The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) entrusted author James Robinson with tracking down the place where the Nag Hammadi Codices had been discovered. Priests whom the author interviewed in the region told Robinson that the codices had once been in the possession of a priest in the town of Dishna, a bit further upstream than Nag Hammadi itself. Robinson found that this priest had not had the Nag Hammadi Codices but rather the Bodmer Papyri. For Dishna is where the monastery headquarters of the first monastic order was located. The Bodmer Papyri discovery consisted of all that was left of the library of the Pachomian monastic order: Coptic letters of Pachomius and very early Greek copies of Luke and John, perhaps donated when Athanasius was in hiding at the monastery. These treasures were preserved in a jar hidden in the mountain where monks were buried. This book traces the story of the Bodmer Papyri from beginning to end.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Only James M. Robinson--based largely on first-hand experience--could recall, review, and evaluate the intricate details of the discovery and collection of the Dishn_ papers, which became part of the "Bodmer papyri." In a detective-like fashion, he traces the complex history of this sizable collection, utilizing conversations, letters, and reports from native discoverers, Egyptian antiquities dealers, collectors of manuscripts, museum curators and conservators, as well as papyrologists, Coptologists, and editors of Greek, Latin, and Coptic texts. This history can never again be retrieved, and Robinson's account will serve all future generations." --Eldon Jay Epp author of Perspectives on New Testament Textual Criticism
"As a young professor at the University of Geneva at the end of the sixties, I was invited with my students by Mr. Martin Bodmer to visit his collection of New Testament Papyri. Since then I have a special connection and affection to these manuscripts. I am grateful therefore to James M. Robinson for his patient inquiry. I cannot confirm everything that he says, but I can assure the readers that the scholar from Claremont put his many talents toward trying to solve some of the many riddles of the Bodmer Papyri." --Francois Bovon Frothingham research Professor of the History of Religion Harvard Divinity School
James M. Robinson
James M. Robinson is Professor of Religion Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University, where he was founder and Director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. As permanent secretary of UNESCO's International Committee for the Nag Hammadi Codices, he edited The Coptic Gnostic Library, reprinted in five volumes (2000); among his many other publications is Language, Hermeneutic, and History.