Gnosticism and The Lost Gospels of the Desert Fathers

"...While Christianity was assuming the form of a 'normal religion,' at least among its adherents, some people within the Christian community resisted submitting to the requirement for conformity demanded by the new authority. These people wanted to discover for themselves the answers to certain questions. They would not accept unequivocally the so-called revealed knowledge handed down by the Church Fathers, but took upon themselves a personal search for truth through the direct experience of the divine presence.

These dissenters acquired the name Gnostic because they were seeking a special kind of knowledge concerning the nature of God and the relationship of the divine and human levels of consciousness. This special knowledge was called gnosis. It was not the knowledge that was transmitted through a sacred priesthood, nor by books filled with statements that were not to be questioned, nor through laws that were promulgated by officially recognized sectarian authorities. The kind of knowledge they sought would come from within themselves, for they understood God as being everywhere in the universe, including within the inner recesses of the individual. The Greek word gnosis most clearly expressed this kind of knowledge, for it means an inner knowing that is communicated directly from the divine origin in the human being, or--in another view--from the divine in the human being...."
...June Singer...Seeing Through the Visible World
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