Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth

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Overview

For all those readers curious to read the actual texts of the Gnostic Gospels, here is the definitive collection of all the Gnostic Gospels and Gospel?like texts.

o Marvin Meyer, premier scholar of Gnostic and other Christian literature outside the New Testament, presents every Gnostic Gospel and Jesus text with a brilliant overall introduction, introductions to each text, and notes that explain everything the reader needs to know to understand the text. He includes his latest ...

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Overview

For all those readers curious to read the actual texts of the Gnostic Gospels, here is the definitive collection of all the Gnostic Gospels and Gospel–like texts.

o Marvin Meyer, premier scholar of Gnostic and other Christian literature outside the New Testament, presents every Gnostic Gospel and Jesus text with a brilliant overall introduction, introductions to each text, and notes that explain everything the reader needs to know to understand the text. He includes his latest translations of not only the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Mary, but other texts such as the Secret Book of John, which some scholars regard as the second part of the New Testament Gospel of John. The material is largely from the discovery at Nag Hammadi, freshly translated and introduced, but also includes texts found elsewhere. The texts, especially taken together, present an image of Jesus as the ultimate wisdom teacher, a kind of mysterious Jewish Zen master, who scandalized listeners by his radical egalitarianism (regarding women, slaves, the poor, the marginalized as of equal status, or more, with establishment male believers) and his insistence on living the message, spiritual experience, vs. outer observance only.

o For those wanting to learn more after reading The Da Vinci Code. This book provides the definitive next book for those looking for expert presentation of the alternative Gnostic stream of Christianity, in which there is no talk of crucifixion and Mary Magdalene is presented as the disciple that Jesus loved best. "Marv is one of the original secret gospels scholars who has done an enormous amount of work to bring these texts to light. All of his research on the Nag Hammadi texts is having an incredible impact on our knowledge of early Christian history––it is virtually redefining it." ––Dr. Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060762087
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 155,399
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on early Christianity and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament. He is Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. Among his recent books are The Gospel of Judas, The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus, The Gospels of Mary, The Gospel of Thomas, and The Nag Hammadi Scriptures.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 The Gospel of Thomas with the Greek Gospel of Thomas fragments 1
Pt. 2 The Gospel of Mary 31
Pt. 3 The Gospel of Philip 43
Pt. 4 The Gospel of Truth by Valentinus 89
Pt. 5 The holy book of the great invisible Spirit or the Egyptian gospel 113
Pt. 6 The secret book of John 143
Pt. 7 The secret book of James 185
Pt. 8 The book of Thomas 203
Pt. 9 The dialogue of the savior 219
Pt. 10 The second discourse of great Seth 241
Pt. 11 The book of Baruch by Justin 261
Pt. 12 The round dance of the cross 277
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First Chapter

The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus
The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth

Part One

The Gospel of Thomas with
The Greek Gospel
of Thomas fragments

The gospel of thomas, or the Hidden Sayings of Jesus, is a collection of sayings of Jesus, traditionally numbered by scholars at 114, which are said to communicate salvation and life. While the Gospel of Thomas has some features in common with gnostic gospels, it does not seem to fit the definition of gnosticism given in the Introduction to a significant extent. Thus I prefer to consider the Gospel of Thomas to be a gospel with an incipient gnostic perspective. According to the incipit (or prologue) of the Gospel of Thomas, the sayings are hidden or secret sayings spoken by the living Jesus and recorded by Judas Thomas the Twin. Judas Thomas was thought in some circles, particularly within Syriac Christianity, to be the twin brother of Jesus and as such the ideal person to function as guarantor of the Jesus tradition. The Gospel of John in the New Testament begs to differ with this positive assessment of Judas Thomas, however, and instead chooses to depict him as "doubting Thomas."

The sayings included in the Gospel of Thomas include a variety of aphorisms, parables, stories, and other utterances of Jesus, the interpretation of which, saying 1 announces, can lead to salvation and life. Saying 1 states, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death," and saying 2 describes the epistemological process whereby one comes to knowledge and understanding: "Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be troubled. When one is troubled, one will marvel and will reign over all."The Greek Gospel of Thomas adds an additional stage to the interpretive process: "and [having reigned], one will [rest]." In other words, the quest for an understanding of the sayings of Jesus is an enterprise to be undertaken with commitment, and although the way to knowledge may be difficult and even disturbing, those who persevere will discover God's reign and God's rest. And if God's reign, God's kingdom, is outside a person, it is also within (Gospel of Thomas 3:3).

As in Q and the New Testament gospels, especially the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas asks his disciples to seek and find. In the Gospel of Thomas and other early texts, the sayings of Jesus are open to interpretation, so that disciples and readers are encouraged to search for the meaning of the sayings of Jesus and complete his thoughts after him. The Gospel of Thomas is an interactive gospel: wisdom and knowledge come when readers creatively encounter sayings of Jesus and respond to the sayings with insight. Such an interactive approach may go back to the historical Jesus, whose sayings and stories seem to have provided the opportunity for his disciples and others around him to react and respond. To that extent the Gospel of Thomas coheres well with much of the Jesus sayings tradition. A number of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, however, are especially cryptic and riddle-like, and the need for creative interpretation is obvious. Much is at stake. Those who find the meaning of Jesus's sayings find life, the Gospel of Thomas proclaims, and they come to realize that they are children of the living father. Or, as Jesus puts it in saying 108, those who drink from his mouth will be like him and he will be one with them, and they will understand what is hidden.

Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas confronts his disciples and readers of the gospel with powerful sayings, but he does not pull rank. In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus assumes very few Christological titles, and, as Stephen Patterson notes, Jesus in this gospel is just Jesus. Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is not designated the Christ or the messiah, he is not acclaimed master or lord, and when he refers to himself once in the gospel, in saying 86, as child of humankind or son of man, he does so in the generic sense of referring to any person (or to himself ) as a human being. If Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is a child of humankind, so are other people called children of humankind (sayings 28 and 106). Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is not presented as the unique or incarnate son of God, and nothing is said of a cross with saving significance or an empty tomb. Jesus is named the living Jesus, but God is also said to be a living one, and followers of Jesus are called living ones as well. Jesus the living one lives through his words and sayings.

The Gospel of Thomas is the second tractate in Codex II of the Nag Hammadi library, where it is preserved in Coptic translation. Three Greek fragments of the Gospel of Thomas also survive (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1, 654, and 655), as do testimonia in early Christian literature, especially in the writings of Hippolytus of Rome. Translations of the Nag Hammadi Coptic text, the Greek fragments, and two testimonia from Hippolytus are given below. Most likely the Gospel of Thomas was composed in Greek, probably in Syria, perhaps at Edessa, where Thomas was revered and his bones venerated. A reasonable case can be made for a firstcentury date for a first edition of the Gospel of Thomas, though some scholars prefer a second-century date ...

The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus
The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth
. Copyright © by Marvin Meyer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    Easiest complete Gnostic collection I've read so far...

    An avid reader of Christ's works and words, this is not for the faint of heart Christian, but for one, as Gnosticism suggests is a 'seeker of knowledge'. To read Christ's words and the ancient manuscripts found translated resonates that which I've often felt was missing from our modern day Bible. The authors organization of this information is easy to comprehend, leaving the reader to come to their own interpretations and conclusions. Once you read it, you'll come away more aware, and glad you did. The ultimate message is still the same for all. Blessings in the Light of Christ to all!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2011

    Recommended

    A very well written and organized book concerning the Gnostic point of view. If you are looking at expanding your knowledge in general, and exploring an alternative view of early Christianity in particular, this is an excellent place to begin.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Very well Written Author Did his Homework

    First off if you looking for the gospel of Judas, you wont find it in this book, the gnostic gospels were released prior to the gospel of judas however you can find the gospel of judas free online. If you want to spend a tad more money and get a book written by over 30 scholars who expert in translation with a much more disected and well written account of the gnostic gospels INCLUDING THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS, look for THE NAG HAMMADI SCRIPTURES
    In fact, the aurthor of this book was one of the men who helped write the better book on the gnostic Gospels, the one which included THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS.

    This book is written to have an smooth flow to it with an easy every day english translation, where THE NAG HAMMADI SCRIPTURES are a little bit more precise and confusing.

    If you are someone who is interested in the topic but does not wish to go in depth into it his would be my reccomendation for you. Besides you can find a free translation of the gospel of Judas online. In fact you can find the entire list of gnostic gospels online. BUT that should in no way stop you from buying a book on them, belive me youll want to be able to look up some of the things Jeus "Said" and show it to your friends.'

    Yiou will find a much more colorful picture of Jesus painted in these Gospels . Much of which may suprise you BUT DONT BE DISCOURAGED. Many of these could quite potentially be fake, however some look like they could fit in quite nicely with Mathew Mark Luke and John and you could certainly learn a thing or two....dont give up for the sake of one gospel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Spectaculer unbelieveable

    Amazing

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