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authorities who came into being from the Ruler. And again they cast them into fetters.

{And in this way after becoming [na]ked of the body, they are handed over to the

authorities who came into being through the Ruler. Again [they cast] them into (bodily) parts.} And they consort with them until they are saved from forgetfulness and it receives some knowledge. And in this way, it becomes perfect and is saved.”

I said, “Christ, how does the soul become smaller and enter again into the nature of the mother or the human?”

He rejoiced when I asked this, and he said, “Blessed are you for paying close attention! Because of this they submit themselves to another who has the Spirit of Life in it. By following and obeying him, it is saved, and of course it does not enter another flesh.”

I said to him, “Christ, where are the souls of those who understood but turned away?” {I said, “Lord, those who did understand yet they turned back, where are their souls or where will they withdraw?”}

He said to me, “Those to whom repentance did not come will go to the place to which the angels of poverty will withdraw. And they will be guarded for the day when all those who blasphemed against the holy Spirit will be punished. They will be tortured in eternal punishment.” {And [they] will be guarded for the day when all those who blasphemed against the holy Spirit with an eter[nal blasphemy] will be punished.}

  • I said, “Christ, where did the counterfeit spirit come from?”He said to me, “(It all began) when the Mother whose mercy is great and the holy Spirit, the compassionate, who troubles herself with us—the seed that is, the Epinoia of the light awakened the thinking of human beings of the generation of the eternal, luminous, perfect Human. Then the Chief Ruler knew that they surpassed him in the excellence of their wisdom. He wanted to restrict their plan for he was ignorant. He did not understand [that] they were wiser than he. He made a plan with his powers. {He made a plan and begot Fate.}They begot Fate and they bound the gods of heaven and angels and demons and human beings with measures and seasons and times in order to keep them all in its fetter—for it was lord over them all.He had a wicked and perverted thought, and he had regrets about all the things which had come into being through him. He planned to bring a flood over the whole erection of humanity.And the greatness of Pronoia, who is the Epinoia of light, instructed Noah. {And the greatness of Pronoia produced a Thought, which is Epinoia. She appeared to [Noah].} He preached to people, but they did not believe him. It is not like Moses said, that he hid himself in an ark, but she sheltered him somewhere not Noah more (than others) but also some people from the immovable generation.They entered a place. They were sheltered by a luminous cloud. And he recognized his sovereignty along with those who were with him in the light which illumined them, {And they recognized the sovereignty above [an]d those who were with him when the light illumined them} for darkness flowed out over everything upon the earth.
  • He made a plan with his angels. Their angels were sent to the daughters of men so that they might raise offspring from them, to be a respite for them. But at first they did not succeed. They all came together to make a plan to create the counterfeit spirit—for they remembered the Spirit which had descended.And the angels altered their appearance into the likeness of their husbands and their ‘husbands’ sated them with the spirit, which molested them in the darkness out of wickedness.”They brought them gold, silver, gifts, and metals of copper, iron, and every sort. They beguiled them into temptation {And they [be]guiled them into distractions} so that they would not remember their immovable Pronoia.They took them and begot children out of darkness through their counterfeit spirit. It closed their hearts. They became hard by the hardening of the counterfeit spirit until now.
  • So again the blessed Mother Father, whose mercy is great, takes form in her seed.
  • First I went up to this perfect aeon. And it is to you ( John) that I speak these things so that you might write them down and give them in secret to your fellow spirits. For this mystery belongs to the immovable generation.
  • The Mother had come another time before me. These are also the things which she did in the world. She set her seed upright {She was [rectifying] her deficiency.} I will teach you about what will happen. For indeed I gave these things to you so that you might write them down and keep them secure.”

    Then he said to me, “Cursed be anyone who will exchange these things for a gift, whether for food or drink or clothing or anything else like these.” {Then he said to me, “[Cur]sed be every one who will give these in exchange for a gift, whether silver or [gold or] in exchange for drink or for [things to] eat or clothing or anything else like these.}

    He handed over this mystery to him. Immediately he disappeared from him.

    And he ( John) went to his fellow disciples. He began telling them about the things which had been said to him by the Savior.

    The Secret Revelation of John.

    Based on the translations in: Michael Waldstein and Frederik Wisse,

    The Apocryphon of John: Synopsis of Nag Hammadi Codices II,1;III,1; And IV,1 With BG 8502,2 ,

    Brill Academic Pub, 1995


    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Apocryphon of John

    (The Secret Book of John The Secret Revelation of John)

    Long Version

    Nag Hammadi Codex II,1 & Nag Hammadi Codex IV,1


    Translated by Michael Waldstein and Frederik Wisse Edited and Formatted by Lance Owens

    The Apocryphon of John is commonly referenced by two other names: The Secret Book of John and The Secret Revelation of John, each depending upon how the word “Apocryphon” is translated. This edition has been edited and formatted by Lance Owens and is based on the Waldstein and Wisse translation. The two “long versions” of the text, found in NHC II and NHC IV, are virtually identical except for orthographic variations. The translation presented here is based on NHC II,1: Michael Waldstein and Frederik Wisse, The Apocryphon of John: Synopsis of Nag Hammadi Codices II,1;III,1; And IV,1 With BG 8502,2 (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies), Brill Academic Pub, 1995. The “Short” version of this text, based on NHL Codex III,1 and Codex BG 8502,2 is also available in the Gnostic Society Library.

    Sectional numbering has been added following the system proposed by Karen King — for details, see Karen King, The Secret Revelation of John, Harvard University Press, 2006.

    For purposes of academic citation, please always refer to the print editions of the texts.

    Visit the Apocryphon of John Collection for more information on this text.


    1. The teaching [of the Savi]or and the re[vel]ation of the mysteries [together with the things] hidden in silence a[nd those (things) w]hich he taught to Joh[n, his dis]ciple.
    2. [Now] it happened one [d]ay when John [the brother] of James, the so[n]s of Ze[bed]ee, was going up to the temple, a [Pha]risee named Arimanios [appr]oached him. And he said to him, “Where is your teacher, the one whom you used to follow?”I [said] to him, “He returned to the pla[ce] from which he came.” The Pharisee [said to me, “This Nazorene] deceived you (pl.) with error. He filled [your (pl.) ears with lies], and he shut [your hearts. He turned you (pl.)] from the tradi[tions of your fathers.”When I, John,] heard] these things, [I turned] from the temp[le to a mountainous and desert place] and I grieved [greatly in my heart, asking] “How [was the Savior appointed?”] and “Why was he sent [into the world] by h[is father? Who is his] father who [sent him? And of what sort] is [that] aeon [to which we will go?] For what did he slay about it? He told us] that the aeon to which [we will go is mo]deled on the [indestructible] aeon, [but he did not tea]ch us abou[t what sort] the latter is.]”
    3. Just th[en, while I was thinking these things, behold the [heavens opened, and] the [whole] crea[tion] below the heaven [was] illuminated. And [the world] quaked.[I] was [afraid and behold] in the light [I] saw [a child stand]ing by me. When I sa[w him, he becam] e like an old person and he shifted hi]s semblance, becoming like a servant. These (semblances) before me were not multiple beings but there was only a (single) [li]keness [having] many forms in the lig[ht]. And the [semblances] appeared through each other, a[nd] the [semblan]ce had three forms.[He] said to me, “John, Jo[h]n, why do you doubt and why [are you] fearful? Are [you] are a stranger to this likeness?—This is to say, do not [be] faint[hea]rted! I am the one who [dwells with you (pl.)] always. I [am the Father. I am] the Mother. I am the So[n]. I am the one who is undefiled and unpolluted.[Now I have come to teach] you what exists [and what has come into being an]d what must [come into being so that you will understand the] things which are not apparent [and those which are apparent, and to teach] you about the [immovable] genera[tion of] the perfe[ct Human.N]ow [then lift up] your [face so that] you will [receive] the things that [I will teach you] today [and you will tell them to your fellow] spirits who c[ome from the immovable] generation of the perfect Human.
    4. And [I asked so that I might [know.And he said] to me, “The Monad [is a mo]narch[y with]out anything existing over it. [It exists as the God] and Father of the [A]ll., the [invisi]ble which dwells above [the All, …] imperishableness which exi[sts as the] pure light upon which it is not possible for any eye to] gaze.[It is the] invisible [Spirit], and It is not appropriate [to consider It] to be like the g[o]ds or that It is something similar. For It is more than divine, [without anything] existing over It. For nothing lords [over It].[. . .] not […] in an[yth]ing less [… exists in It.It alone [is eternal] since It does not need [anything.] For It is totally perfect. [It] does not [lack] anything such that [anything] would perfect It, [but] It is [al]ways completely perfect in [light]. It cannot be [limi]ted because there is nothing [before It] to limit It. [It is] inscrut[able because there] is no one who exists before It [to scrutinine It.] [It is im]measurable because there is nothing [which exists before It to measure] It. [It is] in[visible because there is] no one to see [It. It is an eternity existing] eternally. [It is ineffable because] there is no one able to comprehend It in order to sp[eak about It.] It is [un]nameable because [there is no one before It] to name [It.] It is [the immeasurable light,] which is pure, [holy, and unpolluted. It is in]effable [being perfect i]n incorruptibility. (It does) [not] (exist) in per[fection], blessed[ness, or] divini[ty] but It is [far] superior (to these).It is neither corporeal [nor in]corporeal. [It] is not large or small. [It is not] such that one could [say] that It has quantity or [quality]. For it is not possible for anyone [to know It]. It is not something among [existing things, but It is] far [super]ior—[not] as [being supe- rior] (to others as though It is comparable to them) but as that which belongs to Itself. It does [not partici]pate in the aeons or in time (as a constitutive part of them). For that which participates i[n an aeon] was first prepared (by others). It was [not given a p]ortion in time [because] It does not receive anything [from anoth]er- for [whatever] It received would be received as a loan. For what exists prior] to anything else is not deficient such that It should receive [from anything].

      For this one gazes marveling at Itself [alone] in Its light. […] For It is a vastness. [It possesses the immeasurable [simpli]city. [It is] an aeo[n gi]ving aeon, life giving [life, a ble]ssed one giving blessedness, a knowledge giving understanding, a goo[d one giving] goodness. It is mer[cy giving] mercy and salvation. It is grace giving grac[e—not] such that it possesses it but that It gives.

    5. [How am I to speak] with you about the immeasurable, incomprehen[sible light]? [For] Its [aeon] is indestructible, being tranquil [and] existing in [silence, being at rest]. It exists prior [to the All, for] It is the he[a]d of [all] the aeons [and] It gives them strength in Its goodness.For we do not [understand these ineffable matters, and] none of us knows those [immeasurable] things ex[cept for] the one who appeared from the Father. This is the one who [spoke to us alone].For (It is) the one who gazes at Itself [alone] in Its light that surrounds [It], which is the spring of the living water.And It provides for [all] the ae[ons].And in every way It ga[zes upon] Its image, seeing it in the spring of the Spirit, willing in Its light-w[ater which is in the spri]ng of the pure light[-water which] surrounds It.And [Its thinking became a] thing. And she who ap[pea]red in Its presence in [the lu]min[escence of] Its light was revealed. She is the first [power who came into] being before them a[ll.. She appeared] from Its thought, [the Pronoia of the All], her light [. . .] light, the [perfect] power, that is, [the image of the perfect invisible virginal Spirit, [the first po]wer, the glory of Barbelo, the glory which is perfect in the aeons, the glory of the revelation. [She] glorified the virginal Spirit and praised It since she had appeared because of It. That one is the first Thought (Protennoia) of Its image. She became a womb for the All because she is prior to them all, the Mother-Father, the first Human, the holy Spirit, the triple male, the triple power, the triple named androgyne, and the eternal aeon among the invisible ones, and the first to come forth.
    6. Barbelo requested the invisible virginal Spirit to give her Fo[re]kn[ow]ledge. And the Spirit stared. When [It stared], Foreknowledge was revealed [an]d stood with [P]ronoia. She is from] the Thought of the invisible [vir]ginal Spirit. She glorified It a[nd] Its perfect power [Ba]rbelo, fo[r] it was b[eca]use of her that she had come into being.A[nd again she reque[st]ed (It) to give her In[destr]uct[ibility]. And It stared. And in [Its staring], Indest[ruct]ibility [was revealed. And she stood with Thought and Foreknowledge. She glorified the Invisible one and Barbelo, for they had come into being because of her.And Barbelo requested (It) to give her Ete[r]nal L[ife]. And the in[v]isible Spirit stared. And in Its staring, Eternal Life was revealed. And [they s]to[od]. They glorified the invisible [Spit]it and Barbelo, for they had come into being because of her.And again she asked (It) to give to her Truth. And the invisible Spirit stared. Truth was revealed. And they stood. They glorified the invisible Spirit who was approving and his Barbelo, for they had come into being because of her.This is the pentad of the Aeons of the Father, who is the first Human, the image of the invisible Spirit. This is Pronoia, namely: Barbelo, Thought, Foreknowledge, Indestructibility, Eternal Life, and Truth. This is the androgynous pentad of the Aeons which is the decad of Aeons, the Father.
    7. And It gazed into Barbelo in the pure light which surrounds the invisible Spirit and Its luminescence, and she conceived from It. It begot a spark of light in a light resembling blessedness, but it was [not] equal to Its greatness. This one was only-begotten of the Mother-Father who had appeared. He is his only offspring, the only-begotten of the Father, the pure light.Then the invisible virginal Spirit rejoiced over the light [which] had come into being, that one who first appeared from the first power of Its Pronoia, which is Barbelo. And It [an]ointed him from Its own goodness/Christhood until he became perfect, not lacking anything of [good]ness/[Christ]hood because It had anointed him in the[goo]d[ndss/[Chri]st[ho]od of the invisible Spirit. And he stood in Its presence while It poured upon him. A[nd] im[medi]ately when he had received from the Sp[irit, he] gl[or]ified the holy Spirit and the perfect Pro[n]oia, for he had been revealed because of her. And he asked to be given a fellow worker, which is Mind. And It stared. And in the invisible Spirit’s act of staring, Mind was revealed. And he stood with Christ, glorifying him and Barbelo, for all these came into being in silence.And Thought willed to create a work through the Word of the invisible Spirit, and his Will became a work. And he was revealed with Mind and Light, glorifying It. And the Word followed the Will. For because of the Word, Christ the divine Autogenes created the All. Eternal Life with Will, and Mind with Foreknowledge stood. They glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo for they had come into being because of her.And the holy Spirit perfected the divine Autogenes, the son of Itself and Barbelo, so he might stand before the great and invisible virginal Spirit. The divine Autogenes, the Christ, (is) that one who honored It with a mighty voice. He appeared through the Pronoia. And the invisible virginal Spirit placed Autogenes as true god over the All Nand It subjected to him all authority and the truth which dwells in It so that he might know the All. (He is) that one whose name they call by a name which is more exalted than any name. For they will say that name to those who are worthy of it.
    8. For from the light, which is the Christ, and Indestructibility, through the gift of the Spirit, he gazed out so as to cause the four Lights from the divine Autogenes to stand before him.And the three (are): Will, Thought, and Life. And the four powers are: Understanding, Grace, Perception, and Prudence. Now it is Grace which dwells in the Light Aeon Armozel, who is the first angel. And three other Aeons are with this Aeon: Grace, Truth, Form. And the second Light Oriael is the one who was established over the second Aeon. And three other Aeons are with him: Pronoia, Perception, Memory. And the third Light is Daveithai, the one who was established over the third Aeon. And the three other Aeons with him are: Understanding, Love, and Likeness. And the fourth Aeon was established over the fourth Light Eleleth. And the [th]ree Aeons with him are: Perfection, Peace, Wisdom. These are the four Lights who stand before the divine Autogenes. These are the twelve Aeons which stand before the Son of the great Autogenes Christ, through the will and the gift of the invisible Spirit. And the twelve Aeons belong to the Son of [A]utogenes.
    9. And the All was firmly founded through the will of the holy Spirit, through Autogenes. And from the Foreknowledge of the perfect Mind through the revelation of the will of the invisible Spirit and the will of Autogenes, the invisible Spirit named the perfect Human,the first revelation and the truth, Pigera-Adamas.And It set him up over the first Aeon with the great Autogenes Christ, beside the first Light, Armozel. And Its powers dwelled with him.And the Invisible one gave him an unconquerable intellectual power. And he spoke and glorified and praised the invisible Spirit, saying, Because of you the All came into being and it is to you that the All will return. And I will praise and glorify you and Autogenes with the three Aeons: the Father, the Mother, the Child, the perfect power.’ And It set up his Child Seth over the second Aeon beside the second Light Oroiel. And in the third Aeon were set up the seed of Seth over the third Light, Daveithai. And the holy souls were set up. In the fourth Aeon were set up the souls of those who were ignorant of the Fullness and did not repent immediately but they persisted a while. And afterward they repented. They dwelled beside the fourth Light Eleleth. These are the creatures who glorify the invisible Spirit.
    10. Sophia of the Epinoia, being an Aeon, thought a thought from within herself and the thought of the invisible Spirit and Foreknowledge. She willed a likeness to appear from within herself without the will of the Spirit—It had not approved—and without her partner and without his consideration. For the countenance of her masculinity did not approve, and she had not found her partner. She deliberated apart from the will of the Spirit and the understanding of her partner. She brought forth.Because of the unconquerable power within her, her thought did not remain idle. And an imperfect product appeared from her, and it was different from her pattern because she created it without her partner. And it was not patterned after the likeness of its Mother, for it had a different form. When she saw (the product of) her will, it was different, a model of a lion-faced serpent. His eyes were like flashing fires of lightning. She cast him out from her, outside of those places so that none among the immortals might see him, for she had created him in ignorance.And she surrounded him with a luminous cloud. And she placed a throne in the midst of the cloud in order that no one might see him except the holy Spirit, who is called the mother of the living. She named him Yaltabaoth. This is the Chief Ruler, the one who got a great power from his Mother.
    11. And he withdrew from her and he abandoned the placed where he had been born. He seized (another place). He created for himself another aeon inside a blaze of luminous fire, which still exists now.And he was stupefied in his Madness, the one who dwells within him, and he begat some authorities for himself.The name of the first is Athoth, the one whom the generations call the [reaper]. The second is Harmas, who is [the eye] of envy. The third is Kalila-Oumbri. The fourth is Yabel. The fifth is Adonaiou, who is called Sabaoth. The sixth is Cain, whom the generations of humanity call the sun. The seventh is Abel. The eighth is Abrisene. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Armoupieel. The eleventh is Melcheir-Adonein. The twelfth is Belias; he is the one who is over the depth of Hades.And he set up seven kings over the seven heavens, one per firmament of heaven, and five over the depth of the abyss so that they might rule.
    12. And he divided his fire among them, but he did not send them (anything) from the power of the light which he had received from his Mother. For he is ignorant darkness. When the light mixed with the darkness, it caused the darkness to shine, but when the darkness mixed with the light, it darkened the light, so that it became neither light nor dark, but it was weak.Now this weak ruler has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth. The second is Saklas. The third is Samael. He is impious in his Madness, she who dwells in him. For he said, am God and no other god exists except me,’ since he is ignorant of the place from which his strength had come.And the Rulers created seven powers for themselves. And the powers created for each of them six angels until they had produced 365 angels.These are the bodies of the names: The first is Athoth; he has a sheep’s face. The second is Eloaiou; he has a donkey’s face. The third is Astaphaios; he has a hyena’s face. The fourth is Yao; he has a serpent’s face with seven heads. The fifth is Sabaoth; he has a ser- pent’s face. The sixth is Adonin; he has a monkey’s face. The seventh is Sabbede; he has a fiery face which shines. This is the hebdomad of the week.But Yaldabaoth possessed a multitude of faces, adding up to more than all of them, so that when he is in the midst of the seraphim, he could masquerade in front of them all at will.
    13. He shared with them (portions) from his fire.Because of the power of the glory which dwells in him from the light of his Mother. he became Lord over them. Because of that, he called himself God, and he was not obedient to the place from which he had come.And he mixed with the authorities who dwell with him. Through his thinking and his speaking, seven powers came into being. And he named the powers one after another, beginning with the highest (as follows): First is Goodness/Christhood with the first (authority) Athoth. The second is Pronoia with the second one Eloaio. The third is Divinity with the third one Astraphaio. The fourth is Lordship with the fourth one Yao. The fifth is kingdom with the fifth one Sabaoth. The sixth is Envy with the sixth one Adonein. The seventh is Understanding with the seventh Sabbateon. For these are those who have a firmament corresponding to each aeon. These were named according to the glory of those who belong to heaven for the destr[uction of the] power[s]. The names which they were given by the Chief Begetter had power in them, but the names which were given to them according to the glory of those who belong to heaven are for them destruction and powerlessness. Thus they have two names.He ordered everything following the likeness of the first Aeons, which had come into being, so that he might create them in the indestructible pattern. Not because he had seen the indestructible ones, but the power in him which he had gotten from his Mother bore in him the likeness of the world.
    14. And when he saw the creation which surrounded him and the multitude of the angels surrounding him who had came into being from him, he said to them, ‘I am a jealous God and no other god exists beside me.’ But his proclamation indicated to the angels who dwell with him that another God does exist. For if there were not another who exists, of whom would he be jealous?The Mother began to wander. She understood her deficiency when the brightness of her light was diminished and she was darkened, because her partner had not been in concord with her.”But I said, “Lord, what does it mean ‘she wandered’?”He smiled and said, `Do not think it means as Moses said ‘upon the waters.’ But in fact, when she saw the evil which had happened and the theft which her offspring had committed, she repented and she was overcome with forgetfulness in the darkness of ignorance. And she began to be ashamed. [She did not dare] to return but [she was …] in motion. This movement is the wandering.The Arrogant one had gotten a power from his Mother. For he was ignorant, thinking that no one existed except his Mother alone. And seeing the multitude of the angels whom he had created, he then exalted himself over them.And when the Mother understood that the garment of darkness was not perfect, she then understood that her partner had not been in concord with her. She repented with great weeping.

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    Methinks I am a conspiracy theorist. Art thou? Thou block, thou stone, thou worse than senseless thing, for whilst thou slept didst this become a badge of honor. Informed dissent shall always prevail, wherefore art thou worthy, or art thou this unwholesome fool in the group conformity experiment herein?