The Nag Hammadi Library

“Let us pray, my son, to the father of the universe, with your brothers who are my sons, that he may give the spirit of eloquence.”

“How do they pray, my father, when joined with the generations? I want to obey, my father.”

(2 lines missing) … But it is not […]. Nor is it a […]. But he is satisfied with her […] him

[…]. And it is right for you to remember the progress that came to you as wisdom in the books, my son. Compare yourself to the early years of life. As children (do), you have posed senseless, unintelligent questions.”

“My father, the progress that has come to me now, and the foreknowledge, according to the books, that has come to me, exceeding the deficiency – these things are foremost in me.”

“My son, when you understand the truth of your statement, you will find your brothers,

who are my sons, praying with you.”

“My father, I understand nothing else except the beauty that came to me in the books.” “This is what you call the beauty of the soul, the edification that came to you in stages. May the understanding come to you, and you will teach.”

“I have understood, my father, each one of the books. And especially the … (2 lines missing) … which is in […].”

“My son, […] in praises from those who extolled them.”

“My father, from you I will receive the power of the discourse that you will give. As it was told to both (of us), let us pray, my father.”

“My son, what is fitting is to pray to God with all our mind and all our heart and our soul,

and to ask him that the gift of the eighth extend to us, and that each one receive from him what is his. Your part, then, is to understand; my own is to be able to deliver the discourse from the fountain that flows to me.”

“Let us pray, my father: I call upon you, who rules over the kingdom of power, whose word comes as (a) birth of light. And his words are immortal. They are eternal and unchanging. He is the one whose will begets life for the forms in every place. His nature gives form to substance. By him, the souls of the eighth and the angels are moved … (2 lines missing) … those that exist. His providence extends to everyone […] begets everyone. He is the one who […] the aeon among spirits. He created everything. He who is self-contained cares for everything. He is perfect, the invisible God to whom one speaks in silence – his image is moved when it is directed, and it governs – the one mighty power, who is exalted above majesty, who is better than the honored (ones), Zoxathazo a oo ee ooo eee oooo ee oooooo ooooo oooooo uuuuuu oooooooooooo ooo Zozazoth.

“Lord, grant us a wisdom from your power that reaches us, so that we may describe to ourselves the vision of the eighth and the ninth. We have already advanced to the

seventh, since we are pious and walk in your law. And your will we fulfill always. For we

have walked in your way, and we have renounced […], so that your vision may come. Lord, grant us the truth in the image. Allow us through the spirit to see the form of the image that has no deficiency, and receive the reflection of the pleroma from us through our praise.

“And acknowledge the spirit that is in us. For from you the universe received soul. For from you, the unbegotten one, the begotten one came into being. The birth of the self- begotten one is through you, the birth of all begotten things that exist. Receive from us these spiritual sacrifices, which we send to you with all our heart and our soul and all our strength. Save that which is in us and grant us the immortal wisdom.”

“Let us embrace each other affectionately, my son. Rejoice over this! For already from them the power, which is light, is coming to us. For I see! I see indescribable depths. How shall I tell you, my son? […] from the […] the places. How shall I describe the universe? I am Mind, and I see another Mind, the one that moves the soul! I see the one that moves me from pure forgetfulness. You give me power! I see myself! I want to speak! Fear restrains me. I have found the beginning of the power that is above all powers, the one that has no beginning. I see a fountain bubbling with life. I have said, my son, that I am Mind. I have seen! Language is not able to reveal this. For the entire eighth, my son, and the souls that are in it, and the angels, sing a hymn in silence. And I, Mind, understand.”

“What is the way to sing a hymn through it (silence)?” “Have you become such that you cannot be spoken to?”

“I am silent, my father. I want to sing a hymn to you while I am silent.” “Then sing it, for I am Mind.”

“I understand Mind, Hermes, who cannot be interpreted, because he keeps within himself. And I rejoice, my father, because I see you smiling. And the universe rejoices. Therefore, there is no creature that will lack your life. For you are the lord of the citizens in every place. Your providence protects. I call you ‘father’, ‘aeon of the aeons’, ‘great divine spirit’. And by a spirit he gives rain upon everyone. What do you say to me, my father, Hermes?”

“Concerning these things, I do not say anything, my son. For it is right before God that we keep silent about what is hidden.”

“Trismegistus, let not my soul be deprived of the great divine vision. For everything is possible for you as master of the universe.”

“Return to <praising>, my son, and sing while you are silent. Ask what you want in silence.”

What he had finished praising, he shouted, “Father Trismegistus! What shall I say? We have received this light. And I myself see this same vision in you. And I see the eighth, and the souls that are in it, and the angels singing a hymn to the ninth and its powers. And I see him who has the power of them all, creating those <that are> in the spirit.”

“It is advantageous from now on, that we keep silence in a reverent posture. Do not speak about the vision from now on. It is proper to sing a hymn to the father until the day to quit (the) body.”

“What you sing, my father, I too want to sing.”

“I am singing a hymn within myself. While you rest yourself, be active in praise. For you have found what you seek.”

“But is it proper, my father, that I praise because I am filled in my heart?”

“What is proper is your praise that you will sing to God, so that it might be written in this imperishable book.”

“I will offer up the praise in my heart, as I pray to the end of the universe and the beginning of the beginning, to the object of man’s quest, the immortal discovery, the begetter of light and truth, the sower of reason, the love of immortal life. No hidden word will be able to speak about you, Lord. Therefore, my mind wants to sing a hymn to you daily. I am the instrument of your spirit; Mind is your plectrum. And your counsel plucks me. I see myself! I have received power from you. For your love has reached us.”

“Right, my son.”

“Grace! After these things, I give thanks by singing a hymn to you. For I have received life from you, when you made me wise. I praise you. I call your name that is hidden within me: a o ee o eee ooo iii oooo ooooo ooooo uuuuuu oo ooooooooo ooooooooo oo. You are the one who exists with the spirit. I sing a hymn to you reverently.”

“My son, write this book for the temple at Diospolis in hieroglyphic characters, entitling it ‘The Eighth Reveals the Ninth.'”

“I will do it, my <father>, as you command now.”

“My <son>, write the language of the book on steles of turquoise. My son, it is proper to write this book on steles of turquoise, in hieroglyphic characters. For Mind himself has become overseer of these. Therefore, I command that this teaching be carved on stone, and that you place it in my sanctuary. Eight guardians guard it with […] of the Sun. The males on the right are frog-faced, and the females on the left are cat-faced. And put a square milk-stone at the base of the turquoise tablets, and write the name on the azure stone tablet in hieroglyphic characters. My son, you will do this when I am in Virgo, and the sun is in the first half of the day, and fifteen degrees have passed by me.”

“My father, everything that you say I will do eagerly.”

“And write an oath in the book, lest those who read the book bring the language into abuse, and not (use it) to oppose the acts of fate. Rather, they should submit to the law of God, without having transgressed at all, but in purity asking God for wisdom and knowledge. And he who will not be begotten at the start by God comes to be by the general and guiding discourses. He will not be able to read the things written in this book, although his conscience is pure within him, since he does not do anything shameful, nor does he consent to it. Rather, by stages he advances and enters into the way of

immortality. And thus he enters into the understanding of the eighth that reveals the

ninth.”

“So shall I do it, my father.”

“This is the oath: I make him who will read this holy book swear by heaven and earth, and fire and water, and seven rulers of substance, and the creating spirit in them, and the

<unbegotten> God, and the self-begotten one, and him who has been begotten, that he will guard the things that Hermes has said. And those who keep the oath, God will be

reconciled with them and everyone whom we have named. But wrath will come to each one of those who violate the oath. This is the perfect one who is, my son.”

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990.

THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

The Nag Hammadi Library

Eugnostos the Blessed

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Translated by Douglas M. Parrott (combining III,3 and V,1)

Eugnostos, the Blessed, to those who are his.

Rejoice in this, that you know. Greetings! I want you to know that all men born from the foundation of the world until now are dust. While they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, they have not found him. The wisest among them have speculated about the truth from the ordering of the world. And the speculation has not reached the truth. For the ordering is spoken of in three (different) opinions by all the philosophers; hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it was directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of three voices that I have just mentioned, none is true. For whatever is from itself is an empty life; it is self-made. Providence is foolish. Fate is an undiscerning thing.

Whoever, then, is able to get free of these three voices I have just mentioned and come by means of another voice to confess the God of truth and agree in everything concerning him, he is immortal dwelling in the midst of mortal men.

He-Who-Is is ineffable. No principle knew him, no authority, no subjection, nor any creature from the foundation of the world, except he alone. For he is immortal and eternal, having no birth; for everyone who has birth will perish. He is unbegotten, having no beginning; for everyone who has a beginning has an end. No one rules over him. He has no name; for whoever has a name is the creation of another. He is unnameable. He has no human form; for whoever has human form is the creation of another. He has his own semblance – not like the semblance we have received and seen, but a strange semblance that surpasses all things and is better than the totalities. It looks to every side and sees itself from itself. He is infinite; he is incomprehensible. He is ever imperishable (and) has no likeness (to anything). He is unchanging good. He is faultless. He is everlasting. He is blessed. He is unknowable, while he (nonetheless) knows himself. He is immeasurable. He is untraceable. He is perfect, having no defect. He is imperishably blessed. He is called ‘Father of the Universe’.

Before anything is visible among those that are visible, the majesty and the authorities that are in him, he embraces the totalities of the totalities, and nothing embraces him. For he is all mind, thought and reflecting, considering, rationality and power. They all are

equal powers. They are the sources of the totalities. And their whole race <from first> to last is in the foreknowledge of the Unbegotten, for they had not yet come to visibility.

Now a difference existed among the imperishable aeons. Let us, then, consider (it) this way: Everything that came from the perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. Whatever came from imperishableness will not perish but will become imperishable, since it came from imperishableness. So, many men went astray because they had not known this difference; that is, they died.

But this much is enough, since it is impossible for anyone to dispute the nature of the words I have just spoken about the blessed, imperishable, true God. Now, if anyone wants to believe the words set down (here), let him go from what is hidden to the end of what is visible, and this Thought will instruct him how faith in those things that are not visible was found in what is visible. This is a principle of knowledge.

The Lord of the Universe is not rightly called ‘Father’ but ‘Forefather’. For the Father is the beginning (or principle) of what is visible. For he (the Lord) is the beginningless Forefather. He sees himself within himself, like a mirror, having appeared in his likeness as Self-Father, that is, Self-Begetter, and as Confronter, since he confronted Unbegotten First Existent. He is indeed of equal age with the one who is before him, but he is not equal to him in power.

Afterward he revealed many confronting, self-begotten ones, equal in age (and) power, being in glory and without number, who are called ‘The Generation over Whom There Is No Kingdom among the Kingdoms That Exist’. And the whole multitude of the place over which there is no kingdom is called ‘Sons of Unbegotten Father.’

Now the Unknowable is ever full of imperishableness and ineffable joy. They are all at rest in him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy, over the unchanging glory and the measureless jubilation that was never heard or known among all the aeons and their worlds. But this much is enough, lest we go on endlessly. This is another principle of knowledge from

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