Also known as the Nag Hammadi library, the Gnostic Gospels are a collection of leather-bound books that date back to the 4th century. They make up the major texts of Gnosticism, an offshoot of Christianity that existed around the time of the 2nd century, adherents are believe that salvation comes through deep self-knowledge and an understanding of a “higher reality.” The Gnostic Gospels, feature such volumes as “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of Mary,” and even the Gospel of Judas.
The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. Twelve papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant. Written in the Coptic language, the codices were comprised of fifty-two mostly Gnostic treatises, three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum, and a partial translation of Plato's Republic.