I am very happy to welcome you to the Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi (“Nag Hammadi Coptic Library”) site. You will find here French translations of the Coptic texts contained in the papyrus codices that were discovered in 1945 near to the modern village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. These translations—which are all potentially subject to revision—were produced by more than twenty of our associates and colleagues: you thus have before you the fruits of the labors of a great many scholars. Should your reading here inspire you to learn more about these works, we recommend that you consult Écrits gnostiques. La bibliothèque de Nag Hammadi, a book published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade by Gallimard in December 2007. This volume includes a general introduction, as well as introductions and notes for each of the individual texts. Most of the works in the Nag Hammadi collection (as well as the Berlin codex, Berolinensis Gnosticus 8502) have been published in the Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi series (Presses de l’Université Laval and Éditions Peeters): in these volumes, you will find editions of the original Coptic, along with a French translation, an introduction, a critical apparatus, detailed commentary, and indices.
In addition to the works from the Nag Hammadi codices and the Berlin codex, this site will soon include new French translations of a number of related works, including the Books of Jeu and the Anonymous treatise from the Bruce codex (Bodleian Library, Bruce Mss. 96); the Pistis Sophia, from the Askew codex (British Library Add. 5114); and the Letter of Peter to Philip, the (Apocalypse of) James, the Gospel of Judas, and the B[ook of Allogenes] from the Tchacos codex.
Our translations are provided in order to make these texts more accessible to the public, especially the Francophone public, and are intended to be used for personal interest, study or research purposes. Any reproduction of these translations for the purposes of publication is strictly prohibited. Anyone who wishes to publish any of these translations, in full or in part, must request permission from the Presses de l’Université Laval for translations published in the Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi collection, or from Éditions Gallimard for translations published in the Écrits gnostiques. La bibliothèque de Nag Hammadi volume.
In addition to these French translations, you will also find here up-to-the-moment news about our forthcoming publications, as well as information about the nature and importance of this collection of manuscripts. We have also included a brief history of our forty year long project of edition and translation of these works, and contact information for our authors.
Our work has been financially supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec–Société et Culture, the Fondation J. Armand Bombardier, the Conseil franco-québécois de coopération universitaire (CFQCU), and Université Laval, all of whom have provided ongoing support for which we are grateful. We are also grateful for the assistance that we have received on a case by case basis from other organizations and individuals too numerous to name here.
I hope that your visit to our site is informative and interesting!
Louis Painchaud, Ph.D.
Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses
Institut d’études anciennes et médiévales