library

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A few years ago, I came across a treasure trove of ancient information found in a sealed jar in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi about 75-80 miles north of Luxor on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt. They are known as the Nag Hammadi Library, texts or scriptures and thanks to them other major pieces in the puzzle were revealed and my already developing conclusions confirmed.

The Nag Hammadi find included 13 leatherbound papyrus codices (manuscripts) and more than 50 texts written in Coptic Egyptian which were the work – with other ancient influences – of a people known as Gnostics. They were not a racial group so much as a way of perceiving reality under the heading of Gnosticism. This comes from the term gnosis or knowledge in the context of spiritual knowledge and awareness of reality as it really is. Gnosis is a Greek word that translates as secret knowledge, and Gnostic means ‘learned’. We have the saying in English about ‘using your nous’ or using your head/brain/intelligence; but to Gnostics spiritual awakening or ‘salvation’ could only be attained by expanding awareness beyond what they called nous and into pneuma (Infinite Self). Humanity’s version of the intellect on which the whole crazy world is based is actually a shockingly low level of awareness which is lauded and feted as the fountain of knowledge. It’s more like a spout of ignorance. Gnostics were active in many locations and were targeted mercilessly by the Roman Church which felt severely threatened by the way the foundation of its own belief system was being turned on its head. What the Roman Church saw as its all-powerful God to be worshipped without question the Gnostics believed was the source of evil that created the material world – in my terms the ‘material’ world of the digital, holographic computer-like simulation.  Gnostics could see through the illusion of ‘matter’ and I have no doubt they were helped in that understanding by the use of psychoactive potions that took them ‘out there’.

Gnostics could see through the illusion. The Flammarion engraving, Paris 1888

Gnostics could see through the illusion. The Flammarion engraving, Paris 1888 (public domain)

The Royal or Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt with its amazing collection of ancient knowledge and history was dominated by Gnostic thought. An estimated nearly half a million scrolls, manuscripts and documents were gathered from many locations including Assyria, Greece, Persia and India, as well as Egypt. Those with more expanded awareness were attracted to this oasis of open-mindedness and among them was a woman called Hypatia (about 350- 415AD). She was an Athens-educated mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who taught the work of Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle and was head of the Platonist school at Alexandria. One of her reported quotes confirms her openness of mind:

‘Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.’

Many insights about reality were inspired by such a haven of freethought thousands of years before science’ allegedly discovered them for the first time. This included the understanding that the Earth goes around the Sun 2,000 years before it was established by the Polish mathematician and astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus.

The Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria ( CC by SA 4.0 )

How so much more enlightened humanity would be had the Gnostics and other open-minded scholars been left unmolested to go about their quest for discovery. Alas, that was not to be. The unfettered, uncensored, free-thinking pursuit of knowledge was bound to twist the knickers of the Roman Church tyranny and in 415AD a mob of bewildered suckers led by Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, attacked and essentially destroyed the Royal Library as it had been before. Hypatia was hacked to death.

The Library’s contents were lost in stages to a combination of fire and theft, and much of what was taken will be in the vaults of the Vatican to this day. Cyril was made a saint as with a long list of Roman Church mass murderers and crooks before and since. The attack that killed Hypatia fits with the estimated age of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts.

They are believed to date from between 350-400AD although it is said they are likely to be copies of earlier Greek versions dating to perhaps 120-150AD or earlier. Centuries after the assault on the Gnostics of Alexandria came the campaign against the Gnostic Cathars in southern France which ended with them being burned at the stake after the siege of the Castle of Montségur in 1244.


One thing to take away from this aricle is this alleged quote:

"‘Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.’ "

So, the reading was not entirely in vain. The quote is essentially about the concept of Philosophy (so-called "free thought"), which is characterised by the words "to think".

This is opposed to the concept of Religion (so-called "dogma"), which is characterised by "belief", roughly analogous to "not to think at all".

I think this way of contemplating the alleged quote is more fruitful for an understanding of why such innocent-sounding words may once have been perceived as a threat to The Main Religious Institution (known as "the church" in western societies).

Today it seems that at least some Religios Institutions (eg. "churches") have understood that one thought does not block another, hence philosophy is mostly an accepted activity, even to the degree that there exists so-called "christian philosophy", and analogous for many other religions (even though by nature religions are dogma, not thought).

I, for one, welcome the free exchange of thoughts, even when these are clearly nonsensical. It does, however, put an added burden on the people of this age; namely the burden of distinguishing the important and true from the senseless and irrelevant. This is not always easy.


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