In this Book

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In early Christianity, many people were inspired to write gospels, treatises, letters, and stories celebrating the new faith, but not all of these writings are found in the New Testament. One such story from an unknown author is the Coptic, gnostic Apocalypse of Paul, a tale of the apostle Paul’s ascent to the heavens that was lost for millennia and rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945. In Flora Tells a Story, Michael Kaler discusses the Apocalypse of Paul and how it was shaped by its literary environment.

The book takes a behind the scenes look at early Christian literary production, analyzing the ways in which various literary traditions—such as apocalyptic writings, gnostic thought, and understandings of Paul—influenced the author of the Apocalypse of Paul and helped to shape the text. It also includes a new annotated English translation of the Apocalypse of Paul and a fictional account of how it might have come to be written.

This work is the most in-depth study of the Apocalypse of Paul to date and the only full-length discussion of it in English. It provides a detailed but accessible account of the literary environment in which its author worked and integrates this little-known work into the broader stream of early Christian writings. This book will be of interest to specialists in Nag Hammadi and gnostic studies and early Christian literature, but will also appeal to the general reader interested in Christianity, mysticism, and gnosticism.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. English Translation of the Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V,2)
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. Flora Tells a Story: A Fictional Account of the Creation of the Apocalypse of Paul
  2. pp. 13-34
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  1. Section One: "The Apocalypse of Paul is a text …"
  2. pp. 35-46
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  1. Section Two: "written in the late 2nd or early 3rd century by a gnostic (possibly Valentinian) author …"
  2. pp. 47-76
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  1. Section Three: "showing the apostle Paul …"
  2. pp. 77-120
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  1. Section Four: "as an apocalyptic hero …"
  2. pp. 121-190
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  1. Section Five: "… in order to authoritatively present a gnostic understanding of the cosmos and the Pauline writings"
  2. pp. 191-224
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  1. General Conclusion
  2. pp. 225-228
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  1. Works Consulted
  2. pp. 229-250
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  1. Indexes
  2. pp. 251-259
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