The Gospel of Basilides

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This document has no surviving manuscripts today, not even a scrap! What we know about this supposed Gospel come from the letters of Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Hegemonius (all of whom described Basilides as a heretic). Basilides was an early Gnostic teacher in Alexandria, Egypt between 117-138AD.  The Gospel of Basilides by name is mentioned by Origen, Jerome, Ambrose, Philip of Side, and Venerable Bede. Scholars give estimate dates for Basilides writing to 120-130AD at the earliest.

Reasons for rejection/non-inclusion

  1. Basilides is labelled by many church fathers as a heretic and therefore his work follow the same line
  2. Is is written outside the apostolic period in the second century and therefore cannot be of eyewitness testimony to the events 
  3. His writings are Gnostic in nature, a feature of the second century onward
  4. Teaches heretical ideas
    1. Jesus was not joined to God till baptism
    2. Jesus did not receive the Gospel message until he was baptised (A Gnostic idea of “gaining knowledge from the divine to a single person”)

Useful external attestation details 

  1. Jesus lived
  2. Jesus’ life was recorded by eyewitnesses (his own commentaries tells us more)
  3. The New Testament Gospels were well established to provide the foundations for Basilides “Exegetica, a large volume of work he produced
  4. Virgin conception of Jesus
  5. The baby Jesus was visited by Magi who followed a star
  6. Jesus carefully controlled the time of his ministry with statements quoted like “my time has not yet come”

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