I just got home from seeing this movie and I’m still trying to digest it.

How many cases of stigmata have actually been identified? Have any been proven to be actual self mutilation caused only by the mind?

What about the Jesus scrolls that were found in the 1940’s? Have their authenticity been debunked or is the jury still out?

Interesting movie.

Since Cecil has addressed this in a column, I’m providing the link, and assuming that Nickrz will move this thread to the forum ABOUT CECIL’S COLUMNS.


Thanks for the link!

I am still quite interested in those Jesus scrolls that were found in 1945. Has Cecil addressed them in a previous article? I couldn’t find anything in the archives.

Anyone know the straight dope?

The movie was creepy and I liked it (didn’t hold a candle to The Sixth Sense however) but I was mostly fascinated by the subject matter as opposed to the story and acting.


Coarse and violent nudity. Occasional language.

I agree, Diane, I just saw the movie this evening and was much more intrigued by the St. Thomas scrolls than the movie itself.

Can anyone shed light on St. Thomas’ gospel and the possibility of them being written by Jesus himself?

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument” - William McAdoo

The consensus of mainstream scholars (I’m discounting the lunatic fringe) is that the Gospel of Thomas was written at least 50 years after the last canonical gospel (John).

It was rejected by the early Church communities from being a valid gospel because of its differences from the more accepted gospels, its non-traditional presentation of their beliefs, and because its claim of Apostolic origin was considered dubious by the Church Fathers.

It, and other apocryphal gospels were simply rejected by the Church, and certainly in the time of The Index they were suppressed, but there never was any big conspiracy to hide these gospels. Scholars always knew of them and could place their hands on them if they wanted.


If you’re really interested in the subject, may I suggest They Bore the Wounds of Christ: The Mystery of the Sacred Stigmata by Michael Freze? It’s a (GASP!!!) Catholic book, but it’s fairly extensive in its treatment and study of the subject matter. The table of contents lists more than 25 people endowed with stigmata.

The book is published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, Indiana 46750 (ISBN 0-87973-422-1) and retails for around $12.00.

Diane: Are you talking about the Gospel of Thomas that was part of an ancient Coptic-language Gnostic texts? According to Randel Helms (Helms, 1998, 103), “In December of (1945), an Egyptian peasant named Muhammad Ali …discovered a large sealed clay pot partially buried. (H)e broke it with his mattock, …to find …twelve leather-bound volumes, plus leaves of a thirteenth, containing in all some fifty-two separate religious and philosophical tractates from the early centuries C.E.

He continues to mention The Nag Hammadi Library as a reference book he uses containing the English translation of the Coptic-language Gnostic texts.

I haven’t finished reading Helms’ book, yet, but I highly recommend it. Its name is Who Wrote The Gospels?, and I’ve found it very interesting. You should get a copy.


Just did a fast search on, and I found that they still have books available.

Is this what you’re looking for? From

Oh yes, yes, yes.

Thank you all! I will check out all the references given to me.

As I said, I found the movie entertaining enough, but the subject matter really caught my interest.


Coarse and violent nudity. Occasional language.

I used to own a copy of the Gospel According to Thomas. This, along with a bunch of other writings (e.g., the Protevangelium of James), was a product of an early heresy in Christianity called Gnosticism. I do not want to get into the insanity of what Gnostics thought, but suffice it to say that (a) spirit is good, matter is evil, so therefore (b) God insulated himself by as many “emanations” as possible from yucky matter. Each “emanation” set itself up as a god. Add a little pantheism, a pinch of asceticism, bring to a boil and stir to taste.

Polycarp: I would like to get into the insanity YOU are trying to tell us here. I’m sorry, but you lost me.

Your “obfuscating” rhetoric is just too much for me. Would you care to explain your words to this simple mortal?


He’s not obfuscating at all. In fact, compared to the Gnostics themselves, he’s being crystal clear.

They believed, as he says, that the entire material creation was evil. They believed that God kinda sorta oozed out a child or children who kinda sorta oozed out grandchildren, who… until it got to a great-great-great-something-or-other-great granddaughter who accidentally created the entire universe while she was masturbating, because she didn’t know any better.

So their basic doctrine was that you should be as ascetic as possible, to minimize the corruption of your holy soul by your yucky body. (Except, of course, for the Gnostic masters. It was all right for them to have orgies, just to demonstrate how little they thought of their bodies.) And give all your money to a nice, safe place like, say, your neighborhood Gnostic priest, who could demonstrate his contempt for money by spending it all…

A lot of them also published cheat sheets listing all the secret passwords and hidden doors you have to know to get into Heaven.

Basically, everything bad and stupid that people believe about Roman Catholics is actually true of the Gnostics. Fortunately, back in those days, people didn’t know as much about mind control, so they were never as successful as, say, the Scientologists.

A lot of the new-age crap you see is based on their stuff, suitably redressed for the times.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Are you talking about the Gnostics of two milenia ago? Wow! I have to get a book on this guys! You make them sound like nowadays’ polititians.

So, everything bad I know about the Popes, and the Inquisition, and Bishop’s like Diego de Landa is wrong?

What were you trying to say by comparing the Gnostics to the Roman Catholics? That there’s nothing bad or stupid about the Roman Catholics?

What do you mean about people not knowing much about mind control? As far as I can tell, the Catholic Church has been VERY succesful, so, are we fortunate that Catholicism was succesful, but Gnosticism was not?

New age crap? What about Christian crap?

Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.

Well, about 95% of the stuff people seem to think is RC doctrine is, in fact, heretical. In particular, RCism absolutely, positively does not teach that the body or sex is evil. (Although it does teach what should be darned obvious to anyone who looks around at the world, which is that human sexuality is pretty seriously screwed up.)

(Frankly, I sometimes get the impression that this applies even to RC schoolteachers. Most of the RC laity I know can’t talk about doctrine for 30 seconds without saying something mind-bogglingly ill-informed.)

By the way, I’m not RC, myself, and never have been. But I do have a fairish knowledge of theology.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Re: Stigmata
Anybody want to make themselves a saint? I got a Bremil moto-tool…

We have met the enemy, and He is Us.–Walt Kelly

Re: Stigmata
Anybody want to make themselves a saint? I got a Bremil moto-tool…
You can become a ‘hole-y’ man.

We have met the enemy, and He is Us.–Walt Kelly

Like most Catholics, I don’t take the gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas seriously, but if anybody IS interested in learning more about it, the author to look up (either on or at your local library) is Professor Elaine Pagels (I attended several lectures of hers at Columbia, and while I’m a much more doctrinaire sort than she is, she was interesting nonetheless).

And, for what little it’s worth, I find the premise of “Stigmata,” that the evil Catholic Church is killing people to prevent the gospel of St. Thomas secret is ludicrous (SECRET??? It’s been readily available for decades, to anyone who made any effort to find it).

I don’t know. What do you know about the popes, the Inquisition, and Diego de Landa? Popes are like everybody else; some of them, like Alexander VI, should have been shot the day they were born, and the world would have been that much lighter without them. Others, like JP II, have been very kindly, sincere, caring, and upright men, who have done a lot for a lot of people. Inquisition----which one, Spanish or Roman? Diego de Landa----any relation to Tomas Torquemada?

Au contraire. RC’s have failings like everybody else. But compared to the Gnostics, baby, we’re not only more correct, we’re infallible.

Well, if you were a good devout Gnostic, you couldn’t have sex, because the flesh was evil. Catholics can have all the sex they want, provided they’re married and they don’t use birth control. A Gnostic could not eat meat of any type, because meat is flesh and flesh is evil. Catholics can have all the steak, pork chops, and Big Macs they want, except on Fridays during Lent. Gnostics had to sit around figuring up endless lists of angels they could depend on as agents to help them work up, step by endless step, to heaven. Catholics make a profession of faith, get baptized, go to Mass on Sundays, and they’re good to go. SO: based on these comparisons, would you rather be a Catholic…or a Gnostic???

You said it. I know more than the average bear, but that’s because I studied theology for several years. But many Catholics are way out there----and that’s because they came of age in the “low church” phase of the 1970’s, when doctrine was passed over in place of banners and warm fuzzies and being told that God was Your Special Buddy. All true, of course, but not much meat in it.

I have a question or two about the movie. It was the priest that moved into Frankie Paige’s(Patricia Arquette) body, right? The whole purpose of him doing that was so that the scrolls would be found, right? So what’s with her temporarily turning evil and then trying to have sex with Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne)? That seems like a contradiction.


Well, if you like the new movie, you should see the 1928 musical version with Al Jolson, “Stigmammy.”