Courtesy of the Nag Hammadi Archive of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity

Charles Hedrick joining fragments of the Nag Hammadi documents. The actual work of reassembling the codices and identifying and cataloging the hundreds of loose fragments took place in the library of the Coptic Museum in Cairo against a backdrop of international crises.

During the Six Day War of 1967, the scholarly work ended when the Nag Hammadi library was hastily boxed up for safekeeping and taken to the basement of the Egyptian Museum. There it remained until 1970, when the research team began to tackle the project once again. Each day only a single crate was permitted to be brought up from the basement of the Egyptian Museum. The crate was then taken to the Coptic Library, unpacked in the library’s work room for that day’s research session and then repacked and shipped back across town to the Egyptian Museum at the end of the day.

In the fall of 1973, war was once again brewing in the Middle East. The windows of the Coptic Museum were taped and camouflaged; sandbags lined the walls. A few days before the 1973 war broke out, however, the scholars finished their research on the texts. In 1977, an English translation of all the codices was published.