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The Gnostic Bible: Revised and Expanded Edition [Kindle Edition]

Marvin Meyer , Willis Barnstone
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Gnosticismwas a wide-ranging religious movement of the first millennium CE—with earlierantecedents and later flourishings—whose adherents sought salvation throughknowledge and personal religious experience. Gnostic writings offer strikingperspectives on both early Christian and non-Christian thought. For example,some gnostic texts suggest that god should be celebrated as both mother andfather, and that self-knowledge is the supreme path to the divine. Only in thepast fifty years has it become clear how far the gnostic influence spread inancient and medieval religions—and what a marvelous body of scriptures itproduced.

The selections gathered here, in poetic,readable translation, represent Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Mandaean,Manichaean, Islamic, and Cathar expressions of gnostic spirituality. Theirregions of origin include Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria,Iraq, China, and France. Also included are introductions, notes, an extensiveglossary, and a wealth of suggestions for further reading.

Editorial Reviews


"This book may well be the most comprehensive collection of gnostic materials ever gathered in one volume. What is clear from the sourcebook is the tremendous diversity of thought that exists under the 'gnostic' umbrella including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Zoroastrian, and Greco-Roman themes. A valuable resource for students and scholars."—Publishers Weekly

“The selection of texts ranges across two millennia and various cultures.  Each work, some translated into English for the first time, is accompanied by a clear introduction and synopsis.  This is an important sampler of relatively unknown spiritual literature.”—Library Journal

“To read The Gnostic Bible is to witness something astonishing. . . . I read it with dizzy excitement.”—Ian Cant, Ascent Magazine

“A Godsend for anyone interested in alternative Christianity, the history of Christianity, or spirituality in general.”—Turk’s Head Review

"An enormously rich collection of sources—a wonderful achievement!"—Elaine Pagels, author of The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief

"Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer's Gnostic Bible joins Bentley Layton's Gnostic Scriptures as one of the true critical sourcebooks for gnostic texts. Here, from China to Catalonia, from the first to the fourteenth centuries, gnosticism is seen as a global meditation."—Harold Bloom, author of Genius: A Mosaic, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, and The Western Canon

“I feel as if I had been waiting for this book all my life.”—Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

“Everyone interested in the tumultuous origins of Christianity and in a mysticism of direct, unmediated communion with God should fall on this brilliant and ground-breaking book.  In it, for the first time, are assembled all the major texts of gnosticism, with illuminating notes and introductions, and in translations that radiate clarity.”—Andrew Harvey, author of Sun at Midnight, Son of Man, and The Direct Path

“These ancient texts have not lost any of their power to awaken higher consciousness.  Seekers of knowledge owe an enormous debt to Barnstone and Meyer for presenting these works to us in a fresh, clear, and accessible form.”—Richard Smoley, author of Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition

“In this wonderfully readable anthology the authors have brought together a large number of interesting selections from a wide chronological, geographical, and cultural range of traditions that nevertheless illustrate fascinating overlapping patterns in religious symbolism and worldviews.”—Michael Williams, author of Rethinking Gnosticism

“These two wise men have written an amazing book—the best of its kind, ever.  They bear lit matches in our dark tunnel—sometimes they are the matches themselves.”—Gerald Stern, author of American Sonnets and What I Can’t Bear Losing

Product Details

  • File Size: 1467 KB
  • Print Length: 875 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590306317
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; Revised edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006C5ZR3W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 111 people found the following review helpful
This is the most comprehensive collection of Jewish (e.g. Book of Baruch by Justin), Christian (e.g. Songs Of Pearl), Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean (Mani's incomplete works, but still great works. You will be amazed by Mani's 'similarities' with Jesus & at some point he was quite very popular!), Zoroastrian, Pagan, Gnostic Gospels (e.g. Gospel of John, Gospel Of Thomas, Gospel Of Mary Magdalene, Gospel Of Philip, etc), other Nag Hammadi Books (e.g. On The Origin Of The World, The Letter Of Peter To Philip, etc), Islamic & Cathar books all in one volume by far. These various books span from the first century & some are being translated here into English for the first time! Professors Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer do make a very strong case and convincing argument that "The Gospel Of John" differs significantly from the Gospels of Mark, Luke & Matthew [In its framework, individual episodes it relates to & particularly in the way it represents the voice of Jesus] and hence its inclusion in "Gnostic Bible". This is an eye opener book on the great variety of religious views & theology : translated in English with extensive helpful introductions (who wrote the book or gospel, when was it written & under what circumstances was it written), very informative footnotes & interpretations of these different books! Tit for tat attacks against each other in the Gnostic Gospels is also very interesting (Cathars against the sacrament of Eucharist, 'the doubting Thomas' in Synoptic Gospels against Jesus's 'twin brother' in Gospel of Thomas writing the Gospel, etc) [putting a human face in the whole religion thing!]. Read more ›
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener. December 26, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was reading samples of the book on Google Books (available only as a preview) and I was surprised by many of the things that were not included in the Bible. But more importantly, I was surprised by certain details that were in front of me the whole time but didn't notice. After viewing the samples on Google Books, I decided to order the book to get more in-depth details. It is because of this book and others like it that profoundly changed my life and my view of the world around me and within me.

Originally, I was born and raised a Catholic. But after seriously reading the details about the Gnostic Gospels and reviewed the traditional Orthodox Christian bible that I had with me, I came to the realization that I was better off being a Gnostic because much of what I was taught as a Catholic made no sense. Even though Gnostic beliefs share their roots with Christian beliefs as well, how they interpreted the word of Yeshua and the words of Jehovah helped provide the second side of the coin that I was looking for all my life. Reading this even helped fill in holes in the stories as described in the modern-day Christian Bible.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By MrBrown
It is a massive collection so I have not read it all yet, but I have a VERY positive impression so far! The translation is far more readable than other versions I have looked at, and this is an excellent collection. For anyone who has a serious interest in Gnosticism, I'd say this should be at the top of your reading list. It's one thing to read Elaine Pagels, or Bart Ehrman for a scholarly analysis or to read Stephan Hoeller or Timothy Freke for a contemporary approach to an ancient tradition, but at some point, if you're serious about understanding Gnosticism, you need to go directly to the source and read the Gnostic scriptures for yourself. Compared to the other major collections and translations I've seen, this is the best on both counts. I've never seen another collection with this many Gnostic texts from so many sources, and I've never seen a translation that's such a pleasure to read.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 1, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great reading, a massive in depth comprehensive collection of gnostic Literature I ever found on line! Including Hermetic, Valentinian, and Islamic Mystical writings amongst others. If you're searching for answers in the traditional canonical scriptures, but feel you getting nowhere, this book is for you. Ancient christian mysticism on the form of gnostic gospels isn't for everyone, but for those seeking the hidden connection between nature, one-self and your creator regardless of religious denomination. I seriously recommend this book...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Blowing. December 28, 2012
By The O
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm still in the process of reading the Gnostic Bible, but what I've read so far is mind-blowing. In the beginning of each chapter, there is a small summary and a sort of "behind-the-scenes" information into each gospel. It's also worthy to note that the authors try to remain as unbiased as possible when explaining the information therein, and give you as many sides as they themselves deem plausible. I would recommend this book, completely. Easy layout. Clean, neat and easy to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPPORTS MY BELIEFS May 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I always felt there was more to the bible. Since it's been altered by greedy kings to read to their liking, I had no faith in it. This book ties together things that have happened, and added views from faiths other than christian. It makes sense to me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book!
I am half way through this book. It is a thought provoking read. I am glad that I bought this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about religion.
Published 17 days ago by Joan Waff
5.0 out of 5 stars Gnostic Bible
V. good service. Using as a reference book. Excellent chapters that describe what I may want to know, when I need an explanation.
Published 19 days ago by Al Powers, Genie
4.0 out of 5 stars A book by the Gnostics
I am a researcher and I research a lot of different things.
I do not know how to view their beliefs except that it is theirs.
I neither uphold or oppose their views. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Harry
3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable (only) for the texts it contains
I identify as a Christian Gnostic and let me tell you, while this is titled "The Gnostic Bible" with a hint of irony, it is certainly not a bible in the sense of being a holy book. Read more
Published 22 days ago by A. Ter-grigoryan
5.0 out of 5 stars More of a reference book
The book tells the history of Gnostics in real life modern terms-there are no 'thee' and thou' kind of words.
Published 24 days ago by patty heiden
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, who knew
There were a few sections of the Gnostic bible that was a bit difficult for me to understand and others, to comprehend; however, the entire bible has a central theme of Gnostic and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mongolrat
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended reading for any religion
A study book for anyone who is curious..there is much knowledge to soak in. Some things written are not in alliance with my beliefs, but as with any book of knowledge, one must be... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jude A. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand what the other Christians beleive...
As a student in religious history studies, I found this to be a very enlightening and sometimes impactful book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Clinton Cagle
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice!
I thought this book already enchances what is written, but was left out due to- what was chosen to be place in the Kings James Version- In fact to me this book adds more to what... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bridgette Bruce
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Very good book. It's an eye opener! I would totally recommend this book if you are trying to get an understanding of religion and spirituality.
Published 3 months ago by Danielle Armistad
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