Are you an archaeologist by trade or is this more of an avocation? Sounds interesting, in any case!
Could you expand a bit on 4th century Gnostic attempts to make money? I don't think I ever heard of that.
Gnosticism was basically a cult. It comes from the Greek "gnosis," meaning knowledge. It is based on the usual cult assumption that there is a hidden knowledge, which only the elect or the elite know about. So you join the organization as a beginner, and pretty much pay your way into it, with money, work, admiration, and so forth.
It's a pattern that you see over and over again: an inner circle toward which newcomers strive.
Catholicism, to take one instance by contrast, is hierarchical, but there is no "hidden knowledge" at the core. The Pope has authority, but he doesn't know anything vital that is hidden and secret and different from what is made publicly known, that is hidden from the masses.
Not to judge it, Masonry has one thing in common with Gnosticism, because you have 33 degrees of initiation into the inner secrets of the organization.