The Gospel of Philip, which The Da Vinci Code’s Leigh Teabing says “is always a good place to start,” is one of the Gospels ascribed to the Twelve Apostles and is what is known as a Valentinian Gnostic treatise. Valentinus was an Egyptian reli­gious philosopher who founded the Roman and Alexandrian schools of Gnosticism. The Gospel of Philip is a collection of about one hundred short excerpts from sources of Christian Gnostic instruction. It details initiation rites and the meanings of names, especially that of Jesus. More controversially, and probably one of the reasons why Teabing finds it so appealing, is that it states, “Some say Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit. They are wrong. They do not know what they are saying.” The gospel was found in the Codices of the Nag Hammadi papyri, a collec­tion of thirteen codices of Gnostic scriptures and commen­taries written in the second or third century ( although the codices themselves’ are fourth-century copies) which were found in 1945:'”Nag Hammadi is situated on the west bank of the Nile, in Upper Egypt, on or near the site of the
ancient town of Chenoboskion