SunLightOnEarth

The Nag Hammadi Codices - a review of the scribal evidence from the mid fourth century, C14 dated 348 CE

Nag_Hammadi_BUNDLE Introduction The major unanswered questions arising from the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices are: when, and by whom, and why, were the Greek originals authored. They are a series of thirteen old books binding a total of fifty two texts (with some duplications) that have been out of circulation for over 1600 years. Unearthed in Upper Egypt in 1945, C14 technology, the examination of the cartonage (papryi constituting covers) and the close proximity to a Pachomonian monastery, independently indicate that the codices were physically manufactured in mid-fourth century. Although the texts have been written in Coptic, most scholars suspect all of these were translated from earlier Greek originals. Of the 52 texts, there are five duplicates (some not exact; 1.1 and 2.1, 1.3 and 12.2, 2.5 and 13.2, 3.1 and 4.1, 3.2 and 4.2) and one partial and suspicious triplication (3.3 and 5.1 and 3.4)

The data columns tabulated below are as follows: Column 1: Codex, is the number from 1 to 13 assigned to each of the books within the series. Column 2: Seq#, is the sequence number allocated to the text, within the book. Column 3: Title, is the title of the text, linked to an Engish translation of the text itself (www.gnosis.org) Column 4: Translator, is the name of the Coptic to English translators for the corresponding texts. Column 5: Comments, contains various exemplary extracts, draft classifications, notes, summaries. At the conclusion of the tabulation are some editorial comments.

Codex Seq# Title of Work Translator Comments
1 Codex 1: "... is bound with an undistinguished primitive cover." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
1 1 The Prayer of the Apostle Paul Mueller Gnostic - Valentinian: Characteristic phrases such as the "psychic God".(Duplicated at NHC 2.1) | [Wiki] | [Google]
1 2 The Apocryphon of James Williams Gnostic - Valentinian: It describes the secret teachings of Jesus to Peter and James, given after the Resurrection but before the Ascension. A major theme is that one must accept suffering as inevitable. CONTENT: The text is framed as an epistle (i.e. a letter) from James to someone else whose name is obscured by the damage to the text. The author describes Jesus expanding on various sayings and answering questions 550 days after the Resurrection, but before the Ascension. Both James and Peter are given secret instruction, but at the end only James appears to understand what has happened. (As with the Gospel of John 1-20 and the Gospel of Mary, in this book Peter has implicitly failed the Christian movement). Jesus gives teachings in unusual and seemingly contradictory phrases, and also offers brief parables. He invites Peter and James into the Kingdom of Heaven with him, but they are distracted by the other apostles' questions and miss their chance. Afterwards, James is described as sending out the 12 apostles, indicating (as in other apocryphal documents) that James initially succeeded Jesus as the leader of the movement. | [Wiki] | [Google]
1 3 The Gospel of Truth Grant Gnostic - Valentinian: (See also NHC 12.2) Some conjecture authorship by Valentinus himself "He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross" CONTENT: The text describes a theory of the rise of Error in personified (female) form. The ignorance and yearning to see the Father bred fear, which coalesced into a fog by which Error gained power. It then describes Jesus as having been sent down by God to remove the ignorance. Jesus was a teacher confounding the other scribes and teachers, and asserted they were foolish since they tried to understand the world by analysing the law. But Error grew angry at this, and nailed Jesus to a tree. It also proceeds to describe how it is knowledge that grants salvation, which constitutes eternal rest, describing ignorance as a nightmare. Having next described the parable of the good shepherd, in an esoteric manner, it then describes how feeding the hungry and giving rest to the weary is to be understood as feeding spiritual hunger, and resting the world weary. This is followed by a parable about anointing, the meaning of which is obscure, but may be connected with the way in which a sealed amphora meant it was full, a metaphor for knowledge - having the final "seal" in the jigsaw and you understand, but without it, the scraps of understanding you have put together can still be easily undone: But those whom he has anointed are the ones who have become perfect. For full jars are the ones that are usually anointed. But when the anointing of one jar is dissolved, it is emptied, and the reason for there being a deficiency is the thing through which its ointment goes. For at that time a breath draws it, one by the power of the one with it. But from him who has no deficiency no seal is removed, nor is anything emptied. But what he lacks the Perfect Father fills again. Aside from a final description of achieving rest by gnosis, the remainder of the text concerns a treatise on the connection between the relationship between the Son and the Father, and the relationship of a name to its owner. The prime example of this is the phrase it uses that the name of the Father is the Son, which is to be understood in the esoteric manner that the Son is the name, rather than as meaning that Son was a name for the Father. | [Wiki] | [Google]
1 4 The Treatise on the Resurrection Peel Gnostic - Valentinian: "The importance of this short, eight-page, didactic letter lies in its witness to a distinctively unorthodox interpretation of Christian teaching about survival after death. By the late second century, the probable time of its composition, Christians - whether Gnostic or orthodox - were struggling with certain challenges and questions. Was such survival philosophical? Was survival after death philosophical demonstrable (as Socrates had argued in the Phaedo)? - Malcom L. Peel (The Nag Hammadi Library in English, p. 52) | [Wiki] | [Google]
1 5 The Tripartite Tractate Attridge & Mueller Gnostic - Valentinian (Revisionist): It deals primarily with the relationship between the Aeons and the Son. It is divided into three parts, which deal with the determinism of the Father and the free-will of the hypostatized aeons, the creation of humanity, evil, and the fall of Anthropos, and the variety of theologies, the tripartition of humanity, the actions of the Saviour and ascent of the saved into Unity, respectively. | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 Codex 2: "... is bound with a high quality leather cover, and leather reinforcement lining spine" - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
2 1 The Prayer of the Apostle Paul Mueller Gnostic - Valentinian: Characteristic phrases such as the "psychic God" (Duplicated at NHC 1.1) | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 2 The Gospel of Thomas Patterson & Meyer Gnostic Gospel: List of sayings prefaced with "J-S said", where J-S is the Coptic equivalent of the Greek nomina sacra code for Jesus. But in Coptic this abbreviation can equally represent "The Healer". | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 3 The Gospel of Philip Isenberg Gnostic Gospel: Much of the Gospel of Philip is concerned with Gnostic views of the origin and nature of mankind and the sacraments of baptism, unction and marriage. The Gospel emphasizes the sacramental nature of the embrace between man and woman in the nuptial chamber, which is an archetype of spiritual unity, which entails the indissoluble nature of marriage[7] Many of the sayings are identifiably gnostic, and often appear quite mysterious and enigmatic. Exactly where Jesus often kissed Mary Magdalene is emminently questionable. The coptic text of the source document known as the Gospel of Philip is reported to be damaged at that precise place. Poetically, the translators have often opted for "her mouth". Other more conservative alternatives mooted have been .... On her forehead on her cheek on her lips This list is of course not comprehensive. Do we have an image of the coptic page at that precise spot? I for one would love to know exactly where Jesus often kissed Mary. ;) Here are some alternative translations of the passage in question: (1.1) English Translation by Wesley W. Isenberg = And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. (1.2) English Translated by Anton Teplyy and Dr.Mikhail Nikolenko (2002) = The Lord loved her more than He loved all other disciples and often kissed her on her mouth. (1.3) English Translation and Notes by Paterson Brown = The [Lord loved] Mariam more than [all the (other)] Disciples, [and he] kissed her often on her [mouth]. | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 4 The Hypostasis of the Archons (The Reality of the Rulers) Layton Gnostic - Nonchristian: Apart from the opening paragraph, the work contains no non-Gnostic Christian characteristics. The opening paragraph refers to Paul ... "On account of the reality of the authorities, (inspired) by the spirit of the father of truth, the great apostle - referring to the "authorities of the darkness" - told us that "our contest is not against flesh and blood; rather, the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness." I have sent this (to you) because you inquire about the reality of the authorities. Their chief is blind; because of his power and his ignorance and his arrogance he said, with his power, "It is I who am God; there is none apart from me." When he said this, he sinned against the entirety." | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 5 On the Origin of the World Bethge & Layton Gnostic - Nonchristian: It rethinks the entire story of Genesis, and positions Yaldabaoth (the Demiurge) as the creator of the world, fulfilling the role of God in Genesis. Furthermore, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted as a hero sent by Sophia to guide mankind towards enlightenment. The one reference to Jesus is - "another being, called Jesus Christ, who resembles the savior above in the eighth heaven, and who sits at his right upon a revered throne" Duplicated at NHC 13.2 | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 6 The Exegesis on the Soul Robinson Gnostic Quotes from Homer - Gnostic - Female: "Wise men of old gave the soul a feminine name. Indeed she is female in her nature as well. She even has her womb. As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous." | [Wiki] | [Google]
2 7 The Book of Thomas the Contender Turner Gnostic: The title derives from the first line of text. "The secret words that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas which I, even I, Mathaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another." The colophon appended to the text gives the title The Contender writing to the Perfect. The scribe writing the text is named as Matthias, this work may actually be the lost Gospel of Matthias. The dialogue can also be read as an internal conversation between Jesus and his lower self, Judas Thomas, the twin (contender for supremacy of the soul). The New Testament's "doubting" Thomas and Judas "the betrayer" could also be symbolic and descriptive of this internal battle between the Christ Self and ego identity. The content of this work is quite hyperbolic and gnostic in style, in the sense of imparting a private, arcane knowledge related to good versus evil, and while it lacks references to the elaborate gnostic cosmology, its gnostic allusions to the pleroma and light versus fire clearly point to its origins. | [Wiki] | [Google]
3 Codex 3: "... is bound with an undistinguished primitive cover." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
3 1 The Apocryphon of John Waldstein & Wisse Gnostic - Sethian: (See also NHC 4.1)Also known as "The Secret Book of John" and "The Secret Revelation of John" each depending upon how the word "Apocryphon" is translated. It describes Jesus Christ appearing and giving secret knowledge (gnosis) to the apostle John. The author describes this having occurred after Jesus "has gone back to the place from which he came". The two surviving Coptic manuscripts of the shorter version of The Apocryphon of John -- found in the Berlin Codex and Nag Hammadi Library Codex III -- are very similar, but they are not identical. [Non identical duplicate at NHC 4.1] | [Wiki] | [Google]
3 2 The Gospel of the Egyptians Bohlig & Wisse Gnostic - Sethian: (See also NHC 4.2) aka "The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit" Commences: "The holy book of the Egyptians about the great invisible Spirit, the Father whose name cannot be uttered..." The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into being, how Seth, in the Gnostic interpretation, is incarnated as Jesus in order to release people's souls from the evil prison that is creation. It also contains a hymn, parts of which are unusual in being apparently meaningless sequences of vowels (thought to be a representation of early Christian glossolalia), although the vowels of the final paragraph (u aei eis aei ei o ei ei os ei) can be partitioned to read (in Greek) who exists as Son for ever and ever. You are what you are, you are who you are. | [Wiki] | [Google]
3 3 Eugnostos the Blessed Parrott Gnostic - Letter: See also NHC 5.1 and 3.4. This is the primary gnostic version. It reads ... "The first aeon, then, is that of Immortal Man. The second aeon is that of Son of Man, who is called 'First Begetter'. Then, in Codex 5.1, "who is called 'Savior'" is added. The material is then represented in NHC 3.4 (below) as the "Sophia of Jesus Christ". Robin Lane-Fox summarises this as: "A pagan letter of "Eugnostos the Blessed" (NHC 3.3) was then given a christian preface and a conclusion (NHC 5.1) and represented in another copy (NHC 3.4) as the "wisdom" which Jesus revealed to his Apostles after his death.. See also the comments of Arnaldo Momigliano on the "Christianization of literature". | [Wiki] | [Google]
3 4 The Sophia of Jesus Christ Parrott Gnostic - Fabrication: See also NHC 5.1 and 3.3. Robin Lane-Fox summarises this as: "A pagan letter of "Eugnostos the Blessed" (NHC 3.3) was then given a christian preface and a conclusion (NHC 5.1) and represented in another copy (NHC 3.4) as the "wisdom" which Jesus revealed to his Apostles after his death.. See also the comments of Arnaldo Momigliano on the "Christianization of literature". | [Wiki] | [Google]
3 5 The Dialogue of the Savior Emmel Gnostic: "The lamp of the body is the mind." The text is somewhat peculiarly constructed, containing also a few large interruptions seemingly out of place within, and only superficially edited into, the dialogue. Starting with a series of questions ultimately concerning esoteric knowledge and its pursuit, the text abruptly turns to a description of the origin of the world, interrupted briefly by a return to dialogue. Having expounded the description of creation, it returns to the gnostic question and answer session about how to achieve salvation via gnosis, but is abruptly interrupted by a natural history list of the Four Elements, the powers of heaven and earth, and so forth. After the history list, there is an apocalyptic vision, in which Didymous Judas Thomas, Mary, and Matthew, are shown hell from the safety of the edge of the earth, and an angel announces that the material world was an unintended evil creation (see Yaltabaoth). Finally, the text returns to the question-based dialogue. The rather artificial manner in which other texts (the vision of hell, the natural history list, and the creation theory) appear to have been inserted into a question-based dialogue, and the abrupt change half way through from referring to Jesus as Lord to referring to him as Saviour, has led many to propose that it is based on four or five different original works. However, due to the damage that the text has suffered, study of it has so far proven too difficult to identify what these texts might be (although the dialog shares an affinity with the Gospel of Thomas). Although the text appears to be misogynist in its command to destroy the works of femaleness, it is generally considered that this was a reference to destroying sexuality and thus reproduction, thus suppressing carnal desire. | [Wiki] | [Google]
4 Codex 4: "... is bound with a bargain basement cover, cheap papyrus, and no flap." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
4 1 The Apocryphon of John Wisse Gnostic - Sethian: (See also NHC 3.1)Also known as "The Secret Book of John" and "The Secret Revelation of John" each depending upon how the word "Apocryphon" is translated. It describes Jesus Christ appearing and giving secret knowledge (gnosis) to the apostle John. The author describes this having occurred after Jesus "has gone back to the place from which he came". The two surviving Coptic manuscripts of the shorter version of The Apocryphon of John -- found in the Berlin Codex and Nag Hammadi Library Codex III -- are very similar, but they are not identical. [Non identical duplicate at NHC 3.1] | [Wiki] | [Google]
4 2 The Gospel of the Egyptians Bohlig & Wisse Gnostic - Sethian: (See also NHC 3.2) aka "The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit" Commences: "The holy book of the Egyptians about the great invisible Spirit, the Father whose name cannot be uttered..." The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into being, how Seth, in the Gnostic interpretation, is incarnated as Jesus in order to release people's souls from the evil prison that is creation. It also contains a hymn, parts of which are unusual in being apparently meaningless sequences of vowels (thought to be a representation of early Christian glossolalia), although the vowels of the final paragraph (u aei eis aei ei o ei ei os ei) can be partitioned to read (in Greek) who exists as Son for ever and ever. You are what you are, you are who you are. | [Wiki] | [Google]
5 Codex 5: "... is bound with a bargain basement cover, cheap papyrus, and no flap." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
5 1 Eugnostos the Blessed Parrott Gnostic - Letter: See also NHC 3.3 and 3.4. This is the primary gnostic version. NHC 3.3 reads ... "The first aeon, then, is that of Immortal Man. The second aeon is that of Son of Man, who is called 'First Begetter'. Then, in Codex 5.1, "who is called 'Savior'" is added. The material is then represented in NHC 3.4 (below) as the "Sophia of Jesus Christ". Robin Lane-Fox summarises this as: "A pagan letter of "Eugnostos the Blessed" (NHC 3.3) was then given a christian preface and a conclusion (NHC 5.1) and represented in another copy (NHC 3.4) as the "wisdom" which Jesus revealed to his Apostles after his death.. See also the comments of Arnaldo Momigliano on the "Christianization of literature". | [Wiki] | [Google]
5 2 The Apocalypse of Paul MacRae & Murdock Gnostic - Sethian: The Gnostic text describes the ascent of Paul through various stages of Heaven, with Yaltabaoth (described as an old man on a throne) attempting to prevent further ascent. A soul that fails to have the knowledge (gnosis) required to defeat Yaltabaoth here, is sent back, in the vision, to be reincarnated. | [Wiki] | [Google]
5 3 The (First) Apocalypse of James Schoedel Gnostic - Valentinian : Also called "the Revelation of Jacob". Another copy has more recently been found in the Codex Tchacos. The form of the text is primarily that of a Revelation Dialogue/Discourse between James the Just (the brother of Jesus - according to the text, James is not a biological brother but a spiritual brother)[4] and Jesus, with a rather fragmentary account of the martyrdom of James(?) appended to the bottom of the manuscript, connected to the remainder by an oblique reference to crucifixion. The first portion of the text describes James' understandable concern about being crucified, whereas the latter portion describes secret passwords given to James so that he can ascend to the highest heaven (out of seventy-two) after dying, without being blocked by evil powers of the demiurge. | [Wiki] | [Google]
5 4 The (Second) Apocalypse of James Hedrick Gnostic : The text features a kiss between James and Jesus, on the lips, in a similar manner to the way in which Jesus is said to have kissed Mary Magdalene in other gnostic texts (which lent credence to the idea that early tradition considered Mary to be the Beloved Disciple). "And Jesus kissed my mouth. He took hold of me saying, 'My beloved! Behold, I shall reveal to you those things that the heavens nor the angels have known. Behold, I shall reveal to you everything, my beloved. Behold, I shall reveal to you what is hidden. But now, stretch out your hand. Now, take hold of me' However, the text also describes how such a kiss was a metaphor for the passing of gnosis, explaining the references to it elsewhere, making it clear that this isn't the homosexual relationship it appears to be. The text ends with the rather gruesome death of James by stoning, possibly reflecting an early oral tradition of what became of James: they decided to throw him down from the height, and they cast him down....they seized him and struck him as they dragged him on the ground. They stretched him out and placed a stone on his abdomen. They all placed their feet on him, saying, 'You have erred!' Again they raised him up, since he was alive, and made him dig a hole. They made him stand in it. After having covered him up to his abdomen, they stoned him. | [Wiki] | [Google]
5 5 The Apocalypse of Adam MacRae Gnostic - Sethian: It has no necessary references to Christianity "the revelations which Adam made known to Seth, his son" Adam in his 700th year tells Seth how he learned a word of knowledge of the eternal God from Eve and that he and Eve were indeed more powerful than their supposed creator. But that knowledge was lost in the fall when the subcreator - the demiurge - separated Adam and Eve. Adam relates how three mysterious strangers brought about Seth's begetting and so a preservation of this knowledge. Adam then prophecies at length attempts of the subcreator god to destroy mankind, including the prophecy of the great Deluge and of attempted destruction by fire but an Illuminator will come in the end. When the Illuminator comes, thirteen kingdoms proclaim thirteen different standard but conflicting birth legends about the Illuminator, but only the "generation without a king" proclaims the truth. | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 Codex 6: "... is bound with a high quality leather cover, and leather reinforcement lining spine" - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
6 1 The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles Parrott & Wilson Gnostic - (Asclepian?): The text contains two parts, an initial allegory, and a subsequent gnostic exposition of its meaning. The allegory describes the tale, similar to the Parable of the Pearl in the Gospel of Matthew, of a pearl man Lithargoel who is selling a pearl at a great price. Lithargoel is shunned by the rich but the poor attend him in droves, and learn that the pearl is kept at the home city of the merchant, "Nine Gates", rather than being carried on him. As such those who desire it must trek the arduous journey to Nine Gates..... The embodied (Soul) who has controlled his nature having renounced all actions by the mind dwells at ease in the City of Nine Gates, neither working nor causing work to be done. --- Bhagvad Gita 5:13 ..... The name Lithargoel, which the text translates as being "lightweight, glistening stone", suggest that Lithargoel himself is the "pearl". See also an Analysis of TAOPATTA | [Wiki] | [Google] | [TAOPATTA]
6 2 The Thunder, Perfect Mind MacRae Gnostic - Nonchristian : "I, I am godless, and I am the one whose God is great."The Thunder - Perfect Intellect, takes the form of an extended, riddling monologue, in which an immanent saviour speaks a series of paradoxical statements concerning the divine feminine nature. These paradoxical utterances echo Greek identity riddles, a common poetic form in the Mediterranean | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 3 Authoritative Teaching MacRae Gnostic - Nonchristian: "This her true shepherd taught her in knowledge." | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 4 The Concept of Our Great Power Wisse Gnostic - Nonchristian: ""He who will know our great Power will become invisible, and fire will not be able to consume him. But it will purge and destroy all of your possessions."." | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 5 Plato, Republic 588A-589B Brashler Gnostic - Political Message: See the analysis results of Comparing Plato' Republic in the Nag Hammadi coptic to the Original Greek. The monsters of Plato's ancient fables "have now become natural creatures", and are loose in the Republic presented in the Nag Hammadi version. Once they existed as many fabulous monsters in tales, but now they have become a single monster. Yes, they were the subject of tales in Plato. But in the Coptic these monsters (now a single monster) lived in the empire, and it was commanded to work in the empire. Things were grim. | [Wiki-Republic] | [Google]
6 6 The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth Brashler, Dirkse, Parrott Gnostic - Platonic/Hermetic: HERMES - "I understand Mind, Hermes, who cannot be interpreted, because he keeps within himself. And I rejoice, my father, because I see you smiling. And the universe rejoices.". "Mind Matters Most". | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 7 The Prayer of Thanksgiving (with scribal note) Brashler, Dirkse, Parrott Gnostic - Hermetic: Scribal Note: "I have copied this one discourse of his (Hermes). Indeed, very many have come to me. I have not copied them because I thought that they had come to you (pl.). Also, I hesitate to copy these for you because, perhaps they have (already) come to you, and the matter may burden you. Since the discourses of that one, which have come to me, are numerous ..." | [Wiki] | [Google]
6 8 Asclepius 21-29 Brashler, Dirkse, Parrott Gnostic - Hermetic/Asclepian: HERMES to Asclepius "Trismegistus, who are these (daimons)?" "Asclepius, they are the ones who are called 'stranglers', and those who roll souls down on the dirt, and those who scourge them, and those who cast into the water, and those who cast into the fire, and those who bring about the pains and calamities of men. | [Wiki] | [Google]
7 Codex 7: "... is bound with an undistinguished primitive cover." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
7 1 The Paraphrase of Shem Wisse Gnostic - Nonchristian: Commences with ..."[The] paraphrase which was about the unbegotten Spirit." . | [Wiki] | [Google]
7 2 The Second Treatise of the Great Seth Bullard & Gibbons Gnostic - Docetic: It depicts a Jesus who did not die on the cross. "For my death, which they think happened, (happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death...It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I[t] was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns...And I was laughing at their ignorance." (Jesus as purported narrator). Elsewhere .... "we were hated and persecuted, not only by those who are ignorant, but also by those who think that they are advancing the name of Christ, since they were unknowingly empty, not knowing who they are, like dumb animals. They persecuted those who have been liberated by me, since they hate them..." . | [Wiki] | [Google]
7 3 The (Gnostic) Apocalypse of Peter Brashler & Bullard Gnostic - Docetic: The text takes gnostic interpretations of the crucifixion to the extreme, picturing Jesus as laughing and warning against people who cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking they shall become pure. According to this text: "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.". Not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Peter. It warns against the Bishops ..... "And there shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also deacons, as if they have received their authority from God. They bend themselves under the judgment of the leaders. Those people are dry canals." | [Wiki] | [Google] Christian:
7 4 The Teachings of Silvanus Peel & Zandee Christian Teachings ?: Post Nicaean hypostasis? Text at 99.13 states "Christ has a single hypostasis" (hidden spiritual reality) and 102.3, which states "Christ is incomprehensible with respect to his hypostasis. The word hypostasis was later adopted as part of the doctrine of the Trinity of Nicaene Christianity. It is not seem a Gnostic text, but has some anti-gnostic warnings, along with orthodox Christian teachings in including verses 110,14-19:[1] "Know who Christ is, and acquire him as a friend, for this is the friend who is faithful. He is God and teacher. This one, being God became man for your sake." | [Wiki] | [Google]
7 5 The Three Steles of Seth Robinson Gnostic - Sethian: The text concerns a revelation to Dositheos about three steles (text written into specially created stones). Many scholars think they are designed as liturgy. The text is thought to be from the Sethian sect of Gnostics (the sect that viewed the biblical Seth as their hero, who was reincarnated as Jesus). Extract: "Know therefore, as those who live, that you have attained. And you taught yourselves the infinite things. Marvel at the truth which is within them, and (at) the revelation." | [Wiki] | [Google]
8 Codex 8: "... is bound with a bargain basement cover, cheap papyrus, and no flap." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
8 1 Zostrianos Sieber Gnostic - Sethian: the text concerns a vision received by a man named Zostrianos and explains and enumerates, in great detail, the emanations that the Gnostics said are produced by God (the true, highest, god), in the Gnostic's esoteric cosmology. Within the text there are indications that the Sethians had developed ideas of monism, an idea from Platonism which is thought to have become part of Sethianism towards the end of the 3rd century. Extract: "The [Invisible] Spirit [is] a psychic and intellectual power, a knower and a fore-knower." | [Wiki] | [Google]
8 2 The Letter of Peter to Philip Wisse Gnostic: The Apostles have more questions. After melodrama and pyrotechnics, Jesus asks the apostles gathered on the Mount of Olives .... "Why are you asking me?" Therefollows a narrative and gnostic discourse. Another copy of the letter has more recently been found in the Codex Tchacos. | [Wiki] | [Google]
9 Codex 9: "... is bound with a high quality leather cover, and leather reinforcement lining spine" - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
9 1 Melchizedek Wisse Gnostic - Sethian: Here it is proposed that Melchizedek is Jesus Christ[35]. Melchizedek, as Jesus Christ, lives, preaches, dies and is resurrected, in a gnostic perspective. The Coming of the Son of God Melchizedek speaks of his return to bring peace, supported by the gods, and he is a priest-king who dispenses justice. | [Wiki] | [Google]
9 2 The Thought of Norea Giversen & Pearson Gnostic - Sethian: TEXT: "Father of All, Ennoia of the Light, dwelling in the heights above the (regions) below, Light dwelling in the heights, Voice of Truth, upright Nous, untouchable Logos, and ineffable Voice, incomprehensible Father! It is Norea who cries out to them. They heard, [and] they received her into her place forever. They gave it to her in the Father of Nous, Adamas, as well as the voice of the Holy Ones, in order that she might rest in the ineffable Epinoia, in order that [she] might inherit the first mind which [she] had received, and that [she] might rest in the divine Autogenes, and that she (too) might generate herself, just as she also has inherited the living Logos, and that she might be joined to all of the Imperishable Ones, and speak with the mind of the Father. And she began to speak with the words of Life, and [she] remained in the presence of the Exalted One, possessing that which she had received before the world came into being. She has the great mind of the Invisible One, and she gives glory to [her] Father, and she dwells within those who [are actively awake] within the Pleroma, and she beholds the Pleroma. There will be days when she will behold the Pleroma, and she will not be in deficiency, for she has the four holy helpers who intercede on her behalf with the Father of the All, Adamas. He it is who is within all of the Adams, possessing the thought of Norea, who speaks concerning the two names which create a single name." | [Wiki] | [Google]
9 3 The Testimony of Truth Giversen & Pearson Gnostic: The text tells the story of the Garden of Eden from the viewpoint of the serpent. Here the serpent, long known to appear in Gnostic literature as the principle of divine wisdom, convinces Adam and Eve to partake of knowledge while "the Lord" threatens them with death, trying jealously to prevent them from attaining knowledge, and expelling them from Paradise when they achieve it. The text is different from many other Christian texts in that it doesn't portray martyrdom as something to be glorified: "The foolish, thinking in their heart that if they confess "We are Christians," in word only but not with power, while giving themselves over to a human death, not knowing where they are going or who Christ is, thinking that they will live while they are really in error, hasten toward the principalities and the authorities.". The text introduces a novel tradition to the baptism of Jesus by John: "But the Son of Man came forth from Imperishability, being alien to defilement. He came to the world by the Jordan river, and immediately the Jordan turned back. And John bore witness to the descent of Jesus. For it is he who saw the power which came down upon the Jordan river; for he knew that the dominion of carnal procreation had come to an end. The Jordan river is the power of the body, that is, the senses of pleasures. The water of the Jordan is the desire for sexual intercourse. John is the archon of the womb. | [Wiki] | [Google]
10 Codex 10: "... is bound with a high quality leather cover, and leather reinforcement lining spine" - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
10 1 Marsanes Pearson Gnostic - Sethian: The text describes a very elaborate esoteric cosmogony of successive emanations from an original God, as revealed by Marsanes. Within the text there are indications that the Sethians had developed ideas of monism, an idea comparable to Heracleon's notion of universal perfection and permanence as expressed through the constancy of the total mass of things within it (that is, all matter in the universe may only change form, and may not be created or destroyed), and the later Stoic insistence of nothing existing beyond the material. An extract: "Control yourselves, receive the imperishable seed, bear fruit, and do not become attached to your possessions." | [Wiki] | [Google]
11 Codex 11: "... is bound with an undistinguished primitive cover." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
11 1 The Interpretation of Knowledge Turner Gnostic - Docetic:Text commences ... (13 lines missing) ... "they came to believe by means of signs and wonders and fabrications. The likeness that came to be through them followed him, but through reproaches and humiliations before they received the apprehension of a vision they fled without having heard that the Christ had been crucified. But our generation is fleeing since it does not yet even believe that the Christ is alive" Further, the text continues ....And he was crucified and he died - not his own death, for he did not at all deserve to die because of the church of mortals. And he was nailed so that they might keep him in the Church." | [Wiki] | [Google]
11 2 A Valentinian Exposition Turner Gnostic - Valentinian:The author begins by promising to reveal "my mystery", and follows the account with baptismal and eucharistic prayers and benedictions. | [Wiki] | [Google]
11 3 Allogenes Turner & Wintermute Gnostic - Sethian: The text concerns revelations to Allogenes.[1] Allogenes proceeds to describe how he overcame fear and ignorance, and ascended to the esoteric realm of the God of the Gnostics. A small fragment also survives in the more recently discovered Codex Tchacos. Extract: "The Triple-Powered-One"... "When the completion of the one hundred years drew nigh, it brought me a blessedness of the eternal hope full of auspiciousness. I saw the good divine Autogenes; and the Savior, who is the youthful, perfect Triple-Male Child; and his goodness, the noetic perfect Protophanes-Harmedon; and the blessedness of the Kalyptos; and the primary origin of the blessedness, the Aeon of Barbelo, full of divinity; and the primary origin of the one without origin, the spiritual, invisible Triple-Powered One, the Universal One that is higher than perfect." | [Wiki] | [Google] Non-Christian:
11 4 Hypsiphrone Turner Gnostic - Sethian: Hypsiphrone meaning "woman of high mind", commences: "The book concerning the things that were seen by Hypsiphrone being revealed in the place of her virginity." | [Wiki] | [Google]
12 Codex 12: "... is poorly preserved." - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
12 1 The Sentences of Sextus Wisse Gnostic - Hellenistic Pythagorean: The work is similar to the sayings gospels Gospel of Phillip and Gospel of Thomas in that it is purely a collection of sayings, with no bridging framework. Unlike the Christian sayings gospels, the wisdom comes from a man named Sextus rather than Jesus. Sextus appears to have been a Pythagorean. Some of the 104 sentences are: The soul is illuminated by the recollection of deity Bear that which is necessary, as it is necessary Be not anxious to please the multitude Esteem nothing so precious, which a bad man may take from you Use lying like poison Nothing is so peculiar to wisdom, as truth Wish that you may be able to benefit your enemies A wise intellect is the mirror of God Cast away any part of the body that would cause you not to live abstinently. For it is better to live abstinently without this part than ruinously with it. (quoted by Origen, Contra Celsum, viii. 30; Commentary on Matthew, xv. 3) | [Wiki] | [Google]
12 2 The Gospel of Truth Grant Gnostic - Valentinian: (See also NHC 1.3) Fragmentary 2nd copy | [Wiki] | [Google]
12 3 Unknown Unknown Status unknown - Fragments (translation not provided)
13 Codex 13: "... is reduced to 16 pages" - The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices James M. Robinson. (The question of "Sub-Libraries")
13 1 Trimorphic Protennoia Turner Gnostic - Sethian/Neoplatonic: Makes use of fully developed Neoplatonism and thus need to be dated after Plotinus. Hypsiphrone meaning "woman of high mind", commences: "The book concerning the things that were seen by Hypsiphrone being revealed in the place of her virginity." | [Wiki] | [Google] i.
13 2 On the Origin of the World Bethge & Layton Gnostic: It rethinks the entire story of Genesis, and positions Yaldabaoth (the Demiurge) as the creator of the world, fulfilling the role of God in Genesis. Furthermore, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted as a hero sent by Sophia to guide mankind towards enlightenment. The one reference to Jesus is - "another being, called Jesus Christ, who resembles the savior above in the eighth heaven, and who sits at his right upon a revered throne" Duplicated at NHC 2.5 | [Wiki] | [Google]

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Nag Hammadi Codexes

A Review of the Scribal Evidence c.348 CE

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Editorial Comments (2011) - [Draft]




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Editorial Comments (2007)




Related Items:

Robert Lane Fox's summary of the Nag Hammadi codices
Arnaldo Momigliano on the "christianisation" of literature in the fourth century.
Radiocarbon Dating the Gnostic Gospels: The C14 results are available for two separate Gnostic Gospels: the Gospel of Thomas (NHC 2.2) and the Gospel of Judas.
Academic Commentary on the New Testament Apocrypha: Did the gnostics second-rate Jesus?.
The Apocrypha Masterlist:Listings of the entire New Testament Apocryphal literature by mainstream chronological estimates, and type (ie: Acts, Gospels, etc).
The Non Canonical "Leucian Acts": Analysis of a number of the standard translations of the non canonical "Acts of the Apostles" reveals a distinct signature of anti-christian polemic.
The Therapeutae of Asclepius - The evidence


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