Further to my last blog post I wrote where I mentioned the various schools of thought among the early Christians. Among them and probably the main alternative groups, were the gnostics. The earliest gnostic Christian text being the Gospel of Thomas, one of a number of gospels that were not included in the canonical gospels when the Bible was put together a few centuries later while Christianity was becoming the dominant force. Religiously, politically and militarily . Leading to the gnostics being labeled heretics and actively persecuted.
But this Gospel of Thomas is dated, at the very latest 140ce. But that is only by Christian scholars that don’t want it considered as old, and therefore as valid, as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Non religious scholars however, date it much earlier. Perhaps actually the earliest gospel, possibly written just 20 years after Jesus lived. Certainly no later than late first century and therefore at least as old as the ones picked for inclusion in the Bible. In Thomas, Jesus is depicted much less as a divine being, more as a spiritual guide. Some scholars suggesting that Jesus is depicted more as a “Living Buddha” than how he’s viewed today.
Among the various Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt Jesus is often quoted as speaking of illusion and enlightenment, not sin and repentance. Instead of saving us from sin, he was opening the doors of spiritual understanding.
This wasn’t *the* original view. It was one view, a significant one, among many. There never was “one” view. But by the year 200A.D “Christianity” was becoming a real institution and began to define itself in terms of “orthodoxy” and the “true faith” as apposed to what it called “heresy” that it then suppressed and actively attacked. Those in and those out. This view of Jesus, as a “Living Buddha” of sorts, of course became heresy. What a different religious landscape it would be if that hadn’t happened.