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THE GNOSTIC BIBLE is by far the most comprehensive compilation of gnostic texts ever published - and the first aimed at rendering the texts in poetic, readable prose. The gnostics were religious thinkers engaged in the quest for wisdom and knowledge, and they proclaimed a salvation to be found through mystical knoweldge and intuition. As the Gospel of Thomas puts it, "Know whatis in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be disclosed. There is nothing hidden from you that will not be revealed." Dating from the first to the thirteen centuries, these gnostic texts represent Jewish, Chritian, Hemetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, Islamic and Cathar forms of gnostic spirituality, and they derive from Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, China, France and elsewhere. These texts show that gnosticism was a world religion that sought truths in a wide variety of religious traditions and expressed those truths in powerful and provocative mystical poetry and prose. The impact of gnosticism upon other religions of the world was considerable, and the influence of gnosticism continues to the present day. This volume represents the first time that such a diverse collection of gnostic texts is published in a single volume and some of the texts are translated into English for the first time here. The texts are accompanied bu introductions and notes and additional study aids describe gnosticism, elucidate gnostic terms and suggest further readings.
The Definitive Collection of Gnostic Writings The year is 1945. At the foot of a cliff along the Nile River, near the city of Nag Hammadi, an Egyptian peasant unearths a large storage jar containing ancient manuscripts. The discovery turns out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the past century. 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. It is a discovery that challenges everything we thought we knew about the early Christian church, ancient Judaism, and Greco-Roman religions. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is the most complete and up-to-date English-language edition of these sacred texts from Egypt. It is full of treatises, testimonies, and secret books that had been lost for centuries. In addition to gospels purportedly by the apostles Thomas and Philip, and the revelations of James, Peter, and Paul, this collection also includes the Gospel of Mary and the controversial Gospel of Judas. The documents have been newly translated by a team of prominent international scholars. This volume also features introductory essays and extensive notes to help readers understand the context and significance of these texts that have revolutionized the study of early Christianity and ancient religious thought.
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time The Gnostic Gospels is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. It is now widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and accessible histories of early Christian spirituality published in our time. In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, thirteen papyrus volumes that expounded a radically different view of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ from that of the New Testament. In this spellbinding book, renowned religious scholar Elaine Pagels elucidates the mysteries and meanings of these sacred texts both in the world of the first Christians and in the context of Christianity today. With insight and passion, Pagels explores a remarkable range of recently discovered gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, to show how a variety of “Christianities” emerged at a time of extraordinary spiritual upheaval. Some Christians questioned the need for clergy and church doctrine, and taught that the divine could be discovered through spiritual search. Many others, like Buddhists and Hindus, sought enlightenment—and access to God—within. Such explorations raised questions: Was the resurrection to be understood symbolically and not literally? Was God to be envisioned only in masculine form, or feminine as well? Was martyrdom a necessary—or worthy—expression of faith? These early Christians dared to ask questions that orthodox Christians later suppressed—and their explorations led to profoundly different visions of Jesus and his message. Brilliant, provocative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical, eloquent reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.
The Meaning of the Nag Hammadi, now in paperback opens the with the thrilling adventure story of the discovery of the ancient Papyrii at Nag Hammadi. Muhammad Ali, the fellahin, discovered the sealed jar, he feared that it might contain a jinni, or spirit, but also had heard of hidden treasures in such jars. Greed overcame his fears and when he smashed open the jar, gold seemed to float into the air. To his disappointment, it was papyrus fragmenst, not gold, but for scholars around the world, it was invaluable. Meyer then discusses the pre–Christian forms of wisdom that went onto influence what Christians believe today. In addition, some Nag Hammadi texts are attributed to Valentinus, a man who almost became Pope, and whose rejection changed the church in significant ways. Text by text, Meyer traces the history and impact of this great find on the Church, right up to our current beliefs and popular cultural fascination with this officially suppressed secret knowledge about Jesus and his followers.
Mary Magdalene, Jesus's Closest Disciple Marvin Meyer, one of the foremost scholars of the Gnostic Gospels: translates and introduces the Gnostic and New Testament texts that together reveal the story and importance of Mary Magdalene includes new translations of the Gospels of Mary, Thomas, Philip, and related texts about Mary Magdalene discloses, with Esther A. De Boer, the long-suppressed story of Mary's vital role in the life of Jesus and in the formative period after his crucifixion presents as authentically as possible the real Mary Magdalene
The "Lost Gospels" refer to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, both discovered in the 1940s. The Nag Hammadi Library consists of writings found by two peasants who unearthed clay jars in 1945 in upper Egypt. These did not appear in English for 32 years, because the right to publish was contended by scholars, politicians, and antique dealers. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in clay jars in Palestine by a goatherder in 1947, weathered similar storms. The first team of analysts were mostly Christian clergy, who weren't anxious to share material that frightened church leaders. As Dr. Hoeller shows, they rightly feared the documents would reveal information that might detract from unique claims of Christianity. Indeed, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Library both contradict and complement accepted tenets of the Old and New Testaments.
This important tool will greatly facilitate research into the relationship of biblical texts and the materials that make up Gnosticism. To date no exhaustive Scripture index to Nag Hammadi has been prepared. One of the significant features of this volume is that it fills this lacuna.