is a collection of early Christian and Gnostic texts that were discovered near the town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. The discovery was made by a local farmer who found a large clay jar containing a collection of ancient manuscripts. These manuscripts, now known as the Nag Hammadi Library, date back to the 4th century CE.
The library consists of 13 codices (manuscript books) and contains a total of 52 separate texts, including Gnostic Gospels, apocryphal writings, and other religious and philosophical works. The texts were written in Coptic, an Egyptian language written using the Greek alphabet.
The Nag Hammadi Library is significant because it provides valuable insights into early Christian and Gnostic thought. Gnosticism was a diverse religious movement that emerged in the early centuries of Christianity, emphasizing secret knowledge (gnosis) as the path to salvation. The texts found in Nag Hammadi shed light on the beliefs, practices, and diverse theological perspectives of various Gnostic groups.
Some of the notable texts found in the Nag Hammadi Library include the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Truth, and the Secret Book of John (also known as the Apocryphon of John). These texts offer alternative perspectives on the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as explore topics such as cosmology, the nature of God, the soul, and the role of gnosis in salvation.
Since their discovery, the texts of the Nag Hammadi Library have been extensively studied by scholars, theologians, and historians of early Christianity. They have provided valuable insights into the diversity of early Christian thought and have sparked new discussions and debates about the nature of Gnosticism and its relationship to mainstream Christianity.