A superbly edited collection by the world's leading Gnostic scholars, this Folio edition opens the window on a remarkable and enlightening discovery.
In 1945, thirteen papyrus books that had lain buried since the 4th century were discovered in an earthenware jar near Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt. These were the Gnostic Gospels, alternative Christian texts which challenge those of the New Testament at every turn. In this superb collection, the world's leading Gnostic scholars shed light on an exciting and controversial discovery.
'These are the hidden sayings that the living Jesus spoke, Judas Thomas the Twin recorded ...'
In 1945, thirteen papyrus books that had lain buried since the 4th century were discovered in an earthenware jar near Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt. Over 1,500 years of neglect, however, was nothing compared to what happened to them upon discovery: the books were burned in an oven, confiscated and sold on the black market, before they were eventually deciphered. It is a miracle in itself that they survived. What they revealed stunned the world.
These were the Gnostic Gospels, alternative Christian texts – poems, myths, philosophy and gospels – which challenge those of the New Testament at every turn. The Gospel of Thomas records sayings of Jesus unlike any we have ever heard; that of Philip describes Mary Magdalene as Christ's companion 'whom he loved more than all the disciples'. One text tells the story of the Garden of Eden from the serpent's point of view, while another casts God as partly feminine. Lyrical and powerful, there is no doubting the passion and devotion that created this poetry.
'Nag Hammadi ... is transforming what we know about Christianity – and its mysterious founder'
Recent scholarship indicates that many of these documents were contemporary with the New Testament. So why were they suppressed? Did they represent 'inconvenient truths' which the early church fathers wanted obliterated at all costs? In this superb collection, which includes three other uncovered treasures – the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary and the Book of the Stranger – the world's leading Gnostic scholars open the window in order to shed light onto one of archaeology's most exciting and controversial discoveries.
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