Nag Hammadi

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A town on the left bank of the Nile, 600 kilometres south of Cairo. Although this place has no pharaonic remains, it is world famous thanks its name being linked with the discovery in 1945 by Muhammad Ali of a group of papyri hidden in a pottery jar buried on the right bank of the Nile. The find consisted of 13 books dating from the 4th century AD - a collection of 48 texts varying from the gospels, poems and descriptions of the origins of the universe to myths, magical texts and practical instructions for spiritual development. Almost all of these texts have a Gnostic character and scholars suspect that they were hidden by Gnostic Christians in an attempt to preserve the manuscripts from the destructive tendencies of orthodox believers who had no time for this kind of blasphemy.