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The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth Hardcover – Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006076208X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060762087
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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For all those readers curious to read the actual texts of the Gnostic Gospels, here is the definitive collection of all the Gnostic Gospels and Gospel-like texts. o Marvin Meyer, premier scholar of Gnostic and other Christian literature outsid

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THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS, or the Hidden Savings of Jesus is a collection of savings of Jesus, traditionally numbered by scholars at 114, which are said to communicate salvation and life. Read the first page
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Feb. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book presents translations of a number of works from the Nag Hammadi Codices and other sources, namely:

The Gospel of Thomas (NHC)
The Gospel of Mary (Berlin Codex)
The Gospel of Philip (NHC)
The Gospel of Truth (NHC)
The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (NHC)
The Apocryphon of John (NHC)
The Apocryphon of James (NHC)
The Book of Thomas (NHC)
The Dialog of the Saviour (NHC)
The Second Discourse of Great Seth (NHC)
The Book of Baruch (reconstruction from excerpts in Hippolytus)
The Round Dance of the Cross (excerpt from the Acts of John)

There is an introduction in which Meyer considers the nature of Gnosticism, adducing the works of Williams (Rethinking "Gnosticism") and Karen L. King (What Is Gnosticism?), and coming up with his own attempt at a definition:

"Gnosticism is a religious tradition that emphasises the primary place of gnosis, or mystical knowledge, understood through aspects of wisdom (often personified wisdom) presented in creation stories, particularly stories based on the Genesis accounts, and interpreted by means of a variety of religious and philosophical traditions, including Platonism, in order to proclaim a radically enlightened way and life of knowledge." And I thought that Williams' term "biblical demiurgical traditions" was a mouthful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As above.
18 more words required.
14 more words required.
10 more words required.
6 more words required.
finished at last!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 50 reviews
241 of 258 people found the following review helpful
Easy Reading 4 Feb. 2006
By Gregory Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes all we want is to read a book, not as a scholar or student, halting at footnotes and bracketed text, but sitting on a sofa, or lying in bed, absorbing the essence of the word. What I love about this book is how simply arranged are the chapters. I don't need my reading glasses to read minute fonts, and the chapter subheadings are simple and helpful. Furthermore, unlike the often obscure tractates of the Nag Hammadi Library, by James M. Robinson, "The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus" are Jesus-centered, and if you have been away from The Man for a while, as I have been, out of disappointment with the inadequacy of your local church, or oppression by politicized agenda, then this is the book that will allow you to love Him once again on your own terms. Just you and Him, by the glow of your reading lamp. Marvin Meyer has a knack for translating in a way that is not dumbed-down, but simple and easy to read. There is a difference.

Reading the Secret Book of John from this very edition has changed my life, and the way I think about Jesus. I can honestly say that a perception of humanity's place in the universe has opened itself up to me. For example, William Blake's rhyme:

"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"

...immediately took on new meaning (Yaldabaoth as the talented, not necessarily evil, but nonetheless ignorant and soul-less creator of the material world--seek Heaven, not Earth, as eternal Paradise).

And, how about one more snippet of Blake, to drive home the proof that the essence of Gnosticism has lived, even through eyes that had not lain upon the desert papyri treasure:

"The Awakener is come outstretch'd over Europe: the Vision of God is fulfilled:
The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion Awakes,
He listens to the sounds of War astonish'd & ashamed..."

I finally grasp the Gnostic path, and why knowledge is the key to salvation, as opposed to simply having faith and doing good works. If you are looking for a compilation of Gnostic literature that includes the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Philip, they also are included in this book.

Honestly, I spent my Easter Sunday reading and meditating on the Secret Book of John, and it all made sense. If you ever thought there was something wrong with the fruit of traditional Orthodoxy, or why some believe they are successful in life (oh, but are they really...), this is the book for you. As one who has studied Asian philosophical systems for decades, I have rediscovered my Western roots and the Meaning of Life in Marvin Meyer's book. It is a strange but rewarding path; not Jesus of the Cross (death! suffering! an imposter!), but Jesus Christ the Eternal Light who came down to this dark world to wake us from our thrall.
129 of 138 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Resource 1 Feb. 2006
By Dr. James Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Marvin Meyer appears to be making a career by publishing collections of gnostic texts, and then revised and expanded versions of those same texts. Nonetheless, his latest addition is certainly one his best, if for no other reason than it includes some relatively obscure (though important) texts that are difficult to find elsewhere (e.g., 2nd Discourse of Great Seth, Book of Baruch). Don't worry, Mary, Philip, and Thomas are there too.

I have a few criticisms of the book. His discussion of gnosticism is merely adequate as are his notes on the texts themselves. Somone of Meyer's stature has more to offer than he does here, but for a non scholar it is probably sufficient. I also have a problem with his updating of the translations. Personally I think a lot is lost when (for example) the "Son of Man" becomes a "Child of Humankind". It is not only historically offensive, it separates the current texts from their historical contexts, leaving the current addition adrift without the benefit of the threads which tie together so much of Christian research and scholarship.

Leaving aside these criticisms, if your budget permits you to buy only one book of gnostic texts, this is probably the book you'll want.
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
A Nice Overview of The Gnostic Gospels 30 Aug. 2005
By Laura Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book provided readers with a nice clear reading of the Gnostic Gospels and it is a good starting point for people who are not familiar with these books. I would have liked to see more literary analysis of the books inside this collection and did not think the author provided a deep enough study of what the books were and what they represented inside this text. A reader should probably read the Elaine Pagels book on the Gnostic Gospels before reading this one. However, for those who have never read the Gnostic Gospels this book is a nice place to find them along with the rest of The Mystical Gospels.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Best Introductory Collection of Gnostic Scriptures 6 July 2006
By Lance Owens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is our current top recommendation for readers beginning their exploration of the Gnostic scriptures. Over the last three decades Prof. Marvin Meyer has distinguished himself as a singularly talented translator and commentator. In this new collection -- the best of several that he has now published -- Meyer presents twelve key Gnostic "gospels" in succinct, accurate and highly readable new translations. The book's subtitle claims it to be: "The definitive collection of mystical gospels and secret books about Jesus of Nazareth". Though perhaps not definitive in the sense of comprehensive, we agree this is the single best introductory collection available.

There has been significant refinement during the last four decades in "the scholarly ear" for both the forgotten ancient tongue and the spiritual tradition preserved in the Gnostic Coptic texts discovered over the last century. Meyer states his goal in these translations is to be "as accurate as possible" while still presenting the texts in "felilcitious English." At this he succeeds beautifully. Readers who have labored with the sometimes tortured translations and editorial conventions presented in the original editions of the Nag Hammadi Library (first published thirty years ago) will be amazed at the graceful intelligibility of Meyer's translations. Meyer adds to the collection an overview of our evolving understanding of Christian Gnosticism, and prefaces each of the selected text with an excellent introductory essay.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Gnostic Gospels 30 Jun. 2006
By Jacob Cloud - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It's nice because it allows you to read the primary sources. I've read so much about Gnosticism and the Gnostic Gospels in secondary works; I was glad to be able to read them for myself and make my own conclusions. Meyer does offer a brief historical/summary article before each of the letters. Usually, his comments are insightful without being overtly opinionated.

Interestingly, many of these articles are very different from one another. There are of course key similarities, e.g. the emphasis on wisdom, etc., but I was surprised at how diverse the contents of these letters actually are. Furthermore, I was intrigued by how different these gospels are from the canonical gospels. Again there are some passages in certain letters that are remarkably close to the canonical gospels, but overall they are drastically different, and they clearly offer an alternate, if not strange, view of Christ.

Accordingly, if you are interested in Gnosticism and/or the Gnostic scriptures I would recommend you start your studies with a book like this one. It is an excellent introduction, providing both commentary by Meyer and the letters themselves.
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