gnoć–°is n. Intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths, an esoteric form of knowledge sought by the Gnostics. [Greek gnsis, knowledge, from gignskein, to know; see gn- in Indo-European roots.]

Sometime during the third century a group of outcast Christians who called themselves Gnostics, a word that means knowledge or acquaintance, buried papyrus scrolls of their sacred documents so that the "orthodox" Christians would not destroy them. Those documents, discovered in 1946 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, disclose a kind of Christianity that is different from the Catholic/Protestant religion based upon the "orthodox" New Testament, and reveal an approach that may, in fact, be as old if not older than what is now called Christianity.

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From Jesus to Christ
Inner Knowledge

Now when I read the Gospel of John, I see Jesus standing there saying "I am the way, the truth, the light, I am the water," and I think "Who is he talking to? Why does he say this over and over?" New Testament scholars would say, "Well, Jesus never said these words"--and that's probably true. But why does the Gospel of John have Jesus say nothing else but "I am, I am, I am." It's clear to me now that John's refuting a view that says "Jesus is the light, and the light is in you, too." .....Elaine Pagels

Suggested Reading: What would Christianity be like if gnostic texts had made it into the Bible?
An Interview with Dr. Elaine Pagels

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