Skip to main content

Nag Hammadi

Nag Hammadi (näg hä´mädi), a town in Egypt near the ancient town of Chenoboskion, where, in 1945, a large cache of gnostic texts in the Coptic language was discovered. The Nag Hammadi manuscripts, dating from the 4th cent. AD, include 12 codices of tractates, one loose tractate, and a copy of Plato's Republic—making 53 works in all. Originally composed in Greek, they were translated (2d–3d cent. AD) into Coptic. Most of the texts have a strong Christian element. The presence of non-Christian elements, however, gave rise to the speculation that gnosticism, which taught salvation by knowledge, was not originally a Christian movement. Until the texts' discovery, knowledge of Christian gnosticism was confined to reports and quotations of their orthodox opponents, such as Irenaeus and Tertullian. Among the codices are apocalypses, gospels, a collection of sayings of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples, homilies, prayers, and theological treatises.

See E. H. Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (1979); K. Rudolph, Gnosis (1983); B. Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures (1987); J. M. Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Library in English (1988).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nag Hammadi." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nag Hammadi." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nag-hammadi

"Nag Hammadi." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nag-hammadi

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.