The Nag Hammadi Library

them charge of its heaven; and all the heavens of chaos became full of their multitudes. But it was by the will of the father of the entirety that they all came into being - after the pattern of all the things above - so that the sum of chaos might be attained.

"There, I have taught you about the pattern of the rulers; and the matter in which it was expressed; and their parent; and their universe."

But I said, "Sir, am I also from their matter?"

"You, together with your offspring, are from the primeval father; from above, out of the imperishable light, their souls are come. Thus the authorities cannot approach them, because of the spirit of truth present within them; and all who have become acquainted with this way exist deathless in the midst of dying mankind. Still, that sown element will not become known now. Instead, after three generations it will come to be known, and it has freed them from the bondage of the authorities' error."

Then I said, "Sir, how much longer?"

He said to me, "Until the moment when the true man, within a modeled form, reveals the

existence of the spirit of truth, which the father has sent.

Then he will teach them about everything, and he will anoint them with the unction of

life eternal, given him from the undominated generation.

Then they will be freed of blind thought, and they will trample underfoot death, which is

of the authorities, and they will ascend into the limitless light where this sown element belongs.

Then the authorities will relinquish their ages, and their angels will weep over their destruction, and their demons will lament their death.

Then all the children of the light will be truly acquainted with the truth and their root, and the father of the entirety and the holy spirit. They will all say with a single voice, 'The

father's truth is just, and the son presides over the entirety", and from everyone unto the ages of ages, "Holy - holy - holy! Amen!'"

The Reality of the Rulers

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


The Nag Hammadi Library



Translated by John D. Turner

The book concerning the things that were seen by Hypsiphrone being revealed in the place of her virginity. And she listens to her brethren [...] Phainops and [...], and they speak with one another in a mystery.

Now I was first by individual ranking [...] I came forth to the place of my virginity and I went down to the world. Then I was told about them (by) those who abide in the place of my virginity.

And I went down to the world and they said to me, "Again Hypsiphrone has withdrawn outside the place of her virginity." Then the one who heard, Phainops, who breathes into her fount of blood, spread out for her.

And he said, ["I am Phainops ...] err [...] desire [... the number] of just the human remnants or that I may see a [man, the blood-likeness or ...] of a [... fire] and a [... in] his hands.

Then as for me, I said to him, "Phainops has not come upon me; he has not gone astray. [...] see a man [...] him [...] For [...] which he said [...] Phainops this [...].

I saw him and he said to me, "Hypsiphrone, why do you dwell outside me? Follow me and I will tell you about them." So I followed him, for I was in great fear. And he told me about a fount of blood that is revealed by setting afire [...] he said [...].

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


The Nag Hammadi Library

The Interpretation of Knowledge


Translated by John D. Turner

(13 lines missing)

... they came to believe by means of signs and wonders and fabrications. The likeness that came to be through them followed him, but through reproaches and humiliations before they received the apprehension of a vision they fled without having heard that the Christ had been crucified. But our generation is fleeing since it does not yet even believe that the Christ is alive. In order that our faith may be holy (and) pure, not relying upon itself actively, but maintaining itself planted in him, do not say: "Whence is the patience to measure faith?", for each one is persuaded by the things he believes. If he disbelieves them, then he would be unable to be persuaded. But it is a great thing for a man who has faith, since he is not in unbelief, which is the world.

Now the world is the place of unfaith and the place of death. And death exists as ... (14 lines missing)... likeness and they will not believe. A holy thing is the faith to see the likeness. The opposite is unfaith in the likeness. The things that he will grant them will support them. It was impossible for them to attain to the imperishability [...] will become [...] loosen [...] those who were sent [...]. For he who is distressed will not believe. He is unable to bring a great church, since it is gathered out of a small gathering.

He became an emanation of the trace. For also they say about the likeness that it is apprehended by means of his trace. The structure apprehends by means of the likeness, but God apprehends by means of his members. He knew them before they were begotten, and they will know him. And the one who begot each one from the first will indwell them. He will rule over them. For it is necessary for each one ... (25 lines missing)... the Savior removed himself, since it is fitting. Indeed, not ignorant but carnal is the word who took him as a husband. And it is he who exists as an image, since that one (masc.) also exists, as well as that one (fem.) who brought us forth. And she caused him to know that she is the Womb. This is a marvel of hers that she causes us to transcend patience. But this is the marvel: he loves the one who was first to permit a virgin [...]. It is fitting to [...] her [...] unto death [...] desire to practice ... (23 lines missing)Therefore she yielded to him in her path. He was first to fix our eye upon this virgin who is fixed to the cross that is in those places. And we see that it is her water which the supreme authority granted to the one in whom there is a sign. This is the water of immortality which the great powers will grant to him while he is below in the likeness of her young son. She did not stop on his account. She [...] the [...] he became [...] in the [...] word that appears to the [...]. He

did not ... (13 lines missing)... in [...] through [...] come from those places. Some fell in the path. Others fell in the rocks. Yet still others he sowed in the thorns. And still others he gave to drink [...] and the shadow. Behold [...] he [...] And this is the eternal reality before the souls come forth from those who are being killed.

But he was being pursued in that place by the trace produced by the Savior. And he was crucified and he died - not his own death, for he did not at all deserve to die because of the church of mortals. And he was nailed so that they might keep him in the Church. He answered her with humiliations, since in this way he had borne the suffering which he had suffered. For Jesus is for us a likeness on account of ... (14 lines missing)... this [...] the entire structure and [...] the great bitterness of the world [...] us with the [...] by thieves [...] the slaves [...] down to Jericho [...] they received [...]. For [...] down to those who will wait while the entire defect restrains them until the final reality that is their portion, since he brought us down, having bound us in nets of flesh. Since the body is a temporary dwelling which the rulers and authorities have as an abode, the man within, after being imprisoned in the fabrication, fell into suffering. And having compelled him to serve them, they constrained him to serve the energies. They split the Church so as to inherit ... (9 lines missing)... power to [...] and [...] and [...] having touched [...] before [...] it is the beauty that will [...] wanted to [...] and to be with [...] fighting with one another [...] like others [...] virgin [...] to destroy [...] wound [...] but she [...] she likens herself to the [...] her since they had struck [...] imperishable. This [...] that he remain [...] virgin. The [...] her beauty [...] faithfulness [...] and therefore [...] her. He hastened [...] he did not put up with [...] they despise [...]. For when the Mother had ... (5 lines missing)... the Mother [...] her enemy [...] the teaching [...] of the force [...] nature [...] behold a maiden

[...] he is unable [...] first [...] the opposite [...]. But how has he [...] maiden [...] he was

not able [...] he became [...] killed him [...] alive [...] he reckoned her [...] better than life

[...] since he knows that if [...] world created him [...] him to raise him [...] up from [...] upon the regions [...] those whom they rule [...]. But [...] emitted him [...] he dwells in him [...] the Father of the All [...] be more to her [...] him. He ... (8 lines missing)... like

[...] into [...] he has them [...] them [...] each one will be worthy [...] take him and [...] the

teacher should hide himself as if he were a god who would embrace his works and destroy them. For he also spoke with the Church and he made himself her teacher of immortality, and destroyed the arrogant teacher by teaching her to die.

And this teacher made a living school, for that teacher has another school: while it teaches us about the dead writings, he, on the other hand, was causing us to remove ourselves from the surfeit of the world; we were being taught about our death through them.

Now this is his teaching: Do not call to a father upon the earth. Your Father, who is in heaven, is one. You are the light of the world. They are my brothers and my fellow companions who do the will of the Father. For what use is it if you gain the world and you forfeit your soul? For when we were in the dark, we used to call many "father," since we were ignorant of the true Father. And this is the great conception of all the sins ... (8 lines missing)... pleasure. We are like [...] him to [...] soul [...] men who [...] the dwelling place.

What now is the faith laid down by the master who released him from the great ignorance and the darkness of the ignorant eye? He reminded him of the good things of his Father and the race. For he said to him, "Now the world is not yours, may you not esteem the form that is in it as advantageous; rather (as) disadvantageous and (as) a punishment." Receive now the teaching of the one who was reproached - an advantage and a profit for the soul - and receive his shape. It is the shape that exists in the presence of the Father, the word and the height, that let you know him before you have been led astray while in (the) flesh of condemnation.

Likewise I became very small, so that through my humility I might take you up to the great height, whence you had fallen. You were taken to this pit. If now you believe in me, it is I who shall take you above, through this shape that you see. It is I who shall bear you upon my shoulders. Enter through the rib whence you came and hide yourself from the beasts. The burden that you bear now is not yours. Whenever you (fem.) go ... (14 lines missing)... from his glory [...] from the first. From being counted with the female, sleep brought labor and the sabbath, which is the world. For from being counted with the Father, sleep brought the sabbath and the exodus from the world of the beasts. For the world is from beasts and it is a beast. Therefore he that is lost has been reckoned to the crafty one, and that one is from the beasts that came forth. They put upon him a garment of condemnation, for the female had no other garment for clothing her seed except the one she brought on the sabbath. For no beast exists in the Aeon. For the Father does not keep the sabbath, but (rather) actuates the Son, and through the Son he continued to provide himself with the Aeons. The Father has living rational elements from which he puts on my members as garments. The man ... (11 lines missing)... this is the name. The [...] he emitted himself and he emitted the reproached one. The one who was reproached changed (his) name and, along with that which would be like the reproach, he appeared as flesh. And the humiliated one has no equipment. He has no need of the glory that is not his; he has his own glory with the name, which is the Son. Now he came that we might become glorious through the humiliated one that dwells in the places of humiliation. And through him who was reproached we receive the forgiveness of sins. And through the one who was reproached and the one who was redeemed we receive grace.

But who is it that redeemed the one who was reproached? It is the emanation of the name.

For just as the flesh has need of a name, so also is the flesh an Aeon that Wisdom has

emitted. It received the majesty that is descending, so that the Aeon might enter the one who was reproached, that we might escape the disgrace of the carcass and be regenerated in the flesh and blood of ... (8 lines missing)... destiny. He [...] and the Aeons [...] they accepted the Son although he was a complete mystery [...] each one of his members [...] grace. When he cried out, he was separated from the Church like portions of the darkness from the Mother, while his feet provided him traces, and these scorched the path of the ascent to the Father.

But what is the way and manner (in) which it (fem.) became their head? Well, it (fem.) made the dwelling place to bring forth the light to those who dwell within him, so that they might see the ascending Church. For the Head drew itself up from the pit; it was bent over the cross and it looked down to Tartaros so that those below might look above.

Hence, for example, when someone looks at someone, then the face of the one who looked down looks up; so also once the Head looked from the height to its members, our members went above, where the Head was. And it, the cross, was undergoing nailing for the members, and solely that they might be able ... (7 lines missing)... have [...] because they were like [...] slave. The consummation is thus: He whom she indicated will be completed by the one who indicated. And the seeds that remain will endure until the All is separated and takes shape.

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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?