Here is some information from other scholars that shed some more light on Gnosticism. It differs a bit from John Lash’s rendition but they do concur with the big picture of what the Gnostics “knew”. My suggestion, if this information resonates with you, is to obtain a copy of the Nag Hammadi Library. You can obtain a copy of the more complete version through Amazon for about $15. Here is a link to the Nag Hammadi.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Gnosticism, a sect associated with early Christianity. The Gnostics divided the universe into two domains: the visible world and the spiritual one. They believed that a special sort of knowledge, or gnosis, would enable them to escape the evils of the physical world and allow them access to the higher spiritual realm. The Gnostics were regarded as heretics by many of the Church Fathers, but their influence was important in defining the course of early Christianity. A major archaeological discovery in Egypt in the 1940s, when a large cache of Gnostic texts were found buried in an earthenware jar, enabled scholars to learn considerably more about their beliefs.
The following is an excerpt from James M. Robinson’s presentation on The Nag Hammadi Library from the Westar Institute (Jesus Seminar) Meeting in Fall 2009. For more information or to purchase the complete video, visit our website at www.westarinstitute.org.
This is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of fourth-century Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945, which rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls find in significance. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gnostic gospels and sacred texts. This volume also includes introductory essays, notes, tables, glossary, index, etc. to help the reader understand the context and contemporary significance of these texts which have shed new light on early Christianity and ancient thought.
The Nag Hammadi Library can be found in Amazon. Click here for a copy.
Also a great resource book is:
The Meaning of the Nag Hammadi, now in paperback opens with the thrilling adventure story of the discovery of the ancient Papyrii at Nag Hammadi. Muhammad Ali, the fellahin, discovered the sealed jar, he feared that it might contain a jinni, or spirit, but also had heard of hidden treasures in such jars. Greed overcame his fears and when he smashed open the jar, gold seemed to float into the air. To his disappointment, it was papyrus fragmenst, not gold, but for scholars around the world, it was invaluable.
Meyer then discusses the pre–Christian forms of wisdom that went onto influence what Christians believe today. In addition, some Nag Hammadi texts are attributed to Valentinus, a man who almost became Pope, and whose rejection changed the church in significant ways. Text by text, Meyer traces the history and impact of this great find on the Church, right up to our current beliefs and popular cultural fascination with this officially suppressed secret knowledge about Jesus and his followers. Amazon for about $13.00