The Lost Gospel
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Glossary

Ascetic
A simple lifestyle of self-denial and self-discipline, often with religious or spiritual aims. Ascetics often refuse worldly comforts, food, sex, and money.

Canonical
Conforming to recognized rules or church dogma.

Codex
An ancient book consisting of folded pages, bound at one side. Codices were the preferred form for scriptural or classical texts, as they could contain a lot more information than scrolls and were easier to manage.

Coptic
An ancient Egyptian language employing Greek letters. It was used to write many ancient manuscripts including the Gospel of Judas and the Nag 'Hammadi codices. Coptic endures as the Coptic Church's liturgical language.

Gnosticism
From the Greek gnosis (knowledge). A diversity of pre-Christian and early-Christian beliefs. A central tenet is the corruption of the physical world, and the ability of some to transcend it through acquisition of esoteric spiritual knowledge.

Gospel
A doctrine or truth, often religious. The four New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) describe the life and teachings of Jesus.

Heresy
An opinion or belief that is against orthodox church teachings. Heretics are members of the church or faith with which they disagree and thus distinct from non-believers.

Lacuna(e)
Gaps in a text due to loss of ink or loss of papyrus.

Martyr
A person who willingly accepts death rather than renounce his or her religious faith.

Monasticism
A total dedication to spiritual pursuits, usually sought through isolation and/or ascetic lifestyle which can include vows of poverty, silence, and celibacy.

New Testament
The second part of the Christian Bible, written soon after Jesus' death. It includes the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Epistles, the book of Acts and the book of Revelation.

Noncanonical
Outside the realm of church dogma or recognized rules.

Old Testament
Hebrew scriptures, written before the birth of Jesus, which comprise the first part of the Christian Bible.

Orthodox
Conforming to conventional church doctrine, as determined by some authoritative body.

Paleography
The study and deciphering of ancient writings.

Papyrus
An ancient Egyptian writing surface made from the plant of the same name.

Sethian Gnosticism
Belief reflected in some gnostic documents that Seth, the son of Adam, was the forebearer of enlightened humanity.

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