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Re: book questions

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  • Gerry
    Hi, Michael. I might have managed to chime in earlier, but I m having some computer difficulties at the moment (on top of everything else), and my emergency
    Message 1 of 24 , May 10, 2006
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      Hi, Michael.

      I might have managed to chime in earlier, but I'm having some computer difficulties at the moment (on top of everything else), and my emergency laptop is little consolation.

       

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, --Michael <epsilon717@...> wrote:

      >
      > I was wondering if there's a significant difference between
      > _The Gnostic Bible_ and _The Other Bible_, both by Willis
      > Barnstone.

       

      One other thing to keep in mind, Michael, is that both The Other Bible and The Gnostic Bible offer abridged versions for some of the translated texts. This is fine for those who are simply looking for an introductory taste of works excluded from their own religious tradition, or for those who prefer a flowing and accessible rendering of some of these diverse and difficult works, but for carefully examining what the Gnostic authors actually sought to convey, one would be well advised to balance those anthologies with Robinson's affordable compilation, The Nag Hammadi Library. I stress "affordable" there because the next step up in my own recommended reading list would be another series edited by Robinson, The Coptic Gnostic Library (the forerunner of the NHL).

      Since I've broached the subject of "readability" already, it should be mentioned that this is another aspect of Robinson's collection that should be taken into consideration. Personally, I frequently found myself avoiding certain tractates in his book simply because of the numerous lacunae. It's definitely a challenge to read something all the way through when it sometimes seems as if every passage consists of random words interspersed with countless bracketed ellipses. My own copy of the NHL is the first edition, so I was somewhat dismayed just now when I looked up a critique of his revised edition and found that the "new & improved" version was even more conservative (i.e., less fluid). The same reviewer suggested that it would be nice to see yet another revision in which those lacunae are preserved (so that the reader can see where actual gaps and irregularities exist in the extant originals), but where such voids in the text were supplemented with footnotes offering scholarly insight into what they likely contained. Frankly, such a work already exists (inasmuch as it is possible to speculate on filling some of those holes), but it is the more expensive CGL that I referred to above. If anyone here happens to own both editions of the popularly targeted NHL, I would be interested in hearing additional insights regarding differences between the translations presented in these two.



      >

      > For that matter, how about _Gnosis : The Nature and History
      > of Gnosticism_ by Kurt Rudolph?
      >
      >
      > --Michael
      >

       

      As Cari said, this is a very good overview of the subject. As always, however, I wouldn't want anyone taking the opinions expressed therein as gospel, and neglecting the more recent research of other scholars in the field. Frankly, there are groups out there who do just that, not only with Rudolph's book, but even the older work of Hans Jonas. Basically, such people read these and seem to conclude that the measure of a Gnostic group is how similarly it resonates with Marcionism. When they get started on their rants, "Old Testament god bad; New Testament God good," it soon comes across as little more than a heavily dualistic, anti-Semitic brand of orthodoxy in which Jesus has still come to rescue us all from a life of sin. The mere concept of anything actually "transcendent" is usually lost on such individuals.  If you run across these people in your Internet travels, you will recognize them immediately.  ;-)

      Gerry

    • Michael Leavitt
      ... -- M. Leavitt
      Message 2 of 24 , May 10, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Gerry wrote:
        >
        >
        > Hi, Michael.
        >
        > I might have managed to chime in earlier, but I'm having some
        > computer difficulties at the moment (on top of everything else), and my
        > emergency laptop is little consolation.
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, --Michael <epsilon717@...> wrote:
        >
        >> I was wondering if there's a significant difference between
        >> _The Gnostic Bible_ and _The Other Bible_, both by Willis
        >> Barnstone.
        >>
        >
        >
        >
        > One other thing to keep in mind, Michael, is that both The Other Bible
        > and The Gnostic Bible offer abridged versions for some of the translated
        > texts. This is fine for those who are simply looking for an introductory
        > taste of works excluded from their own religious tradition, or for those
        > who prefer a flowing and accessible rendering of some of these diverse
        > and difficult works, but for carefully examining what the Gnostic
        > authors actually sought to convey, one would be well advised to balance
        > those anthologies with Robinson's affordable compilation, The Nag
        > Hammadi Library
        > <http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&isbn=00\
        > 60669357&itm=1> . I stress "affordable" there because the next step up
        > in my own recommended reading list would be another series edited by
        > Robinson, The Coptic Gnostic Library
        > <http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ISBN=900411\
        > 7024&pdf=y&z=y> (the forerunner of the NHL).
        >
        > Since I've broached the subject of "readability" already, it should
        > be mentioned that this is another aspect of Robinson's collection
        > that should be taken into consideration. Personally, I frequently found
        > myself avoiding certain tractates in his book simply because of the
        > numerous lacunae. It's definitely a challenge to read something all
        > the way through when it sometimes seems as if every passage consists of
        > random words interspersed with countless bracketed ellipses. My own copy
        > of the NHL is the first edition, so I was somewhat dismayed just now
        > when I looked up a critique of his revised edition and found that the
        > "new & improved" version was even more conservative (i.e., less fluid).
        > The same reviewer suggested that it would be nice to see yet another
        > revision in which those lacunae are preserved (so that the reader can
        > see where actual gaps and irregularities exist in the extant originals),
        > but where such voids in the text were supplemented with footnotes
        > offering scholarly insight into what they likely contained. Frankly,
        > such a work already exists (inasmuch as it is possible to speculate on
        > filling some of those holes), but it is the more expensive CGL that I
        > referred to above. If anyone here happens to own both editions of the
        > popularly targeted NHL, I would be interested in hearing additional
        > insights regarding differences between the translations presented in
        > these two.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >> For that matter, how about _Gnosis : The Nature and History
        >> of Gnosticism_ by Kurt Rudolph?
        >>
        >>
        >> --Michael
        >>
        >>
        >
        >
        >
        > As Cari said, this is a very good overview of the subject. As always,
        > however, I wouldn't want anyone taking the opinions expressed
        > therein as gospel, and neglecting the more recent research of other
        > scholars in the field. Frankly, there are groups out there who do just
        > that, not only with Rudolph's book, but even the older work of Hans
        > Jonas. Basically, such people read these and seem to conclude that the
        > measure of a Gnostic group is how similarly it resonates with
        > Marcionism. When they get started on their rants, "Old Testament god
        > bad; New Testament God good," it soon comes across as little more than a
        > heavily dualistic, anti-Semitic brand of orthodoxy in which Jesus has
        > still come to rescue us all from a life of sin. The mere concept of
        > anything actually "transcendent" is usually lost on such individuals.
        > If you run across these people in your Internet travels, you will
        > recognize them immediately. ;-)
        >
        > Gerry
        >
        > Try the wife's, a Compaq Presario 1200, a P-1 peocessor and no USB, of course only one port on this Compaq P-IV 2 gig thing isn't USB. I don't really like that but it is fast, even with Windoze XP pro. Gotta try it with Linux!
        >
        --
        M. Leavitt
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