Telling Nag Hammadi's Egyptian Stories

Authors

  • Dylan M. Burns Free University of Berlin

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.v45i2.28176

Keywords:

Nag Hammadi, James M. Robinson, Orientalism

Abstract

Recent publications by Mark Goodacre and Nicola Denzey Lewis and Ariel Blount, raise the question of how we should tell the story of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices, and to what extent the work of James M. Robinson remains useful for us in telling this story. This article addresses the issue of the wilder elements of the story as related by Robinson as well as the problem of its orientalist implications, concluding with meditations on how to read the Codices within their late ancient Egyptian context.

Author Biography

Dylan M. Burns, Free University of Berlin

Dylan M. Burns is a Research Associate and Project Coordinator of the project Database and Dictionary of Greek Loanwords in Coptic at the Free University of Berlin. Co-chair of the steering committee for the Society of Biblical Literature’s program unit “Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism," he is author of Apocalypse of the Alien God (Philadelphia: UPenn, 2014) and collaborative editor of Gnosticism, Platonism, and the Late Ancient World: Essays in Honour of John D. Turner (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

References

Baltes, Matthias. 2005. “Der Platonismus und die Weisheit der Barbaren.” In Matthias Baltes, EPINOHMATA: Kleine Schriften zur antiken Philosophie und homerischen Dichtung, edited by Marie-Luise Lakmann, 1–26. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde. München: K. G. Saur. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110931433.1.

Bull, Christian. 2014. “The Tradition of Hermes: The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom.” PhD diss., University of Bergen.

Burns, Dylan M. 2007. “Seeking Ancient Wisdom in the New Age: New Age and Neo-Gnostic Commentators on the Gospel of Thomas.” In Polemical Encounters. Esoteric Discourse and its Others, edited by Kocku von Stuckrad and Olav Hammer, 252–89. Leiden: Brill, 2007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004162570.i-326.70.

———. 2013. “The Apocalypse of Zostrianos and Iolaos: A Platonic Reminiscence of the Heracleidae at NHC VIII,1.4.” Le muséon 126: 29–44.

———. 2014. Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (Divinations).

Dieleman, Jacco. 2005. Priests, Tongues, and Rites: The London-Leiden Magical Manuscripts and Translation in Egyptian Ritual (100–300 CE). Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 153. Leiden: Brill.

Denzey Lewis, Nicola, and Justine Ariel Blount. 2014. “Rethinking the Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices.” Journal of Biblical Literature 133: 399–419. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jbl.2014.0017.

Doresse, Jean. 1950. “A Gnostic Library from Upper Egypt.” Archaeology 3: 69–73.

———. 1960. The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics: An Introduction to the Gnostic Coptic Manuscripts discovered at Chenoboskion. New York: Viking.

Doresse, Jean, and Henri-Charles Puech. 1948. “Nouveaux écrits gnostiques découverts en Egypte.” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 92: 87–95.

Emmel, Stephen. 2008. “The Coptic Gnostic Texts as Witnesses to the Production and Transmission of Gnostic (and Other) Tradition.” In Das Thomasevangelium: Entstehung-Rezeption-Theologie, edited by Jörg Frey, et al., 33–50. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 157. Berlin: de Gruyter

Frankfurter, David. 1998. Religion in Roman Egypt. Assimilation and Resistance. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Goodacre, Mark. 2013. “How Reliable is the Story of the Nag Hammadi Discovery?” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 35: 303–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0142064X13482243.

Kotrosits, Maia. 2012. “Romance and Danger at Nag Hammadi.” The Bible and Critical Theory 8(1): 39–52.

Lundhaug, Hugo, and Lance Jenott. 2015. The Monastic Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Meyer, Marvin. 2003. “Gnosticism, Gnostics, and The Gnostic Bible.” In The Gnostic Bible, edited by Marvin Meyer and Willis Barnstone, 1–20. Boston: Shambhala Books.

Pagels, Elaine. 1978. The Gnostic Gospels, New York: Random House.

Powell, Robert. 2003. Christian Zen: The Essential Teachings of Jesus Christ. The Secret Sayings of Jesus as Related in the Gospel of Thomas. Berkeley: Atlantic Publishing.

Robinson, James M. 1979. “The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices.” The Biblical Archaeologist 42: 206–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3209514.

———. 1981. “From the Cliff to Cairo: The Story of the Discoverers and the Middlemen of the Nag Hammadi Codices.” In Colloque international sur les textes de Nag Hammadi: Québec, 22-25 août 1978, edited by B. Barc, 21–58. Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi 1. Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval.

———. 2014a. The Nag Hammadi Story, Volume 1: From the Discovery to the Publication. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 86. Leiden: Brill.

———. 2014b. The Nag Hammadi Story, Volume 2: The Publication. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 86. Leiden: Brill.

Robinson, James M., and Shafik Farid, eds. 1984. The Facsimile Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices: Introduction. Leiden: Brill.

Segal, Robert M., et al., eds. The Allure of Gnosticism: The Gnostic Experience in Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Culture. Chicago: Open Court 1995.

Thomassen, Einar. 2013. “Sethian Names in Magical Texts: Protophanes and Meirotheos.” In Gnosticism, Platonism, and the Late Ancient World: Essays in Honor of John D. Turner, edited by Kevin Corrigan, et al., 63–75. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 82. Leiden: Brill. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004254763_005.

Published

2016-07-06

How to Cite

Burns, D. (2016). Telling Nag Hammadi’s Egyptian Stories. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 45(2), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.v45i2.28176

Issue

Section

Articles