Show Full Transcript
The Nag Hammadi Collection is … materials that were found in and around Nag Hammadi Egypt in the 1940s, and it’s a collection of 13 books and within them are texts that were written by various types of Christians in the second and third centuries. The manuscripts themselves were copied in the fourth century, and were translated from Greek into Coptic. Coptic is an Egyptian language, that the Christians were using to spread their message in Egypt. The Nag Hammadi materials, have…initially when they were being studied…were labeled Gnostic, mainly because I think scholars didn’t know what else to do with them.
Now over the last 50 years we’ve have had a lot of time to look at those texts, and we realize now that although some of the texts we would label Gnostic, some of them are not. So texts like the Gospel of Thomas, probably the dialogue of the Savior, the book of Thomas the Athlete, and there’s even a fragment of Plato’s Republic, in the Nag Hammadi Library, these sorts of texts are not Gnostic, they’re something else.
So we’ve done a lot of work in figuring out the different types of varieties of Christianity that are being witnessed in this corpus of material; but it’s a very significant collection because some of the materials come from the early second century. So…if we put this in perspective, we’re talking about some of these materials coming about being written at the same time the pastoral
epistles in the New Testament
are being written. Which are about 135 (C.E.).