Nag Hammadi codices. Discovered in a clay jar in Egypt in 1945. The codices were eventually discovered to be secret sacred Christian texts. The books were created over 1,500 years ago, during the first centuries of Christianity. Some of them had never been mentioned before, in any Christian literature; others had been declared heresy, and banned by the Church. They offer a counter-point to accepted ecclesiastical literature, and have been controversial ever since their discovery.
Also known as the Nag Hammadi library, the Gnostic Gospels are a collection of leather-bound books that date back to the 4th century. They make up the major texts of Gnosticism, an offshoot of Christianity that existed around the time of the 2nd century, adherents are believe that salvation comes through deep self-knowledge and an understanding of a “higher reality.” The Gnostic Gospels, feature such volumes as “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of Mary,” and even the Gospel of Judas.
Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices in 1945, the literary and intellectual diversity of early Christianity had largely been forgotten. The writings of so-called gnostic Christians—vilified since they were declared heretical by church leaders in the fourth century—had been virtually erased from history, their gospels banned and even burned to solidify views of Christian tradition based on canonical writings such as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
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