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Deb Beckwith wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What does the Catholic Church teach us about the Scriptures found in Egypt in 1945?
  • Has the Holy Father made a determination on the authenticity of these writings?

Deb

  { What does the Catholic Church teach us about the Scriptures found in Egypt in 1945? }

John replied:

Hi Deb,

For the most part the documents found in Egypt in 1945 are gnostic heresies. These were not new or hidden gospels. There is nothing new here.

  • The gnostic sect was condemned by St. John the Evangelist in the 1st century, but who were they?

For starters, they denied that Jesus was fully man, so they denied the Incarnation. They claimed that He appeared to be a man and also denied He died on the Cross. Among other heresies, they believed that all matter was evil. This lead to two extremes with Gnosticism.

  1. One group became extremely legalistic.
  2. The other believed that since matter is evil and can't be redeemed, it doesn't matter what you do with your body, so it was free-for-all time.

These writings have no basis in orthodox Christianity — they've been rejected from the very beginning.

They've recently found favor with certain feminists who seek to politicize the faith, because these writings elevate Mary Magdalene to roll she never held. At the same time, some of these same gnostic texts insist that a woman's spirit can only achieve salvation by becoming the spirit of a man. This is to be achieved by the use of secret knowledge which, they claimed, they received from Christ. In fact, the word gnostic is where we get the word the knowledge from.

In short, these people were heretics. The writings are only useful to the extent that they give us insight to their heresies.

John

Deb replied:

Hi John,

Thank you for this explanation. I will be mindful of this.

Deb

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