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The Essential Gnostic Gospels: Including the Gospel of Thomas & the Gospel of Mary

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  190 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The Gnostics were early Christians whose beliefs and practices put them at odds with the orthodox Church; indeed, the Church considered Gnostics to be heretics and made a concerted effort to destroy their writings. However, in 1945, a remarkable discovery was made in Nag Hamadi, in the Egyptian desert: a jar containing 13 papyrus documents, dating back to the fourth centur ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Paul Watkins (first published August 31st 2005)
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Emma Sea
This was not the book I was looking for. I wanted, I guess, something more academic: a commentary on the gnostic gospels. This is selections from the gnostic gospels (13 of 53), translated into "free verse form, paraphrased from the . . . literal prose translations" (p. v). In addition, "obscurities have been omitted." Jacobs argues that this "preserves the essential meaning," but the very point of the early Christian texts is that their meanings were layered within the words, designed to be sea ...more
Aug 28, 2008 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I try to embrace all truth (seeking learning out of the "best books"), and after reading this, I have to's interesting and there has to be something to it. I didn't read anything that went counter to my religious beliefs, just pure teaching. Very interesting to know there are other writings out there that support and add truth to what is already canonized or ratified as scripture. The "conjecture" by contributing authors of course, included in this text is just that...but they are only ...more
I picked this particular collection up in England. I love this translation of the classic gnostic gospels because it is poetic and ver well versed - and keeps the meening intact better than any other english translation. Very good book - and inspiring for the English Gnostic reader.
William Peace
Jun 10, 2013 William Peace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religous
I was somewhat disappointed with this book. I know the New Testament reasonably well and I was hoping for some new insights, particularly about the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.
However, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, on which the theories of an intimate relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus are apparently based, makes such theories seem pretty far-fetched. This Gospel reports that Jesus 'loved her more than the rest of women', and that Jesus' other disciples were somewhat
Mar 13, 2015 Gregg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jacobs' edition of the Gnostic Gospels is the perfect size and companion to a progressive spiritual life. I used the book while teaching a class on books "banned" from the Bible, and found myself buying a half-dozen or more of these books after the fact, in the event they became hard to come by.

There are headier editions to be sure, and certainly more complete ones. But if a quick and handy read of the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Mary, etcetera is all you're really after, this edition is hard
Tina Cunningham
Jan 21, 2016 Tina Cunningham rated it it was ok
I have no previous experience with Gnostic writing. I found this book to be obtuse and so vague as to be inscrutable. It certainly didn't unlock any mysteries or shed new light. The modern translation is jarring at times, and I doubt some of the language and terms were in use at the time of writing. I actually purchased this book and will donate it to the public library.
Feb 02, 2009 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, written in verse without footnotes or academic drivel, this was the translation of the Gnostics I was looking for. Someone looking for a more in-depth analysis should pick up "The Nag Hammadi Library," which is fantastic in its own rite. These translated texts read similarly to other religious texts such as the Tao Te Ching, etc. Remarkable and insightful regardless of its lack of canonization--a pleasant and uplifting reminder that men, not God, wrote the Bible.
It's hard to tell why these books were excised from the bible. Many of them are missing huge portions, thanks to Constantine or who knows who or why. It's still fascinating to read "contemporary" reactions to the figure of Jesus Christ. Witness the differing opinions that Jesus was a god to be worshipped or just a prophet meant to deliver an important message from god regarding how to live with one another and know godself.
Aug 04, 2014 Skyla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
So grateful for these books that may actually be speaking about the man Jesus, the mystic. Brings him to life as a human contemporary of the writer, maybe. Gives me hope that the heart of the biblical gospels have at least some kernel of truth within them.
Aug 27, 2008 Corey marked it as to-read
this i plan to read along side 'the other bible.' To give a different perspectives on the difference in interpretation and rewriting of the gnostic scriptures.
Dec 11, 2009 Ryan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I've flipped through this one at the library but never actually picked it up. from what I could gather, it looks quite interesting
Jul 27, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
Not as good as I expected. It was more gnostic and philosophical, than religious about Jesus.
Dec 26, 2008 Kirsten is currently reading it
THis is a hard book to read! I think I need to read it out loud to really "get it"
Apr 13, 2011 Chad rated it really liked it
Incredibly poetic and beautiful interpretation of Gnostic scriptures.
Jul 09, 2007 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
kind of cryptic, in poetic form...isn't really coherent.
Sep 29, 2015 Duncan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Font waste your time reading this !!
Aug 21, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
True sounds of liberty.
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Alan Jacobs (Alan^^Jacobs) was born in 1929 in London. From an early age, he has been interested in religion and mysticism. He commenced a personal search for truth, and studied comparative religion. He then entered the Gurdjieff Society in 1957 and remained there until the early seventies. He then met Jiddu Krishnamurti, and studied his teachings until 1979.

Next, he discovered Ramana Maharshi and
More about Alan Jacobs...

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