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"Recycled," is certainly appropriate when applied to the words of Jesus, for his teachings were "recycled" by word of mouth during his lifetime (written accounts appeared thirty to fifty years after his death), and for 2,000 years no words have been more "recycled," recorded, repeated, translated, or transcribed. Their resonating truth has proved to be an enduring "Resource," as it continues to "Sustain" 2.1 billion of the world's Christians in times of hope, struggle, joy, and despair. But who gave the words of Jesus that written form we call gospels? And how many gospels were there? And who decided which gospels to include and which to exclude? According to scholars there were dozens of gospels in circulation in the Middle East Basin in those early centuries with the first officially accepted gospel being that of Mark, AD 65-80 followed by Matthew, AD 80-100, Luke, AD 80-130, and John, AD 90-120. It was in AD 180, when the earth was considered to be flat and the center of the universe, when women in the Middle East were silenced, beaten and stoned to death, and when the illiteracy rate throughout Europe, Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor was 95%, that Bishop Irenaeus of Gaul (now Lyons, France) took on the task of selecting four gospels based on the logic that, "There are four corners of the earth, four points of the compass, four pillars of the church, and four elements; therefore there must be four gospels." He mentions Thomas, Philip, Judas and Mary Magdalene by name: it is by his very account we know that they existed. (In 591, Pope Gregory the Great condemned Mary Magdalene's role in the life of Jesus to that of a prostitute. In the 1969 Second Vatican Council quietly apologized.) Now, for the first time, selections from the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, Philip, Judas, and Mary Magdalene join the Canonical Gospels in one resource. These Coptic scripts, eliminated from the cutting table close to 2,000 years ago, buried by the persecuted in
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