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13 books: The Gnostic Connection

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posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:27 PM
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In December, 1945, near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, 13 leather-bound books with papyrus pages were found (dated 350-400 AD) by Muhammed Ali al-Samman and his brothers in an earthen-ware vase some three feet tall buried next to a massive boulder. Fearful of authorities for varies reasons, they were bestowed upon a local priest, al Qummus Basiliyus Abd al-Masih to hide the books. They inevitably were sent to Cairo for investigation as the priest saw worth in the books. After
ending up at the in Zurich at the Jung foundation there is no apparent mention of them any further.
A number of texts (to do with the Rockefeller vault digs) also found triangular-shaped books numbering thirteen as well. Does anyone have any information on the thirteen found by the brothers in Egypt as they apparently were the oldest account of the gospel of Thomas, Phillip and other extremely rare and unique scripts.




posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 03:30 PM
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For more information on this, here is a link:
The Gnostic Gospels

*edit*And this link with cited sources:
Sacred Scrolls of the Essene Church


seekerof

[edit on 29-6-2004 by Seekerof]



posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 06:04 PM
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The Nag Hammadi codices were finally published in English in 1978, more than 33 painstaking years after their discovery among the effects of a Coptic Gnostic "Christian" monk who died around 380 AD in Egypt.

They were written in Coptic around 300-350 AD and most are elaborate Gnostic re-translations from older possbly non-gnostic Greek versions of the books, some of which were originally Hebrew and Aramaic documents but much of the material has been lost/poorly translated out of its original mother tongues (e.g. The Testament of Solomon to his Son Rehoboam in the Last days became in the Coptic Edition: the Wisdom of Solovanus)

There is an excellent English Edition of the Nag Hammadi Corpus still published having been finely edited by James M Robinson from Claremont Graduate School in California:

The Nag Hammadi Library: A Translation of the Gnostic Scriptures
by James M. Robinson (Editor) 1978 Revised 1990 (HarperSanFrancisco)
ISBN # 0-06-066935-7 with a Foreward by James M Robinson and an Afterward by Richard Smith, a noted authority on Gnostic Thought.

Available both in paperback and hardback editions.

Some of the fragmentary books (most of the pages are full of lacunae (gaps) and holes caused by worms and moulds etc. which make reading the English translation texts sometimes tedious and very HARD ON THE EYES...): they include:

The Coptic Gospel of Thomas (the numerous evident Amharic Coptic language mis-translations show that the text it was taken from was originally a Greek Gospel of Thomas, whcih must have first circulated orally in Aramaic), the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Gospel of Truth (allegedly by Valentinus himself), the Gospel of Phillip, the Paraphrase of Shem, The Acts of Peter, the Apocryphon of John, the Hypostasis of the Archons, The Origin of the World of Matter etc.

The translation of these books into Coptic must have taken place some time around 200-250 AD, and recopied over the centuries that followed.

Some of the book-sources however (e.g. the Greek Gospel of Thomas) must have been written originally before 130AD which makes some of the material in the Nag Hammadi corpus very valuable for comparative Gospel research:

40% of the 113 numbered sayings put into the mouth of "Jesus" in the Gospel of Thomas match fairly closely to similar sayings in Mark and the socalled Q sayings (the 260 overlap sayings of Jesus which overlap between Matt and Luke not shared by Mark): but 60% are either new, or have a different twist:

Here's just a tantalizing morsel of what I'm talking about....

"In that Day there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed, nothing secret that shall not be spoken outloud, and nothing buried that shall not be raised up..."

"Woe to the Pharasim ! For they are like great boulders which block the water from a brook, neither to they drink, nor allow the cattle to drink, and causing plants in the parched earth to wither..."

"Behold, the Son of Man hath come to set the land [of Israel] on fire: and, how I am constrained until it blazeth into an Inferno!"

"Amen I say unto you, Not a feather from a bird, nor a drop [of rain from the sky] nor a [single] hair from your . shall fall to the ground without the Will of your Father in Heaven..."

"Behold, the Son of Man is as the Worm: Lift a stone, and you shall see me: split a piece of wood, and lo, I am there..." [sacrificial wood was split by the priests in the temple to check for worms etc.]

"He who is near me is near the Fire: he who is far from me, is far from the Kingdom..."

The Books in the Nag Hammadi collection are a various and sundry lot with lots of conflicting theologies, and some of them are clearly Jewish writings. For example, a few of the Nag Hammadi texts are in fact quite similar to some fragments found among the Dead Sea scrolls the following year in Nov 1946 near Qumran (e.g. the Testament of Solomon/Wisdom of Solovanus).

It's nice to actually be able to read some random Gnostic texts themselves rather than rely on the various quotations of these works in the letters of Gnostic enemies like Iraneaus !

The Nag Hammadi Texts are a Definite Must Have in any theological collection...



posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 05:00 AM
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i agree they are a very difficult read, and slow. they are however worth it.



posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 05:08 AM
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Originally posted by Amadeus


40% of the 113 numbered sayings put into the mouth of "Jesus" in the Gospel of Thomas match fairly closely to similar sayings in Mark and the socalled Q sayings

"Woe to the Pharasim ! For they are like great boulders which block the water from a brook, neither to they drink, nor allow the cattle to drink, and causing plants in the parched earth to wither..."




Argh!!! Then the gnostic gospels can be trusted no more than the regular Bible. The denunciation of the Pharisees is almost certainly a later addition to Jesus' teachings.



posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 08:24 AM
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Hi Leveller---

You have a good point about the Nag Hammadi corpus: after all what scraps they found there amount merely to rather loose COPTIC RE-TRANSLATIONS of GREEK fragments which --in turn---were GREEK translations of originally ARAMAIC oral sayings...so we are clearly a couple of big steps away from any "original" "Jeezzuzz" (Aramaic) tradition.

This will certainly account for some of the odd (un Aramaic) wording & theology in much of these books, even odder than the Greek Gospels that "Christians" read today, which is already one full translational step removed from "Jeeezuzzz" original language and theological weltanschauung.

So much hath-been-lost in the course of transmission, we'll never know what was spoken to whom by this "Jeeezuzzz": the brutal fact is that we today do NOT have ANY of thethe Ipssissima Verba of the Galilean Aramaic that R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean ("Jeeezzzuzz") actually "spoke" to his disciples etc. with the exception of one or two phrases ("talitha Cumi", = "girlie get up") or ("Ephraphtha" ="be opened") or ("Amen, amen..." at the beginning of some of his weightier oracular "Son of Man" utterances) so we do NOT know to whom he was addressing his woes.

And yes, after the Sons of Zadok (i.e. the Levetical Tsaddukim priests who ran the Temple Complex in Jerusalem until the Romans destroyed it in AD70) would more likely be a target for such sayings of "Jeeezuzz" as the "woes" that the later (AD 70- AD120) gospel writers re-addressed to the Pharasim. But the early church clarly seems to have re-directed the "woes" in their current form to their "current AD 90 enemies", i.e. the Jewish Rabbis (who did NOT believe in "Jeezzuz") after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem when the Sadduccees were put out of action.

The Pharasim, as you know, often agreed with the theology of John the Baptist (Yohannon bar Zechariah) who in turn taught "Jeeezuzzz" (and even baptised him!) e.g. in the belief in Angels, the Resurrection of the Dead, and in the Prophets and Writings as "defiling the hands" (i.e. as scripture). And they did not "split off from the Christian Nazorean movement" until after AD 70, long after "Jeeezuz" was put to death in c. 36 AD.

As you know, the "sons of Zadok" (Sadducees) rejected all of these beliefs and only held to their own translation of the Torah as divinely inspired (10% of their text was a wholly different text-wording in Palestine from the Samaritan Pentateuch and different again in wording from the socalled "Babylonian Recension" of the later Masoretic Text used by Jews and Christians for the OT today, AD 980 from a single copy in Lenningrad).

Moreover since the Levetical Sons of Zadok were the "Roman Empire-appointed ruling elite" (who even after 104 BC began to call themselves Kings during the power Vaccuum in the absence of the Daviddic line) especially during the time of "Jeezzuzz" (BC 12 to AD 36), we can see that there would have been a lot of political friction between his group which centered around the Daviddic blood line, "the True Vine":

"Every VINE that my Father has NOT PLANTED, shall be UPROOTED and THROWN INTO THE FIRE" (the vineyard is a play on words of D-V-D in Hebrew, a pun on the family name of David, which was the lineage of "Jeezuzz")

But as for the "recasting of the sayings" of "Jeezuz" in the Nag Hammadi corpus: don't forget we are looking at 4th century AD copies-----plenty of time for them to morph and morph and morph away from their original intent:

But who knows for sure how far back some of the base-traditions that are found in them actually go?

One can be fairly confident that only a few of the books (e.g. Thomas) can be linguistically traced to the Gospel period (AD 70-120):

It is possible that several dozen "sayings" placed into the mouth of "Jeeezuz" in Thomas in the Nag Hammadi Coptic Version may have a "pedigree" older than the canonical gospels.

Some of the non Canonical gospel sayings included in the 113 "Jesus said" list in Thomas have a certain ring of authenticity to them, despite the evident mangling of the translations upon re-translations into foreign tongues...

Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

(Logion 3) = Midrash on Jeremiah 31: 30-33

And Jesus said,

"If the Sofrim (lit: "leaders" of the Synagogues ="scribes" ) ever say to you, 'Behold, the Kingdom [of God] will appear from the sky!!,' will not the Birds of the sky precede you?

If they say to you, 'Look, the Kingdom will come up from the sea!!' then will not the fish of the oceans precede you?

Rather, look ye for the Kingdom of God within your own hearts, whereupon it is engraved on both the inside and the outside. "

Logion 12

And the disciples say to Jesus, "Rabbi, what will happen if you are ever taken from our midst? Who then will lead us into the Kingdom? "

And Jesus said to them, "If I should depart from you, no matter where you are, you must follow [my brother] Yakkov ha-Tsaddiq (= James the Just One) [to establish the Kingdom] for whose sake both heaven and earth came into existence."


Logion 37

And his disciples said to him , "When will you become manifested to us and when shall we see you coming into your Kingdom?"

And Jesus said, "When you disrobe without shame [like Adam in the garden before the Fall] and place your garments under your feet like infant children who disdain wearing them: Amen I say unto you: only then will you see the Son of the Blessed One coming [in his kingdom], and in that Day you will not be ashamed [of your nakedness]"

Logion 97

Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is like unto a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking along the road some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her as she walked, unaware of what happened. When she approached the door of her house, she set the jar down and, behold, the jar was empty."

So try to keep a sharp lookout for some of these "diamonds in the rough" among the Nag Hammadi corpus, never know what gems you might lose if you dismiss them all automatically out of hand !



posted on May, 13 2008 @ 11:45 AM
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I had never heard of Nag Hammadi until recently. It's quite a story though. I have heard one theory that the thirteenth book may still exist... One theory I had was that the texts of later Gnostic sects like the Cathars may have ended up at Nag Hammadi but it seems that all the texts there are much too old to have anything to do with the Cathars/weavers...



posted on May, 13 2008 @ 12:37 PM
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Some of the books of interest are:

The Apocryphon of John
The Hypostasis of the Archons
The Interpretation of Knowledge
On the Origin of the World
The Sophia of Jesus Christ
The Thunder, Perfect Mind
The Treatise on the Resurrection
The Dialogue of the Savior


All of which can be found here: The Nag Hammadi Library - Gnosis.org

A very good read, some of it is written for one who meditates regularly and has achieved various states of consciousness due to either discipline or otherwise; or otherwise for those who can empathize beyond the meaning of the word empathy, along with the context of the times it was written.
Asking for inspired assistance in understanding these texts may be of use if you find yourself scratching your noodle, they aren't written to be understood at first glance, it involves some inward changes.

[edit on 5/13/2008 by PuRe EnErGy]



posted on May, 14 2008 @ 12:49 PM
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Originally posted by PuRe EnErGy


A very good read, some of it is written for one who meditates regularly and has achieved various states of consciousness due to either discipline or otherwise; or otherwise for those who can empathize beyond the meaning of the word empathy, along with the context of the times it was written.
Asking for inspired assistance in understanding these texts may be of use if you find yourself scratching your noodle, they aren't written to be understood at first glance, it involves some inward changes.

[edit on 5/13/2008 by PuRe EnErGy]


Are they understandable even if you don't do these things? I'm more into the historical angle, although also understanding how early gnostic thought was reflected in later gnostic groups like the cathars.



posted on May, 14 2008 @ 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by tixerand

Originally posted by PuRe EnErGy


A very good read, some of it is written for one who meditates regularly and has achieved various states of consciousness due to either discipline or otherwise; or otherwise for those who can empathize beyond the meaning of the word empathy, along with the context of the times it was written.
Asking for inspired assistance in understanding these texts may be of use if you find yourself scratching your noodle, they aren't written to be understood at first glance, it involves some inward changes.

[edit on 5/13/2008 by PuRe EnErGy]


Are they understandable even if you don't do these things? I'm more into the historical angle, although also understanding how early gnostic thought was reflected in later gnostic groups like the cathars.


Well, we can read something once and take away from that text an understanding of it at first glance, but these are not writings to be read once and fully understood for their spiritual and semantical reasoning.
Sure you can read them but you won't walk away with a studiers understanding of it, because they require careful studying to potentiate change.
If you are just reading it to satisfy a curiosity it won't mean what it could if you were to actually study it to find internal answers to problems or situations you encounter or have encountered throughout your life.


edit: Plus if you believe that Christianity was founded or created by a manipulation of the ancient texts than you will also notice how some of it goes much further to explain things than the bible does.

[edit on 5/14/2008 by PuRe EnErGy]



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