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The Nag Hammadi Library

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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,894 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
The Nag Hammadi Library was discovered in 1945 buried in a large stone jar in the desert outside the modern Egyptian city of Nag Hammadi. It is a collection of religious and philosophic texts gathered and translated into Coptic by fourth-century Gnostic Christians and translated into English by dozens of highly reputable experts. First published in 1978, this is the revise ...more
Paperback, Revised, 576 pages
Published November 21st 1990 by Harper (first published 1977)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
Oct 13, 2014 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gnosticism fans
Recommended to Erik by: Elaine H. Pagels
Shelves: religion
The scholarly controversy about the nature and origins of gnosticism was the topic of my undergraduate thesis at Grinnell College and a subject of further study at Union Theological Seminary, most particularly with Cyril Richardson and Elaine Pagels. It has remained an intellectual hobby since then.

The appearance of the long-discussed Nag Hammadi codices in an affordable English edition was a happy event. Breaking with usual habits, I bought it new, possibly at the bookstore of the C.G. Jung Ins
...more
Adrienne
Sep 28, 2007 Adrienne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gnostics or anyone curious about biblical history and time period
Sometime last year I decided...well heck I'm going to read the King James from beginning to end...which I did. And it took me a few months to do it in! I read it every morning when I woke, on my lunch breaks at work and in bed before falling asleep at night. I was always affraid to read the bible because I didn't want to get pissed off at all the woman hating in it. OR SO the church made me believe when I was younger, EVE this and Mary M that etc... Wellll I TOTALLY enjoyed the bible! And it WAS ...more
Roumissette
Aug 13, 2011 Roumissette rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beginners and Advanced Spiritualists :)
Recommended to Roumissette by: friend
Only missing in this book, is the Gospel of Judas, but then since it was only translated into English in 2006, it is understandably so.

There are many profound texts in the Nag Hammadi Library, and it really shows how much of Jesus' own teachings was thought as heretical by the Fathers of the Church and how much they were separated and blind from His own teachings since so many of His texts did not make it to the Bible.

I would recommend reading the Flight of The Feathered Serpent by Armando Cosan
...more
63alfred
Aug 22, 2010 63alfred rated it really liked it
Ahh, if only we were all exposed to ALL the books of the New Testament instead of just a sanitized four.
Joe Kolbek
Sep 13, 2014 Joe Kolbek rated it it was amazing
The earliest of the Gnostic Gospels derive roughly from the same century as the canonical Gospel of John (2nd century CE, which, with its curious introduction and fantastic imagery, was written to read like its competition). "Gnostic" is actually an umbrella term later used to describe a multitude of disparate sects of disparate origin (including Hermeticism; the Nag Hammadi Library contains several tracts considered Hermetic), which were, nevertheless, united by an extent of structural (cosmol ...more
Dr.J.G.
The official blurb gives reasons to read this book, more than that, reasons why anyone caring about history and truth thereof would probably find this worth a read. -

"This revised, expanded, and updated edition of The Nag Hammadi Library is the only complete, one-volume, modern language version of the renowned library of fourth-century manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945. First published in 1978, The Nag Hammadi Library launched modern Gnostic studies and exposed a movement whose teachings
...more
Don Pulsipher
Nov 12, 2008 Don Pulsipher rated it really liked it
It's always a fun to get different points of view on a subject. The Gnostics believed that a human can reach enlightenment by following secret teachings from Jesus, without the aid of an organized church. Naturally this made them targets of the early Catholic church who wished to establish its own authority as the way to heaven.
Logan Marlowe
Feb 09, 2010 Logan Marlowe rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of ancient religious writings found in Egypt in the 1920s I think. My favorites are the gospels that didn't make it into the Bible, such as the ones that show Mary Magdalene as knowing as much as or more than Peter and the other disciples. If you're open to a different view of early Christianity, read this.
Donna
Apr 14, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Actually life changing for me. Beliefs became a very different thing after reading parts of this. It is something you can skip around in, read bits and pieces, look through, study. Very, very important book - for all brought up in a JudeoChristian household.
Kate
Dec 02, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, reference
These are primary sources of The Gospel of Thomas and other gnostic writings. Fascinating background and context for anyone interested in late Biblical history.
Marcela
Aug 14, 2014 Marcela rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
I read this in college for one of my major courses. It's one of the books I've kept, years later. Completely fascinating.
Josh
Jul 20, 2012 Josh marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-and-unread
This is one of my cooler Goodwill finds.
Michael Herrman
Apr 06, 2012 Michael Herrman rated it really liked it
A fundamentalist's worst nightmare.
April Parr
May 19, 2015 April Parr rated it really liked it
Honestly I'd forgotten that I hadn't updated this since finishing it.

It's really hard to know what to say. It's interesting to learn about what was deemed by the church to be "non-canonical" to be honest, and I enjoyed quite a few of the books in the Nag Hammadi library. Possibly one of the most interesting portions had to do with Jesus as a child.

I'm not a Christian, I don't believe in any of the myth or legend behind it all, but I have to say that if some of these had been a part of the fictio
...more
David Sarkies
Dec 26, 2015 David Sarkies rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Archeologists and Ancient Historians
Recommended to David by: Holy Trinity Church
Shelves: philosophy
A Collection of Ancient Gnostic Writings
1 September 2012

In 1945 some shepherds in Egypt were out tending their flocks when they stumbled upon a cache of documents. They took them back home and because they were poor, and lived in the desert (which means that not only is there a severe lack of burning material, but it also gets very cold at night) they decided to use some of these scrolls for the fire. Fortuitously they did not burn all of them and decided that they would take them to a universi
...more
John Wilson
Jul 18, 2012 John Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those researching early Christianity
Shelves: reference
This book is a collection of Gnostic gospel's and writings from the early Christian era. Gnosticism was largely centred in Egypt though it existed elsewhere as well. Hints of it are found in the Gospel of John in places.
It was an attempt to move Christianity into the realm of a mystery faith a style of faith and worship popular in Ancient Egypt and practiced there for thousands of years before Jesus' birth. It also insisted, broadly, in requiring the guidance of an adept and questioned the tradi
...more
April
Aug 19, 2012 April rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This is very similar to 'The Gnostic Bible' except the translations are more direct and take some reading and studying to understand. It is probably not for a beginner as the direct translations are harder to understand due to our cultural and language differences. I love the history in the introductions to each gospel and enjoy being able to see accurately the portions that have been lost and are not readable so that I can determine meanings for myself. I've been reading this since I first boug ...more
Rich Kooyer
Jul 30, 2011 Rich Kooyer rated it really liked it
The books has a telling quote on the cover as being an absolute authority on the Gnostic texts. This book is a great source but there isn't a lot of explanation to go along with it.

The wonderful book does cover the missing texts wonderfully. The breaks are great and the symbology is nice because it makes it realy easy to read. I wish I had more background on what it might all mean.

I know that it's hard to find one book that's definitive on a subject and you have to go a ways to do extra researc
...more
Sumer Riddle
Jan 21, 2016 Sumer Riddle rated it it was amazing
Very comprehensive. Just what I was looking for. I found the history a bit dry to read but interesting enough to keep my interest.
K. Germain
Jul 02, 2014 K. Germain rated it it was amazing
Defiantly not a casual read, this reference is for anyone who plans on keeping an open mind about religious dogma.
David Melik
This is said to be the only book with all the surviving Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts/Gospels, but there are other Gnostic texts such as _Gospel_of_Mary_Magdalene_, _Pistis_Sophia_, the Hermetic texts, and another ancient Nazarean text as well as ones from later Gnostic sects. I have read the _Gospel_of_Thomas_ translation that is probably in here, but other than that I have only skimmed some of this book because I am about halfway through the _Zohar_ and concentrating on it, but this Gnostic book i ...more
Charles
Aug 10, 2013 Charles rated it it was amazing
A very interesting look at something that has obfuscated for much of history: the evolution of Christianity. The book contains all the same things you would find in the Bible: bizarre stories, absurd theology, and moral lessons relevant to today's world, and moral lessons irrelevant to today's world. After reading it, it's no surprise that the writers and followers of these works were persecuted and generally slaughtered. If they had survived, Christianity, and the world, would be a very differe ...more
Richard
Oct 20, 2012 Richard rated it it was ok
The works themselves are tedious and irrelevant. They're very useful in making contemporary Christians understand that their Bible wasn't compiled as a coherent whole, but has gone through vast periods of revision where books have been added to and subtracted from it. The decision to include or exclude portions of it has been made multiple times in known history by groups of people whose justifications are a matter of record. The book is no divinely inspired text, but a bureaucratic fabrication ...more
Vrinda Pendred
Jan 10, 2014 Vrinda Pendred rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Honestly, one of the most fascinating ancient religious texts I've ever read. Quite a lot of deep philosophy and mysticism, rather than just 'mythology'. I don't necessarily agree with it all, but I enjoyed every page.
Jolyon
Oct 27, 2013 Jolyon rated it really liked it
Shelves: eternal
You haven't read the bible, until you've read this collection of manuscripts that were for some reason not incorporated in the centuries old 'original' compilation of the Catholic Holy Bible.

After reading this and the Book of Enoch, I firmly believe several of the books of the original old and new testaments were fabricated based on original accounts contained in here, such as the Book of Thomas and the Apocryphon of John.
Lance
Aug 16, 2008 Lance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nag Hammadi can be thought of as the Christian (or Gnostic, if you must) version of Qumran. Like the Dead Sea scrolls, which do not contain all of the Jewish Scriptures and Apochrypha, the coptic texts found at Nag Hammadi do not contain all the Gnostic texts. They do, however, contain quite a few that were thought to be lost forever. Of particular interest to LDS readers would be the Gospel of Philip.
Haines
Jan 22, 2008 Haines rated it really liked it
This is a massive collection, and I can't imagine reading every word of it. Nonetheless, THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS and EUGNOSTOS THE BLESSED, as well as the often anthologized THUNDER: THE PERFECT MIND, are all amazing. Also, the afterward is great, in which gnostic influence on contemporary thought is examined. I'm really understating things here because it's not for everyone.
Sammy Sutton
Mar 08, 2011 Sammy Sutton rated it it was amazing
This is quite a book to purchase, however, it has been an invaluable resource to me in my research. The translations are very well done. It may be the only complete translation of The Nag Hammadi Scrolls in english. There are plenty of references published, and partial translations, but James McConkey Robinson's is to my knowledge a complete collection.
Roland Volz
Feb 03, 2009 Roland Volz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
Very scholarly and comprehensive. A great reference for those interested in comparative religious texts. I love the "lost books" angle, and, as hidden/forbidden texts, the stories form a fascinating glimpse into the minds of the common religious theorist from the early centuries of the Common Era.
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well researched book 2 1 Jan 28, 2016 04:26AM  
  • The Gnostic Bible
  • Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity
  • The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins
  • Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism
  • The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
  • Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, NRSV
  • Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing
  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments
  • The Complete Works
  • Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
  • The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus
  • Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction
  • A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Volume One, The Roots of the Problem and the Person (The Anchor Bible Reference Library)
  • The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
  • The Secret Teachings of All Ages
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