The Gnostic Bible

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A landmark work of scholarship and literary translation, The Gnostic Bible presents the most significant and beautiful sacred texts of gnostic mysticism. The gnostics were religious thinkers who believed that salvation is found through mystical knowledge and personal religious experience. Gnostic writings offer striking perspectives on both early Christian and non-Christian thought.

Dating from the first to the thirteenth centuries, the selections in this volume represent ...

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Overview

A landmark work of scholarship and literary translation, The Gnostic Bible presents the most significant and beautiful sacred texts of gnostic mysticism. The gnostics were religious thinkers who believed that salvation is found through mystical knowledge and personal religious experience. Gnostic writings offer striking perspectives on both early Christian and non-Christian thought.

Dating from the first to the thirteenth centuries, the selections in this volume represent Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, Islamic, and Cathar forms of gnostic spirituality, and their sources include Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, China, and France. These texts show that gnosticism was a world religion that sought truths in a wide variety of traditions and expressed those truths in powerful and provocative mystical poetry and prose. This is the first time that such a diverse collection of ancient gnostic texts has been published in a single volume, and many of the texts have never before been translated into English.

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Editorial Reviews

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This 880-page compilation is the most comprehensive collection of Gnostic writings ever assembled. Poet/translator Willis Barnstone and Christian scholar Marvin Meyer have combined to present an anthology of Gnostic primary sources that cover 13 centuries. The Gnostic Bible represents the diversity and sometimes the contradictions of this divergent faith.
Library Journal
Poet and translator Barnstone and Meyer (Bible & Christian studies, Chapman Univ.) have joined forces to present a large collection of gnostic source literature. The nature and beliefs of gnosticism are hotly debated. Michael Williams (Rethinking Gnosticism) and Karen L. King (What Is Gnosticism?) have argued for the abandonment of the label as something artificially applied by Christian orthodoxy to heretical movements with widely varying beliefs. Others, including the editors of this volume, argue that certain specific ideas distinguish beliefs of the gnostic religions: salvation through knowledge and enlightened living, wisdom personified as a character in a cosmic drama, and dualistic creation stories positing a higher God of the spirit and a lower demiurge who created the physical world. Meyer's introduction presents highlights of this debate. The selection of texts that follows (most elegantly translated by Barnstone) ranges across two millennia and various cultures. Each work, some translated into English for the first time, is accompanied by a clear introduction and synopsis. This is an important sampler of relatively unknown spiritual literature. The publication by Shambhala gives an underlying sense of credence to the contents as, in Meyer's words, a "sacred literature attractive to free spirits." Recommended for all libraries with an audience interested in religions, alternative spirituality, and early Christianity.-William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590301999
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/9/2006
  • Pages: 880
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.85 (d)

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