The Nag Hammadi Library

And thus the decree will be fulfilled, for just as the woman who is honored until death has the advantage of time, so too will it give birth. And this offspring will receive the body appointed for it, and it will become perfect. He has a generous nature, since the Son of God dwells in him. And whenever he acquires the All, whatever he possesses will <be dissolved> in the fire because it greatly despised and outraged the Father.

Moreover, when the great Son was sent after his small brothers, he spread abroad the edict of the Father and proclaimed it, opposing the All. And he removed the old bond of debt, the one of condemnation. And this is the edict that was: Those who made themselves enslaved have become condemned in Adam. They have been brought from death, received forgiveness for their sins, and been redeemed by ... (9 lines missing)... since we are worthy [...] and [...] but I say [...] and these [...]. For [...] is worthy to [...] God. And the Father [...] the Christ removed himself from all these, since he loves his members with all his heart. One who is jealous sets his members against one another. If he is not jealous, he will not be removed from (the) other members and the good which he sees.

By having a brother who regards us as he also is, one glorifies the one who gives us grace. Moreover, it is fitting for each of us to enjoy the gift that he has received from God, and that we not be jealous, since we know that he who is jealous is an obstacle in his (own) path, since he destroys only himself with the gift and he is ignorant of God. He ought to rejoice and be glad and partake of grace and bounty. Does someone have a prophetic gift? Share it without hesitation. Neither approach your brother jealously nor ... (8 lines missing)... chosen as they [...] empty as they escape [...] fallen from their [...] are ignorant that [...] in this way they have [...] them in [...] in order that they may reflect perforce upon the things that you want them to think about when they think about you. Now your brother also has his grace: Do not belittle yourself, but rejoice and give thanks spiritually, and pray for that one, in order that you might share the grace that dwells within him. So do not consider him foreign to you, rather, (as) one who is yours, whom each of your <fellow> members received. By loving the Head who possesses them, you also possess the one from whom it is that these outpourings of gifts exist among your brethren.

But is someone making progress in the Word? Do not be hindered by this; do not say: ''Why does he speak while I do not?", for what he says is (also) yours, and that which discerns the Word and that which speaks is the same power. The Word ... (13 lines missing)... eye or a hand only, although they are a single body. Those who belong to us all serve the Head together. And each one of the members reckons it as a member. They

cannot all become entirely a foot or entirely an eye or entirely a hand, since these members will not live alone; rather they are dead. We know that they are being put to death. So why do you love the members that are still dead, instead of those that live? How do you know that someone is ignorant of the brethren? For you are ignorant when you hate them and are jealous of them, since you will not receive the grace that dwells within them, being unwilling to reconcile them to the bounty of the Head. You ought to give thanks for our members and ask that you too might be granted the grace that has been given to them. For the Word is rich, generous and kind. Here he gives away gifts to his men without jealousy, according to ... (11 lines missing)... appeared in each of the members [...] himself [...] since they do not fight at all with one another on account of their difference(s). Rather, by laboring with one another, they will work with one another, and if one of them suffers, they will suffer with him, and when each one is saved, they are saved together.

Moreover, if they would wait for the exodus from the (earthly) harmony, they will come to the Aeon. If they are fit to share in the (true) harmony, how much the more those who derive from the single unity? They ought to be reconciled with one another. Do not accuse your Head because it has not appointed you as an eye but rather as a finger. And do not be jealous of that which has been put in the class of an eye or a hand or a foot, but be thankful that you do not exist outside the Body. On the contrary, you have the same Head on whose account the eye exists, as well as the hand and the foot and the rest of the parts. Why do you despise the one that is appointed as [...] it desired to [...] you slandered [...] does not embrace [...] unmixed body [...] chosen [...] dissolve [...] of the Aeon [...] descent [...] however plucked us from <the> Aeons that exist in that place. Some exist in the visible Church - those who exist in the Church of men - and unanimously they proclaim to one another the Pleroma of their aeon. And some exist for death in the Church on whose behalf they go - she for whom they are death - while others are for life. Therefore they are lovers of abundant life. And each of the rest endures by his own root. He puts forth fruit that is like him, since the roots have a connection with one another and their fruits are undivided, the best of each. They possess them, existing for them and for one another. So let us become like the roots, since we are equal [...] that Aeon [...] those who are not ours [...] above the [...] grasp him [...] since [...] your soul. He will [...] we gave you to him. If you purify it, it abides in me. If you enclose it, it belongs to the Devil. Even if you kill his forces that are active, it will be with you. For if the soul is dead, still it was enacted upon (by) the rulers and authorities.

What, now, do you think of as spirit? Or why do they persecute men of this sort to death? Are they not satisfied to be with the soul and seek it? For every place is excluded from them by the men of God so long as they exist in flesh. And when they cannot see them, since they (the men of God) live by the spirit, they tear apart what appears, as if thus they can find them. But what is the profit for them? They are senselessly mad! They rend their surroundings! They dig the earth! [...] him [...] hid [...] exists [...] purify [...] however [...] after God [...] seize us [...] but we walk [...]. For if the sins are many, how much the more now is the jealousy of the Church of the Savior. For each one was capable of both (types) of transgression, namely that of an adept, and (that of) an ordinary person. It is still a single ability that they possess. And as for us, we are adepts at the Word. If we sin

against it, we sin more than Gentiles. But if we surmount every sin, we shall receive the crown of victory, even as our Head was glorified by the Father.

The Interpretation of Knowledge

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


The Nag Hammadi Library

The Letter of Peter to Philip


Translated by Frederik Wisse

The Letter of Peter which he sent to Philip

"Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ, to Philip, our beloved brother and our fellow apostle, and (to) the brethren who are with you: greetings!

Now I want you to know, our brother, that we received orders from our Lord and the Savior of the whole world that we should come together to give instruction and preach in the salvation which was promised us by our Lord Jesus Christ. But as for you, you were separate from us, and you did not desire us to come together and to know how we should organize ourselves in order that we might tell the good news. Therefore would it be agreeable to you, our brother, to come according to the orders of our God Jesus?"

When Philip had received these (words), and when he had read them, he went to Peter rejoicing with gladness. Then Peter gathered the others also. They went upon the mountain which is called "the (mount) olives," the place where they used to gather with the blessed Christ when he was in the body.

Then, when the apostles had come together, and had thrown themselves upon their knees, they prayed thus saying, "Father, Father, Father of the light, who possesses the incorruptions, hear us just as thou hast taken pleasure in thy holy child Jesus Christ. For he became for us an illuminator in the darkness. Yea hear us!"

And they prayed again another time, saying, "Son of life, Son of immortality, who is in the light, Son, Christ of immortality, our Redeemer, give us power, for they seek to kill us!"

Then a great light appeared so that the mountains shone from the sight of him who had appeared. And a voice called out to them saying, "Listen to my words that I may speak to you. Why are you asking me? I am Jesus Christ who am with you forever."

Then the apostles answered and said, "Lord, we would like to know the deficiency of the aeons and their pleroma." And: "How are we detained in this dwelling place?" Further: "How did we come to this place?" And: "In what manner shall we depart?" Again: "How do we have the authority of boldness?" And: "Why do the powers fight against us?"

Then a voice came to them out of the light saying, "It is you yourselves who are witnesses that I spoke all these things to you. But because of your unbelief I shall speak again. First of all concerning the deficiency of the aeons, this is the deficiency, when the disobedience and the foolishness of the mother appeared without the commandment of the majesty of the Father. She wanted to raise up aeons. And when she spoke, the Arrogant One followed. And when she left behind a part, the Arrogant One laid hold of it, and it became a deficiency. This is the deficiency of the aeons. Now when the Arrogant One had taken a part, he sowed it. And he placed powers over it and authorities. And he enclosed it in the aeons which are dead. And all the powers of the world rejoiced that they had been begotten. But they do not know the pre-existent Father, since they are strangers to him. But this is the one to whom they gave power and whom they served by praising him. But he, the Arrogant One, became proud on account of the praise of the powers. He became an envier and he wanted to make an image in the place of an image, and a form in the place of a form. And he commissioned the powers within his authority to mold mortal bodies. And they came to be from a misrepresentation, from the semblance which had merged."

"Next concerning the pleroma: I am the one who was sent down in the body because of the seed which had fallen away. And I came down into their mortal mold. But they did not recognize me; they were thinking of me that I was a mortal man. And I spoke with him who belongs to me, and he harkened to me just as you too who harkened today. And I gave him authority in order that he might enter into the inheritance of his fatherhood. And I took [...] they were filled [...] in his salvation. And since he was a deficiency, for this reason he became a pleroma."

"It is because of this that you are being detained, because you belong to me. When you strip off from yourselves what is corrupted, then you will become illuminators in the midst of mortal men."

"And this (is the reason) that you will fight against the powers, because they do not have rest like you, since they do not wish that you be saved."

Then the apostles worshiped again saying, "Lord, tell us: In what way shall we fight against the archons, since the archons are above us?"

Then a voice called out to them from the appearance saying, "Now you will fight against them in this way, for the archons are fighting against the inner man. And you are to fight against them in this way: Come together and teach in the world the salvation with a promise. And you, gird yourselves with the power of my Father, and let your prayer be known. And he, the Father, will help you as he has helped you by sending me. Be not afraid, I am with you forever, as I previously said to you when I was in the body." Then there came lightning and thunder from heaven, and what appeared to them in that place was taken up to heaven.

Then the apostles gave thanks to the Lord with every blessing. And they returned to Jerusalem. And while coming up they spoke with each other on the road concerning the

light which had come. And a remark was made concerning the Lord. It was said, "If he, our Lord, suffered, then how much (must) we (suffer)?"

Peter answered saying, "He suffered on our behalf, and it is necessary for us too to suffer because of our smallness." Then a voice came to them saying, "I have told you many times: it is necessary for you to suffer. It is necessary that they bring you to synagogues and governors, so that you will suffer. But he who does not suffer and does not [...] the Father [...] in order that he may [...]."

And the apostles rejoiced greatly and came up to Jerusalem. And they came up to the temple and gave instruction in salvation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And they healed a multitude.

And Peter opened his mouth, he said to his (fellow) disciples, "Did our Lord Jesus, when he was in the body, show us everything? For he came down. My brothers, listen to my voice." And he was filled with a holy spirit. He spoke thus: "Our illuminator, Jesus, came down and was crucified. And he bore a crown of thorns. And he put on a purple garment. And he was crucified on a tree and he was buried in a tomb. And he rose from the dead. My brothers, Jesus is a stranger to this suffering. But we are the ones who have suffered through the transgression of the mother. And because of this, he did everything like us. For the Lord Jesus, the Son of the immeasurable glory of the Father, he is the author of our life. My brothers, let us therefore not obey these lawless ones, and walk in [...]."

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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?