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"We have it in our power to begin the world again.'-Tom Paine

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Have you heard the true tale of the Bedouin named Mohammed Ali?

How about the Nag´ Hammâdi library?

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I begin this true story at its beginning in 1945, in Egypt, in the land just above the bend of the Nile, north of the Valley of the Kings, across the river from the city of Nag´ Hammâdi, near the hamlet of al-Qasr, under a cliff called Jabal al-Tarif.

An Egyptian Bedouin named Mohammed Ali was out gathering sabakh, a nitrate-rich fertilizer for the crops that he grew in the small hamlet of al-Qasr.

He was aghast to stumble upon a skeleton as he dug, and bewildered when he uncovered a two-foot high earthenware jar. A bowl had been placed over the top, and it was sealed with bitumen.

At first, the Bedouin thought an evil genie was within, but when he shook the heavy jar, he heard things moving and thought it might be gold.

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He smashed the jar open and out fluttered pieces of gold particles that he tried to catch, but they disappeared. When he peered into the jar, he was dismayed to find twelve leather-bound books.

Mohammed Ali was illiterate, so he placed no great value on books, but was confident he could sell them and make something for his troubles. So he carried the jar filled with books back to the homestead.

Now, Mohammed Ali also happened to be a fugitive from the law, for he had wielded the weapon that spilled the blood of a patriarch during a violent incident in a generation-long family feud, not so very long before.

After a few days of mulling over possibilities, he decided to give his find to the local Coptic priest for safekeeping. You see, he feared the authorities soon would be lurking about and would confiscate his possession before he could receive any money for it.

His mother ripped out many pages to keep the home fire going, and I grieve and wonder what ancient treasures she burned.

Anyway, the priest passed it on to his brother-in-law, a traveling tutor, who brought the books to the Coptic museum in Cairo on October 4, 1946.

What was found were ancient compositions, written in Coptic that had been translated from ancient Greek. The volumes were leather-bound pages of papyrus, and no doubt the gold dust that Mohammed Ali witnessed was from papyrus fragments that had broken off.

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Under the leadership of UNESCO, Egypt, and the American scholar James Robinson, these anthologies and collections of texts with titles like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene have now been translated into many languages.

I contend that when USA Christians fall in love with the Mystery of God; we will begin the world again.

These ancient texts offer NO new answers; but they do provide us with a glimpse of Christianity at its very roots and it was most diverse indeed.

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Eileen Fleming,is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for US House of Representatives 2012 Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org Staff Member of Salem-news.com, A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" (more...)
 

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