Nag Hammadi Revisited

The effective (affective?) history of ancient wisdom texts canonized in the first few centuries of our current measurement of time culminated in the construction and deployment of two atomic bombs. That same year, other ancient wisdom texts not canonized with no traditional understanding were (re)discovered.

We cannot view culture-forming classics without assessing their historical trajectory/complicity. Nor can we purely view new texts discovered without unconsciously bringing our traditional understanding of similar texts to our reading.

However, we might want to try, since, well, we constructed and deployed two atomic bombs.

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9 thoughts on “Nag Hammadi Revisited

  1. Meggie, You struck a chord. I would like to think of us (people) as new texts being discovered, being discovered even to, through, and within ourselves. And Recognized in each other. Are we texts whose mutual discovery is capable of producing a trajectory whose culmination is a world that is an absolute joy to be part of?

    • i think that is fundamentally the question i am seeking in this life. i am often crushed by our collective heritage as human beings – but you are right, we (people) are texts that can be rediscovered and become recognizable to each other as crucial parts to the great, epic narrative called life.

  2. An interesting post, well done Meggie! 🙂 Your second paragraph is in particular very insightful. I would like to add that we also need to consider the limitation of our linguistic corpora, for the way we interpret things are bounded by the linguistic structure and concepts that are inherently built in our brain. The concept of ‘Oneness’ in Zen and ‘Wahdatul Wujud’ in Sufism are exemplary. The two concepts basically refer to the same thing, the divine mental state when you feel absolute unionship with God and the Universe. But the explanation and teachings of this concept go in two different ways, because Zen is influenced by Chinese/Japanese cultures/languages, while Sufism is a concept that originates in Arabic but was shaped in Turkish/Persian cultures/languages. As a result, there’s no way we can do this except by being an objective observant. In my experience, that’s the only way we can eventually see more things with similarities rather than differences, and things in good faith rather than prejudice. Please, your turn. 🙂

    • i agree that language constructs reality – even sentence structure reveals a profound interpretation of reality that doesn’t necessarily exist outside the domain of language; i walked the dog shows a hierarchy of: my self as principle actor performing a secondary action to just “being itself” on a something less important than myself, otherwise it would take precendence within the sentence structure. which is just a construction. we might as well say a more accurate reflection of reality is that the dog walks me! another example is how the absence of certain words or meanings in any given language would be indicative of the way in which that society is structured and makes translating very interesting and also interpretive.

      however, i wonder about your statement that the only way to feel absolute oneness with God and the Universe is by being an objective observant, mainly because i do not feel we as humans are ever truly capable of that. we are always engaging something, whether a “thing” outside ourselves or a mental/emotional/spiritual state within through our embodied existence. we are changed by the engagement and also change that which we engage; we can never stand apart from that in which we engage. but as long as the outcome is the same – seeing the similarity, or i like to use the word relatedness, in all things – then either path, or any path really, to that outcome is good.

    • or perhaps you were referring to the immediate experience of God and the Universe as opposed to it being mediated through a text. if so, i wholeheartedly agree, and smile thinking “our mysticism is showing” 🙂

  3. Great point. So did you get a chance to read the gnostic gospels/ text? The orthodoxy would so love to keep Mary buried, what a shame. The idea that women played just as big of a role in the early Christian ministry would certainly uproot Christianity today. It turned out women and Mary Magdalene were amoung the disciples and Mary was the visionary, apostle and leader! I can see why Emporer Constantine and the council chose to omit these key mystical texts so the people could not realize the truth for themselves. The Gospel of Mary alone would empower early faithfuls to seek God apart from the organized church. Of course the politics of religion wouldn’t allow for that.
    All religion is about love, I wish everyone would recognize this, grow through Christ’s love.
    Here’s a great documentary about the Nag Hammadi Library:

    Enjoy the truth! ♥

    • i have read through some of these texts: i have a personal copy of the scrolls translated into english and am working through it slowly! you are right about women and the early church, it’s as if when the institution came closing down, women were systematically excluded. happens in a lot of institutions, even today, sadly. but yes, about Mary Magdalene! she was the apostle to the apostles!!!!! there is much writings from/about women that are incredibly empowering – teresa of avila, hildegaard, perpetua and felicitas, brigid, the list could go on.

      thanks so much for your comment and informational link. let’s enjoy the truth together!

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