It’s a bit of a modern myth, bordering on a conspiracy theory, that the canonical Bible was completely rewritten by THEM (take your pick who THEY are: the Vatican? Lizard people?? Mole men???) to remove the original Gnostic character of the books of the Bible. We don’t really have evidence for this exact idea BUT some passages were rewritten, changed, and badly mistranslated, to play down their Gnostic, mystic, and heretical character.

Even if they didn’t spring from Gnosticism per se, there are texts in the Bible that could be used to argue for a Gnostic viewpoint and hence were tinkered with. We’ve already looked at 3 such passages in an earlier installment, and now we’re back with more of the truth THEY don’t want you to know!

1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

It’s been known for almost two hundred years that this passage from one of Paul’s letters is a complete forgery from beginning to end. There’s a number of obvious reasons why scholars know this, including: it interrupts the flow, grammar, and train of thought of the previous and next verses (if you remove it the passages read better), the Greek word choice and writing style  is completely different from the authentic Paul’s, different manuscripts contain this paragraph but stick it in a completely different place, and in just a few verses previous to this one in the same letter Paul actually writes that women can actively pray and prophesy during services.

The early Gnostics were notorious for their women leaders and prophets so it’s not a stretch that a later scribe stuck this verse in as an anti-Gnostic polemic. And if it was directed at some other Christian group then it was still used to try to discredit female leaders and clergy among Gnostics, ancient and modern.

Acts 7:53, “You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels.”

The original and more correct reading is the one above but it’s often translated as “given through angels,” “communicated by angels,” and so on and so forth. But, the one of the earliest forms of Gnosticism seems to believe that the Earth was created by angels, sometimes evil, sometimes merely incompetent but strict lower divine beings who muck up creation and so the True God has to embark on a rescue mission.

Aspects of both religious laws and all worldly law were laid down by these angels and we have this reading in both Acts and in the Pauline letters. Actually the idea that the world is run and created by angelic fuckups occurs many times in Paul is usually mistranslated, seriously, it’s a whole article on its own.

Mark 1:10, “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending in him like a dove.”

We touched on this in our Christmas post, but many early Christian groups, including many Gnostic groups (remember both Gnosticism and early Christianity were families of religions, not one unified faith) believed Jesus was human and became Divine at his baptism when the Aeon Christ descended and unified with him.

This seems to be the Christology of the Gospel of Mark and this is much more apparent when the passage is translated correctly—99.9% it’s “the Spirit descending on him like a dove,” but it reads in the Greek, “the Spirit descending in him like a dove.”

And not as extreme, there always seems to be something more Gnostic about that passage when the translation says, “heaven torn open,” as opposed to the more common and gentle translation of simply, “heaven opened.”

If you know any other examples or have any follow-up questions you want addressed when I do part 3 then leave your feedback in the comments below: