The Nag Hammadi Codices and Late Antique Egypt

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Hugo Lundhaug, Lance Jenott
Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity
  • Tübingen, Germany: 
    Mohr Siebeck
    , March
     508 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Theresa Topete forthcoming.


This volume showcases the new trend in scholarship to treat the Nag Hammadi Codices as sources for Christianity and monasticism in late antique Egypt rather than for Gnosticism. The essays situate the Nag Hammadi Codices and their texts in the context of late antique Egypt, treating such topics as Coptic readers and readings, the difficulty of dating early Greek and Coptic manuscripts, scribal practices, the importance of heavenly ascent, asceticism, and instruction in Egyptian monastic culture, the relationship of the texts to the Origenist controversy and Manichaeism, the continuity of mythical traditions in later Coptic literature, and issues relating to the codices' production and burial. Most of the essays were originally presented at the conference “The Nag Hammadi Codices in the Context of Fourth- and Fifth-Century Christianity in Egypt,” organized by the ERC-financed project New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT), at the University of Oslo in December 2013.

Survey of contents

Hugo Lundhaug/Lance Jenott: Introduction: The Nag Hammadi Codices in Context

Part I: The Monastic Life
Jon F. Dechow: The Nag Hammadi Milieu: An Assessment in the Light of the Origenist Controversies – James E. Goehring:The Material Encoding of Early Christian Division: Nag Hammadi Codex VII and the Ascetic Milieu in Upper Egypt – Melissa Harl Sellew: Reading Jesus in the Desert: The Gospel of Thomas Meets the Apophthegmata Patrum – Blossom Stefaniw: Hegemony and Homecoming in the Ascetic Imagination: Sextus, Silvanus, and Monastic Instruction in Egypt

Part II: Egyptian Christianity and its Literature
Dylan M. Burns: Magical, Coptic, Christian: The Great Angel Eleleth and the ‘Four Luminaries’ in Egyptian Literature of the First Millennium CE – Julio Cesar Dias Chaves: From the Apocalypse of Paul to Coptic Epic Passions: Greeting Paul and the Martyrs in Heaven – Ulla Tervahauta: The Soul Flees to Her Treasure where Her Mind Is: Scriptural Allusions in the Authentikos Logos

Part III: Religious Diversity in Egypt
Christian H. Bull: Hermes between Pagans and Christians: The Nag Hammadi Hermetica in Context – René Falkenberg: What Has Nag Hammadi to Do with Medinet Madi? The Case of Eugnostos and Manichaeism – Paula Tutty: Books of the Dead or Books with the Dead? Interpreting Book Depositions in Late Antique Egypt

Part IV: Scribes and Manuscripts
Hugo Lundhaug: The Dishna Papers and the Nag Hammadi Codices: The Remains of a Single Monastic Library? – Louis Painchaud: The Production and Destination of the Nag Hammadi Codices – Michael A. Williams/David Coblentz: A Reexamination of the Articulation Marks in Nag Hammadi Codices II and XIII – Christian Askeland: Dating Early Greek and Coptic Literary Hands

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Hugo Lundhaug is Professor of Theology (Biblical Reception and Early Christian Literature) at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Theology.

Lance Jenott is Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Program in Religious Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.


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