This book may well be the most comprehensive collection of Gnostic materials ever gathered in one volume. After a dry introduction to current debates about gnosticism (by Meyer) and a luminous, marvelously literary introduction to issues of translation (by Barnstone), the bulk of the text is taken up with primary sources, which are drawn from three continents and span an astonishing 13 centuries. These are helpfully organized into various schools of Gnostic tradition: Sethian, Valentinian, Syrian, Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, and--in an unusual move--relatively late Islamic and Cathar texts. Each grouping of texts is preceded by a brief introduction to that particular section's brand of Gnosticism. What is clear from this sourcebook is the tremendous diversity of thought that exists under the "Gnostic" umbrella, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, Zoroastrian and Greco-Roman themes. Many of the texts are being published here in English for the first time, making this a valuable resource for students and scholars.
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"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