Answers to the 5 Myths
1. Canonical Gospels was derived earlier than the Nag Hammadi books
Wright states “The Nag Hammadi books include the now well known so-called “Gospel of Thomas,” and other similar collections of sayings such as the “Gospel of Philip.” Despite the current fashion for preferring and even privileging them as giving us access to Jesus himself, I believe they are (a) demonstrably late (late second century at the earliest), though they may contain traces of earlier material; (b) demonstrably derived from the earlier, and now canonical, material…”
2. Canonical Gospels, which were written earlier than the Nag Hammadi books, present Jesus as divine.
Wright states “More especially, the divinity of Jesus is already firmly established by Paul, within 20 or 30 years of Jesus’ death. John and Hebrews — and indeed Luke and Matthew, who are almost as explicit — are written by [A.D.] 90 or so at the latest, quite possibly much earlier”
3. The Nag Hammadi books present a different theology than one from a Jewish context and the gospels.
1. Platonic viewpoint
Wright states “First, they involve a massive step away from the Jewish context of Jesus’ ministry and towards some kind of Platonic viewpoint. Jesus’ idea of the Kingdom of God coming on earth as in heaven is transformed into a kingdom-teaching which is all about a private and detached spirituality”
2. Missing Narrative
Wright states “Second, the Nag Hammadi codices have taken a large step away from a narrative world and into detached aphorisms and isolated teachings. There is no attempt to tell the story of Jesus or even stories about him, or to see that story and those stories within the context of the larger story of God and the world, of God and Israel.”
3. Simply a Teacher
Wright states “In particular, third, they have seen Jesus not as the one who, climactically and decisively, died on the cross and rose again, but simply as a teacher. This is the heart of it all”