Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics by Jean Doresse (). Hardcover . $ The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts: A Firsthand Account of the. Mass Market Paperback. Les Livres Secrets de l’Egypte. $ Mass Market Paperback. Books by Jean Doresse. Showing 3 Results Books: Advanced Search. Jean Doresse is the author of The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics ( avg rating, 50 ratings, 4 reviews, published ), The Discovery of the Na.

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Among them was the Gospel according to Thomas, which aroused international publicity and alerted the world to the significance of this archeological find, believed by many scholars to surpass the Dead Sea Scrolls in importance. The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts is the original survey of the contents of these documents and their significance to the world at large. Doresse’s narrative allows readers direct contact with jeab ancient form of Christianity through the philosophical wealth of the texts-ranging from gnostic revelations and Christian apocrypha to Hermetic literature-Included in the book is the original English translation of the Gospel of Thomas first published in Jean Doresse is a renowned historian and a scholar of Egyptology and Greek papyrology.

Jean Doresse (Author of The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics)

He was head of the research department at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique and for five years undertook expeditions on behalf of the French government, establishing the first archaeological service in Ethiopia. He lives in France. Journal of Experimental Spirituality, I highly recommend this most interesting and enjoyable work.

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Chapter The Story of a Discovery From a lofty desert cliff known, at this point, as the Gebel et-Tarif, the Nile approaches the vicinity of Naga Hamadi by describing a complete semi-circle toward the south, before it resumes its course to the northeast. This loop, nearly five miles in diameter, now encloses, between the river and the white cliff of the eastern desert, the dense, tall plantations of sugar-cane which have replaced the acacia plantations of former days.


Christians are very numerous here to droesse day. Near to it, and not far from the Nile, a high, blank, massive wall surrounds a few churches and chapels clustered close together and surmounted by an enormous, fantastic bell-tower with latticed walls.

To the north, far beyond the verdure of the tilled lands and past bushy orchards, which are enclosed by high walls still dominated by the square towers of great columbaries, there rises the enormous, abrupt cliff of Gebel et-Tarif, shutting off the whole horizon from west to east.

But eastward the cliff suddenly curves back toward the doersse, and diminishes into the depths of the desert, farther and farther away from the Nile and its fertile plains. Halfway up the white cliffs are the openings to several galleries–pharaonic tombs of the princes doreses governed this district under the Sixth Dynasty. Two of these, at least, have rewarded the attentions of archaeologists: Dig into this last, to the depth of one qamah: You will see also some high watch-towers around this same cemetery on the eastern side.

Among these watch-towers there are five great tombs, each with a stone at the head and another doresae at the feet, both implanted in the sand.

Lift up the headstone and dig. In such terms as these did the Book of buried Pearls and of doreese precious Mystery, an Arab writing addressed to seekers after marvels, embellish this locality with remains which, perhaps, were never to be seen there. However, this was the place where, according to all we had gathered from our preliminary enquiries, one undeniable treasure had been found–that of our Gnostic library. Let us give a rather fuller description of the site.

Midway up the flank of the cliff are the openings to the pharaonic tombs–seven, according to Arab tradition–that we have just mentioned. The first, approaching from the south, has no sculptures or hieroglyphic inscriptions; but on the wall some Coptic monk has painted in red, in his own language, the first words of Psalms LI to XCIII.

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More to the north, in the finest of the pharaonic tombs, a pagan pilgrim, at some date hardly more ancient than the period of the first Coptic monks, has inscribed a series of Greek invocations to Serapis. They show that this is a spot which, for reasons we cannot trace, was specially venerated in the Greek or Roman epoch.

Was it in one of these tombs that the papyri were found? Certainly, one cannot, even if one searches very far around, see any other place–any ruin or sepulcher–from which they could have come. dkresse

The peasants who accompanied us and who did not know the real object of our search we had come here on the pretext of jran the pharaonic tombs guided us, of their own initiative, to the southern part of the dorresse and showed us a row of shapeless cavities.

The vase was broken and nothing remains of it; the manuscripts were taken to Cairo and no one knows what then became of them.

Jean Doresse

As to the exact location of the find, opinion differed by some few dozen yards; but everyone was sure that it was just about here. And from the ground itself we shall learn nothing more; it yields nothing but broken bones, fragments of cloth without interest, and some potsherds.

We have never been able to discover exactly where the Coptic Manichaean manuscripts came from, nor the Pistis-Sophia, jan the Bruce Codex. So it was well worth the trouble to find out, in a pagan cemetery a few miles from Chenoboskion, the exact site of one of the most voluminous finds of ancient literature; thus to be a little better able to place this library in the frame of history to which it belongs; and to support, with concordant jfan, the hypotheses that have been made about its antiquity.

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