The Los Angeles Times had a negative review of Michael Baigent’s silly book, The Jesus Papers. Good for them. As I read the review, I was reminded of something odd that I’ve noticed among certain people when they discuss the Gnostic materials. The reviewer noted that Michael Baigent “laments that vibrant texts like the Gnostic gospels were buried in the desert to protect them.”
Vibrant? It tires me when people say such nonsense, or wonder why Christianity didn’t embrace something like the “Gospel of Thomas.” Well, here’s a quote from the text; it is a good example (out of many reasons) of why Christians rejected the “Gospel of Thomas”:
(114) Simon Peter said to him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.”
Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
If you want to find misogyny, just look in that “vibrant” Gnositc literature. It’s the sort of thing that many Muslim fundamentalists might like, I suppose, but why anyone else would I simply don’t know. And incidentally, it’s not hard to find Gnostic literature. You can find nice translations in most libraries and bookstores, and just about every Christian seminary on the planet.
Baigent wrote another book a few years ago that Dan Brown used while researching his novel, The DaVinci Code, a fine mystery novel, but really backwards in its theology. It’s not early Christians who would have been bothered by the idea of Jesus being married (after all, Christian doctrine argues for his humanity as much as his divinity. If he was married and had kids, that would serve as an even stronger demonstration of his humanity.) It’s the Gnostics that would have been appalled. Maybe Dan Brown can fix that in the next edition.