Jesus taught both exoterically and esoterically. That is, he taught the public at a basic level, but gave the esoteric knowledge to his disciples in secret.
Then the disciples came up and asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them…For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand.” –Matthew 13: 10,11,13
He would speak the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. And He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, He would explain everything to His own disciples. –Mark 4:33-34
Christianity is the religion which formed out of the exoteric side of what Jesus taught, whilst the esoteric or Gnostic Christians were the practitioners of Jesus’ secret teachings and had an extremely deep and advanced level of knowledge. It appears that some of the authors of the texts were at advanced stages on the path to awakening, and were thus able to reveal great mysteries about Christification – that is, the incarnation of the Christ within the human being, and the later merging of the two to create the Son of Man and the Son of God, the Adam-Christ, the Jesus-Christ, the man-Christ, which Jesus had taught esoterically and ironically was deemed as heresy by the Christians themselves. Esoteric Christian texts refer to the “bridal chamber” which was the secret name for the sexual practice of alchemy, “aeons” which are great stages in the path to awakening and much more. They were banned and deemed as heresy once the religion of Christianity became established, and their texts left out of the Bible. Many would now be completely lost, but thankfully some have been discovered.
The Nag Hammadi Library
The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of ancient texts that were discovered in 1945 in Egypt, after having rested beneath the sand for over 1,500 years. It is believed that they were buried by monks at around 367 AD as they had been banned by orthodox Christians. The texts were seen as “non-canocial” – not fitting into the ideas of the orthodoxy’s version of Christianity, they were ordered to be destroyed and never included in the Bible. Thus these great esoteric texts were rejected by Christianity, which had already long become a dead and persecuting religion. It is only thanks to the monks who buried them that we are able to get a glimpse of the powerful esoteric knowledge written down at that time.
Because the discovery is actually a collection of texts and not a complete work itself, some of the texts are more relevant than others. They are drawn from various sources, i.e. Plato’s Republic, Hermes, Sethians, etc. But the ones that contain the most useful teachings for esoteric practitioners are the accounts of Jesus and his twelve disciples.
The following texts recount events and insights from the lives and experiences of some of the apostles:
The scriptures below contain the sayings of Jesus, as well as further information about his life:
The Apocryphon of James ~ Williams translations (html), Cameron translation (html)
The Book of Thomas the Contender ~ pdf, html
The Gospel of Thomas ~ Patterson & Meyer translation (html), Lambdin translation (html), Patterson & Robinson translation (html)
The Apocryphon of John
The Gospel of Phillip
The Dialogue of the Savior
The Pistis Sophia
This is an extraordinary work, whose title means “power-wisdom” and is possibly one of the few texts know on earth to reveal information on the final stages of the path to enlightenment, which are rarely experienced let alone written down.
This epic manuscript came to light in 1795 after being obtained from an unknown source, finally emerging from obscurity after having been banned in the 4th Century like The Nag Hammadi Library. The writings themselves have been dated to 150-300 AD.
Remarkably, the Pistis Sophia recounts events that occur only 11 years after Jesus’ resurrection. During the previous 11 years he had been teaching his disciples, both men and women, and it is in this work that we witness his final teachings to them on the Mount of Olives.
Jesus takes his disciples on an astounding journey into the regions of the invisible world. Here he instructs them and reveals many esoteric mysteries – in particular, he speaks of the story and repentance of the Pistis Sophia, which is a symbolic part of each person’s true Being.
Translated by G.R.S. Mead (html)