The Gnostic Bible (Paperback)

By Willis Barnstone (Editor), Marvin Meyer (Editor)
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Description


Gnosticism was a wide-ranging religious movement of the first millennium CE—with earlier antecedents and later flourishings—whose adherents sought salvation through knowledge and personal religious experience. Gnostic writings offer striking perspectives on both early Christian and non-Christian thought. For example, some gnostic texts suggest that god should be celebrated as both mother and father, and that self-knowledge is the supreme path to the divine. Only in the past fifty years has it become clear how far the gnostic influence spread in ancient and medieval religions—and what a marvelous body of scriptures it produced.

The selections gathered here, in poetic, readable translation, represent Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, Islamic, and Cathar expressions of gnostic spirituality. Their regions of origin include Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, China, and France. Also included are introductions, notes, an extensive glossary, and a wealth of suggestions for further reading. <iframe title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rx7uvwrdCrE" width="640" frameborder="0" height="390"> </iframe>

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About the Author


Willis Barnstone, born in Lewiston, Maine, and educated at Bowdoin, the Sorbonne, Columbia and Yale, taught in Greece at end of civil war (1949-51), in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War, and in China during Cultural Revolution, where he was later a Fulbright Professor in Beijing (1984-85). Former O'Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, he is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. A Guggenheim fellow, he has received the NEA, NEH, Emily Dickinson Award of the PSA, Auden Award of NY Council on the Arts, Midland Authors Award, four Book of the Month selections, four Pulitzer nominations, and Lanner Poetry Award for BORDER OF A DREAM: THE POEMS OF ANTONIO MACHADO (Copper Canyon). His work has appeared in APR, Harper's, NYRB, Paris Review, Poetry, and the New Yorker. Author of seventy books, recent volumes are Poetics of Translation (Yale, 1995), The Gnostic Bible (Shambhala, 2003), Life Watch (BOA, 2003), BORDER OF A DREAM: SELECTED POEMS OF ANTONIO MACHADO (2004), Restored New Testament (Norton, 2009), Stickball on 88th Street (Red Hen Press, 2011), Dawn Cafe in Paris (Sheep Meadow, 2011), The Poems of Jesus Christ (Norton, 2012), ABC of Translation (Black Widow Press, 2013), Borges at Eighty (New Directions Press, 2013), and MOONBOOK AND SUNBOOK: POEMS (Tupelo Press, 2014).

Marvin Meyer is one of the "foremost" scholars on early Christianity and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament. He is Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. Among his recent books are "The Gospel of Judas", "The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus", "The Gospels of Mary", "The Gospel of Thomas", and "The Nag Hammadi Scriptures".

Praise For…


"This book may well be the most comprehensive collection of gnostic materials ever gathered in one volume. What is clear from the sourcebook is the tremendous diversity of thought that exists under the 'gnostic' umbrella including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Zoroastrian, and Greco-Roman themes. A valuable resource for students and scholars."—Publishers Weekly

“The selection of texts ranges across two millennia and various cultures.  Each work, some translated into English for the first time, is accompanied by a clear introduction and synopsis.  This is an important sampler of relatively unknown spiritual literature.”—Library Journal

“To read The Gnostic Bible is to witness something astonishing. . . . I read it with dizzy excitement.”—Ian Cant, Ascent Magazine

“A Godsend for anyone interested in alternative Christianity, the history of Christianity, or spirituality in general.”—Turk’s Head Review

"An enormously rich collection of sources—a wonderful achievement!"—Elaine Pagels, author of The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief



"Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer's Gnostic Bible joins Bentley Layton's Gnostic Scriptures as one of the true critical sourcebooks for gnostic texts. Here, from China to Catalonia, from the first to the fourteenth centuries, gnosticism is seen as a global meditation."—Harold Bloom, author of Genius: A Mosaic, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, and The Western Canon



“I feel as if I had been waiting for this book all my life.”—Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

“Everyone interested in the tumultuous origins of Christianity and in a mysticism of direct, unmediated communion with God should fall on this brilliant and ground-breaking book.  In it, for the first time, are assembled all the major texts of gnosticism, with illuminating notes and introductions, and in translations that radiate clarity.”—Andrew Harvey, author of Sun at Midnight, Son of Man, and The Direct Path

“These ancient texts have not lost any of their power to awaken higher consciousness.  Seekers of knowledge owe an enormous debt to Barnstone and Meyer for presenting these works to us in a fresh, clear, and accessible form.”—Richard Smoley, author of Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition

“In this wonderfully readable anthology the authors have brought together a large number of interesting selections from a wide chronological, geographical, and cultural range of traditions that nevertheless illustrate fascinating overlapping patterns in religious symbolism and worldviews.”—Michael Williams, author of Rethinking Gnosticism

“These two wise men have written an amazing book—the best of its kind, ever.  They bear lit matches in our dark tunnel—sometimes they are the matches themselves.”—Gerald Stern, author of American Sonnets and What I Can’t Bear Losing

Product Details
ISBN: 9781590306314
ISBN-10: 1590306317
Publisher: Shambhala Publications
Publication Date: June 30th, 2009
Pages: 881
Language: English