I have been reading the so called gnostic gospels and in particular the so called gospels of Mary and of Judas. The gospel of Mary, so called emphasises Mary Magdalene rather than the Apostle Peter as the favoured leader of the Apostles. This is where the inspiration of Dan Brown's book the Da Vinci Code came from. By the way if you go to Dan Brown's website you will see that from the outset that he thrives on mystery. He is a very good story teller. But I would respect him more if he didn't treat speculation as gospel truth and that which is well known as secret and has supposedly been hidden for years. But perhaps I am looking in the wrong direction here? For a sudden thought came to me as I was reading that rather than read the so called gnostic gospels I should concentrate more upon those scholars who are publishing them? For as I read about their beliefs regarding their finds I am intrigued to find that their views of the early church differ greatly to the accepted and time tested view. For they rather see the early church in a kind of disarray where it is split into loads`of little factions and where the heirarchy of bishops of the stronger branches of this muddled young church are rather angry tyrants eager for power and are rather looked upon as difficult and contentious little men, than gracious Christians guided by the Holy Spirit and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Even the apostles are viewed as secretive power loving individuals forcing their beliefs and views upon others. According to the National Geographic magazine Biblical scholar Marvin Meyer of Chapman University sums up the early church as "Christianity trying to find its style". This increasingly popular view of the early church I find more disturbing and worrying than the so called gnostic gospels themselves. For the early church was a dominant known and clearly defined organisation from the time of the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon those 120 souls to this day. These men speak of Athanasius ( born c. 296; died 2 May, 373.) as the first person to name the 27 books of the New Testament. Yet they totally ignore that all of these books were in full used and recognised by the church for centuries before. They forget that just because something isn't "officially" uttered that they did not exist before that said date. I must therefore emphasise the fact in order to make it abundantly clear that not only was the New Testament in its present form used by the early church, but that there were literally 1000's of copies not only of Paul's writings, but also all four gospels from very early dates. In fact because of the very character of Paul's writings they must have been written down from the very days he was imprisoned in Rome. Anyway as I said I was reading these so called gnostic gospels. And my dear friends if you read these writings I can assure you that you will have much less respect for them than these men give to them. For they play upon the fact that just because they have been buried all these years that this makes them an important find where the church is concerned. Don't get me wrong. They are an important find in an historical sense. As`they help us understand more about this mysterious sect (I will not say Christian, because they existed before the Christian era. They just Christianised themselves when it came along). But as so called Christian documents they are pathetically weak and at times silly in their assumptions. I once read a book called "The Ring of Truth" by J.B.Phillips (a modern circa 1950's New Testament translator) In it he mentions that some things just have that ring of truth to them. From the outset I didn't find that these so called gospels had that. For the most part they were a rather bad reitteration of those words of Christ that I am familiar with. But for the other part they say nothing at all and rather play upon the fact that this "Gnosis" or inner knowledge of the gnostics was "SECRET" knowledge only understood and known by a favoured few. You just have to look at some of the modern so called Christian cults and heresies today and look at the way they speak about themselves that you realise that they are just modern copies of these ancient heresies. For when we read the New Testament and the very words of Christ we immediately see that as the apostle Paul says to king Agrippa when he was brought before him, "For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely : for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner." The gospel was not meant for a select few who considered themselves to be more knowledgable than anybody else and that they possessed some kind of secret knowledge that no other person in the church knew. For Jesus said to his disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Just to end. It is common knowledge that the church from the time of the day of Pentecost had reached the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire within the space of 30 years. This was not some small sect of a series of pathetic factions of Christians all fighting each other for the upper hand. This was an established organised church which was a powerful contender for the hearts of men and women throughout the then known world that every Roman Emperor of those times saw the Christian Church as a real threat to the Empire's continued existence.