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This book is for all you Bible Thumpers!
http://www.amazon.com/Nag-Hammadi-Libra ... 0060669357
"This is a book of more interest to scholars, perhaps, than to the general public. The Nag Hammadi library was discovered in the Egyptian desert, near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. The library was composed of scrolls buried by the Gnostics, who in the fourth century maintained a monastery nearby. They were contained in a buried clay jar, in an apparent attempt by Gnostic Christians to save them from destruction by the Constantinian Christians who had orders from the Christian Emperor, Constantine, to destroy all such writings as heresy, along with those who adhered to them.
Over the nearly 2,000 years buried in the desert sand, time took its toll, and many of the scrolls were fragmentary as a result. Yet the 38 scholars who undertook the translation from the ancient Egyptian (coptic) in which they were written, did a magnificent job: not only translating, but also making commentaries comparing them to those gospels which Constantine's scholars considered canonical, and discarding all others as heretical.
This volume is one of the results, with the various codices identified with the translators, and beginning with their commentaries.
Other volumes of a similar nature, including two books by Dr. Elaine Pagels--one of the translators--"The Gnostic Gospels" and "Beyond Belief," are also available on Amazon. Dr. Pagels taught at Barnard College, where she chaired the Department of Religion, and Columbia University. She is currently professor of religion at Princeton.
The Nag Hammadi Library consists of twelve codices as well as fragments of a thirteenth, and fifty-two separate tractates. A brief history of the effort to translate and edit the materials is included in the preface to this book.
The struggle to eliminate the Gnostics and their ancient literature, by the Constantinian Christians (who prevailed and became the universally accepted Christianm church) was highly succesful, so much so that the only evidence of the Gnostic literature, for centuries, were the disparaging remarks in the writings of the orthodox authors referring to the heretics.
Until the discovery of these scrolls, in 1945!"