Thanks for pointing the way.
A little background: It was several years, likely decades back, when I first became aware of the Nag Hammadi texts. My initial reaction then was to not look deeply, because I presumed the information was so arcane and obscure that I wouldn't be able to make sense out of them. Adding to my desire for distancing, was the fact that I could sense that these texts were becoming commercialized fodder for a new profit-driven spiritual cottage industry.
Recently, upon finally taking a closer look at the Gospel of Thomas, I recognized what I perceived to be 'occult' truths that I have experienced directly and believe that only few others have. I got the same vibe reading the gospels of Mary and Philip.
On that note, let me back up just a little. Did you see the video that Malcolm posted in the OP. As I said, I am sympathetic to the two ladies who made the vid, but as historians, one of the things I did not like was their caricature of Constantine, whom the ladies seemed to be saying made Christianity the state religion in order to further his military agenda.
You likely know these things much better than I do, but my understanding is that Constantine first turned in this direction because of the dream he had prior to the battle where he was advised to paint Chi Rho on his soldier's swords. Only then, after the promised victory, did he begin the process of Christening the Roman Empire. If the this interpretation is correct, then his decision to do so was prompted by a mystical experience which follows the Hermetic principle, as it must, in my opinion, if it was "A"uthentic: as above, so below.
So, unless this is all wrong, and unless I have misunderstood 'the ladies', I would say their caricature of Constantine's core motives are misleading and certainly not in line with the highest academic standards.
So, in order to make Christianity the state religion, Constantine decided, wisely I presume, to solicit the churches and find out what they all agreed on, so everybody was on the same proverbial Page. Those in attendance all seemed to agree that the four gospels were sufficient to that end.
Since this was left in the hands of the church leaders, I personally think that Constantine made the right decision.
So what of these other NH gospels? I wondered about what 'heretic' means. My gut feeling is that the followers, if you will, of Thomas, Mary and Philip were of the fringe variety. I suspect they were of a much more mystical bend than most Christians, and were likely relegated to the sidelines at Nicea since few could relate to the content of their texts. A further mitigating factor seems obvious, given what was approved: the priests and followers of the approved texts were surely very familiar with the gospels we know, and of various letters from Peter, James, Acts-Luke and so on.
I don't buy the idea that Jesus was married, or that he had kids, because if he had then surely much attention would have been given to the Wife of God (as we see with Mary, the Mother of God), of any Grandchild of God the Father. Therein lies a cosmic reason why Jesus might have not had children, in my opinion: his Legacy was his own (and we would surely have f-ed things up if he had children, through various battles over succession).
As you probably know, I am a believer in Fate. That being the case, I have little doubt that the NH texts were revealed to us 'for a reason'. Perhaps this Disclosure, if it was that, has something to do with the Western world finally recognizing, after all; these centuries, that women are men's equals. Maybe the entire lot would have gotten burned immediately, had they fallen into the wrong hands - a far greater likelihood in previous centuries.
So, thanks again for sharing your thoughts, Matt. I really don't have the time to be diving into this much, but I was so appreciative of your responses here that I wanted to make some time to give you a fuller reply.
As things stand now, based on what little I do know, I am of the opinion that the systematic degradation of women began to occur well after 325, around the time when it became a crime to even possess these 'heretical' texts. By then the priesthood would have become deeply entrenched with mundane politics, and the priestesses among the clergy would have been in a disadvantaged position among those with political ambition.
Not to say that the chauvinism wasn't there from the start. This was one of the passages from Mary that I found most credible, when I looked into these texts again upon taking a closer look at Thomas. Upon reading it I was reminded of that part in one of the gospels where the apostles bickered over who was the greatest among them.
1) When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.
2) But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.
3) Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things.
4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?
5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?
6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.
7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.
8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.