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)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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"
On-line Study Resources on the
Nag Hammadi Library
Gnostic Society Library
Nag Hammadi and Berlin Gnostic Library
Nag Hammadi Library
Books for the
Study of the Nag Hammadi
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