Origins of the Nag Hammadi codexes
- Hey Mike....
>>>"Actually I have to disagree a bit here, I think you were closerwhen you said the monks had seen doctrine change so much, they put
them away for possible future use. They were rolled up carefully and
put into jars to preserve them, so it was not just casting them
Very true, and of the multiple theories I presented, I also prefer
the one in which the monks were simply unsure what would stick
doctrinally (my point to Annie was not to be sure that these books
were created and hidden by Gnostics).
However, I do think that the fact they were disposed of in such a way
doesn't necessarily mean they were being preserved for future use.
Books and scrolls, in and of themselves held a sort of sacred place
for many groups. Books were disposed of this way sometimes, almost as
if it was a human burial. This may even have been true for a
substantial portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which is part of the
theory that they were actually the works of more than one sect and
that this had been a traditional site for book burial).
Also, there is one thing that works against the theory that I prefer.
Even though it is true that there was a certain amount of changing of
official doctrin... one day Eusebius is in exile, and the next day it
is his enemy..... the basic doctrins of the Pachomonian monks was
pretty well established, and these books don't fit those doctrins.
While there were many changes happening, the Nag Hammadi texts were
heretical to this particular group already (from what we know of them)
Here is a theory that I made up all by myself ;) (perhaps there are
others who have offered as well, I don't know) Monks were often in
need of a trade to support thier community, and it is possible that
these particular monks may have found a lucrative trade in the
manufacture of books. Since the evidence does seem to help make the
case for this community, perhaps the monks did not get paid by thier
patron, or perhaps they even rethought thier consciences concerning
whether it was ok to reproduce these kinds of liturature (perhaps
helped along by the letter sent out to the churches outlining the
importance of not doing so). It is generally accepted that many of
the translations were done by people who probably did not fully
understand what they were translating.
So, the monks fail to get thier money, they don't want the books
hanging around thier library, they bury them unsure if they could
find another buyer, or while they think about which is more
important... the financial needs of the community or the souls of the
people who would be reading these books.
OR... what if the monks simply had a business manufacturing blank
books, and it was an entirely different group that actually put the
words on the pages.... or another group altogether that did the whole
thing. We just don't know.
Of course, that is part of my point. This is entirely conjecture.