The Paraphrase of Shem (NH VII,1)

Introduction, Translation and Commentary


This book presents the first comprehensive interpretation of the Paraphrase of Shem, Codex VII,1 in the Coptic Nag Hammadi Library. The lenghty introduction discusses the literary genre of the treatise, its plan and system, its situation among the Gnostic systems, its provenance and date. The translation sets out the text in paragraphs, with headings and subheadings. A short commentary follows the translation. The analysis of the system shows that the author is working from a model of the universe, whose principles have been drawn from Stoicism and Middle Platonism. While dipping into the springs of the major Sethian and Valentinian systems, the author follows his own way and offers an original system, anticipating in many respects Manichaeism.
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EUR €102.00USD $137.00

Biographical Note

Michel Roberge, former professor of NT exegesis at Laval University is co-founder of the project "Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi". He has published in this collection Norea (NH IX, 2) and La Paraphrase de Sem (NH VII, 1).

Review Quotes

"... an extremely important book, one that promises to bring about renewed and increased interest in a text that has often seemed at best confusing and at worst incomprehensible [...]. As a result of Roberge’s book being published in this English edition, English-speaking scholars who work on a range of subjects, including not only Nag Hammadi texts and Gnosticism but also early Christianity in general, Mandaeism, and Manichaeism, will benefit from improved access to this fascinating ancient work." – James F. McGrath, in: RBL 2012
"Frucht Jahrzehntelanger Beschäftigung des Autors mit dem Text. [...] Roberge [ist] bestrebt die Ergebungsresultate der Arbeit seiner Fachkollegen auszuwerten, um seinen Lesern Ergebnisse bieten zu können, die einen aktuellen Stand der Forschung reflektieren. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die Sorgfalt, mit der dieses Buch erarbeitet wurde. Wer das Koptisch nicht mächtig ist, kann sich nun den Blick in die französische Edition ersparen. Für alle anderen stellt die englische Neuauflage aber eine unverzichtbare Ergänzung dar." – Bernd Witte, in: Journal of Coptic Studies 15 (2013)


All those interested in Gnosticism and Manichaeism, as well as the history of Early Church and Patristic, philosophy, especially Middle Platonism, and history of religions.


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