The Nag Hammadi Library

Various Other Texts

On the Origin of the World (Codex III)
     On the Origin of the world was written by an unknown author possibly in the early 4th Century CE. It is a mixture of Christian ideas, Jewish views, Greek philosophy, Manichaean ideas, and Egyptian thoughts. It was translated from Greek into Coptic and the text does not fit any of the known Gnostic schools of thought. The manuscript includes elements of Genesis Chapters 1-2, Enoch, and Jubilees.

The Exergesis on the Soul (Codex II)
     The Gnostic mythological tale of the soul's fall into the world and then her return to heaven was influenced by Hellenistic and Jewish romance works. The feminine aspect of the story is rare in ancient text, but can be found in Jewish writings of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. It was most likely written in Alexandria at the beginning of the 3rd Century CE.

Authoritative Teaching
     This work is another from the Nag Hammadi Library that is a cause of discension as to its origin. Some scholars believe it to be Gnostic; others think it could be a 2nd Century CE Platonists work. The text deals with the origin of the soul, it's conditions, and the souls destiny.

Plato, Republic
     The text of Plato, Republic is a Coptic re-telling of the parable of the Ninth Book of Plato's Republic. It deals with the human soul and is considered Gnostic or Manichaean in origin.

The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
     This text is a revelatory dialogue of Jesus to Gnostic believers. It tells the story of Christ from his descent to Earth, his work there, his crucifixion, and his return to Heaven. The work is considered to be a combination of Christianity and Gnosticism.

The Thought of Norea
     Probably written in either Egypt or Syria, this untitled text is the shortest in the Nag Hammadi Library. The date of the writing is set sometime in the late 2nd Century CE or early 3rd Century CE. It is named The Thought of Norea from a part of the text itself. The manuscript is a Gnostic hymnic work; an invocation to a divine triad.

The Testimony of Truth
     Written by a Christian Gnostic, this fragmented manuscript consists of two parts; truth verses lies and miscellaneous added information, including writings against the beliefs of other Gnostic communities which conflicted with the beliefs of the writer of The Testimony of Truth. The author was most probably from Alexandria. There has been put forth that Julius Cassianus could have been the author of the text.

The Interpretation of Knowledge
     This manuscript addresses a community that is having problems with jealousy and hatred concerning the use of spiritual gifts. It is a Gnostic work which uses New Testament writings and their applications. The author uses Christian teachings, but interprets them in the Valentinian school of theology.

     Extremely fragmented, the Coptic manuscript of Hypsiphrone is in such poor condition, it is hard to understand the content. Some scholars deem it to be of the Sethian school of thought.

The Sentences of Sextus
     The Sentences of Sextus was widely used in Christian circles. There are copies of the manuscript in Latin, Armenian, Syriac, and Georgian. It is classed as "wisdom" sayings. The Coptic version was translated from the Greek and is considered to be the most exatant.

Trimorphic Protennoia
     The Trimorphic Protennoia is a Barbeloite work. It is similar to the Johannine descents of the Logos. It could have been written in the early 2nd Century CE.


"The Nag Hammadi Library In English"

Links to On-line Study Resources on the Nag Hammadi Library
The Gnostic Society Library
Nag Hammadi and Berlin Gnostic Library Collection
Nag Hammadi Library

 Books for the Study of the Nag Hammadi Library
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, Vintage, 1989
The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices, James M. Robinson,Brill Academic Publishers, 2000
The Secret Teachings of Jesus, Marvin Meyer, Vintage, 1986

Beyond Belief : The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Elaine Pagels, Random House, 2003