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The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume

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The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, edited by Marvin Meyer, is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945, which rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls find in significance. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gno The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, edited by Marvin Meyer, is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945, which rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls find in significance. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gnostic gospels and sacred texts. This volume also includes introductory essays, notes, tables, glossary, index, etc. to help the reader understand the context and contemporary significance of these texts which have shed new light on early Christianity and ancient thought. The compilation of ancient manuscripts that constitute The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is a discovery that challenges everything we thought we knew about the early Christian church, ancient Judaism, and Greco-Roman religions.


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The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, edited by Marvin Meyer, is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945, which rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls find in significance. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gno The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, edited by Marvin Meyer, is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945, which rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls find in significance. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gnostic gospels and sacred texts. This volume also includes introductory essays, notes, tables, glossary, index, etc. to help the reader understand the context and contemporary significance of these texts which have shed new light on early Christianity and ancient thought. The compilation of ancient manuscripts that constitute The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is a discovery that challenges everything we thought we knew about the early Christian church, ancient Judaism, and Greco-Roman religions.

30 review for The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    The scholarly controversy about the nature and origins of gnosticism was the topic of my undergraduate thesis at Grinnell College and a subject of further study at Union Theological Seminary, most particularly with Cyril Richardson and Elaine Pagels. It has remained an intellectual hobby since then. The appearance of the long-discussed Nag Hammadi codices in an affordable English edition was a happy event. Breaking with usual habits, I bought it new, possibly at the bookstore of the C.G. Jung Ins The scholarly controversy about the nature and origins of gnosticism was the topic of my undergraduate thesis at Grinnell College and a subject of further study at Union Theological Seminary, most particularly with Cyril Richardson and Elaine Pagels. It has remained an intellectual hobby since then. The appearance of the long-discussed Nag Hammadi codices in an affordable English edition was a happy event. Breaking with usual habits, I bought it new, possibly at the bookstore of the C.G. Jung Institute in Evanston, Illinois. The texts themselves, at least versions of them, were substantially familiar, but the critical apparatus is helpful. What one would like, however, is an affordable edition with the texts in their original languages as well as in English translation. Now, what is Gnosticism? Gnosticism is a convenient rubric imposed by older heresiologists and modern scholars upon a body of Christian and syncretic literature rejected by the Roman Church. There never was, so far as we can determine at this late date, a Gnostic Church. There were, however, Christian teachers, some, like Clement of Alexandria, still considered orthodox, most others not, who, with their followers, emphasized a salvific knowledge, a gnosis, available to individuals without the mediation of what became the "catholic" church. In other words, salvation was possible without such submission. Beyond this it is difficult to generalize. As the texts found at Nag Hammadi indicate, opinions varied. Some texts read as esoteric mumbo jumbo and suggest occult practices passed from teacher to student. Some have Christ Jesus as a being from another, higher dimension of being and go so far as to anthropomorphize metaphysical principles. Others suggest that the saving gnosis taught by a wholly human Jesus is accessible to anyone willing to do the necessary intellectual and moral work. Clearly, most of the modern interest in a supposed Gnostic Religion relates to this latter tendency. One of the most important suggestions made by the find at Nag Hammadi is that there may have been communities as late as the fourth century which allowed for such a variety of opinion and practice.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ariadne Green

    Have read and studied the Nag Hammadi Library for 20 years. The codices are beautifully translated with minimum commentaries. It is The Bible of Gnostic Christianity. To be cherished and studied regularly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian Griffith

    This important collection is very tough to read, and it often seems like pure gibberish. But here were ancient people thinking up their own understandings of Christianity, and viewing their religion as some kind of path to greater awareness. Clearly these Gnostics were an endless headache for the emerging professional priesthood. How were the designated priests supposed to handle laypeople who claimed “higher” teachings than those of the bishop? What if they claimed to receive new revelations di This important collection is very tough to read, and it often seems like pure gibberish. But here were ancient people thinking up their own understandings of Christianity, and viewing their religion as some kind of path to greater awareness. Clearly these Gnostics were an endless headache for the emerging professional priesthood. How were the designated priests supposed to handle laypeople who claimed “higher” teachings than those of the bishop? What if they claimed to receive new revelations directly from God or Jesus, and said those insights should supersede earlier teachings? The followers of such philosophers, delusional preachers, or mystics (whose writings make up the diverse Nag Hammadi texts), formed associations within churches. They often regarded themselves as a spiritual elite, and looked down on other members and clergy as less evolved souls. Irenaeus sensed a danger of division as a Gnostic group in his church conducted its own special rites. In their services they drew lots for playing roles of “prophet” or “priest,” and both women and men played these parts. They taught that the Old Testament God, who demanded blind obedience, was a false deity -- the true path to enlightenment required learning independence from authority. What was this, Irenaeus asked, other than license to “overthrow discipline”? By the late 300s, the books to be included in the Bible were selected by the Council of Laodicea, and others (such as the Nag Hammadi texts) were outlawed in Egypt. The monks who had studied them hid them in the desert, so that one set of voices might rule the medieval church.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    The Nag Hammadi Library is one of the basic collection of documents that an historian or theologian must read in order to understand the Gnostic heresy. It merits five stars because of its importance as a source for study. The strange thing is that as a lay reader I found myself enjoying the book because of the excellent introductory notes that the translators provided for each document. If nothing else, those interested in Bible should read the Gospel of St. Thomas which adds considerabe fuel to The Nag Hammadi Library is one of the basic collection of documents that an historian or theologian must read in order to understand the Gnostic heresy. It merits five stars because of its importance as a source for study. The strange thing is that as a lay reader I found myself enjoying the book because of the excellent introductory notes that the translators provided for each document. If nothing else, those interested in Bible should read the Gospel of St. Thomas which adds considerabe fuel to the debate on the possible existence of a missing Q Source (Qual) that the four evangiles supposedly drew from. Generally I think the lay reader will find in this collection whatever he or she were pre-disposed to find. As a undergraduate I was told that Gnosticism was an esoteric religion diametrically opposed in spirit to Christianty. I found indeed that the joy and proclamation of a universal way to salvation open to all humanity of the New Testament was completely absent. Indeed, Gnosticism as it apears in the Nag Hammadi Library is a religion based on secret knowledge indeed for a small elite. Most of the texts are highly neo-platonic. Hope is rare. Jesus is a very diminished figure compared to his new Testament counterpart and the forces of evil are too powerful. I greatly enjoyed the final essay"Afterword: The Modern Relevance of Gnosticism" by Richard Smith. Smith's begins by suggesting that Gnosticism is just one of many forms of dualism. He then argues that dualism has always had a strong appeal to writers citing Voltaire, and William Blake as examples. The 20 th Century was proving to be a particularly good period as Smith identifies Carl Jung, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg and Lawrence Durrell as being either dualists or pure Gnostics. Having picked up this volume just after having finished Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet", I must acknowledge that at least one in this group has been properly identified. I suspect that he is right about the others too but my readings of these authors are far enough in the past that I cannot be sure. "The Nag Hammadi Library" is an extremely important collection of texts. For the lay person who has a read a great deal on the early Christian controversies, this edition is great fun.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Fick

    What a Great Collection of Esoteric Knowledge!! I recommend this Book for Everybody!! From Lost Gospels of the Bible to Plato's Republic, crammed with Wisdom that was almost lost forever!! Thank God for those boys who found the clay pots in the desert. Christianity so suppressed and wiped out all other copies of the Wisdom found in it!!!! It shows how in early Christianity there were many schools of thought, not just the Pauline that has shaped our Western Civilization. How Christianity would ha What a Great Collection of Esoteric Knowledge!! I recommend this Book for Everybody!! From Lost Gospels of the Bible to Plato's Republic, crammed with Wisdom that was almost lost forever!! Thank God for those boys who found the clay pots in the desert. Christianity so suppressed and wiped out all other copies of the Wisdom found in it!!!! It shows how in early Christianity there were many schools of thought, not just the Pauline that has shaped our Western Civilization. How Christianity would have been different than its present form, if salvation was through WISDOM for the few, compared to Salvation by Faith!!! If you are a lover of Wisdom, this treasury is for you!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Junkie for the Written Word

    I can't say that I read the book in it's entirety but I did read the actual texts and a few of the explanatory passages that accompanied them. Very eye opening. I can see why they were not included in the Bible. I can't say that I read the book in it's entirety but I did read the actual texts and a few of the explanatory passages that accompanied them. Very eye opening. I can see why they were not included in the Bible.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rhina M. Finley

    I thought it was odd how these scriptures were found. They didn't stay hidden inside the caves, they were meant to be discover. I've been reading this on and off over the past couple of years and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I thought it was odd how these scriptures were found. They didn't stay hidden inside the caves, they were meant to be discover. I've been reading this on and off over the past couple of years and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Velma Sampson

    Great resource of scriptures that never made it into today's versions of the Bible/Torah. It's not something you sit down and "read" in one sitting. It is a great book for cross-referencing with today's versions of the Bible if you are trying to figure out what was "actually" written or said! Great resource of scriptures that never made it into today's versions of the Bible/Torah. It's not something you sit down and "read" in one sitting. It is a great book for cross-referencing with today's versions of the Bible if you are trying to figure out what was "actually" written or said!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Rich

    It's all very interesting. The Gnostics are often closer to what feels true than more exoteric Christianity, but at the same time, some of it really does seem far-fetched, even if it is supposed to be "symbolic." It's all very interesting. The Gnostics are often closer to what feels true than more exoteric Christianity, but at the same time, some of it really does seem far-fetched, even if it is supposed to be "symbolic."

  11. 5 out of 5

    63alfred

    Ahh, if only we were all exposed to ALL the books of the New Testament instead of just a sanitized four.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Sometime last year I decided...well heck I'm going to read the King James from beginning to end...which I did. And it took me a few months to do it in! I read it every morning when I woke, on my lunch breaks at work and in bed before falling asleep at night. I was always affraid to read the bible because I didn't want to get pissed off at all the woman hating in it. OR SO the church made me believe when I was younger, EVE this and Mary M that etc... Wellll I TOTALLY enjoyed the bible! And it WAS Sometime last year I decided...well heck I'm going to read the King James from beginning to end...which I did. And it took me a few months to do it in! I read it every morning when I woke, on my lunch breaks at work and in bed before falling asleep at night. I was always affraid to read the bible because I didn't want to get pissed off at all the woman hating in it. OR SO the church made me believe when I was younger, EVE this and Mary M that etc... Wellll I TOTALLY enjoyed the bible! And it WAS NOT woman hating! That was all lies! Because I don't think most people actually read the bible! YAY soooooooooooooo next... I gotta get my hands on the Nag Hammadi and read up these ancieng gnostic texts which many are not included in the bible because the church ehhheeemmm didn't feel they would be suitable for controlling the masses. SOME VERY INTERESTING READING IN THERE!!!!!!! Some of the writings absolutely amaze me. It is like modern times thinking. Of course my favorite is "The Gospel of Mary". Nowwwww... what is not included in the Nag Hammadi is "The Gospel of Judas". This was found more recently and contains some VERY INTERESTING READING! I highly recommend you all GOOGLE it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roumissette

    Only missing in this book, is the Gospel of Judas, but then since it was only translated into English in 2006, it is understandably so. There are many profound texts in the Nag Hammadi Library, and it really shows how much of Jesus' own teachings was thought as heretical by the Fathers of the Church and how much they were separated and blind from His own teachings since so many of His texts did not make it to the Bible. I would recommend reading the Flight of The Feathered Serpent by Armando Cosan Only missing in this book, is the Gospel of Judas, but then since it was only translated into English in 2006, it is understandably so. There are many profound texts in the Nag Hammadi Library, and it really shows how much of Jesus' own teachings was thought as heretical by the Fathers of the Church and how much they were separated and blind from His own teachings since so many of His texts did not make it to the Bible. I would recommend reading the Flight of The Feathered Serpent by Armando Cosani as well as the Lost Gospel of Judas (can be found on National Geography website, as free download) as both are other powerful texts that shows a complete different understanding of Jesus' Teachings and his mission on Earth. Great spiritual book - highly recommended

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Typically when one does any scholarship, he or she uses source material relatively close to the font of that source. In this particular case, all of these books or letters were written in the second century. In addition, there is not any record that any of the writers of the epistles actually knew Jesus. We have names which imply that actual apostles wrote them, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support this and in fact, considerable evidence against it. In addition, these texts were found Typically when one does any scholarship, he or she uses source material relatively close to the font of that source. In this particular case, all of these books or letters were written in the second century. In addition, there is not any record that any of the writers of the epistles actually knew Jesus. We have names which imply that actual apostles wrote them, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support this and in fact, considerable evidence against it. In addition, these texts were found buried in Egypt. While it is true that there was a large contingent of Jews in Alexandria, there is no evidence to support that any of this was even remotely mainstream, even in Egypt, much less in Israel before or after the dispersion. The worst criticism of Gnosticism which one can bring is exactly what another review lauds, that there are hierarchies of knowledge of God. These occur because one comes to "experience" God inwardly in a way in which others, not yet as “experienced,” cannot know. In this way, Gnosticism is appealing to people who prefer, say Scientology to Christianity. The only thing missing is the language of being clear. Does Gnosticism make its version of Christianity more appealing? I think it does simply because it promotes inner spiritual awareness and does away with a lot of silly rules that we encounter elsewhere such as in Romans 13: 8-9. However the greatest criticism of Gnosticism is this: Gnosticism does away with Jesus Christ. No more virgin birth, no more women at the tomb, no more visiting the underworld and no more ascension to heaven. The good part is that it cuts down on one’s obligations: your truth remains what you experience, what you learn about God inside yourself. It’s an old song in a different guise. Secular humanism didn’t invent itself last century. It is unfortunate that Gnostic writings are inconsistent with the Biblical scheme of things which founds itself directly on Christ’s teachings of the first century. Despite what one hears from itinerant atheists posing as college professors, there is no evidence whatsoever to suppose that Biblical accounts are not so. This, of course, does not deny that there are arguments about certain passages of Biblical scripture. However, not one of these arguments does away with a single message of Christ as the one and only son of God. Secularists have been pounding on these Gnostic writings for years, maintaining that there was a secret collaboration from the church to suppress the truth. Da Vinci Code anyone? I fully understand why one would enjoy getting rid of Jesus as the one and only son of God: that would make religion much freer and open to interpretation. Thus God becomes somewhat of a bumbling idiot presented in so many secular views of this age. The one problem of course, is that these views aren’t new. They always show up with a new name, each maintaining themselves to be correct. It is true that these books were deliberately not included when the Bible was compiled, chiefly by Jerome in 405 and you can read why if you want to understand. Its compilation and translation to the Latin Vulgate is not without issue, but that is certainly a larger topic; his dismissal of the so-called Gnostic Gospels is not an effort of subterfuge, but one of consistency and sense. Far from agreeing with the canon of our New Testament, the Gnostic Gospels are inconsistent with the Old Testament also. Lastly, these Gnostic texts should be read. Each person interested should not read a book about these books, but read the original text, just as he or she should read the Bible as we know it, either Catholic or Protestant versions. To do anything else is to give disservice to the fundamental spiritual truths of him or herself. The truth of Jesus Christ is about spiritual life, one which rises above our natural inclinations. This requires considerable humility. I am unable to do that alone. On the other hand, if you have no desire to do anything other than dream, you can follow Gnostic texts as gospel. Gnosticism costs a little more these days but what’s spiritual clarity worth on the open market? Christ gives it to you for free, but it requires personal change. If paying for spiritual clarity is more your style, enjoy your trance-like states, believe the Gnostic gospels and please say hello to L. Ron Hubbard for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Deioma

    This tome literally jumped off the shelf into my arms with no one else in sight. While I have to admit the archaic language and missing pieces presented a major challenge for me, the overall effect on my consciousness was immensely positive tuning my energy to a higher vibration by getting a glimpses into first century accounts of direct divine experiences. The commentary and footnotes were helpful but not being a scholar I would have liked a little more "story" to understand how all the pieces This tome literally jumped off the shelf into my arms with no one else in sight. While I have to admit the archaic language and missing pieces presented a major challenge for me, the overall effect on my consciousness was immensely positive tuning my energy to a higher vibration by getting a glimpses into first century accounts of direct divine experiences. The commentary and footnotes were helpful but not being a scholar I would have liked a little more "story" to understand how all the pieces fit together and its place in our history. These gnostic texts left me hopeful for my own possible experience of knowing which did happen.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dusan

    Why does a person read The Nag Hammadi Library? One can feel the fire of change, almost a revolutionary knife edge that since the church has dulled into the most backward reactionary worship of crucified god.... in the Testimony of Truth stands, "For no one who is under the Law will be able to look up to the truth, for they will not be able to serve two masters. For the defilement of the Law is manifest; but undefilement belongs to the light." Why does a person read The Nag Hammadi Library? One can feel the fire of change, almost a revolutionary knife edge that since the church has dulled into the most backward reactionary worship of crucified god.... in the Testimony of Truth stands, "For no one who is under the Law will be able to look up to the truth, for they will not be able to serve two masters. For the defilement of the Law is manifest; but undefilement belongs to the light."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    "When I came down, no one saw me, for I kept changing my forms on high, transforming from shape to shape, so when I was at their gates, I assumed their likeness. I passed by them quietly. I saw their realms, but I was not afraid or ashamed, because I was pure. I was speaking with them and mingling with them, through those who are mine" (480). "When I came down, no one saw me, for I kept changing my forms on high, transforming from shape to shape, so when I was at their gates, I assumed their likeness. I passed by them quietly. I saw their realms, but I was not afraid or ashamed, because I was pure. I was speaking with them and mingling with them, through those who are mine" (480).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Fascinating. Actually life changing for me. Beliefs became a very different thing after reading parts of this. It is something you can skip around in, read bits and pieces, look through, study. Very, very important book - for all brought up in a JudeoChristian household.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Herrman

    A fundamentalist's worst nightmare. A fundamentalist's worst nightmare.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joe Kolbek

    The earliest of the Gnostic Gospels derive roughly from the same century as the canonical Gospel of John (2nd century CE, which, with its curious introduction and fantastic imagery, was written to read like its competition). "Gnostic" is actually an umbrella term later used to describe a multitude of disparate sects of disparate origin (including Hermeticism; the Nag Hammadi Library contains several tracts considered Hermetic), which were, nevertheless, united by an extent of structural (cosmol The earliest of the Gnostic Gospels derive roughly from the same century as the canonical Gospel of John (2nd century CE, which, with its curious introduction and fantastic imagery, was written to read like its competition). "Gnostic" is actually an umbrella term later used to describe a multitude of disparate sects of disparate origin (including Hermeticism; the Nag Hammadi Library contains several tracts considered Hermetic), which were, nevertheless, united by an extent of structural (cosmological, epistemological) themes. Highly syncretistic, two influences predominate: Persian dualistic theology and Greek - specifically Neoplatonic - metaphysics. The Zoroastrian ethical dichotomy has here been transposed upon the Platonic differentiation of substances, the spiritual and the material, to establish a cosmic dualism between these substances and their respective spheres: the intellectual and the visceral. The ubiquitous goal or pedagogy of these systems is to either overcome or master the impulses of the visceral element through a kind of empirical-intuitive knowledge of one's true origin known as gnosis. Greek gnosis is loosely cognate with Hebrew daath, a word significant within Kabbalah, designating, specifically, a kind of sexual knowledge, or a "knowledge of contraries" (also referred to as "acquaintance"). Many of the metaphors employed by the Gnostics - regardless of either an ascetic or libertine commitment — with regard to aeonic emanation (explained in the forthcoming) are of a highly sexual nature; sacraments were sometimes sexual, and certain Christian strains speak of a solution to the temporal dilemma through the reunion of Adam and Eve (the masculine and passive essences of consciousness) within the "bridal chamber" (thalamus, or the "third eye" of the "deathless body"). The theological-cosmological scheme is established as thus: The supreme Godhead consists of a tetrad originating with an ultimately unknowable aeon (Aeons are discarnate beings, similar to the Ideas of Platonism) referred to, alternatively, as Bythos (Depth), Monad (One) or Proarche (First-Cause). It is essentially a deified subconsciousness of the universe. Through a process of emanation (an "out-flowing" of substance) the Bythos androgynously begets a feminine counterpart (This is the Holy Mother, equated with the Holy Ghost of the trinity), and together, through asexual congress, they beget a third (This is sometimes presented as the Christ aeon). This emanationistic process continues until the static Entirety (Pleroma) is formed of these balanced tiers of complimentary aeons; an idea inspired by the Platonic gradation of Forms. There is then a disturbance within the equanimity of the Entirety, usually involving an aeon known as Sophia (Wisdom, worshipped as a Goddess among most Gnostics), which results in the creation of a rogue intelligence. This lesser god, sometimes identified with Yahweh of the Old Testament, begins to create the material sphere by referencing the models of the archetypal world — which it has no thorough cognizance of. Resulting in this act of dissolution, particles of light, once contained within the Entirety, become locked within the kinetic sphere and are retained within materiality through the dynamic of reproduction. The demiurge then proclaims himself to be the only god, and his hubris becomes the model for human selfishness and covetousness. One sect, known to time as the Sethians (followers of Set, the third son of Adam and Eve) had a particularly colorful account of Genesis. There, the demiurge, a lion-headed serpent known as Yaldaboath (He is also explained as consisting as half Fire and half Darkness: Strife in Ignorance), is roughly comparable to Satan; an evil figure who desires to keep the spirit (the light) of man locked in the cycling of matter through the perpetuation of his ignorance by the power of material obfuscation and the illusion of the self. But while responsible for the creation of man's physical body, he was incapable of supplying him with a spirit. This "spark" of light (or "seed," spermatikos) comes from the Godhead by way of mankind's true creative agent, the Mother Sophia. Hence, man's true genealogy extends back to the Father of All; he is a power consubstantial with God, and greater than the Kosmokrator, whose "cosmos" is a Heraclitean one: actually chaos (The physical world, with all its conflicts and deficiencies, was understood as "the underworld" - Tartarus or Hell - as it was conceived as below the actual sphere of man's origin, the Entirety, or empyrean sphere). Man's salvation depends on the personal cultivation of his gnosis, or the enlightenment bestowed upon him by some heavenly emissary or paraclete. Often, this is the Christ. Gnosticism offers a Christology not quite docetic; that the Christ aeon is separate from the physical Form of the man Jesus of Nazareth, who was, in this case, an ectypal manifestation of the otherwise immortal Christ. Christ is the syzygy ("yoke") of Sophia, who, as attested Biblically, sits at the Right-Hand of God, which is here the path of the spiritual or intellectual (It is sometimes credited to the aeon Zoe, "spiritual-life"), and could also be considered the path of Form. This identifies Sophia with the Left-Hand; she is therefore a patroness of the Left-Path, or, of the philosophies of the "Left-Hand." This explains her ordeal and her suffering as outlined in the Gnostic account of the Fall; the aforementioned equanimity of the Entirety is disrupted when Sophia became hysterical in her lust for the Father. The empirical, or, better described as "the experiential," is the path of suffering - and suffering is passion (by actual definition). However, the Left-path is also the means of ascension, and so, a common Gnostic aphorism was "The Way Down is the Way Up" - as with a ladder. The intuitive aspect of this process is the revelatory faculty that discloses anything subsisting (hence, a priori) about the world or the self. Gnosis then shares a definition similar to that of an epiphany (which could have meant "light from above"): "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." For the Gnostics, this type of knowledge demanded an engagement with the world, either for the sake of refuting it, or , perhaps, even to affirm it (The Thomas Gospel features a number of aphorisms that could be considered "life-affirming"). With the actualization of a proper Christian church and an orthodoxy, so-called Gnostics, who offered a view incompatible with the Nicene catechism, were condemned as heretics, excommunicated from the organized church, their elegant doctrines destroyed. Or so it was believed. The books preserved in the Nag Hammadi corpus acquire their name from a collection of multiple codices discovered accidentally in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945 by two Muslim brothers out to exact a "blood vengeance" on behalf of a deceased relation. Discovering a clay jar while on their itinerary, they were met with initial trepidation for fear that a djinn might reside within the strange vessel. But, considering the potential prospect of gold or jewels, the jar was smashed revealing the bound papyri manuscripts. These manuscripts, written in Greek and Coptic, were unintelligible to the brothers and so the codices bounced around the black market until their serendipitous rediscovery by those with the proper education in understanding their importance. Prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts, our knowledge of Gnosticism had been reserved to bias diatribes such as the Against Heresies of Irenaeus. The books contained within the Nag Hammadi library are hugely significant to filling out lacunas within Christian history and to better understanding the transition from polytheism to monotheism. These scriptures also help catalogue a period of Pagan intellectualism when mythology was beginning to be considered for its allegorical-psychological orientation. Gnostic religion provides a monumental milestone between mythology and psychology.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caeser Pink

    So after reading it on and off for years, today I completed the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Not an easy read, but quite interesting at times. They are religious texts, usually based in early Christianity, written between the first and fourth century AD. Although included in them are texts from Plato, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Green and Egyptian mythology, and I would argue some ideas from Hinduism. There seems to have been three main school of philosophic inquiry. One of based around Thomas, believed So after reading it on and off for years, today I completed the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Not an easy read, but quite interesting at times. They are religious texts, usually based in early Christianity, written between the first and fourth century AD. Although included in them are texts from Plato, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Green and Egyptian mythology, and I would argue some ideas from Hinduism. There seems to have been three main school of philosophic inquiry. One of based around Thomas, believed to be a twin brother of Jesus Christ. Another is "Sethian," people who believed Christ was the spiritual reincarnation go Adam and Eve's third son, Seth. And the third was the Valentinian school. All of these are referred to a Gnostic, meaning they believed in seeking wisdom as a means of spiritual salvation. Also, meaning salvation can come from within, without the intercession of a church. These texts were condemned by the Catholic church, and the followers of the philosophies prosecuted for their beliefs

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    These are primary sources of The Gospel of Thomas and other gnostic writings. Fascinating background and context for anyone interested in late Biblical history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    A Collection of Ancient Gnostic Writings 1 September 2012 In 1945 some shepherds in Egypt were out tending their flocks when they stumbled upon a cache of documents. They took them back home and because they were poor, and lived in the desert (which means that not only is there a severe lack of burning material, but it also gets very cold at night) they decided to use some of these scrolls for the fire. Fortuitously they did not burn all of them and decided that they would take them to a universi A Collection of Ancient Gnostic Writings 1 September 2012 In 1945 some shepherds in Egypt were out tending their flocks when they stumbled upon a cache of documents. They took them back home and because they were poor, and lived in the desert (which means that not only is there a severe lack of burning material, but it also gets very cold at night) they decided to use some of these scrolls for the fire. Fortuitously they did not burn all of them and decided that they would take them to a university to find out what they were. It turned out that these documents were over 1500 years old and comprised numerous writings that were attributed to the gnostics, in particular a Christian sect that flourished in the later Roman Empire. While this was a significant discovery, it, in my opinion, was nowhere near as significant as a similar find in some caves near the Dead Sea some two years later. This book is basically a translation of a bulk of these documents, though pretty much all of them are incomplete. Some of the documents we have been able to piece together using other, similar, documents that we already had in our possession, however most of these documents are unique to this collection. Whether we wish to condemn these shepherds for burning some of these documents or not is really a moot point. The fact is that they did hand in the remainder of the documents, and I now wonder how many other collections were found but completely destroyed in a similar fashion. The wonderful thing about deserts though is that they have a habit of being able to preserve papyrus, and similar finds, such as at Oxyrhincus in Egypt (where we find an ancient version of a medical report used in a personal injury case – 'in my opinion, the plaintiff's injuries were caused by the roof falling down'). Gnosticism is a sect that flourished not only during the Roman Empire, but has been practised right down to today. Even though many of the writings from Ancient Rome have not survived, the practise has. Basically it is a religion where it is through knowledge that one can reach salvation, and the more knowledge one has, the more likely that person will reach salvation. This is an interesting concept because I have noticed that some branches of the Christian church still practice a form of gnosticism, even though they condemn it. The argument goes as such: it is our knowledge of the Bible that allows us to be good Christians and to grow in our Christian faith, therefore for us to make sure that our salvation is assured, we must continue to read the Bible and continue to learn and to grow by reading it. I have heard these churches advertise their camps in similar methods: it is essential that we go on the camp because the teaching that we will receive on that camp will enable us to grow as Christians and thus make sure that our salvation is assured. I have even been to some camps where they deliberately leave the final talk for the Sunday night to make sure that we go to church on Sunday and receive the rest of the knowledge. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Christian teaching, and I am one who is motivated by knowledge. However, when it comes to God accepting me my knowledge means squat. As I say, there is no entrance exam that you must pass to get into heaven. Much of this teaching, and it is not simply teaching through sermons and talks, it is also teaching that comes out of the plethora of Christian literature that screams for our attention alongside all of the other literature that is thrown in our face, in the end is irrelevant. Personally, I would never suggest leaving our Bible stuck in our draws because reading the Bible is the sure way of allowing God to communicate with us. However, the problem arises when we begin to force our Bible to tell us what we want to hear rather than listening to what God wants us to hear. Further, this teaching is still beneficial, however we must remember that our Christianity is not defined by what we know but rather by who we are.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Derek Davis

    If you like the convoluted, mystical and almost impenetrable side of early Christian religion, this is for you, as it is for me. I haven't absorbed all of it by any means, but it reflects the most interior workings of the human mind: the emotional aspect of life subjected to the brutality of reason in an effort to Make Sense of It All. These Gnostic studies and ragtags were unearthed in 1945, roughly 1600 years after being condemned and the very ideas virtually annihilated by the orthodox Church If you like the convoluted, mystical and almost impenetrable side of early Christian religion, this is for you, as it is for me. I haven't absorbed all of it by any means, but it reflects the most interior workings of the human mind: the emotional aspect of life subjected to the brutality of reason in an effort to Make Sense of It All. These Gnostic studies and ragtags were unearthed in 1945, roughly 1600 years after being condemned and the very ideas virtually annihilated by the orthodox Church. What a time that must have been, and what a near two-millennium shame that these exercises to wrench meaning from a resistant universe should have been lost so long.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tom Walsh

    This is jaw-dropping Theology! These were the books the Church decided NOT to include in the Bible. For some, like Mary Magdelene, Peter's Apocalypse and Thomas' Faith, and, yes, Judas, too, it is a great loss to us. But for others, the Church elders may have been correct. With a preface from a religious scholar, Elaine Pagels, these books are a dip into the world of the Essene culture, and can provide a clear preview of Gnosticism. Christ is not just Matthew, Mark Luke and John. O no, like any This is jaw-dropping Theology! These were the books the Church decided NOT to include in the Bible. For some, like Mary Magdelene, Peter's Apocalypse and Thomas' Faith, and, yes, Judas, too, it is a great loss to us. But for others, the Church elders may have been correct. With a preface from a religious scholar, Elaine Pagels, these books are a dip into the world of the Essene culture, and can provide a clear preview of Gnosticism. Christ is not just Matthew, Mark Luke and John. O no, like any complex figure, he has been seen through many eyes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    A treasure of fourth-century texts, the manuscripts are the scriptures of the ancient mystical tradition commonly called Gnosticism, from the Greek gnosis, that is, secret knowledge. These ancient manuscripts challenge everything we thought we knew about the early Christian church, ancient Judaism and Greco-Roman religions. These texts invite us to reconsider the nature of our religious and philosophical heritage, the development of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, and th A treasure of fourth-century texts, the manuscripts are the scriptures of the ancient mystical tradition commonly called Gnosticism, from the Greek gnosis, that is, secret knowledge. These ancient manuscripts challenge everything we thought we knew about the early Christian church, ancient Judaism and Greco-Roman religions. These texts invite us to reconsider the nature of our religious and philosophical heritage, the development of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, and the enduring questions raised by religious and philosophical inquiry.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Don Pulsipher

    It's always a fun to get different points of view on a subject. The Gnostics believed that a human can reach enlightenment by following secret teachings from Jesus, without the aid of an organized church. Naturally this made them targets of the early Catholic church who wished to establish its own authority as the way to heaven. It's always a fun to get different points of view on a subject. The Gnostics believed that a human can reach enlightenment by following secret teachings from Jesus, without the aid of an organized church. Naturally this made them targets of the early Catholic church who wished to establish its own authority as the way to heaven.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lo

    Excellent collection of ancient religious writings found in Egypt in the 1920s I think. My favorites are the gospels that didn't make it into the Bible, such as the ones that show Mary Magdalene as knowing as much as or more than Peter and the other disciples. If you're open to a different view of early Christianity, read this. Excellent collection of ancient religious writings found in Egypt in the 1920s I think. My favorites are the gospels that didn't make it into the Bible, such as the ones that show Mary Magdalene as knowing as much as or more than Peter and the other disciples. If you're open to a different view of early Christianity, read this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alephwyr

    Some of it was cool, I dunno. The fixation on different types of people is probably unhelpful even if intuitive. It doesn't really come together as a consistent text, nor is it meant to. Helpful for learning about different kinds of early Christianity. Much more philosophical than the Bible, which is both refreshing and alienating in a sense at the same time. I like some of the ideas. Some of it was cool, I dunno. The fixation on different types of people is probably unhelpful even if intuitive. It doesn't really come together as a consistent text, nor is it meant to. Helpful for learning about different kinds of early Christianity. Much more philosophical than the Bible, which is both refreshing and alienating in a sense at the same time. I like some of the ideas.

  30. 4 out of 5

    AK Ayling

    Enlightening Organized nicely and I appreciated the summaries and history if the texts. This was very enlightening and opened my eyes to new discoveries.

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