The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) entrusted author James Robinson with tracking down the place where the Nag Hammadi Codices had been discovered. Priests whom the author interviewed in the region told Robinson that the codices had once been in the possession of a priest in the town of Dishna, a bit further upstream than Nag Hammadi itself. Robinson found that this priest had not had the Nag Hammadi Codices but rather the Bodmer Papyri. For Dishna is where the monastery headquarters of the first monastic order was located. The Bodmer Papyri discovery consisted of all that was left of the library of the Pachomian monastic order: Coptic letters of Pachomius and very early Greek copies of Luke and John, perhaps donated when Athanasius was in hiding at the monastery. These treasures were preserved in a jar hidden in the mountain where monks were buried. This book traces the story of the Bodmer Papyri from beginning to end.
'Only James M. Robinson - based largely on first-hand experience - could recall, review, and evaluate the intricate details of the discovery and collection of the Dishna papers, which became part of the 'Bodmer Papyri'. In a detective-like fashion, he traces the complex history of this sizable collection, utilizing conversations, letters, and reports from native discoverers, Egyptian antiquities dealers, collectors of manuscripts, museum curators and conservators, as well as papyrologists, Coptologists, and editors of Greek, Latin, and Coptic texts. This history can never again be retrieved, and Robinson's account will serve all future generations.' Eldon Jay Epp, author of Perspectives on New Testament Textual Criticism 'To this huge advance in our knowledge of Christian-Coptic 'Gnosticism' [Robinson] has now added the story of his involvement with the puzzles posed by the Greek and Coptic Bodmer Papyri (BP) and their contribution to other parts of early Christian literature and history [...] No one is better qualified to unravel them. Robinson has written a very readable and detailed account.' J. Lionel North, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol.64, No 2, October 2013 'There are two main aims to the book. The first is to produce evidence that manuscripts from a number of other collections, including the Chester Beatty Library, are part of the same find as nearly all the Bodmer papyri. The second is to argue that this find was made in the neighbourhood of Dishna and that it represents the library of a Pachomian monastery.' David Parker, University of Birmingham, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol.65/1, January 2014 "... this book is an important contribution to understanding one of the most significant manuscript discoveries of the twentieth century. [...] The volume will be of particular interest to New Testament textual critics and those interested in early Christian Coptic history." Paul Foster, University of Edinburgh, in The Expository Times, Vol 125, No 3 "This volume is the dense and detailed magnum opus of Robinson's research into the provenance and history of early Christian papyri from Upper Egypt - The book is comprehensively researched and Robinson's career of academic heavy lifting is obvious. He illustrates clear first-hand knowledge of the manuscripts, a familiarity with relevant secondary sources, has accessed numerous unpublished letters, and has conducted his own interviews on the ground. The care and totality with which the history of these discoveries has been documented in this volume is impressive. This volume is the culmination of a lifetime of research." Garrick V. Allen, Reviews in Religion & Theology, Volume 21, issue 3, July 2014