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Nag Hammadi

A town in central Egypt on the western bank of the Nile about forty miles north of Luxor, which has given its name to a Coptic Gnostic library unearthed a few miles away in 1945-46 in a jar in a Greco-Roman cemetery. The scene, so far uninvestigated archaeologically, is near the ancient sites of Chenoboskion, an important fourth-century center of Pachomian monasticism (which originated not far distant at Tabennisi), and the Roman regional capital of Diospolis Parva. The documents, probably interred in the later fourth century, perhaps when Pachomian monks were establishing Catholic orthodoxy in the area, consist of thirteen papyrus codices, one (XII) very fragmentary and another (XIII) now quite short, totaling over 1,100 pages. Ten manuscripts are in Sahidic Coptic and three in a sub-Akmîmic dialect. Palaeographic and other evidence suggests they were written c.330-50. They contain in whole or part fifty-three works, most if not all translated from Greek originals. Three were already