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Kevin T. Van Bladel

This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.

The Gospel of Thomas

Introduction and Commentary

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Simon James Gathercole

In this new commentary on the controversial Gospel of Thomas, Simon Gathercole provides the most extensive analysis yet published of both the work as a whole and of the individual sayings contained in it. This commentary offers a fresh analysis of Thomas not from the perspective of form criticism and source criticism but seeks to elucidate the meaning of the work and its constituent elements in its second-century context. With its lucid discussion of the various controversial aspects of Thomas, and treatment of the various different scholarly views, this is a foundational work of reference for scholars not just of apocryphal Gospels, but also for New Testament scholars, Classicists and Patrologists.

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Edited by Jacob Albert van den Berg, Annemaré Kotzé, Tobias Nicklas and Madeleine Scopello

This volume in honour of Johannes van Oort, formerly University of Utrecht, presently Professor of Patristics and Gnosticism at the Universities of Nijmegen and Pretoria, and past-President of the International Association of Manichaean Studies (IAMS), brings together a rich variety of studies on Augustine, Manichaeism, and other Gnostic currents, thus reflecting the honorand’s research interests. The unique collection is divided into four sections: I. Studies in Augustine: Confessions, Sermons, Letters & De Haeresibus; Augustine on Grace & Pluralism; Augustinian ‘Gnosis’; II. Studies in Manichaeism: Origins & Myth; Doctrines & Cult; Diffusion & Art; III. Studies in Manichaeism and Augustine: Doctrines; Polemics & Debates with Manichaean Contemporaries; IV. Studies in ‘Other Gnosticism’: Gnosticism and ‘Apocryphal’ Texts; Sources of (Ps.) Hippolytus’ Refutatio; the Gospel of Judas; Modern Yesidi Gnosticism. The 35 studies are preceded by an overview of Prof. van Oort’s scholarly activities and publications

Einar Thomassen

This book is a comprehensive study of “Valentinianism,” the most important Gnostic Christian movement in Antiquity. It is the first attempt to make full use of the Valentinian documents from Nag Hammadi as well as the reports of the Church Fathers.
The book discusses the difference between the Eastern and the Western branches of Valentinianism, and argues that individual sources must always be understood in the context of the historical development of Valentinian doctrines. It also analyses the ideas about the incarnation, protological theories, and initiation practice, as well as the dynamic relationship between these building-blocks of Valentinian doctrine. A final chapter studies anew the doctrine of Valentinus himself and outlines the history of the movement.
The book’s usefulness lies in its attempt to bring together for the first time all the sources so as to construct a coherent picture of Valentinian Christianity.

Mediaeval Manichaean Book Art

A Codicological Study of Iranian and Turkic Illuminated Book Fragments from 8th-11th Century East Central Asia

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Zsuzsanna Gulácsi

Mediaeval Manichean Book Art focuses on a corpus of c. one hundred fragments of exquisitely illuminated manuscripts that were produced under the patronage of the Turkic-speaking Uygurs in the Turfan region of East Central Asia between the 8th and 11th centuries CE, and used in service of the local Manichaean church. By applying a codicological approach to the analysis of these sources, this study casts light onto a lost episode of Central Asian art history and religious book culture.
Each of the five chapters in this book accomplishes a well-defined goal. The first justifies the formation of the corpus. The second examines its dating on the basis of scientific and historical evidence. Chapter three assesses the artistry of their bookmakers, scribes, and illuminators. The fourth documents the patterns of page layout preserved on the fragments. The final chapter analyses the contextual relationship of their painted and written contents.
Mediaeval Manichaean Book Art represents a pioneer study in its subject, research methodology, and illustrations. It extracts codicological and art historical data from torn remains of lavishly decorated Middle-Persian, Sogdian, and Uygur language manuscripts in codex, scroll, and “palm-leaf” formats. Through detailed analyses and carefully argued interpretations aided by precise computer drawings, the author introduces an important group of primary sources for future comparative research in Central Asian art, mediaeval book illumination, and Manichaean studies.

The Coptic Gnostic Library (5 vols.)

A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices

Edited by James M. Robinson

The Coptic Gnostic Library continues where the Dead Sea Scrolls left off. Our main sources of information for the Gnostic religion are the so-called Nag Hammadi codices, written in Coptic. These were unearthed in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. The texts literally begin where the Dead Sea Scrolls end. Their discovery is considered equally significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, bringing to light a long-hidden wealth of information and insights into early Judaism and the roots of Christianity. Furthermore, these writings clearly show that the Gnostic religion was not only a force that interacted with early Christianity and Judaism in their formative periods, but also a significant religious movement in its own right.

The Coptic Gnostic Library contains all the texts of the Nag Hammadi codices, both in the original Coptic and in translation. Each text has its own introduction, and full indexes are provided. The Coptic Gnostic Library is the starting point for all research into ancient Gnosticism. It is the result of decades of dedicated research by the most distinguished international scholars in this field.

The Coptic Gnostic Library is the only authoritative edition of many of the Coptic writings of the Gnostics from the first centuries AD. It was originally published by Brill in fourteen hardback volumes as part of the Nag Hammadi (and Manichaean) Studies series between 1975 and 1995, under the general editorship of James M. Robinson. Now, for the first time, it is available in paperback, at a fraction of the price of the original hardback editions.

- Photomechanical paperback reprint of the original 14 hardback volumes
- Complete and unabridged: 5 volumes, totaling approximately 5.000 pages
- Facing Coptic texts and English translations, Introductions, Notes, and Indexes
- Only available as a set

Guillaumont, Puech, Gilles Quispel, Till and Yassah Abd al-Masih

In 1945 thirteen volumes, or fragments of volumes, written on papyrus were found by chance near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. It appears that they had come from the library of a gnostic community and together comprised 49 works, written in Coptic and most of them unknown.
None of the works included in the discovery has been so much discussed and has created so much interest as The Gospel according to Thomas. It is in fact a great collection of Logia, a harvesting of 114 “Sayings of Jesus” together with a prologue which stresses the esoteric character of the sayings and attributes their recording and preservation to the apostle Didymus Jude Thomas.
Many of the sentences are identical with the Logia of the Synoptic Gospels or are closely related to them. Other sayings on the contrary are extracanonical. Among these are certain “agrapha” which were already known or can now be recognized in ancient or medieval literature from patristic, gnostic, Manichaean, or even Catharist sources. Finally, the collection comprises many Logia which are quite new and have never before been seen.
This reprint of the original 1959 edition presents the Coptic text based on a minute examination of the manuscript, together with as faithful a translation as possible.

The Kephalaia of the Teacher

The Edited Coptic Manichaean Texts in Translation with Commentary

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Iain Gardner

The Kephalaia of the Teacher is the most detailed account available to modern scholarship of the teachings of Mani, and of the universal religion that he founded as the final successor to Buddha, Zarathushtra and Jesus. This volume provides the first complete English translation of the Coptic text (c. 400 CE), together with introduction, commentaries and indices.
Topics include the apostleship of Mani, the practices of the Manichaean community, accounts of the heavenly and demonic beings and worlds, as well as discussions of astrology and religious psychology.
In Manichaeism many of the gnostic and dualistic themes of early Christianity achieved the status of a world religion, and the subject is the heir to contemporary interest in heterodoxy and the deconstruction of received histories (see the Nag Hammadi codices).