The Nag Hammadi Library

It also happened in the places under heaven for their reconciliation. Those who knew me in salvation and undividedness, and those who existed for the glory of the father and the truth, having been separated, blended into the one through the living word. And I am in the spirit and the truth of the motherhood, just as he has been there; I was among those who are united in the friendship of friends forever, who neither know hostility at all, nor evil, but who are united by my Knowledge in word and peace which exists in perfection with everyone and in them all. And those who assumed the form of my type will assume the form of my word. Indeed, these will come forth in light forever, and (in) friendship with each other in the spirit, since they have known in every respect (and) indivisibly that what is, is One. And all of these are one. And thus they will learn about the One, as (did) the Assembly and those dwelling in it. For the father of all these exists, being immeasurable (and) immutable: Nous and Word and Division and Envy and Fire. And he is entirely one, being the All with them all in a single doctrine, because all these are from a single spirit. O unseeing ones, why did you not know the mystery rightly?

But the archons around Yaldabaoth were disobedient because of the Ennoia who went down to him from her sister Sophia. They made for themselves a union with those who were with them in a mixture of a fiery cloud, which was their Envy, and the rest who were brought forth by their creatures, as if they had bruised the noble pleasure of the Assembly. And therefore they revealed a mixture of ignorance in a counterfeit of fire and earth and a murderer, since they are small and untaught, without knowledge having dared these things, and not having understood that light has fellowship with light, and darkness with darkness, and the corruptible with the perishable, and the imperishable with the incorruptible.

Now these things I have presented to you - I am Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, who is exalted above the heavens - O perfect and incorruptible ones, because of the incorruptible and perfect mystery and the ineffable one. But they think that we decreed them before the

foundation of the world, in order that, when we emerge from the places of the world, we may present there the symbols of incorruption from the spiritual union unto knowledge. You do not know it, because the fleshly cloud overshadows you. But I alone am the friend of Sophia. I have been in the bosom of the father from the beginning, in the place of the sons of the truth, and the Greatness. Rest then with me, my fellow spirits and my brothers, forever.

Second Treatise of the Great Seth

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


The Nag Hammadi Library

The Sentences of Sextus


Translated by Frederik Wisse

(157) [...] is a sign of ignorance.

(158/159) Love the truth, and the lie use like poison.

(160) May the right time precede your words.

(161/162) Speak when it is not proper to be silent, but speak concerning the things you know (only) then when it is fitting.

(163a) The untimely word is characteristic of an evil mind. (163b) When it is proper to act, do not use a word.

(164a) Do not wish to speak first in the midst of a crowd. (164b) While it is a skill to speak, it is also a skill to be silent.

(165a) It is better for you to be defeated while speaking the truth, than to be victorious through deceit.

(165b) He who is victorious through deceit is defeated by the truth. (165c) Untrue words are a characteristic of evil persons.

(165d) There has to be a great crisis before the lie is necessary.

(165e) When there is someone, while you speak the truth, even if you lie there is no sin. (165f) Do not deceive anyone, especially him who needs advice.

  1. Faithful is he who is first with all good works.
  2. Wisdom leads the soul to the place of God.
  3. There is no kinsman of the truth except wisdom.
  4. It is not possible for a believing nature to become fond of lying.
  5. A fearful and slavish nature will not be able to partake in faith.

(171a) When you are faithful, what it is fitting to say is not of greater value than the hearing.

(171b) When you are with believing persons, desire to listen rather than to speak.

  1. A pleasure-loving man is useless in everything.
  2. When there is no (accounting of) sin, do not speak in anything (which is) from God.
  3. The sins of those who are ignorant are the shame of those who have taught them.
  4. Those on account of whom the name of God is blasphemed are dead before God.
  5. A wise man is a doer of good works after God.
  6. May your life confirm your words before those who hear.
  7. What it is not right to do, do not even consider doing it.
  8. What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either.
  9. What it is shameful to do, is also ...

(pp. 17-26 are missing)

(307/308) He is a wise man who commends God to men, and God thinks more highly of the wise man than his own works.

  1. After God, no one is as free as the wise man.
  2. Everything God possesses, the wise man has also.

(311/312) The wise man shares in the kingdom of God; an evil man does not want the foreknowledge of God to come to pass.

  1. An evil soul flees from God.
  2. Everything bad is the enemy of God.
  3. What thinks in you, say with your mind that it is man.
  4. Where your thought is, there is your goodness.
  5. Do not seek goodness in flesh.
  6. He who does not harm the soul neither does (so) to man.
  7. After God, honor a wise man, since he is the servant of God.
  8. To make the body of your soul a burden is pride, but to be able to restrain it gently when it is necessary, is blessedness.
  9. Do not become guilty of your own death. Do not be angry at him who will take you out of (the) body and kill you.
  10. If someone brings the wise man out of the body wickedly, he rather does what is good for him, for he has been released from bonds.
  11. The fear of death grieves man because of the ignorance of the soul.
  12. <It were better> for you had the man-killing sword not come into being; but when it comes, say with your mind that it does not exist.

(325/326a) Someone who says "I believe," even if he spends a long time pretending, he will not prevail, but he will fall; as your heart is, (so) will be your life.

(326b) A godly heart produces a blessed life.

  1. He who will plot evil against another, he is the first [...].
  2. Let not an ungrateful man cause you to cease to do good.
  3. Do not say with your mind that these things which were asked, (and) you gave immediately, are more valuable than the receiver.
  4. You will use great property, if you give to the needy willingly.
  5. Persuade a senseless brother not to be senseless; if he is mad, protect him. (332/334) Strive eagerly to be victorious over every man in prudence; maintain self-


(333) You cannot receive understanding unless you know first that you possess <it>. In everything there is again this sentence.

  1. The members of the body are a burden to those who do not use them.
  2. It is better to serve others than to make others serve you.
  3. He whom God will not bring out of (the) body, let him not burden himself.
  4. Not only do not hold an opinion which does not benefit the needy, but also do not listen to it.
  5. He who gives something without respect commits an outrage. [...].
  6. If you take on the guardianship of orphans, you will be the father of many children (and) you will be beloved of God.
  7. He whom you serve because of honor, you have served for a wage.
  8. If you have given that which honors you ..., you have given not to man, but you have given for your own pleasure.

(343/344) Do not provoke the anger of a mob. Know, then, what is fitting for the fortunate man to do.

  1. It is better to die than to darken the soul because of the immoderation of the belly.
  2. Say with your mind that the body is the garment of your soul: keep it, therefore, pure since it is innocent.
  3. Whatever the soul will do while it is in (the) body, it has as witnesses when it goes into judgment.

(348/349) Unclean demons do lay claim to a polluted soul; a faithful (and) good soul, evil demons will not be able to hinder in the way of God.

  1. Do not give the word of God to everyone.
  2. For those who are corrupted by glory it is not assuring to hear about God. (352/353) It is not a small danger for us to speak the truth about God; do not say anything

about God before you have learned from God.

(354/356) Do not speak with a godless person about God; if you are polluted on account of impure works, do not speak about God.

(357) The true word about God is the word of God.

(355) Speak concerning the word about God as if you were saying it in the presence of God.

  1. If first your mind is persuaded that you have been god-loving, then speak to whomever you wish about God.
  2. May your pious works precede every word about God.
  3. Do not wish to speak with a crowd about God.
  4. Be (more) sparing with a word about God (than) about a soul.
  5. It is better to dispose of a soul than to discard at random a word about God. (363a) You conceive the body of a god-loving man, but you will not be able to rule over

his speech.

(363b) The lion also rules over the body of the wise man; also the tyrant rules over it alone.

  1. If a tyrant threatens you, then, especially, remember God.
  2. He who speaks the word of God to those for whom it is not lawful, he is the betrayer of God.
  3. It is better for you to be silent about the word of God, than to speak recklessly. (367/368) He who speaks lies about God is lying to God; a man who does not have

anything truthful to say about God is abandoned by God.

  1. It is not possible for you to know God when you do not worship him.
  2. A man who does evil to someone will not be able to worship God.
  3. The love of man is the beginning of godliness.
  4. He who takes care of men while praying for all of them - this is the truth of God. (373/374) It is God`s business to save whom he wants; on the other hand, it is the

business of the pious man to beseech God to save everyone.

(375) When you pray for something and it happens to you through God, then say with your mind that you have [...].

(376a) A man who is worthy of God, he is God among men, and he is the son of God.

(376b) Both the great one exists and he who is next to the great one exists.

(377/378) It is better for man to be without anything than to have many things while not giving to the needy; so also you, if you pray to God, he will not give to you.

  1. If you, from your whole heart, give your bread to the hungry, the gift is small, but the willingness is great with God.
  2. He who thinks that no one is in the presence of God, he is not humble towards God.
  3. He who makes his mind like unto God as far as he is able, he is the one who honors God greatly.
  4. God does not need anything, but he rejoices over those who give to the needy.
  5. The faithful do not speak many words, but their works are numerous.
  6. It is a faithful person fond of learning who is the worker of the truth.
  7. Adjust [...] the calamities, in order that [...].
  8. If you do not do evil to anyone, you will not be afraid of anyone.
  9. The tyrant will not be able to take away happiness.
  10. What is right to do, do it willingly.

(389a) What is not right to do, do not do it in any way. (389b) Promise everything rather than to say "I am wise".

  1. What you do well, say with your mind that it is God who does it.
  2. No man who <looks> down upon the earth and upon tables is wise.
  3. The philosopher who is an outer body, he is not the one to whom it is fitting to pay respect, but (the) philosopher according to the inner man.
  4. Guard yourself from lying; there is he who deceives and there is he who is deceived.

(394/395) Know who God is, and know who is the one who thinks in you; a good man is the good work of God.

  1. They are miserable because of whom the word is blasphemed.
  2. Death will not be able to destroy [...].

(pp. 35-end are missing)

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


The Nag Hammadi Library

The Sophia of Jesus Christ


Translated by Douglas M. Parrott

The Sophia (Wisdom) of Jesus Christ.

After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women continued to be his followers, and went to Galilee onto the mountain called "Divination and Joy". When they gathered together and were perplexed about the underlying reality of the universe and the plan, and the holy providence, and the power of the authorities, and about everything the Savior is doing with them in the secret of the holy plan, the Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the invisible spirit. And his likeness resembles a great angel of light. But his resemblance I must not describe. No mortal flesh could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the mountain called "Of the Olives" in Galilee.

And he said: "Peace be to you, My peace I give you!" And they all marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: "What are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching for?"

Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan."

The Savior said to them: "I want you to know that all men are born on earth from the

foundation of the world until now, being dust, while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from the ordering of the world and (its) movement. But their speculation has not reached the truth. For it is said that the ordering is directed in three ways, by all the

philosophers, (and) hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it is directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of the three voices I have just mentioned, none is close to the truth, and (they are) from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I know him (Light) - that I might speak to you about the precise nature of the truth. For whatever is from itself is a polluted life; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom in it. And fate does not discern. But to you it is given to know; and whoever is worthy of knowledge will receive (it), whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, for he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men."

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