The Natsarene (“Nazarene”) Religion – Pt. 7

We have seen that the spirituality which preceded and led up to Christianity (what I call “Natsarene” spirituality) was marked by two broad characteristics—gnosticism and encratism. The former has reference to the goal of finding gnosis. The latter characterizes the way to the goal: through continence and a general repudiation of pleasure. The gnostic considered that no one can “serve two masters,” and recognized that a fundamental decision occurs in life, one between pleasure and understanding. We have looked at the Parable of the Ten Maidens (Mt 25:1-14), touched upon Secret Mark, and noted the broad popularity of encratism in early Christianity, evident in the non-canonical Acts of the Apostles and in many gnostic writings from the Nag Hammadi Library. … Continue reading