The Gospels of Thomas, Mary, and Philip—texts that have garnered so much discussion recently in both the scholarly world and in popular literature, such as The Da Vinci Code—are just a few of the many Gnostic documents contained in The Nag Hammadi Library. These documents are invaluable sources for the study of Gnosticism and "alternate Christianities" that competed with the early orthodox church.
If you have an interest in studying Gnostic texts to gain insight into the roots of Christianity—or are simply curious as to what all the commotion is about—this is a set of texts you'll want to add to your library!
This revised and expanded edition of The Nag Hammadi Library is the only complete, one-volume, modern language version of the reknowned library of fourth-century manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945. Now you can read for yourself these widely-discussed and controversial texts.
First published in 1978, The Nag Hammadi Library launched modern Gnostic studies and was widely acclaimed by critics and scholars alike. Although some of the texts had appeared in other translations, the 1978 edition was the first and only translation of these ancient and fascinating manuscripts to appear in one volume.
This new edition is the result of ten years of additional research, and editorial and critical work. Every translation has been changed or added to; many have been thoroughly revised. This edition also includes a translation of the Berlin Gnostic Papyrus 8502 (which is not really part of the Nag Hammadi Codices but shares some similarities).
Each text is accompanied by a new and expanded introduction. Also included are a revised general introduction and an afterword discussing the modern relevance of Gnosticism, from Voltaire and Blake through Melville and Yeats to Jack Kerouac and science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
The translations and introductions to the Nag Hammadi texts are by members of the Coptic Gnostic Library Project, which includes such scholars as Helmut Koester, George McRae, and Elaine Pagels.
"The Nag Hammadi texts are...important for NT studies. They contribute to the discussion of the alleged anti-gnostic character of certain NT texts...The Gospel of Thomas contributes to the discussion of the tradition of Jesus’ sayings in the Synoptic Gospels, as do The Apocryphon of James and The Dialogue of the Savior." —D. M. Scholer
“‘He who knows the father and the mother will be called | the son of a harlot.’” (Page 137)
“I | [am the Father], I am the Mother, I am the Son. 15 I am the undefiled and incorruptible one.” (Page 105)
“And they took | counsel with the whole array of archons 35 and angels. They took fire and earth 21 and water and mixed them together | with the four fiery winds. And they wrought them | together and caused a great | disturbance. And they brought him (Adam) into the shadow5 of death in order that they might form (him) again | from earth and water and fire | and the spirit which originates in matter, which is | the ignorance of darkness and desire, | and their counterfeit spirit. This 10 is the tomb of the newly-formed body | with which the robbers had clothed the man, | the bond of forgetfulness; and he became a | mortal man. This is the first one who came down | and the first separation.” (Pages 116–117)
“Since you asked | that I send 10 you a secret book | which was revealed to me | and Peter by the Lord, | I could not turn you away | or gainsay (?) you; 15 but [I have written] it in | the Hebrew alphabet and | sent it to you, and you | alone. But since you are | a minister of the salvation 20 of the saints, endeavor earnestly | and take care not to rehearse | this text to many—this | that the Savior did not wish | to tell to all of us, his 25 twelve disciples.” (Page 30)
“Jesus said, ‘The pharisees| and the scribes have taken the keys | of knowledge (gnosis) and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, 10 nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. | You, however, be as wise | as serpents and as innocent as | doves.’” (Pages 130–131)
This definitive translation has become a standard since its first publication in 1977.
—J.K. Elliott, Novum Testamentum, 1991
An absolute gold mine of the literature of Gnosticism.
—The Los Angeles Times
This fascinating collection will become as welcome an addition to the understanding of the formative years of the early Christian church as the books on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
—The Washington Star
A tremendous achievement.
—Chicago Theological Seminary Register