Definitions

Nag Hammadi

Nag Hammadi

Nag Hammadi, a town in Egypt near the ancient town of Chenoboskion, where, in 1945, a large cache of gnostic texts in the Coptic language was discovered. The Nag Hammadi manuscripts, dating from the 4th cent. A.D., include 12 codices of tractates, one loose tractate, and a copy of Plato's Republic—making 53 works in all. Originally composed in Greek, they were translated (2d-3d cent. A.D.) into Coptic. Most of the texts have a strong Christian element. The presence of non-Christian elements, however, gave rise to the speculation that gnosticism, which taught salvation by knowledge, was not originally a Christian movement. Until the texts' discovery, knowledge of Christian gnosticism was confined to reports and quotations of their orthodox opponents, such as Irenaeus and Tertullian. Among the codices are apocalypses, gospels, a collection of sayings of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples, homilies, prayers, and theological treatises.

See E. H. Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (1979); K. Rudolph, Gnosis (1983); B. Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures (1987); J. M. Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Library in English (1988).

Nag Hammadi (Arabic نجع حمادي), is a city in Upper Egypt. Nag Hammâdi was known as Chenoboskion (Greek Χηνοβόσκιον) in classical antiquity, meaning "geese grazing grounds". It is located on the west bank of the Nile in the Qena Governorate, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor.

It has population of about 30,000, who are mostly farmers. Sugar and aluminium are produced in Nag Hammâdi.

The town of Nag Hammadi was established by Mahmoud Pasha Hammadi, who was a member of the Hammadi family in Sohag, Egypt. Mahmoud Pasha Hammadi was a major landholder in Sohag, and known for his strong opposition to the British occupation.

Mahmoud Pasha Hammadi created Nag Hammadi for the indigenous people from Sohag who were forced to abandon their homeland by the British occupation. In recognition of this, the new town was given the name "Hammadi".

The Nag Hammadi Library

Nag Hammadi is best known for being the site where local farmers found a sealed glass jar containing thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices, together with pages torn from another book, in December 1945. The farmers burned one of the books and parts of a second (including its cover). Thus twelve of these books (one missing its cover) and the loose pages survive. The writings in these codices, dating back to the 2nd century AD, comprised 52 mostly Gnostic tractates (treatises), believed to be a library hidden by monks from the nearby monastery of St Pachomius when the possession of such banned writings, denounced as heresy, was made an offence.

The contents of the Coptic-bound codices were written in Coptic, though the works were probably all translations from Greek. Most famous of these works must be the Gospel of Thomas, of which the Nag Hammadi codices contain the only complete copy.

All the texts have been public since 1975, and are available online (in English, for example, at gnosis.org).

Notes

Search another word or see Nag Hammadion Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;