Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas is ‘narrated by Professor David Brakke who did a fabulous job explaining the differences and divisions, no matter how intricate, between the many early ‘religions’ and how they related to, or differed from, Christianity.
From the website:
This course takes on these provocative questions and more, in a narrative that unfolds as an enthralling religious detective story—penetrating the mysteries of a stigmatized yet profoundly important legacy of religious thought. Among many intriguing features of the story, you’ll learn that:Many of the teachings of the early churches read like Greek or Roman mythology, which was, as I said, not at all what I had expected. Once I wrapped my head around what I was listening to, I simply couldn’t turn it off.
• What we call “Gnosticism” comprises a number of related religious ideologies and movements, all of which sought “gnosis,” or immediate, direct, and intimate knowledge of God;
• Gnostic groups reinterpreted and often rewrote Jewish and Christian scriptures, creating religious mythologies that struck deep chords in contemporary seekers;
• Gnostic thought and practice reveal to us the precursors of the mystical tradition within Christianity.
I highly recommend this 12ish hour lecture to anyone interested, as I am, in the ancient origins of theologies.
For more information check out The Great Courses: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas