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Gnostic Texts of Nag Hammadi

Revision as of 21:40, October 18, 2013 by Wgw (talk | contribs) (Added statement reminding readers that the Orthodox Church does not consider these works to be canonical, historically accurate or orthodox.)
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Nag Hammadi, a village in Upper Egypt, is best known for being the site where in December 1945, thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices from the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. buried in a sealed jar were found by a local farmer, Mohammed Ali Samman. The writings in these codices comprised 52 mostly Gnostic tractates (treatises).

The contents of the codices were written in Coptic, though the works were probably 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. The Nag Hammadi codices are housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt, except for one (The Jung Foundation Codex).

Neither the Eastern Orthodox Church nor the Oriental Orthodox accept these works as canonical or historically accurate; the attribution of the Gospel of Thomas to the holy Apostle Thomas is rejected, and likewise, the association of the Gospel of Mary to Mary Magdalene is also rejected. These works are considered to be the product of Heresy, and the Orthodox faithful should, in a loving manner, emphasize this, should the discussion of these works arise due to their popularity in the mass media as a result of the attention given them by heterodox groups such as the Jesus Seminar, and the general increase in public enthusiasm for the Gnostic heresy.

Gospel of Thomas (Non-canonical, New Testament Apocrypha)

Gospel of Mary (Non-canonical, New Testament Apocrypha)

N.B.: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene was found in the Akhmim Codex, a Gnostic text of the New Testament apocrypha acquired by Dr. Rheinhardt in Cairo in 1896. However, it was not published until 1955, after the Nag Hammadi libarary had also appeared. The other texts of the Akhmim Codex were in the Nag Hammadi texts, but not this Gospel.

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