These words of wisdom may sound like they were taken straight from the pages of any of a number of New Age authors’ books on the Law of Attraction. However, they actually pre-date those texts by approximately 1500 years, give-or-take a decade or two. They come from the previously unknown, recently translated ‘Gospel of the Lots of Mary’ [mother of Jesus] written in Coptic, an ancient Egyptian language that uses the Greek alphabet

When a professor of religion at Princeton University, Anne Marie Luijendijk, began deciphering the text and saw the word ‘gospel’ in the opening line, she expected a narrative on the life and death of Jesus or a collection of adages like those contained in the Gospel of Thomas. But as she explains her book, “Forbidden Oracles? The Gospel of the Lots of Mary" (Mohr Siebeck, 2014), what she found instead were 37 vaguely written oracles with only a few references to Jesus.

Like the I Ching, the book was probably used for divination. And though it makes reference to the full gamut of life’s painful trials and tribulations, it generally puts a good spin on things for as Professor Luijendijk points out, gospel is a word that means good news. And when people want their futures foretold, they’re definitely not looking for bad news.

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