Essential Gnostic Scriptures

Overview

The people we’ve come to call gnostics were passionate advocates of the view that salvation comes through knowledge and personal experience, and their passion shines through in the remarkable body of writings they produced over a period of more than a millennium and a half. Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer have created a translation that brings the gnostic voices to us from across the centuries with remarkable power and beauty—beginning with texts from the earliest years of Christianity—including material from ...
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Essential Gnostic Scriptures

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Overview

The people we’ve come to call gnostics were passionate advocates of the view that salvation comes through knowledge and personal experience, and their passion shines through in the remarkable body of writings they produced over a period of more than a millennium and a half. Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer have created a translation that brings the gnostic voices to us from across the centuries with remarkable power and beauty—beginning with texts from the earliest years of Christianity—including material from the Nag Hammadi library—and continuing all the way up to expressions of gnostic wisdom found within Islam and in the Cathar movement of the Middle Ages. The twenty-one texts included here serve as a compact introduction to Gnosticism and its principal ideas—and they also provide an entrée to the pleasures of gnostic literature in general, representing, as they do, the greatest masterpieces of that tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important sampler of relatively unknown spiritual literature."—Library Journal

"May well be the most comprehensive collection of Gnostic materials ever gathered into one volume. A valuable resource."—Publishers Weekly

"An enormously rich collection of sources—a wonderful achievement!"—Elaine Pagels, author of Beyond Belief

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590309254
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 937,613
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 5.06 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Lewiston, Maine, Willis Barnstone was educated at Bowdoin, Columbia, the Sorbonne, and Yale. He taught in Greece at the end of the civil war (1949–51), and in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War. During the Cultural Revolution he went to China where he was later a Fulbright Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (1984–85). Former O'Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, he is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish at Indiana University.

His publications include Modern European Poetry (Bantam, 1967), The Other Bible (HarperCollins, 1984), Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice (Yale, 1993), Funny Ways of Staying Alive (University Press of New England, 1993), The Secret Reader: 501 Sonnets (University Press of New England, 1996), the memoir With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires (University of Illinois, 1993), Algebra of Night: Selected Poems—1949–1998 (Sheep Meadow, 1999), The Apocalypse (New Directions, 2000), Life Watch (BOA Editions, 2003), Border of a Dream: Poems of Antonio Machado (Copper Canyon, 2003), and The Gnostic Bible (Shambhala Publications, 2003).

A Guggenheim Fellow, his awards include a National Endowment for the Arts award, a National Endowment for the Humanities award, an Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America, a W. H. Auden Award of the New York State Council on the Arts, the Midland Authors Award, three Book of the Month Selections and four Pulitzer Prize nominations for poetry. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Doubletake, Harper's, New York Review of Books, Poetry, Paris Review Poetry, Partisan Review, the New Yorker, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Table of Contents

Intoduction Marvin Meyer 1

1 The Gospel of Thomas 17

2 The Gospel of Mary 49

3 The Gospel of Judas 56

4 The Secret Book of John 75

5 On the Origin of the World 90

6 Thunder 99

7 The Gospel of Philip 107 S. The Gospel of Truth 114

9 The Secret Book of James 121

10 The Round Dance of the Cross 127

11 TheBook of Baruch 132

12 The Song of the Pearl 143

13 The Songs of Solomon 151

14 Poimandres 154

15 The Ginza 165

16 Songs from the Mandaean Liturgy 170

17 The Coptic Manichaean Songbook 173

18 The Great Song to Mani 182

19 The Mother of Books 185

20 The Gospel of the Secret Supper 209

21 A Nun's Sermon 217

Epilogue: the inner light of gnosis A Historical Meditation Willis Barnstone 219

Notes 253

Bibilography 267

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