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Artefact ID81
TM IDTM 107742
Findspot (DEChriM ID)34   (Ǧabal al-Ṭārif)
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

Nag Hammadi Codex II

Papyrus codex containing a variety of Gnostic texts in Coptic (Sahidic and Subachmimic (A2), said to have been discovered along with 12 other codices in an area near Nag Hammadi, although the precise context and circumstance of their discovery in 1945 remains unclear (e.g. Nongbri 2018, 108-115). The contents of Nag Hammadi Codex II include: 

p. A: blank;
pp. B-32 (NHC II, 1): Apokryphon Iohannis (Apocryphon of John; CC 0648) with final title on p. 32;
pp. 32-51 (NHC II, 2): Evangelium Thomae (Gospel of Thomas; CC 0661), with final title on p. 51. Between p. 48 and p. 49, there is a blank leaf whose pages are numbered C and D. The 8 first lines of p. 47 are written by a second hand;
pp. 52-86 (NHC II, 3): Evangelium Philippi (Gospel of Philip; CC 0665), with final title on p. 86;
pp. 86-97 (NHC II, 4): Hypostasis archonton (Hypostasis of the Archons; CC 0671), with final title on p. 97;
pp. 97-127 (NHC II, 5): De origine mundi = Tractatus sine titulo (On the Origin of the World; CC 0654);
pp. 127-137 (NHC II, 6): Exegesis de anima (Exegesis of the Soul; CC 0668), with initial title on p. 127 and final title on p. 137;
pp. 137-145 (NHC II, 7): Liber Thomae (Book of Thomas the Contender; CC 0674), with final title on p. 145 followed by an address to the reader and an invocation (considered as a "colophon");
p. E (146): blank.

The nomina sacra are contracted in a usual way. There is a crux ansata on the tooled and inked decorated leather cover (Hurtado 2006: 217, n. 36); similar shapes of crux ansata with triangular lower leg can be seen on the amulet P.Oslo I 5 and on early Christian funerary stelae such as SEG XXXVIII 1693, I.Louvre 106, I.Louvre 110 or IGChrEg 418 [VS].

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Non-canonical), Christian symbols/gestures/isopsephy, Nomina sacra, Coptic language
Date from300
Date to399
Dating criteria

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Accession number

Cairo, Coptic Museum NH 10544


Editio Princeps

• Layton, Bentley, ed. 1989. Nag Hammadi Codex II, 2-7. Together with XIII, 2*, Brit. Lib. Or. 4926(1), and P.Oxy 1, 654, 655. Vol. 1, Nag Hammadi Studies, vol. 20. Leiden: Brill.    

• Layton, Bentley, ed. 1989. Nag Hammadi Codex II, 2-7. Together with XIII, 2*, Brit. Lib. Or. 4926(1), and P.Oxy 1, 654, 655. Vol. 2, Nag Hammadi Studies, vol. 21. Leiden: Brill.

• Waldstein, Michael, and Frederik Wisse, eds. 1995. The Apocryphon of John. Synopsis of Nag Hammadi Codices II,1; III, 1; and IV, 1 with BG 8502,2., Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, vol. 33. Leiden: Brill.

Additional Bibliography

Hurtado, Larry W. 2006. "The staurogram in early Christian manuscripts: The earliest visual reference to the crucified Jesus?" In New Testament Manuscripts:  Their Text and Their World, ed. Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas. Leiden, 207-226.

• Nongbri, Brent. 2018. God's Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts. New Haven: Yale University Press.

• Scholer, David. 1971. Nag Hammadi Bibliography, 1948-1969. Nag Hammadi Studies. Vol. 1, Leiden: Brill.

• Scholer, David.  1997. Nag Hammadi Bibliography 1970-1994. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies.  Leiden: Brill.

• Scholer, David, and Susan Wood. 2008. Nag Hammadi Bibliography 1995-2006. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies. Vol. 65, Leiden: Brill.  

Mary Jane Cuyler, Valérie Schram, 2020, 2021
Suggested citation
Mary Jane Cuyler, Valérie Schram, 2020, 2021, "Artefact ID 81", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,