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Chapter Summary

The writing entitled The Paraphrase of Shem (Paraph. Shem) is the first of those contained in Codex VII, one of thirteen codices that made up the Coptic library discovered near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in December, 1945. This chapter states that as an apocalypse the Paraph. Shem includes a narrative introduction and conclusion typical of that genre. Analyzing the Paraph. Shem's literary genre has allowed grasping its principal utterances and to identify certain characteristic themes. The chapter first presents the cosmogonic narrative in broad strokes, while insisting on the cosmological principles it presupposes. And since the cosmogony seeks to justify a conception of humanity and its salvation, it then depicts the writing's anthropology, followed by its eschatology. Complex, difficult, and distracting, the cosmogonic and anthropogonic myth occupies nearly half of the writing (1.16b-24.29a).

Keywords: anthropogonic myth; Codex VII; cosmogonic myth; eschatology; The Paraphrase of Shem (Paraph. Shem)



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