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The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices ( 5 vol set) [Paperback]

By James M. Robinson (Editor)
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Item description for The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices ( 5 vol set) by James M. Robinson...

"The Coptic Gnostic Library" continues where the Dead Sea Scrolls left off. Our main sources of information for the Gnostic religion are the so-called Nag Hammadi codices, written in Coptic. These were unearthed in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. The texts literally begin where the Dead Sea Scrolls end. Their discovery is considered equally significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, bringing to light a long-hidden wealth of information and insights into early Judaism and the roots of Christianity. Furthermore, these writings clearly show that the Gnostic religion was not only a force that interacted with early Christianity and Judaism in their formative periods, but also a significant religious movement in its own right. "The Coptic Gnostic Library" contains all the texts of the Nag Hammadi codices, both in the original Coptic and in translation. Each text has its own introduction, and full indexes are provided. "The Coptic Gnostic Library" is the starting point for all research into ancient Gnosticism. It is the result of decades of dedicated research by the most distinguished international scholars in this field. "The Coptic Gnostic Library" is the only authoritative edition of many of the Coptic writings of the Gnostics from the first centuries AD. It was originally published by Brill in fourteen hardback volumes as part of the Nag Hammadi (and Manichaean) Studies series between 1975 and 1995, under the general editorship of James M. Robinson. Now, for the first time, it is available in paperback, at a fraction of the price of the original hardback editions. - Photomechanical paperback reprint of the original 14 hardback volumes - Complete and unabridged: 5volumes, totaling approximately 5.000 pages - Facing Coptic texts and English translations, Introductions, Notes, and Indexes - Only available as a set

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Brill Academic Publishers
Pages   5148
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 12.15" Width: 10.1" Height: 6.5"
Weight:   15.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 8, 2002
Publisher   Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN  9004117024  
ISBN13  9789004117020  


Availability  0 units.


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > General
2Books > Subjects > Reference
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Gnosticism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference



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Reviews - What do customers think about The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices ( 5 vol set)?

Ancient and enlightening  Nov 2, 2005
This collection of texts gives a fascinating view of early Christian texts and views, particularly in light of the fact that these were not the writings that made it into the mainstream of church and biblical canonical development, but rather were influential in an underground, almost subversive way, in much of ancient and oriental Christianity -- were it not for the existence of texts such as these, indeed, we would not have the canon of the Bible which we have today (the political motivations behind deciding which books belonged in the Bible and which books didn't owe largely to texts such as those in the Nag Hammadi Library).

This book represents an advance in both translation and analysis; this is part of the canon of the Gnostic sect, which saw more orthodox Christianity (from which Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies derive) as the ones who were heretical. 'The Nag Hammadi library also documents the fact that the rejection was mutual, in that Christians described there as "heretical" seem to be more like what is usually thought of as "orthodox".'

Gnosticism was ultimately eliminated from mainstream Christianity, save the occasional resurgence of underground and spiritual movements. Of course, Gnosticism was not an exclusively Christian-oriented phenomenon: many of the texts refer to Hebrew Scriptures only, and the question of Jewish Gnosticism is discussed by Robinson.

The Dead Sea Scrolls (of which these texts are NOT a part, despite the fact that they often get cited and analysed as part of that body of documents) shed light on the pluralistic nature of first century Judaism; the idea that there was a sect primarily of Jewish gnostics which had little or no knowledge or regard of Christianity (still at this point one sect of many, particularly in cosmopolitan centres such as Alexandria) is not a strange one.

The Nag Hammadi library consists of twelve books, plus eight leaves of a thirteenth book. There are a total of fifty-two tracts. These are now kept in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, and, as the name suggests, are written in Coptic, although it is clear that the texts are Coptic translations of earlier Greek works. Coptic is the Egyptian language written with the Greek alphabet; there are different dialects of Coptic, and the Nag Hammadi library shows at least two. They were found in codex form (book form rather than scroll form). They were discovered in the mid 1940s, just a few years prior to the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls (another reason for the combination of the texts in the public imagination).

Included in these texts are The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel of Truth, The Gospel of Mary and other gospel contenders (alas, in fragmentary form--the translation in this volume however is the complete Nag Hammadi text). The Gospel of Thomas has perhaps been the highest profile text from Nag Hammadi; it has been translated and commented upon extensively, particularly in modern scholarship which discusses gospel development.

'Whoever find the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.'

This gospel does not correspond to the narrative form with which modern readers are familiar; it is a collection of sayings (one modern scholar argues that the victory of the four canonical gospels was a victory of style, rather than substance).

This gospel also helps illuminate some of the early struggles in church formation (why exactly did it go from a house-based, relatively gender-neutral organisation to a male-exclusive-hierarchical model?).

Simon Peter said to them, 'Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.' Jesus said, 'I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.'

Other writings include various Acts of apostles, pieces of wisdom literature, parables and stories, most of which have some basis in Hebrew scripture or Christian scripture traditions.

This is a wonderful collection, a truly fascinating view of texts that shared the religious stage with the proto-canonical Biblical texts. It gives insight into the varieties of early Christianity and Judaism. And it makes for interesting reading. This particular version of the text, the midpoint between the thirteen volume master set and the one-volume, English-only translation, is for serious students of early Christianity, and for libraries in seminaries and universities. The text here consists of the Coptic original and English translations of facing pages, with generous notes that are useful for linking these texts to the broader range of Christian literature.


 
The Coptic Gnostic Library.  Oct 16, 2003
From the publisher:

The Coptic Gnostic Library continues where the Dead Sea Scrolls left off. Our main sources of information for the Gnostic religion are the so-called Nag Hammadi codices, written in Coptic. These were unearthed in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. The texts literally begin where the Dead Sea Scrolls end. Their discovery is considered equally significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, bringing to light a long-hidden wealth of information and insights into early Judaism and the roots of Christianity. Furthermore, these writings clearly show that the Gnostic religion was not only a force that interacted with early Christianity and Judaism in their formative periods, but also a significant religious movement in its own right.

The Coptic Gnostic Library contains all the texts of the Nag Hammadi codices, both in the original Coptic and in translation. Each text has its own introduction, and full indexes are provided. The Coptic Gnostic Library is the starting point for all research into ancient Gnosticism. It is the result of decades of dedicated research by the most distinguished international scholars in this field.

The Coptic Gnostic Library is the only authoritative edition of many of the Coptic writings of the Gnostics from the first centuries AD.

 
Only For Serious Students  Mar 26, 2001
The E.J. Brill Academic Press graciously reprinted the full Nag Hammadi library, which had previously only been available in 13 hardcover volumes at a price of $2000 (or was it only $1995? I forget...). Even at $500 the books are pricey, but given the fact that not everyone reads or cares to learn to read Coptic, I can understand the reasons behind the pricing. Each text from the Nag Hammadi Codices is presented in its original Coptic form along with an English translation mirroring the Coptic (i.e., the page on the left is Coptic and the page on the right is the English translation) along with an extensive and insightful critical apparatus linking the texts to the Greek New Testament, the Vulgate, writings of the early Church fathers, and other Nag Hammadi and Coptic works. Obviously, if you just want to read a translation you can buy one of any number of translations in one book for $30 and be satisfied. However, if you are a serious student of Early Christianity, the Coptic language, Egyptology or the like, this work has been extremely well researched, put together by specialists in the field with the utmost care, and presented in an accessible format. I highly recommend!
 

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