First Sunday After Christmas Day – December 29, 2019
In December of 1945, in the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, two Egyptian brothers were digging for fertilizer in an area around some caves along the Nile River when they discovered a large earthenware vessel containing several papyri which are known today as the Nag Hammadi library. These codices contained forty-eight early Christian but mainly Gnostic treatises, along with four other ancient works. Written in the Coptic language, these documents date from the second to the fourth centuries, and they provide tremendous insight into early Christianity and Gnosticism.
The word gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means “knowledge.” It is from this word that we get the English word “diagnosis.” The so-called Gnostics believed that God had imparted to them secret knowledge that only they possessed. Their writings flourished among certain Christian groups until the church deemed them heretical in the second century A.D. Some Gnostics adopted Jesus as one of the central figures of their faith, and some of our early Christian writings are polemics written against Gnostic claims about Jesus by the early church.