I have started reading a book called Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter by April D. DeConick. It got me to thinking over breakfast that this book contains some of the reasons that I had problems for years with feminist biblical studies and the rush towards the "alternate" gospels (gnostic or otherwise). However, I never really spent the time to fully articulate my disagreement.
This book is hardly feminist. However, it does bring up one issue. Why do women and men go to the books that were rejected by the canonists in early Christianity and somehow assume that these texts have answers other than showing how varied early Christian thought actually was? It is as if just because they were rejected, they must contain some elemental truth that would have made the world a better place if only these works had been included in the canon.
Hardly! I guess that I always worked from the assumption that the patriarchal, hierarchical structure of greco-roman civilization would have infused all of those texts as much as it does the canonical texts. In all my reading over the years, I have yet to be disabused of that assumption. I look at some of the "rejected" texts and try to think about what kind of world they would create. Not ones that I would want to live in.
I will review the book when I have finished it, and comment further on early non-canonical texts some other time.