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  • Who are the Gnostics? - Opus Dei
    initiatives Saint Josemaría Biography Prayers and devotions Teachings of Saint Josemaría About Saint Josemaría Videos Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Summaries of Catholic Teaching Articles on Christian life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church Who are the Gnostics 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 12 Who are the Gnostics Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle The term Gnostic originates from the Greek word gnosis meaning knowledge A Gnostic is therefore a person who acquires a special knowledge and lives in accordance with it In this respect the term gnosis does not carry any negative connotation Some of the early Fathers of the Church such as Clement of Alexandria and St Irenaeus speak about gnosis in the sense of the knowledge of Jesus Christ that we acquire through faith the true gnosis writes St Irenaeus is the doctrine of the Apostles Against Heresies IV 33 8 The term Gnostic acquired a negative meaning when these very early Fathers applied it to designate certain prominent heretics prevalent between the 2nd and 4th centuries St Irenaeus was the first one to use it in this sense in order to refer to the heresy of Simon the Samaritan Acts 8 9 24 He mentions that Simon s followers spread throughout Alexandria Asia Minor and Rome with the result that a multitude of Gnostics have sprung up and have been manifested like mushrooms growing out of the ground Against Heresies I 29 1 These in turn St Irenaeus continued gave rise to the followers of Valentinus who are the ones he tackles in a more direct manner He explains the abundance and diversity of sects by saying that numbers of them indeed we may say all desire themselves to be teachers and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally different system of opinions and then again others from others they insist upon teaching something new declaring themselves the inventors of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into existence Against Heresies I 28 1 From Irenaeus information and from that of the other Fathers who also had to combat these heresies especially St Hippolytus of Rome and St Epiphany of Salamina we can see that there was such a proliferation of splinter groups Simonians Nicolaites Ophites Naassenes Sethians Peratae Basilidians Carpocratines Valentinians Marcosians falling under the heading gnostic that we can only apply this term in a most generic manner From the around the forty or so gnostic heretical works discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi upper Egypt we gain a similar impression each work contains its own distinct heretical direction Of the varieties described above the

    Original URL path: http://www.opusdei.org/en-us/article/who-are-the-gnostics/ (2016-02-15)
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  • What is the difference between the canonical gospels and the apocryphal gospels? - Opus Dei
    Organization History People in Opus Dei Priestly Society of the Holy Cross Cooperators Canonization causes Books and texts Videos about Opus Dei Safe Environment The Prelate Biography Pastoral letters Other documents News From the Pope Recent News From the Prelate Personal testimonies Social initiatives Saint Josemaría Biography Prayers and devotions Teachings of Saint Josemaría About Saint Josemaría Videos Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Summaries of Catholic Teaching Articles on Christian life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church What is the difference between the canonical gospels and the apocryphal gospels 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 10 What is the difference between the canonical gospels and the apocryphal gospels Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle While the inspired nature of the canonical gospels is itself not demonstrable the first demonstrable difference is external to the gospels themselves The canonical gospels are part of the biblical canon and the apocryphal gospels are not This means that the canonical gospels were received by the churches of the East and the West as the genuine apostolic tradition in the generation immediately after the apostles The apocryphal gospels though used sporadically by scattered groups never managed to gain acceptance nor were they recognised by the universal Church An important reason for this as can be demonstrated historically is that the canonical gospels were written during the apostolic period understood in the broad sense that is while the apostles or their immediate disciples were still living This can be deduced from references to them by Christian writers of the following generation and also from the fact that around 140 A D a harmonisation was produced of excerpts from the four canonically recognised gospels Tatian References to the apocryphal gospels on the other hand are found only later on around the end of the second century Apocryphal manuscripts with a text style similar to the gospels some from the middle of the second century are very fragmentary a sign that the works they represent were not sufficiently highly esteemed to have been passed on carefully to subsequent generations Apocryphal manuscripts which have survived or which have been found recently are very different from the canonical gospels both in form and content Those which were known throughout the patristic and medieval period are full of stories of a legendary or fantastical nature They try to meet the demands of popular piety by giving detailed accounts about events which the canonical gospels either do not mention at all or treat very summarily In general they are in agreement with Church teaching They contain stories about St Joachim and St Anne and the birth of the Blessed Virgin Nativity of Mary about how a midwife discovered Mary s virginity Proto Gospel of

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  • How were the first gospels written? - Opus Dei
    Society of the Holy Cross Cooperators Canonization causes Books and texts Videos about Opus Dei Safe Environment The Prelate Biography Pastoral letters Other documents News From the Pope Recent News From the Prelate Personal testimonies Social initiatives Saint Josemaría Biography Prayers and devotions Teachings of Saint Josemaría About Saint Josemaría Videos Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Summaries of Catholic Teaching Articles on Christian life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church How were the first gospels written 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 8 How were the first gospels written Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle The Church unhesitatingly asserts that the four canonical gospels faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ while living among men really did and taught Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum 19 These four gospels are of apostolic origin For what the Apostles preached in fulfilment of the commission of Christ afterwards they themselves and apostolic men under the inspiration of the divine Spirit handed on to us in writing the foundation of faith ibid 18 Ancient Christian writers explained how the evangelists did this work St Irenaeus for example says Matthew published among the Hebrews in their own tongue a written form of the gospel while Peter and Paul preached the gospel in Rome and founded the Church It was after his departure that Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter also transmitted in writing what Peter preached Luke Paul s companion also wrote in a book what Paul preached Then John our Lord s disciple the same one who laid his face on his breast John 13 23 also published the gospel while living in Ephesus Against heresies III 1 1 Similar commentaries can be found in Papias of Hierapolis or Clement of Alexandria cf Eusebius of Caesarea Ecclesiastical History 3 39 15 6 14 5 7 the gospels were written by the apostles Matthew and John or by disciples of the apostles Mark and Luke but always having collected the preaching of the gospel from the apostles Modern exegesis with the help of a detailed study of the gospel texts has explained in a minor way this process Our Lord Jesus Christ sent us his disciples not to write but to preach the gospel The Apostles and the apostolic communities did so and to facilitate the work of evangelisation they put in writing part of this teaching Finally in the moment when the apostles and others in their generation started to disappear The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing reducing some of them to a synthesis explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches

    Original URL path: http://www.opusdei.org/en-us/article/how-were-the-first-gospels-written/ (2016-02-15)
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  • What sort of historical credibility does the Bible have? - Opus Dei
    About Opus Dei Message Activities Opus Dei in the U S Organization History People in Opus Dei Priestly Society of the Holy Cross Cooperators Canonization causes Books and texts Videos about Opus Dei Safe Environment The Prelate Biography Pastoral letters Other documents News From the Pope Recent News From the Prelate Personal testimonies Social initiatives Saint Josemaría Biography Prayers and devotions Teachings of Saint Josemaría About Saint Josemaría Videos Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Summaries of Catholic Teaching Articles on Christian life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church What sort of historical credibility does the Bible have 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 6 What sort of historical credibility does the Bible have Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle The books of Sacred Scripture teach firmly with integrity and without error the truth that God desired recorded for our salvation They speak then of true facts But facts can be truly expressed by means of different literary genre each one having its own style of telling things For example when the Psalms say that the heavens proclaim the glory of God and the firmament announces the work of His hands Ps 19 2 it does not claim that the heavens pronounce words or that God has hands Rather it expresses the true fact that nature gives testimony to God who is its creator History is a literary genre that at the present time has particular characteristics different from those found in the literary styles of the old Near East and even in Graeco Latin antiquity that were used to narrate events All the books of the Bible of the Old as well as of the New Testament were written two to three thousand years ago So to describe them as historical in the meaning which we now give to that word would be an anachronism since they were not thought or written with conceptual schemes currently in use Nevertheless though they cannot be described as historical in the current meaning of that word it s not that they transmit false or deceptive information and that they therefore do not deserve credibility They do transmit truths and they make reference to facts that really happened in time and in the world in which we live told in a way of speaking and expression that is different but equally valid Those books were not written to satisfy our curiosity about irrelevant details of the message that they transmit as for example to tell to us what the characters ate how they dressed or what they fancied What they provide mainly is an evaluation of the facts from the point of view of the faith of Israel and of the Christian faith The Biblical texts

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  • Was Jesus single, married or widower? - Opus Dei
    University of Navarre This is question 4 Was Jesus single married or widower Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle The facts preserved in the Gospels tell us that Jesus carried out his artisan job in Nazareth Mark 6 3 When He was some thirty years old He began his public ministry Luke 3 23 During this time of ministry there were some women who followed Him Luke 8 2 3 and others with whom He was acquainted Luke 10 38 42 Although at no time are we told that he lived a celibate life or was married or became a widower the Gospels refer to his family to his mother to his brothers and sisters but never to His wife This silence is eloquent Jesus was known as the son of Joseph Luke 23 4 22 John 2 45 6 42 and when the people in Nazareth are surprised by his teaching they exclaim Is this not the carpenter Mary s son and brother of James and Joseph and of Judas and Simon And his sisters do they not live here among us Luke 6 3 In no place is reference made to Jesus having or having had a wife Tradition has never spoken of Jesus possible marriage And it has not done so simply because it considered the reality of marriage insulting for someone like Jesus who incidentally restored marriage to its original dignity Matt 19 1 12 or because it is incompatible with the faith in Christ s divinity Instead tradition simply abided by historical reality If there was a desire to silence aspects that could be compromising for the faith of the Church why did it transmit the baptism of Jesus at the hands of John the Baptist who administered a baptism for the remission of sins If the primitive Church had wanted to silence Jesus marriage why didn t it silence the presence of certain women among the people who were working with Him In spite of all of this views maintaining that Jesus was married have continued to exist This has been so because of the practice and doctrine common among rabbis of the 1st Century A D See What was the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalen for information about Jesus supposed marriage to her As Jesus was a rabbi and celibacy was inconceivable among rabbis at the time it is assumed that He had to be married There were exceptions like Rabbi Simon ben Azzai who when accused of remaining single said My soul is in love of the Torah Others can take care of the world Talmud of Babylon B Yeb 63d It is because of this that some affirm that Jesus like any pious Jew would have been married when he was twenty and then would have abandoned His wife and children in order to carry out His mission The answer to this objection is twofold 1 There is evidence that

    Original URL path: http://www.opusdei.org/en-us/article/was-jesus-single-married-or-widower/ (2016-02-15)
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  • What does Mary’s virginity imply? - Opus Dei
    life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church What does Mary s virginity imply 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 2 What does Mary s virginity imply Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 13 2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle In the first two chapters of the Gospels according to St Mathew and St Luke it is clearly stated than Mary conceives her son with no male intervention what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit the angel says to St Joseph Matt 1 20 When Mary asked the angel How shall this be since I have no husband the angel answered The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you Luke 1 34 35 Later on as Jesus entrusted his Mother to John at the foot of the cross the implication is that Our Lady did not have any other children The reference to Jesus siblings occasionally made in the gospels could well be attributed to the term sibling in Hebrew which means close relative It could be also be used in the sense often seen in the New Testament to refer to members of the group of believers Acts 1 15 The Church has always believed in Mary s virginity and has called her the ever Virgin Lumen Gentium 52 that is before during and after birth as stated in a traditional and devotional formula We understand Jesus virginal conception as the result of God s power For with God nothing will be impossible Luke 1 37 As such it is beyond human understanding This mystery has nothing to do with pagan mythological representations in which a god acting as a man fertilises a woman The virginal conception of Jesus is a divine work in Mary s womb similar to that of creation It is something that is not normally accepted by a non believer it was rejected by some contemporaneous Jews and pagans who made up stories to explain Jesus conception One such story attributed it to a Roman soldier called Pantheras He is in fact a fictional character made to support an early legend mocking Christians From a historical and philological point of view the name Pantheras is a corruption of the Greek word parthénos which means virgin People who used Greek as their language in the Roman Empire heard that Jesus was the son of the virgin huiós parthénos when they wished to make fun of him they referred to him as the son of Pantheras These stories only confirm that the early Church sustained her firm belief in Mary s virginity although it seemed to be something impossible Jesus virginal conception is above all a sign that Jesus is truly the Son of God by nature so he

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  • What is the Holy Grail? How is it related to the Holy Chalice? - Opus Dei
    Personal testimonies Social initiatives Saint Josemaría Biography Prayers and devotions Teachings of Saint Josemaría About Saint Josemaría Videos Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Summaries of Catholic Teaching Articles on Christian life Getting to know our Lady Other Resources Search Close Christian life Getting to know our Lord Jesus Christ Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church What is the Holy Grail How is it related to the Holy Chalice 23 Questions answers about Jesus Christ prepared by a team of catholic theologians of the University of Navarre This is question 23 What is the Holy Grail How is it related to the Holy Chalice Questions about Jesus Christ and the Church May 15 2005 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle The term grail comes from late Latin gradale or gratalis which derives from the classical Latin crater a dish In the books of knights of the Middle Ages one understands it to be a receptacle or cup in which Jesus consecrated his Blood at the Last Supper it was then used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood and the water which was spilt when washing the body of Jesus In mediaeval romance the grail was said to have been brought to Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea and his followers He formed a community of guardians of the relic which was later associated with the Templars It is likely that this legend was born in Wales inspired by ancient Latin sources such as the Acts of Pilate an apocryphal work of the 5th Century In the time of Arthur the quest for the Grail was the highest spiritual pursuit For Chrétien author of Perceval Perceval is the knight who must achieve the quest for the Grail For other French authors as for Malory Galahad is the chief Grail knight though others Perceval and Bors in the Morte d Arthur do achieve the quest The Grail becomes a precious stone guarded for some time by the angels It was then entrusted to the custody of the Knights of the Order of the Holy Grail and its head the king of Grail Every year on Good Friday a dove descends from Heaven and after placing a host on the stone it renews its strength and its mysterious force which communicates perpetual youth and can satisfy any desire for food and drink Every now and again some inscription on the stone reveals who have been called to eternal bliss in the castle of the Grail in Munsalvaesche mons salvationis This legend is linked to the chalice which Jesus used at the Last Supper and there are several ancient traditions about it basically three The oldest is from the 7th Century which holds that an Anglosaxon pilgrim states that when he was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem he had seen and touched the chalice which Jesus used It was made of tin and had two handles A second tradition holds that this chalice the sacro

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  • What was the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene? - Opus Dei
    2006 print email facebook twitter ePub kindle It is clear from the Gospels that Mary Magdalene had a great love for Jesus She had been freed by him from possession by seven devils had followed him as a disciple ministering to him from her means Luke 8 2 3 and had been with Mary the Mother of Jesus and the other women when Jesus was crucified Mark 15 40 41 She was according to the Gospels the first person to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection after searching for him tearfully John 20 11 18 Hence the veneration which the Church has had for her as a witness to the risen Christ See Who was Mary Magdalene From these Gospel passages one cannot conclude that she was a sinner and much less that she was the wife of Jesus Those who claim that she was the wife of Jesus rely on some apocryphal gospels All of them with the possible exception of part of the Gospel of Thomas were written after the canonical Gospels and are not historical in character but were written to transmit Gnostic teachings According to these works which are not properly speaking Gospels but rather writings that contain what are said to be secret revelations of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection Mariam or Marianne or Mariham the name Magdalene does not appear except in a few books was the one who best understood those revelations That is why she is Jesus favourite disciple and receives from him a special revelation The opposition which she faces from the apostles because she is a woman according to some of these writings The Gospel of Thomas Dialogues of the Saviour Pistis Sophia The Gospel of Mary reflects the negative attitude of some of the gnostics to the feminine and to Mary as an important disciple Nevertheless some people like to see this opposition as a reflection of the attitude of the official Church at the time against the spiritual leadership of women as proposed by those groups None of this is demonstrable This opposition is more likely to have been a conflict of doctrines Peter and the other apostles confronting the ideas that these gnostic groups were putting forward in the name of Mariam In any case having recourse to Mary was a way of justifying their gnostic ideas In other apocryphal gospels especially the Gospel of Philip Marian this time she is also cited with her name of origin Magalene is a model of gnosticism precisely because of her femininity She is the spiritual symbol of discipleship of Christ and of perfect union with him In this context they speak of a kiss between Jesus and Mary if the text is really to be understood in that way symbolising that union since through that kiss which was a kind of sacrament superior to baptism and to the eucharist the gnostic engendered himself as a gnostic The whole tone of these writings is quite foreign to any

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