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The Gospel of the Savior: A New Ancient Gospel [Paperback]

By Paul A. Mirecki (Author), Charles W. Hedrick, Jr. (Author) & Paul Mirecki (Joint Author)
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Item description for The Gospel of the Savior: A New Ancient Gospel by Paul A. Mirecki, Charles W. Hedrick, Jr. & Paul Mirecki...

The first publication of a long-lost early Christian gospel, reconstructed by the authors from parchment fragments found in the Berlin Egyptian Museum. Includes Coptic text, translation and reproductions of the parchment fragments.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Polebridge Press
Pages   166
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.08" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2004
Publisher   Polebridge Press
ISBN  0944344909  
ISBN13  9780944344903  

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel of the Savior?

Beautiful work and translation!
Of most interest for scholars and seekers of treasures.
Worth reading!
Carefully pieced together from parchment pieces  Jan 3, 2003
The collaboration of biblical scholars Charles W. Hedrick and Paul A. Mirecki, Gospel Of The Savior: A New Ancient Gospel is the first publication and translation of a long-lost Christian gospel written in the Coptic language of Christian Egypt. Carefully pieced together from parchment pieces found in the Berlin Egyptian Museum, this long-lost gospel presents dialogues and discourse of a figure called "the savior" by his apostles. Extensive commentary upon the text fragments rounds out this fascinating, meticulously researched, painstakingly translated, and superbly presented reference. Fascinating reading for Christian history, theology, and scholarship, this edition of the Gospel Of The Savior is an essential, core addition to any serious, comprehensive New Testament Studies academic reference collection.
A Must Have For Students of Early Christianity  Mar 10, 2002
Mirecki and Hedrick team up to present a coherent and comprehensive text on an ancient gospel rarely discussed in non-academic circles. The concise, unbiased presentation is a must for any library of early Christianity.
A carefully edited critical edition  Jan 24, 2002
To my surprise this is not a popularisation but the editio princeps of the text, and a piece of sound textual scholarship. Speculation is kept to a minimum, Christian-baiting is omitted, and the emphasis is on providing the data to the scholarly community. The introduction, transcription and translation are by Prof. Hedrick; the commentary by Dr. Mirecki, but both take responsibility for each other's contribution, and the 'join' is not really visible. Full monochrome photographs are provided, and a critical apparatus. There is a distinct tendency to avoid making judgements on points of detail. The editors are clearly aware that any such discussion would render their book obsolete within a year or two as the issues are thrashed out. There is an excellent section on the codicology. It is difficult not to be impressed at the skill with which the jigsaw puzzle has been put together. Interestingly some of the fragments bear Coptic page numbers - 99, 100, etc - which indicates the text comes from a larger volume. The translation is literalist, which is very welcome, and the text and translation laid out opposite each other in the diplomatic manner. The commentary attempts to elucidate the meaning of the fragments, and likewise avoids large and loose conclusions.

Issues of dating are addressed very tentatively. The book is parchment, in quires, written in a polished Sahidic Coptic, and displays some skill in codex making. Analysis of letter forms suggests a date between the 4th-7th centuries - perhaps most likely somewhere in the middle. The book has suffered damage by fire, but no comment is made about this. The text seems to make use of both Matthew and John, with an occasional echo of Luke, and reflects the Coptic text of these works. There is a reference to 'Aeons', the 'Pleroma', and other general Gnostic indicators, e.g. 'Do not let matter rule over you' (p.98 line 44 of the codex/p.31). The editors feel that the 'latest date for its original composition is probably in the late second century' (p.2), although they fail to make quite clear why. However a second century date for the work seems quite reasonable, in view of the definite but unfocused nature of the Gnosticism in the surviving fragments, which I suspect is the basis for their statement. There is a general smattering of Greek words throughout the codex. A very careful paragraph (pp.12-13) discusses evidence for one Coptic word being a too literal mistranslation of a Greek idiom and so 'implies that the Gospel of the Savior is based on an earlier Greek original subsequently translated into Coptic'. The scholarly refusal here to say too more than the evidence demands, combined with the solid scholarship underlying it, makes very pleasant reading.

There are full references to other ancient texts, probable or otherwise. Curiously there are two references in the fragments which could relate to the long ending of Mark, (e.g. 'sitting at the right hand of the father upon your (sg.) throne', 17H 4-6, p71 = Mark 14:6, Mark 16:19 and many other refs). One of the statements of the 'saviour' is also found in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas - 'he that is near me is near to the fire; he that is far from me is far from life' (107.43-48, CGoT 82). It is pleasing to see an awareness that some of the elements used may have no connection with any organised group but may simply be part of the general pagan religious climate of antiquity (p.24). The pseudo-Christian title given to this document by the editors is unfortunate, in that it acts as a barrier to understanding, as M.R.James long ago pointed out in the preface to his edition of the 'New Testament Apocrypha'. To call this work a gospel forces the editors to define a 'gospel' to mean nothing more specific than a work containing sayings or perhaps narrative about someone who may be called Jesus or is in some way based on the historical figure (p.1). This ties the work too closely to some sort of pseudo-Christian context. Few would doubt that in antiquity the extra-canonical works formed a broad spectrum, shading from orthodox works like the Acts of Paul right the way down to basically pagan texts which added some nominal 'Jesus' into the syncretist stew. It would seem that the word 'gospel' has really outlived its usefulness if it prevents us from recognising and working with this continuum. Doubtless the difficulty of finding another word has something to do with the continued popularity of the word 'gospel'. To call the codex the 'Gospel of the Savior' also seems unwise, in view of the inferences that those ignorant of the subject will infallibly draw from it. It would have been better to give it a neutral name like the Berlin Gospel.

The work consists of dialogue between a central figure and his hearers, and an ascension by them all in 'to the [fourth] heaven'(p.113 line 16 of the codex - p.45 in the edition), scattering the discomfited 'watchers' and cherubim. The central figure is referred to only as the 'saviour' and the words 'for us apostles' (113.3/p.45) and mention of Andrew and John suggest that the unknown 'author' is supposed to be an apostle, although I do not recall that this point is made anywhere. The manner in which the saviour does his saving is unclear, due to the fragmentary nature of the text. But he does do a lot of direct talking to the cross - 'A little longer, O Cross, and all the pleroma is perfected'(5F.30-32/p.55) etc, which may yet inspire some satire, perhaps about a previously unrecognised 'ecological Jesus', who talked a lot to trees!

The focus of the book is the data, rather than the ludicrous theories that appeared in some of the press releases, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude. Recommended.


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