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Valentinus de gnosticus en zijn evangelie der waarheid * Gilles Quispel (isbn 9071608131)

A strange idea. I suppose that you all know about the finding of the ancient scrolls near the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi in 1945? Well, these ‘codices’ (plural of ‘codex’) spread around and ended up on different places. In 1952 the Dutch professor Gilles Quispel, at that time specialising himself in Valentinus, saw the change of buying one of these codices which supposedly contained a text by Valentinus: the “Gospel Of Thruth”. This Codex was named after Quispel’s friend Carl Gustav Jung and has since been known as the “Jung Codex”. Quispel learned Coptic (most Nag Hammadi texts are in Coptic) and started to translate and study the text. Ever since this time, Quispel had to write a book about “Valentinus the gnostic and his gospel of thruth”, but for 52 years there was always something else to do, like the publishing of the complete Nag Hammadi library in several countries. Afterall, Quispel finished what in fact is his true life-work. Not that this is an enormous publication and that he -in the end- spent years and years in writing it. As a matter of fact, the book is only 150 pages and Quispel wrote in a relatively short time, but like I said: this is the work that he always had to write, but never did. Hopefully this won’t make the almost-90-years-old scholar feel that there is nothing more to do!

About the book then. Quispel describes the life and time of Valentinus (ca. 150 BC) in length and also the history of the text is given. Of course also a translation. In Dutch of course, the whole book is in Dutch. Sometimes I am so happy to be a Dutchman! We have a range of brilliant scholars writing great books… in Dutch! Anyway, a gnostic, gnosticism in general and the latest findings by the Dutch scholar on the subject, here displaying his specialism in his great and playfull writing style. It really shows that this man has thaught students for many years, he knows how to write attractively and also his lectures are great to attend.

Yep, you really may need to learn Dutch.

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