On the Origin of the World
On the Origin of the World is a Gnostic work dealing with creation and the end time. It was found among the texts in what is known as the Nag Hammadi library, in Codex II and Codex XIII, immediately following the Reality of the Rulers. There are many parallels between the two texts. The manuscript does not have a title, but scholars have dubbed it “On the Origin of the World,” because of what it describes. It is estimated to have been written sometime near the end of the third century. While the author is not mentioned, he or she seems to have been interested in expressing a Gnostic understanding of the world’s conception. In particular, it rethinks the entire story of Genesis, and positions Yaldabaoth (the Demiurge) as the creator of the world, fulfilling the role of God in Genesis. Furthermore, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted as a hero sent by Sophia, the figure of wisdom, to guide mankind towards enlightenment. It expresses one approach to the creation and end of the world. Other myths found within the Nag Hammadi collection have varying explanations and details.
This one has a distinct perspective: it intertwines views from Judaism, Christianity, Hellenistic and Egyptian thought, and others in order to help explain its concept of Gnosticism.
Notes and references
- The Gnostic Bible, ch 27, p431, New Seeds, 2003, ISBN 1-59030-199-4
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Scriptures : Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament (Pbk. ed.). New York: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-19-514182-5.
- director, James M. Robinson, (1977). The Nag Hammadi Library : Chenoposkion Manuscripts English (1st U.S. ed.). New York: Harper & Row. p. 161. ISBN 0-06-066929-2.
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