Kent Brown was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published. In or , it is reported, an Egyptian camel driver named Mohammad Ali discovered a cache of early Christian texts in Upper Egypt, now known as the Nag Hammadi library. And while the texts are not all demonstrably Christian in origin,  this notable library consists largely of heretofore unknown writings preserved by Christians who both stood apart from the early Catholic church and yet at the same time claimed to possess the true gospel. To be sure, it inspired studies which took issue with his views. But his basic thesis that the early church did not constitute a unified entity after the deaths of the Apostles still stands. Before we turn to an examination of teachings found in this literature, it is important to discuss the inevitable question whether these texts constitute reliable historical and doctrinal accounts which go back to the personalities featured in the documents. For, on the one hand, a few texts deal tantalizingly with prominent figures from the Old Testament—such as Adam and Melchizedek—while, on the other, many deal with Jesus and his disciples.
Eugnostos the Blessed
Until the 20th century the works of Irenaeus and other heresiologists orthodox Christian writers who described unorthodox groups were the principal sources of information about gnostic movements. Only a handful of manuscripts containing the authentic writings of such groups were known; they existed primarily in two sets of Coptic texts, the Askew Codex and the Bruce Codex, which were discovered in Egypt in the 18th century but not published until the 19th century.
A third important Coptic text, known as the Berlin Codex , was announced in but not published until the midth century.
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices But scholars sharply disagree about the dating of the original texts.
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient books called “codices” containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in This immensely important discovery includes a large number of primary “Gnostic Gospels” — texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define “orthodoxy” — scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas , the Gospel of Philip , and the Gospel of Truth. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library, initially completed in the ‘s, has provided impetus to a major re-evaluation of early Christian history and the nature of Gnosticism.
For an introduction to the Nag Hammadi discovery and the texts in this ancient library, we offer several resources. Then, for an overview of the Gnostic scriptures and a discussion of ancient Gnosis, read this excerpt from Dr. Marvin Meyer’s introduction to The Gnostic Bible. For further reading, The Gnostic Society Library Bookstore provides a selection of the foremost books on the Nag Hammadi library and Gnostic tradition. All the texts discovered at Nag Hammadi are available in the Gnostic Society Library; the collection is indexed in alphabetical order , and by location in the original codices.
A subject categorized list of the writings is also given below. You may search the entire collection of texts for keywords or phrases using our custom Nag Hammadi Search function. We have special collections of resources dealing with two particularly important texts, the Gospel of Thomas , and The Secret Book Apocryphon of John. Several introductory lectures on the Nag Hammadi materials are provided, below.
For many of the major writings in the Nag Hammadi collection more than one translation is provided in our library; where multiple translations are made available, we have listed the translators’ names in parenthesis below the name of the scripture.
Nag Hammadi Documents
However, the latest scholarship paints a difference picture. This picture is perhaps more intriguing than the accepted view of the storage of these so-called Gnostic Gospels. And far more occult.
For other works, including the Gospel of Thomas, we have Greek fragments that date from a much earlier period. For some works, linguists are able to determine.
To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Papers People. Save to Library. The End of the Story. My present article summarizes the new reasons leading to the conclusion that this particular text is a forgery and briefly discusses the problem of detecting forgeries in general. In this publication, the main issues such as their origin, conformation and nature are addressed, synthetically, in the light of the latest studies.
Finally, an almost literal translation, “word by word”, of the Coptic original and the English translation by “Michael W.
The Nag Hammadi Library
The first and only textbook on the fascinating but often obscure topic of “Gnosticism”. Discovered in Egypt in , the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of early Christianity. State-of-the-art and the only volume of its kind, Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds guides students through the most significant of the Nag Hammadi texts.
The significance of the Nag Hammadi Library to someone like myself is of little the Library consists, written in the second century are verifiable by their dating.
In scholarship, there are some things that are known to be true, some things that are known to be false, some things that are simply unknown whether true or false , and some matters of opinion and speculation that are keenly debated. Who knows? The earliest instance of it in any form, which I personally can find, dates from and is found on Usenet, where it was immediately called into question by another poster, Roger Pearse. Day Brown wrote August 3, :.
This is not even the same century as the one usually credited for the Nag Hammadi Library the fourth century , let alone accurate information regarding the Carbon 14 dating of the Nag Hammadi codices. Roger Pearse replies August 4, :. Have they been carbon dated?
Why the Nag Hammadi Library Was Buried (it’s not what you think)
The first two lines of the text read, ‘Eugnostos the blessed, to those who are his,’ and the title at the end of the tractate is given as ‘Eugnostos the Blessed. Still, the opening of the version of the text in Codex V 1,,17 , even if it is largely in lacuna, cannot be reconstructed in the same way, and the title at the conclusion of the document is merely ‘Eugnostos. On this name, Scopello observes, “But who is Eugnostos, and what is the meaning of this name?
In Greek, eugnostos is an adjective composed of eu , ‘good’ or ‘well,’ and gnostos , ‘known,’ and so Eugnostos means ‘well known,’ ‘familiar’ cf. Plato Lysias , frag.
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient books (called “codices”) containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in
This article is no longer being updated. Scholar Elaine Pagels explores these documents and their implications. In December an Arab peasant made an astonishing archeological discovery in Upper Egypt. Rumors obscured the circumstances of this find—perhaps because the discovery was accidental, and its sale on the black market illegal. For years even the identity of the discoverer remained unknown.
Originally natural, some of these caves were cut and painted and used as grave sites as early as the sixth dynasty, some 4, years ago. Digging around a massive boulder, they hit a red earthenware jar, almost a meter high. But realizing that it might also contain gold, he raised his mattock, smashed the jar, and discovered inside thirteen papyrus books, bound in leather. Having received one from al-Qummus Basiliyus, Raghib sent it to a friend in Cairo to find out its worth. Sold on the black market through antiquities dealers in Cairo, the manuscripts soon attracted the attention of officials of the Egyptian government.
Through circumstances of high drama, as we shall see, they bought one and confiscated ten and a half of the thirteen leather-bound books, called codices, and deposited them in the Coptic Museum in Cairo. But a large part of the thirteenth codex, containing five extraordinary texts, was smuggled out of Egypt and offered for sale in America.
Word of this codex soon reached Professor Gilles Quispel, distinguished historian of religion at Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
The Gnostic Discoveries: The Impact of the Nag Hammadi Library
Skip to content. Quick links. But there are also things that are known to be false that are often taken as true, and of such things it is said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.
Discovered in Egypt in , the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of Publication Date – November
See E. Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels ; K. Rudolph, Gnosis ; B. Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures ; J. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. All rights reserved. See more Encyclopedia articles on: Christianity: General. Test your knowledge with Infoplease trivia and quizzes.
In the late s, the world of biblical scholarship was handed a stunning surprise. A trove of previously unknown papyrus manuscripts discovered near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, dating back to the earliest centuries of Christianity, contained a number of alternative gospels. Some scholars believe that many of the texts may predate the four canonical gospels and express a set of beliefs known as Gnosticism.
Part of the reason for this is that Gnostic teachings were secret and most were never committed to writing; what writings did exist were sought out and destroyed by the branch of the Christian church that became dominant. But the Nag Hammadi texts disclosed a combination of Asian mysticism, magic, astrology, and Jewish Kabbalah in a Christian setting. Gnostics believed the widespread myth of the Trickster, a human or animal who, like the serpent in Genesis, tricks humanity out of its rightful enjoyment of the world.
Nag Hammadi Library Nag Hammadi is an Egyptian town where, in , a large cache of gnostic texts in the Coptic language was discovered. The Nag Hammadi manuscripts, dating from the 4th century, consist of 53 works, including 12 codices of tractates, one loose tractate, and a copy of Plato’s Republic. The codices include theological treatises, accounts of the life of Jesus, and predictions of the apocalypse. Why were some of the manuscripts intentionally burned after they were first discovered?
Article of the Day Nag Hammadi Library Nag Hammadi is an Egyptian town where, in , a large cache of gnostic texts in the Coptic language was discovered. All rights reserved. Nag Hammadi Library. Posted: Thursday, January 3, AM. Outstanding, very important manuscripts. You cannot post new topics in this forum. You cannot reply to topics in this forum.