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The Nag Hammadi Library in English by James…
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The Nag Hammadi Library in English (1978)

by James M. Robinson (Editor)

Other authors: Harold W. Attridge (Translator), Alexander Böhlig (Translator), Hans-Gebhard Bethge (Translator), James Brashler (Contributor), Roger Aubrey Bullard (Translator)29 more, Peter A. Dirkse (Contributor), Stephen Emmel (Contributor), Joseph A. Gibbons (Contributor), Søren Giverson (Translator), James E. Goehring (Contributor), Charles W. Hendrick (Translator), Wesley William Isenberg (Translator), Howard M. Jackson (Contributor), Karen L. King (Contributor), Helmut Koester (Contributor), Thomas O. Lambdin (Contributor), Bentley Layton (Contributor), George W. MacRae (Contributor), Marvin W. Meyer (Contributor), William R. Murdock (Contributor), Elaine H. Pagels (Contributor), Douglas M. Parrott (Contributor), Malcolm L. Peel (Contributor), Michel Roberg (Contributor), William C. Robinson, Jr. (Contributor), William R. Schoedel (Contributor), Maddalena Scopello (Contributor), John H. Sieber, John D. Turner, Francis E. Williams, Robert McLachlan Wilson (Translator), Orval Stewart Wintermute (Translator), Frederik Wisse (Contributor), Jan Zandee (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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The definitive collection of Gnostic material. The fragmentary textual material we have is presented here in functional form with appropriate markers and suggestions for lacuna in the manuscripts. The introductions to the book, and to each piece therein, are very helpful even for those new to gnostic material. Richard's Smith's afterward is also very well done, and effectively illustrates where gnostic thought is interacting with our current culture, touching on, for example, writers and thinkers like Blake, Carl Jung, and even Philip K. Dick.

The writing of that afterward, however, effectively predates the Holy Blood and Holy Grail fiasco and the DaVinci Code delusions, and so does not (in my early edition, at any rate) deal with the popular rewriting of gnosticism in western 20th century new age culture's hokey image. Nevertheless, though Smith's afterward does not tackle the current revisionist version of gnosticism directly, readers will nevertheless discover that the Gnostics would have been the last people on earth to have any notion of a sacred feminine, (evidenced in passages such as Jesus' explanation in the Gospel of Thomas that women will need to become male in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven), and that texts like the Gospel of Mary are hardly the source of any secret perspectives on the historical Jesus or early Christianity. These texts are, to the contrary, the product of a community that merged bits of Greek philosophical ideas with Christian and Jewish narratives to produce their own idiosyncratic material that legitimized their theological claims. ( )
1 vote PastorBob | Dec 13, 2011 |
The standard English translation of the 13 books found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in the mid-1940's -- not to be confused with the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found in Israel at nearly the same time.

(These 13 books came from 4 separate ancient libraries, but who put them together and buried them under a large rock is a mystery.)

Not all the works in this collection are Gnostic (there is a portion of Plato, for instance) but the ones that are opened a new era in the study of this ancient religion, allowing specialists to read what the Gnostics had to say for themselves, in depth, rather than relying on the reports, allegations, and sometimes garbled information from their ancient opponents.

This careful translation tracks the line and page numbers of the 13 ancient books and shows where there are gaps in the original text. The introductory and final essay (as well as the short introduction to each work) are very helpful and are worth reading with care.

A perennially useful book for anyone interested in Gnosticism, Roman religion beyond Jupiter and Juno, or Late Antiquity.

(Note that the Gospel of Mary came from another previously discovered ancient book , the Berlin Codex. Its current partial state is due to the vicissitudes of history and specialists lament this fact more than anyone: most of the works translated in _The Nag Hammadi Library_ survive in only one copy ... so any damage to that copy is a loss to history.)

-Kushana ( )
  Kushana | Jan 30, 2009 |
The only book that I've carried with me from middle school to the workaday world, from town to town, from country to country. ( )
  johnemersonsfoot | Jun 23, 2007 |
"An absolute gold mine of the literature of Gnosticism." The Los Angeles Times. I second that, although I wish there was more to the Gospel of Mary. There is also Plato's Republic - a version not recognized quite at first, Valentine school of though essays. More than just "a religious text." ( )
  janehutchi | May 23, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, James M.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Attridge, Harold W.Translatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Böhlig, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bethge, Hans-GebhardTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brashler, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bullard, Roger AubreyTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dirkse, Peter A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emmel, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, Joseph A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giverson, SørenTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goehring, James E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hendrick, Charles W.Translatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Isenberg, Wesley WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, Howard M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, Karen L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koester, HelmutContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lambdin, Thomas O.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Layton, BentleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacRae, George W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meyer, Marvin W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murdock, William R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pagels, Elaine H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parrott, Douglas M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peel, Malcolm L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberg, MichelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, William C., Jr.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schoedel, William R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scopello, MaddalenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sieber, John H.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turner, John D.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Francis E.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Robert McLachlanTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wintermute, Orval StewartTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wisse, FrederikContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zandee, JanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, RichardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060669357, Paperback)

The Nag Hammadi Library was discovered in 1945 buried in a large stone jar in the desert outside the modern Egyptian city of Nag Hammadi. It is a collection of religious and philosophic texts gathered and translated into Coptic by fourth-century Gnostic Christians and translated into English by dozens of highly reputable experts. First published in 1978, this is the revised 1988 edition supported by illuminating introductions to each document. The library itself is a diverse collection of texts that the Gnostics considered to be related to their heretical philosophy in some way. There are 45 separate titles, including a Coptic translation from the Greek of two well-known works: the Gospel of Thomas, attributed to Jesus' brother Judas, and Plato's Republic. The word gnosis is defined as "the immediate knowledge of spiritual truth." This doomed radical sect believed in being here now--withdrawing from the contamination of society and materiality--and that heaven is an internal state, not some place above the clouds. That this collection has resurfaced at this historical juncture is more than likely no coincidence. --P. Randall Cohan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:43 -0400)

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