A four hour PBS documentary
Written and Produced by Marilyn Mellowes
William Cran, Senior Producer and Director
Air date: April 6, 1998.
The documentary puts the early Christianity in the proper context of Judaism. In other words the Jews are in the middle of the discussion between the Christians and the Muslims. This documentary, in a manner of speaking, puts the early Christian history in the Quranic paradigm and broadly speaking could be considered a commentary of the following verse:
“And the Jews say, ‘The Christians stand on nothing;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same Book. Even thus said those who had no knowledge, like what they say. But Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree.” (Al Quran 2:114)
It is in this trilateral discussion that we can succeed in our search of finding the Truth!
Studying the early history of Christianity is the best way to confirm the Quranic description of Jesus, may peace be on him, his revelations and Christianity.
Contrary to popular belief, early Christianity was not a monolithic institution. Each local church was independent of each other. Different churches had different sacred texts, for example, some churches recognized the Gospel of Thomas and others did not.
Elaine Pagels, talking about the diversity of early church in the first and the second century, writes in the introduction section of her book, the Gnostic Gospels:
“Given the enormous amount of current research in the field, this sketch is necessarily brief and incomplete. Whoever wants to follow the research in detail will find invaluable help in the Nag Hammadi Bibliography, published by Professor D. M. Scholer. Kept up to date by regular supplements published in the journal Novum Testamentum, Scholer’s bibliography currently lists nearly 4,000 books, editions, articles, and reviews published in the last thirty years concerning research on the Nag Hammadi texts.
Yet even the fifty-two writings discovered at Nag Hammadi offer only a glimpse of the complexity of the early Christian movement. We now begin to see that what we call Christianity–and what we identify as Christian tradition-actually represents only a small selection of specific sources, chosen from among dozens of others. Who made that selection, and for what reasons? Why were these other writings excluded and banned as “heresy”? What made them so dangerous? Now, for the first time, we have the opportunity to find out about the earliest Christian heresy; for the first time, the heretics can speak for themselves.
Gnostic Christians undoubtedly expressed ideas that the (so called) orthodox abhorred. For example, some of these gnostic texts question whether all suffering, labor, and death derive from human sin, which, in the orthodox version, marred an originally perfect creation. Others speak of the feminine element in the divine, celebrating God as Father and Mother. Still others suggest that Christ’s resurrection is to be understood symbolically, not literally. A few radical texts even denounce catholic Christians themselves as heretics, who, although they “do not understand mystery. … boast that the mystery of truth belongs to them alone.” Such gnostic ideas fascinated the psychoanalyst C. G. Jung: he thought they expressed “the other side of the mind”–the spontaneous, unconscious thoughts that any orthodoxy requires its adherents to repress.”
To watch part I go to: