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The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts

The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts

A Firsthand Account of the Expedition That Shook the Foundations of Christianity

Details the momentous discovery and significance of the ancient gnostic texts hidden for sixteen centuries in Chenoboskion, Egypt

• Author was a member of the party that discovered these ancient Coptic documents

• Sheds new light on the vanished world in which Christianity was born

• 40,000 copies sold of earlier editions

• Includes the first translation of the Gospel of Thomas, with full commentary

Hidden for sixteen centuries, the Nag Hammadi library, the most prodigious collection of sacred gnostic texts, were discovered in the late 1940s in Chenoboskion, a remote hamlet in upper Egypt. Among them was the Gospel according to Thomas, which aroused international publicity and alerted the world to the significance of this archeological find, believed by many scholars to surpass the Dead Sea Scrolls in importance.

The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts is the original survey of the contents of these documents and their significance to the world at large. Doresse's narrative allows readers direct contact with an ancient form of Christianity through the philosophical wealth of the texts-ranging from gnostic revelations and Christian apocrypha to Hermetic literature-Included in the book is the original English translation of the Gospel of Thomas first published in 1960.
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  • Inner Traditions | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781594770456 | 
  • February 2005
List Price $19.95
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 3--The Story of a Discovery

From a lofty desert cliff known, at this point, as the Gebel et-Tarif, the Nile approaches the vicinity of Naga Hamadi by describing a complete semi-circle toward the south, before it resumes its course to the northeast. This loop, nearly five miles in diameter, now encloses, between the river and the white cliff of the eastern desert, the dense, tall plantations of sugar-cane which have replaced the acacia plantations of former days. In this greenery are hidden the villages of el-Qasr, es-Sayy⤬ and ed-Dabba. Christians are very numerous here to this day.

Es-Sayy⤠is almost on the site of... see more

About the Author

Jean Doresse

Jean Doresse is a renowned historian and a scholar of Egyptology and Greek papyrology. He was head of the research department at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique and for five years undertook expeditions on behalf of the French government, establishing the first archaeological service in Ethiopia. He lives in France.

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