"Early in the fifth century C.E. Shenoute, Abbot of the White Monas tery at the same Panopolis where Pachomius had founded monasteries and from which the “ philosopher” had come, attacked a group at the nearby temple of Pneueit that called itself “ kingless,” worshipped the “ demiurge,” and would not accept Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, as their “ illuminator.” These terms, which Shenoute seems to borrow from the group, are so well-known in the Nag Hammadi library that it may have been a Christian Gnostic, perhaps a Sethian group, even though in his polemic Shenoute calls them pagan heretics. He seized their “ books full of abomination” and “ of every kind of magic.” Indeed, series of vowels and unintelligible magic words (Plotinus called it “ hissing” ) oc cur in the Nag Hammadi library itself. Actually Pachomius himself wrote to the heads of his monasteries using a code that even his succes sors could not decipher! Hence the Nag Hammadi library and Pacho- mius’ “ books of spiritual letters” may not have been entirely different in appearance from what Shenoute would call a book of magic. Shenoute threatened the heretics: “ I shall make you acknowledge ... the Arch bishop Cyril, or else the sword will wipe out most of you, and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.” Just as the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in jars for safekeeping and hidden at the time of the ap proach of the Roman Tenth Legion, the burial of the Nag Hammadi li brary in a jar may also have been precipitated by the approach of Roman authorities, who by then had become Christian".
Cool, so a certain group of people that did not accept archbishop Cyril lived there. But why would they call themself "kingless" if they "worshipped" anyone? Other than that, I agree, this must be the group.
Here is the point of my idea, though: these people weren't early Christian monks gone awry, they were "pagan" philosophers of several different, sometimes opposing, persecuted schools writing against state monopoly on mind.
Again I try to elaborate: monks hold on to faith. The NHC itself never regards faith in high esteem.
Basilides, Valentinus etc. are mentioned in there, but never favorably.
The NHC professes reason and literal "common sense". Not mystical experiences triggered by acts of piety, even if they are often the literary framework for teachings - it regards new-age, or the "wide path" even worse than paganism and monotheism. (In Zostrianos, I think? Maybe it was in Melchizedek)
It's repeatedly stated that "whoever has an understanding mind, will understand". Never "humility brings salvation" and such.
Bottom line. All of the texts - every single one - swears to mind, reason and understanding. This is too much of a coincidence for a random eclectic collection of heretic writings, and not in line with things I commonly associate with monasticism for my taste.
Just ... consider judging the collection on its own merits or something. Fixing the books so they fit some reported third-party scheme is missing the point in my opinion, and just serves to muddy the waters of early Christianity. As in, there has had to be a Valentinus somewhere, but none of his stuff can be reliably