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Nag Hammadi Library

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The books of the Nag Hammadi Library
The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of sacred texts that were discovered by Mohammed Ali Samman in 1945 in the small village of Nag Hammâdi (Chenoboskion in classical antiquity) in central Egypt. The thirteen codices, with fifty-two texts, were found buried in a sealed jar. The writings in these codices are mostly Gnostic treatises, but they also include three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum and a partial translation of Plato's Republic. The codices are believed to be a library, hidden by monks from the nearby St. Pachomius monastery when these writings were banned by the Orthodox Church in an effort to eliminate all heterodoxy and heresy.

The contents of the codices were written in Coptic, though the works were mostly (all?) translations from Greek. Most famous of these works must be the Gospel of Thomas, of which the Nag Hammadi codices contain the only complete copy. After the discovery it was recognized that fragments of these sayings of Jesus appeared in manuscripts that had been discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1898, and quotations were recognized in other early Christian sources. The 1st or 2nd century date of the lost Greek originals behind the Coptic translations is controverted, but the manuscripts themselves are from the 3rd and 4th centuries.

List of Codices Found in Nag Hammadi

The Gospel of Thomas from the Nag Hammadi Library
The Gospel of Thomas from the Nag Hammadi Library


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This page has been accessed 24463 times. This page was last modified 04:36, 24 Oct 2004. Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

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