Was there a basis in ancient scripture for the fundamental belief in the value of women in their churches or was this a "throw back" to the more proximate pagan prophetesses and goddesses in Greek religion?
From a variety of sources in their writings it is apparent that they believed that the Holy Spirit was the feminine spouse of God the Father.
In the most ancient of the rare Old Syriac copies, the Siniatic Palimpsest, from the 4th or 5th century, found in the Covenant of St. When we look for truth along the bloody trail of the heretics what they said needs to be harmonized with the words about and from the chief heretic, Jesus Christ.
In of itself, being labeled a heretic does not guarantee the truth of the entire message or even any part of it.
What gem or gems of truth can we sift from the historical remnants of the Gnostics' beliefs through the detail of the texts and the scope of scripture to find this pertinent heresy?
According to Elaine Pagels' enlightening book, The Gnostic Gospels, one of the established church's primary fears of and primary accusations of the Gnostics was that they were attracting large numbers of women and having women minister in contrast to the Orthodox Church.
If the message of the heretic does harmonize with scripture then we have truth.
Martin Luther was considered a heretic by the then established church because he proclaimed that justification came by faith rather than works.The initial response to a heretic is silence so that a response does not draw the attention of others.If the apparent heresy persists the heretic is punished by character assassination or public humiliation so that others tremble at the thought of adopting the heresy.We also search the words of some who were people of conscience who left us a record of the possible alternatives to what they were to record for acceptance within the Orthodox Church.Next we look to the minute detail of the text itself and then to the scope of all scripture to synthesize our understandings of truth.It became evident from scripture that his words on the subject, in the end, were true.