Nag Hammadi apocalypses: a study of the relationship of selected texts to the traditional Apocalypse
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Approximately sixteen texts in the Nag Hammadi codices can be classified as apocalypses. The principal concern of this study is to determine whether the genre of a selection of these Gnostic apocalypses was based on the traditional apocalypses (Jewish and Christian). In the first two chapters a new definition of the apocalypse is proposed and developed in relation to the Jewish and early Christian apocalypses. This definition states that an apocalypse is essentially a literary work structured around a first person narrative account of a mediated revelation. Chapters three to five are devoted to a study of those Gnostic texts that recount revelations which the risen Christ is supposed to have given his disciples. After a study of the literature itself (chapter 3), there is a critique of Rudolph's hypothesis that the genre was based on Graeco-Roman dialogue genres (chapter 4). The fifth chapter sets forth and examines the two most probable ways to account for the genre of this literature: 1. the genre could have been based on the traditional apocalypse; 2. it is possible that the genre was created on the basis of post-passion traditions and was not directly modelled on any antecedent genre. In chapters six and seven it is argued that there is sufficient evidence to establish that the authors of Apocalypse of Peter (VII, 3) and the Apocalypse of Paul (V, 2) based their genres on the traditional apocalypse. The final chapter is devoted to a study of The Apocalypse of Adam (V, 5). This text contains elements characteristic of two traditional genres--the testament and the apocalypse. However in its present form ApocAd must be classified as a testament rather than an apocalypse. The last part of this chapter sets forth new evidence which establishes that ApocAd originated in Gnostic circles which had been influenced by Christian and Christian Gnostic traditions.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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