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The Gnostic Discoveries

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews

The Meaning of the Nag Hammadi, now in paperback opens the with the thrilling adventure story of the discovery of the ancient Papyrii at Nag Hammadi. Muhammad Ali, the fellahin, discovered the sealed jar, he feared that it might contain a jinni, or spirit, but also had heard of hidden treasures in such jars. Greed overcame his fears and when he smashed open the jar, gold s

ebook, 256 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (NYC) (first published 2005)
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Apr 29, 2016 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An overview of one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century: the Nag Hammadi Library, which is a collection of religious documents dating back to around 350 AD and earlier. Some of these documents provided inspiration for Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code.

The documents were found in 1945 near Nag Hammadi Egypt. It is thought that they were probably buried by monks from a nearby monastery who wanted to save them.

Some of the titles of the works are Gospel of Thomas, Se
Okay but superficial introduction to the Nag Hammadi texts and the so-called Berlin Gnostic Codex, which provide the text of a large number of texts pertaining to the so-called gnostic religious tendencies in antiquity (generally dualistic in nature, with some varieties heavily influenced by Christianity and others being more pagan or Jewish in affiliation). The author was a major academic in the study of gnostic texts, and what he says is generally reliable. His own bias is a clear dislike of t ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
I just came back to this small book after googling back into "prehistory" and "history of writing systems." I've also read Pagels, Crossen, Ehrman on the gnostic discoveries at Nag Hammadi. In this reading, I noticed he mentions that some of the texts/scrolls aren't gnostic in origin, some from the mystery religions, some secular, etc. It's a useful reference and gives good context to some of the books that focus, say, on just one codex (usually the gospels, as in Judas, Mary, Thomas, etc.)
Jun 04, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the Nag Hammadi documents contained cosmology far beyond my understanding, but I was able to pick up some general, intriguing themes. The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of Jesus's sayings, basically "Jesus says . . .." The book promises that whoever follows the wisdom of the sayings "shall not taste death." This is substantially different than the Synoptic Gospels, which were written around the same time, that claim if you believe in Jesus as the son of God, then you'll have everlastin ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Gnosticism is a school of thought within ancient Christianity that rejected the centrality of Jesus' crucifiction and the authority of the Catholic Church, instead focusing on the importance of direct mystical experience with God and the cultivation of the Christ-figure within the individual. As such, the ancient Church declared the Gnostics heretics, and rounded up most of the Gnostic holy texts (including the Gospels of Thomas, Mary, and Judas), and destroyed them. In 1945 a group of ancient G ...more
Jul 13, 2013 Cliff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got very interested in the various Apocryphal books recently, and I've been studying some of them on my own, but figured I'd read this as a place to start. I was hoping for something engaging that would help me lay a foundation from which to understand the underline issues. The problem with this book is, not only does it not do that, it really doesn't do much of anything useful.

Meyers does a pretty good job of explaining the source of where various documents come from, I.e the Nag Hammadi libr
Page 55: "From an historical point of view, orthodoxy and heresy may be understood as rhetorical constructs, as Karen King states, fashioned in the arena of political debate. Understood in this light, orthodoxy and heresy have little to do with truth and falsehood and everything to do with power and position. In a vote, the majority defines what is orthodox, and the minority is charged with being heretical."
Susan Ferguson
Interesting discussion of the gnostic texts. I had not fully understood what they were, but this opened my knowledge a little bit. I don't know how much belief I put in them - many of them are just fragments - but it is a new way to look at Jesus and his apostles. I have decided I will have to read more about the gnostic writings to learn more and decide how I really feel about them.
Erik Graff
Oct 27, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gnosticism fans maybe
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: religion
This book is only in small part about the 1945 discoveries in Nag Hammadi and that part is mostly lifted, with appropriate acknowledgments, from James M. Robinson. What it actually focuses on are two collections: the Berlin Codex and those codices from Nag Hammadi--and then mostly on the texts, some of them overlapping, themselves.

The focus on texts, presented only in part, is unfortunate because here Meyer offers very little insight and nothing I could discern as new. Other, complete collection
Steven Percifield
To have benefitted from the reading of this work, one would need to be a dedicated student of the early Christian period.

In my case, this very scholarly treatise fell upon deaf (non-scholarly) ears.

If there is one thing I was able to infer from it, it is that those who established the traditions of the of the early Church were likely at the root of the misogynistic attitudes which characterize--to this day--many European and Middle Eastern-derived culture.
Aug 08, 2008 Lee is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A scholarly view of the Nag Hammadi libraries, a collection of "underground" early Christian texts, which have been more or less suppressed by the church since the 4th century.
Not exactly a page-turner, but vital and fascinating reading for anyone interested in this period of history
Aug 17, 2012 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is best book outlining the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library I've ever seen. I love Marvin Meyer's translations of the gospels as well. Awesome for those who are curious about what the gospels are and where they were discovered.
(C) 60% | Unsatisfactory
Notes: A really dry and dull academic text that provides the thinnest of overviews on the subject and presumes familiarity.
Aug 12, 2011 Vickie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a fastinating book - easy for the novice to read & understand. Inspired me to learn more about Gnostism.
Trey Nowell
Mar 17, 2015 Trey Nowell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall ha a good foundation of works, very factual.
A must read for those who really want to KNOW.
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Marvin Meyer is a scholar of religion and a tenured professor at Chapman University, in Orange, California.

He is the Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University and Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute. He is also Director of the Coptic Magical Texts Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. Dr. Meyer is the author of numerous books and articles on G
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