Was Jesus a Gnostic

According to Theodotus, a Gnostic teacher writing in the new Gospels, gnosis involves an intuitive process of knowing oneself. “To know oneself is to know true human nature and true human destiny.” To the Christian Gnostic, to know oneself at the deepest level is to know Transcendental Being, this is the secret of gnosis.

Another Gnostic teacher writing about the same time named Theodotus wrote,

“Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own and says, “My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.” Learn the source of sorrow, joy, love, hate…If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself.”

Further investigation into the meaning of gnosis leads to the real words of Jesus. Elaine Pagels writes, “These living scriptures [the Gnostic gospels] portray Jesus as one who speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance as portrayed in the New Testament. Instead of coming to save us from sin, he comes as a guide who opens access to spiritual understanding.”

Today, as in antiquity, orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God in a unique way. That is, “He remains forever distinct from the rest of humanity whom he came to save.” Yet, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas relates a story that when Thomas met Jesus, he instantly recognized him. Jesus says to Thomas that they have received their Being from the same source.

In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus says, “I am not your master. Because you have drunk, “you have become drunk from the same bubbling stream which I have measured out…He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am. I myself shall become he and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”

In these gospels, Jesus and his followers teach that experience of Transcendental Being is the basis of Christian teaching. This is the most important point made by Gnostics throughout these new gospels.

The following video, although quite long, does a good job of introducing Christian Gnosticism. Note at the end of the video, meditation and other eastern practices are reviewed as the basis of Gnosis.