In 1945, a discovery was made in Northern Egypt - a large clay vase filled with ancient manuscripts. They are known as the Gnostic gospels, otherwise known as the lost books of the Bible. When Christianity was first coming together as an official and standardized religion, the Romans decided to leave some books of the Bible that were in circulation out of the standard version. Around 52 of those books were found in the clay vase in Egypt.
So what is in the Gnostic gospels? The reason most of them were not included was because they, in some cases, include direct contradictions to the other books of the Bible. The Gnostic Christians had a different view of Christianity as we know it today, and it was often much more colorful. It was also a little more intense in ways that the Romans didn't appreciate very much.
The stories in the Gnostic gospels tend to be pretty wild compared to what most Christians grew up reading. Some of the books, like the Gospel of Philip, contain alarming subtitles such as "God is a Man-Eater," and "The World Eats Bodies." There are stories about Jesus's youth that paint him as slightly demonic, and the not-so-subtle suggestion that Mary was not actually a virgin.
Most churches today will vehemently deny that these books have any merit whatsoever. But the thing to remember is that these books were written before the standardization of the Bible, and for the people who wrote and read them they were God's word and the truth.
In 2017, The First Apocalypse Of James Was Pieced Together From Refuse At An Egyptian Dump
In the Summer of 2017, two scholars working in the archives at Oxford pieced together a groundbreaking piece of papyrus – the oldest-known copy of "The First Apocalypse of James," an apocryphal story that is not part of the official version of the Bible. The remnants that the scholars were able to reconstitute were part of a 19th-century find at an Egyptian trash dump, and they were likely penned in the 5th or 6th century. They're written in ancient Greek.
The Gnostic Gospels were omitted from the Bible because of the way they portray Jesus, and "The First Apocalypse of James" is no exception. In the story, Jesus describes the world as the prison of an angry God – to his brother. According to one of the scholars who pieced the papyrus together, Jesus also "reveals that the world is guarded by demonic figures called archons, who are blocking the path between the material world and the afterlife."
Given all of the accepted teachings that this flouts, it's little wonder the Church didn't want it in the official story of Jesus, only child and son of God.
The Testimony Of Truth Tells The Story Of The Garden Of Eden From The Snake's Perspective
One of the first stories in the orthodox Bible is the tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the Bible, it is told as the story of Adam and Eve's fall from grace, after Eve was warned not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge and did it anyway. In the Testimony of Truth, however, the story has a twist- it's told from the perspective of the wily snake who convinces Eve to eat the fruit.
According to Carl Gregg of Patheos, "Gnostic Christians saw the snake as the heroic martyr of the story, who risked everything to reveal the secret of humanity’s potential for growing up."
The Gnostic Gospels Contain Some Pretty Powerful Poems
One of the texts is called Thunder, Perfect Mind- a weirdly beautiful and mysterious name. It contains one of the many poems written in the Gnostic Gospels, one written in the voice of a woman:
"For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin....
I am the barren one, and many are her sons....
I am the silence that is incomprehensible....
I am the utterance of my name."
Jesus Wasn't Cool With People Who Insulted Him
If you read the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, you'll find plenty of stories about how young Jesus saved babies and healed people. But you'll find just as many stories about what a little tyrant he was and many tales of the times when he purposefully injured or killed his fellow villagers.
When Joseph tries to tell him that the way he is treating people is not ok, he replies: "'I know that these are not your words, still, I'll keep quiet for your sake. But those people must take their punishment.' There and then his accusers became blind."