Monday, April 22, 2024

The Nag Hammadi Codices and their Ancient Readers: Exploring Textual Materiality and Reading Practice

Paul Linjamaa, Lunds Universitet, Sweden

Since their discovery in 1945, the Nag Hammadi Codices have generated questions and scholarly debate as to their date and function. Paul Linjamaa contributes to the discussion by offering insights into previously uncharted aspects pertinent to the materiality of the manuscripts. He explores the practical implementation of the texts in their ancient setting through analyses of codicological aspects, paratextual elements, and scribal features. Linjamaa's research supports the hypothesis that the Nag Hammadi texts had their origins in Pachomian monasticism. He shows how Pachomian monks used the texts for textual edification, spiritual development and pedagogical practices. He also demonstrates that the texts were used for perfecting scribal and editorial practice, and that they were used as protective artefacts containing sacred symbols in the continuous monastic warfare against evil spirits. Linjamaa's application of new material methods provides clues to the origins and use of ancient texts, and challenges preconceptions about ancient orthodoxy. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

Online publication date:
January 2024
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC 4.0
Cambridge University Press

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