(7-28-11) Around 1997 when I undertook to write a book on the Mysteries of pre-Christian Paganism, I faced a formidable challenge. Central to the scant surviving textual evidence of the Mysteries is a problematic body of material called the Nag Hammadi Codices. Problematic on several counts.
First because these writings (of unknown origin) are in their content fragmentary, chaotic, and contradictory. Most of the documents are pastiches of incongruous material with breathtaking gaps in continuity.
Problematic again because this mess of pottage comes down to us in a scribal shorthand called Coptic, an awkward language riddled with grammatical errors, misspellings, inconsistencs of syntax, and contextual ambiguities (e.g., possessive pronouns as "theirs, ours" have uncertain reference).
Not to mention that Coptic is totally unfitted for high sophistication of metaphysical and cosmological syntax, the signature of Mystery teachings. I compared it to hiking boots on a ballerina.