Before the so-called Nag Hammadi Library was found, we didn’t know much about the Gnostics, a mysterious group of Gentile Christians who wrote about a Jesus who lived hundreds of years before the official dates. Almost everything that was known about them came from the writings of people who didn’t like them or tried to stop them, like Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon.
Even though Gnostics believed in a real Jesus, they didn’t think he was very important. For most of the Gnostics, what was important was that Jesus was divine. And this is very important because this is how people in ancient Egypt who were part of the Solar Cult thought. The Gnostics were more interested in archetypes than in typical things. Jesus was a sign of what all men can and must become. Their Jesus was a spiritual example, not a real person whose life on earth was important. This was, of course, a form of heresy, so the dogmatists set out to wipe out the Gnostics. Men like Valentinus and Basilides, who were known as great Gnostic masters, were persecuted and sent away. Gnostic sects were still being killed off until the Middle Ages, and their teachings are still being misunderstood and hidden even today.
The Church did not want people to study what the Gnostics taught. They knew very well that Gnosticism was just another form of Egyptian religion. Long after the great dynasties had been forgotten, it was a faint echo of Egyptian theologies mixed with many other religious and spiritual practices that were common in Hellenistic Alexandria. They don’t want people to know that the Gnostics were a later branch of the older Solar and Lunar Cults, which were based on the Stellar Cults of Egypt and Ireland.
And they didn’t want people to know that Egyptian Gnosticism had influenced their religion and the Bible.
One of the most interesting and mysterious Gnostic sects with a deep connection to Egypt were the Mandeans.
The Mandeans went to Egypt. Jesuit missionaries found traces of their cult in modern-day Iraq, which led to the discovery of their existence.
The Mandeans said they were descended from John the Baptist’s church and did not believe in the Jesus of the official Church. People thought that Jesus was a “lying Messiah.” This was also true of the Essenes of Qumran, who called John the “Teacher of Righteousness” and Jesus the “Wicked Priest” in their writings. The people of Mande were called “St. John’s Christians.” “Nasoreans” was the name for their leaders or priests. They were called “Sabeans” by Muslims, which means “of the stars” or “heavens.” The Mandeans said they were Egyptians’ descendants, and their leader said he was from Alexandria in Egypt.
Hegemonic forces from Rome and London have, of course, made it hard to find out about these Gnostic Mandeans and what they taught. The Iraqi Mandeans are almost extinct at this point.
So, we’ll say it again: what kind of repression do you think these orthodox hierarchs toward their absolute ideological rivals, if this was how they treated Christian enclaves that were technically in their camp? Gnostics were tortured in horrible ways because their only “crime” was that they didn’t take the Bible literally. They were brutally killed because they chose to read parts of the Bible symbolically, because they used the feminine principle, and because they had a different view of Jesus’ ancestry and identity. We might think that the terrible punishments they got from Rome were because they followed the ancients’ example and decided to use astrology to explain the Bible.
This author thinks that the Church started the famous “Albigensian Crusade” to get rid of the “Pure Ones” of Southern France, the Cathars. This is because the Cathars and other “Gnostic” groups like the Bogomils were going back to Druidic ways. This has never been said in so many words by writers about the Cathars, but it is clear from the fact that women were given positions of power again, nature was revered, the sect had a positive view of life, and rigid hierarchies were done away with. The Druids used to be powerful in the same area where the Cathars lived, so it’s not surprising that some of their old religion made its way into what was supposed to be a Christian movement. Unfortunately, like so many other Gnostic sects, the Cathars paid a high price for their religious heresy and arrogance.