After reading the book The Da Vinci Code Iwanted to find out where things stand - this is what I found - Gnostics were very different from Christians and they seemed to be true
Gnostics and Their Views:
Earliest most prominent of heretical groups denounced by church is class of believers “Gnostics”. Their views on life and teachings of Christ were entirely different from that of orthodox Christians.
In 1945 a find of ancient texts which came to be known as Nag Hammidi in southern Egypt increased enormously the awareness of the religion; the early Christians embraced according to some Gnostics: People perceived only specter of Jesus, not the real one; Jesus ‘suffering on the cross was not the point of his life, for he did not belong to the material world; baptism does not make sense which became the heart of controversy between the church and the Gnostics.(Bible and Gnostic gospels).Gnostics preached against gospels which did not give equal footing to men and women. Gnostic gospel of Mary calls her ‘woman who knew all’.
Most of the phenomena that were taught as Roman, including Christianity were features of life in urban Rome and not in rural Rome. Furthermore an acrimonious debate surrounded the formations of hierarchy which ultimately came to govern the early church. This antagonism tended to center around being 'a good upstanding Christian'. This gave rise to words such as 'orthodoxy' Greek word meaning 'straight opinion'; heresy meaning 'choice'.
Pagans and Gnostics were not the fiercest foe to the Christians. But the basic issue of controversy stemmed from Jesus himself .Jesus was both mortal and divine which was parallel to Dionysus a Greek god whose cult rose in Asia Minor (million years before Jesus’ life time – 1200 B.C) Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. He was a herded young man who promoted love; he suffered humiliation at the hands of ignorant benighted mortals and was brutally killed by his enemies only to be reborn and triumph over them which is a parallel to the life of Jesus Christ ) though Dionysus attained status of god and Jesus attained status of a son of god. Now this led to another complication namely Jesus’ relationship with god as to whether Jesus as a son is subordinate to Father? Will worshipping God the father turn Christianity to Jewish roots? And if Jesus is god incarnate, he cannot be both.
The result was a faction between orthodox churchmen and a well educated priest Arius later the heresy came to be known as Arianism. Arius said ‘Father gets precedence over the ‘son’. He said if Jesus is son of god then trinity made no sense. This controversy was solved by Emperor Constantine in the council of Nicaea 325 C, after a vigorous debate where bishops from all across the world agreed with Athansius and forged the famous Nicene Creed in which adherence to Christianity were sworn to uphold the orthodox perception of Christ as begotten not made by god who was made flesh, who was made man, suffered and rose again on the third day. This credo put down any version of Christianity which challenged church’s authority. So the Gnostic gospels of Thomas, Mary and Philip along with many other accounts of Jesus’ life in wide circulation at that time were branded heretical and stricken from Cannon of New Testament and ordered the destruction of all the copies of the text (in which process some of them got buried and later found).
According to Gnostics self knowledge is the knowledge of the gods that is the self and the divine are identical; Jesus comes only as a guide who opens access to spiritual understandings, not as a savior; Jesus is not distinct from the rest of the humanity for Jesus Himself says to Thomas that “they both have received their being from the same source”; No practices such as “canon of scripture”, “the apostolic greed”, “the institutional structure” exists for they emerged towards the end of second century. There is an elementvine feminine. The interpretation of resurrection is just to give apostles the right to ordain future leaders, which gave bishops the political power. Gnostic also accounts that Eve gave life to Adam and instructed him. The Hypostasis of Archons describes eve as the principle in humanity who raises Adam from his material condition.Trimorphic protenoai, the triple formed primal thought celebrates feminine powers of thought, intelligence and foresight. Gnostics say that Genesis1:26-27 narrates an androgynous creation meaning God is dyadic both male and female. Jesus himself broke tradition and spoke freely to women says Gospel of Luke.
Dan Brown deserves appreciation