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The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume Paperback – May 26, 2009

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From the Back Cover

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 the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as 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.

About the Author

Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on early Christianity and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament. He is Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. Among his recent books are The Gospel of Judas, The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus, The Gospels of Mary, The Gospel of Thomas, and The Nag Hammadi Scriptures.



James M. Robinson, consultant for this collection, is widely known for his groundbreaking contribution as the permanent secretary of UNESCO's International Committee for the Nag Hammadi codices, and his many published works on Gnostic texts and the Sayings Gospel Q.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061626007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061626005
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
For the title of this review I chose an excerpt from "The Dialogue of the Savior" which belonged to NHC III,5. On my quest to better understanding 'gnosticism' I first read Andrew Phillip Smith's book titled, "The Gnostics". His brief treatise on the overall scope of what gnosticism is really all about provided me with a more concise understanding of this exhaustive, scholarly translation of the Nag Hammadi text.

This book is by far the most complete and in-depth translation to date and will probably never be equaled. Scholars such as Marvin Meyer, Elaine Pagels, Madeleine Scopello, Einar Thomassen and John D. Turner are just a few of the names involved with the translation of the Nag Hammadi scriptures. There is an array of backgrounds involved which ultimately provide very different interpretations of the text, but this diversity only helps the reader to draw his/her own conclusions as to interpretation.

One positive aspect to this book is decision NOT to guess what the translation might have been. Quite frankly, much of the text within certain tractates were severely damaged and/or missing. Instead of guessing or including what the text may have said, Meyer and others, merely let the reader know that much of the text itself is missing. This is, of course refreshing, as many modern translations of either other Gnostic or Essene texts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, authors will simply insert modern lexicons assuming that it follows suit to what we have today. Meyer and company don't do this, instead they provide a well documented, heavily footnoted, scholarly work.
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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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This is an updated release of a wonderful collection of the Gnostic writings that were found in Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

Unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic writings were ones that the church tried to destroy all remnants of, so as to not allow the common person to understand that a clergy class was not needed, or even meant to exist, according to the teachings of Jesus.

Over the centuries, the teachings of the Gnostics have endured through oral tradition, sometimes at great peril to those people keeping the stories, by such means of the church as damning them as heretics and killing them. No other works of early Christianity has ever been more controversial and no other writings have the early church tried so hard to dispose of, and the followers as well, as were the Gnostic writings.

When these writings were found in 1945, it brought together so many fragments from centuries of speculation and oral tradition. Obscure passages in the modern Bible that reference things unknown were finally brought to light as to their meaning, because the actual words of these texts are what was being referenced, yet hidden for so long.

This book compiles the writings in a complete volume, more complete that any other book ever has, of all the known fragments and complete works of the Gnostic scriptures. These writings are more complete in the actual first person teachings of Jesus among his disciples than even the Bible has kept, and show a picture that would have changed early Christianity forever if it would have been allowed the light of day by the church priests that sought to have them forever hidden.
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