Back to the sources of Christianity

"He who seeks, let him not cease seeking until he finds." These words from the Gospel of Thomas are written in Coptic – the liturgical language of the Egyptian Christian Church – on a papyrus that is more than 16 centuries old, one of a collection of manuscripts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. 

The Groupe de recherche sur le christianisme et l'Antiquité tardive (Christianity and Late Antiquity Research Group), directed by Louis Painchaud from Université Laval, specializes in the study of primary sources for the history of early Christianity that are little-known or neglected by current research, with the goal of providing new critical editions or translations. This work is teaching the general public about the diversity of early Christianity, and adding to the spiritual heritage of humanity. 

One of the greatest achievements of this research group is the publication of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. They are presented in various formats for both specialists and the general public alike. The publication of the Coptic text accompanied by a French translation and commentary in separate booklets, in the collection Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi (Presses de l'Université Laval/Peeters), is intended primarily for research specialists. As for members of the general public, they can read about the project on the research group's website. 

In 2007, the research group published Écrits gnostiques – La bibliothèque de Nag Hammadi in the prestigious collection Bibliothèque de la Pléiade (Gallimard, 2007), the first complete French translation of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. The book's appearance in La Pléiade ensures a wide readership, and attests to the exemplary quality of the work.


Groupe de recherche sur le christianisme et l'Antiquité tardive


Louis Painchaud, Université Laval

Regular members

  • Wolf-Peter Funk, Université Laval 
  • Anne Pasquier, Université Laval 
  • Paul-Hubert Poirier, Université Laval 
  • Thomas Schmidt, Université Laval