Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont CA

The still waters of the fertile Nile valley reflect the rugged cliffs of Jabal al-Tarif (shown here). A discovery in 1945 near this site 300 miles south of Cairo, near the small town of Nag Hammadi, created a tempest in New Testament studies whose ripples continue to be felt today. Two farmers, searching for fertilizer, found instead 13 leather-bound books, including those shown in the next photo. Now known as the Nag Hammadi Codices, the books contained Coptic translations of 52 Christian, Jewish and pagan documents. Among these were four “Sayings” Gospels—works containing purported sayings of Jesus—discussed in the accompanying article and which shed light on the development of early Christianity and the evolution of the New Testament canon.