There are no mysteries that we cannot understand
A true spiritual path begins with the acquisition of knowledge. Our first goal is to share that knowledge with you. Secondly, we teach a system of practice that you can use to make your knowledge real in your life, thus realizing the true nature of the information you have gained. Knowledge realized is understanding. As you extend your understanding into the actions you take in the world you will gradually transform your understanding into wisdom. In the process, you will have transformed your consciousness from the world into living in the presence of God.
The Wisdom of the Gnostics is considered to be esoteric in nature. Esoteric is usually explained as meant for the few. But the word esoteric also means inner and it is in this context that we explain the Gnostic teachings; they all refer to inner things — thoughts, feelings, consciousness, awareness and understanding.
The Gnostic scrolls found at Nag Hammadi in 1945 provide profound insights into the thought and practice of early Christianity. By recovering the ancient teachings of Jesus, the inner teachings explained to the original disciples is returning to life. Among the Nag Hammadi library is the Gospel of Thomas, the most popular and least understood of the Gnostic documents. A clear and in–depth explanation of the 114 sayings of Jesus is provided in The Gospel of Thomas — A Blueprint for Spiritual Growth
David F. Capps delves deeper into the Gnostic tradition and history as he explains the teachings of Jesus. Some of the explanations provide historical references, which bring a true original context to the sayings typically unavailable in traditional approaches. Other explanations include an in–depth look at the mystery school background and mystical roots of early Christianity. Still other explanations provide tantalizing cross references to some of the other teachings of Jesus connecting concepts and spiritual principles not normally associated with one another. What emerges is a rich tapestry of spiritual food for the soul.
Scholars generally recognize that early Christianity was a mystical religion. In the process of becoming a mainstream religion, much of the mystical nature was lost. Today a hunger for the mystical is reappearing in the public’s interest, and we at the Gnostic Wisdom Foundation believe that the time is right for a re’emergence of Gnosticism on the world stage. We believe that people want more than a set of pat answers to their questions which leave them with no real understanding of their religious yearnings or the power they really possess within their souls and spirits. People want to experience the full presence of God in their lives. Many people are left empty and unsatisfied by a system that teaches them they are worthless and helpless, saved only by a belief in being rescued from hell by a savior figure.
The human tradition is replete with shamans, mystics and prophets speaking of another world, more real than that which can be seen and touched, where life is eternal and God is real. People yearn for that same experience, suspecting, or just hoping, that they too can even briefly taste or experience that other world. David F. Capps’ work, presented here, takes a giant step forward in opening the spiritual world to anyone who will take the time to do the simple exercises presented here and in the companion work, “The Gospel of Thomas — A Blueprint for Spiritual Growth” by the same author. Spirituality is part of our basic human nature and there is no reason that all cannot share the fullness and empowering process of spiritual growth.
Many questions have been raised regarding the authenticity of the sayings of Jesus. What is emerging is an understanding that not all of the sayings were actually spoken by Jesus. While the traditional church presents the whole of the New Testament as authentic and very closely linked to Jesus, the reality presently emerging is that the sayings of Jesus in the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke actually have a common source, referred to as Q, short for the German word Quella, meaning source. The New Testament narrative was contrived by the early Christian church and is not authentic. Recent research reveals that only approximately 20 percent of the sayings of Jesus were probably actually spoken by him.
As we have uncovered more and more ancient documents, early examples of the sayings of Jesus have emerged. A general pattern in the sayings has also become apparent. Within this pattern the sayings of Jesus fall into four general categories. The first is that of a traveling spiritual teacher who moved from town to town teaching in small groups and then moving on. A second, later set of teachings is presented in the form of a world-class spiritual teacher with larger audiences. The Gospel of Thomas is a primary example of this second category of teachings, which may have appeared 50 to 100 years after the time of Jesus. A third category of the teachings presents Jesus as the founder of a religious movement. These sayings appeared some 100 to 200 years after the time of Jesus. The fourth set appeared some 200 to 300 years after the time of Jesus and present him as a savior figure or incarnation of God on the earth.
The present day New Testament is a mixture of all four categories, leaning heavily toward the fourth set of world savior examples. Consequently, not all of the sayings were spoken by Jesus and written down as sometimes portrayed. Other people have added to the sayings of Jesus over the years, drawing on the spiritual traditions of the past. The added sayings were not intended to be deceptive, but were sincere tributes to the position of Jesus adopted over the years as his popularity increased. Because the additional sayings were modeled after older religious teachings, which were popular at the time, many of the sayings are remarkably consistent with the Gnostic tradition and very meaningful in explaining the original teachings of Jesus. Because of the consistency in religious tradition, it is very difficult to separate the sayings on any other basis beyond how Jesus is actually portrayed.
A good example of an early saying, probably authentic to Jesus, is the rich young man who comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to have eternal life. He addresses Jesus as “good sir.” Jesus responds “why do you call me good. Only God is good.” This presents Jesus as a humble person, making no claim of any kind to anything else other than being a man. An example of a much later saying is Jesus stating that his life is to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. This portrays Jesus as a clear savior figure. These later sayings are clearly not authentic and the author does not include them in this work. Rather than argue the authenticity of each saying, which is well presented by other authors, David F. Capps focuses on what he does best; bringing the sayings of Jesus to life in a rich and modern context.
Our purpose in publishing this knowledge is to provide you with as much insight into the spiritual teachings of the Gnostics as possible. We hope you enjoy this presentation of the sayings of Jesus and the explanations the author provides.
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