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The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Definitive International Edition Hardcover – 1 May 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; International Ed., 1st Ed edition (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060523786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060523787
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,313,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

This is the definitive collection of the gnostic writings translated and annotated by an international team of leading scholars. This is the most complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of fourth-century 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 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.


Customer Reviews

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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Nag Hammadi Library in English edited by Robinson seems to be the standard translated edition of the texts, certainly in terms of best selling, but I would recommend this current book (or else Bentley Layton's "The Gnostic Scriptures") over that one.

It contains more than just Nag Hammadi material, including documents from the Berlin Codex (Gospel of Mary) and Codex Tchacos (Gospel of Judas). Furthermore, the material is better arranged, laid out and formatted, divided into sections with helpful headings, making it more readable, comprehensible, digestible and understandable. It also, unlike the Robinson, contains numerous helpful footnotes. The introductions to each text are generally better and more useful, and a bibliography is provided along with each text.

Really it's no contest. This, and the Layton edition, should really supplant the Robinson, which is showing its age somewhat now.
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Format: Hardcover
This book finds an honoured place on my shelves, next to the older edition of the Nag Hammadi scriptures assembled under the direction of James M. Robinson, who provides the preface (and much underlying research). According to Robinson, `The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is a collection of thirteen papyrus codices - bound books, not scrolls - that were buried near the city of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt most likely in the second half of the fourth century CE.' The texts contained here are a fascinating collection, bringing to light literally dozens of texts that had previously been unknown for over a millennium, although about ten of them are in such fragmentary form that it still cannot be said that these have been recovered. It is supposed by many scholars that this is a collection that was buried by Gnostics, but this is not without controversy.

This text has as a leader over the title the phrase `The International Edition', for good reason. There have been three different projects, one in English, one in French, and one in German, over the past generation, the fruits of which have been brought together here in one volume. The representatives from each team are James M. Robinson, Wolf-Peter Funk, and Paul-Hubert Poirier, for the English, German, and French research projects respectively. The introduction is provided by Marvin Meyer and Elaine Pagels, both names known to people who study Gnostic and early biblical texts.

In the introduction, Meyers and Pagels offer the caution that the title `Nag Hammadi Scriptures' cannot imply a canon of scriptures similar to the Bible or Quran - these are texts that were less a sacred (and closed) collection and more of a general gathering of pieces that were considered inspired and inspirational.
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I found this book excellent in the insight it gives us into all the books that didn't make it into the Bible. There is a lot of good cross-referencing with the appropriate Bible texts and helpful introductions to each of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. I would suggest that it is required reading for anyone, particularly Theology students of any faith not just Christian, who wishes to know more about the whole story of Christ, and particularly about the significance of Mary of Magdala. The book is quite difficult to tackle but well worth while for those with an open mind and imagination to other points of view rather than simply those we are offered in the New Testament. Actually as a Catholic it has deepened my faith and I hope this will happen for others too.
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Hefty 800+ page work of a whole committee of scholars giving translations of a large part of the 1945 of religious texts from Nag Hammadi. The texts were probablyperceived as heretical and hidden, but not destroyed. Many of the wirks illustrate currents of gnosticism otherwise known only from works condemning them. The translations are very careful, and obviously aim at retaining nuances of the original, but this approach, possibly justified from a scholarly point of view, does not make them easy to read. The work is completed by short studies of certain of the main schools of gnosticism.
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These are updated and revised versions of the translations issued as the Nag Hammadi Library in English (1977). Much improved and the commentaries are not obtrusive and frequently interesting. My only query with regard to the text is why the editors chose to include sub-titles of their own devising to break up the text. These sub-titles are frequently accurate and provide good characterisations of the material that follows, but not always so. Admittedly they do serve to break the text up visually. The book is well produced with covers that withstand immersion in my backpack, and the print is quite clear on good paper. To the reader who has not encountered these trails of thought before, my advice is to take them slowly and to try to put oneself into the mindset of these lost authors who were trying to grapple with the expression of concepts that go beyond the power of mere language to express. What we know as the clarity of contemporary Christian teaching was slow to emerge (and is still emerging!) and those of us who believe in "one holy, catholic and apostolic church" will find much to reflect on in these beautiful texts.
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