The Nag Hammadi Library


THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

“The Nag Hammadi Library”

The “Nag Hammadi Library” is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, in 1945.

Nag Hammadi library

The Nag Hammadi library (popularly known as The Gnostic Gospels) is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the town of Nag Hammâdi in 1945. That year, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali. The writings in these codices comprised fifty-two mostly Gnostic tractates (treatises), but they also include three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum and a partial translation / alteration of Plato’s “Republic”. In his “Introduction” to “The Nag Hammadi Library” in English, James Robinson suggests that these codices may have belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery, and were buried after Bishop Athanasius condemned the uncritical use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of 367 AD.

The contents of the codices were written in Coptic, though the works were probably all translations from Greek. The best-known of these works is probably the “Gospel of Thomas”, of which the “Nag Hammadi Codices” contain the only complete text. After the discovery it was recognized that fragments of these sayings of Jesus appeared in manuscripts discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1898, and matching quotations were recognized in other early Christian sources. Subsequently, a 1st or 2nd century date of composition circa 80 AD for the lost Greek originals of the Gospel of Thomas has been proposed, though this is disputed by many if not the majority of biblical matter researchers. The once buried manuscripts themselves date from the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The Nag Hammadi codices are housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. To read about their significance to modern scholarship into early Christianity, refer to works on Gnosticism.

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Discovery at Nag Hammadi

The story of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 has been described as ‘exciting as the contents of the find itself’ (Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction, 48). In December of that year, two Egyptian brothers found several papyri in a large earthernware vessel while digging for fertilizer around limestone caves near present-day Habra Dom in Upper Egypt. The find was not initially reported by either of the brothers, who sought to make money from the manuscripts by selling them individually at intervals. It is also reported that the brothers’ mother burned several of the manuscripts, worried, apparently, that the papers might have ‘dangerous effects’ (Markschies, Gnosis, 48). As a result, what came to be known as the Nag Hammadi library (owing to the proximity of the find to Nag Hammadi, the nearest major settlement) appeared only gradually, and its significance went unacknowledged until some time after its initial uncovering.

In 1946, the brothers became involved in a feud, and left the manuscripts with a Coptic priest, whose brother-in-law in October that year sold a codex to the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo (this tract is today numbered Codex III in the collection). The resident Coptologist and religious historian Jean Dorese, realizing the significance of the artifact, published the first reference to it in 1948. Over the years, most of the tracts were passed by the priest to a Cypriot antiques dealer in Cairo, thereafter being retained by the Department of Antiquities, for fear that they would be sold out of the country. After the revolution in 1956, these texts were handed to the Coptic Museum in Cairo, and declared national property.

Meanwhile, a single codex had been sold in Cairo to a Belgian antique dealer. After an attempt was made to sell the codex in both New York and Paris, it was acquired by the Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich in 1951, through the mediation of Gilles Quispel. There it was intended as a birthday present to the famous psychologist; for this reason, this codex is typically known as the “Jung Codex”, being Codex I in the collection.

Jung’s death in 1961 caused a quarrel over the ownership of the Jung Codex, with the result that the pages were not given to the Coptic Museum in Cairo until 1975, after a first edition of the text had been published. Thus the papyri were finally brought together in Cairo: of the 1945 find, eleven complete books and fragments of two others, ‘amounting to well over 1000 written pages’ (Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction, 49) are preserved there.

Translation

The first edition of a text found at Nag Hammadi was from the Jung Codex, a partial translation of which appeared in Cairo in 1956, and a single extensive facsimile edition was planned. Due to the difficult political circumstances in Egypt, individual tracts followed from the Cairo and Zurich collections only slowly.

This state of affairs changed only in 1966, with the holding of the Messina Congress in Italy. At this conference, intended to allow scholars to arrive at a group consensus concerning the definition of gnosticism, James M. Robinson, an expert on religion, assembled a group of editors and translators whose express task was to publish a bilingual edition of the Nag Hammadi codices in English, in collaboration with the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. Robinson had been elected secretary of the International Committee for the Nag Hammadi Codices, which had been formed in 1970 by UNESCO and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture; it was in this capacity that he oversaw the project. In the meantime, a facsimile edition in twelve volumes did appear between 1972 and 1977, with subsequent additions in 1979 and 1984 from publisher E.J. Brill in Leiden, called “The Facsimile Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices”, making the whole find available for all interested parties to study in some form.

At the same time, in the former German Democratic Republic a group of scholars – including Alexander Bohlig, Martin Krause and New Testament scholars Gesine

Schenke, Hans-Martin Schenke and Hans-Gebhard Bethge – were preparing the first German translation of the find. The last three scholars prepared a complete scholarly translation under the auspices of the Berlin Humboldt University, which was published in 2001.

The James M. Robinson translation was first published in 1977, with the name “The Nag Hammadi Library in English”, in collaboration between E.J. Brill and Harper & Row. The single-volume publication, according to Robinson, ‘marked the end of one stage of Nag Hammadi scholarship and the beginning of another’ (from the Preface to the third revised edition). Paperback editions followed in 1981 and 1984, from E.J. Brill and Harper respectively. A third, completely revised edition was published in 1988. This marks the final stage in the gradual dispersal of gnostic texts into the wider public arena – the full complement of codices was finally available in unadulterated form to people around the world, in a variety of languages.

A further English edition was published in 1987, by Yale scholar Bentley Layton, called “The Gnostic Scriptures: A New Translation with Annotations” (Garden City: Doubleday

& Co., 1987). The volume unified new translations from the Nag Hammadi Library with extracts from the heresiological writers, and other gnostic material. It remains, along with “The Nag Hammadi Library in English” one of the more accessible volumes translating the Nag Hammadi find, with extensive historical introductions to individual gnostic groups, notes on translation, annotations to the text and the organisation of tracts into clearly defined movements.

Complete list of Codices found in the Nag Hammadi

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Several of the major texts in the Nag Hammadi collection have more than one English translation; where more than one translation is available, we have listed the translators’ names in parenthesis below the name of the text. Texts marked with the {*} had more than one version extant within the Nag Hammadi Codices; often these several versions were used conjointly by the translators to provide the single translation presented here.

INDEX (while loaded into Word): press-&-hold-down the “Control Key”, then click-on the desired chapter. This will cause a jump-to the selected page.

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  • The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles 7

  • Allogenes 12

  • The Apocalypse of Adam 20

  • The (First) Apocalypse of James 26

  • The (Second) Apocalypse of James 31

  • The Apocalypse of Paul 37

  • The Apocalypse of Peter 39

  • The Apocryphon of James. 44

  • The Apocryphon of James. 50

  • The Apocryphon of James. 56

  • The Apocryphon of John (The Secret Book of John – The Secret Revelation of John) 62

  • The Apocryphon of John (The Secret Book of John – The Secret Revelation of John) 77

  • The Apocryphon of John (The Secret Book of John The Secret Revelation of Jon) 92

  • Short Version Berlin Codex (BG 8502,2) & Nag Hammadi Codex III,1 92

  • The Apocryphon of John (The Secret Book of John The Secret Revelation of John) … 109

  • Long Version Nag Hammadi Codex II,1 & Nag Hammadi Codex IV,1 109

  • Asclepius 21-29 163

  • Authoritative Teaching 169

  • The Book of Thomas the Contender 174

  • The Concept of Our Great Power 180

  • The Dialogue of the Savior 185

  • The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth 192

  • Eugnostos the Blessed 197

  • The Exegesis on the Soul 202

  • The Gospel of the Egyptians 208

  • The Gospel of Philip 217

  • The Gospel of Thomas 233

  • The Gospel of Thomas 246

  • The Gospel of Thomas 259

  • The Gospel of Thomas 271

  • The Gospel of Truth 286

  • The Gospel of Truth 295

  • The Gospel of Truth 304

  • The Hypostasis of the Archons (The Reality of the Rulers) 313

  • Hypsiphrone 319

  • The Interpretation of Knowledge 320

  • The Letter of Peter to Philip 326

  • Marsanes 329

  • Melchizedek 337

    On the Anointing 343

    On the Baptism A. 344

    On the Baptism B 345

    On the Eucharist (A) 346

    On the Eucharist (B) 347

  • On the Origin of the World (“The Untitled Text”) 348

  • The Paraphrase Of Shem 362

  • Plato, Republic 588A-589B 378

  • The Prayer of the Apostle Paul 380

  • The Prayer of Thanksgiving 381

  • The Second Treatise of the Great Seth 382

  • The Sentences of Sextus 389

  • The Sophia of Jesus Christ 396

  • The Teachings of Silvanus 403

  • The Testimony of Truth 415

  • The Thought of Norea 424

  • The Three Steles of Seth 425

  • The Thunder, Perfect Mind 429

  • The Treatise on the Resurrection 435

  • Trimorphic Protennoia 438

  • The Tripartite Tractate 446

  • A Valentinian Exposition 479

  • Zostrianos 483

THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

The Nag Hammadi Library

The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles

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Translated by Douglas M. Parrott and R. McL.Wilson

[…] which […] purpose [… after …] us […] apostles […]. We sailed […] of the body. Others were not anxious in their hearts. And in our hearts, we were united. We agreed to fulfill

the ministry to which the Lord appointed us. And we made a covenant with each other.

We went down to the sea at an opportune moment, which came to us from the Lord. We found a ship moored at the shore ready to embark, and we spoke with the sailors of the ship about our coming aboard with them. They showed great kindliness toward us as was ordained by the Lord. And after we had embarked, we sailed a day and a night. After that, a wind came up behind the ship and brought us to a small city in the midst of the sea.

And I, Peter, inquired about the name of this city from residents who were standing on the dock. A man among them answered, saying, “The name of this city is Habitation, that is, Foundation […] endurance.” And the leader among them holding the palm branch at the edge of the dock. And after we had gone ashore with the baggage, I went into the city, to seek advice about lodging.

A man came out wearing a cloth bound around his waist, and a gold belt girded it. Also a napkin was tied over his chest, extending over his shoulders and covering his head and his hands.

I was staring at the man, because he was beautiful in his form and stature. There were four parts of his body that I saw: the soles of his feet and a part of his chest and the palms of his hands and his visage. These things I was able to see. A book cover like (those of) my books was in his left hand. A staff of styrax wood was in his right hand. His voice was resounding as he slowly spoke, crying out in the city, “Pearlsl Pearlsl”

I, indeed, thought he was a man of that city. I said to him, “My brother and my friend!” He answered me, then, saying, “Rightly did you say, ‘My brother and my friend.’ What is it you seek from me?” I said to him, “I ask you about lodging for me and the brothers also, because we are strangers here.” He said to me, “For this reason have I myself just said, ‘My brother and my friend,’ because I also am a fellow stranger like you.”

And having said these things, he cried out, “Pearls! Pearls!” The rich men of that city heard his voice. They came out of their hidden storerooms. And some were looking out

from the storerooms of their houses. Others looked out from their upper windows. And they did not see (that they could gain) anything from him, because there was no pouch on his back nor bundle inside his cloth and napkin. And because of their disdain they did not even acknowledge him. He, for his part, did not reveal himself to them. They returned to their storerooms, saying, “This man is mocking us.”

And the poor of that city heard his voice, and they came to the man who sells this pearl. They said, “Please take the trouble to show us the pearl so that we may, then, see it with our (own) eyes. For we are the poor. And we do not have this […] price to pay for it. But show us that we might say to our friends that we saw a pearl with our (own) eyes.” He answered, saying to them, “If it is possible, come to my city, so that I may not only show it before your (very) eyes, but give it to you for nothing.”

And indeed they, the poor of that city, heard and said, “Since we are beggars, we surely know that a man does not give a pearl to a beggar, but (it is) bread and money that is usually received. Now then, the kindness which we want to receive from you (is) that you show us the pearl before our eyes. And we will say to our friends proudly that we saw a pearl with our (own) eyes” – because it is not found among the poor, especially such beggars (as these). He answered (and) said to them, “If it is possible, you yourselves come to my city, so that I may not only show you it, but give it to you for nothing.” The poor and the beggars rejoiced because of the man who gives for nothing.

The men asked Peter about the hardships. Peter answered and told those things that he had heard about the hardships of the way. Because they are interpreters of the hardships in their ministry.

He said to the man who sells this pearl, “I want to know your name and the hardships of the way to your city because we are strangers and servants of God. It is necessary for us to spread the word of God in every city harmoniously.” He answered and said, “If you seek my name, Lithargoel is my name, the interpretation of which is, the light, gazelle- like stone.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

“And also (concerning) the road to the city, which you asked me about, I will tell you about it. No man is able to go on that road, except one who has forsaken everything that he has and has fasted daily from stage to stage. For many are the robbers and wild beasts on that road. The one who carries bread with him on the road, the black dogs kill because of the bread. The one who carries a costly garment of the world with him, the robbers kill because of the garment. The one who carries water with him, the wolves kill because of the water, since they were thirsty for it. The one who is anxious about meat and green vegetables, the lions eat because of the meat. If he evades the lions, the bulls devour him because of the green vegetables.”

When he had said these things to me, I sighed within myself, saying, “Great hardships are on the road! If only Jesus would give us power to walk it!” He looked at me since my face was sad, and I sighed. He said to me, “Why do you sigh, if you, indeed, know this

name “Jesus” and believe him? He is a great power for giving strength. For I too believe in the Father who sent him.”

I replied, asking him, “What is the name of the place to which you go, your city?” He said to me, “This is the name of my city, ‘Nine Gates.’ Let us praise God as we are mindful that the tenth is the head.” After this I went away from him in peace.

As I was about to go and call my friends, I saw waves and large high walls surrounding the bounds of the city. I marveled at the great things I saw. I saw an old man sitting and I asked him if the name of the city was really Habitation. He […], “Habitation […].” He said to me, “You speak truly, for we inhabit here because we endure.”

I responded, saying, “Justly […] have men named it […], because (by) everyone who endures his trials, cities are inhabited, and a precious kingdom comes from them, because they endure in the midst of the apostasies and the difficulties of the storms. So that in this way, the city of everyone who endures the burden of his yoke of faith will be inhabited, and he will be included in the kingdom of heaven.”

I hurried and went and called my friends so that we might go to the city that he, Lithargoel, appointed for us. In a bond of faith we forsook everything as he had said (to do). We evaded the robbers, because they did not find their garments with us. We evaded the wolves, because they did not find the water with us for which they thirsted. We evaded the lions, because they did not find the desire for meat with us. We evaded the bulls […] they did not find green vegetables.

A great joy came upon us and a peaceful carefreeness like that of our Lord. We rested ourselves in front of the gate, and we talked with each other about that which is not a distraction of this world. Rather we continued in contemplation of the faith.

As we discussed the robbers on the road, whom we evaded, behold Lithargoel, having changed, came out to us. He had the appearance of a physician, since an unguent box was under his arm, and a young disciple was following him carrying a pouch full of medicine. We did not recognize him.

Peter responded and said to him, “We want you to do us a favor, because we are strangers, and take us to the house of Lithargoel before evening comes.” He said, “In uprightness of heart I will show it to you. But I am amazed at how you knew this good man. For he does not reveal himself to every man, because he himself is the son of a great king. Rest yourselves a little so that I may go and heal this man and come (back).” He hurried and came (back) quickly.

He said to Peter, “Peter!” And Peter was frightened, for how did he know that his name was Peter? Peter responded to the Savior, “How do you know me, for you called my name?” Lithargoel answered, “I want to ask you who gave the name Peter to you?” He said to him, “It was Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. He gave this name to me.” He answered and said, “It is I! Recognize me, Peter.” He loosened the garment, which

clothed him – the one into which he had changed himself because of us – revealing to us in truth that it was he.

We prostrated ourselves on the ground and worshipped him. We comprised eleven disciples. He stretched forth his hand and caused us to stand. We spoke with him humbly. Our heads were bowed down in unworthiness as we said, “What you wish we will do. But give us power to do what you wish at all times.”

He gave them the unguent box and the pouch that was in the hand of the young disciple. He commanded them like this, saying, “Go into the city from which you came, which is called Habitation. Continue in endurance as you teach all those who have believed in my name, because I have endured in hardships of the faith. I will give you your reward. To the poor of that city give what they need in order to live until I give them what is better, which I told you that I will give you for nothing.”

Peter answered and said to him, “Lord, you have taught us to forsake the world and everything in it. We have renounced them for your sake. What we are concerned about (now) is the food for a single day. Where will we be able to find the needs that you ask us to provide for the poor?”

The Lord answered and said, “O Peter, it was necessary that you understand the parable that I told you! Do you not understand that my name, which you teach, surpasses all riches, and the wisdom of God surpasses gold, and silver and precious stone(s)?”

He gave them the pouch of medicine and said, “Heal all the sick of the city who believe in my name.” Peter was afraid to reply to him for the second time. He signaled to the one who was beside him, who was John: “You talk this time.” John answered and said, “Lord, before you we are afraid to say many words. But it is you who asks us to practice this skill. We have not been taught to be physicians. How then will we know how to heal bodies as you have told us?”

He answered them, “Rightly have you spoken, John, for I know that the physicians of this world heal what belongs to the world. The physicians of souls, however, heal the heart. Heal the bodies first, therefore, so that through the real powers of healing for their bodies, without medicine of the world, they may believe in you, that you have power to heal the illnesses of the heart also.

“The rich men of the city, however, those who did not see fit even to acknowledge me, but who reveled in their wealth and pride – with such as these, therefore, do not dine in their houses nor be friends with them, lest their partiality influence you. For many in the churches have shown partiality to the rich, because they also are sinful, and they give occasion for others to sin. But judge them with uprightness, so that your ministry may be glorified, and that my name also, may be glorified in the churches.” The disciples answered and said, “Yes, truly this is what is fitting to do.”

They prostrated themselves on the ground and worshipped him. He caused them to stand and departed from them in peace. Amen.

The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles

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

Allogenes

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Translated by John D.Turner and Orval S. Wintermute

(5 lines missing)

… since they are perfect individuals and dwell all together, joined with the mind, the guardian which I provided, who taught you (sg.). And it is the power that exists within you that often extended itself as word from the Triple-Powered One, that One of all those who truly exist with the Immeasurable One, the eternal Light of the Knowledge that appeared, the male virginal Youth, the first of the Aeons from a unique triple-powered Aeon, the Triple-Powered-One who truly exists, for when he was stilled, was extended and when he was extended, he became complete and he received power from all of them. He knows himself and the perfect Invisible Spirit. And he came to be in an Aeon who knows that she knows That One. And she became Kalyptos, who acted in those whom she knows. He is a perfect, invisible, noetic Protophanes-Harmedon. And empowering the individuals, she is a Triple-Male. And being individually …

(5 lines missing)

… individual on the one hand, they are together on the other hand, since she is an existence of theirs, and she sees them all also truly. She contains the divine Autogenes.

When she knew her Existence and when she stood, she brought This One (masc.), since he saw them all existing individually as he is. And when they become as he is, they shall see the divine Triple-Male, the power that is higher than God. He is the Thought of all these who exist together. If he ponders them, he ponders the great male […] noetic Protophanes, the procession of these. When he sees it, he sees also those who truly exist and the procession of those who are together. And when he has seen these, he has seen the Kalyptos. And if he sees one of the hidden ones, he sees the Aeon of Barbelo. And as for the unbegotten offspring of That One, if one sees how he lives …

(4 lines missing)

… you have heard about the abundance of each one of them certainly.

But concerning the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered-One, hear! He exists as an Invisible One who is incomprehensible to them all. He contains them all within himself, for they all exist because of him. He is perfect, and he is greater than perfect, and he is blessed. He is always One and he exists in them all, being ineffable, unnameable, being One who exists through them all – he whom, should one discern him, one would not desire anything that exists before him among those that possess existence, for he is the source from which they were all emitted. He is prior to perfection. He was prior to every

divinity, and he is prior to every blessedness, since he provides for every power. And he

<is> a nonsubstantial substance, since he is a God over whom there is no divinity, the

transcending of whose greatness and beauty … (5 lines missing)

… power. It is not impossible for them to receive a revelation of these things, if they come together. Since it is impossible for the individuals to comprehend the Universal One

situated in the place that is higher than perfect, they apprehend by means of a First Thought – not as Being alone, but it is along with the latency of Existence that he confers

Being. He provides everything for himself, since it is he who shall come to be when he recognizes himself. And he is One who subsists as a cause and source of Being, and an

immaterial material and an innumerable number and a formless form and a shapeless shape and a powerlessness and a power and an insubstantial substance and a motionless

motion and an inactive activity. Yet he is a provider of provisions and a divinity of divinity – but whenever they apprehend, they participate the first Vitality and an

undivided activity, an hypostasis of the First One from the One who truly exists. And a second activity […] however, is the […]. He is endowed with blessedness and goodness,

because when he is recognized as the traverser of the boundlessness of the Invisible Spirit that subsists in him, it (the boundlessness) turns him to it (the invisible spirit) in order

that it might know what is within him and how he exists. And he was becoming salvation for every one by being a point of departure for those who truly exist, for through him his

knowledge endured, since he is the one who knows what he is. But they brought forth nothing beyond themselves, neither power nor rank nor glory nor aeon, for they are all

eternal. He is Vitality and Mentality and That-Which-Is. For then That-Which-Is constantly possesses its Vitality and Mentality, and Life has Vitality possesses non-Being

and Mentality. Mentality possesses Life and That-Which-Is. And the three are one, although individually they are three.

Now after I heard these things, my son Messos, I was afraid, and I turned toward the multitude […] thought […] gives power to those who are capable of knowing these things by a revelation that is much greater. And I was capable, although flesh was upon me. I heard from you about these things and about the doctrine that is in them, since the thought which is in me distinguished the things that are beyond measure as well as the unknowables. Therefore I fear that my doctrine may have become something beyond what is fitting.

And then, my son Messos, the all-glorious One, Youel, spoke to me again. She made a revelation to me and said: “No one is able to hear these things except the great powers alone, O Allogenes. A great power was put upon you, which the Father of the All, the Eternal, put upon you before you came to this place, in order that those things that are difficult to distinguish you might distinguish and those things that are unknown to the multitude you might know, and that you might escape (in safety) to the One who is yours, who was first to save and who does not need to be saved …

(5 lines missing)

… to you a form and a revelation of the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered One, outside of which dwells an undivided, incorporeal, eternal knowledge.

As with all the Aeons, the Aeon of Barbelo exists also endowed with the types and forms of those who truly exist, the image of Kalyptos. And endowed with the intellectual Word of these, he bears the noetic male Protophanes like an image, and he acts within the individuals, either with craft or with skill or with partial instinct. He is endowed with the divine Autogenes like an image, and he knows each one of these. He acts separately and individually, continuing to rectify the failures from nature. He is endowed with the divine Triple-Male as salvation for them all, in cooperation with the Invisible Spirit. He is a word from a counsel, <he> is the perfect Youth. And this hypostasis is a …

(6 lines missing)

… my soul went slack, and I fled and was very disturbed. And I turned to myself and saw the light that surrounded me and the Good that was in me, I became divine.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

And the all-glorious One, Youel, anointed me again and she gave power to me. She said, “Since your instruction has become complete, and you have known the Good that is within you, hear concerning the Triple-Powered One those things that you will guard in great silence and great mystery, because they are not spoken to anyone except those who are worthy, those who are able to hear: nor is it fitting to speak to an uninstructed generation concerning the Universal One that is higher than perfect. But you have

<these> because of the Triple-Powered One, the One who exists in blessedness and

goodness, the One who is responsible for all these.

“There exists within him much greatness. Inasmuch as he is one in a … (5 lines missing)

… of the First Thought, which does not fall away from those who dwell in comprehension and knowledge and understanding. And That One moved motionlessly in that which

governs, lest he sink into the boundless by means of another activity of Mentality. And he entered into himself and he appeared, being all-encompassing, the Universal One that is

higher than perfect.

“Indeed it is not through me that he is to such a degree anterior to knowledge. Whereas there is no possibility for complete comprehension, he is (nevertheless) known. And this is so because of the third silence of Mentality and the second undivided activity which appeared in the First Thought, that is, the Aeon of Barbelo, together with the Indivisible One of the divisible likenesses and the Triple-Powered-One and the non-substantial Existence.”

<Then> the power appeared by means of an activity that is at rest and silent, although it uttered a sound thus: zza zza zza. But when she (Youel) heard the power and she was filled …

(5 lines missing)

… “Thou art […], Solmis! […] according to the Vitality that is thine, and the first activity which derives from divinity. Thou art great, Armedon! Thou art perfect, Epiphaneus!

“And according to that activity of thine, the second power and the Mentality which derives from blessedness: Autoer, Beritheus, Erigenaor, Orimenios, Aramen, Alphleges, Elelioupheus, Lalameus, Yetheus, Noetheus, thou art great! He who knows thee knows the Universal One! Thou art One, thou art One, He who is good, Aphredon! Thou art the Aeon of the Aeons, He who is perpetually!”

Then she praised the Universal One, saying “Lalameus, Noetheus, Senaon, Asine[us,

…]riphanios, Mellephaneus, Elemaoni, Smoun, Optaon, He Who Is! Thou art He Who Is,

the Aeon of Aeons, the Unbegotten, who art higher than the unbegotten (ones), Yatomenos, thou alone for whom all the unborn ones were begotten, the Unnameable One! … (10 lines missing) … knowledge.”

Now after I heard these things, I saw the glories of the perfect individuals and the all- perfect ones who exist together, and the all-perfect ones who are before the perfect ones.

Again the greatly glorious One, Youel, said to me, “O Allogenes, in an unknowing knowledge you know that the Triple-Powered One exists before the glories. They do not exist among those who exist. They do not exist together with those who exist nor those who truly exist. Rather, all these exist as divinity and blessedness and existence, and as nonsubstantiality and non-being existence.”

And then I prayed that the revelation might occur to me. And then the all-glorious one, Youel, said to me, “O Allogenes, of course, the Triple-Male is something beyond substance. Yet were he insubstantial …

(9 lines missing)

… those who exist in association with the generation of those who truly exist. The self- begotten ones exist with the Triple-Male.

“If you seek with a perfect seeking, then you shall know the Good that is in you; then you will know yourself as well, (as) one who derives from the God who truly pre-exists. For after a hundred years there shall come to you a revelation of That One by means of Salamex and Semen and […] the Luminaries of the Aeon of Barbelo. And that beyond what is fitting for you, you shall not know at first, so as not to forfeit your kind. And if so, then when you receive a conception of That One, then you are filled with the word to completion. Then you become divine, and you become perfect. You receive them …

(4 lines missing)

… the seeking […] the Existence […] if it apprehends anything, it is apprehended by that

one and by the very one who is comprehended. And then he becomes greater who comprehends and knows than he who is comprehended and known. But if he descends to his nature, he is less, for the incorporeal natures have not associated with any magnitude; having this power, they are everywhere and they are nowhere, since they are greater than every magnitude, and less than every exiguity.”

Now after the all-glorious One, Youel, said these things, she separated from me and left me. But I did not despair of the words that I heard. I prepared myself therein and I deliberated with myself for a hundred years. And I rejoiced exceedingly, since I was in a

great light and a blessed path because those whom I was worthy to see as well as those whom I was worthy to hear (are) those whom it is fitting that the great powers alone … (5 lines missing) … of God.

When the completion of the one hundred years drew nigh, it brought me a blessedness of the eternal hope full of auspiciousness. I saw the good divine Autogenes; and the Savior, who is the youthful, perfect Triple-Male Child; and his goodness, the noetic perfect Protophanes-Harmedon; and the blessedness of the Kalyptos; and the primary origin of the blessedness, the Aeon of Barbelo, full of divinity; and the primary origin of the one without origin, the spiritual, invisible Triple-Powered One, the Universal One that is higher than perfect.

When <I> was taken by the eternal Light out of the garment that was upon me, and taken up to a holy place whose likeness cannot be revealed in the world, then by means of a great blessedness I saw all those about whom I had heard. And I praised all of them and I stood upon my knowledge and I inclined to the knowledge of the Universals, the Aeon of Barbelo.

And I saw holy powers by means of the Luminaries of the virginal male Barbelo telling me that I would be able to test what happens in the world: “O Allogenes, behold your blessedness, how it silently abides, by which you know your proper self and, seeking yourself, withdraw to the Vitality that you will see moving. And although it is impossible for you to stand, fear nothing; but if you wish to stand, withdraw to the Existence, and you will find it standing and at rest after the likeness of the One who is truly at rest and (who) embraces all these silently and inactively. And when you receive a revelation of him by means of a primary revelation of the Unknown One – the One whom if you should know him, be ignorant of him – and you become afraid in that place, withdraw to the rear because of the activities. And when you become perfect in that place, still yourself. And in accordance with the pattern that indwells you, know likewise that it is this way in all such (matters) after this pattern. And do not further dissipate, so that you may be able to stand, and do not desire to be active, lest you fall in any way from the inactivity in you of the Unknown One. Do not know him, for it is impossible; but if by means of an enlightened thought you should know him, be ignorant of him.”

Now I was listening to these things as those ones spoke them. There was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the Blessedness whereby I knew <my> proper self.

And I withdrew to the Vitality as I sought <myself>, and I joined into it, and I stood, not firmly but silently. And I saw an eternal, intellectual, undivided motion that pertains to all the formless powers, (which is) unlimited by limitation.

And when I wanted to stand firmly, I withdrew to the Existence, which I found standing and at rest, like an image and likeness of what is conferred upon me by a revelation of the Indivisible One and the One who is at rest. I was filled with revelation by means of a primary revelation of the Unknowable One. As though I were ignorant of him, I knew him, and I received power by him. Having been permanently strengthened, I knew the

One who exists in me, and the Triple-Powered One, and the revelation of his uncontainableness. And by means of a primary revelation of the First One unknowable to them all, the God who is beyond perfection, I saw him and the Triple-Powered One that exists in them all. I was seeking the ineffable and Unknowable God – whom if one should know him, he would be absolutely ignorant of him – the Mediator of the Triple-Powered One who subsists in stillness and silence and is unknowable.

And when I was confirmed in these matters, the powers of the Luminaries said to me, “Cease hindering the inactivity that exists in you, by seeking incomprehensible matters; rather, hear about him in so far as it is possible by means of a primary revelation and a revelation.”

“Now he is something insofar as he exists in that he either exists and will become, or acts or knows, although he lives without Mind or Life or Existence or Non-Existence, incomprehensibly. And he is something along with his proper being. He is not left over in some way, as if he yields something that is assayed or purified or that receives or gives. And he is not diminished in any way, whether by his own desire, or whether he gives or receives through another. Neither does he have any desire of himself nor from another; it does not affect him. Rather, neither does he give anything by himself, lest he become diminished in another respect; nor for this reason does he need Mind, or Life, is indeed anything at all. He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability, that is, the non-being existence, since he is endowed with silence and stillness lest he be diminished by those who are not diminished.

“He is neither divinity nor blessedness nor perfection. Rather, it (this triad) is an unknowable entity of him, not that which is proper to him; rather, he is another one superior to the blessedness and the divinity and perfection. For he is not perfect, but he is another thing that is superior. He is neither boundless, nor is he bounded by another. Rather, he is something superior. He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not great. He is not small. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists, that one can know. But he is something else of himself that is superior, which one cannot know.

“He is primary revelation and knowledge of himself, as it is he alone who knows himself. Since he is not one of those that exist, but is another thing, he is superior to superlatives, even in comparison to what is his and not his. He neither participates in age nor does he participate in time. He does not receive anything from anything else. He is not diminishable, neither does he diminish anything, nor is he undiminishable. But he is self- comprehending, as something so unknowable that he exceeds those who excel in unknowability.

“He is endowed with blessedness and perfection and silence – not <the blessedness> nor the perfection – and stillness. Rather it (these attributes) is an entity of him that exists, which one cannot know, and which is at rest. Rather they are entities of him unknowable to them all.

“And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the unknowable knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him. Whether <one sees> in what way he is unknowable, or sees him as he is in every respect, or would say that he is something like knowledge, he has sinned against him, being liable to judgment because he did not know God. He will not be judged by That One who is neither concerned for anything nor has any desire, but it (judgment)

<is> from himself, because he did not find the origin that truly exists. He was blind, apart

from the eye of revelation that is at rest, the (one) that is activated, the (one) from the Triple-Power of the First Thought of the Invisible Spirit. This one thus exists from … (15 lines missing)

… something […] set firmly on the […], a beauty and a first emergence of stillness and

silence and tranquility and unfathomable greatness. When he appeared, he did not need time nor <did he partake> of eternity. Rather of himself he is unfathomably unfathomable. He does not activate himself so as to become still. He is not an existence, lest he be in want. Spatially, he is corporeal, while properly he is incorporeal. He has

non-being existence. He exists for all of them unto himself without any desire. But he is a greater summit of greatness. And he is higher than his stillness, in order that …

(15 lines missing)

… he saw them, and empowered them all, although they do not concern themselves with

That One at all, nor, if one should receive from him, does he receive power. Nothing activates him in accordance with the Unity that is at rest. For he is unknowable; he is an airless place of boundlessness. Since he is boundless and powerless and nonexistent, he was not giving Being. Rather he contains all of these in himself, being at rest (and) standing out of the one who stands continually, since there had appeared an Eternal Life, the Invisible and Triple-Powered Spirit which is in all of these who exist. And it surrounds them all, being higher than them all. A shadow …

(15 lines missing)

… he was filled with power. And he stood before them, empowering them all, and he filled them all.”

And concerning all of these things you have heard certainly. And do not seek anything more, but go. We do not know whether the Unknowable One has angels or gods, or whether the One who is at rest was containing anything within himself except the stillness, which is he, lest he be diminished. It is not fitting to spend more time seeking. It was appropriate that you (pl.) know, and that they speak with another one. But you will receive them …

(5 lines missing)

… and he said to me, “Write down the things that I shall tell you, and of which I shall remind you, for the sake of those who will be worthy after you. And you will leave this book upon a mountain and you will adjure the guardian: “Come Dreadful One”.

And after he said these (things), he separated from me. But I was full of joy, and I wrote this book which was appointed for me, my son Messos, in order that I might disclose to you the (things) that were proclaimed before me in my presence. And at first I received them in great silence, and I stood by myself, preparing myself. These are the things that

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

were disclosed to me, O my son Messos … (13 lines missing)

… proclaim them, O my son Messos, as the seal for all the books of Allogenes.

Allogenes

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

The Apocalypse of Adam

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Translated by George W. MacRae

The revelation which Adam taught his son Seth in the seven hundreth year, saying: Listen to my words, my son Seth. When God had created me out of the earth, along with

Eve, your mother, I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from

which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with him, whom we did not know.

Then God, the ruler of the aeons and the powers, divided us in wrath. Then we became two aeons. And the glory in our heart(s) left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge that breathed within us. And it (glory) fled from us; it entered into […] great […] which had come forth, not from this aeon from which we had come forth, I and Eve your mother. But it (knowledge) entered into the seed of great aeons. For this reason I myself have called you by the name of that man who is the seed of the great generation or from whom (it comes). After those days, the eternal knowledge of the God of truth withdrew from me and your mother Eve. Since that time, we learned about dead things, like men. Then we recognized the God who had created us. For we were not strangers to his powers. And we served him in fear and slavery. And after these things, we became darkened in our heart(s). Now I slept in the thought of my heart.

And I saw three men before me whose likeness I was unable to recognize, since they were not the powers of the God who had created us. They surpassed […] glory, and […] men […] saying to me, “Arise, Adam, from the sleep of death, and hear about the aeon and the seed of that man to whom life has come, who came from you and from Eve, your wife.”

When I had heard these words from the great men who were standing before me, then we sighed, I and Eve, in our heart(s). And the Lord, the God who had created us, stood before us. He said to us, “Adam, why were you (both) sighing in your hearts? Do you not know that I am the God who created you? And I breathed into you a spirit of life as a living soul.” Then darkness came upon our eyes.

Then the God who created us, created a son from himself and Eve, your mother. I knew sweet desire for your mother, for […] in the thought of my […] I knew a sweet desire for

your mother. Then the vigor of our eternal knowledge was destroyed in us, and weakness pursued us. Therefore the days of our life became few. For I knew that I had come under the authority of death.

Now then, my son Seth, I will reveal to you the things which those men whom I saw before me at first revealed to me: after I have completed the times of this generation and the years of the generation have been accomplished, then […] slave […]. (p.68 blank)

For rain-showers of God the almighty will be poured forth, so that he might destroy all flesh [of God the almighty, so that he might destroy all flesh] from the earth on account of the things that it seeks after, along with those from the seed of the men to whom passed the life of the knowledge which came from me and Eve, your mother. For they were strangers to him. Afterwards, great angels will come on high clouds, who will bring those men into the place where the spirit of life dwells […] glory […] there, […] come from heaven to earth. Then the whole multitude of flesh will be left behind in the waters.

Then God will rest from his wrath. And he will cast his power upon the waters, and he will give power to his sons and their wives by means of the ark along with the animals, whichever he pleased, and the birds of heaven, which he called and released upon the earth. And God will say to Noah – whom the generations will call ‘Deucalion’ – “Behold, I have protected <you> in the ark, along with your wife and your sons and their wives and their animals and the birds of heaven, which you called and released upon the earth. Therefore I will give the earth to you – you and your sons. In kingly fashion you will rule over it – you and your sons. And no seed will come from you of the men who will not stand in my presence in another glory.”

Then they will become as the cloud of the great light. Those men will come who have been cast forth from the knowledge of the great aeons and the angels. They will stand before Noah and the aeons. And God will say to Noah, “Why have you departed from what I told you? You have created another generation so that you might scorn my power.” Then Noah will say, “I shall testify before your might that the generation of these men did not come from me nor from my sons. […] knowledge.

And he will […] those men and bring them into their proper land, and build them a holy dwelling place. And they will be called by that name and dwell there six hundred years in a knowledge of imperishability. And the angels of the great Light will dwell with them. No foul deed will dwell in their heart(s), but only the knowledge of God.

Then Noah will divide the whole earth among his sons, Ham and Japheth and Shem. He will say to them, “My sons, listen to my words. Behold, I have divided the earth among you. But serve him in fear and slavery all the days of your life. Let not your seed depart from the face of God the Almighty. […] I and your […] son of Noah, “My seed will be pleasing before you and before your power. Seal it by your strong hand, with fear and commandment, so that the whole seed which came forth from me may not be inclined away from you and God the Almighty, but it will serve in humility and fear of its knowledge.”

Then others from the seed of Ham and Japheth will come, four hundred thousand men, and enter into another land and sojourn with those men who came forth from the great eternal knowledge. For the shadow of their power will protect those who have sojourned with them from every evil thing and every unclean desire. Then the seed of Ham and Japheth will form twelve kingdoms, and their seed also will enter into the kingdom of another people.

Then […] will take counsel […] who are dead, of the great aeons of imperishability. And they will go to Sakla, their God. They will go in to the powers, accusing the great men who are in their glory.

They will say to Sakla, “What is the power of these men who stood in your presence, who were taken from the seed of Ham and Japheth, who will number four hundred

<thousand> men? They have been received into another aeonfrom which they had come

forth, and they have overturned all the glory of your power and the dominion of your hand. For the seed of Noah through his sons has done all your will, and (so have) all the powers in the aeons over which your might rules, while both those men and the ones who are sojourners in their glory have not done your will. But they have turned (aside) your whole throng.”

Then the god of the aeons will give them (some) of those who serve him […]. They will come upon that land where the great men will be who have not been defiled, nor will be defiled, by any desire. For their soul did not come from a defiled hand, but it came from a great commandment of an eternal angel. Then fire and sulphur and asphalt will be cast upon those men, and fire and (blinding) mist will come over those aeons, and the eyes of the powers of the illuminators will be darkened, and the aeons will not see them in those days. And great clouds of light will descend, and other clouds of light will come down upon them from the great aeons.

Abrasax and Sablo and Gamaliel will descend and bring those men out of the fire and the wrath, and take them above the aeons and the rulers of the powers, and take them away […] of life […] and take them away […] aeons […] dwelling place of the great […] there, with the holy angels and the aeons. The men will be like those angels, for they are not strangers to them. But they work in the imperishable seed.

Once again, for the third time, the illuminator of knowledge will pass by in great glory, in order to leave (something) of the seed of Noah and the sons of Ham and Japheth – to leave for himself fruit-bearing trees. And he will redeem their souls from the day of death. For the whole creation that came from the dead earth will be under the authority of death. But those who reflect upon the knowledge of the eternal God in their heart(s) will not perish. For they have not received spirit from this kingdom alone, but they have received (it) from a […] eternal angel. […] illuminator […] will come upon […] that is dead […] of Seth. And he will perform signs and wonders in order to scorn the powers and their ruler.

Then the god of the powers will be disturbed, saying, “What is the power of this man who is higher than we?” Then he will arouse a great wrath against that man. And the glory will withdraw and dwell in holy houses which it has chosen for itself. And the powers will not see it with their eyes, nor will they see the illuminator either. Then they will punish the flesh of the man upon whom the holy spirit came.

Then the angels and all the generations of the powers will use the name in error, asking, “Where did it (the error) come from?” or “Where did the words of deception, which all the powers have failed to discover, come from?”

Now the first kingdom says of him that he came from […]. A spirit […] to heaven. He was nourished in the heavens. He received the glory of that one and the power. He came to

the bosom of his mother. And thus he came to the water.

And the second kingdom says about him that he came from a great prophet. And a bird came, took the child who was born, and brought him onto a high mountain. And he was nourished by the bird of heaven. An angel came forth there. He said to him “Arise! God has given glory to you.” He received glory and strength. And thus he came to the water.

The third kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin womb. He was cast out of his city, he and his mother. He was brought to a desert place. He was nourished there. He came and received glory and strength. And thus he came to the water.

The fourth kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin. […] Solomon sought her, he and Phersalo and Sauel and his armies, which had been sent out. Solomon himself sent his army of demons to seek out the virgin. And they did not find the one whom they sought, but the virgin who was given them. It was she whom they fetched. Solomon took her. The virgin became pregnant and gave birth to the child there. She nourished him on a border of the desert. When he had been nourished, he received glory and power from the seed from which he was begotten. And thus he came to the water.

And the fifth kingdom says of him that he came from a drop from heaven. He was thrown into the sea. The abyss received him, gave birth to him, and brought him to heaven. He received glory and power. And thus he came to the water.

And the sixth kingdom says that […] down to the aeonwhich is below, in order to gather flowers. She became pregnant from the desire of the flowers. She gave birth to him in that place. The angels of the flower garden nourished him. He received glory there, and power. And thus he came to the water.

And the seventh kingdom says of him that he is a drop. It came from heaven to earth. Dragons brought him down to caves. He became a child. A spirit came upon him and brought him on high to the place where the drop had come forth. He received glory and power there. And thus he came to the water.

And the eighth kingdom says of him that a cloud came upon the earth and enveloped a rock. He came from it. The angels who were above the cloud nourished him. He received glory and power there. And thus he came to the water.

And the ninth kingdom says of him that from the nine Muses one separated away. She came to a high mountain and spent (some) time seated there, so that she desired herself alone in order to become androgynous. She fulfilled her desire and became pregnant from her desire. He was born. The angels who were over the desire nourished him. And he received glory there, and power. And thus he came to the water.

The tenth kingdom says of him that his god loved a cloud of desire. He begot him in his hand and cast upon the cloud above him (some) of the drop, and he was born. He received glory and power there. And thus he came to the water.

And the eleventh kingdom says that the father desired his own daughter. She herself became pregnant from her father. She cast […] tomb out in the desert. The angel nourished him there. And thus he came to the water.

The twelfth kingdom says of him that he came from two illuminators. He was nourished there. He received glory and power. And thus he came to the water.

And the thirteenth kingdom says of him that every birth of their ruler is a word. And this word received a mandate there. He received glory and power. And thus he came to the water, in order that the desire of those powers might be satisfied.

But the generation without a king over it says that God chose him from all the aeons. He caused a knowledge of the undefiled one of truth to come to be in him. He said, “Out of a foreign air, from a great aeon, the great illuminator came forth. And he made the generation of those men whom he had chosen for himself shine, so that they could shine upon the whole aeon”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Then the seed, those who will receive his name upon the water and (that) of them all, will fight against the power. And a cloud of darkness will come upon them.

Then the peoples will cry out with a great voice, saying, “Blessed is the soul of those men because they have known God with a knowledge of the truth! They shall live forever, because they have not been corrupted by their desire, along with the angels, nor have they accomplished the works of the powers, but they have stood in his presence in a knowledge of God like light that has come forth from fire and blood.

“But we have done every deed of the powers senselessly. We have boasted in the transgression of all our works. We have cried against the God of truth because all his works […] is eternal. These are against our spirits. For now we have known that our souls will die the death.”

Then a voice came to them, saying “Micheu and Michar and Mnesinous, who are over the holy baptism and the living water, why were you crying out against the living God with lawless voices and tongues without law over them, and souls full of blood and foul deeds? You are full of works that are not of the truth, but your ways are full of joy and rejoicing. Having defiled the water of life, you have drawn it within the will of the powers to whom you have been given to serve them.

“And your thought is not like that of those men whom you persecute […] desire […]. Their fruit does not wither. But they will be known up to the great aeons, because the words they have kept, of the God of the aeons, were not committed to the book, nor were they written. But angelic (beings) will bring them, whom all the generations of men will not know. For they will be on a high mountain, upon a rock of truth. Therefore they will be named “The Words of Imperishability and Truth,” for those who know the eternal God in wisdom of knowledge and teaching of angels forever, for he knows all things.”

These are the revelations which Adam made known to Seth, his son, And his son taught his seed about them. This is the hidden knowledge of Adam, which he gave to Seth, which is the holy baptism of those who know the eternal knowledge through those born of the word and the imperishable illuminators, who came from the holy seed: Yesseus, Mazareus, Yessedekeus, the Living Water.

The Apocalypse of Adam

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

The (First) Apocalypse of James

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Translated by William R. Schoedel

It is the Lord who spoke with me: “See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James, my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you; so that when I give you a sign – know and hear.”

“Nothing existed except Him-who-is. He is unnameable and ineffable. I myself am also unnameable, from Him-who-is, just as I have been given a number of names – two from Him-who-is. And I, I am before you. Since you have asked concerning femaleness, femaleness existed, but femaleness was not first. And it prepared for itself powers and gods. But it did not exist when I came forth, since I am an image of Him-who-is. But I have brought forth the image of him so that the sons of Him-who-is might know what things are theirs and what things are alien (to them). Behold, I shall reveal to you everything of this mystery. For they will seize me the day after tomorrow. But my redemption will be near.”

James said, “Rabbi, you have said, ‘they will seize me.’ But I, what can I do?” He said to me, “Fear not, James. You too will they seize. But leave Jerusalem. For it is she who always gives the cup of bitterness to the sons of light. She is a dwelling place of a great number of archons. But your redemption will be preserved from them. So that you may understand who they are and what kinds they are, you will […]. And listen. They are not […] but archons […]. These twelve […] down […] archons […] upon his own hebdomad.”

James said, “Rabbi, are there then twelve hebdomads and not seven as there are in the scriptures?” The Lord said, “James, he who spoke concerning this scripture had a limited understanding. I, however, shall reveal to you what has come forth from him who has no number. I shall give a sign concerning their number. As for what has come forth from him who has no measure, I shall give a sign concerning their measure”

James said, “Rabbi, behold then, I have received their number. There are seventy-two measures!” The Lord said, “These are the seventy-two heavens, which are their subordinates. These are the powers of all their might; and they were established by them; and these are they who were distributed everywhere, existing under the authority of the twelve archons. The inferior power among them brought forth for itself angels and unnumbered hosts. Him-who-is, however, has been given […] on account of […] Him-

who-is […] they are unnumbered. If you want to give them a number now, you will not be able to do so until you cast away from your blind thought, this bond of flesh which encircles you. And then you will reach Him-who-is. And you will no longer be James; rather you are the One-who-is. And all those who are unnumbered will all have been named.”

<James said,>, “Rabbi, in what way shall I reach Him-who-is, since all these powers and these hosts are armed against me?” He said to me, “These powers are not armed against you specifically, but are armed against another. It is against me that they are armed. And they are armed with other powers. But they are armed against me in judgment. They did not give […] to me in it […] through them […]. In this place […] suffering, I shall […]. He will […] and I shall not rebuke them. But there shall be within me a silence and a hidden mystery. But I am fainthearted before their anger.”

James said, “Rabbi, if they arm themselves against you, then is there no blame?” You have come with knowledge,

that you might rebuke their forgetfulness. You have come with recollection,

that you might rebuke their ignorance.

But I was concerned because of you.

For you descended into a great ignorance,

but you have not been defiled by anything in it.

For you descended into a great mindlessness, and your recollection remained.

You walked in mud,

and your garments were not soiled,

and you have not been buried in their filth, and you have not been caught.

And I was not like them, but I clothed myself with everything of theirs.

There is in me forgetfulness,

yet I remember things that are not theirs.

There is in me [….],

and I am in their […].

[…] knowledge […] not in their sufferings […]. But I have become afraid before them, since they rule. For what will they do? What will I be able to say? Or what word will I be able to say that I may escape them?”

The Lord said, “James, I praise your understanding and your fear. If you continue to be distressed, do not be concerned for anything else except your redemption. For behold, I

shall complete this destiny upon this earth as I have said from the heavens. And I shall reveal to you your redemption.”

James said, “Rabbi, how, after these things, will you appear to us again? After they seize you, and you complete this destiny, you will go up to Him-who-is.” The Lord said, “James, after these things I shall reveal to you everything, not for your sake alone but for the sake of the unbelief of men, so that faith may exist in them. For a multitude will attain to faith and they will increase in […]. And after this I shall appear for a reproof to the archons. And I shall reveal to them that he cannot be seized. If they seize him, then he will overpower each of them. But now I shall go. Remember the things I have spoken and let them go up before you.” James said,”Lord, I shall hasten as you have said.” The Lord said farewell to him and fulfilled what was fitting.

When James heard of his suffering and was much distressed, they awaited the sign of his coming. And he came after several days. And James was walking upon the mountain which is called “Gaugelan”, with his disciples, who listened to him because they had been distressed, and he was […] a comforter, saying, “This is […] second […]” Then the crowd dispersed, but James remained […] prayer […], as was his custom.

And the Lord appeared to him. Then he stopped (his) prayer and embraced him. He kissed him, saying, “Rabbi, I have found you! I have heard of your sufferings, which you endured. And I have been much distressed. My compassion you know. Therefore, on reflection, I was wishing that I would not see this people. They must be judged for these things that they have done. For these things that they have done are contrary to what is fitting.”

The Lord said, “James, do not be concerned for me or for this people. I am he who was within me. Never have I suffered in any way, nor have I been distressed. And this people has done me no harm. But this (people) existed as a type of the archons, and it deserved to be destroyed through them. But […] the archons, […] who has […] but since it […] angry with […] The just […] is his servant. Therefore your name is “James the Just”. You see how you will become sober when you see me. And you stopped this prayer. Now since you are a just man of God, you have embraced me and kissed me. Truly I say to you that you have stirred up great anger and wrath against yourself. But (this has happened) so that these others might come to be.”

But James was timid (and) wept. And he was very distressed. And they both sat down upon a rock. The Lord said to him, “James, thus you will undergo these sufferings. But do not be sad. For the flesh is weak. It will receive what has been ordained for it. But as for you, do not be timid or afraid”. The Lord ceased.

Now when James heard these things, he wiped away the tears in his eyes and very bitter […] which is […]. The Lord said to him, “James, behold, I shall reveal to you your redemption. When you are seized, and you undergo these sufferings, a multitude will arm themselves against you that <they> may seize you. And in particular three of them will seize you – they who sit (there) as toll collectors. Not only do they demand toll, but they

also take away souls by theft. When you come into their power, one of them who is their guard will say to you, ‘Who are you or where are you from?’ You are to say to him, ‘I am a son, and I am from the Father.’ He will say to you, ‘What sort of son are you, and to what father do you belong?’ You are to say to him, ‘I am from the Pre-existent Father, and a son in the Pre-existent One.’ When he says to you, […], you are to say to him […] in the […] that I might […].”

‘[…] of alien things?’ You are to say to him, ‘They are not entirely alien, but they are from Achamoth, who is the female. And these she produced as she brought down the race from the Pre-existent One. So then they are not alien, but they are ours. They are indeed ours because she who is mistress of them is from the Pre-existent One. At the same time they are alien because the Pre-existent One did not have intercourse with her, when she produced them.’ When he also says to you, ‘Where will you go?’, you are to say to him, ‘To the place from which I have come, there shall I return.’ And if you say these things, you will escape their attacks.

“But when you come to these three detainers who take away souls by theft in that place […] these. You […] a vessel […] much more than […] of the one whom you […] for […] her root. You too will be sober […]. But I shall call upon the imperishable knowledge, which is Sophia who is in the Father (and) who is the mother of Achamoth. Achamoth had no father nor male consort, but she is female from a female. She produced you without a male, since she was alone (and) in ignorance as to what lives through her

mother because she thought that she alone existed. But I shall cry out to her mother. And then they will fall into confusion (and) will blame their root and the race of their mother. But you will go up to what is yours […] you will […] the Pre-existent One.”

“They are a type of the twelve disciples and the twelve pairs, […] Achamoth, which is translated ‘Sophia’. And who I myself am, (and) who the imperishable Sophia (is) through whom you will be redeemed, and (who are) all the sons of Him-who-is – these things they have known and have hidden within them. You are to hide <these things> within you, and you are to keep silence. But you are to reveal them to Addai. When you depart, immediately war will be made with this land. Weep, then, for him who dwells in Jerusalem. But let Addai take these things to heart. In the tenth year let Addai sit and write them down. And when he writes them down […] and they are to give them […] he has the […] he is called Levi. Then he is to bring […] word […] from what I said earlier […] a woman […] Jerusalem in her […] and he begets two sons through her. They are to inherit these things and the understanding of him who […] exalts. And they are to receive […] through him from his intellect. Now, the younger of them is greater. And may these things remain hidden in him until he comes to the age of seventeen years […] beginning […] through them. They will pursue him exceedingly, since they are from his […] companions. He will be proclaimed through them, and they will proclaim this word. Then he will become a seed of […].”

James said, “I am satisfied […] and they are […] my soul. Yet another thing I ask of you: who are the seven women who have been your disciples? And behold all women bless you. I also am amazed how powerless vessels have become strong by a perception which

is in them.” The Lord said, “You […] well […] a spirit of […], a spirit of thought, a spirit of counsel of a […], a spirit […] a spirit of knowledge […] of their fear. […] when we had passed through the breath of this archon who is named Adonaios […] him and […] he was ignorant […] when I came forth from him, he remembered that I am a son of his. He was gracious to me at that time as his son. And then, before <I> appeared here, <he> cast them among this people. And from the place of heaven the prophets […].”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

James said, “Rabbi, […] I […] all together […] in them especially […].” The Lord said, “James, I praise you […] walk upon the earth […] the words while he […] on the […]. For cast away from you the cup which is bitterness. For some from […] set themselves against you. For you have begun to understand their roots from beginning to end. Cast away from yourself all lawlessness. And beware lest they envy you. When you speak these words of this perception, encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe […] since he takes some […] to me he is […] burnt offerings and […]. But I […] not in this way; but […] first-fruits of the […] upward […] so that the power of God might appear. The perishable has gone up to the imperishable and the female element has attained to this male element.”

James said, “Rabbi, into these three (things), then, has their […] been cast. For they have been reviled, and they have been persecuted […]. Behold […] everything […] from anyone […]. For you have received […] of knowledge. And […] that what is the […] go […] you will find […]. But I shall go forth and shall reveal that they believed in you, that they may be content with their blessing and salvation, and this revelation may come to pass.”

And he went at that time immediately and rebuked the twelve and cast out of them contentment concerning the way of knowledge […].

[…]. And the majority of them […] when they saw, the messenger took in […]. The others […] said, “[…] him from this earth. For he is not worthy of life.” These, then, were afraid. They arose, saying, “We have no part in this blood, for a just man will perish through injustice” James departed so that […] look […] for we […] him.

The Apocalypse of James

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

The (Second) Apocalypse of James

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Translated by Charles W. Hedrick

This is the discourse that James the Just spoke in Jerusalem, which Mareim, one of the priests, wrote. He had told it to Theuda, the father of the Just One, since he was a relative of his. He said, “Hasten! Come with Mary, your wife, and your relatives […] therefore […] of this […] to him, he will understand. For behold, a multitude are disturbed over his […], and they are greatly angry at him. […] and they pray […]. For he would often say these words and others also.”

“He used to speak these words while the multitude of people were seated. But (on this occasion) he entered and did <not> sit down in the place, as was his custom. Rather he sat above the fifth flight of steps, which is (highly) esteemed, while all our people […] the words […].”

“[…]. I am he who received revelation from the Pleroma of Imperishability. (I am) he who was first summoned by him who is great, and who obeyed the Lord – he who passed through the worlds […], he who […], he who stripped himself and went about naked, he who was found in a perishable (state), though he was about to be brought up into imperishability. – This Lord who is present came as a son who sees, and as a brother was he sought. He will come to […] produced him because […] and he unites […] make him free […] in […] he who came to […].”

“Now again am I rich in knowledge and I have a unique understanding, which was produced only from above and the […] comes from a […]. I am the […] whom I knew. That which was revealed to me was hidden from everyone and shall (only) be revealed through him. These two who see I <…> (and) they have already proclaimed through these words: “He shall be judged with the unrighteous”. He who lived without blasphemy died by means of blasphemy. He who was cast out, they […].”

“[…] the flesh and it is by knowledge that I shall come forth from the flesh. I am surely dying, but it is in life that I shall be found. I entered in order that they might judge […] I shall come forth in […] judge […] I do not bring blame against the servants of his […]. I hasten to make them free and want to take them above him who wants to rule over them. If they are helped, I am the brother in secret, who prayed to the Father until he […] in […] reign […] imperishability […] first in […].”

I am the first son who was begotten. –

He will destroy the dominion of them all. –

I am the beloved.

I am the righteous one.

I am the son of the Father.

I speak even as I heard.

I command even as I received the order.

I show you even as I have found.

Behold, I speak in order that I may come forth. Pay attention to me in order that you may see me!

“If I have come into existence, who then am I? For I did <not> come as I am, nor would I have appeared as I am. For I used to exist for a brief period of time […].”

“Once when I was sitting deliberating, he opened the door. That one whom you hated and persecuted came in to me. He said to me, “Hail, my brother; my brother, hail.” As I raised my face to stare at him, (my) mother said to me, “Do not be frightened, my son, because he said ‘My brother’ to you (sg.). For you (pl.) were nourished with this same milk. Because of this he calls me “My mother”. For he is not a stranger to us. He is your step- brother […].”

“[…] these words […] great […] I shall find them, and they shall come forth. However, I am the stranger, and they have no knowledge of me in their thoughts, for they know me in this place. But it was fitting that others know through you.

“<You are> the one to whom I say: Hear and understand – for a multitude, when they hear, will be slow witted. But you, understand as I shall be able to tell you. Your father is not my father. But my father has become a father to you.

“This virgin about whom you hear – this is how […] virgin […] namely, the virgin. […], how […] to me for […] to know […] not as […] whom I […]. For this one (masc.) […] to him, and this also is profitable for you. Your father, whom you consider to be rich, shall grant that you inherit all these things that you see.

“I proclaim to you to tell you these (words) that I shall speak. When you hear, therefore, open your ears and understand and walk (accordingly)! It is because of you that they pass by, activated by that one who is glorious. And if they want to make a disturbance and (seize) possession […] he began […] not, nor those who are coming, who were sent forth by him to make this present creation. After these things, when he is ashamed, he shall be disturbed that his labor, which is far from the aeons, is nothing. And his inheritance, which he boasted to be great, shall appear small. And his gifts are not blessings. His promises are evil schemes. For you are not an (instrument) of his compassion, but it is through you that he does violence. He wants to do injustice to us, and will exercise dominion for a time allotted to him.

“But understand and know the Father who has compassion. He was not given an inheritance that was unlimited, nor does it have a (limited) number of days, but it is as the eternal day […] it is […] perceive […]. And he used […]. For in fact he is not one (come) from them, (and) because of this, he is despised. Because of this he boasts, so that he may not be reproved. For because of this he is superior to those who are below, those by whom you were looked down upon. After he imprisoned those from the Father, he seized them and fashioned them to resemble himself. And it is with him that they exist.

“I saw from the height those things that happened, and I have explained how they happened. They were visited while they were in another form, and, while I was watching, they came to know <me> as I am, through those whom I know.

“Now before those things have happened they will make a […]. I know how they attempted to come down to this place that he might approach […] the small children, but I wish to reveal through you and the spirit of power, in order that he might reveal to those who are yours. And those who wish to enter, and who seek to walk in the way that is before the door, open the good door through you. And they follow you; they enter and you escort them inside, and give a reward to each one who is ready for it.

For you are not the redeemer nor a helper of strangers.

You are an illuminator and a redeemer of those who are mine,

and now of those who are yours.

You shall reveal (to them); you shall bring good among them all.

You they shall admire because of every powerful (deed). You are he whom the heavens bless.

You he shall envy, he who has called himself your Lord.

I am the […] those who are instructed in these things with you.

For your sake, they will be told these things, and will come to rest. For your sake, they will reign, and will become kings.

For your sake, they will have pity on whomever they pity.

For just as you are first having clothed yourself, you are also the first who will strip himself,

and you shall become as you were before you were stripped.”

“And he kissed my mouth. He took hold of me, saying, “My beloved! Behold, I shall reveal to you those things that (neither) the heavens nor their archons have known. Behold, I shall reveal to you those things that he did not know, he who boasted, “[…] there is no other except me. Am I not alive? Because I am a father, do I not have power for everything?” Behold, I shall reveal to you everything, my beloved. Understand and know them, that you may come forth just as I am. Behold, I shall reveal to you him who is hidden. But now, stretch out your hand. Now, take hold of me.”

“And then I stretched out my hands and I did not find him as I thought (he would be). But afterward I heard him saying, “Understand and take hold of me.” Then I understood, and I was afraid. And I was exceedingly joyful.

“Therefore, I tell you judges, you have been judged. And you did not spare, but you were spared. Be sober and […] you did not know.

He was that one whom he who created the heaven and the earth and dwelled in it, did not see.

He was this one who is the life.

He was the light.

He was that one who will come to be.

And again he shall provide an end for what has begun, and a beginning for what is about to be ended.

He was the Holy Spirit and the Invisible One,

who did not descend upon the earth.

He was the virgin, and that which he wishes, happens to him.

I saw that he was naked, and there was no garment clothing him. That which he wills, happens to him […].

“Renounce this difficult way, which is (so) variable, and walk in accordance with him who desires that you become free men with me, after you have passed above every dominion. For he will not judge (you) for those things that you did, but will have mercy on you. For (it is) not you that did them, but it is your Lord (that did them). He was not a wrathful one, but he was a kind Father.

“But you have judged yourselves, and because of this you will remain in their fetters. You have oppressed yourselves, and you will repent, (but) you will not profit at all. Behold him who speaks and seek him who is silent. Know him who came to this place, and understand him who went forth (from it). I am the Just One, and I do <not> judge. I am not a master, then, but I am a helper. He was cast out before he stretched out his hand. I […].

“[…] and he allows me to hear. And play your trumpets, your flutes and your harps of this house. The Lord has taken you captive from the Lord, having closed your ears, that they may not hear the sound of my word. Yet you will be able to pay heed in your hearts, and you will call me ‘the Just One.’ Therefore, I tell you: Behold, I gave you your house, which you say that God has made – that (house) in which he promised to give you an inheritance through it. This (house) I shall doom to destruction and derision of those who are in ignorance. For behold, those who judge deliberarate […].”

On that day all the people and the crowd were disturbed, and they showed that they had not been persuaded. And he arose and went forth speaking in this manner. And he entered (again) on that same day and spoke a few hours. And I was with the priests and revealed nothing of the relationship, since all of them were saying with one voice, ‘Come, let us

stone the Just One.’ And they arose, saying, ‘Yes, let us kill this man, that he may be taken from our midst. For he will be of no use to us.’

And they were there and found him standing beside the columns of the temple beside the mighty corner stone. And they decided to throw him down from the height, and they cast him down. And they […] they […]. They seized him and struck him as they dragged him upon the ground. They stretched him out and placed a stone on his abdomen. They all placed their feet on him, saying ‘You have erred!’

Again they raised him up, since he was alive, and made him dig a hole. They made him stand in it. After having covered him up to his abdomen, they stoned him in this manner.

And he stretched out his hands and said this prayer – not that (one) which it is his custom to say:

‘My God and my father,

who saved me from this dead hope,

who made me alive through a mystery of what he wills,

Do not let these days of this world be prolonged for me, but the day of your light […] remains

in […] salvation.

Deliver me from this place of sojourn!

Do not let your grace be left behind in me,

but may your grace become pure!

Save me from an evil death!

Bring me from a tomb alive, because your grace –

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

love – is alive in me to accomplish a work of fullness!

Save me from sinful flesh,

because l trusted in you with all my strength,

because you are the life of the life!

Save me from a humiliating enemy!

Do not give me into the hand of a judge who is severe with sin!

Forgive me all my debts of the days (of my life)!

Because I am alive in you, your grace is alive in me. I have renounced everyone, but you I have confessed. Save me from evil affliction!

But now is the time and the hour.

O Holy Spirit, send me salvation […] the light […]

the light […] in a power […].’

“After he spoke, he fell silent […] word […] afterward […] the discourse […].”

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

The Apocalypse of Paul

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Translated by George W. MacRae and William R. Murdock

[…] the road. And he spoke to him, saying, “By which road shall I go up to Jerusalem?” The little child replied, saying, “Say your name, so that I may show you the road”. The little child knew who Paul was. He wished to make conversation with him through his words in order that he might find an excuse for speaking with him.

The little child spoke, saying, “I know who you are, Paul. You are he who was blessed from his mother`s womb. For I have come to you that you may go up to Jerusalem to your fellow apostles. And for this reason you were called. And I am the Spirit who accompanies you. Let your mind awaken, Paul, with […]. For […] whole which […] among the principalities and these authorities and archangels and powers and the whole race of demons, […] the one that reveals bodies to a soul-seed.”

And after he brought that speech to an end, he spoke, saying to me, “Let your mind awaken, Paul, and see that this mountain upon which you are standing is the mountain of Jericho, so that you may know the hidden things in those that are visible. Now it is to the twelve apostles that you shall go, for they are elect spirits, and they will greet you.” He raised his eyes and saw them greeting him.

Then the Holy Spirit who was speaking with him caught him up on high to the third heaven, and he passed beyond to the fourth heaven. The Holy Spirit spoke to him, saying, “Look and see your likeness upon the earth.” And he looked down and saw those who were upon the earth. He stared and saw those who were upon the […]. Then he gazed down and saw the twelve apostles at his right and at his left in the creation; and the Spirit was going before them.

But I saw in the fourth heaven according to class – I saw the angels resembling gods, the angels bringing a soul out of the land of the dead. They placed it at the gate of the fourth heaven. And the angels were whipping it. The soul spoke, saying, “What sin was it that I committed in the world?” The toll-collector who dwells in the fourth heaven replied, saying, “It was not right to commit all those lawless deeds that are in the world of the dead”. The soul replied, saying, “Bring witnesses! Let them show you in what body I committed lawless deeds. Do you wish to bring a book to read from?”

And the three witnesses came. The first spoke, saying, “Was I not in the body the second hour […]? I rose up against you until you fell into anger and rage and envy.” And the second spoke, saying, “Was I not in the world? And I entered at the fifth hour, and I saw you and desired you. And behold, then, now I charge you with the murders you

committed.” The third spoke, saying, “Did I not come to you at the twelfth hour of the day when the sun was about to set? I gave you darkness until you should accomplish your sins.” When the soul heard these things, it gazed downward in sorrow. And then it gazed upward. It was cast down. The soul that had been cast down went to a body which had been prepared for it. And behold, its witnesses were finished.

Then I gazed upward and saw the Spirit saying to me, “Paul, come! Proceed toward me!”. Then as I went, the gate opened, and I went up to the fifth heaven. And I saw my fellow apostles going with me while the Spirit accompanied us. And I saw a great angel in the fifth heaven holding an iron rod in his hand. There were three other angels with him, and I stared into their faces. But they were rivalling each other, with whips in their hands, goading the souls on to the judgment. But I went with the Spirit and the gate opened for me.

Then we went up to the sixth heaven. And I saw my fellow apostles going with me, and the Holy Spirit was leading me before them. And I gazed up on high and saw a great light shining down on the sixth heaven. I spoke, saying to the toll-collector who was in the sixth heaven, “Open to me and the Holy Spirit who is before me.” He opened to me.

Then we went up to the seventh heaven, and I saw an old man […] light and whose garment was white. His throne, which is in the seventh heaven, was brighter than the sun by seven times. The old man spoke, saying to me, “Where are you going, Paul? O blessed one and the one who was set apart from his mother`s womb.” But I looked at the Spirit, and he was nodding his head, saying to me, “Speak with him!”. And I replied, saying to the old man, “I am going to the place from which I came.” And the old man responded to me, “Where are you from?” But I replied, saying, “I am going down to the world of the dead in order to lead captive the captivity that was led captive in the captivity of Babylon.” The old man replied to me saying, “How will you be able to get away from me? Look and see the principalities and authorities.” The Spirit spoke, saying, “Give him the sign that you have, and he will open for you.” And then I gave him the sign. He turned his face downwards to his creation and to those who are his own authorities.

And then the <seventh> heaven opened and we went up to the Ogdoad. And I saw the twelve apostles. They greeted me, and we went up to the ninth heaven. I greeted all those who were in the ninth heaven, and we went up to the tenth heaven. And I greeted my fellow spirits.

The Apocalypse of Paul

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

The Apocalypse of Peter

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Translated by James Brashler and Roger A. Bullard

As the Savior was sitting in the temple in the three hundredth (year) of the covenant and the agreement of the tenth pillar, and being satisfied with the number of the living, incorruptible Majesty, he said to me, “Peter, blessed are those above belonging to the Father, who revealed life to those who are from the life, through me, since I reminded they who are built on what is strong, that they may hear my word, and distinguish words of unrighteousness and transgression of law from righteousness, as being from the height of every word of this Pleroma of truth, having been enlightened in good pleasure by him whom the principalities sought. But they did not find him, nor was he mentioned among any generation of the prophets. He has now appeared among these, in him who appeared,

who is the Son of Man, who is exalted above the heavens in a fear of men of like essence. But you yourself, Peter, become perfect in accordance with your name with myself, the one who chose you, because from you I have established a base for the remnant whom I have summoned to knowledge. Therefore be strong until the imitation of righteousness – of him who had summoned you, having summoned you to know him in a way which is worth doing because of the rejection which happened to him, and the sinews of his hands and his feet, and the crowning by those of the middle region, and the body of his radiance which they bring in hope of service because of a reward of honor – as he was about to reprove you three times in this night.”

And as he was saying these things, I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us; and I was afraid that we were going to die.

And he said to me, “Peter, I have told you many times that they are blind ones who have no guide. If you want to know their blindness, put your hands upon (your) eyes – your robe – and say what you see.”

But when I had done it, I did not see anything. I said “No one sees (this way).” Again he told me, “Do it again.”

And there came in me fear with joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it came down upon the Savior. And I told him about those things which I saw.

And he said to me again, “Lift up your hands and listen to what the priests and the people are saying.”

And I listened to the priests as they sat with the scribes. The multitudes were shouting with their voice.

When he heard these things from me he said to me, “Prick up your ears and listen to the things they are saying.”

And I listened again, “As you sit, they are praising you”.

And when I said these things, the Savior said, “I have told you that these (people) are blind and deaf. Now then, listen to the things which they are telling you in a mystery, and guard them, Do not tell them to the sons of this age. For they shall blaspheme you in these ages since they are ignorant of you, but they will praise you in knowledge.”

“For many will accept our teaching in the beginning. And they will turn from them again by the will of the Father of their error, because they have done what he wanted. And he will reveal them in his judgment, i.e., the servants of the Word. But those who became mingled with these shall become their prisoners, since they are without perception. And the guileless, good, pure one they push to the worker of death, and to the kingdom of those who praise Christ in a restoration. And they praise the men of the propagation of falsehood, those who will come after you. And they will cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure. But they will become greatly defiled and they will fall into a name of error, and into the hand of an evil, cunning man and a manifold dogma, and they will be ruled without law.”

“For some of them will blaspheme the truth and proclaim evil teaching. And they will say evil things against each other. Some will be named: (those) who stand in (the) strength of the archons, of a man and a naked woman who is manifold and subject to much suffering. And those who say these things will ask about dreams. And if they say that a dream came from a demon worthy of their error, then they shall be given perdition instead of incorruption.”

“For evil cannot produce good fruit. For the place from which each of them is produces that which is like itself; for not every soul is of the truth, nor of immortality. For every soul of these ages has death assigned to it in our view, because it is always a slave, since it is created for its desires and their eternal destruction, in which they are and from which they are. They love the creatures of the matter which came forth with them.”

“But the immortal souls are not like these, O Peter. But indeed, as long as the hour is not yet come, it (the immortal soul) shall resemble a mortal one. But it shall not reveal its nature, that it alone is the immortal one, and thinks about immortality, having faith, and desiring to renounce these things.”

“For people do not gather figs from thorns or from thorn trees, if they are wise, nor grapes from thistles. For, on the one hand, that which is always becoming is in that from which it is, being from what is not good, which becomes destruction for it and death. But that which comes to be in the Eternal One is in the One of the life and the immortality of the life which they resemble.”

“Therefore all that which exists not will dissolve into what exists not. For deaf and blind ones join only with their own kind.”

“But others shall change from evil words and misleading mysteries. Some who do not understand mystery speak of things which they do not understand, but they will boast that the mystery of the truth is theirs alone. And in haughtiness they shall grasp at pride, to envy the immortal soul which has become a pledge. For every authority, rule, and power of the aeons wishes to be with these in the creation of the world, in order that those who are not, having been forgotten by those that are, may praise them, though they have not been saved, nor have they been brought to the Way by them, always wishing that they may become imperishable ones. For if the immortal soul receives power in an intellectual spirit -. But immediately they join with one of those who misled them.”

“But many others, who oppose the truth and are the messengers of error, will set up their error and their law against these pure thoughts of mine, as looking out from one (perspective) thinking that good and evil are from one (source). They do business in my word. And they will propagate harsh fate. The race of immortal souls will go in it in vain, until my Parousia. For they shall come out of them – and my forgiveness of their transgressions, into which they fell through their adversaries, whose ransom I got from the slavery in which they were, to give them freedom that they may create an imitation remnant in the name of a dead man, who is Hermas, of the first-born of unrighteousness, in order that the light which exists may not believed by the little ones. But those of this sort are the workers who will be cast into the outer darkness, away from the sons of light. For neither will they enter, nor do they permit those who are going up to their approval for their release.”

“And still others of them who suffer think that they will perfect the wisdom of the brotherhood which really exists, which is the spiritual fellowship of those united in communion, through which the wedding of incorruptibility shall be revealed. The kindred race of the sisterhood will appear as an imitation. These are the ones who oppress their brothers, saying to them, “Through this our God has pity, since salvation comes to us through this,” not knowing the punishment of those who are made glad by those who have done this thing to the little ones whom they saw, (and) whom they took prisoner.”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

“And there shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also deacons, as if they have received their authority from God. They bend themselves under the judgment of the leaders. Those people are dry canals.”

But I said ” I am afraid because of what you have told me, that indeed little (ones) are, in our view, the counterfeit ones, indeed, that there are multitudes that will mislead other

multitudes of living ones, and destroy them among themselves. And when they speak your name they will be believed.”

The Savior said, “For a time determined for them in proportion to their error they will rule over the little ones. And after the completion of the error, the never-aging one of the immortal understanding shall become young, and they (the little ones) shall rule over those who are their rulers. The root of their error he shall pluck out, and he shall put it to shame so that it shall be manifest in all the impudence which it has assumed to itself. And such ones shall become unchangeable, O Peter.”

“Come therefore, let us go on with the completion of the will of the incorruptible Father. For behold, those who will bring them judgment are coming, and they will put them to shame. But me they cannot touch. And you, O Peter, shall stand in their midst. Do not be afraid because of your cowardice. Their minds shall be closed, for the invisible one has opposed them.”

When he had said those things, I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said “What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?”

The Savior said to me, “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.”

But I, when I had looked, said “Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place.”

But he said to me, “I have told you, ‘Leave the blind alone!’. And you, see how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory instead of my servant, they have put to shame.”

And I saw someone about to approach us resembling him, even him who was laughing on the tree. And he was <filled> with a Holy Spirit, and he is the Savior. And there was a great, ineffable light around them, and the multitude of ineffable and invisible angels blessing them. And when I looked at him, the one who gives praise was revealed.

And he said to me, “Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been

given, to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the first-born, and the home of demons, and the stony vessel in which they dwell, of Elohim, of the cross, which is under the Law. But he who stands near him is the living Savior, the first in him, whom they seized and released, who stands joyfully looking at those who did him violence, while they are divided among themselves. Therefore he laughs at their lack of perception, knowing that they are born blind. So then the one susceptible to suffering shall come, since the body is the substitute. But what they released was my incorporeal

body. But I am the intellectual Spirit filled with radiant light. He whom you saw coming to me is our intellectual Pleroma, which unites the perfect light with my Holy Spirit.”

“These things, then, which you saw you shall present to those of another race who are not of this age. For there will be no honor in any man who is not immortal, but only (in) those who were chosen from an immortal substance, which has shown that it is able to contain him who gives his abundance. Therefore I said, ‘Every one who has, it will be given to him, and he will have plenty.’ But he who does not have, that is, the man of this place, who is completely dead, who is removed from the planting of the creation of what is begotten, whom, if one of the immortal essence appears, they think that they possess him – it will be taken from him and be added to the one who is. You, therefore, be courageous and do not fear at all. For I shall be with you in order that none of your enemies may prevail unto you. Peace be to you, Be strong!”

When he (Jesus) had said these things, he (Peter) came to himself.

Apocalypse of Peter

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

The Apocryphon of James

image

Translated by Francis E. Williams

James writes to […]: Peace be with you from Peace, love from Love, grace from Grace, faith from Faith, life from Holy Life!

Since you asked that I send you a secret book which was revealed to me and Peter by the Lord, I could not turn you away or gainsay (?) you; but I have written it in the Hebrew alphabet and sent it to you, and you alone. But since you are a minister of the salvation of the saints, endeavor earnestly and take care not to rehearse this text to many – this that the Savior did not wish to tell to all of us, his twelve disciples. But blessed will they be who will be saved through the faith of this discourse.

I also sent you, ten months ago, another secret book which the Savior had revealed to me. Under the circumstances, however, regard that one as revealed to me, James; but this one

… [untranslatable fragments]

… the twelve disciples were all sitting together and recalling what the Savior had said to each one of them, whether in secret or openly, and putting it in books – But I was writing that which was in my book – lo, the Savior appeared, after departing from us while we gazed after him. And five hundred and fifty days since he had risen from the dead, we said to him, “Have you departed and removed yourself from us?” But Jesus said, “No, but I shall go to the place from whence I came. If you wish to come with me, come!”

They all answered and said, “If you bid us, we come.”

He said, “Verily I say unto you, no one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven at my bidding, but (only) because you yourselves are full. Leave James and Peter to me, that I may fill them.” And having called these two, he drew them aside and bade the rest

occupy themselves with that which they were about.

The Savior said, “You have received mercy … (7 lines missing)

Do you not, then, desire to be filled? And your heart is drunken; do you not, then, desire

to be sober? Therefore, be ashamed! Henceforth, waking or sleeping, remember that you have seen the Son of Man, and spoken with him in person, and listened to him in person. Woe to those who have seen the Son of Man; blessed will they be who have not seen the man, and they who have not consorted with him, and they who have not spoken with him, and they who have not listened to anything from him; yours is life! Know, then, that he

healed you when you were ill, that you might reign. Woe to those who have found relief from their illness, for they will relapse into illness. Blessed are they who have not been ill, and have known relief before falling ill; yours is the kingdom of God. Therefore, I say to you, ‘Become full, and leave no space within you empty, for he who is coming can mock you.”

Then Peter replied, “Lo, three times you have told us, ‘Become full’; but we are full.” The Savior answered and said, “For this cause I have said to you, ‘Become full,’ that you may not be in want. They who are in want, however, will not be saved. For it is good to be full, and bad to be in want. Hence, just as it is good that you be in want and, conversely, bad that you be full, so he who is full is in want, and he who is in want does not become full as he who is in want becomes full, and he who has been filled, in turn attains due perfection. Therefore, you must be in want while it is possible to fill you, and

be full while it is possible for you to be in want, so that you may be able to fill yourselves

the more. Hence, become full of the Spirit, but be in want of reason, for reason <belongs to> the soul; in turn, it is (of the nature of) soul.”

But I answered and said to him, “Lord, we can obey you if you wish, for we have forsaken our fathers and our mothers and our villages, and followed you. Grant us, therefore, not to be tempted by the devil, the evil one.”

The Lord answered and said, “What is your merit if you do the will of the Father and it is not given to you from him as a gift while you are tempted by Satan? But if you are oppressed by Satan, and persecuted, and you do his (i.e., the Father’s) will, I say that he will love you, and make you equal with me, and reckon you to have become beloved through his providence by your own choice. So will you not cease loving the flesh and being afraid of sufferings? Or do you not know that you have yet to be abused and to be accused unjustly; and have yet to be shut up in prison, and condemned unlawfully, and crucified <without> reason, and buried as I myself, by the evil one? Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the Spirit is an encircling wall? If you consider how long the world existed <before> you, and how long it will exist after you, you will find that your life is one single day, and your sufferings one single hour. For the good will not enter into the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take thought for life! Remember my cross and my death, and you will live!”

But I answered and said to him, “Lord, do not mention to us the cross and death, for they are far from you.”

The Lord answered and said, “Verily, I say unto you, none will be saved unless they

believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the kingdom of God. Therefore, become seekers for death, like the dead who seek for life; for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to trouble them? As for you, when you examine death, it will teach you election. Verily, I say unto you, none of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom belongs to those who put themselves to death. Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit!”

Then I asked him, “Lord, how shall we be able to prophesy to those who request us to prophesy to them? For there are many who ask us, and look to us to hear an oracle from

us.”

The Lord answered and said, “Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off

with John?”

But I said, “Lord, can it be possible to remove the head of prophecy?”

The Lord said to me, “When you come to know what ‘head’ means, and that prophecy issues from the head, (then) understand the meaning of ‘Its head was removed.’ At first I spoke to you in parables, and you did not understand; now I speak to you openly, and you (still) do not perceive. Yet, it was you who served me as a parable in parables, and as that which is open in the (words) that are open.

“Hasten to be saved without being urged! Instead, be eager of your own accord, and, if possible, arrive even before me; for thus the Father will love you.”

“Come to hate hypocrisy and the evil thought; for it is the thought that gives birth to hypocrisy; but hypocrisy is far from truth.”

“Do not allow the kingdom of heaven to wither; for it is like a palm shoot whose fruit has dropped down around it. They (i.e., the fallen fruit) put forth leaves, and after they had sprouted, they caused their womb to dry up. So it is also with the fruit which had grown from this single root; when it had been picked (?), fruit was borne by many (?). It (the root) was certainly good, (and) if it were possible for you to produce the new plants now,

<you> would find it.”

“Since I have already been glorified in this fashion, why do you hold me back in my eagerness to go? For after the labor, you have compelled me to stay with you another eighteen days for the sake of the parables. It was enough for some <to listen> to the teaching and understand ‘The Shepherds’ and ‘The Seed’ and ‘The Building’ and ‘The Lamps of the Virgins’ and ‘The Wage of the Workmen’ and the ‘Didrachmae’ and ‘The Woman.'”

“Become earnest about the word! For as to the word, its first part is faith; the second, love; the third, works; for from these comes life. For the word is like a grain of wheat; when someone had sown it, he had faith in it; and when it had sprouted, he loved it, because he had seen many grains in place of one. And when he had worked, he was saved, because he had prepared it for food, (and) again he left (some) to sow. So also can you yourselves receive the kingdom of heaven; unless you receive this through knowledge, you will not be able to find it.”

“Therefore, I say to you, be sober; do not be deceived! And many times have I said to you all together, and also to you alone, James, have I said, ‘Be saved!’ And I have commanded you to follow me, and I have taught you what to say before the archons. Observe that I have descended and have spoken and undergone tribulation, and carried off my crown after saving you. For I came down to dwell with you, so that you in turn might dwell with me. And, finding your houses unceiled, I have made my abode in the houses that could receive me at the time of my descent.”

“Therefore, trust in me, my brethren; understand what the great light is. The Father has no need of me, – for a father does not need a son, but it is the son who needs the father – though I go to him. For the Father of the Son has no need of you.”

“Hearken to the word, understand knowledge, love life, and no one will persecute you, nor will anyone oppress you, other than you yourselves.”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

“O you wretches; O you unfortunates; O you pretenders to the truth; O you falsifiers of knowledge; O you sinners against the Spirit: can you still bear to listen, when it behooved you to speak from the first? Can you still bear to sleep, when it behooved you to be awake from the first, so that the kingdom of heaven might receive you? Verily, I say unto you, had I been sent to those who listen to me, and had I spoken with them, I would never have come down to earth. So, then, be ashamed for these things.”

“Behold, I shall depart from you and go away, and do not wish to remain with you any longer, just as your yourselves have not wished it. Now, therefore, follow me quickly. This is why I say unto you, ‘For your sakes I came down.’ You are the beloved; you are they who will be the cause of life in many. Invoke the Father, implore God often, and he will give to you. Blessed is he who has seen you with Him when He was proclaimed among the angels, and glorified among the saints; yours is life. Rejoice, and be glad, as sons of God. Keep his will, that you may be saved; accept reproof from me and save yourselves. I intercede on your behalf with the Father, and he will forgive you much.”

And when we had heard these words, we became glad, for we had been grieved at the words we have mentioned before. But when he saw us rejoicing, he said, “Woe to you who lack an advocate! Woe to you who stand in need of grace! Blessed will they be who have spoken out and obtained grace for themselves. Liken yourselves to foreigners; of what sort are they in the eyes of your city? Why are you disturbed when you cast yourselves away of your own accord and separate yourselves from your city? Why do you abandon your dwelling place of your own accord, making it ready for those who want to dwell in it? O you outcasts and fugitives, woe to you, for you will be caught! Or do you perhaps think that the Father is a lover of mankind, or that he is won over without prayers, or that he grants remission to one on another’s behalf, or that he bears with one who asks? – For he knows the desire, and also what it is that the flesh needs! – (Or do you think) that it is not this (flesh) that desires the soul? For without the soul, the body does not sin, just as the soul is not saved without the spirit. But if the soul is saved (when it is) without evil, and the spirit is also saved, then the body becomes free from sin. For it is the spirit that raises the soul, but the body that kills it; that is, it is it (the soul) which kills itself. Verily, I say unto you, he will not forgive the soul the sin by any means, nor the flesh the guilt; for none of those who have worn the flesh will be saved. For do you think that many have found the kingdom of heaven? Blessed is he who has seen himself as a fourth one in heaven!”

When we heard these words, we were distressed. But when he saw that we were distressed, he said, “For this cause I tell you this, that you may know yourselves. For the kingdom of heaven is like an ear of grain after it had sprouted in a field. And when it had

ripened, it scattered its fruit and again filled the field with ears for another year. You also, hasten to reap an ear of life for yourselves, that you may be filled with the kingdom!”

“And as long as I am with you, give heed to me, and obey me; but when I depart from you, remember me. And remember me because when I was with you, you did not know me. Blessed will they be who have known me; woe to those who have heard and have not believed! Blessed will they be who have not see, yet have believed!”

“And once more I prevail upon you, for I am revealed to you building a house which is of great value to you when you find shelter beneath it, just as it will be able to stand by your neighbors’ house when it threatens to fall. Verily, I say unto you, woe to those for whose sakes I was sent down to this place; blessed will they be who ascend to the Father! Once more I reprove you, you who are; become like those who are not, that you may be with

those who are not.”

“Do not make the kingdom of heaven a desert within you. Do not be proud because of the light that illumines, but be to yourselves as I myself am to you. For your sakes I have placed myself under the curse, that you may be saved.”

But Peter replied to these words and said, “Sometimes you urge us on to the kingdom of heaven, and then again you turn us back, Lord; sometimes you persuade and draw us to faith and promise us life, and then again you cast us forth from the kingdom of heaven.”

But the Lord answered and said to us, “I have given you faith many times; moreover, I have revealed myself to you, James, and you (all) have not known me. Now again, I see you rejoicing many times; and when you are elated at the promise of life, are you yet sad, and do you grieve, when you are instructed in the kingdom? But you, through faith and knowledge, have received life. Therefore, disdain the rejection when you hear it, but when you hear the promise, rejoice the more. Verily, I say unto you, he who will receive life and believe in the kingdom will never leave it, not even if the Father wishes to banish him.”

“These are the things that I shall tell you so far; now, however, I shall ascend to the place from whence I came. But you, when I was eager to go, have cast me out, and instead of accompanying me, you have pursued me. But pay heed to the glory that awaits me, and, having opened your heart, listen to the hymns that await me up in the heavens; for today I must take (my place at) the right hand of the Father. But I have said (my) last word to you, and I shall depart from you, for a chariot of spirit has borne me aloft, and from this moment on, I shall strip myself, that I may clothe myself. But give heed; blessed are they who have proclaimed the Son before his descent, that when I have come, I might ascend (again). Thrice blessed are they who were proclaimed by the Son before they came to be, that you might have a portion among them.”

Having said these words, he departed. But we bent (our) knee(s), I and Peter, and gave thanks, and sent our heart(s) upwards to heaven. We heard with our ears, and saw with our eyes, the noise of wars, and a trumpet blare, and a great turmoil.

And when we had passed beyond that place, we sent our mind(s) farther upwards, and saw with our eyes and heard with our ears hymns, and angelic benedictions, and angelic rejoicing. And heavenly majesties were singing praise, and we, too, rejoiced.

After this again, we wished to send our spirit upward to the Majesty, and after ascending, we were not permitted to see or hear anything, for the other disciples called us and asked us, “What did you hear from the Master. And what has he said to you? And where did he go?”

But we answered them, “He has ascended, and has given us a pledge, and promised life to us all, and revealed to us children (?) who are to come after us, after bidding us love them, as we would be saved for their sakes.”

And when they heard (this), they indeed believed the revelation, but were displeased about those to be born. And so, not wishing to give them offense, I sent each one to another place. But I myself went up to Jerusalem, praying that I might obtain a portion among the beloved, who will be made manifest.

And I pray that the beginning may come from you, for thus I shall be capable of salvation, since they will be enlightened through me, by my faith – and through another (faith) that is better than mine, for I would that mine be the lesser. Endeavor earnestly, then, to make yourself like them, and pray that you may obtain a portion with them. For because of what I have said, the Savior did not make the revelation to us for their sakes. We do, indeed, proclaim a portion with those for whom the proclamation was made – those whom the Lord has made his sons.

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

The Apocryphon of James

image

Translated by Francis E. Williams

James writes to […]: Peace be with you from Peace, love from Love, grace from Grace, faith from Faith, life from Holy Life!

Since you asked that I send you a secret book which was revealed to me and Peter by the Lord, I could not turn you away or gainsay (?) you; but I have written it in the Hebrew alphabet and sent it to you, and you alone. But since you are a minister of the salvation of the saints, endeavor earnestly and take care not to rehearse this text to many – this that the Savior did not wish to tell to all of us, his twelve disciples. But blessed will they be who will be saved through the faith of this discourse.

I also sent you, ten months ago, another secret book which the Savior had revealed to me. Under the circumstances, however, regard that one as revealed to me, James; but this one

… [untranslatable fragments]

… the twelve disciples were all sitting together and recalling what the Savior had said to each one of them, whether in secret or openly, and putting it in books – But I was writing that which was in my book – lo, the Savior appeared, after departing from us while we gazed after him. And five hundred and fifty days since he had risen from the dead, we said to him, “Have you departed and removed yourself from us?” But Jesus said, “No, but I shall go to the place from whence I came. If you wish to come with me, come!”

They all answered and said, “If you bid us, we come.”

He said, “Verily I say unto you, no one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven at my bidding, but (only) because you yourselves are full. Leave James and Peter to me, that I may fill them.” And having called these two, he drew them aside and bade the rest

occupy themselves with that which they were about.

The Savior said, “You have received mercy … (7 lines missing)

Do you not, then, desire to be filled? And your heart is drunken; do you not, then, desire

to be sober? Therefore, be ashamed! Henceforth, waking or sleeping, remember that you have seen the Son of Man, and spoken with him in person, and listened to him in person. Woe to those who have seen the Son of Man; blessed will they be who have not seen the man, and they who have not consorted with him, and they who have not spoken with him, and they who have not listened to anything from him; yours is life! Know, then, that he

healed you when you were ill, that you might reign. Woe to those who have found relief from their illness, for they will relapse into illness. Blessed are they who have not been ill, and have known relief before falling ill; yours is the kingdom of God. Therefore, I say to you, ‘Become full, and leave no space within you empty, for he who is coming can mock you.”

Then Peter replied, “Lo, three times you have told us, ‘Become full’; but we are full.” The Savior answered and said, “For this cause I have said to you, ‘Become full,’ that you may not be in want. They who are in want, however, will not be saved. For it is good to be full, and bad to be in want. Hence, just as it is good that you be in want and, conversely, bad that you be full, so he who is full is in want, and he who is in want does not become full as he who is in want becomes full, and he who has been filled, in turn attains due perfection. Therefore, you must be in want while it is possible to fill you, and

be full while it is possible for you to be in want, so that you may be able to fill yourselves

the more. Hence, become full of the Spirit, but be in want of reason, for reason <belongs to> the soul; in turn, it is (of the nature of) soul.”

But I answered and said to him, “Lord, we can obey you if you wish, for we have forsaken our fathers and our mothers and our villages, and followed you. Grant us, therefore, not to be tempted by the devil, the evil one.”

The Lord answered and said, “What is your merit if you do the will of the Father and it is not given to you from him as a gift while you are tempted by Satan? But if you are oppressed by Satan, and persecuted, and you do his (i.e., the Father’s) will, I say that he will love you, and make you equal with me, and reckon you to have become beloved through his providence by your own choice. So will you not cease loving the flesh and being afraid of sufferings? Or do you not know that you have yet to be abused and to be accused unjustly; and have yet to be shut up in prison, and condemned unlawfully, and crucified <without> reason, and buried as I myself, by the evil one? Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the Spirit is an encircling wall? If you consider how long the world existed <before> you, and how long it will exist after you, you will find that your life is one single day, and your sufferings one single hour. For the good will not enter into the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take thought for life! Remember my cross and my death, and you will live!”

But I answered and said to him, “Lord, do not mention to us the cross and death, for they are far from you.”

The Lord answered and said, “Verily, I say unto you, none will be saved unless they

believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the kingdom of God. Therefore, become seekers for death, like the dead who seek for life; for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to trouble them? As for you, when you examine death, it will teach you election. Verily, I say unto you, none of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom belongs to those who put themselves to death. Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit!”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Then I asked him, “Lord, how shall we be able to prophesy to those who request us to prophesy to them? For there are many who ask us, and look to us to hear an oracle from

us.”

The Lord answered and said, “Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off

with John?”

But I said, “Lord, can it be possible to remove the head of prophecy?”

The Lord said to me, “When you come to know what ‘head’ means, and that prophecy issues from the head, (then) understand the meaning of ‘Its head was removed.’ At first I spoke to you in parables, and you did not understand; now I speak to you openly, and you (still) do not perceive. Yet, it was you who served me as a parable in parables, and as that which is open in the (words) that are open.

“Hasten to be saved without being urged! Instead, be eager of your own accord, and, if possible, arrive even before me; for thus the Father will love you.”

“Come to hate hypocrisy and the evil thought; for it is the thought that gives birth to hypocrisy; but hypocrisy is far from truth.”

“Do not allow the kingdom of heaven to wither; for it is like a palm shoot whose fruit has dropped down around it. They (i.e., the fallen fruit) put forth leaves, and after they had sprouted, they caused their womb to dry up. So it is also with the fruit which had grown from this single root; when it had been picked (?), fruit was borne by many (?). It (the root) was certainly good, (and) if it were possible for you to produce the new plants now,

<you> would find it.”

“Since I have already been glorified in this fashion, why do you hold me back in my eagerness to go? For after the labor, you have compelled me to stay with you another eighteen days for the sake of the parables. It was enough for some <to listen> to the teaching and understand ‘The Shepherds’ and ‘The Seed’ and ‘The Building’ and ‘The Lamps of the Virgins’ and ‘The Wage of the Workmen’ and the ‘Didrachmae’ and ‘The Woman.'”

“Become earnest about the word! For as to the word, its first part is faith; the second, love; the third, works; for from these comes life. For the word is like a grain of wheat; when someone had sown it, he had faith in it; and when it had sprouted, he loved it, because he had seen many grains in place of one. And when he had worked, he was saved, because he had prepared it for food, (and) again he left (some) to sow. So also can you yourselves receive the kingdom of heaven; unless you receive this through knowledge, you will not be able to find it.”

“Therefore, I say to you, be sober; do not be deceived! And many times have I said to you all together, and also to you alone, James, have I said, ‘Be saved!’ And I have commanded you to follow me, and I have taught you what to say before the archons. Observe that I have descended and have spoken and undergone tribulation, and carried off my crown after saving you. For I came down to dwell with you, so that you in turn might dwell with me. And, finding your houses unceiled, I have made my abode in the houses that could receive me at the time of my descent.”

“Therefore, trust in me, my brethren; understand what the great light is. The Father has no need of me, – for a father does not need a son, but it is the son who needs the father – though I go to him. For the Father of the Son has no need of you.”

“Hearken to the word, understand knowledge, love life, and no one will persecute you, nor will anyone oppress you, other than you yourselves.”

“O you wretches; O you unfortunates; O you pretenders to the truth; O you falsifiers of knowledge; O you sinners against the Spirit: can you still bear to listen, when it behooved you to speak from the first? Can you still bear to sleep, when it behooved you to be awake from the first, so that the kingdom of heaven might receive you? Verily, I say unto you, had I been sent to those who listen to me, and had I spoken with them, I would never have come down to earth. So, then, be ashamed for these things.”

“Behold, I shall depart from you and go away, and do not wish to remain with you any longer, just as your yourselves have not wished it. Now, therefore, follow me quickly. This is why I say unto you, ‘For your sakes I came down.’ You are the beloved; you are they who will be the cause of life in many. Invoke the Father, implore God often, and he will give to you. Blessed is he who has seen you with Him when He was proclaimed among the angels, and glorified among the saints; yours is life. Rejoice, and be glad, as sons of God. Keep his will, that you may be saved; accept reproof from me and save yourselves. I intercede on your behalf with the Father, and he will forgive you much.”

And when we had heard these words, we became glad, for we had been grieved at the words we have mentioned before. But when he saw us rejoicing, he said, “Woe to you who lack an advocate! Woe to you who stand in need of grace! Blessed will they be who have spoken out and obtained grace for themselves. Liken yourselves to foreigners; of what sort are they in the eyes of your city? Why are you disturbed when you cast yourselves away of your own accord and separate yourselves from your city? Why do you abandon your dwelling place of your own accord, making it ready for those who want to dwell in it? O you outcasts and fugitives, woe to you, for you will be caught! Or do you perhaps think that the Father is a lover of mankind, or that he is won over without prayers, or that he grants remission to one on another’s behalf, or that he bears with one who asks? – For he knows the desire, and also what it is that the flesh needs! – (Or do you think) that it is not this (flesh) that desires the soul? For without the soul, the body does not sin, just as the soul is not saved without the spirit. But if the soul is saved (when it is) without evil, and the spirit is also saved, then the body becomes free from sin. For it is the spirit that raises the soul, but the body that kills it; that is, it is it (the soul) which kills itself. Verily, I say unto you, he will not forgive the soul the sin by any means, nor the flesh the guilt; for none of those who have worn the flesh will be saved. For do you think that many have found the kingdom of heaven? Blessed is he who has seen himself as a fourth one in heaven!”

When we heard these words, we were distressed. But when he saw that we were distressed, he said, “For this cause I tell you this, that you may know yourselves. For the kingdom of heaven is like an ear of grain after it had sprouted in a field. And when it had

ripened, it scattered its fruit and again filled the field with ears for another year. You also, hasten to reap an ear of life for yourselves, that you may be filled with the kingdom!”

“And as long as I am with you, give heed to me, and obey me; but when I depart from you, remember me. And remember me because when I was with you, you did not know me. Blessed will they be who have known me; woe to those who have heard and have not believed! Blessed will they be who have not see, yet have believed!”

“And once more I prevail upon you, for I am revealed to you building a house which is of great value to you when you find shelter beneath it, just as it will be able to stand by your neighbors’ house when it threatens to fall. Verily, I say unto you, woe to those for whose sakes I was sent down to this place; blessed will they be who ascend to the Father! Once more I reprove you, you who are; become like those who are not, that you may be with

those who are not.”

“Do not make the kingdom of heaven a desert within you. Do not be proud because of the light that illumines, but be to yourselves as I myself am to you. For your sakes I have placed myself under the curse, that you may be saved.”

But Peter replied to these words and said, “Sometimes you urge us on to the kingdom of heaven, and then again you turn us back, Lord; sometimes you persuade and draw us to faith and promise us life, and then again you cast us forth from the kingdom of heaven.”

But the Lord answered and said to us, “I have given you faith many times; moreover, I have revealed myself to you, James, and you (all) have not known me. Now again, I see you rejoicing many times; and when you are elated at the promise of life, are you yet sad, and do you grieve, when you are instructed in the kingdom? But you, through faith and knowledge, have received life. Therefore, disdain the rejection when you hear it, but when you hear the promise, rejoice the more. Verily, I say unto you, he who will receive life and believe in the kingdom will never leave it, not even if the Father wishes to banish him.”

“These are the things that I shall tell you so far; now, however, I shall ascend to the place from whence I came. But you, when I was eager to go, have cast me out, and instead of accompanying me, you have pursued me. But pay heed to the glory that awaits me, and, having opened your heart, listen to the hymns that await me up in the heavens; for today I must take (my place at) the right hand of the Father. But I have said (my) last word to you, and I shall depart from you, for a chariot of spirit has borne me aloft, and from this moment on, I shall strip myself, that I may clothe myself. But give heed; blessed are they who have proclaimed the Son before his descent, that when I have come, I might ascend (again). Thrice blessed are they who were proclaimed by the Son before they came to be, that you might have a portion among them.”

Having said these words, he departed. But we bent (our) knee(s), I and Peter, and gave thanks, and sent our heart(s) upwards to heaven. We heard with our ears, and saw with our eyes, the noise of wars, and a trumpet blare, and a great turmoil.

And when we had passed beyond that place, we sent our mind(s) farther upwards, and saw with our eyes and heard with our ears hymns, and angelic benedictions, and angelic rejoicing. And heavenly majesties were singing praise, and we, too, rejoiced.

After this again, we wished to send our spirit upward to the Majesty, and after ascending, we were not permitted to see or hear anything, for the other disciples called us and asked us, “What did you hear from the Master. And what has he said to you? And where did he go?”

But we answered them, “He has ascended, and has given us a pledge, and promised life to us all, and revealed to us children (?) who are to come after us, after bidding us love them, as we would be saved for their sakes.”

And when they heard (this), they indeed believed the revelation, but were displeased about those to be born. And so, not wishing to give them offense, I sent each one to another place. But I myself went up to Jerusalem, praying that I might obtain a portion among the beloved, who will be made manifest.

And I pray that the beginning may come from you, for thus I shall be capable of salvation, since they will be enlightened through me, by my faith – and through another (faith) that is better than mine, for I would that mine be the lesser. Endeavor earnestly, then, to make yourself like them, and pray that you may obtain a portion with them. For because of what I have said, the Savior did not make the revelation to us for their sakes. We do, indeed, proclaim a portion with those for whom the proclamation was made – those whom the Lord has made his sons.

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

The Apocryphon of James

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Translated by Ron Cameron

James writes to you. Peace be with you from Peace, love from Love, grace from Grace, faith from Faith, life from Holy Life!

Since you asked me to send you a secret book which was revealed to me and Peter by the Lord, I could neither refuse you nor speak directly to you, but I have written it in Hebrew letters and have sent it to you – and to you alone. But inasmuch as you are a minister of the salvation of the saints, endeavor earnestly and take care not to recount this book to many – this which the Savior did not desire to recount to all of us, his twelve disciples. But blessed are those who will be saved through faith in this discourse.

Now I sent you ten months ago another secret book with the Savior revealed to me. But that one you are to regard in this manner, as revealed to me, James.

Now the twelve disciples were sitting all together at the same time, and, remembering what the Savior had said to each one of them, whether secretly or openly, they were setting it down in books. And I was writing what was in my book – lo, the Savior appeared, after he had departed from us while we gazed at him. And five hundred and fifty days after he arose from the dead, we said to him: “Have you gone and departed from us?”

And Jesus said: “No, but I shall go to the place from which I have come. If you desire to come with me, come.”

They all answered and said: “If you bid us, we’ll come.”

He said: “Truly I say to you, no one ever will enter the Kingdom of Heaven if I bid him, but rather because you yourselves are full. Let me have James and Peter, in order that I may fill them.” And when he called these two, he took them aside, and commanded the rest to busy themselves with that with which they had been busy.

The Savior said; “You have received mercy….

(7 lines missing) Do you not desire, then, to be filled? And is your heart drunk? Do you

not desire, then, to be sober? Therefore, be ashamed! And now, waking or sleeping, remember that you have seen the Son of Man, and with him you have spoken, and to him you have listened. Woe to those who have seen the Son of Man! Blessed are those who have not seen the Man, and who have not consorted with him, and who have not spoken

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

with him, and who have not listened to anything from him. Yours is life! Know, therefore, that he healed you when you were ill, in order that you might reign. Woe to those who have rested from their illness, because they will relapse again into illness! Blessed are those who have not been ill, and have known rest before they became ill. Yours is the Kingdom of God! Therefore I say to you, become full and leave no place within you empty, since the Coming One is able to mock you.”

Then Peter answered: “Lord, three times you have said to us ‘Become full’, but we are full.”

The Lord answered and said: “Therefore I say unto you, become full, in order that you

may not be diminished. Those who are diminished, however, will not be saved. For fullness is good and diminution is bad. Therefore, just as it is good for you to be diminished and, on the other hand, bad for you to be filled, so also the one who is full is diminished; and the one who is diminished is not filled as the one who is diminished is filled, and the one who is full, for his part, brings his sufficiency to completion. Therefore, it is fitting to be diminished while you can still be filled, and to be filled while it is still possible to be diminished, in order that you can fill yourselves the more. Therefore become full of the spirit but be diminished of reason. For reason is of the soul; and it is soul.”

And I answered, and said to him: “Lord, we can obey you if you wish. For we have forsaken our forefathers and our mothers and our villages and have followed you. Grant us, therefore, not to be tempted by the wicked Devil.”

The Lord answered and said: “What is your merit when you do the will of the Father if it

is not given to you by him as a gift, while you are tempted by Satan? But if you are oppressed by Satan and are persecuted and you do the Father’s will, I say that he will love you and will make you equal with me and will consider that you have become beloved through his providence according to your free choice. Will you not cease, then, being lovers of the flesh and being afraid of sufferings? Or do you not know that you have not yet been mistreated and have not yet been accused unjustly, nor have you yet been shut up in prison, nor have you yet been condemned lawlessly, nor have you yet been crucified without reason, nor have you yet been buried shamefully, as was I myself, by the evil one? Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the spirit is an encircling wall? If you contemplate the world, how long it is before you and also how long it is after you, you will find that your life is one single day and your sufferings, one single hour. For the good will not enter the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take concern for life. Remember my cross and my death and you will live.”

And I answered and said to him: “Lord, do not mention to us the cross and the death, for they are far from you.”

The Lord answered and said: “Truly I say to you, none will be saved unless they believe

in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the Kingdom of God. Therefore, become seekers for death, just as the dead who seek for life, for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to concern them? When you turn yourselves towards death, it will make known to you election. In truth I say to you, none of those who are afraid of death will be saved. For the Kingdom of God belongs to those

who have put themselves to death. Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit.”

Then I questioned him: “Lord how may we prophesy to those who ask us to prophesy to them? For there are many who ask us and who look to us to hear an oracle from us.” The Lord answered and said: “Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off with John?”

And I said: “Lord, it is not possible to remove the head of prophecy, is it?”

The Lord said to me: “When you come to know what ‘head’ is, and that prophecy issues from the head, then understand what is the meaning of ‘Its head was removed’. I first spoke with you in parables, and you did not understand. Now, in turn, I speak with you openly, and you do not perceive. But it is you who were to me a parable in parables and what is apparent in what are open.

“Be zealous to be saved without being urged. Rather, be ready on your own and, if possible, go before me. For thus the Father will love you.

“Become haters of hypocrisy and evil thought. For it is thought which gives birth to hypocrisy, but hypocrisy is far from the truth.

“Let not the Kingdom of Heaven wither away. For it is like a date palm shoot whose fruits poured down around it. It put forth leaves and, when they budded, they caused the productivity of the date palm to dry up. Thus it is also with the fruit which came from this single root; when the fruit was picked, fruits were collected by many harvesters. It would indeed be good if it were possible to produce these new plants now; for then you would find the Kingdom.

“Since I have been glorified in this manner before this time, why do you all restrain me when I am eager to go? You have constrained me to remain with you eighteen more days for the sake of the parables. It sufficed for some persons to pay attention to the teaching and understand ‘The Shepherds’ and ‘The Seed’ and ‘The Building’ and ‘The Lamps of the Virgins’ and ‘The Wage of the Workers’ and ‘The Double Drachma’ and ‘The Woman’.

“Become zealous about the Word. For the Word’s first condition is faith; the second is love; the third is works. Now from these comes life. For the Word is like a grain of wheat. When someone sowed it, he believed in it; and when it sprouted, he loved it, because he looked forward to many grains in the place of one; and when he worked it, he was saved, because he prepared it for food. Again he left some grains to sow. Thus it is also possible for you all to receive the Kingdom of Heaven: unless you receive it through knowledge, you will not be able to find it.

“Therefore I say to you, be sober. Do not go astray. And many times I have said to you all together – and also to you alone, James, I have said – ‘Be saved!’ And I have commanded you to follow me, and I have taught you the response in the presence of the rulers. Observe that I have descended, and I have spoken, and I have troubled myself, and I have received my crown, when I saved you. For I have descended to dwell with you in

order that you also may dwell with me. And when I found that your houses had no ceilings over them, I dwelt in houses which would be able to receive me when I descended.

“Therefore, obey me, my brothers. Understand what the great light is. The Father does not need me. For a father does not need a son, but it is the son who needs the father. To him I am going, for the Father of the Son is not in need of you.

“Pay attention to the Word. Understand Knowledge. Love Life. And no one will persecute you, nor will any one oppress you, other than you yourselves.

“O you wretched! O you unfortunates! O you dissemblers of the truth! O you falsifiers of knowledge! O you sinners against the spirit! Do you even now dare to listen, when it behooved you to speak from the beginning? Do you even now dare to sleep, when it behooved you to be awake from the beginning, in order that the Kingdom of Heaven might receive you? In truth I say to you, it is easier for a holy one to sink into defilement, and for a man of light to sink into darkness, than for you to reign – or even not to reign!

“I have remembered your tears and your grief and your sorrow. They are far from us. Now, then, you who are outside the inheritance of the Father, weep where it behooves you and grieve and proclaim that which is good, since the Son is ascending appropriately. In truth I say to you, had it been to those who would listen to me that I was sent, and had it been with them that I was to speak, I would have never descended upon the earth. And now, then, be ashamed on account of them.

“Behold, I shall depart from you. I am going and I do not desire to remain with you any longer – just as you yourselves have not desired. Now, then, follow me quickly. Therefore I say to you, for your sake I have descended. You are the beloved; you are those who will become a cause of life for many. Beseech the Father. Implore God often, and he will give to you. Blessed is the one who has seen you with him when he is proclaimed among the angels and glorified among the saints. Yours is life! Rejoice and be glad as children of God. Keep his will in order that you may be saved. Take reproof from me and save yourselves. I intercede on your behalf with the Father, and he will forgive you much.”

And when we heard these things, we became elated, for we had been depressed on account of what we had said earlier. Now when he saw our rejoicing, he said: “Woe to you who are in want of an advocate! Woe to you who are in need of grace! Blessed are those who have spoken freely and have produced grace for themselves. Make yourselves like strangers; of what sort are they in the estimation of your city? Why are you troubled when you oust yourselves of your own accord and depart from your city? Why do you abandon your dwelling place of your own accord, readying it for those who desire to dwell in it? O you exiles and fugitives! Woe to you, because you will be caught! Or perhaps you imagine that the Father is a lover of humanity? Or that he is persuaded by prayers? Or that he is gracious to one on behalf of another? Or that he bears with one who seeks? For he knows the desire and also that which the flesh needs. Because it is not the flesh which yearns for the soul. For without the soul the body does not sin, just as the

soul is not saved without the Spirit. But if the soul is saved when it is without evil, and if the spirit also is saved, then the body becomes sinless. For it is the spirit which animates the soul, but it is the body which kills it – that is, it is the soul which kills itself. Truly I say to you, the Father will not forgive the sin of the soul at all, nor the guilt of the flesh. For none of those who have worn the flesh will be saved. For do you imagine that many have found the Kingdom of Heaven? Blessed is the one who has seen himself as a fourth one in Heaven.”

When we heard these things, we became distressed. Now when he saw that we were distressed, he said: “This is why I say this to you, that you may know yourselves. For the Kingdom of Heaven is like an ear of grain which sprouted in a field. And when it ripened, it scattered its fruit and, in turn, filled the field with ears of grain for another year. You also: be zealous to reap for yourselves an ear of life, in order that you may be filled with the Kingdom.

“As long as I am with you, give heed to me and obey me. But when I am to depart from you, remember me. And remember me because I was with you without your knowing me. Blessed are those who have known me. Woe to those who have heard and have not believed! Blessed are those who have not seen but have had faith!

“And once again I persuade you. For I am revealed to you building a house which is very valuable to you, since you take shelter under it; in the same way it will be able to support the house of your neighbors when theirs is in danger of falling. In truth I say to you, woe to those on behalf of whom I was sent down to this place! Blessed are those who are to ascend to the Father. Again I reprove you. You who are, make yourselves like those who are not, in order that you may come to be with those who are not.

“Let not the Kingdom of Heaven become desolate among you. Do not become arrogant on account of the light which illumines. Rather, become to yourselves in this manner, as I am to you. For I have placed myself under the curse, in order that you may be saved”

And Peter answered to this and said: “Sometimes you urge us on to the Kingdom of Heaven, and other times you turn us away, Lord. Sometimes you persuade us and impel us to faith and promise us life, and other times you expel us from the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And the Lord answered and said to us: “I have given you faith many times. Moreover, I have revealed myself to you, James, and you have not known me. Again, now I see you rejoicing many times. And when you are elated over the promise of life, are you nevertheless glum? And are you distressed when you are taught about the Kingdom? But you through faith and knowledge have received life. Therefore, scorn rejection when you hear it, but, when you hear the promise, be the more glad. In truth I say to you, the one who will receive life and believe in the Kingdom will never leave it – not even if the Father desires to banish him!

“These things I shall say to you for the present. But now I shall ascend to the place from which I have come. But you, when I was eager to go, have driven me out, and, instead of your accompanying me, you have pursued me. But give heed to the glory which awaits me, and, having opened your hearts, listen to the hymns which await me up in heaven. For today I am obliged to take (my place) at the right hand of my Father. Now I have said my last word to you. I shall part from you. For a chariot of wind has taken me up, and from now on I shall strip myself in order that I may clothe myself. But give heed: blessed are those who have preached the Son before he descended, in order that, when I have come, I may ascend. Thrice-blessed are thos who were proclaimed by the Son before they came into being, in order that you may have a portion with them.”

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

When he said these things, he went away. And we knelt down, I and Peter, and gave thanks, and sent our hearts up to heaven. We heard with our ears and saw with our eyes the sound of wars and a trumpet call and a great commotion.

And when we passed beyond that place, we sent out minds up further. And we saw with our eyes and heard with our ears hymns and angelic praises and angelic jubilation. And heavenly majesties were hymning, and we ourselves were jubilant.

After this, we also desired to send our spirits above to the Majesty. And when we ascended, we were permitted neither to see nor to hear anything. For the rest of the disciples called to us and questioned us: “What is it that you have heard from the Master?” And, “What has he said to you?” And, “Where has he gone?”

And we answered them: “He has ascended.” And, “He has given us a pledge and has promised us all life and disclosed to us children who are to come after us, since he has bid us to love them, inasmuch as we will be saved for their sake.”

And when they heard, they believed the revelation, but were angry about those who would be born. Then I, not desiring to entice them to scandal, sent each one to another place. But I myself went up to Jerusalem, praying that I may obtain a portion with the beloved who are to be revealed.

And I pray that the beginning may come from you, for thus I can be saved. Because they will be enlightened through me, through my faith and through another’s which is better than mine, for I desire that mine become the lesser. Endeavor earnestly, therefore, to make yourself like them, and pray that you may obtain a portion with them. For apart from what I have recounted, the Savior did not disclose revelation to us. For their sake we proclaim, indeed, a portion with those for whom it was proclaimed, those whom the Lord has made his children.

From Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1982), as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984).

THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

The Nag Hammadi Library

The Apocryphon of John

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

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Translated by Frederik Wisse

The Apocryphon of John is commonly referenced by two other names: The Secret Book of John and The Secret Revelation of John, depending upon how the word “Apocryphon” is translated. Their are four surviving Coptic manuscripts of this text: two shorter version found in the Berlin Codex; and Nag Hammadi Codex III, and two longer version, found in Nag Hammadi Codex II and IV. This translation prepared by Dr. Wisse for the Nag Hammadi Library in English uses all four manuscripts to produce a single text.

Separate translations of the short and long version, along with extensive additional resources, are available in the Apocryphon of John Collection of the Gnostic Society Library.

Visit the Apocryphon of John Collection for more information

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The teaching of the savior, and the revelation of the mysteries and the things hidden in silence, even these things which he taught John, his disciple.

And it happened one day, when John, the brother of James – who are the sons of Zebedee

  • had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, “Where is your master whom you followed?” And he said to him, “He has gone to the place from which he came.” The Pharisee said to him, “With deception did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers.”When I, John, heard these things I turned away from the temple to a desert place. And I grieved greatly in my heart, saying, “How then was the savior appointed, and why was he sent into the world by his Father, and who is his Father who sent him, and of what sort is that aeon to which we shall go? For what did he mean when he said to us, ‘This aeon to which you will go is of the type of the imperishable aeon, but he did not teach us concerning the latter, of what sort it is.”Straightway, while I was contemplating these things, behold, the heavens opened and the whole creation which is below heaven shone, and the world was shaken. I was afraid, and behold I saw in the light a youth who stood by me. While I looked at him, he became like an old man. And he changed his likeness (again), becoming like a servant. There was not a plurality before me, but there was a likeness with multiple forms in the light, and the likenesses appeared through each other, and the likeness had three forms.He said to me, “John, John, why do you doubt, or why are you afraid? You are not unfamiliar with this image, are you? – that is, do not be timid! – I am the one who is with you (pl.) always. I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass, that you may know the things which are not revealed and those which are revealed, and to teach you concerning the unwavering race of the perfect Man. Now, therefore, lift up your face, that you may receive the things that I shall teach you today, and may tell them to your fellow spirits who are from the unwavering race of the perfect Man.”And I asked to know it, and he said to me, “The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can look.”He is the invisible Spirit, of whom it is not right to think of him as a god, or something similar. For he is more than a god, since there is nothing above him, for no one lords it over him. For he does not exist in something inferior to him, since everything exists in him. For it is he who establishes himself. He is eternal, since he does not need anything. For he is total perfection. He did not lack anything, that he might be completed by it; rather he is always completely perfect in light. He is illimitable, since there is no one prior to him to set limits to him. He is unsearchable, since there exists no one prior to him to examine him. He is immeasurable, since there was no one prior to him to measure him. He is invisible, since no one saw him. He is eternal, since he exists eternally. He is ineffable, since no one was able to comprehend him to speak about him. He is unnameable, since there is no one prior to him to give him a name.

    “He is immeasurable light, which is pure, holy (and) immaculate. He is ineffable, being perfect in incorruptibility. (He is) not in perfection, nor in blessedness, nor in divinity, but he is far superior. He is not corporeal nor is he incorporeal. He is neither large nor is he small. There is no way to say, ‘What is his quantity?’ or, ‘What is his quality?’, for no one can know him. He is not someone among (other) beings, rather he is far superior. Not that he is (simply) superior, but his essence does not partake in the aeons nor in time. For he who partakes in an aeon was prepared beforehand. Time was not apportioned to him, since he does not receive anything from another, for it would be received on loan. For he who precedes someone does not lack, that he may receive from him. For rather, it is the latter that looks expectantly at him in his light.

    “For the perfection is majestic. He is pure, immeasurable mind. He is an aeon-giving aeon. He is life-giving life. He is a blessedness-giving blessed one. He is knowledge- giving knowledge. He is goodness-giving goodness. He is mercy and redemption-giving mercy. He is grace-giving grace, not because he possesses it, but because he gives the immeasurable, incomprehensible light.

    “How am I to speak with you about him? His aeon is indestructible, at rest and existing in silence, reposing (and) being prior to everything. For he is the head of all the aeons, and it is he who gives them strength in his goodness. For we know not the ineffable things, and we do not understand what is immeasurable, except for him who came forth from him, namely (from) the Father. For it is he who told it to us alone. For it is he who looks at himself in his light which surrounds him, namely the spring of the water of life. And it is he who gives to all the aeons and in every way, (and) who gazes upon his image which he sees in the spring of the Spirit. It is he who puts his desire in his water-light which is in the spring of the pure light-water which surrounds him.

    “And his thought performed a deed and she came forth, namely she who had appeared before him in the shine of his light. This is the first power which was before all of them (and) which came forth from his mind, She is the forethought of the All – her light shines like his light – the perfect power which is the image of the invisible, virginal Spirit who is perfect. The first power, the glory of Barbelo, the perfect glory in the aeons, the glory of the revelation, she glorified the virginal Spirit and it was she who praised him, because thanks to him she had come forth. This is the first thought, his image; she became the womb of everything, for it is she who is prior to them all, the Mother-Father, the first man, the holy Spirit, the thrice-male, the thrice-powerful, the thrice-named androgynous one, and the eternal aeon among the invisible ones, and the first to come forth.

    “<She> requested from the invisible, virginal Spirit – that is Barbelo – to give her foreknowledge. And the Spirit consented. And when he had consented, the foreknowledge came forth, and it stood by the forethought; it originates from the thought of the invisible, virginal Spirit. It glorified him and his perfect power, Barbelo, for it was for her sake that it had come into being.

    “And she requested again to grant her indestructibility, and he consented. When he had consented, indestructibility came forth, and it stood by the thought and the foreknowledge. It glorified the invisible One and Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And Barbelo requested to grant her eternal life. And the invisible Spirit consented. And when he had consented, eternal life came forth, and they attended and glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And she requested again to grant her truth. And the invisible Spirit consented. And when he had consented, truth came forth, and they attended and glorified the invisible, excellent Spirit and his Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “This is the pentad of the aeons of the Father, which is the first man, the image of the invisible Spirit; it is the forethought, which Barbelo, and the thought, and the foreknowledge, and the indestructibility, and the eternal life, and the truth. This is the androgynous pentad of the aeons, which is the decad of the aeons, which is the Father.

    “And he looked at Barbelo with the pure light which surrounds the invisible Spirit, and (with) his spark, and she conceived from him. He begot a spark of light with a light resembling blessedness. But it does not equal his greatness. This was an only-begotten child of the Mother-Father which had come forth; it is the only offspring, the only- begotten one of the Father, the pure Light.

    “And the invisible, virginal Spirit rejoiced over the light which came forth, that which was brought forth first by the first power of his forethought, which is Barbelo. And he anointed it with his goodness until it became perfect, not lacking in any goodness, because he had anointed it with the goodness of the invisible Spirit. And it attended him as he poured upon it. And immediately when it had received from the Spirit, it glorified the holy Spirit and the perfect forethought, for whose sake it had come forth.

    “And it requested to give it a fellow worker, which is the mind, and he consented gladly. And when the invisible Spirit had consented, the mind came forth, and it attended Christ, glorifying him and Barbelo. And all these came into being in silence.

    “And the mind wanted to perform a deed through the word of the invisible Spirit. And his will became a deed and it appeared with the mind; and the light glorified it. And the word followed the will. For because of the word, Christ the divine Autogenes created everything. And the eternal life <and> his will and the mind and the foreknowledge attended and glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo, for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And the holy Spirit completed the divine Autogenes, his son, together with Barbelo, that he may attend the mighty and invisible, virginal Spirit as the divine Autogenes, the Christ whom he had honored with a mighty voice. He came forth through the forethought. And the invisible, virginal Spirit placed the divine Autogenes of truth over everything. And he subjected to him every authority, and the truth which is in him, that he may know the All which had been called with a name exalted above every name. For that name will be mentioned to those who are worthy of it.

    “For from the light, which is the Christ, and the indestructibility, through the gift of the Spirit the four lights (appeared) from the divine Autogenes. He expected that they might attend him. And the three (are) will, thought, and life. And the four powers (are) understanding, grace, perception, and prudence. And grace belongs to the light-aeon Armozel, which is the first angel. And there are three other aeons with this aeon: grace, truth, and form. And the second light (is) Oriel, who has been placed over the second aeon. And there are three other aeons with him: conception, perception, and memory. And the third light is Daveithai, who has been placed over the third aeon. And there are three other aeons with him: understanding, love, and idea. And the fourth aeon was

    placed over the fourth light Eleleth. And there are three other aeons with him: perfection, peace, and wisdom. These are the four lights which attend the divine Autogenes, (and) these are the twelve aeons which attend the son of the mighty one, the Autogenes, the

    Christ, through the will and the gift of the invisible Spirit. And the twelve aeons belong to

    the son of the Autogenes. And all things were established by the will of the holy Spirit through the Autogenes.

    “And from the foreknowledge of the perfect mind, through the revelation of the will of the invisible Spirit and the will of the Autogenes, <the> perfect Man (appeared), the first revelation, and the truth. It is he whom the virginal Spirit called Pigera-Adamas, and he placed him over the first aeon with the mighty one, the Autogenes, the Christ, by the first light Armozel; and with him are his powers. And the invisible one gave him a spiritual, invincible power. And he spoke and glorified and praised the invisible Spirit, saying, ‘It is for thy sake that everything has come into being and everything will return to thee. I shall praise and glorify thee and the Autogenes and the aeons, the three: the Father, the Mother, and the Son, the perfect power.’

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “And he placed his son Seth over the second aeon in the presence of the second light Oriel. And in the third aeon the seed of Seth was placed over the third light Daveithai. And the souls of the saints were placed (there). And in the fourth aeon the souls were placed of those who do not know the Pleroma and who did not repent at once, but who persisted for a while and repented afterwards; they are by the fourth light Eleleth. These are creatures which glorify the invisible Spirit.

    “And the Sophia of the Epinoia, being an aeon, conceived a thought from herself and the conception of the invisible Spirit and foreknowledge. She wanted to bring forth a likeness out of herself without the consent of the Spirit, – he had not approved – and without her consort, and without his consideration. And though the person of her maleness had not approved, and she had not found her agreement, and she had thought without the consent of the Spirit and the knowledge of her agreement, (yet) she brought forth. And because of the invincible power which is in her, her thought did not remain idle, and something came out of her which was imperfect and different from her appearance, because she had created it without her consort. And it was dissimilar to the likeness of its mother, for it has another form.

    “And when she saw (the consequences of) her desire, it changed into a form of a lion- faced serpent. And its eyes were like lightning fires which flash. She cast it away from her, outside that place, that no one of the immortal ones might see it, for she had created it in ignorance. And she surrounded it with a luminous cloud, and she placed a throne in the middle of the cloud that no one might see it except the holy Spirit who is called the mother of the living. And she called his name Yaltabaoth.

    “This is the first archon who took a great power from his mother. And he removed himself from her and moved away from the places in which he was born. He became strong and created for himself other aeons with a flame of luminous fire which (still) exists now. And he joined with his arrogance which is in him and begot authorities for

    himself. The name of the first one is Athoth, whom the generations call the reaper. The second one is Harmas, who is the eye of envy. The third one is Kalila-Oumbri. The fourth one is Yabel. The fifth one is Adonaiou, who is called Sabaoth. The sixth one is Cain, whom the generations of men call the sun. The seventh is Abel. The eighth is Abrisene. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Armoupieel. The eleventh is Melceir-Adonein. The twelfth is Belias, it is he who is over the depth of Hades. And he placed seven kings – each corresponding to the firmaments of heaven – over the seven heavens, and five over

    the depth of the abyss, that they may reign. And he shared his fire with them, but he did

    not send forth from the power of the light which he had taken from his mother, for he is ignorant darkness.

    “And when the light had mixed with the darkness, it caused the darkness to shine. And when the darkness had mixed with the light, it darkened the light and it became neither light nor dark, but it became dim.

    “Now the archon who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas, and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, ‘I am God and there is no other God beside me,’ for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.

    “And the archons created seven powers for themselves, and the powers created for themselves six angels for each one until they became 365 angels. And these are the bodies belonging with the names: the first is Athoth, a 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 dragon’s face; the sixth is Adonin, he had a monkey’s face; the seventh is Sabbede, he has a shining fire-face. This is the sevenness of the week.

    “But Yaltabaoth had a multitude of faces, more than all of them, so that he could put a face before all of them, according to his desire, when he is in the midst of seraphs. He shared his fire with them; therefore he became lord over them. Because of the power of the glory he possessed of his mother’s light, he called himself God. And he did not obey the place from which he came. And he united the seven powers in his thought with the authorities which were with him. And when he spoke it happened. And he named each power beginning with the highest: the first is goodness with the first (authority), Athoth; the second is foreknowledge with the second one, Eloaio; and 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 one, Sabbateon. And these have a firmament corresponding to each aeon-heaven. They were given names according to the glory which belongs to heaven for the destruction of the powers. And in the names which were given to them by their Originator there was power. But the names which were given them according to the glory which belongs to heaven mean for them destruction and powerlessness. Thus they have two names.

    “And having created […] everything, he organized according to the model of the first aeons which had come into being, so that he might create them like the indestructible ones. Not because he had seen the indestructible ones, but the power in him, which he had taken from his mother, produced in him the likeness of the cosmos. And when he saw the creation which surrounds him, and the multitude of the angels around him which had come forth from him, he said to them, ‘I am a jealous God, and there is no other God beside me.’ But by announcing this he indicated to the angels who attended him that there exists another God. For if there were no other one, of whom would he be jealous?

    “Then the mother began to move to and fro. She became aware of the deficiency when the brightness of her light diminished. And she became dark because her consort had not agreed with her.”

    And I said, “Lord, what does it mean that she moved to and fro?” But he smiled and said, “Do not think it is, as Moses said, ‘above the waters.’ No, but when she had seen the wickedness which had happened, and the theft which her son had committed, she repented. And she was overcome by forgetfulness in the darkness of ignorance and she began to be ashamed. And she did not dare to return, but she was moving about. And the moving is the going to and fro.

    “And the arrogant one took a power from his mother. For he was ignorant, thinking that there existed no other except his mother alone. And when he saw the multitude of the angels which he had created, then he exalted himself above them.

    “And when the mother recognized that the garment of darkness was imperfect, then she knew that her consort had not agreed with her. She repented with much weeping. And the whole pleroma heard the prayer of her repentance, and they praised on her behalf the invisible, virginal Spirit. And he consented; and when the invisible Spirit had consented, the holy Spirit poured over her from their whole pleroma. For it was not her consort who came to her, but he came to her through the pleroma in order that he might correct her deficiency. And she was taken up not to her own aeon but above her son, that she might be in the ninth until she has corrected her deficiency.

    “And a voice came forth from the exalted aeon-heaven: ‘The Man exists and the son of Man.’ And the chief archon, Yaltabaoth, heard (it) and thought that the voice had come from his mother. And he did not know from where it came. And he taught them, the holy and perfect Mother-Father, the complete foreknowledge, the image of the invisible one who is the Father of the all (and) through whom everything came into being, the first Man. For he revealed his likeness in a human form.

    “And the whole aeon of the chief archon trembled, and the foundations of the abyss shook. And of the waters which are above matter, the underside was illuminated by the appearance of his image which had been revealed. And when all the authorities and the chief archon looked, they saw the whole region of the underside which was illuminated. And through the light they saw the form of the image in the water.

    “And he said to the authorities which attend him, ‘Come, let us create a man according to the image of God and according to our likeness, that his image may become a light for us.’ And they created by means of their respective powers in correspondence with the characteristics which were given. And each authority supplied a characteristic in the form of the image which he had seen in its natural (form). He created a being according to the likeness of the first, perfect Man. And they said, ‘Let us call him Adam, that his name may become a power of light for us.’

    “And the powers began: the first one, goodness, created a bone-soul; and the second, foreknowledge, created a sinew-soul; the third, divinity, created a flesh-soul; and the fourth, the lordship, created a marrow-soul; the fifth, kingdom created a blood-soul; the sixth, envy, created a skin-soul; the seventh, understanding, created a hair-soul. And the multitude of the angels attended him and they received from the powers the seven substances of the natural (form) in order to create the proportions of the limbs and the proportion of the rump and the proper working together of each of the parts.

    “The first one began to create the head. Eteraphaope-Abron created his head; Meniggesstroeth created the brain; Asterechme (created) the right eye; Thaspomocha, the left eye; Yeronumos, the right ear; Bissoum, the left ear; Akioreim, the nose; Banen- Ephroum, the lips; Amen, the teeth; Ibikan, the molars; Basiliademe, the tonsils; Achcha, the uvula; Adaban, the neck; Chaaman, the vertebrae; Dearcho, the throat; Tebar, the right shoulder; […], the left shoulder; Mniarcon, the right elbow; […], the left elbow; Abitrion, the right underarm; Evanthen, the left underarm; Krys, the right hand; Beluai, the left hand; Treneu, the fingers of the right hand; Balbel, the fingers of the left hand; Kriman, the nails of the hands; Astrops, the right breast; Barroph, the left breast; Baoum, the right shoulder joint; Ararim, the left shoulder joint; Areche, the belly; Phthave, the navel; Senaphim, the abdomen; Arachethopi, the right ribs; Zabedo, the left ribs; Barias, the right hip; Phnouth the left hip; Abenlenarchei, the marrow; Chnoumeninorin, the bones; Gesole, the stomach; Agromauna, the heart; Bano, the lungs; Sostrapal, the liver; Anesimalar, the spleen; Thopithro, the intestines; Biblo, the kidneys; Roeror, the sinews; Taphreo, the spine of the body; Ipouspoboba, the veins; Bineborin, the arteries; Atoimenpsephei, theirs are the breaths which are in all the limbs; Entholleia, all the flesh;

    Bedouk, the right buttock (?); Arabeei, the left penis; Eilo, the testicles; Sorma, the

    genitals; Gorma-Kaiochlabar, the right thigh; Nebrith, the left thigh; Pserem, the kidneys

    of the right leg; Asaklas, the left kidney; Ormaoth, the right leg; Emenun, the left leg; Knyx, the right shin-bone; Tupelon, the left shin-bone; Achiel, the right knee; Phnene, the left knee; Phiouthrom, the right foot; Boabel, its toes; Trachoun, the left foot; Phikna, its toes; Miamai, the nails of the feet; Labernioum – .

    “And those who were appointed over all of these are: Zathoth, Armas, Kalila, Jabel, (Sabaoth, Cain, Abel). And those who are particularly active in the limbs (are) the head Diolimodraza, the neck Yammeax, the right shoulder Yakouib, the left shoulder Verton, the right hand Oudidi, the left one Arbao, the fingers of the right hand Lampno, the fingers of the left hand Leekaphar, the right breast Barbar, the left breast Imae, the chest Pisandriaptes, the right shoulder joint Koade, the left shoulder joint Odeor, the right ribs Asphixix, the left ribs Synogchouta, the belly Arouph, the womb Sabalo, the right thigh

    Charcharb, the left thigh Chthaon, all the genitals Bathinoth, the right leg Choux, the left leg Charcha, the right shin-bone Aroer, the left shin-bone Toechtha, the right knee Aol, the left knee Charaner, the right foot Bastan, its toes Archentechtha, the left foot Marephnounth, its toes Abrana.

    “Seven have power over all of these: Michael, Ouriel, Asmenedas, Saphasatoel, Aarmouriam, Richram, Amiorps. And the ones who are in charge over the senses (are) Archendekta; and he who is in charge over the receptions (is) Deitharbathas; and he who is in charge over the imagination (is) Oummaa; and he who is over the composition Aachiaram, and he who is over the whole impulse Riaramnacho.

    “And the origin of the demons which are in the whole body is determined to be four: heat, cold, wetness, and dryness. And the mother of all of them is matter. And he who reigns over the heat (is) Phloxopha; and he who reigns over the cold is Oroorrothos; and he who reigns over what is dry (is) Erimacho; and he who reigns over the wetness (is) Athuro. And the mother of all of these, Onorthochrasaei, stands in their midst, since she is illimitable, and she mixes with all of them. And she is truly matter, for they are nourished by her.

    “The four chief demons are: Ephememphi, who belongs to pleasure, Yoko, who belongs to desire, Nenentophni, who belongs to grief, Blaomen, who belongs to fear. And the mother of them all is Aesthesis-Ouch-Epi-Ptoe. And from the four demons passions came forth. And from grief (came) envy, jealousy, distress, trouble, pain, callousness, anxiety, mourning, etc. And from pleasure much wickedness arises, and empty pride, and similar things. And from desire (comes) anger, wrath, and bitterness, and bitter passion, and unsatedness, and similar things. And from fear (comes) dread, fawning, agony, and shame. All of these are like useful things as well as evil things. But the insight into their true (character) is Anaro, who is the head of the material soul, for it belongs with the seven senses, Ouch-Epi-Ptoe.

    “This is the number of the angels: together they are 365. They all worked on it until, limb for limb, the natural and the material body was completed by them. Now there are other ones in charge over the remaining passions whom I did not mention to you. But if you

    wish to know them, it is written in the book of Zoroaster. And all the angels and demons worked until they had constructed the natural body. And their product was completely inactive and motionless for a long time.

    “And when the mother wanted to retrieve the power which she had given to the chief archon, she petitioned the Mother-Father of the All, who is most merciful. He sent, by means of the holy decree, the five lights down upon the place of the angels of the chief archon. They advised him that they should bring forth the power of the mother. And they said to Yaltabaoth, ‘Blow into his face something of your spirit and his body will arise.’ And he blew into his face the spirit which is the power of his mother; he did not know (this), for he exists in ignorance. And the power of the mother went out of Yaltabaoth

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    into the natural body, which they had fashioned after the image of the one who exists from the beginning. The body moved and gained strength, and it was luminous.

    “And in that moment the rest of the powers became jealous, because he had come into being through all of them and they had given their power to the man, and his intelligence was greater than that of those who had made him, and greater than that of the chief archon. And when they recognized that he was luminous, and that he could think better

    than they, and that he was free from wickedness, they took him and threw him into the lowest region of all matter.

    “But the blessed One, the Mother-Father, the beneficent and merciful One, had mercy on the power of the mother which had been brought forth out of the chief archon, for they (the archons) might gain power over the natural and perceptible body. And he sent, through his beneficent Spirit and his great mercy, a helper to Adam, luminous Epinoia which comes out of him, who is called Life. And she assists the whole creature, by toiling with him and by restoring him to his fullness and by teaching him about the descent of his seed (and) by teaching him about the way of ascent, (which is) the way he came down. And the luminous Epinoia was hidden in Adam, in order that the archons might not know her, but that the Epinoia might be a correction of the deficiency of the mother.

    “And the man came forth because of the shadow of the light which is in him. And his thinking was superior to all those who had made him. When they looked up, they saw that his thinking was superior. And they took counsel with the whole array of archons and angels. They took fire and earth and water and mixed them together with the four fiery winds. And they wrought them together and caused a great disturbance. And they brought him (Adam) into the shadow of death, in order that they might form (him) again from earth and water and fire and the spirit which originates in matter, which is the ignorance of darkness and desire, and their counterfeit spirit. This is the tomb of the newly-formed body with which the robbers had clothed the man, the bond of forgetfulness; and he became a mortal man. This is the first one who came down, and the first separation. But the Epinoia of the light which was in him, she is the one who was to awaken his thinking.

    “And the archons took him and placed him in paradise. And they said to him, ‘Eat, that is at leisure,’ for their luxury is bitter and their beauty is depraved. And their luxury is deception and their trees are godlessness and their fruit is deadly poison and their promise is death. And the tree of their life they had placed in the midst of paradise.

    “And I shall teach you (pl.) what is the mystery of their life, which is the plan which they made together, which is the likeness of their spirit. The root of this (tree) is bitter and its branches are death, its shadow is hate and deception is in its leaves, and its blossom is the ointment of evil, and its fruit is death and desire is its seed, and it sprouts in darkness. The dwelling place of those who taste from it is Hades, and the darkness is their place of rest.

    “But what they call the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which is the Epinoia of the light, they stayed in front of it in order that he (Adam) might not look up to his fullness and recognize the nakedness of his shamefulness. But it was I who brought about that they ate.”

    And to I said to the savior, “Lord, was it not the serpent that taught Adam to eat?” The savior smiled and said, “The serpent taught them to eat from wickedness of begetting, lust, (and) destruction, that he (Adam) might be useful to him. And he (Adam) knew that he was disobedient to him (the chief archon) due to light of the Epinoia which is in him, which made him more correct in his thinking than the chief archon. And (the latter) wanted to bring about the power which he himself had given him. And he brought a forgetfulness over Adam.”

    And I said to the savior, “What is the forgetfulness?” And he said “It is not the way Moses wrote (and) you heard. For he said in his first book, ‘He put him to sleep’ (Gn 2:21), but (it was) in his perception. For also he said through the prophet, ‘I will make their hearts heavy, that they may not pay attention and may not see’ (Is 6:10).

    “Then the Epinoia of the light hid herself in him (Adam). And the chief archon wanted to bring her out of his rib. But the Epinoia of the light cannot be grasped. Although darkness pursued her, it did not catch her. And he brought a part of his power out of him. And he made another creature, in the form of a woman, according to the likeness of the Epinoia which had appeared to him. And he brought the part which he had taken from the power of the man into the female creature, and not as Moses said, ‘his rib-bone.’

    “And he (Adam) saw the woman beside him. And in that moment the luminous Epinoia appeared, and she lifted the veil which lay over his mind. And he became sober from the drunkenness of darkness. And he recognized his counter-image, and he said, ‘This is indeed bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ Therefore the man will leave his father and his mother, and he will cleave to his wife, and they will both be one flesh. For they will send him his consort, and he will leave his father and his mother … (3 lines unreadable)

    “And our sister Sophia (is) she who came down in innocence in order to rectify her deficiency. Therefore she was called Life, which is the mother of the living, by the foreknowledge of the sovereignty of heaven. And through her they have tasted the perfect Knowledge. I appeared in the form of an eagle on the tree of knowledge, which is the Epinoia from the foreknowledge of the pure light, that I might teach them and awaken them out of the depth of sleep. For they were both in a fallen state, and they recognized their nakedness. The Epinoia appeared to them as a light; she awakened their thinking.

    “And when Yaltabaoth noticed that they withdrew from him, he cursed his earth. He found the woman as she was preparing herself for her husband. He was lord over her, though he did not know the mystery which had come to pass through the holy decree. And they were afraid to blame him. And he showed his angels his ignorance which is in him. And he cast them out of paradise and he clothed them in gloomy darkness. And the chief archon saw the virgin who stood by Adam, and that the luminous Epinoia of life had appeared in her. And Yaltabaoth was full of ignorance. And when the foreknowledge of the All noticed (it), she sent some and they snatched life out of Eve.

    “And the chief archon seduced her and he begot in her two sons; the first and the second (are) Eloim and Yave. Eloim has a bear-face and Yave has a cat-face. The one is righteous but the other is unrighteous. (Yave is righteous but Eloim is unrighteous.) Yave he set over the fire and the wind, and Eloim he set over the water and the earth. And these he called with the names Cain and Abel with a view to deceive.

    “Now up to the present day, sexual intercourse continued due to the chief archon. And he planted sexual desire in her who belongs to Adam. And he produced through intercourse the copies of the bodies, and he inspired them with his counterfeit spirit.

    “And the two archons he set over principalities, so that they might rule over the tomb. And when Adam recognized the likeness of his own foreknowledge, he begot the likeness of the son of man. He called him Seth, according to the way of the race in the aeons. Likewise, the mother also sent down her spirit, which is in her likeness and a copy of those who are in the pleroma, for she will prepare a dwelling place for the aeons which will come down. And he made them drink water of forgetfulness, from the chief archon, in order that they might not know from where they came. Thus, the seed remained for a while assisting (him), in order that, when the Spirit comes forth from the holy aeons, he may raise up and heal him from the deficiency, that the whole pleroma may (again) become holy and faultless.”

    And I said to the savior, “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?” He answered and said to me, “Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil. Then they have no other care than the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy or desire and greed of anything. They are not affected by anything except the state of being in the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly for the time when they will be met by the receivers (of the body). Such then are worthy of the imperishable, eternal life and the calling. For they endure everything and bear up under everything, that they may finish the good fight and inherit eternal life.”

    I said to him, “Lord, the souls of those who did not do these works (but) on whom the power and Spirit descended, (will they be rejected?” He answered and said to me, “If) the Spirit (descended upon them), they will in any case be saved, and they will change (for the better). For the power will descend on every man, for without it no one can stand. And after they are born, then, when the Spirit of life increases and the power comes and strengthens that soul, no one can lead it astray with works of evil. But those on whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by him and they go astray.”

    And I said, “Lord, where will the souls of these go when they have come out of their flesh?” And he smiled and said to me, “The soul in which the power will become stronger

    than the counterfeit spirit, is strong and it flees from evil and, through the intervention of the incorruptible one, it is saved, and it is taken up to the rest of the aeons.”

    And I said, “Lord, those, however, who have not known to whom they belong, where will their souls be?” And he said to me, “In those, the despicable spirit has gained strength when they went astray. And he burdens the soul and draws it to the works of evil, and he casts it down into forgetfulness. And after it comes out of (the body), it is handed over to the authorities, who came into being through the archon, and they bind it with chains and cast it into prison, and consort with it until it is liberated from the forgetfulness and acquires knowledge. And if thus it becomes perfect, it is saved.”

    And I said, “Lord, how can the soul become smaller and return into the nature of its mother or into man?” Then he rejoiced when I asked him this, and he said to me, “Truly, you are blessed, for you have understood! That soul is made to follow another one (fem.), since the Spirit of life is in it. It is saved through him. It is not again cast into another flesh.”

    And I said, “Lord, these also who did not know, but have turned away, where will their souls go?” Then he said to me, “To that place where the angels of poverty go they will be taken, the place where there is no repentance. And they will be kept for the day on which those who have blasphemed the spirit will be tortured, and they will be punished with eternal punishment.”

    And I said, “Lord, from where did the counterfeit spirit come?” Then he said to me, “The Mother-Father, who is rich in mercy, the holy Spirit in every way, the One who is merciful and who sympathizes with you (pl.), i.e., the Epinoia of the foreknowledge of light, he raised up the offspring of the perfect race and its thinking and the eternal light of man. When the chief archon realized that they were exalted above him in the height – and they surpass him in thinking – then he wanted to seize their thought, not knowing that they surpassed him in thinking, and that he will not be able to seize them.

    “He made a plan with his authorities, which are his powers, and they committed together adultery with Sophia, and bitter fate was begotten through them, which is the last of the changeable bonds. And it is of a sort that is interchangeable. And it is harder and stronger than she with whom the gods united, and the angels and the demons and all the generations until this day. For from that fate came forth every sin and injustice and blasphemy, and the chain of forgetfulness and ignorance and every severe command, and serious sins and great fears. And thus the whole creation was made blind, in order that they may not know God, who is above all of them. And because of the chain of forgetfulness, their sins were hidden. For they are bound with measures and times and moments, since it (fate) is lord over everything.

    “And he (the chief archon) repented for everything which had come into being through him. This time he planned to bring a flood upon the work of man. But the greatness of the light of the foreknowledge informed Noah, and he proclaimed (it) to all the offspring which are the sons of men. But those who were strangers to him did not listen to him. It is

    not as Moses said, ‘They hid themselves in an ark’ (Gn 7: 7), but they hid themselves in a place, not only Noah, but also many other people from the immovable race. They went into a place and hid themselves in a luminous cloud. And he (Noah) recognized his authority, and she who belongs to the light was with him, having shone on them because he (the chief archon) had brought darkness upon the whole earth.

    “And he made a plan with his powers. He sent his angels to the daughters of men, that they might take some of them for themselves and raise offspring for their enjoyment. And at first they did not succeed. When they had no success, they gathered together again and they made a plan together. They created a counterfeit spirit, who resembles the Spirit who had descended, so as to pollute the souls through it. And the angels changed themselves in their likeness into the likeness of their mates (the daughters of men), filling them with the spirit of darkness, which they had mixed for them, and with evil. They brought gold and silver and a gift and copper and iron and metal and all kinds of things. And they steered the people who had followed them into great troubles, by leading them astray with many deceptions. They (the people) became old without having enjoyment. They died, not having found truth and without knowing the God of truth. And thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, from the foundation of the world until now. And they took women and begot children out of the darkness according to the likeness of their spirit. And they closed their hearts, and they hardened themselves through the hardness of the counterfeit spirit until now.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “I, therefore, the perfect Pronoia of the all, changed myself into my seed, for I existed first, going on every road. For I am the richness of the light; I am the remembrance of the pleroma.

    “And I went into the realm of darkness and I endured till I entered the middle of the prison. And the foundations of chaos shook. And I hid myself from them because of their wickedness, and they did not recognize me.

    “Again I returned for the second time, and I went about. I came forth from those who belong to the light, which is I, the remembrance of the Pronoia. I entered into the midst of darkness and the inside of Hades, since I was seeking (to accomplish) my task. And the foundations of chaos shook, that they might fall down upon those who are in chaos and might destroy them. And again I ran up to my root of light, lest they be destroyed before

    the time.

    “Still for a third time I went – I am the light which exists in the light, I am the remembrance of the Pronoia – that I might enter into the midst of darkness and the inside of Hades. And I filled my face with the light of the completion of their aeon. And I entered into the midst of their prison, which is the prison of the body. And I said, ‘He who hears, let him get up from the deep sleep.’ And he wept and shed tears. Bitter tears he wiped from himself and he said, ‘Who is it that calls my name, and from where has this hope come to me, while I am in the chains of the prison?’ And I said, ‘I am the Pronoia of the pure light; I am the thinking of the virginal Spirit, who raised you up to the honored place. Arise and remember that it is you who hearkened, and follow your root, which is I,

    the merciful one, and guard yourself against the angels of poverty and the demons of chaos and all those who ensnare you, and beware of the deep sleep and the enclosure of the inside of Hades.

    “And I raised him up, and sealed him in the light of the water with five seals, in order that death might not have power over him from this time on.

    “And behold, now I shall go up to the perfect aeon. I have completed everything for you in your hearing. And I have said everything to you that you might write them down and give them secretly to your fellow spirits, for this is the mystery of the immovable race.”

    And the savior presented these things to him that he might write them down and keep them secure. And he said to him, “Cursed be everyone who will exchange these things for a gift or for food or for drink or for clothing or for any other such thing.” And these things were presented to him in a mystery, and immediately he disappeared from him. And he went to his fellow disciples and related to them what the savior had told him.

    Jesus Christ, Amen.

    The Apocryphon According to John

    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

    The Apocryphon of John

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

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    Translated by Frederik Wisse

    The Apocryphon of John is commonly referenced by two other names: The Secret Book of John and The Secret Revelation of John, depending upon how the word “Apocryphon” is translated. Their are four surviving Coptic manuscripts of this text: two shorter version found in the Berlin Codex; and Nag Hammadi Codex III, and two longer version, found in Nag Hammadi Codex II and IV. This translation prepared by Dr. Wisse for the Nag Hammadi Library in English uses all four manuscripts to produce a single text.

    Separate translations of the short and long version, along with extensive additional resources, are available in the Apocryphon of John Collection of the Gnostic Society Library.

    Visit the Apocryphon of John Collection for more information

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    The teaching of the savior, and the revelation of the mysteries and the things hidden in silence, even these things which he taught John, his disciple.

    And it happened one day, when John, the brother of James – who are the sons of Zebedee

  • had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, “Where is your master whom you followed?” And he said to him, “He has gone to the place from which he came.” The Pharisee said to him, “With deception did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers.”When I, John, heard these things I turned away from the temple to a desert place. And I grieved greatly in my heart, saying, “How then was the savior appointed, and why was he sent into the world by his Father, and who is his Father who sent him, and of what sort is that aeon to which we shall go? For what did he mean when he said to us, ‘This aeon to which you will go is of the type of the imperishable aeon, but he did not teach us concerning the latter, of what sort it is.”Straightway, while I was contemplating these things, behold, the heavens opened and the whole creation which is below heaven shone, and the world was shaken. I was afraid, and behold I saw in the light a youth who stood by me. While I looked at him, he became like an old man. And he changed his likeness (again), becoming like a servant. There was not a plurality before me, but there was a likeness with multiple forms in the light, and the likenesses appeared through each other, and the likeness had three forms.He said to me, “John, John, why do you doubt, or why are you afraid? You are not unfamiliar with this image, are you? – that is, do not be timid! – I am the one who is with you (pl.) always. I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass, that you may know the things which are not revealed and those which are revealed, and to teach you concerning the unwavering race of the perfect Man. Now, therefore, lift up your face, that you may receive the things that I shall teach you today, and may tell them to your fellow spirits who are from the unwavering race of the perfect Man.”And I asked to know it, and he said to me, “The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can look.”He is the invisible Spirit, of whom it is not right to think of him as a god, or something similar. For he is more than a god, since there is nothing above him, for no one lords it over him. For he does not exist in something inferior to him, since everything exists in him. For it is he who establishes himself. He is eternal, since he does not need anything. For he is total perfection. He did not lack anything, that he might be completed by it; rather he is always completely perfect in light. He is illimitable, since there is no one prior to him to set limits to him. He is unsearchable, since there exists no one prior to him to examine him. He is immeasurable, since there was no one prior to him to measure him. He is invisible, since no one saw him. He is eternal, since he exists eternally. He is ineffable, since no one was able to comprehend him to speak about him. He is unnameable, since there is no one prior to him to give him a name.

    “He is immeasurable light, which is pure, holy (and) immaculate. He is ineffable, being perfect in incorruptibility. (He is) not in perfection, nor in blessedness, nor in divinity, but he is far superior. He is not corporeal nor is he incorporeal. He is neither large nor is he small. There is no way to say, ‘What is his quantity?’ or, ‘What is his quality?’, for no one can know him. He is not someone among (other) beings, rather he is far superior. Not that he is (simply) superior, but his essence does not partake in the aeons nor in time. For he who partakes in an aeon was prepared beforehand. Time was not apportioned to him, since he does not receive anything from another, for it would be received on loan. For he who precedes someone does not lack, that he may receive from him. For rather, it is the latter that looks expectantly at him in his light.

    “For the perfection is majestic. He is pure, immeasurable mind. He is an aeon-giving aeon. He is life-giving life. He is a blessedness-giving blessed one. He is knowledge- giving knowledge. He is goodness-giving goodness. He is mercy and redemption-giving mercy. He is grace-giving grace, not because he possesses it, but because he gives the immeasurable, incomprehensible light.

    “How am I to speak with you about him? His aeon is indestructible, at rest and existing in silence, reposing (and) being prior to everything. For he is the head of all the aeons, and it is he who gives them strength in his goodness. For we know not the ineffable things, and we do not understand what is immeasurable, except for him who came forth from him, namely (from) the Father. For it is he who told it to us alone. For it is he who looks at himself in his light which surrounds him, namely the spring of the water of life. And it is he who gives to all the aeons and in every way, (and) who gazes upon his image which he sees in the spring of the Spirit. It is he who puts his desire in his water-light which is in the spring of the pure light-water which surrounds him.

    “And his thought performed a deed and she came forth, namely she who had appeared before him in the shine of his light. This is the first power which was before all of them (and) which came forth from his mind, She is the forethought of the All – her light shines like his light – the perfect power which is the image of the invisible, virginal Spirit who is perfect. The first power, the glory of Barbelo, the perfect glory in the aeons, the glory of the revelation, she glorified the virginal Spirit and it was she who praised him, because thanks to him she had come forth. This is the first thought, his image; she became the womb of everything, for it is she who is prior to them all, the Mother-Father, the first man, the holy Spirit, the thrice-male, the thrice-powerful, the thrice-named androgynous one, and the eternal aeon among the invisible ones, and the first to come forth.

    “<She> requested from the invisible, virginal Spirit – that is Barbelo – to give her foreknowledge. And the Spirit consented. And when he had consented, the foreknowledge came forth, and it stood by the forethought; it originates from the thought of the invisible, virginal Spirit. It glorified him and his perfect power, Barbelo, for it was for her sake that it had come into being.

    “And she requested again to grant her indestructibility, and he consented. When he had consented, indestructibility came forth, and it stood by the thought and the foreknowledge. It glorified the invisible One and Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And Barbelo requested to grant her eternal life. And the invisible Spirit consented. And when he had consented, eternal life came forth, and they attended and glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And she requested again to grant her truth. And the invisible Spirit consented. And when he had consented, truth came forth, and they attended and glorified the invisible, excellent Spirit and his Barbelo, the one for whose sake they had come into being.

    “This is the pentad of the aeons of the Father, which is the first man, the image of the invisible Spirit; it is the forethought, which Barbelo, and the thought, and the foreknowledge, and the indestructibility, and the eternal life, and the truth. This is the androgynous pentad of the aeons, which is the decad of the aeons, which is the Father.

    “And he looked at Barbelo with the pure light which surrounds the invisible Spirit, and (with) his spark, and she conceived from him. He begot a spark of light with a light resembling blessedness. But it does not equal his greatness. This was an only-begotten child of the Mother-Father which had come forth; it is the only offspring, the only- begotten one of the Father, the pure Light.

    “And the invisible, virginal Spirit rejoiced over the light which came forth, that which was brought forth first by the first power of his forethought, which is Barbelo. And he anointed it with his goodness until it became perfect, not lacking in any goodness, because he had anointed it with the goodness of the invisible Spirit. And it attended him as he poured upon it. And immediately when it had received from the Spirit, it glorified the holy Spirit and the perfect forethought, for whose sake it had come forth.

    “And it requested to give it a fellow worker, which is the mind, and he consented gladly. And when the invisible Spirit had consented, the mind came forth, and it attended Christ, glorifying him and Barbelo. And all these came into being in silence.

    “And the mind wanted to perform a deed through the word of the invisible Spirit. And his will became a deed and it appeared with the mind; and the light glorified it. And the word followed the will. For because of the word, Christ the divine Autogenes created everything. And the eternal life <and> his will and the mind and the foreknowledge attended and glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo, for whose sake they had come into being.

    “And the holy Spirit completed the divine Autogenes, his son, together with Barbelo, that he may attend the mighty and invisible, virginal Spirit as the divine Autogenes, the Christ whom he had honored with a mighty voice. He came forth through the forethought. And the invisible, virginal Spirit placed the divine Autogenes of truth over everything. And he subjected to him every authority, and the truth which is in him, that he may know the All which had been called with a name exalted above every name. For that name will be mentioned to those who are worthy of it.

    “For from the light, which is the Christ, and the indestructibility, through the gift of the Spirit the four lights (appeared) from the divine Autogenes. He expected that they might attend him. And the three (are) will, thought, and life. And the four powers (are) understanding, grace, perception, and prudence. And grace belongs to the light-aeon Armozel, which is the first angel. And there are three other aeons with this aeon: grace, truth, and form. And the second light (is) Oriel, who has been placed over the second aeon. And there are three other aeons with him: conception, perception, and memory. And the third light is Daveithai, who has been placed over the third aeon. And there are three other aeons with him: understanding, love, and idea. And the fourth aeon was

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    placed over the fourth light Eleleth. And there are three other aeons with him: perfection, peace, and wisdom. These are the four lights which attend the divine Autogenes, (and) these are the twelve aeons which attend the son of the mighty one, the Autogenes, the Christ, through the will and the gift of the invisible Spirit. And the twelve aeons belong to the son of the Autogenes. And all things were established by the will of the holy Spirit

    through the Autogenes.

    “And from the foreknowledge of the perfect mind, through the revelation of the will of the invisible Spirit and the will of the Autogenes, <the> perfect Man (appeared), the first revelation, and the truth. It is he whom the virginal Spirit called Pigera-Adamas, and he placed him over the first aeon with the mighty one, the Autogenes, the Christ, by the first light Armozel; and with him are his powers. And the invisible one gave him a spiritual, invincible power. And he spoke and glorified and praised the invisible Spirit, saying, ‘It is for thy sake that everything has come into being and everything will return to thee. I shall praise and glorify thee and the Autogenes and the aeons, the three: the Father, the Mother, and the Son, the perfect power.’

    “And he placed his son Seth over the second aeon in the presence of the second light Oriel. And in the third aeon the seed of Seth was placed over the third light Daveithai. And the souls of the saints were placed (there). And in the fourth aeon the souls were placed of those who do not know the Pleroma and who did not repent at once, but who persisted for a while and repented afterwards; they are by the fourth light Eleleth. These are creatures which glorify the invisible Spirit.

    “And the Sophia of the Epinoia, being an aeon, conceived a thought from herself and the conception of the invisible Spirit and foreknowledge. She wanted to bring forth a likeness out of herself without the consent of the Spirit, – he had not approved – and without her consort, and without his consideration. And though the person of her maleness had not approved, and she had not found her agreement, and she had thought without the consent of the Spirit and the knowledge of her agreement, (yet) she brought forth. And because of the invincible power which is in her, her thought did not remain idle, and something came out of her which was imperfect and different from her appearance, because she had created it without her consort. And it was dissimilar to the likeness of its mother, for it has another form.

    “And when she saw (the consequences of) her desire, it changed into a form of a lion- faced serpent. And its eyes were like lightning fires which flash. She cast it away from her, outside that place, that no one of the immortal ones might see it, for she had created it in ignorance. And she surrounded it with a luminous cloud, and she placed a throne in the middle of the cloud that no one might see it except the holy Spirit who is called the mother of the living. And she called his name Yaltabaoth.

    “This is the first archon who took a great power from his mother. And he removed himself from her and moved away from the places in which he was born. He became strong and created for himself other aeons with a flame of luminous fire which (still) exists now. And he joined with his arrogance which is in him and begot authorities for

    himself. The name of the first one is Athoth, whom the generations call the reaper. The second one is Harmas, who is the eye of envy. The third one is Kalila-Oumbri. The fourth one is Yabel. The fifth one is Adonaiou, who is called Sabaoth. The sixth one is Cain, whom the generations of men call the sun. The seventh is Abel. The eighth is Abrisene. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Armoupieel. The eleventh is Melceir-Adonein. The twelfth is Belias, it is he who is over the depth of Hades. And he placed seven kings – each corresponding to the firmaments of heaven – over the seven heavens, and five over

    the depth of the abyss, that they may reign. And he shared his fire with them, but he did

    not send forth from the power of the light which he had taken from his mother, for he is ignorant darkness.

    “And when the light had mixed with the darkness, it caused the darkness to shine. And when the darkness had mixed with the light, it darkened the light and it became neither light nor dark, but it became dim.

    “Now the archon who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas, and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, ‘I am God and there is no other God beside me,’ for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.

    “And the archons created seven powers for themselves, and the powers created for themselves six angels for each one until they became 365 angels. And these are the bodies belonging with the names: the first is Athoth, a 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 dragon’s face; the sixth is Adonin, he had a monkey’s face; the seventh is Sabbede, he has a shining fire-face. This is the sevenness of the week.

    “But Yaltabaoth had a multitude of faces, more than all of them, so that he could put a face before all of them, according to his desire, when he is in the midst of seraphs. He shared his fire with them; therefore he became lord over them. Because of the power of the glory he possessed of his mother’s light, he called himself God. And he did not obey the place from which he came. And he united the seven powers in his thought with the authorities which were with him. And when he spoke it happened. And he named each power beginning with the highest: the first is goodness with the first (authority), Athoth; the second is foreknowledge with the second one, Eloaio; and 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 one, Sabbateon. And these have a firmament corresponding to each aeon-heaven. They were given names according to the glory which belongs to heaven for the destruction of the powers. And in the names which were given to them by their Originator there was power. But the names which were given them according to the glory which belongs to heaven mean for them destruction and powerlessness. Thus they have two names.

    “And having created […] everything, he organized according to the model of the first aeons which had come into being, so that he might create them like the indestructible ones. Not because he had seen the indestructible ones, but the power in him, which he had taken from his mother, produced in him the likeness of the cosmos. And when he saw the creation which surrounds him, and the multitude of the angels around him which had come forth from him, he said to them, ‘I am a jealous God, and there is no other God beside me.’ But by announcing this he indicated to the angels who attended him that there exists another God. For if there were no other one, of whom would he be jealous?

    “Then the mother began to move to and fro. She became aware of the deficiency when the brightness of her light diminished. And she became dark because her consort had not agreed with her.”

    And I said, “Lord, what does it mean that she moved to and fro?” But he smiled and said, “Do not think it is, as Moses said, ‘above the waters.’ No, but when she had seen the wickedness which had happened, and the theft which her son had committed, she repented. And she was overcome by forgetfulness in the darkness of ignorance and she began to be ashamed. And she did not dare to return, but she was moving about. And the moving is the going to and fro.

    “And the arrogant one took a power from his mother. For he was ignorant, thinking that there existed no other except his mother alone. And when he saw the multitude of the angels which he had created, then he exalted himself above them.

    “And when the mother recognized that the garment of darkness was imperfect, then she knew that her consort had not agreed with her. She repented with much weeping. And the whole pleroma heard the prayer of her repentance, and they praised on her behalf the invisible, virginal Spirit. And he consented; and when the invisible Spirit had consented, the holy Spirit poured over her from their whole pleroma. For it was not her consort who came to her, but he came to her through the pleroma in order that he might correct her deficiency. And she was taken up not to her own aeon but above her son, that she might be in the ninth until she has corrected her deficiency.

    “And a voice came forth from the exalted aeon-heaven: ‘The Man exists and the son of Man.’ And the chief archon, Yaltabaoth, heard (it) and thought that the voice had come from his mother. And he did not know from where it came. And he taught them, the holy and perfect Mother-Father, the complete foreknowledge, the image of the invisible one who is the Father of the all (and) through whom everything came into being, the first Man. For he revealed his likeness in a human form.

    “And the whole aeon of the chief archon trembled, and the foundations of the abyss shook. And of the waters which are above matter, the underside was illuminated by the appearance of his image which had been revealed. And when all the authorities and the chief archon looked, they saw the whole region of the underside which was illuminated. And through the light they saw the form of the image in the water.

    “And he said to the authorities which attend him, ‘Come, let us create a man according to the image of God and according to our likeness, that his image may become a light for us.’ And they created by means of their respective powers in correspondence with the characteristics which were given. And each authority supplied a characteristic in the form of the image which he had seen in its natural (form). He created a being according to the likeness of the first, perfect Man. And they said, ‘Let us call him Adam, that his name may become a power of light for us.’

    “And the powers began: the first one, goodness, created a bone-soul; and the second, foreknowledge, created a sinew-soul; the third, divinity, created a flesh-soul; and the fourth, the lordship, created a marrow-soul; the fifth, kingdom created a blood-soul; the sixth, envy, created a skin-soul; the seventh, understanding, created a hair-soul. And the multitude of the angels attended him and they received from the powers the seven substances of the natural (form) in order to create the proportions of the limbs and the proportion of the rump and the proper working together of each of the parts.

    “The first one began to create the head. Eteraphaope-Abron created his head; Meniggesstroeth created the brain; Asterechme (created) the right eye; Thaspomocha, the left eye; Yeronumos, the right ear; Bissoum, the left ear; Akioreim, the nose; Banen- Ephroum, the lips; Amen, the teeth; Ibikan, the molars; Basiliademe, the tonsils; Achcha, the uvula; Adaban, the neck; Chaaman, the vertebrae; Dearcho, the throat; Tebar, the right shoulder; […], the left shoulder; Mniarcon, the right elbow; […], the left elbow; Abitrion, the right underarm; Evanthen, the left underarm; Krys, the right hand; Beluai, the left hand; Treneu, the fingers of the right hand; Balbel, the fingers of the left hand; Kriman, the nails of the hands; Astrops, the right breast; Barroph, the left breast; Baoum, the right shoulder joint; Ararim, the left shoulder joint; Areche, the belly; Phthave, the navel; Senaphim, the abdomen; Arachethopi, the right ribs; Zabedo, the left ribs; Barias, the right hip; Phnouth the left hip; Abenlenarchei, the marrow; Chnoumeninorin, the bones; Gesole, the stomach; Agromauna, the heart; Bano, the lungs; Sostrapal, the liver; Anesimalar, the spleen; Thopithro, the intestines; Biblo, the kidneys; Roeror, the sinews; Taphreo, the spine of the body; Ipouspoboba, the veins; Bineborin, the arteries; Atoimenpsephei, theirs are the breaths which are in all the limbs; Entholleia, all the flesh;

    Bedouk, the right buttock (?); Arabeei, the left penis; Eilo, the testicles; Sorma, the

    genitals; Gorma-Kaiochlabar, the right thigh; Nebrith, the left thigh; Pserem, the kidneys

    of the right leg; Asaklas, the left kidney; Ormaoth, the right leg; Emenun, the left leg; Knyx, the right shin-bone; Tupelon, the left shin-bone; Achiel, the right knee; Phnene, the left knee; Phiouthrom, the right foot; Boabel, its toes; Trachoun, the left foot; Phikna, its toes; Miamai, the nails of the feet; Labernioum – .

    “And those who were appointed over all of these are: Zathoth, Armas, Kalila, Jabel, (Sabaoth, Cain, Abel). And those who are particularly active in the limbs (are) the head Diolimodraza, the neck Yammeax, the right shoulder Yakouib, the left shoulder Verton, the right hand Oudidi, the left one Arbao, the fingers of the right hand Lampno, the fingers of the left hand Leekaphar, the right breast Barbar, the left breast Imae, the chest Pisandriaptes, the right shoulder joint Koade, the left shoulder joint Odeor, the right ribs Asphixix, the left ribs Synogchouta, the belly Arouph, the womb Sabalo, the right thigh

    Charcharb, the left thigh Chthaon, all the genitals Bathinoth, the right leg Choux, the left leg Charcha, the right shin-bone Aroer, the left shin-bone Toechtha, the right knee Aol, the left knee Charaner, the right foot Bastan, its toes Archentechtha, the left foot Marephnounth, its toes Abrana.

    “Seven have power over all of these: Michael, Ouriel, Asmenedas, Saphasatoel, Aarmouriam, Richram, Amiorps. And the ones who are in charge over the senses (are) Archendekta; and he who is in charge over the receptions (is) Deitharbathas; and he who is in charge over the imagination (is) Oummaa; and he who is over the composition Aachiaram, and he who is over the whole impulse Riaramnacho.

    “And the origin of the demons which are in the whole body is determined to be four: heat, cold, wetness, and dryness. And the mother of all of them is matter. And he who reigns over the heat (is) Phloxopha; and he who reigns over the cold is Oroorrothos; and he who reigns over what is dry (is) Erimacho; and he who reigns over the wetness (is) Athuro. And the mother of all of these, Onorthochrasaei, stands in their midst, since she is illimitable, and she mixes with all of them. And she is truly matter, for they are nourished by her.

    “The four chief demons are: Ephememphi, who belongs to pleasure, Yoko, who belongs to desire, Nenentophni, who belongs to grief, Blaomen, who belongs to fear. And the mother of them all is Aesthesis-Ouch-Epi-Ptoe. And from the four demons passions came forth. And from grief (came) envy, jealousy, distress, trouble, pain, callousness, anxiety, mourning, etc. And from pleasure much wickedness arises, and empty pride, and similar things. And from desire (comes) anger, wrath, and bitterness, and bitter passion, and unsatedness, and similar things. And from fear (comes) dread, fawning, agony, and shame. All of these are like useful things as well as evil things. But the insight into their true (character) is Anaro, who is the head of the material soul, for it belongs with the seven senses, Ouch-Epi-Ptoe.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “This is the number of the angels: together they are 365. They all worked on it until, limb for limb, the natural and the material body was completed by them. Now there are other ones in charge over the remaining passions whom I did not mention to you. But if you

    wish to know them, it is written in the book of Zoroaster. And all the angels and demons worked until they had constructed the natural body. And their product was completely inactive and motionless for a long time.

    “And when the mother wanted to retrieve the power which she had given to the chief archon, she petitioned the Mother-Father of the All, who is most merciful. He sent, by means of the holy decree, the five lights down upon the place of the angels of the chief archon. They advised him that they should bring forth the power of the mother. And they said to Yaltabaoth, ‘Blow into his face something of your spirit and his body will arise.’ And he blew into his face the spirit which is the power of his mother; he did not know (this), for he exists in ignorance. And the power of the mother went out of Yaltabaoth

    into the natural body, which they had fashioned after the image of the one who exists from the beginning. The body moved and gained strength, and it was luminous.

    “And in that moment the rest of the powers became jealous, because he had come into being through all of them and they had given their power to the man, and his intelligence was greater than that of those who had made him, and greater than that of the chief archon. And when they recognized that he was luminous, and that he could think better

    than they, and that he was free from wickedness, they took him and threw him into the lowest region of all matter.

    “But the blessed One, the Mother-Father, the beneficent and merciful One, had mercy on the power of the mother which had been brought forth out of the chief archon, for they (the archons) might gain power over the natural and perceptible body. And he sent, through his beneficent Spirit and his great mercy, a helper to Adam, luminous Epinoia which comes out of him, who is called Life. And she assists the whole creature, by toiling with him and by restoring him to his fullness and by teaching him about the descent of his seed (and) by teaching him about the way of ascent, (which is) the way he came down. And the luminous Epinoia was hidden in Adam, in order that the archons might not know her, but that the Epinoia might be a correction of the deficiency of the mother.

    “And the man came forth because of the shadow of the light which is in him. And his thinking was superior to all those who had made him. When they looked up, they saw that his thinking was superior. And they took counsel with the whole array of archons and angels. They took fire and earth and water and mixed them together with the four fiery winds. And they wrought them together and caused a great disturbance. And they brought him (Adam) into the shadow of death, in order that they might form (him) again from earth and water and fire and the spirit which originates in matter, which is the ignorance of darkness and desire, and their counterfeit spirit. This is the tomb of the newly-formed body with which the robbers had clothed the man, the bond of forgetfulness; and he became a mortal man. This is the first one who came down, and the first separation. But the Epinoia of the light which was in him, she is the one who was to awaken his thinking.

    “And the archons took him and placed him in paradise. And they said to him, ‘Eat, that is at leisure,’ for their luxury is bitter and their beauty is depraved. And their luxury is deception and their trees are godlessness and their fruit is deadly poison and their promise is death. And the tree of their life they had placed in the midst of paradise.

    “And I shall teach you (pl.) what is the mystery of their life, which is the plan which they made together, which is the likeness of their spirit. The root of this (tree) is bitter and its branches are death, its shadow is hate and deception is in its leaves, and its blossom is the ointment of evil, and its fruit is death and desire is its seed, and it sprouts in darkness. The dwelling place of those who taste from it is Hades, and the darkness is their place of rest.

    “But what they call the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which is the Epinoia of the light, they stayed in front of it in order that he (Adam) might not look up to his fullness and recognize the nakedness of his shamefulness. But it was I who brought about that they ate.”

    And to I said to the savior, “Lord, was it not the serpent that taught Adam to eat?” The savior smiled and said, “The serpent taught them to eat from wickedness of begetting, lust, (and) destruction, that he (Adam) might be useful to him. And he (Adam) knew that he was disobedient to him (the chief archon) due to light of the Epinoia which is in him, which made him more correct in his thinking than the chief archon. And (the latter) wanted to bring about the power which he himself had given him. And he brought a forgetfulness over Adam.”

    And I said to the savior, “What is the forgetfulness?” And he said “It is not the way Moses wrote (and) you heard. For he said in his first book, ‘He put him to sleep’ (Gn 2:21), but (it was) in his perception. For also he said through the prophet, ‘I will make their hearts heavy, that they may not pay attention and may not see’ (Is 6:10).

    “Then the Epinoia of the light hid herself in him (Adam). And the chief archon wanted to bring her out of his rib. But the Epinoia of the light cannot be grasped. Although darkness pursued her, it did not catch her. And he brought a part of his power out of him. And he made another creature, in the form of a woman, according to the likeness of the Epinoia which had appeared to him. And he brought the part which he had taken from the power of the man into the female creature, and not as Moses said, ‘his rib-bone.’

    “And he (Adam) saw the woman beside him. And in that moment the luminous Epinoia appeared, and she lifted the veil which lay over his mind. And he became sober from the drunkenness of darkness. And he recognized his counter-image, and he said, ‘This is indeed bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ Therefore the man will leave his father and his mother, and he will cleave to his wife, and they will both be one flesh. For they will send him his consort, and he will leave his father and his mother … (3 lines unreadable)

    “And our sister Sophia (is) she who came down in innocence in order to rectify her deficiency. Therefore she was called Life, which is the mother of the living, by the foreknowledge of the sovereignty of heaven. And through her they have tasted the perfect Knowledge. I appeared in the form of an eagle on the tree of knowledge, which is the Epinoia from the foreknowledge of the pure light, that I might teach them and awaken them out of the depth of sleep. For they were both in a fallen state, and they recognized their nakedness. The Epinoia appeared to them as a light; she awakened their thinking.

    “And when Yaltabaoth noticed that they withdrew from him, he cursed his earth. He found the woman as she was preparing herself for her husband. He was lord over her, though he did not know the mystery which had come to pass through the holy decree. And they were afraid to blame him. And he showed his angels his ignorance which is in him. And he cast them out of paradise and he clothed them in gloomy darkness. And the chief archon saw the virgin who stood by Adam, and that the luminous Epinoia of life had appeared in her. And Yaltabaoth was full of ignorance. And when the foreknowledge of the All noticed (it), she sent some and they snatched life out of Eve.

    “And the chief archon seduced her and he begot in her two sons; the first and the second (are) Eloim and Yave. Eloim has a bear-face and Yave has a cat-face. The one is righteous but the other is unrighteous. (Yave is righteous but Eloim is unrighteous.) Yave he set over the fire and the wind, and Eloim he set over the water and the earth. And these he called with the names Cain and Abel with a view to deceive.

    “Now up to the present day, sexual intercourse continued due to the chief archon. And he planted sexual desire in her who belongs to Adam. And he produced through intercourse the copies of the bodies, and he inspired them with his counterfeit spirit.

    “And the two archons he set over principalities, so that they might rule over the tomb. And when Adam recognized the likeness of his own foreknowledge, he begot the likeness of the son of man. He called him Seth, according to the way of the race in the aeons. Likewise, the mother also sent down her spirit, which is in her likeness and a copy of those who are in the pleroma, for she will prepare a dwelling place for the aeons which will come down. And he made them drink water of forgetfulness, from the chief archon, in order that they might not know from where they came. Thus, the seed remained for a while assisting (him), in order that, when the Spirit comes forth from the holy aeons, he may raise up and heal him from the deficiency, that the whole pleroma may (again) become holy and faultless.”

    And I said to the savior, “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?” He answered and said to me, “Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil. Then they have no other care than the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy or desire and greed of anything. They are not affected by anything except the state of being in the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly for the time when they will be met by the receivers (of the body). Such then are worthy of the imperishable, eternal life and the calling. For they endure everything and bear up under everything, that they may finish the good fight and inherit eternal life.”

    I said to him, “Lord, the souls of those who did not do these works (but) on whom the power and Spirit descended, (will they be rejected?” He answered and said to me, “If) the Spirit (descended upon them), they will in any case be saved, and they will change (for the better). For the power will descend on every man, for without it no one can stand. And after they are born, then, when the Spirit of life increases and the power comes and strengthens that soul, no one can lead it astray with works of evil. But those on whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by him and they go astray.”

    And I said, “Lord, where will the souls of these go when they have come out of their flesh?” And he smiled and said to me, “The soul in which the power will become stronger

    than the counterfeit spirit, is strong and it flees from evil and, through the intervention of the incorruptible one, it is saved, and it is taken up to the rest of the aeons.”

    And I said, “Lord, those, however, who have not known to whom they belong, where will their souls be?” And he said to me, “In those, the despicable spirit has gained strength when they went astray. And he burdens the soul and draws it to the works of evil, and he casts it down into forgetfulness. And after it comes out of (the body), it is handed over to the authorities, who came into being through the archon, and they bind it with chains and cast it into prison, and consort with it until it is liberated from the forgetfulness and acquires knowledge. And if thus it becomes perfect, it is saved.”

    And I said, “Lord, how can the soul become smaller and return into the nature of its mother or into man?” Then he rejoiced when I asked him this, and he said to me, “Truly, you are blessed, for you have understood! That soul is made to follow another one (fem.), since the Spirit of life is in it. It is saved through him. It is not again cast into another flesh.”

    And I said, “Lord, these also who did not know, but have turned away, where will their souls go?” Then he said to me, “To that place where the angels of poverty go they will be taken, the place where there is no repentance. And they will be kept for the day on which those who have blasphemed the spirit will be tortured, and they will be punished with eternal punishment.”

    And I said, “Lord, from where did the counterfeit spirit come?” Then he said to me, “The Mother-Father, who is rich in mercy, the holy Spirit in every way, the One who is merciful and who sympathizes with you (pl.), i.e., the Epinoia of the foreknowledge of light, he raised up the offspring of the perfect race and its thinking and the eternal light of man. When the chief archon realized that they were exalted above him in the height – and they surpass him in thinking – then he wanted to seize their thought, not knowing that they surpassed him in thinking, and that he will not be able to seize them.

    “He made a plan with his authorities, which are his powers, and they committed together adultery with Sophia, and bitter fate was begotten through them, which is the last of the changeable bonds. And it is of a sort that is interchangeable. And it is harder and stronger than she with whom the gods united, and the angels and the demons and all the generations until this day. For from that fate came forth every sin and injustice and blasphemy, and the chain of forgetfulness and ignorance and every severe command, and serious sins and great fears. And thus the whole creation was made blind, in order that they may not know God, who is above all of them. And because of the chain of forgetfulness, their sins were hidden. For they are bound with measures and times and moments, since it (fate) is lord over everything.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “And he (the chief archon) repented for everything which had come into being through him. This time he planned to bring a flood upon the work of man. But the greatness of the light of the foreknowledge informed Noah, and he proclaimed (it) to all the offspring which are the sons of men. But those who were strangers to him did not listen to him. It is

    not as Moses said, ‘They hid themselves in an ark’ (Gn 7: 7), but they hid themselves in a place, not only Noah, but also many other people from the immovable race. They went into a place and hid themselves in a luminous cloud. And he (Noah) recognized his authority, and she who belongs to the light was with him, having shone on them because he (the chief archon) had brought darkness upon the whole earth.

    “And he made a plan with his powers. He sent his angels to the daughters of men, that they might take some of them for themselves and raise offspring for their enjoyment. And at first they did not succeed. When they had no success, they gathered together again and they made a plan together. They created a counterfeit spirit, who resembles the Spirit who had descended, so as to pollute the souls through it. And the angels changed themselves in their likeness into the likeness of their mates (the daughters of men), filling them with the spirit of darkness, which they had mixed for them, and with evil. They brought gold and silver and a gift and copper and iron and metal and all kinds of things. And they steered the people who had followed them into great troubles, by leading them astray with many deceptions. They (the people) became old without having enjoyment. They died, not having found truth and without knowing the God of truth. And thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, from the foundation of the world until now. And they took women and begot children out of the darkness according to the likeness of their spirit. And they closed their hearts, and they hardened themselves through the hardness of the counterfeit spirit until now.

    “I, therefore, the perfect Pronoia of the all, changed myself into my seed, for I existed first, going on every road. For I am the richness of the light; I am the remembrance of the pleroma.

    “And I went into the realm of darkness and I endured till I entered the middle of the prison. And the foundations of chaos shook. And I hid myself from them because of their wickedness, and they did not recognize me.

    “Again I returned for the second time, and I went about. I came forth from those who belong to the light, which is I, the remembrance of the Pronoia. I entered into the midst of darkness and the inside of Hades, since I was seeking (to accomplish) my task. And the foundations of chaos shook, that they might fall down upon those who are in chaos and might destroy them. And again I ran up to my root of light, lest they be destroyed before

    the time.

    “Still for a third time I went – I am the light which exists in the light, I am the remembrance of the Pronoia – that I might enter into the midst of darkness and the inside of Hades. And I filled my face with the light of the completion of their aeon. And I entered into the midst of their prison, which is the prison of the body. And I said, ‘He who hears, let him get up from the deep sleep.’ And he wept and shed tears. Bitter tears he wiped from himself and he said, ‘Who is it that calls my name, and from where has this hope come to me, while I am in the chains of the prison?’ And I said, ‘I am the Pronoia of the pure light; I am the thinking of the virginal Spirit, who raised you up to the honored place. Arise and remember that it is you who hearkened, and follow your root, which is I,

    the merciful one, and guard yourself against the angels of poverty and the demons of chaos and all those who ensnare you, and beware of the deep sleep and the enclosure of the inside of Hades.

    “And I raised him up, and sealed him in the light of the water with five seals, in order that death might not have power over him from this time on.

    “And behold, now I shall go up to the perfect aeon. I have completed everything for you in your hearing. And I have said everything to you that you might write them down and give them secretly to your fellow spirits, for this is the mystery of the immovable race.”

    And the savior presented these things to him that he might write them down and keep them secure. And he said to him, “Cursed be everyone who will exchange these things for a gift or for food or for drink or for clothing or for any other such thing.” And these things were presented to him in a mystery, and immediately he disappeared from him. And he went to his fellow disciples and related to them what the savior had told him.

    Jesus Christ, Amen.

    The Apocryphon According to John

    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

    The Apocryphon of John

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

    Short Version

    Berlin Codex (BG 8502,2) & Nag Hammadi Codex III,1

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    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. The two surviving Coptic manuscripts of the shorter version of The Apocryphon of John — found in the Berlin Codex and Nag Hammadi Library Codex III — are very similar, but they are not identical. In this edition prepared for the Gnostic Society Library both manuscripts have been edited together. Where the reading of NHL Codex III,1 varies from the Berlin Codex BG 8502,2, the variant version of the passages from Codex III are shown with blue text enclosed in brackets {}.

    Sectional numbering has been added following the system proposed by Karen King — for details, see Karen King, The Secret Revelation of John. In Dr. King’s system, sectional numbers are based on the texts from all four existing manuscripts. In the two “Short Version” manuscripts combined here, Berlin Codex and NHC III, some sections found in the “Long Version” are absent. For example, the introductory text in section 1 appears only in the long versions, and not in the short version. Thus the short version manuscripts begins with section 2.

    This internet resource has been edited and formatted by Lance Owens and is based on the Waldstein and Wisse translations: 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. Also 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.

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    1. Now it happened one day when John the brother of James, the sons of Zebedee, was going up to the temple, a Pharisee named Arimanios approached him. And he said to him, “Where is your teacher, the one whom you used to follow?”He said to him, “He returned to the place 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 traditions of your fathers.” When I heard these things, I turned from the temple to the mountain which was a place of desert. And I grieved greatly in my heart, saying, “How was the Savior appointed? Why was he sent into the world by his father who sent him? Who is his father? And of what sort is that aeon to which we will go? He told us that the aeon is modeled on that indestructible aeon, but he did not teach us about what sort the latter is.”
    2. Just then, while I was thinking these things, the heavens opened, and the whole creation below the heaven was illuminated with light [below] heaven. And the [whole] world [quak]ed.I was afraid an[d I watch]ed. And behold a child [appeared to] me. Then [he changed himself] into the form of an old man [who had flight existing within him. [Although I was watch]ing him, I did not [understand this wonder, whether it is a [likeness] having numerous forms [in the flight—for its forms [appea]red through each oth[er—or] if it is one [likeness th]at has three aspects.[He sa]id [to me], “John, wh[y] are you doubting and [fearful]? For you are not a stranger [to this like]ness. Do not be faint[hearted]! I am the one who dwells with [you (pl.) al]ways. I am the [Father.] I am the Mother. [I] am [the S] on. I am the one who exists for ever, undefil[ed and un]mixed.N[ow I have come] to instruct you [about what] exists and what [has come] into being and what mu[st] come into being, so that you will [understand] the things which are invisible a[nd those which] are visible, and to t[each you] about the perfe[ct Human].Now then lift up your [face to] me and listen. [Receive the things that I] will tell you toda[y so that] you yourself will tell the[m to your fel]low spirits who are [from] the im[mov]able generation [of the] perfect Human.”
    3. And [I asked] to know.He said to me, “[The Unit]y is a monarchy [with nothing] ruling over it. [It is] the Gold and] Father of the All, the [h]oly, the invisible, [who ex]ists over the All, the one who [. ..] incorruption, [existing as] pure light, into which it is not possible for any light of the eye to gaze.It is the Spirit.It is not appropriate to think about It as god or that It is something similar. For It surpasses divinity. It is a dominion having nothing to rule over It. For there is nothing existing before It nor does It have need of them.It does not need life. For It is eternal. It does not need anything. For It cannot be made perfect as though It were deficient and only required perfecting. Rather It is always totally perfect.

      It is light. It cannot be limited because there is nothing before It to limit It. It is inscrutable for there is no one before It to scrutinize It.

      It is immeasurable because there is no other to measure It as though (anything) exists before It. It is invisible because there is no one to see It. (It is) an eternity existing forever. (It is) ineffable because no one has comprehended It in order to speak about It. (It is) the one whose name cannot be spoken because no one exists before It to name It.

      It is the immeasurable light, the pure one who is holy and unpolluted, the ineffable one who is incorruptibly perfect. It is neither perfection nor blessedness nor divinity, but It is a thing far superior to these. It is not boundless nor is It limited, but It is a thing far superior to these.

      For It is neither corporeal nor incorporeal. It is neither large nor small. It is not a quantity. It is not a creature. Neither is it possible for anyone to know It. It is not something pertaining to the All which exists, rather It is a thing which is better than these—not as being superior (to others as though It is comparable to them) but as that which belongs to Itself.

      It does not participate in an aeon (as a constitutive part of it). Time does not exist with regard to It. For whoever participates in an aeon would have to have had it prepared for It by others. And time was not delimited for It since It does not receive from another who sets limits. And It does not need (anything).

      Nothing from the All exists before It.

      All It asks for is Itself alone within the perfect light. It will contemplate the unmixed light, the immeasurable vastness.

      (It is) the eternity who gives eternalness, the light who gives light, the life who gives life, the blessed one who gives blessedness, the understanding which gives understanding, the ever good one who gives good, the one who does good-not such that It possesses but such that It gives—the mercy which gives mercy, the grace which gives grace.

    4. What shall I say to you about the immeasurable light?What is incomprehensible (can only be expressed as) the likeness of the light. In this manner, I will speak to you as far as I will be able to know It—for who could know It infinitely?His aeon is indestructible, being in a state of tranquility, at rest in silence. (It is) the one that exists before the All, for It is the head of all the aeons {(It is) the head of all the aeons because its goodness provides for all the aeons} —if another thing does exist with It.For none of those among us understood the things which belong to the immeasurable one except the one who appeared in It. It is he who told these things to us.(It is) the one who knows Itself alone in the light-water that surrounds It, which is the spring of living water, the light which is full of purity. The spring of the Spirit flowed from the living water of the light and it abundantly supplied all the aeons and the worlds.{and the spring of the Spirit from which the [living] water flows. It abundantly supplied all the aeons and their worlds.} In every way It perceived Its own image, seeing It in the pure light-water which surrounds It.

      And Its thinking become a thing. She appeared. She stood in Its presence in the brilliance of the light; she is the power which is before the All. It is she who appeared, she who is the perfect Pronoia of the All, the light, the likeness of the light, the image of the Invisible, she who is the perfect power, Barbelo, the perfect aeon of the glory.

      She glorifies It because she appeared through It and she perceived It. {the glory who glorifies It because she appeared through] It. And she glorified [It].} She is the primal Thought (Protennoia), Its image.

      She became a primal Human, which is the virginal Spirit, the triple male, the one belonging to the triple power, the triple na[med], the triple begotten one, the androgynous aeon which does not grow old, who came from Its Pronoia. {[the triple male, the triple] hymned, the [triple named, the tri]ple po[wer, the] androgynous aeon which does not grow o]ld, [which ca]me forth fr[om Its Pronoia].}

    5. And Barbelo requested It to give to him Foreknowledge. It assented. When It had assented, Foreknowledge appeared. He stood with Thought, who is Pronoia.She glorified the Invisible one and the perfect power, Barbelo, for they came into being through her.Again, this power requested (It) to give her Incorruption. And It assented. When It had assented, Incorruption appeared and she stood with Thought and Foreknowledge, glorifying the Invisible one and Barbelo since she had come into being because of her.{They glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelon for they had come into being because of her.}She requested (It) to give her Eternal Life. It assented. When It had assented, Eternal Life appeared. And they stood {And he stood}, glorifying It and Barbelo for they had come into being because of her from the revelation of the invisible Spirit.This is the pentad of the Aeons of the Father, who is the primal Human, the image of the Invisible one, namely: Barbelo, Thought, Foreknowledge, Incorruptibility, and Eternal Life. This is the androgynous pentad which is the decad of the Aeons, the Father from the unbegotten Father. {This is the androgynous pentad which is the decad of the Aeons of
      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      the Father.}

    6. Barbelo gazed intently into It, the pure light. She turned herself toward It. She gave birth to a spark of blessed light, but it was not equal to her in greatness. {She gave birth to a spark of light resembling the blessed light } This is the Only-begotten who appeared from the Father, the divine Autogenes, the first-born son of the All of the Spirit of pure light.The invisible Spirit rejoiced over the light which had come into being, the one who was the first to appear from the primal power, which is Its Pronoia, Barbelo. And It anointed him with Its goodness/ Christhood so that he became perfect. There was no lack of good/ Christ within him because he was anointed in the invisible Spirit’s goodness/Christhood which It poured out for him. And he received the anointing through the virgi[nal Spirit. He stood in [Its pre]sence, glorying the invisible Spirit and the perfect Pronoi[a], from whom he had appeared. {He stood in Its presence, glorying the invisible Spirit and the one because of whom he had appeared.}And he asked to be given one single thing, Mind. {And he asked to be given a fellow worker, Mind.} The invisible Spirit assented. Mind appeared. He stood with Christ, glorifying him and Barbelo, for all these had come into being in silence and thought.The invisible Spirit willed to perform a work. {The invisible Spirit willed to perform a work through the Word.} Its will became a work. He appeared. He stood with Mind and Light, glorifying It. The Word followed the Will. For through the Word, Christ created everything. The divine Autogenes, Eternal Life and Will, Mind and Foreknowledge stood, glorifying the invisible Spirit and Barbelo since they had come into being through her.Through the Spirit, he perfected the divine eternal Autogenes, the son of Barbelo, so that he stood before the eternal virginal invisible Spirit. {The great invisible Spirit perfected the divine Autogenes, the son of Barbelon} It was the divine Autogenes Christ that It honored with great honor, namely he who had come into being from Its primal Ennoia. That one is the one whom the invisible Spirit appointed as god over the All, the true god. It gave to him all authority and It caused the truth which is in It to be subject to him in order that he might know the All.(He is) that one whose name they will speak among those who are worthy of it.
    7. For from the light, which is the Christ, and Immortality, through the divine [Spirit],{For from the light, which is the Christ, and immortality, through the gift of the invisibleSpirit} the four great Lights appeared from the divine Autogenes so that they might stand before him.The three (are): Will [and] Thought and Life. And the four are: Grace, Understanding, Perception, and Prudence. Grace (belongs to) the primal Light Harmozel {Armozel}, who is the angel of light in the primal Aeon; with him are three Aeons: Grace, Truth, Form. The second Light Oroiael is the one he placed over the second Aeon; with him are three Aeons: Pronoia, Perception, Memory The third Light Daveithe is the one he placed over the third Aeon; with him are three Aeons: Understanding, Lov[e, Likeness]. The fourth Light Eleleth is the one he placed over the fourth Aeon; with him are three Aeons: Perfection, Peace, Wisdom. These are the four Lights which stand before the divine Autogenetor, the twelve Aeons which are placed beside the Child, the great Autogenetor Christ, through the approval of the divine invisible Spirit. {These are the four Lights which stand before the divine Autogenes, the twelve Aeons which stand before the Child through the gift and approval of the great Autogenetor Christ, through the gift and the approval of the invisible Spirit.} The twelve Aeons belong to the Son of Autogenetos.
    8. All things were firmly founded through the will of the holy Spirit, through Autogenes. And from the first Understanding and the perfect Mind, through God, through the approval of the great invisible Spirit and the approval of Autogenes, It named the true perfect Human, the primal revelation, Adam. {From the first Understanding and the perfect Mind through the gift and the approval of the great invisible Spirit in the presence of Autogenes, the perfect, true, holy Human, the first who appeared—he was called Adamas.}It set him over the primal Aeon beside the great divine Autogenetor Christ, being the primal Aeon of Harmozel and Its powers with him.And the invisible Spirit gave him an unconquerable intellectual power. {And the Invisible one gave him an unconquerable intellectual power.} He said, ‘I glorify and I praise the invisible Spirit for it is because of you that all things came into being and all things (are) in you. And I praise you and Autogenes and the three Aeons: the Father and the Mother and the Child, the perfect power.’ {“I praise you and Autogenes and the aeon the triad: the Father and the Mother and the Child, the perfect power.”}And It placed his Child Seth over the second Light Oroiael. {And his son Seth was placed in the second aeon with the second light Oroiael.}And in the third Aeon was placed the seed of Seth, the souls of the saints who dwell forever in the third Light Daveithe. {And in the third Aeon was placed the seed of Seth, the souls of the saints who dwell in the aeon with the third Light Daveithe.}And in the fourth Aeon were placed the souls who did understand their perfection yet they did not repent immediately but they persisted a while. In the end, however, they

      repented. They will remain in the fourth Light Eleleth, the one who yoked them to himself, glorifying the invisible Spirit. {having been gathered to that place, glorifying the invisible Spirit}.

    9. Our fellow sister, Sophia, being an Aeon, thought a thought from within herself and in the thought of the Spirit and the Foreknowledge.She freely willed the likeness to appear from within herself although the Spirit had not agreed with her nor had It consented nor had her partner approved, the male virginal Spirit. {She freely willed the likeness to appear from within herself. Her thought was not idle and her product came forth imperfect, for it was not patterned in her form for she had made it without her partner, (and) it was not patterned in the likeness of the Mother.} But she did not find her concord. As she was about to acquiesce without the approval of the Spirit or the understanding of her own concord, she swelled out {she was complete}.Because of the audacity within her, her thought was not able to be idle and her product came forth, being imperfect, ugly in his appearance, because she had made it without her partner {and her product came forth, being imperfect, not being formed in her form, for she had made him without her partner}. And he did not resemble the likeness of the Mother, for he had another form. As she deliberated, she saw that he had become modeled after a different likeness, “having the face of a serpent and the face of a lion. His eyes were shining with fire. She cast him away from her outside of those places so that none of the immortals might see him, because she had given birth to him in ignorance.She united a luminous cloud with him. She placed a throne in the midst of the cloud so that no one might see him except the holy Spirit who is called Life, the mother of everyone {except the holy Spirit who is called the Mother of all the living}. And she named him Yaldabaoth. He is the Chief Ruler, the one who attained a great power from the Mother.
    10. He removed himself from her. He abandoned the place in which he had been born.{He moved from place to place away from the place in which he had been born.} He seized another place. He created for himself an aeon, which blazes with a shining fire, in which he now dwells. {He created for himself an aeon of fiery, luminous flame, in which he now dwells.}And he copulated with Madness, who is in him {He copulated with Ignorance, who is in him}. He begat authorities who are under him, the twelve angels, each one of them to his own aeon following the model of the immortal Aeons. And he created for each one of them seven angels each and for the angels three powers-these are all under him, 360 angelic beings with his third power, following the likeness of the primal model which is prior to him.Now when the authorities appeared from the chief begetter, the chief ruler of the darkness, these were their names from the ignorance of he who had begotten them: The first is Yaoth. The second is Hermas, who is the eye of the fire. {The authorities whoappeared from the chief begetter, the Chief Ruler of the darkness and ignorance, together with the authorities were in ignorance of the one who had begotten them. These are their names: the first is Haoth. The second is Harmas, who is the eye of the fire.} The third is Galila. The fourth is Yobel. The fifth is Adonaios. The sixth is Sabaoth. The seventh is Kainan and Kae, who is named Cain, who is the sun. The eighth is Abiressine. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Harmoupiael. {The seventh is Kainan Kasin, who is called the sun. The eighth is Abiressia. The ninth is Yobel. The tenth is Armoupiael.} The eleventh is Adonin. The twelfth is Belias. They all have double names: one set of names from desire and wrath, but yet other names which are given to them by the glory of heaven. The(latter) are the ones which reveal their nature in truth.

      Saklas called them by the names which are from illusion and their power. {Saklas called them by the names which are from illusion and their powers.} On the one hand, through (the names given by the glory of heaven), they are reproved and weakened, like the seasons, while on the other hand, through those (of Saklas) they grow strengthened and increase. And he commanded that seven kings should rule over the heavens and five over the chaos of Hades. {And he commanded that seven should rule over the heavens and five over the chaos of Hades.}

    11. The names of the glories who are over the seven heavens are these: The first is Iaoth, the lion-faced {The first is Aoth, the lion-faced}. The second is Eloaios, the donkey- faced. The third is Astaphaios, the hyena-faced. The fourth is Iao, the snake-faced with seven heads {The fourth is Yaw, the serpent-faced and lion-faced}. The fifth is Adonaios, the serpent-faced. The sixth is Adoni the monkey-faced {The sixth is Adonin, the monkey-faced. The seventh is Sabbadaios, whose face is a shining fire}. The seventh is Sabbataios, whose face is a flame of fire that shines. This is the hebdomad of the week. These are those who rule the world. Yaldabaoth-Saklas (is) the one whose forms are without number such that he can appear with any face at will.
    12. He allotted them (portions) out of his own fire, but he did not give them any of his power from the pure light of the power which he had drawn from the Mother. Because of the glory which is in him from the power of the light of the Mother, he became Christ to them. Because of that, he made them call him God, {Because of the glory which is in him from the power of the light of the Mother, he was lord over them. Because of this, he called himself God over them} thus being disobedient to the reality from which he had come into being.And he joined with the authorities. When he spoke, the seven powers came into being, and he named them. {And he joined the powers with the authorities. When he spoke, they came to be.} Beginning with the highest, he placed authorities (as follows): The first, then, is Pronoia with the first (authority) Yaoth. The second is Divinity with the secondone Eloaios. The third is Goodness/Christhood with the third one Astaphoios. The fourth is Fire with the fourth one Yao. The fifth is Kingship with the fifth one Sabaoth. The sixth is Understanding with the sixth one Ad[oni. The] seven[th] is Sophia [wi]th the seventh one Sabbataios. These are the ones who have a firmament corresponding to eachheaven and aeon according to the likeness of the Aeon which exists from the beginning, in the model of the indestructible ones.
    13. He saw the creation below him and the multitude of angels which are below him who came into being from him. And he said to them, `I am a jealous God; without me there is nothing.’ —already indicating to the angels who are below him that another God does exist. For if there were no other (god) over him, of whom would he be jealous? Then the Mother began to move to and fro as she understood her deficiency. It was her own perfection that had caused her to be blamed, because her partner had not been in concord with her.”But I said, “Christ, what does it mean `to move to and fro?’He smiled and said, “You think it happened like Moses said ‘upon the water.’ But in fact, she saw the evil and rebellion which would happen through her offspring. She repented, and as she was coming and going in the ignorant darkness, she began to be ashamed and she did not dare to return but she continued coming and going. Now her coming and going is ‘to move to and fro.’Now when the Arrogant one got a power from the Mother, he was ignorant of many beings who were superior to his Mother, for he said about his Mother that she alone existed. He saw the great multitude of angels that he had created. He was mighty over them. And when the Mother understood that the untimely birth of the darkness was not perfect because her partner had not been in concord with her, she repented. She wept great tears.And It heard the entreaty of her repentance and the brothers prayed for her. The holy invisible Spirit assented. When the invisible Spirit had assented, It poured upon her a Spirit from the perfection. When her partner came down to her to put right her deficiencies {her partner came down to put right their deficiencies}, it was through Pronoia that he willed to put right her deficiencies. She was not, however, conveyed to her own Aeon, but, because of the great ignorance which had appeared in her, she dwelled in the Ninth until she puts right her deficiency.
    14. A voice came to her, ‘The Human exists and the Child of the Human.’ The chief ruler Yaldabaoth heard, but he did not think that the voice had come [from the exalted height above].

    The holy, perfect Father, the first Human of human form, taught them about himself. The Blessed one revealed his likeness to them.

    And the whole dominion of the seven authorities bent down.

    They saw the pattern of the image in the water. They said to each other, ‘Let us create a human in the image of God and with the likeness.’ They created out of each other and all their powers.

    They molded a form out of themselves and each one of (their) powers created from its power a soul. They created by imitating the image which they had seen, the image of the one who exists from the beginning, the perfect Human.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    They said, ‘Let us give him the name Adam so that that name and its power might illumine us.’ And the powers began (creating their respective souls) from (the image) below: The first is Divinity; it is a soul of bone. The second is Christhood/Goodness {The second is [Lor]dship]}; it is a soul of sinew. The third is Fire; it is a soul of flesh {[The third is bo]th Christhood/Goodness and Fire, it is a so[ul] of [fle]sh [and the whole foundation of the b]od[y]}. The fourth is Pronoia; it is a soul of marrow which is the whole foundation of the body. The fifth is Kingdom; it is a soul [of blood]. The sixth is Understanding it is a soul of skin. {The sixth is [Understanding]; it is a soul of tooth with the whole body.} The seventh is Wisdom; it is a soul of hair.

    And they set the whole body in order. {And they set the whole human in order.} And their angels stood before them. They created a substantial soul out of the things which had first been prepared by the authorities, the harmony of the joined parts.

    1. {And he blew into it from his spirit, which is the power from the, Mother, out of the Chief Ruler into the body.} And they created the whole body, which was joined together by the multitude of angels.
    2. And it remained inactive a long time because neither the seven authorities nor the 360 angels who had forged [the links of the chain] were able to awaken it.And (the Mother) wanted to retrieve the power which she had given to the ruler from (her) audacity. She went in innocence and entreated the Father of the All, whose mercy is great, and the luminous God. Following a holy design, he sent Autogenes and his four lights in the shape of angels of the Chief Ruler. They advised him with the goal of extracting the power of the Mother from within him.They said to him, ‘Blow into his face from the spirit which is in you and the object will arise: And he blew into it from his spirit, which is the power from the Mother, into the body.And [at that moment] he moved.Immediately [the rest of the] authorities became jealous because he had come into being through them all and they had given the powers that existed within them to the human and he possessed the souls of the seven authorities and their powers. His wisdom was greater than them all and greater even than the Chief Ruler. And they knew that he was naked of evil because he was wiser than they and he had entered into the light. They lifted him and brought him down into the lowest region of all matter.But the blessed Father is a merciful benefactor. He had mercy on the [Mother’s] power that had been taken [from] the [Chief] Ruler lest they might have power over the body.

      He and his mercy sent the good Spirit as a helper to the primal one who had gone down, who was named Adam. (His helper is) the Epinoia of the light, the one whom he named Life.

      It is she who labors for the whole creation by toiling with him, by setting him right in his own perfect temple {[by setting him] right [in his own] fullness}, and by teaching him about the descent of his deficiency and instructing him about his ascent.

      And the Epinoia of the light was hidden within him so that the rulers might not know but our sister Sophia, who is like us, would set right her deficiencies through the Epinoia of the light.

    3. And the human shone because of the shadow of the light which is in him. And his thinking was superior to those who had made him. {And his thinking was superior to those who had made him and, the [whole] host of rulers of authorities.} And they bent down. They saw that the human was superior to them. They took counsel with the whole angelic host of the rulers and the rest of their powers. Then they mixed fire and earth with water and flame. They seized them and the four winds, blowing with fire, joining them with each other, [making a] great disturbance; they brought him down into the shadow of death.Yet again they made another form from earth, water, fire, and spirit which is from matter, darkness, desire, and the adversarial spirit. This is the chain. This is the tomb of the molded body with which they clothed the human, the fetter of the flesh. He is the primal one who came down and the primal partition. But it is the Thought of the primal light who dwells in him who awakens his thinking. {This is the chain. This is the tomb of the molded body with which the robbers clothed the human, the chain of oblivion. And in this way, the human become mortal. This is the primal desc[ent] and his Primal partition. But it is the Thought of the pre-existent light who dwells in him who awakens his thinking.}
    4. The Chief Ruler took him and placed him in paradise, of which he said, ‘It is [a] delight for him’ but really so that he might deceive him. For their delight is bitter and their beauty is licentious. Their delight is a deception and their tree is iniquity. Their fruit is an incurable poison and their promise is death to him. {For [their flood was bitter and their [beauty] is licentious. Their food was a deception and their trees were [iniquity. Their fruit was an incurable poison] an[d their promise] is [death] to them. } Their tree which they planted is the tree of life.For my part, I will teach you about the mystery of their life. It is their counterfeit spirit which dwells in them, whose purpose is to make him wander so that he does not know his perfection.That tree is of this sort: Its root is bitter. Its branches are shadows of death. its leaves are hate and deception. Its fragrance is an ointment of evil. And its fruit is the desire for death. Its seed drinks from darkness {[an]d its seed sprouted [from] darkness.} Thedwelling place of those who taste it is Hades. But the tree which they call ‘knowledge of good and evil’ is the Epinoia of the light. Concerning her they commanded, ‘Do not taste (of it),’ which means ‘do not listen to her.’ They issued this commandment against him so that he might not look up to his perfection and realize that he was naked of his perfection.But as for me, I set them right so that they would eat.”I said to him, “Christ, was it not the serpent who instructed her?”

      He laughed and said, “The serpent is the one who instructed her about the sowing of desire, pollution, and destruction because they are useful to it. Yet it knew that she would not obey it because she is wiser than it. {and [he said], “the serpent appeared to them [. .] sowing of desire, which is the pollution […] darkness so that he might be useful [to it]. [For] it knew [that] he was disobedient to it because he was [wiser] than it.}

    5. And he wanted to bring out the power which had been given to him. And he cast a trance upon Adam.”I said to him, “Christ, what is the trance?”He said, “It is not like Moses said that he caused him to sleep but it was his sensibility that he covered with a shroud. He weighed him down with insensibility. {“Are you thinking that it is as Moses said, ‘He caused him to sleep’? No, but it was his sensibility that he covered with insensibility. } For indeed it is said by the prophet, ‘I will make the ears of their hearts heavy so that they might not understand and might not see.’Then the Epinoia of the light hid herself in him.And according to his will, he wanted to bring her from the rib. But the Epinoia of the light is ungraspable. The darkness pursued her, but it was not able to lay hold of her.He wanted to bring the power from him (Adam) to make another kind of molded form in a woman’s shape.

      And he stood her up before him – not ‘He took a rib’ as Moses said. He created the woman beside him.

      Immediately he became sober from the drunkenness of the darkness. The Epinoia of the Light uncovered the shroud from his understanding. Immediately when he recognized his essence {Immediately he recognized his fellow essence who is like him}, he said, `Now this is bone from my bone and flesh from my flesh. Because of this man will leave his father and his mother and he will cling to his wife, and from two they will become a single flesh.’ For the Mother’s partner will be sent forth and she will be set right{For the Mother’s consort was sent forth to rectify her deficiencies}. Because of this, Adam named her the mother of all the living by the authority of the exalted height and the revelation.

      Epinoia taught him about knowledge. From the tree in the form of an eagle, she taught him to eat of knowledge so that he might remember his perfection {[so that they might] remember their Fullness} for both were in a fallen state of ignorance.

    6. Yaldabaoth knew that they had withdrawn from him. He cursed them. Moreover, he adds concerning the female that the male should rule over her for he does not understand the mystery which came to pass from the design of the Holy Height. But they were afraid to curse him, thereby revealing his ignorance. All his angels cast them out of paradise{And he threw them out of paradise}. He clothed him with a dark gloom.Then Yaldabaoth saw the virgin who stood beside Adam. He was full of senseless folly, desiring to sow a seed in her. He defiled her.He begat the first son, Yawe {Yawai } the bear face, and similarly the second, Eloeim the cat face. The one is righteous, while the other is unrighteous. Eloim is righteous; Yawe is unrighteous. He set the righteous one over fire and spirit, while (he set) the unrighteous one over water and earth. Among the generations of all humanity, these are called Cain and Abel.Up to the present day, marital intercourse came about from the Chief Ruler. He planted a desire for seed in Adam so that from this essence (of desire) a likeness from their counterfeit spirit might be begotten. {And to the present day sex[ual intercourse continues, remaining fro[m] the Chief Archon. And [He planted] in Adam a seed of desire so that through this essence their likeness could be begotten through the counterfeit spirit.} He set two rulers over the principalities so that they might rule over the tomb. He recognized his essence which is like him {He recognized his own lawlessness}.Adam begot Seth just as it is in the generation which is above in the aeons. Likewise the Mother sent what belongs to her {Likewise they sent to the Mother her own Spirit to awaken those who are like it}; the Spirit came down to it (the generation) to awaken the essence that is like it (the Spirit) following the model of the perfection, to awaken them from forgetfulness and the wickedness of the tomb.

      And it (the Spirit) remained like this for a while: it labored on behalf of her seed {And [thus] they re[mained for] a while, while she labored on behalf of the seed } so that when the Spirit from the holy aeon should come, it will set right the deficiency by (establishing) the uprightness of the aeon so that it might become a holy perfection; thus it would come to pass that there would be no deficiency in it.”

    7. I said, “Christ, will the souls of everyone live in the pure light?” {Then [I] said, Lord, “Will the souls of every one be saved [for the pu]re light?”}He said to me, “You have arrived at an insight of great things such as are difficult to disclose to any others except those who are from that immovable generation. Those upon whom the Spirit of the Life descends, having been yoked with the power, they will besaved and become perfect. And they will be worthy to enter these realms of the great Lights. For they will be worthy to be purified there from all evil and the enticements of wickedness. {And they will be worthy of these great Lights. For there they are purified from all wickedness and the chains of evil.}For they do not give themselves to anything else except this incorruptible congregation and they attend to it without anger or envy or fear or desire or overindulgence. They are not restrained by any of these nor by anything else in them except only the flesh {andthey attend to it without anger or envy or jealousy or desire or overindulgence. They are not restrained [by] any of these (except only the flesh] } to which they are subject while they are waiting fervently for (the time) when they will be brought forth and those who receive (them) will admit them into the honor of the imperishable eternal life and thecalling, enduring all things, bearing all things so that they might complete the contest and inherit eternal life.”

      I said, “Christ, what will the souls do, upon whom the power and the Spirit of Life descended but who did not do these things, in order that they might also be saved?” {And I said to him, Lord, “Where are the souls of those who do not do these things or where will those go into whom the Spirit of Life and the power entered? Will they be saved or not?}

      He said to me, “Those upon whom that Spirit comes will live in any case and come out from evil. {He said to, “Those into whom the Spirit of Life enters will be saved in any case, these ones flee from evil.”} For the power enters into every human being—for without it, it is not possible for them to stand upright. After it (the soul) is born, then the Spirit of Life is brought to it. If the powerful Spirit of Life comes, it strengthens the power, which is the soul, and it is not led astray into wickedness. {After the human is born, the Spirit of Life brings the counterfeit spirits. If the Spirit of Life [comes], since it is strong, it [str]engthens [the soul], which is the power, and it is not led astray into wickedness.} But those into whom the counterfeit spirit enters are drawn by it and they are led astray.”

      I said, “Christ, {I said, Lord,} when the souls [of those] leave the flesh, where will they go?”

      He laughed and said to me, “To a place of the soul, which is the power that is greater than the counterfeit spirit. This (soul) is powerful. It flees from the works of wickedness and it is saved by the incorruptible oversight and brought up to the repose of the aeons.”

      I said, “Christ, {I said, “Lord, } what about those who do not know the All—what are their souls or where will they go?”

      He said to me, “In those, a counterfeit spirit proliferated by causing them to stumble. {He said to me, “It is these that the counterfeit spirit has burdened when they stumbled.} And in that way he burdens their soul and draws it into works of wickedness, and he leads it into forgetfulness. After it has become naked in this way, he hands it over to the

      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      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.}

    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. So again the blessed Mother Father, whose mercy is great, takes form in her seed.
    11. 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 GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    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

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    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.

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    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.
      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      And the entreaty of her repentance was heard and all the Fullness praised the invisible virginal Spirit on her behalf. The holy Spirit poured over her (something) from their entire Fullness. For her partner did not come to her (by himself), but it was through the Fullness that he came to her in order that he might correct her deficiency. Yet even so, she was not conveyed to her own Aeon, but (was placed) above her child so that she might dwell in the Ninth until she corrects her deficiency.

    15. And a voice came from the exalted heavenly Aeon, The Human exists and the Child of the Human.’ The Chief Ruler, Yaltabaoth, heard it, but he thought that the voice had come from his Mother, and he did not understand where it had come from.And the holy and perfect Mother-Father, the perfect Pronoia, the image of the Invisible, who is the Father of the All, in whom the All came into being, the first Human, taught them by revealing his likeness in a male model.The Aeon of the Chief Ruler trembled all over and the foundations of the abyss quaked. And upon the waters which dwell under matter, the underside was [illum]ined by the ap[pearance] of his image which had been revealed. And when all the authorities and the Chief Ruler stared (on the water), they saw all the region below which was shining. And by the light, they saw the model of the image upon the water.And he said to the authorities who dwell with him, ‘Come, let us create a human according to the image of God and according to our likeness so that his image might illuminate us.’ And they created (using) the power from each of them according to the characteristics which they had been given.And each one of the authorities supplied for (the human’s) soul a characteristic corresponding to the model of the image which he had seen. He created a real being in accordance with the likeness of the perfect first Human. And they said, ‘Let us call him Adam in order that his name might become a power of light for us.’And the powers began (their work): The first one, Goodness, created a bone-soul. The second one, Pronoia, created a sinew-soul. The third one, Divinity, made a flesh-soul. The fourth one, Lordship, made a marrow-soul. The fifth one, Kingdom, made a blood- soul. The sixth one, Envy, created a skin-soul. The seventh Understanding, created a hair- soul.

      The multitude of the angels stood before him. They received the seven substances of the soul from the powers so that they might create the harmony of the parts and the harmony of the limbs and the proper combination of each of the parts.

    16. The first began to create (starting) from the head. Eteraphaope Abron created its head. Megiggesstroeth created the brain. Asterechmen, the right eye. Thaspomocham, the left eye. Yeronumos, the right ear. Bissoum, the left ear. Akiopeim, the nose. Banen Ephroum, the lips. Amen, the teeth. Ibikan, the molars. Basiliasdeme, the tonsils. Achcha, the uvula. Adaban, the neck. Chaaman, the vertebrae. Dearcho, the throat. Tebar, the right shoulder. N[. . . the] left shoulder. Mniarchon, the right elbow. [… the] left elbow. Abitrion, the right underarm. Evanthen, the left underarm. Krys, the right hand. Beluia, the left hand. Treneu, the fingers of the right hand. Balbel, the fingers of the left hand.Kriman, the fingernails. Astrops, the right breast. Barroph, the left breast. Baoum, theright shoulder joint. Ararim, the left shoulder joint. Areche, the belly. Phthave, the navel. Senaphim, the abdomen. Arachethopi, the right ribs. Zabedo, the left ribs. Barias, the right hip. Phnouth, the left hip. Abenlenarchei, the marrow. Chnoumeninorin, the bones. Gesole, the stomach. Agromauma, the heart. Bano, the lungs. Sostrapal, the liver. Anesimalar, the spleen. Thopithro, the intestines. Biblo, the kidneys. Roeror, the sinews. Taphreo, the spine of the body. lpouspoboba, the veins. Bineborin, the arteries. Aatoimenpsephei, theirs are the breaths which are in all the parts. Entholleia, all the flesh. Bedouk, the right buttock (?). Arabeei, the left <buttock. . . .>, the penis. Eilo, the testicles. Sorma created the genitals. Gorma Kaiochlabar, the right thigh. Nebrith, the left thigh. Pserem, the kidneys (muscles?) of the right side. Asaklas, the left kidney (muscle). Ormaoth, the right knee. Emenun, the left knee. Knyx, the right shin. Tupelon, the leftshin. Achiel, the right ankle. Phneme, the left ankle. Phiouthrom, the right foot. Boabel, its toes. Trachoun, the left foot. Phikna, its toes. Miamai, the toenails. Labernioum <…>.And seven were appointed over all these: Athoth, Armas, Kalila, Yabel, Sabaoth, Cain, Abel.
    17. And those who animate the parts are, according to parts: the head, Diolimodraza. The neck, Yammaeax. The right shoulder, Yakoubib. The left shoulder, Verton. The right hand, Oudidi. The left, Arbao. The fingers of the right hand, Lampno. The fingers of the left hand, Leekaphar. The right breast, Barbar. The left breast, Imae. The chest, Pisandraptes. The right shoulder joint, Koade. The left shoulder joint, Odeaor. The right ribs, Asphixix. The left ribs, Synogchouta. The belly, Arouph. The womb, Sabalo. Theright thigh, Charcharb. The left thigh, Chthaon. All. the genitals, Bathinoth. The right knee, Choux. The left knee, Charcha. The right shin, Aroer. The left shin, Toechtha. The right ankle, Aol. The left ankle, Charaner. The right foot, Bastan. Its toes, Archentechtha. The left foot, Marephnounth. Its toes, Abrana.Seven, 7, [have power] over all of these: Michael, Ouriel, Asmenedas, Saphasatoel, Aarmouriam, Richram, Amiorps.And those who are over the senses, Archendekta. And the one over the perception, Deitharbathas. And the one over the imagination, Oummaa. And the one over the assent, Aachiaram. And the one over the whole impulse, Riaramnacho.And the source of these demons who are in the whole body is fixed as four: heat, cold, wetness, dryness. And the mother of them all is matter. The one who rules over the heat, Phloxpha. The one who rules over the cold, Oroorrothos. The one who rules over what is dry, Erimacho. “The one who rules over the wetness, Athuro. The mother of all these, Onorthochrasaei who is limitless, stands in their midst and she mixes with them all. And truly she is matter, for they are nourished by her.Ephememphi is the one who belongs to pleasure. Yoko is the one who belongs to desire. Nenentophni is the one who belongs to grief. Blaomen is the one who belongs to fear. The mother of them all is Esthensis Ouch Epiptoe. The passions come into being from these four demons. From grief (comes) envy, jealousy, suffering, trouble, pain, heartlessness, anxiety, mourning, and the rest. And from pleasure comes much wickedness and empty boasting and similar things. From desire (comes) anger, wrath, bitterness, bitter yearning, insatiable greed and similar things. From fear (comes) panic, flattery, anguish, shame. These all resemble virtues as well as vices. The insight into their true character is Anaro, who is the head of the material soul which dwells with the seven senses Ouch Epiptoe. This is the number of the angels: altogether they are 365. They all labored on it until, part by part, the psychic and material body was completed. Now others whom I have not mentioned to you rule over the rest.

      If you want to know about them, it is written in the Book of Zoroaster.

      And all the angels and demons labored until they had created the psychic body.

    18. And their product was completely inactive and motionless for a long time.But when the Mother wanted to retrieve the power which she had given to the Chief Ruler, she entreated the Mother-Father of the All, the one who possesses great mercy. Following the holy design, he sent the five Lights down to the place of the angels of the Chief Ruler. They advised him with the goal of extracting the power of the Mother.And they said to Yaldabaoth, ‘Breathe into his face by your spirit and his body will arise.’ And into his face he blew his spirit, which is the power of his Mother. He did not understand because he dwells in ignorance. And the power of the Mother left Yaldabaoth and went into the psychic body that they had made according to the likeness of the one who exists from the beginning. The body moved and gained power, and it was luminous.And in that moment, the rest of the powers became jealous for it was because of them all that he had come into being and they had given their power to the human.Yet his understanding was stronger than those who had made him and greater even thanthe Chief Ruler. When they understood that he was luminous, could think better than they did, and was naked of evil, they picked him up and threw him down into the lowest part of all matter.

      But the Blessed one, the Mother-Father, the beneficent and merciful, had mercy upon the Mother’s power that had been brought forth from the Chief Ruler lest yet again they might have power over the psychic and perceptible body. So through his beneficent Spirit and his great mercy, he sent a helper to Adam. She is a luminous Epinoia, who is from him (and) who was called Life. It is she who aids the whole creation by toiling with him, guiding him by correction toward his fullness, and teaching him about the descent of the seed and teaching him about the path of ascent, the path which it had come down. The Epinoia of the light was hidden in Adam in order that the rulers might not know, but Epinoia existed as a correction for the deficiency of the Mother.

    19. And the human appeared because of the shadow of the light which exists within him. And his thought was superior to all those who had created him. When they looked up,they saw that his thought was superior, and they took counsel with the whole host of therulers and the angels. They took some fire, earth, and water. They mixed them together with each other and the four fiery winds. And they wrought them together and made a great disturbance.And they enclosed him in the shadow of death in order that they might yet again form from earth, water, fire, and spirit a thing from matter, which is the ignorance of the darkness, desire, and their counterfeit spirit. This is the tomb of the molding of the body with which the robbers clothed the human, the chain of forgetfulness. And he came to be a mortal human.This is the one who came down first and the first partition. The Epinoia of the light who was in him is the one who will awaken his thinking.
    20. And the Rulers took him and they placed him in paradise. And they said to him, ‘Eatthat is in idleness. For indeed their delight is bitter and their beauty is licentious. For theirdelight is deception and their trees are impiety. And their fruit is an incurable poison andtheir promise is death. And in the midst of paradise, they planted the tree of their life.But I, I will teach you what the mystery of their life is, the plan they made with each other, the likeness of their spirit.Its root is bitter and its branches are deaths. Its shade is hate and deception dwells in its leaves. And its blossom is the anointment of evil. And its fruit is death, and desire is its seed, and it blossoms from the darkness. The dwelling place of those who taste from it is Hades, and the dark is their resting place.

      But what they call ‘the tree of the knowledge of what is good and evil’ is the Epinoia of the light. They (the rulers) remained in front of it in order that he might not look up to his fullness and come to know the nakedness of his shamefulness. But as for me, I set them

      right so that they would eat.”

      And I said to the Savior, “Lord, was it not the snake who taught Adam so that he would eat?”

      The Savior laughed and said, “The snake taught them to eat from a wicked desire to sow which belongs to destruction, in order that he (Adam) would become useful to it. And it knew that he was disobedient to it because the light of Epinoia dwelled in him, making him more correct in his thinking than the Chief Ruler.

    21. And he wanted to bring out the power which he had given to him. And he brought a trance upon Adam.”And I said to the Savior, “What is the trance?”He said, “It is not as Moses wrote as you heard. For he said in his first book that he laid him down in sleep, but rather it concerned his sensibility. For indeed it is said by the prophet, ‘I will make their hearts heavy so that they might neither give heed nor see.’Then the Epinoia of the light hid in him.And the Chief Ruler wanted to bring her from his rib. But the Epinoia of the light is not graspable. Although the dark pursued her, it did not lay hold of her.And he brought forth a part of his power from him (Adam). And he created another molded form in a woman’s shape according to the image of Epinoia who had appeared to

      him. And into the molded form of womanhood he put the part which he had taken from the power of the human— not ‘his rib’ as Moses said. And he saw the woman beside him.

      Immediately, the luminous Epinoia appeared for she had uncovered the veil which had been on his understanding. He became sober from the drunkenness of the darkness and he recognized his likeness. And he said, ‘Now this is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. Because of this, man will leave his father and his mother and he will cling to his wife and they will no longer be two but a single flesh.’ For his partner will be sent to him and he will leave his father and his mother.

      It is our sister Sophia who came down in innocence in order that she might correct her deficiency. Because of this she was called Zoe (Life), the mother of the living by Pronoia of the authority of heaven and […] to him [. . .]. And through her they tasted the perfect knowledge.

      In the form of an eagle, I appeared on the tree of knowledge, which is the Epinoia from the pure, luminous Pronoia, so that I might teach them and awaken them from the depth of the sleep. For they were both in a fallen state and they recognized their nakedness. Epinoia appeared to them as light, awakening their thought.

    22. But when Yaldabaoth knew that they had withdrawn from him, he cursed his earth. He found the female preparing herself for her male. He was lord over her, for he did not understand the mystery which had come to pass from the holy design. And they were afraid to blame him. And he revealed his ignorance that dwelled in him to his angels. And he cast them out of paradise and he clothed them with a dark gloom.And the Chief Ruler saw the virgin who stood beside Adam and that the living luminous Epinoia appeared in her. And Yaldabaoth was filled with ignorance.When the Pronoia of the All knew, she sent some beings and they snatched Zoe from Eve. And the Chief Ruler defiled her. And he begat two sons from her. The first is Eloim and the second is Yawe. Eloim has a bear face while Yawe has a lion face. The one is righteous while the other is unrighteous. (IV Yawe is righteous, but Eloim isunrighteous.) He set Yawe over the fire and the wind, while he set Eloim over water andearth. He named these Cain and Abel with trickery in mind.Now up to the present day, intercourse has continued from the Chief Ruler. And he planted a seed of desire in her who belongs to Adam. From intercourse he caused birth in the likeness of bodies and he supplied them from his counterfeit spirit. He set two rulers over the principalities so that they might rule over the tomb.
      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      When Adam perceived the likeness of his own foreknowledge, he begot the likeness of the Child of the Human; he called him Seth following the way of the generation in the aeons.

      Likewise the Mother also sent down her Spirit in the likeness of the female being who is like her, as a counterpart to she who is in the Fullness, so that she might prepare a dwelling place for the aeons that were going to descend.

      And they were made to drink water of forgetfulness by the Chief Ruler so that they would not know themselves (and would not know) where they had come from.

      And the seed existed like this for while: providing assistance, so that when the Spirit descends from the holy aeons, it will correct (the seed) and heal it from the deficiency so that the entire Fullness might become holy and without deficiency.”

    23. I said to the Savior, “Lord, will all the souls be delivered into the pure light”?He replied, saying to me, “These are great things that have arisen in your thinking. For it is difficult to disclose these things to any others except those who are from the immovable generation. Those upon whom the Spirit of the Life will descend and (with whom) it will be powerfully present, they will be saved and will become perfect. And they will become worthy of the great realms. And they will be purified in that place from all evil and the concerns of wickedness. Then they will not take care for anything except the imperishability alone, attending to it from this point on without anger or envy or jealousy or desire or greed of anything at all. For they are not restrained by anything except the reality of the flesh alone, which they bear while fervently awaiting the time when they will be visited by those who will receive (them). For such as these are worthy of the imperishable eternal life and the calling, enduring everything, bearing everything so that they might complete the contest and inherit eternal life.”I said to him, “Lord, will the souls of those upon whom the power of the Spirit of Life descended but who did not do these works be e[xcluded]?”He repli[ed, s]aying to me, “If [the] Spirit descends [up]on them, they will be saved in any case, and they will migrate. For the power will descend upon every human being— for without it, no one is able to stand upright. After they are born, then if the Spirit of Life increases and the power comes to strengthen that soul, it is not possible to lead it astray into the works of wickedness. But those upon whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by it and they are led astray.”I said, “Lord, then when the souls of those leave their flesh, where will they got’He laughed and said to me, “The soul in which the power will become stronger than the despicable spirit— for this one (the soul) is powerful and it flees from evil— it will be saved by the visitation of the Incorruptible and it will be admitted into the repose of the aeons.

      I said, “Lord, then where will the souls be who do not know to whom their souls belong?”

      He said to me, “In those, the despicable spirit has proliferated by leading them astray. He burdens the soul and draws it into works of wickedness, and he casts it down into forgetfulness. After it comes forth, they hand it over to the authorities who came into being through the Ruler. And they bind it in chains and cast it into prison. And they consort with it until it awakens from forgetfulness and receives knowledge. And in this way, it is perfected and saved.”

      I said, “Lord, how does the soul become smaller and return back into the nature of its mother or the human?”

      Then he rejoiced when I asked this, and he said to me, “Truly you are blessed, for you have understood! That soul is made to follow another who has the Spirit of Life in it. It is saved by that (other) one. Then it is not cast into another flesh.”

      And I said, “Lord, what about those who understood and yet turned away? Where will their souls go?”

      Then he said to me, “They will be admitted into that place where the angels of poverty go, the place where repentance does not occur. And they will guard them until that day when those who have blasphemed against the Spirit will be tortured. And they will be punished with an eternal punishment.”

    24. I said, “Lord, where did the despicable spirit come from?”Then he said to me, “(It all began when) the Mother-Father whose mercy is great, the Spirit who is holy in every respect, the compassionate, and who troubles herself with you, that is, the Epinoia of the luminous Pronoia awakened the seed of the perfect generation and its thinking and the eternal light of the Human. When the Chief Ruler knew that they surpassed him in excellence—for their thoughts were higher than his— he wanted to restrict their planning, for he was ignorant that they excelled him in thinking and that he would not be able to restrict them. He made a plan with his authorities, that is, his powers. Together they committed adultery with Sophia. And through them was begotten bitter Fate, which is the last of the counterfeit chains. And it is such that (it makes) each one different from every other. And it is painful and it oppresses that (soul) since the gods and angels and demons and all the generations have intermingled with it up to the present day. For from that Fate appeared every iniquity and injustice and blasphemy and the fetter of forgetfulness and ignorance and every harsh command and severe sins and great fears. And this is how they made the whole creation blind so that they might not know the God who is above them all. And because of the fetter of forgetfulness, their sins were hidden. For they were bound with measures and times and seasons—for it (Fate) was lord over them all.And he had regrets about everything which had come into being through him. Again he planned to bring a flood over the human creation.But the greatness of the light of Pronoia taught Noah. And he preached to the whole offspring, that is, the children of the humans. But those who were strangers to him did not listen to him. It is not like Moses said that they hid themselves in an ark, but they were hidden — not only Noah, but many other people from the immovable generation.They entered a place. They were hidden in a luminous cloud. And he understood his authority. And she who belongs to the light was with him for she illumined them, for he had brought darkness upon the whole earth.
    25. And he created a plan with his powers. He sent his angels to the daughters of men so that they might take some of them for themselves, and they might raise a seed, to be a respite for them. And at first they were not successful, but when they did not succeed, they gathered together again and made another plan. They created a despicable spirit in the likeness of the Spirit who had descended so that through it they might pollute the souls.And the angels changed their own likenesses into the likeness of each one’s mate, filling them with the spirit of darkness, which they mixed with them and with wickedness.They brought gold, silver, a gift, and copper and iron and metal and every sort of thing belonging to these classes. And they beguiled the human beings who had followed them into great troubles by leading them astray into much error.They grew old without having enjoyment. They died without having found any truth and without having known the God of Truth. And thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, from the foundation of the world until now.And they took women; they begot children out of darkness according to the likeness of their spirit. And their hearts became closed and hardened by the hardening of the despicable spirit until now.
    26. Therefore I, the perfect Pronoia of the All, changed into my seed. For I existed from the first, traveling on every road. For I am the wealth of the light. I am the remembrance of the fullness. I traveled into the vastness of the dark, and I persevered until I entered the midst of the prison. And the foundations of chaos quaked. And I hid myself from them because of their evil, and they did not recognize me.Again I returned for the second time and I traveled. I came forth into those who belong to the light, which is I, the remembrance of the Pronoia. I entered the midst of the dark and the inside of Hades, seeking to put my household in order. And the foundations of chaos quaked such that (it seemed) they would fall down upon those who dwell in the chaos and destroy them. And again I fled up to my luminous root so that they would not be destroyed before the time was right.Still for a third time, I who am the light that exists in the light and the remembrance of the Pronoia, I traveled in order to enter into the midst of the darkness and the inside ofHades. I filled my countenance with the light of the consummation of their aeon. And I entered the midst of their prison, which is the prison of the body. And I said, ‘Whoever hears, arise from lethargic sleep!’And he wept, shedding tears; heavy tears he wiped from himself. And he said, ‘Who is it who calls my name and from where does this hope come to me who am dwelling in the fetters of the prison?’ And I said, `I am the Pronoia of the pure light; I am the thought of the virginal Spirit, the one who raises you to the place of honor. Arise and remember that you are the one who has heard, and follow your root, which is I, the compassionate. Fortify yourself against the angels of poverty and the demons of chaos and all those who ensnare you, and be watchful of the lethargic sleep and the garment of the inside of Hades.’And I raised him up and sealed him with the light of the water with five seals so that death would not have power over him from this day on.
    27. Behold, now I will go up to the perfect aeon. I have completed everything for you in your ears. I have told you ( John) all things so that you might write them down and give them in secret to your fellow spirits. For this is the mystery of the immoveable generation.” And the Savior gave these things to him so that he might write them down and keep them secure.

    And he said to him, “Cursed be any one who should exchange these things for a gift, whether for food or drink or clothing or anything else of this kind.”

    And these things were given to him in a mystery. And immediately he disappeared before him. And he ( John) went to his fellow disciples. He related to them the things which the Savior had said to him.

    Jesus Christ Amen.

    The Secret Revelation according to John

    Based on the translation 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 GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Apocryphon of John Collection

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

    Gnosis Archive | Library | Bookstore | Index | Web Lectures | Ecclesia Gnostica | Gnostic Society

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    The Secret Book of John

    (The Apocryphon of John)

    Translated by Stevan Davies

    This translation is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by exclusive permission of the author.

    All rights including right of electronic reproduction are reserved by the author.

    © 2005 Stevan Davies

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    Notes by the Translator

    It has always seemed to me that the Secret Book of John evolved to be more difficult to read than it originally was. The Secret Book of John is a complex developmental mythology that has been made more complicated because, over the years, versions of it have been “improved” by several levels of scribal alteration. One set of levels is the evident addition of rather lengthy texts (a list of magical names, a dialogue on the soul, a providence hymn) to an original version that lacked them. Another set of levels is the addition by various scribes of what they intended to be useful comments, explanations, clarifications and supplementary details. The former processes continue to be added to the text when scholars such as myself add introductory paragraphs, or indeed whole book-length texts to introduce or comment on the Secret Book of John. The latter processes continue when scholars interrupt the flow of the text by adding subheadings (such as the section headings added here in Bold Italics) and notes intended to assist the reader’s understanding.

    I believe that readers will benefit from seeing the various individual elements constituting the text as separable units and so be relieved from thinking that somehow all of this material constitutes one originally coherent whole. To this end, in this version of my translation I use two formatting techniques to identify and separate-out several forms of

    material that seem to have been added at different times to the original. For more extensive textual additions I have arranged that the translation make use of different color fonts. There is one font color for the main body of the Secret Book of John (font color 1), another for the material I believe to have been added by a Christian editor who sought to present the text as a long dialogue between Jesus and John son of Zebedee (font color 2); this material occurs in two large blocks at the beginning and toward the end of the text and also in occasional dialogues imbedded throughout the last half of the text. Another font (font color 3) distinguishes a long list of demons’ names that are associated with specific body parts, a magical text apparently taken from an unknown source called the “Book of Zoroaster“. Another (font color 4) is used for the included dialogue about the soul. Finally a font (font color 5) designates the three part hymn spoken by God’s Providence (Pronoia).

    In addition to these different fonts, I have put in square brackets the occasional short passages, or sentences, or phrases that I believe were added to the text by scribes over the years, additions that were intended to make the text more understandable, or to identify elements of the text with aspects of the Christian religion. If you ask how I know which parts were added as comments and so forth, the answer is that I make informed guesses. That’s really what most scholarship comes down to… informed guesses.

    (Click here to purchase the print edition of The Secret Book of John, translated and

    annotated by Stevan Davies. Note that the print edition includes introductory material and

    an extensive line-by-line commentary on facing pages.)

    Visit the Apocryphon of John Collection for more information

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    [The Teaching of the Savior]

    The Revelation of the Mysteries Hidden in Silence

    [Those Things that He Taught to John, His Disciple]

    Prologue

    One day John, the brother of James [these are the sons of Zebedee], was going up to the Temple. A Pharisee by the name of Arimanios came up to him and challenged him, asking: “Where is the teacher you used to follow?”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    John replied, “He has gone back to the place from which he came.”

    The Pharisee said, “That Nazarene misled you (plural), told you lies, closed your hearts and turned you away from your ancestral traditions.”

    When I heard these things, I, John, turned away from the temple and went off to a deserted mountainous place. I was very unhappy, saying to myself:

    “How was the Savior designated?

    Why did his Father send him into the world? Who is his Father?

    What kind of realm will we go to?

    For, although he told us, ‘This realm is modeled on the imperishable realm,’ He didn’t teach us about the latter.”

    All of a sudden, while I was contemplating these things, Behold!

    The heavens opened and the whole of creation shone with a light from above, And the world quaked!

    I was afraid, yet

    Behold!

    A little child appeared before me in the light.

    I continued looking at him as he became an old man

    And then he changed again, becoming like a young man. I didn’t understand what I was seeing,

    But the one likeness had several forms in the light, And these likenesses appeared each through the other And the vision had three forms.

    He said to me,

    “John, why doubt? Why be afraid?

    Don’t you know this image? Be not afraid.

    I am with you (plural) always. I am the Father

    The Mother

    The Son

    I am the incorruptible Purity.

    I have come to teach you

    About what is And what was And what will be

    In order for you to understand The invisible world

    And the world that is visible

    And the immovable race of perfect humanity.

    Raise your head; Understand my lessons;

    Share them with any others who have received the spirit,

    Who are from the immovable race of perfect humanity.”

    The Inexpressible One

    The One rules all. Nothing has authority over it.

    It is the God.

    It is Father of everything, Holy One

    The invisible one over everything. It is uncontaminated

    Pure light no eye can bear to look within.

    The One is the Invisible Spirit.

    It is not right to think of it as a God or as like God. It is more than just God.

    Nothing is above it. Nothing rules it.

    Since everything exists within it

    It does not exist within anything. Since it is not dependent on anything

    It is eternal.

    It is absolutely complete and so needs nothing. It is utterly perfect

    Light.

    The One is without boundaries

    Nothing exists outside of it to border it The One cannot be investigated

    Nothing exists apart from it to investigate it The One cannot be measured

    Nothing exists external to it to measure it

    The One cannot be seen

    For no one can envision it The One is eternal

    For it exists forever The One is inconceivable

    For no one can comprehend it The One is indescribable

    For no one can put any words to it.

    The One is infinite light

    Purity Holiness Stainless,

    The One is incomprehensible Perfectly free from corruption.

    Not “perfect” Not “blessed” Not “divine”

    But superior to such concepts.

    Neither physical nor unphysical Neither immense nor infinitesimal

    It is impossible to specify in quantity or quality For it is beyond knowledge.

    The One is not a being among other beings It is vastly superior

    But it is not “superior.”

    It is outside of realms of being and time

    For whatever is within realms of being was created And whatever is within time had time allotted to it

    The One receives nothing from anything.

    It simply apprehends itself in its own perfect light

    The One is majestic.

    The One is measureless majesty

    Chief of all Realms

    Producing all realms

    Light

    Producing light

    Life

    Producing life

    Blessedness

    Producing blessedness

    Knowledge

    Producing knowledge

    Good

    Producing goodness

    Mercy

    Producing mercy

    Generous

    Producing generosity

    [It does not “possess” these things.]

    It gives forth light beyond measure, beyond comprehension.

    [What can I say?]

    His realm is eternal, peaceful, silent, resting, before everything.

    He is the head of every realm sustaining each of them through goodness.

    The Origin of Reality

    [We would know nothing of the ineffable And nothing of the immeasurable

    Without the help of the one who comes forth from the One who is the Father.

    He alone has informed us.]

    The Father is surrounded by light.

    He apprehends himself in that light

    [which is the pure spring of the water of life that sustains all realms].

    He is conscious of his image everywhere around him, Perceiving his image in this spring of Spirit

    Pouring forth from himself.

    He is enamored of the image he sees in the light-water, The spring of pure light-water enveloping him.

    His self-aware thought (ennoia) came into being. Appearing to him in the effulgence of his light. She stood before him.

    This, then, is the first of the powers, prior to everything. Arising out of the mind of the Father

    The Providence (pronoia) of everything. Her light reflects His light.

    She is from His image in His light Perfect in power

    Image of the invisible perfect Virgin Spirit.

    She is the initial power glory of Barbelo

    glorious among the realms glory of revelation

    She gave glory to the Virgin Spirit She praised Him

    For she arose from Him.

    [This, the first Thought, is the Spirit’s image] She is the universal womb

    She is before everything She is:

    Mother-Father First Man Holy Spirit

    Thrice Male Thrice Powerful Thrice Named

    Androgynous eternal realm

    First to arise among the invisible realms.

    She, Barbelo, asked the virgin Spirit for foreknowledge (prognosis).

    The Spirit agreed.

    Foreknowledge came forth and stood by Providence

    [This one came through the Invisible Virgin Spirit’s Thought.] Foreknowledge gave glory to the Spirit

    And to Barbelo, the Spirit’s perfect power,

    For She was the reason that it had come into being.

    Primary Structures of the Divine Mind

    She, Barbelo, asked the virgin Spirit for Incorruptibility The Spirit agreed.

    Incorruptibility came forth and stood by Thought and Foreknowledge.

    Incorruptibility gave glory to the Invisible Virgin Spirit And to Barbelo,

    For She was the reason that it had come into being.

    She asked for everlasting Life.

    The Spirit agreed

    Everlasting life came forth and they all stood together. They gave glory to the invisible Spirit

    And to Barbelo,

    For She was the reason that it had come into being.

    She asked for Truth.

    The Spirit agreed

    Truth came forth and they all stood together. They gave glory to the invisible Spirit

    And to Barbelo,

    For She was the reason that it had come into being. This is the fivefold realm of the Father:

    The First Man who is

    The Image of the Invisible Spirit who is Providence who is

    Barbelo who is

    Thought. And

    Foreknowledge – Incorruptibility – Life Everlasting – Truth

    [These are an androgynous fivefold realm – therefore it is a realm of ten – of the Father.]

    Secondary Structures of the Divine Mind

    The Father looked into Barbelo

    [into the pure light surrounding the Invisible Spirit]

    Barbelo conceived and bore a spark of light

    Who had blessedness similar to, but not equal to, her blessedness,

    Who was the only child of that mother–father The only offspring,

    The only begotten child of the pure light, the Father.

    The Invisible Virgin Spirit celebrated the light that had been produced Coming forth from the first power who is

    The Providence Barbelo

    The Spirit anointed him with Goodness, making him perfect [he lacked no goodness whatsoever,

    for he was anointed with the Invisible Spirit’s Goodness] He stood in the Spirit’s presence and it was poured upon him.

    Having received this anointing from the Spirit he immediately glorified Him And he glorified the perfect Providence.

    Because of Her he had come into being.

    He asked for Mind (nous) to be a companion to him.

    The Spirit consented

    When the Invisible Spirit consented Mind came into being.

    It stood by the Anointed

    and glorified the Spirit and Barbelo

    [These beings came into existence through silence and thought.] He wished to act through the Word of the Invisible Spirit.

    Whose Will became an action and appeared with Mind Glorifying the Light.

    And then Word followed Will into being.

    [The Christ, the divine autogenes, created everything through the Word.]

    Everlasting Life and Will, Mind, and Foreknowledge

    Stood together.

    They glorified the Invisible Spirit and Barbelo. Because of Her they had come into being.

    Tertiary Structures of the Divine Mind

    The Holy Spirit

    Brought his and Barbelo’s divine autogenes Son to completion

    In order that he could stand before the great Invisible Virgin Spirit As the divine autogenes Christ

    And honor Him with a mighty voice. [The Son came through Providence].

    The Invisible Spirit

    Placed the divine autogenes over everything. All authorities were subordinated to him. The truth within him let him learn everything

    [He is called by the highest name of all.

    That name will be told only to those who are worthy to hear it From the light, [which is the Christ,]

    From the incorruptibility, Through a gift of the spirit

    The Four Lights arising from the divine autogenes stood before him.

    [The four fundamental powers are Understanding, Grace, Perception, and Consideration.] Grace exists within the realm of the Light called Harmozel, the first angel.

    Along with Harmozel are Grace

    Truth Form

    The second Light is called Oriel and it stands over the second realm. With Oriel are:

    Conceptualization (Epinoia) Perception

    Memory

    The third Light is called Daveithai and it stands over the third realm. With Daveithai are:

    Understanding

    Love Idea

    The fourth Light is called Eleleth and it stands over the fourth realm. With Eleleth are:

    Perfection Peace

    Wisdom (Sophia).

    These are the four lights standing before the divine autogenes. Twelve realms stand before the Son of the Powerful

    The autogenes

    The Christ Through the intention

    And the grace Of the Invisible Spirit

    Twelve realms belong to the Son of the autogenes.

    [All of this came into being through the intention of the Holy Spirit Through the autogenes.]

    From the perfect mind’s foreknowledge Through the intention of the Invisible Spirit And the autogenes’s will.

    The perfect human appeared,

    Its first true manifestation

    The Virgin Spirit named the human Adamas

    And placed him over the first realm with the mighty autogenes Christ With the first Light Harmozel and its powers.

    The Invisible One gave Adamas invincible power of mind. Adamas spoke, glorifying and praising the Invisible Spirit:

    “Everything has come into being from you

    Everything will return to you.

    I will praise you and glorify you And the Autogenes

    And the triple realm:

    Father – Mother – Son, the perfect power.”

    Over the second realm was appointed Adamas’s son Seth With the second Light Oriel.

    In the third realm were placed the children of Seth With the third Light Daveithai.

    [The souls of the saints are placed there.]

    In the fourth realm were placed the souls of those ignorant of the fullness Those who did not repent at once

    But who, after some time, eventually repented, They are with the fourth Light Eleleth.

    All of these created beings glorify the Invisible Spirit

    A Crisis that Became the World

    It happened that the realm (aeon) Wisdom (Sophia) Of conceptual thought (Epinoia),

    Began to think for herself,

    She used the thinking (enthymesis) And the foreknowledge (prognosis) Of the Invisible Spirit.

    She intended to reveal an image from herself

    To do so without the consent of the Spirit, Who did not approve,

    Without the thoughtful assistance of her masculine counterpart, Who did not approve.

    Without the Invisible Spirit’s consent Without the knowledge of her partner

    She brought it into being.

    Because she had unconquerable Power Her thought was not unproductive.

    Something imperfect came out of her Different in appearance from her.

    Because she had created it without her masculine counterpart She gave rise to a misshapen being unlike herself.

    Sophia saw what her desire produced.

    It changed into the form of a dragon with a lion’s head And eyes flashing lightning bolts.

    She cast him far from her,

    Outside of the realm of the immortal beings So that they could not see him.

    [She had created him in ignorance.]

    Sophia surrounded him with a brilliant cloud,

    Put a throne in the center part of the cloud So that no one would see it.

    [Except for the Holy Spirit called the Mother of the Living] She named him Yaldabaoth.

    Yaldabaoth is the chief ruler.

    He took great Power (dynamis) from his mother,

    Left her, and moved away from his birthplace. He assumed command,

    Created realms for himself

    With a brilliant flame that continues to exist even now.

    The Fashioning of This World

    Yadabaoth united with the thoughtlessness (aponoia) within him. He begot ruling authorities (exousia)

    Modeling them on the incorruptible realms above.

    The first is Athoth

    The second is Harmas [called the eye of flame] The third is Kalilaumbri

    The fourth is Yabel

    The fifth is Adonaiu [called Sabaoth] The sixth is Cain [called the sun] The seventh is Abel

    The eighth is Abrisene The ninth is Yobel The tenth is Armupiel

    The eleventh is Melcheir-adonein The twelfth is Belias

    Who rules over the very depth of Hades.

    He made the first seven rulers to reign in the seven spheres of heaven. He made the next five rulers to reign in the five depths of the abyss.

    He shared a portion of his fire with them,

    But shared none of the power of Light he had received from his mother.

    [He is ignorant darkness.

    When the Light mingled into the darkness the darkness shone.

    When darkness mixed with the Light, the Light diminished,

    No longer Light nor darkness but dim.]

    This dim ruler has three names: Yaldabaoth is the first.

    Saklas is the second. Samael is the third.

    He is blasphemous through his thoughtlessness. He said “I am God, and there is no God but me!”

    Since he didn’t know where his own Power originated.

    His rulers created seven Authorities for themselves.

    Each of these Authorities created six demons apiece, There came to be 365 demons altogether.

    Here are the seven Authorities’ names and physical forms: First, Athoth with a sheep’s face

    Second, Eloaios with a donkey’s face Third, Astaphaios with a hyena’s face

    Fourth, Yao with the face of a seven headed snake Fifth, Sabaoth who has the face of a dragon

    Sixth, Adonin whose face is that of a monkey Seventh, Sabbataios with a face of flame and fire.

    These are the seven of the week. These Authorities rule the world.

    Yaldabaoth has many faces.

    More than all that have been listed

    So he can convey any face he wants to the seraphim around him.

    Yaldabaoth shared his fire with his seraphim But gave them none of his pure Light

    Although he ruled them by virtue of the power and glory Of the Light had received from his Mother.

    [Therefore he called himself “God” and defied his place of origin.]

    He united his thought’s sevenfold Powers with the Authorities who accompanied him.

    He spoke and it happened.

    He named those sevenfold Powers starting with the highest one: Goodness paired with the first: Athoth

    Providence paired with the second: Eloaios

    Divinity paired with the third: Astaphaios

    Lordship paired with the fourth: Yao Kingdom paired with the fifth: Sabaoth Zeal paired with the sixth: Adonin

    Understanding paired with the seventh: Sabbataios

    Each has its own realm modeled on one of the higher realms.

    And each new name refers to a glory in the heavens So that Yaldabaoth’s demons might be destroyed.

    The demons’ own names, given by Yaldabaoth, are mighty names But the Powers’ names reflecting the glory above

    Will bring about the demons’ destruction and remove their Power.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    That is why each has two names.

    Yaldabaoth modeled his creation

    On the pattern of the original realms above him

    So that it might be just like the indestructible realms.

    [Not that he had ever seen the indestructible ones. Rather, the power in him, deriving from his mother, made him aware of the pattern of the cosmos above.]

    When he gazed upon his creation surrounding him He said to his host of demons

    The ones who had come forth out of him: “I am a jealous God and there is no God but me!”

    [But by doing this he admitted to his demons that there is indeed another God. For, if there were no other God, whom would he possibly be jealous of?]

    His mother began to move back and forth

    Because she had become aware that she now lacked Light For her brightness had dimmed.

    [Since her consort had not approved of her actions, she grew darker] [I said “Master, what does it mean ‘she moved back and forth’?”

    He laughed, saying, “It’s not as Moses said ‘upon the waters.’ Not at all.”]

    When she saw the evil that had taken place and

    The theft of light that her son had committed She repented.

    In the darkness of ignorance She began to forget.

    She began to be ashamed.

    But she could not yet return above Yet she began to move.

    And so she moved back and forth.

    [The arrogant one removed Power from his mother For he was ignorant

    He thought no one existed except for his mother. He saw the host of demons he had created

    And he elevated himself above them.

    But when the mother realized that that miscarriage Was so imperfect

    She came to realize that her consort had not approved. She repented and wept furiously.]

    All of the divine realms (pleroma) heard her repentant prayer They sought blessing for her from the Invisible Virgin Spirit.

    The Spirit consented.

    He poured the Holy Spirit over her

    Brought forth from the whole full realm.

    [Her consort did not come down to her on his own, but he came through the whole full realm

    to restore her to her original condition.]

    She was elevated above her son,

    But she was not restored to her own original realm.

    She would remain in the ninth sphere until she was fully restored.

    Humanity Begins

    Then came a voice from the highest realms saying: “The Man exists! And the Son of Man!”

    Yaldabaoth, chief ruler, heard it

    He thought it came from his mother

    He did not know the true source of the voice: The Holy Mother-Father

    Perfect Providence Image of the Invisible

    Father of Everything

    In whom everything has come to be.

    The First Man

    [This is the one who appeared to them.

    He appeared in the form of a human being.]

    All of the realm of the chief ruler quaked!

    The foundations of the abyss moved!

    He illuminated the waters above the world of matter, His image shown in those waters.

    All the demons and the first ruler together gazed up Toward the underside of the newly shining waters.

    Through that light they saw the Image in the waters.

    Yaldabaoth said to his subordinate demons:

    “Let’s create a man according to the image of God And our own likeness

    So that his image will illuminate us.”

    Each one through another’s Power created aspects of the man;

    Each added a characteristic corresponding to the psychic factors They had seen in the Image above them.

    They made a creature of substance

    In the likeness of that perfect First Man

    And they said, “Let us call him Adam, so that his name will give us the power of light.”

    Construction of the Human Body

    The seven Powers began to work:

    . Goodness made a psyche of bone Providence made a psyche of sinew Divinity made a psyche of flesh Lordship made a psyche of marrow Kingdom made a psyche of blood Zeal made a psyche of skin Understanding made a psyche of hair

    The host of demons took these substances from the Powers to create the limbs and the body itself. They put the parts together and coordinated them.

    The first ones began by making the head: Abron created his head; Meniggesstroeth created the brain; Asterechme the right eye; Thaspomocha, the left eye; Ieronumos, the right ear; Bissoum, the left ear; Akioreim, the nose; Banenrphroum, the lips; Amen, the front teeth; Ibikan, the molars; Basiliademe, the tonsils; Achcha, the uvula; Adaban, the neck; Chaaman, the neckbones; Dearcho, the throat; Tebar, the shoulder; Mniarcon, the elbow; Abitrion, the right arm; Evanthen, the left arm; Krys, the right hand; Beluai, the left hand; Treneu, the fingers of the right hand; Balbel, the fingers of the left hand; Kriman, fingernails; Astrops, the right breast; Barroph, the left breast; Baoum, the right shoulder joint; Ararim, the left shoulder joint; Areche, the belly; Phthave, the navel; Senaphim, the abdomen; Arachethopi, the right ribs; Zabedo, the left ribs; Barias, the right hip; Phnouth the left hip; Abenlenarchei, the marrow; Chnoumeninorin, the skeleton; Gesole, the stomach; Agromauna, the heart; Bano, the lungs; Sostrapal, the liver; Anesimalar, the spleen; Thopithro, the intestines; Biblo, the kidneys; Roeror, the sinews; Taphreo, the spine; Ipouspoboba, the veins; Bineborin, the arteries; Atoimenpsephei, respiration; Entholleia, the flesh; Bedouk, the right buttock; Arabeei,

    the penis; Eilo, the testicles; Sorma, the genitals; Gormakaiochlabar, the right thigh; Nebrith, the left thigh; Pserem, the kidneys of the right leg; Asaklas, the left kidney; Ormaoth, the right leg; Emenun, the left leg; Knyx, the right shin; Tupelon, the left shin; Achiel, the right knee; Phnene, the left knee; Phiouthrom, the right foot; Boabel, its toes; Trachoun, the left foot; Phikna, its toes; Miamai, the toenails.

    And those who were appointed over all of these are: Zathoth,

    Armas,

    Kalila, Iabel, Sabaoth, Cain, Abel.

    The energizing powers in the limbs were divided among:

    the head made by Diolimodraza; the neck by Yammeax; the right shoulder Yakouib; the left shoulder Verton; the right hand Oudidi; the left Arbao; the fingers of the right hand Lampno; the fingers of the left hand Leekaphar; the right breast Barbar; the left breast

    Imae; the chest Pisandriaptes; the right shoulder joint Koade; the left shoulder joint Odeor; the right ribs Asphixix; the left ribs Synogchouta; the abdomen Arouph; the womb Sabalo; the right thigh Charcharb; the left thigh Chthaon; the genitals Bathinoth; the right leg Choux; the left leg Charcha; the right shin Aroer; the left shin Toechtha; the right knee Aol; the left knee Charaner; the right foot Bastan; its toes Archentechtha; the left foot Marephnounth; its toes Abrana.

    Seven govern the whole body: Michael,

    Ouriel,

    Asmenedas, Saphasatoel, Aarmouriam, Richram, Amiorps.

    The one who governs perceptions: Archendekta The one who governs reception: Deitharbathas The one who governs imagination: Oummaa

    The one who governs integration: Aachiaram The one who governs impulse: Riaramnacho.

    There is a fourfold source of the bodily demons: Hot, Cold, Dry, Wet.

    [Matter is the mother of them all.]

    Ruler of hot: Phloxopha

    Ruler of cold: Oroorrothos

    Ruler of dry: Erimacho

    Ruler of wet: Athuro.

    Their mother stands among them: Onorthochrasaei She is unlimited

    She mixes with all of them. She is matter

    And they are nourished by her.

    The four chief demons are:

    Ephememphi, associated with pleasure, Yoko, associated with desire, Nenentophni, associated with distress, Blaomen, associated with fear.

    Their mother is Esthesis-Zouch-Epi-Ptoe.

    Out from these four demons come passions: From distress arises

    Envy, jealousy, grief, vexation, Discord, cruelty, worry, mourning.

    From pleasure comes much evil And unmerited pride, And so forth.

    From desire comes

    Anger, fury, bitterness, outrage, dissatisfaction And so forth.

    From fear emerges

    Horror, flattery, suffering, and shame.

    [Their thought and truth is Anayo, the ruler of the material soul. It belongs with the seven senses, Esthesis-Zouch-Epi-Ptoe.]

    This is the total number of the demons: 365

    They worked together to complete, part by part, the psychical and the material body.

    There are even more of them in charge of other passions That I didn’t tell you about.

    If you want to know about them

    You will find the information in the Book of Zoroaster.

    All of Yaldabaoth’s servants and his demons Worked to finish the psychic body. For a very long time it lay inanimate It did not move.

    Yaldabaoth’s mother wanted to take back the Power She had turned over to the Chief Ruler.

    She earnestly asked the most merciful, The Mother-Father of everything,

    For help.

    Yaldabaoth Deceived

    By His sacred command He sent down the five Lights

    In the forms of the principal advisors to Yaldabaoth.

    [This led to the removal of Yaldabaoth’s mother’s divine Power from him.] They told Yaldabaoth:

    “Blow some of your Spirit in the man’s face, Then his body will rise up.”

    Yaldabaoth blew some of his Spirit into the man.

    That Spirit was the divine Power of his mother.

    [He didn’t understand what was happening, for he lived in ignorance.] His mother’s divine Power left Yaldabaoth

    It entered the psychic human body Modeled on the primordial image.

    The human body moved!

    It grew powerful! It shone!

    Yaldabaoth’s demonic forces envied the man.

    Through their united efforts he had come into being They had given their Power to him.

    His understanding was far greater than that of those who had created him.

    And greater than that of the Chief Ruler himself.

    When they realized that he shone with light And could think better than they could And was naked of evil,

    They took him and cast him down

    Into the lowest depths of the material world.

    The Beginning of Salvation

    The blessed one.

    The Mother-Father The good merciful one

    Looked compassionately upon the Mother’s Power Relinquished by the Chief Ruler.

    Since Yaldabaoth’s demons might again overpower the perceptible psychic body He sent down from his good Spirit a helper for Adam,

    Out of his great compassion A light-filled Epinoia emerged.

    And he called her Life (Zoe).

    She aids the entire creation Working with him

    Restoring him to the fullness.

    She taught Adam about the way his people had descended She taught Adam about the way he could ascend,

    Which is the way he had descended.

    The light-filled Epinoia was hidden in Adam.

    So that the rulers wouldn’t know about her

    For Epinoia would repair the disaster their mother had caused.

    [Adam was revealed because within him dwelt the shadow of light.

    His mental abilities were far greater than those of his creators. They had gazed upward and seen his exalted mental capability.]

    The host of rulers and demons plotted together They mixed fire and earth and water

    Together with four blazing winds

    They melded them together in great turbulence. Adam was brought into the shadow of death.

    They intended to make him anew This time from

    Earth, Water, Fire, Wind,

    Which are

    Matter, Darkness, Desire,

    The Artificial Spirit. This all became a tomb,

    A new kind of body.

    Those thieves bound the man in it, Enchained him in forgetfulness, Made him subject to dying.

    [His was the first descent

    And the first separation.

    Yet the light-filled Epinoia within him will elevate his thinking.]

    Adam in Yaldabaoth’s Paradise

    The rulers took the man and put him into paradise They told him to eat freely.

    [Their food is bitter; their beauty is corrupt. Their food is deceit; their trees are ungodliness. Their fruit is poison.

    Their promise is death.]

    They placed the Tree of Their Life into the middle of paradise. [I will teach you (plural) the secret of their life:

    The plan that they made together about an artificial spirit.]

    Its root is bitter

    Its branches are dead.

    Its shadow is hatred

    Its leaves are deception

    The nectar of wickedness is in its blossoms.

    Its fruit is death Its seed is desire

    It flowers in the darkness.

    Those who eat from it are denizens of Hades Darkness is their resting place.

    As for the tree called “The Knowledge Of Good And Evil” It is the Epinoia of the light.

    They commanded him not to eat from it, Standing in front to conceal it,

    For fear that he might look upwards to the fullness And know the nakedness of his indecency.

    [However, I caused them to eat.

    I asked the Savior,

    “Lord, isn’t it the serpent that caused Adam to eat?”

    He smiled and replied,

    “The serpent caused them to eat

    in order to produce the wickedness of the desire to reproduce that would make Adam helpful to him.”]

    The chief ruler, Yaldabaoth, knew that

    Because the light-filled Epinoia within Adam Made his mental abilities greater than his own, Adam had been disobedient.

    In order to recover the Power that he had put into Adam

    Yaldabaoth made Adam completely forgetful.

    [I asked the Savior, “What is it to be ‘completely forgetful?’” He replied, “It is not what Moses wrote in his first book:

    ‘He caused Adam to fall into deep sleep’

    Rather, Adam’s perceptions were veiled And he became unconscious.

    As he (Yaldabaoth) said through his prophet:

    ‘I will make their minds dull so that they do not see or understand.’”]

    Woman Comes into Being

    The light-filled Epinoia hid deep within Adam.

    The Chief Ruler tried to remove her from his ribcage, But Epinoia cannot be captured.

    Although the darkness pursued her it did not catch her.

    The Chief ruler did remove a portion of his Power from Adam To create a person with a woman’s form

    Modeled on the light-filled Epinoia that had been manifested to him.

    He placed the Power removed from the man into the woman.

    [It did not happen the way Moses said it did: “he took a rib and made the woman.”]

    Adam saw the woman standing next to him.

    The light-filled Epinoia immediately appeared to him She raised up the veil that dulled his mind.

    He sobered up from the dark drunkenness And he recognized his own counterpart.

    He said: “This is bone from my bones Flesh from my flesh.”

    Because of this a man will leave his mother and father

    And be joined to a woman and those two will become one flesh.

    For they will send his helper to him.

    [Sophia, our sister, came down Descending innocently

    So as to regain what she had lost.

    Therefore she was called Life.

    The Mother of the Living

    The one from the Providence of the Authority of Heaven By her assistance people can achieve perfect knowledge.]

    I appeared as an eagle perched on the Tree of Knowledge! [Which is the Epinoia from the pure Providence of Light.]

    In order to teach them

    And raise them up from sleep’s depths.

    [For the two of them were fallen and aware of their nakedness. Epinoia appeared as a being full of light

    She enlightened their minds.]

    When Yaldabaoth discovered that they had moved away from him He cursed his earth.

    He located the woman as she was preparing herself for her man. He gave the woman over so that the man might be her master,

    Because he did not know the secret of the divine strategy.

    The man and woman were too terrified to renounce Yaldabaoth, Who showed his ignorance to his angels

    And he cast both of them out of paradise Dressing them in heavy darkness.

    The Chief Archon saw the young woman who was standing by Adam.

    He realized that the light-filled Epinoia of life was within her. Yaldabaoth became completely ignorant.

    [When the Providence of all saw what was going to happen She sent assistants to remove Divine Life from Eve.]

    Yaldabaoth raped Eve. She bore two sons.

    [Elohim was the name of the first. Yahweh was the name of the second.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Elohim has a bear’s face. Yahweh has a cat’s face.

    One is righteous; One is not.

    Yahweh is righteous; Elohim is not.

    Yahweh would command fire and wind Elohim would command water and earth.]

    Yaldabaoth deceptively named the two: Cain and Abel. [From then until now sexual intercourse has persisted

    Thanks to the Chief Ruler

    Who put desire for reproduction into the woman who accompanies Adam. Through intercourse the Ruler caused new human bodies to be produced And he blew his artificial spirit into each of them.]

    Yaldabaoth installed the two with authority over natural elements So they can to rule over the tomb.

    The Children of Seth Populate the World

    Adam had intercourse with the image of his foreknowledge (prognosis) He begot a son like the Son of Man

    And he called that son Seth

    Modeling him on the heavenly race in the higher realms.

    In the same way the mother sent down her spirit The image of herself

    A model of the full higher realm,

    In order to prepare a place for the descent of the realms.

    The Chief Ruler, though, forced the humans to drink From waters of forgetfulness

    So that they might not know their true place of origin.

    The children (of Seth) remained in this condition for a while In order that when the Spirit descends from the holy realms

    The Spirit can raise up the children and heal them from all defects And thus restore complete holiness to the fullness of God.

    Six Questions about the Soul

    I asked the Savior, “Lord, will every soul be saved and enter the pure light?”

    He replied, “You are asking an important question, one it will be impossible to answer for anyone who is not a member of the unmoved race. They are the people upon whom the Spirit of Life will descend and the power will enable them to be saved and to become perfect and worthy of greatness. They expunge evil from themselves and they will care nothing for wickedness, wanting only that which is not corrupt. They will achieve freedom from rage, envy, jealousy, desire, or craving.”

    “The physical body will negatively effect them. They wear it as they look forward to the time when they will meet up with those who will remove it. Those people deserve indestructible eternal life. They endure everything, bearing up under everything that happens so that they can deserve the good and inherit life eternal.”

    Then I asked him, “Lord, what about the souls who didn’t do these things even though the Spirit of Life’s power descended on them?“

    He answered, “If the Spirit descends to people they will be transformed and saved. The power descends on everyone and, without it, no one can even stand up. After they are born, if the Spirit of Life increases in them, power comes to them and their souls are strengthened. Nothing then can leave them astray into wickedness. But if the artificial spirit comes into people, it leads them astray.”

    Then I said, “Lord, when souls come out of the flesh where do they go?”

    He replied, smiling, “If the soul is strong it has more of power than it has of the artificial spirit and so it flees from wickedness. With the assistance of the Incorruptible One that soul is saved and it attains eternal rest.”

    I then asked him, “Lord, what of the souls of the people who do not know whose people they are? Where do they go?”

    He responded, “In those people the artificial spirit has grown strong and they have gone astray. Their souls are burdened, drawn to wickedness, and cast into forgetfulness.”

    “When they come forth from the body, such a soul is given over to the powers created by the rulers, bound in chains, and cast into prison again. Around and around it goes until it manages to become free from forgetfulness through knowledge. And so, eventually, it becomes perfect and is saved.”

    Then I asked, “Lord, how does the soul shrink down so as to be able to enter its mother or a man?

    He was happy that I asked this and said, “You are truly blessed because you have understood. The soul should be guided by another within whom is the Spirit of Life. It will be saved by that means and accordingly will not have to enter a body again.

    And I said, “Lord, what happens to the souls of people who achieved true knowledge, but who turned away from it?”

    He said to me, “Demons of poverty will take them to a place where there is no possibility of repentance. There they will stay until the time when those who blasphemed against the spirit will be tortured and subjected to punishment forever.”

    I asked, “Lord, where did the artificial spirit come from?” And he told me:

    Three Plots against Humanity

    The Mother-Father is merciful

    A Holy Spirit sympathizing with us. Through the Epinoia of the Providence of the light

    It raises up the children of the perfect race Raising up their thought, their light eternal.

    When the Chief Archon learned that they were elevated above him And that their mental ability surpassed his

    He wanted to put a stop to their thought

    But he did not know the extent of their mental superiority And he could not stop them.

    He made a plan with his demons Who are his powers

    Each of them fornicated with Wisdom (Sophia)

    And produced fate

    The last variety of imprisonment.

    Fate changes unpredictably

    It is of different sorts just as the demons are of different sorts. Fate is hard.

    Fate is stronger than

    The gods, the authorities, the demons, the generations of people Who are caught up in it.

    Out of fate emerged

    Sinfulness, violence, blasphemy, forgetfulness, ignorance, Weighty commandments

    Heavy sins

    Terrible fear.

    In this way all of creation became blind, Ignorant of God above everything.

    Because of imprisonment in forgetfulness They are unaware of their sins,

    They are bound into periods of time and seasons By fate who is lord of it all.

    Yaldabaoth eventually came to regret everything he had created.

    He decided to bring a great flood Upon creation, upon mankind.

    But the great light of Providence warned Noah.

    He preached to all of the children, The sons of men,

    But if they were strangers to him they didn’t listen.

    [It was not the way Moses said: “they hid in an ark.” Rather, they hid in a special place,

    Not just Noah

    but also many other people from the immovable race. They went into hiding within a cloud of light.]

    Noah knew his own authority

    And that of the light Being who illuminated them

    Although the Chief Ruler poured darkness over all the world.

    The Chief Ruler and his powers plotted a strategy, To send his demons to human daughters

    And make themselves children by them to enjoy. But they failed.

    After their failure they made another plan.

    They created an artificial spirit Modeled on the Spirit who descended

    So, to impregnate souls by means of this spirit,

    The demons changed appearance to look like the women’s husbands

    They filled the women with that spirit of darkness and wickedness.

    They brought into being

    Gold and silver, Money and coins,

    Iron and other metals and all things of this sort.

    And the people who were attracted were led astray into troubles And were greatly misled.

    And grew old

    Experiencing no pleasure, And died

    Finding no truth, Never knowing the true God.

    This is the way that they enslaved all of creation From the foundation of the world until now.

    [They took some women and produced children out of darkness And they closed their hearts

    And they hardened themselves

    in the hardness of their artificial spirit Until the present day.]

    The Providence Hymn

    I am the Providence of everything.

    I became like my own human children.

    I existed from the first.

    I walked down every possible road.

    I am the wealth of the light.

    I am the remembering of the fullness.

    I walked into the place of greatest darkness and on down. I entered the central part of the prison.

    The foundations of chaos quaked. I hid because of their evil.

    They did not recognize me.

    I came down a second time continuing on.

    I emerged from among those of light I am the remembering of Providence

    I entered the middle of darkness,

    The inner part of the underworld To pursue my mission.

    The foundations of chaos quaked.

    Threatening to collapse upon all who were there And utterly destroy them

    I soared upward again

    To my roots in light

    So as not to destroy them all yet. I descended a third time.

    I am light

    I am dwelling in light

    I am the remembering of Providence

    I entered the midst of darkness

    I came to the deepest part of the underworld.

    I let my face light up

    Thinking of the end of their time I entered their prison

    The body is that prison

    I cried out:

    “Anyone who hears,

    Rise up from your deep sleep!”

    And the sleeping one awoke and wept Wiping bitter tears saying “Who calls me?”

    “Where has my hope come from

    As I lie in the depths of this prison?”

    “I am the Providence of pure light,” I replied, “I am the thought of the Virgin Spirit

    Raising you up to an honored place. Rise up!

    Remember what you have heard.

    Trace back your roots

    To me.

    The merciful one.

    Guard against the poverty demons. Guard against the chaos demons. Guard against all who would bind you.

    Awaken! Stay awake!

    Rise out of the depths of the underworld!

    I raised him up

    I sealed him with the light/water of the five seals. Death had no power over him ever again.

    I ascend again to the perfect realm.

    I completed everything and you have heard it.”

    Conclusion

    “I have told you everything now so that you can write it all down And share it with your fellow spirits secretly

    For this is the mystery of the unmoved race.”

    The Savior gave all of this to him to write and to keep carefully. He said to him, “Anyone who exchanges it for a present, or for food, or for drink, or for clothing, or for anything else of that sort will be cursed.”

    These things came to John in a mystery.

    Instantly the Savior vanished.

    John came to his fellow disciples and told them what the Savior had said to him.

    Jesus the Christ.

    Amen.

    The Apocryphon of John

    © 2005 by Stevan Davies

    This translation is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by exclusive permission of the author. All rights including right of electronic reproduction are reserved by the author.

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    Asclepius 21-29

    image

    Translated by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse, and Douglas M. Parrott

    “And if you (Asclepius) wish to see the reality of this mystery, then you should see the wonderful representation of the intercourse that takes place between the male and the female. For when the semen reaches the climax, it leaps forth. In that moment, the female receives the strength of the male; the male, for his part, receives the strength of the female, while the semen does this.

    “Therefore, the mystery of intercourse is performed in secret, in order that the two sexes might not disgrace themselves in front of many who do not experience that reality. For each of them (the sexes) contributes its (own part in) begetting. For if it happens in the presence of those who do not understand the reality, (it is) laughable and unbelievable. And, moreover, they are holy mysteries, of both words and deeds, because not only are they not heard, but also they are not seen.

    “Therefore, such people (the unbelievers) are blasphemers. They are atheistic and impious. But the others are not many; rather, the pious who are counted are few. Therefore, wickedness remains among (the) many, since learning concerning the things which are ordained does not exist among them. For the knowledge of the things which are ordained is truly the healing of the passions of the matter. Therefore, learning is something derived from knowledge.

    “But if there is ignorance, and learning does not exist in the soul of man, (then) the incurable passions persist in it (the soul). And additional evil comes with them (the passions), in the form of an incurable sore. And the sore constantly gnaws at the soul, and through it the soul produces worms from the evil, and stinks. But God is not the cause of these things, since he sent to men knowledge and learning.

    “Trismegistus, did he send them to men alone?”

    “Yes, Asclepius, he sent them to them alone. And it is fitting that we tell you why to men alone he granted knowledge and learning, the allotment of his good.

    “And now listen! God and the Father, even the Lord, created man subsequent to the gods, and he took him from the region of matter. Since matter is involved in the creation of man, of […], the passions are in it. Therefore, they continually flow over his body, for this living creature would not have existed in any other way except that he had taken this

    food, since he is mortal. It is also inevitable that inopportune desires, which are harmful, dwell in him. For the gods, since they came into being out of a pure matter, do not need learning and knowledge. For the immortality of the gods is learning and knowledge, since they came into being out of pure matter. It (immortality) assumed for them the position of knowledge and learning. By necessity, he (God) set a boundary for man; he placed him in learning and knowledge.

    “Concerning these things (learning and knowledge) which we have mentioned from the beginning, he (God) perfected them in order that by means of these things he might restrain passions and evils, according to his will. He brought his (man’s) mortal existence into immortality; he (man) became good (and) immortal, just as I have said. For he (God) created (a) two-fold nature for him: the immortal and the mortal.

    “And it happened this way because of the will of God that men be better than the gods, since, indeed, the gods are immortal, but men alone are both immortal and mortal. Therefore, man has become akin to the gods, and they know the affairs of each other with certainty. The gods know the things of men, and men know the things of the gods. And I am speaking about men, Asclepius, who have attained learning and knowledge. But (about) those who are more vain than these, it is not fitting that we say anything base, since we are divine and are introducing holy matters.

    “Since we have entered the matter of the communion between the gods and men, know, Asclepius, that in which man can be strong! For just as the Father, the Lord of the universe, creates gods, in this very way man too, this mortal, earthly, living creature, the one who is not like God, also himself creates gods. Not only does he strengthen, but he is also strengthened. Not only is he god, but he also creates gods. Are you astonished, Asclepius? Are you yourself another disbeliever like the many?”

    “Trismegistus, I agree with the words (spoken) to me. And I believe you as you speak. But I have also been astonished at the discourse about this. And I have decided that man is blessed, since he has enjoyed this great power.”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “And that which is greater than all these things, Asclepius, is worthy of admiration. Now it is clear to us concerning the race of the gods, and we confess it along with everyone else, that it (the race of the gods) has come into being out of a pure matter. And their bodies are heads only. But that which men create is the likeness of the gods. They (the gods) are from the farthest part of the matter, and it (the object created by men) is from the outer (part) of the being of men. Not only are they (what men created) heads, but (they are) also all the other members of the body, and according to their likeness. Just as God has willed that the inner man be created according to his image, in the very same way, man on earth creates gods according to his likeness.”

    “Trismegistus, you are not talking about idols, are you?”

    “Asclepius, you yourself are talking about idols. You see that again, you yourself,

    Asclepius, are also a disbeliever of the discourse. You say about those who have soul and breadth, that they are idols – these who bring about these great events. You are saying

    about these who give prophecies that they are idols – these who give men sickness and healing that […] them.

    “Or are you ignorant, Asclepius, that Egypt is (the) image of heaven? Moreover, it is the dwelling place of heaven and all the forces that are in heaven. If it is proper for us to speak the truth, our land is (the) temple of the world. And it is proper for you not to be ignorant that a time will come in it (our land, when) Egyptians will seem to have served the divinity in vain, and all their activity in their religion will be despised. For all divinity will leave Egypt, and will flee upward to heaven. And Egypt will be widowed; it will be abandoned by the gods. For foreigners will come into Egypt, and they will rule it. Egypt! Moreover, Egyptians will be prohibited from worshipping God. Furthermore, they will come into the ultimate punishment, especially whoever among them is found worshipping (and) honoring God.

    “And in that day, the country that was more pious than all countries will become impious. No longer will it be full of temples, but it will be full of tombs. Neither will it be full of gods, but (it will be full of) corpses. Egypt! Egypt will become like the fables. And your religious objects will be […] the marvelous things, and […], and if your words are stones and are wonderful. And the barbarian will be better than you, Egyptian, in his religion, whether (he is) a Scythian, or the Hindus, or some other of this sort.

    “And what is this that I say about the Egyptian? For they (the Egyptians) will not abandon Egypt. For (in) the time (when) the gods have abandoned the land of Egypt, and have fled upward to heaven, then all Egyptians will die. And Egypt will be made a desert by the gods and the Egyptians. And as for you, River, there will be a day when you will flow with blood more than water. And dead bodies will be (stacked) higher than the dams. And he who is dead will not be mourned as much as he who is alive. Indeed, the latter will be known as an Egyptian on account of his language in the second period (of time). – Asclepius, why are you weeping? – He will seem like (a) foreigner in regard to his customs. Divine Egypt will suffer evils greater than these. Egypt – lover of God, and the dwelling place of the gods, school of religion – will become an example of impiousness.

    “And in that day, the world will not be marveled at, […] and immortality, nor will it be worshiped […], since we say that it is not good […]. It has become neither a single thing nor a vision. But it is in danger of becoming a burden to all men. Therefore, it will be despised – the beautiful world of God, the incomparable work, the energy that possesses goodness, the man-formed vision. Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be preferred to life. No one will gaze into heaven. And the pious man will be counted as insane, and the impious man will be honored as wise. The man who is afraid will be considered as strong. And the good man will be punished like a criminal.

    “And concerning the soul, and the things of the soul, and the things of immortality, along with the rest of what I have said to you, Tat, Asclepius, and Ammon – not only will they be considered ridiculous, but they will also be thought of as vanity. But believe me (when I say) that people of this kind will be endangered by the ultimate danger to their soul.

    And a new law will be established … (2 lines missing) … they will … (line missing) … good. The wicked angels will remain among men, (and) be with them, (and) lead them into wicked things recklessly, as well as into atheism, wars, and plunderings, by teaching them things contrary to nature.

    “In those days, the earth will not be stable, and men will not sail the sea, nor will they know the stars in heaven. Every sacred voice of the word of God will be silenced, and the air will be diseased. Such is the senility of the world: atheism, dishonor, and the disregard of noble words.

    “And when these things had happened, Asclepius, then the Lord, the Father and god from the only first god, the creator, when he looked upon the things that happened, established his design, which is good, against the disorder. He took away error, and cut off evil. Sometimes, he submerged it in a great flood; at other times, he burned it in a searing fire; and at still other times, he crushed it in wars and plagues, until he brought … (4 lines missing) … of the work. And this is the birth of the world.

    “The restoration of the nature of the pious ones who are good will take place in a period of time that never had a beginning. For the will of God has no beginning, even as his nature, which is his will (has no beginning). For the nature of God is will. And his will is the good.”

    “Trismegistus, is purpose, then, (the same as) will?”

    “Yes, Asclepius, since will is (included) in counsel. For <he> (God) does not will what he has from deficiency. Since he is complete in every part, he wills what he (already) fully has. And he has every good. And what he wills, he wills. And he has the good that he wills. Therefore, he has everything. And God wills what he wills. And the good world is an image of the Good One.”

    “Trismegistus, is the world good?”

    “Asclepius, it is good, as I shall teach you. For just as … (2 lines missing) … of soul and

    life […] of the world […] come forth in matter, those that are good, the change of the climate, and beauty, and the ripening of the fruits, and the things similar to all these. Because of this, God has control over the heights of heaven. He is in every place, and he looks out over every place. And (in) his place there is neither heaven nor star. And he is free from (the) body.

    “Now the creator has control in the place that is between the earth and heaven. He is called ‘Zeus’, that is, ‘Life’. Plutonius Zeus is lord over the earth and sea. And he does not possess the nourishment for all mortal living creatures, for (it is) Kore who bears the fruit. These forces always are powerful in the circle of the earth, but those of others are always from Him-who-is.

    “And the lords of the earth will withdraw themselves. And they will establish themselves in a city that is in a corner of Egypt and that will be built toward the setting of the sun. Every man will go into it, whether they come on the sea or on the shore.”

    “Trismegistus, where will these be settled now?”

    “Asclepius, in the great city that is on the Libyan mountain … (2 lines missing) … it

    frightens […] as a great evil, in ignorance of the matter. For death occurs, which is the dissolution of the labors of the body, and the number (of the body), when it (death) completes the number of the body. For the number is the union of the body. Now the body dies when it is not able to support the man. And this is death: the dissolution of the body and the destruction of the sensation of the body. And it is not necessary to be afraid of this, nor because of this, but because of what is not known, and is disbelieved (is one afraid).”

    “But what is not known, or is disbelieved?”

    “Listen, Asclepius! There is a great demon. The great God has appointed him to be

    overseer or judge over the souls of men. And God has placed him in the middle of the air, between earth and heaven. Now when the soul comes forth from (the) body, it is necessary that it meet this daimon. Immediately, he (the daimon) will surround this one (masc.), and he will examine him in regard to the character that he has developed in his life. And if he finds that he piously performed all of his actions for which he came into the world, this (daimon) will allow him … (1 line missing) … turn him […]. But if he sees […] in this one […] he brought his life into evil deeds, he grasps him, as he flees upward, and throws him down, so that he is suspended between heaven and earth, and is punished with a great punishment. And he will be deprived of his hope, and will be in great pain.

    “And that soul has been put neither on the earth nor in heaven, but it has come into the open sea of the air of the world, the place where there is a great fire, and crystal water, and furrows of fire, and a great upheaval. The bodies are tormented (in) various (ways). Sometimes they are cast down into the fire, in order that it may destroy them. Now, I will not say that this is the death of the soul, for it has been delivered from evil, but it is a death sentence.

    “Asclepius, it is necessary to believe these things and to fear them, in order that we might not encounter them. For unbelievers are impious, and commit sin. Afterwards, they will be compelled to believe, and they will not hear by word of mouth only, but will experience the reality itself. For they kept believing that they would not endure these things. Nor only … (1 line missing). First, Asclepius, all those of the earth die, and those who are of the body cease […] of evil […] with these of this sort. For those who are here are not like those who are there. So with the daimons who […] men, they despite […] there. Thus, it is not the same. But truly, the gods who are here will punish more whoever has hidden it here every day.”

    “Trismegistus, what is the character of the iniquity that is there?”

    “Now you think, Asclepius, that when one takes something in a temple, he is impious.

    For that kind of a person is a thief and a bandit. And this matter concerns gods and men. But do not compare those here with those of the other place. Now I want to speak this discourse to you confidentially; no part of it will be believed. For the souls that are filled with much evil will not come and go in the air, but they will be put in the places of the

    daimons, which are filled with pain, (and) which are always filled with blood and slaughter, and their food, which is weeping, mourning, and groaning.”

    “Trismegistus, who are these (daimons)?”

    “Asclepius, they are the ones who are called ‘stranglers’, and those who roll souls down on the dirt, and those who scourge them, and those who cast into the water, and those who cast into the fire, and those who bring about the pains and calamities of men. For such as these are not from a divine soul, nor from a rational soul of man. Rather, they are from the terrible evil.”

    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

    Authoritative Teaching

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    Translated by George W. MacRae

    […] in heaven […] within him […] anyone appears […] the hidden heavens […] appear, and before the invisible, ineffable worlds appeared. From these the invisible soul of righteousness came, being a fellow member, and a fellow body, and a fellow spirit. Whether she is in the descent or is in the Pleroma, she is not separated from them, but they see her and she looks at them in the invisible world.

    Secretly her bridegroom fetched it. He presented it to her mouth to make her eat it like food, and he applied the word to her eyes as a medicine to make her see with her mind and perceive her kinsmen and learn about her root, in order that she might cling to her branch from which she had first come forth, in order that she might receive what is hers and renounce matter.

    […] he [dwelt…] having […] sons. The sons […] truly, those who have come from his seed, call the sons of the woman “our brothers”. In this very way, when the spiritual soul was cast into the body, it became a brother to lust and hatred and envy, and a material soul. So therefore the body came from lust, and lust came from material substance. For this reason the soul became a brother to them.

    And yet they are outsiders, without power to inherit from the male, but they will inherit from their mother only. Whenever, therefore, the soul wishes to inherit along with the outsiders – for the possessions of the outsiders are proud passions, the pleasures of life, hateful envies, vainglorious things, nonsensical things, accusations […] for her […] prostitution, he excludes her and puts her into the brothel. For […] debauchery for her. She left modesty behind. For death and life are set before everyone. Whichever of these two they wish, then, they will choose for themselves.

    That one then will fall into drinking much wine in debauchery. For wine is the debaucher. Therefore she does not remember her brothers and her father, for pleasure and sweet profits deceive her.

    Having left knowledge behind, she fell into bestiality. For a senseless person exists in bestiality, not knowing what is proper to say and what it is proper not to say. But, on the other hand, the gentle son inherits from his father with pleasure, while his father rejoices

    over him because he receives honor on account of him from everyone, as he looks again for the way to double the things that he has received. For the outsiders […].

    […] to mix with the […]. For if a thought of lust enters into a virgin man, he has already become contaminated. And their gluttony cannot mix with moderation. For if the chaff is mixed with the wheat, it is not the chaff that is contaminated, but the wheat. For since they are mixed with each other, no one will buy her wheat, because it is contaminated. But they will coax him, “Give us this chaff!”, seeing the wheat mixed with it, until they get it and throw it with all other chaff, and that chaff mixes with all other materials. But a pure seed is kept in storehouses that are secure. All these things,then, we have spoken.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    And before anything came into being, it was the Father alone who existed, before the worlds that are in the heavens appeared, or the world that is on the earth, or principality, or authority, or the powers. […] appear […] and […] And nothing came into being without his wish.

    He, then, the Father, wishing to reveal his wealth and his glory, brought about this great contest in this world, wishing to make the contestants appear, and make all those who contend leave behind the things that had come into being, and despise them with a lofty, incomprehensible knowledge, and flee to the one who exists.

    And (as for) those who contend with us, being adversaries who contend against us, we are to be victorious over their ignorance through our knowledge, since we have already known the Inscrutable One from whom we have come forth. We have nothing in this world, lest the authority of the world that has come into being should detain us in the worlds that are in the heavens, those in which universal death exists, surrounded by the individual […] worldly. We have also become ashamed of the worlds, though we take no interest in them when they malign us. And we ignore them when they curse us. When they cast shame in our face, we look at them and do not speak.

    For they work at their business, but we go about in hunger (and) in thirst, looking toward our dwelling-place, the place which our conduct and our conscience look toward, not clinging to the things which have come into being, but withdrawing from them. Our hearts are set on the things that exist, though we are ill (and) feeble (and) in pain. But there is a great strength hidden within us.

    Our soul indeed is ill because she dwells in a house of poverty, while matter strikes blows at her eyes, wishing to make her blind. For this reason she pursues the word and applies it to her eyes as a medicine <opening> them, casting away […] thought of a […] blindness in […] afterwards, when that one is again in ignorance, he is completely darkened and is material. Thus the soul […] a word every hour, to apply it to her eyes as a medicine in order that she may see, and her light may conceal the hostile forces that fight with her, and she may make them blind with her light, and enclose them in her presence, and make them fall down in sleeplessness, and she may act boldly with her strength and with her scepter.

    While her enemies look at her in shame, she runs upward into her treasure-house – the one in which her mind is – and (into) her storehouse which is secure, since nothing among the things that have come into being has seized her, nor has she received a stranger into her house. For many are her homeborn ones who fight against her by day and by night, having no rest by day or by night, for their lust oppresses them.

    For this reason, then, we do not sleep, nor do we forget the nets that are spread out in hiding, lying in wait for us to catch us. For if we are caught in a single net, it will suck us down into its mouth, while the water flows over us, striking our face. And we will be taken down into the dragnet, and we will not be able to come up from it, because the waters are high over us, flowing from above downward, submerging our heart down in the filthy mud. And we will not be able to escape from them. For man-eaters will seize us and swallow us, rejoicing like a fisherman casting a hook into the water. For he casts many kinds of food into the water because each one of the fish has his own food. He smells it and pursues its odor. But when he eats it, the hook hidden within the food seizes him and brings him up by force out of the deep waters. No man is able, then, to catch that fish down in the deep waters, except for the trap that the fisherman sets. By the ruse of

    food he brought the fish up on the hook.

    In this very way we exist in this world, like fish. The adversary spies on us, lying in wait for us like a fisherman, wishing to seize us, rejoicing that he might swallow us. For he places many foods before our eyes (things) which belong to this world. He wishes to make us desire one of them and to taste only a little, so that he may seize us with his hidden poison and bring us out of freedom and take us into slavery. For whenever he catches us with a single food, it is indeed necessary for us to desire the rest. Finally, then, such things become the food of death.

    Now these are the foods with which the devil lies in wait for us. First he injects a pain into your heart until you have heartache on account of a small thing of this life, and he seizes (you) with his poisons. And afterward (he injects) the desire of a tunic, so that you will pride yourself in it, and love of money, pride, vanity, envy that rivals another envy, beauty of body, fraudulence. The greatest of all these are ignorance and ease.

    Now all such things the adversary prepares beautifully and spreads out before the body, wishing to make the mind of the soul incline her toward one of them and overwhelm her, like a hook, drawing her by force in ignorance, deceiving her until she conceives evil, and bears fruit of matter, and conducts herself in uncleanness, pursuing many desires, covetousnesses, while fleshly pleasure draws her in ignorance.

    But the soul – she who has tasted these things – realized that sweet passions are transitory. She had learned about evil; she went away from them and she entered into a new conduct. Afterwards she despises this life, because it is transitory. And she looks for those foods that will take her into life, and leaves behind her those deceitful foods. And she learns about her light, as she goes about stripping off this world, while her true garment clothes her within, (and) her bridal clothing is placed upon her in beauty of mind, not in pride of flesh. And she learns about her depth and runs into her fold, while

    her shepherd stands at the door. In return for all the shame and scorn, then, that she received in this world, she receives ten thousand times the grace and glory.

    She gave the body to those who had given it to her, and they were ashamed, while the dealers in bodies sat down and wept because they were not able to do any business with that body, nor did they find any (other) merchandise except it. They endured great labors until they had shaped the body of this soul, wishing to strike down the invisible soul. They were therefore ashamed of their work; they suffered the loss of the one for whom they had endured labors. They did not realize that she has an invisible spiritual body, thinking, “We are her shepherd who feeds her.” But they did not realize that she knows another way, which is hidden from them. This her true shepherd taught her in knowledge.

    But these – the ones who are ignorant – do not seek after God. Nor do they inquire about their dwelling-place, which exists in rest, but they go about in bestiality. They are more wicked than the pagans, because first of all they do not inquire about God, for their hardness of heart draws them down to make them their cruelty. Furthermore, if they find someone else who asks about his salvation, their hardness of heart sets to work upon that man. And if he does not stop asking, they kill him by their cruelty, thinking that they have done a good thing for themselves.

    Indeed they are sons of the devil! For even pagans give charity, and they know that God who is in the heavens exists, the Father of the universe, exalted over their idols, which

    they worship. But they have not heard the word, that they should inquire about his ways.

    Thus the senseless man hears the call, but he is ignorant of the place to which he has been called. And he did not ask during the preaching, “Where is the temple into which I should go and worship my hope?”

    On account of his senselessness, then, he is worse than a pagan, for the pagans know the way to go to their stone temple, which will perish, and they worship their idol, while their hearts are set on it because it is their hope. But to this senseless man the word has been preached, teaching him, “Seek and inquire about the ways you should go, since there is nothing else that is as good as this thing.” The result is that the substance of hardness of heart strikes a blow upon his mind, along with the force of ignorance and the demon of error. They do not allow his mind to rise up, because he was wearying himself in seeking that he might learn about his hope.

    But the rational soul who (also) wearied herself in seeking – she learned about God. She labored with inquiring, enduring distress in the body, wearing out her feet after the evangelists, learning about the Inscrutable One. She found her rising. She came to rest in him who is at rest. She reclined in the bride-chamber. She ate of the banquet for which she had hungered. She partook of the immortal food. She found what she had sought after. She received rest from her labors, while the light that shines forth upon her does not sink. To it belongs the glory and the power and the revelation for ever and ever. Amen.

    Authoritative Teaching

    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

    The Book of Thomas the Contender

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    Translated by John D. Turner

    The secret words that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas which I, even I, Mathaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another.

    The savior said, “Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind.

    “Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself. And I know that you have understood, because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you are uncomprehending, you have (in fact) already come to know, and you will be called ‘the one who knows himself’. For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all. So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, what they ignorantly stumble against.”

    Now Thomas said to the lord, “Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things, then I can speak about

    them. And it is obvious to me that the truth is difficult to perform before men.”

    The savior answered, saying, “If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you, how can you hear about the things that are not visible? If the deeds of the truth that are visible in the world are difficult for you to perform, how indeed, then, shall you perform those that pertain to the exalted height and to the pleroma which are not visible? And how shall you be called ‘laborers’? In this respect you are apprentices, and have not yet received the height of perfection.”

    Now Thomas answered and said to the savior, “Tell us about these things that you say are not visible, but are hidden from us.”

    The savior said, “All bodies […] the beasts are begotten […] it is evident like […] this, too, those that are above […] things that are visible, but they are visible in their own root, and it is their fruit that nourishes them. But these visible bodies survive by devouring creatures similar to them with the result that the bodies change. Now that which changes

    will decay and perish, and has no hope of life from then on, since that body is bestial. So just as the body of the beasts perishes, so also will these formations perish. Do they not derive from intercourse like that of the beasts? If it, too derives from intercourse, how will it beget anything different from beasts? So, therefore, you are babes until you become perfect.”

    And Thomas answered, “Therefore I say to you, lord, that those who speak about things that are invisible and difficult to explain are like those who shoot their arrows at a target at night. To be sure, they shoot their arrows as anyone would – since they shoot at the

    target – but it is not visible. Yet when the light comes forth and hides the darkness, then

    the work of each will appear. And you, our light, enlighten, O lord.” Jesus said, “It is in light that light exists.”

    Thomas, spoke, saying, “Lord, why does this visible light that shines on behalf of men rise and set?”

    The savior said, “O blessed Thomas, of course this visible light shines on your behalf – not in order that you remain here, but rather that you might come forth – and whenever all the elect abandon bestiality, then this light will withdraw up to its essence, and its essence will welcome it, since it is a good servant.”

    Then the savior continued and said, “O unsearchable love of the light! O bitterness of the fire that blazes in the bodies of men and in their marrow, kindling in them night and day, and burning the limbs of men and making their minds become drunk and their souls become deranged […] them within males and females […] night and moving them, […] secretly and visibly. For the males move […] upon the females and the females upon the males. Therefore it is said, “Everyone who seeks the truth from true wisdom will make himself wings so as to fly, fleeing the lust that scorches the spirits of men.” And he will make himself wings to flee every visible spirit.”

    And Thomas answered, saying, “Lord, this is exactly what I am asking you about, since I have understood that you are the one who is beneficial to us, as you say.”

    Again the savior answered and said, “Therefore it is necessary for us to speak to you, since this is the doctrine of the perfect. If, now, you desire to become perfect, you shall observe these things; if not, your name is ‘Ignorant’, since it is impossible for an intelligent man to dwell with a fool, for the intelligent man is perfect in all wisdom. To the fool, however, the good and bad are the same – indeed the wise man will be nourished by the truth and (Ps. 1:3) “will be like a tree growing by the meandering stream” – seeing that there are some who, although having wings, rush upon the visible things, things that are far from the truth. For that which guides them, the fire, will give them an illusion of truth, and will shine on them with a perishable beauty, and it will imprison them in a dark sweetness and captivate them with fragrant pleasure. And it will blind them with insatiable lust and burn their souls and become for them like a stake stuck in their heart which they can never dislodge. And like a bit in the mouth, it leads them according to its

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    own desire. And it has fettered them with its chains and bound all their limbs with the bitterness of the bondage of lust for those visible things that will decay and change and swerve by impulse. They have always been attracted downwards; as they are killed, they are assimilated to all the beasts of the perishable realm.”

    Thomas answered and said, “It is obvious and has been said, ‘Many are […] those who do not know […] soul.'”

    And the savior answered, saying, “Blessed is the wise man who sought after the truth, and when he found it, he rested upon it forever and was unafraid of those who wanted to disturb him.”

    Thomas answered and said, “It is beneficial for us, lord, to rest among our own?”

    The savior said, “Yes, it is useful. And it is good for you, since things visible among men will dissolve – for the vessel of their flesh will dissolve, and when it is brought to naught it will come to be among visible things, among things that are seen. And then the fire which they see gives them pain on account of love for the faith they formerly possessed.

    They will be gathered back to that which is visible. Moreover, those who have sight

    among things that are not visible, without the first love they will perish in the concern for this life and the scorching of the fire. Only a little while longer, and that which is visible will dissolve; then shapeless shades will emerge, and in the midst of tombs they will forever dwell upon the corpses in pain and corruption of soul.”

    Thomas answered and said, “What have we to say in the face of these things? What shall we say to blind men? What doctrine should we express to these miserable mortals who say, “We came to do good and not curse,” and yet claim, “Had we not been begotten in the flesh, we would not have known iniquity”?”

    The savior said, “Truly, as for those, do not esteem them as men, but regard them as beasts, for just as beasts devour one another, so also men of this sort devour one another. On the contrary, they are deprived of the kingdom since they love the sweetness of the fire and are servants of death and rush to the works of corruption. They fulfill the lust of

    their fathers. They will be thrown down to the abyss and be afflicted by the torment of the

    bitterness of their evil nature. For they will be scourged so as to make them rush backwards, whither they do not know, and they will recede from their limbs not patiently, but with despair. And they rejoice over […] madness and derangement […] They pursue

    this derangement without realizing their madness, thinking that they are wise. They […]

    their body […] Their mind is directed to their own selves, for their thought is occupied with their deeds. But it is the fire that will burn them.”

    And Thomas answered and said, “Lord, what will the one thrown down to them do? For I am most anxious about them; many are those who fight them.”

    The savior answered and said, “What is your own opinion?”

    Judas – the one called Thomas – said, “It is you, lord, whom it befits to speak, and me to listen.”

    The savior replied, “Listen to what I am going to tell you and believe in the truth. That which sows and that which is sown will dissolve in the fire – within the fire and the water

  • and they will hide in tombs of darkness. And after a long time they shall show forth thefruit of the evil trees, being punished, being slain in the mouth of beasts and men at the instigation of the rains and winds and air and the light that shines above.”Thomas replied, “You have certainly persuaded us, lord. We realize in our heart, and it is obvious, that this is so, and that your word is sufficient. But these words that you speak to us are ridiculous and contemptible to the world since they are misunderstood. So how can we go preach them, since we are not esteemed in the world?”The savior answered and said, “Truly I tell you that he who will listen to your word and turn away his face or sneer at it or smirk at these things, truly I tell you that he will be handed over to the ruler above who rules over all the powers as their king, and he will turn that one around and cast him from heaven down to the abyss, and he will be imprisoned in a narrow dark place. Moreover, he can neither turn nor move on account of the great depth of Tartaros and the heavy bitterness of Hades that is steadfast […] them to it […] they will not forgive […] pursue you. They will hand […] over to […] angel Tartarouchos […] fire pursuing them […] fiery scourges that cast a shower of sparks into the face of the one who is pursued. If he flees westward, he finds the fire. If he turns southward, he finds it there as well. If he turns northward, the threat of seething fire meets him again. Nor does he find the way to the east so as to flee there and be saved, for he did not find it in the day he was in the body, so that he might find it in the day of judgment.”Then the savior continued, saying, “Woe to you, godless ones, who have no hope, who rely on things that will not happen!”Woe to you who hope in the flesh and in the prison that will perish! How long will you be oblivious? And how long will you suppose that the imperishables will perish too? Your hope is set upon the world, and your god is this life! You are corrupting your souls!

    “Woe to you within the fire that burns in you, for it is insatiable! “Woe to you because of the wheel that turns in your minds!

    “Woe to you within the grip of the burning that is in you, for it will devour your flesh openly and rend your souls secretly, and prepare you for your companions!

    “Woe to you, captives, for you are bound in caverns! You laugh! In mad laughter you rejoice! You neither realize your perdition, nor do you reflect on your circumstances, nor have you understood that you dwell in darkness and death! On the contrary, you are drunk with the fire and full of bitterness. Your mind is deranged on account of the

    burning that is in you, and sweet to you are the poison and the blows of your enemies! And the darkness rose for you like the light, for you surrendered your freedom for servitude! You darkened your hearts and surrendered your thoughts to folly, and you filled your thoughts with the smoke of the fire that is in you! And your light has hidden in the cloud of […] and the garment that is put upon you, you […]. And you were seized by the hope that does not exist. And whom is it you have believed? Do you not know that you all dwell among those who that […] you as though you […]. You baptized your souls in the water of darkness ! You walked by your own whims!

    “Woe to you who dwell in error, heedless that the light of the sun which judges and looks down upon the all will circle around all things so as to enslave the enemies. You do not even notice the moon, how by night and day it looks down, looking at the bodies of your slaughters!

    “Woe to you who love intimacy with womankind and polluted intercourse with them! Woe to you in the grip of the powers of your body, for they will afflict you! Woe to you in the grip of the forces of the evil demons! Woe to you who beguile your limbs with fire! Who is it that will rain a refreshing dew on you to extinguish the mass of fire from you along with your burning? Who is it that will cause the sun to shine upon you to disperse the darkness in you and hide the darkness and polluted water?

    “The sun and the moon will give a fragrance to you together with the air and the spirit and the earth and the water. For if the sun does not shine upon these bodies, they will wither and perish just like weeds or grass. If the sun shines on them, they prevail and choke the grapevine; but if the grapevine prevails and shades those weeds and all the other brush growing alongside, and spreads and flourishes, it alone inherits the land in which it grows; and every place it has shaded it dominates. And when it grows up, it dominates all the land and is bountiful for its master, and it pleases him even more, for he would have suffered great pains on account of these plants until he uprooted them. But the grapevine alone removed them and choked them, and they died and became like the soil.”

    Then Jesus continued and said to them, “Woe to you, for you did not receive the doctrine, and those who are […] will labor at preaching […]. And you are rushing into […] will send them down […] you kill them daily in order that they might rise from death.

    “Blessed are you who have prior knowledge of the stumbling blocks and who flee alien things.

    “Blessed are you who are reviled and not esteemed on account of the love their lord has for them.

    “Blessed are you who weep and are oppressed by those without hope, for you will be released from every bondage.

    “Watch and pray that you not come to be in the flesh, but rather that you come forth from the bondage of the bitterness of this life. And as you pray, you will find rest, for you have left behind the suffering and the disgrace. For when you come forth from the sufferings and passions of the body, you will receive rest from the good one, and you will reign with the king, you joined with him and he with you, from now on, for ever and ever, Amen.”

    The Book of Thomas The Contender Writing To the Perfect Remember me also, my brethren, in your prayers:

    Peace to the saints and those who are spiritual.

    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

    The Concept of Our Great Power

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    Translated by Frederik Wisse

    The Perception of Understanding The Concept of the Great Power

    He who will know our great Power will become invisible, and fire will not be able to consume him. But it will purge and destroy all of your possessions. For everyone in whom my form will appear will be saved, from (the age of) seven days up to one hundred and twenty years. (Those) whom I constrained to gather all that is fallen – and the writings of our great Power, in order that he may inscribe your name in our great light – and their thoughts and their works may be ended, that they may be purged, and be scattered and be destroyed, and be gathered in the place which no one in it sees. But you will see me, and you will prepare your dwelling places in our great Power.

    Know how what has departed came to be, in order that you may know how to discern what lives to become: of what appearance that aeon is, or what kind it is, or how it will come to be. Why do you not ask what kind you will become, (or) rather how you came to be?

    Discern what size the water is, that it is immeasurable (and) incomprehensible, both its beginning and its end. It supports the earth; it blows in the air where the gods and the angels are. But in him who is exalted above all these there is the fear and the light, and in him are my writings revealed. I have given them as a service to the creation of the physical things, for it is not possible for anyone to stand without that One, nor is it possible for the aeon to live without him. It is he who possesses what is in him by discerning (it) in purity.

    Then behold the Spirit and know where he is. He gave himself to men that they may receive life from him every day, since he has his life within him; he gives to them all.

    Then the darkness together with Hades took the fire. And he (the darkness) will release from himself what is mine. His eyes were not able to endure my light. After the spirits and the waters moved, the remainder came into being: the whole aeon of the creation, and their <powers>. The fire came forth from them and the Power came in the midst of the powers. And the powers desired to see my image. And the soul became its replica.

    This is the work that came into being. See what it is like, that before it comes into being it does not see, because the aeon of the flesh came to be in the great bodies. And there were apportioned to them long days in the creation. For when they had polluted themselves and had entered into the flesh, the father of the flesh, the water, avenged himself. For when he had found that Noah was pious (and) worthy – and it is the father of the flesh who holds the angels in subjection. And he (Noah) preached piety for one hundred and twenty years. And no one listened to him. And he made a wooden ark, and whom he had found entered it. And the flood took place.

    And thus Noah was saved with his sons. For if indeed the ark had not been meant for man to enter, then the water of the flood would not have come. In this way he intended (and) planned to save the gods and the angels, and the powers, the greatness of all of these, and the <nourishment> and the way of life. And he moves them from the aeon (and) nourishes them in the permanent places. And the judgment of the flesh was unleashed. Only the work of the Power stood up.

    Next the psychic aeon. It is a small one, which is mixed with bodies, by begetting in the souls (and) defiling (them). For the first defilement of the creation found strength. And it begot every work: many works of wrath, anger, envy, malice, hatred, slander, contempt and war, lying and evil counsels, sorrows and pleasures, basenesses and defilements, falsehoods and diseases, evil judgments that they decree according to their desires.

    Yet you are sleeping, dreaming dreams. Wake up and return, taste and eat the true food! Hand out the word and the water of life! Cease from the evil lusts and desires and (the teachings of) the Anomoeans, evil heresies that have no basis.

    And the mother of the fire was impotent. She brought the fire upon the soul and the earth, and she burned all <the> dwellings that are in it. And its shepherd perished. Moreover, when she does not find anything else to burn, she will destroy herself. And it will become incorporeal, without body, and it will burn matter, until it has cleansed everything, – and all wickedness. For when it does not find anything else to burn, it will turn against itself until it has destroyed itself.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Then, in this aeon, which is the psychic one, the man will come into being who knows the great Power. He will receive (me) and he will know me. He will drink from the milk of the mother, in fact. He will speak in parables; he will proclaim the aeon that is to come, just as he spoke in the first aeon of the flesh, as Noah. Now concerning his words, which he uttered, he spoke in all of them, in seventy-two tongues. And he opened the gates of the heavens with his words. And he put to shame the ruler of Hades; he raised the dead, and he destroyed his dominion.

    Then a great disturbance took place. The archons raised up their wrath against him. They wanted to hand him over to the ruler of Hades. Then they recognized one of his followers. A fire took hold of his soul. He (Judas?) handed him over, since no one knew him (Jesus?). They acted and seized him. They brought judgment upon themselves. And they delivered him up to the ruler of Hades. And they handed him over to Sasabek for

    nine bronze coins. He prepared himself to go down and put them to shame. Then the ruler of Hades took him. And he found that the nature of his flesh could not be seized, in order to show it to the archons. But he was saying: “Who is this? What is it? His word has abolished the law of the aeon. He is from the Logos of the power of life.” And he was victorious over the command of the archons, and they were not able by their work to rule over him.

    The archons searched after that which had come to pass. They did not know that this is the sign of their dissolution, and (that) it is the change of the aeon. The sun set during the day; that day became dark. The evil spirits were troubled. And after these things he will appear ascending. And the sign of the aeon that is to come will appear. And the aeons will dissolve.

    And those who would know these things that were discussed with them, will become blessed. And they will reveal them, and they will become blessed, since they will come to know the truth. For you have found rest in the heavens.

    Then many will follow him, and they will labor in their birthplaces. They will go about; they will write down his words according to (their) desire.

    Behold, these aeons have passed. What size is the water of the aeon that has dissolved? What dimensions do aeons have? How will men prepare themselves, and how will they be established, and how will they become indestructible aeons?

    But at first, after his preaching – it is he who proclaims the second aeon, and the first. And the first aeon perished in the course of time. He made the first aeon, going about in it until it perished, while preaching one hundred and twenty years in number. This is the perfect number that is highly exalted. He made the border of the West desolate, and he destroyed the East. Then your seed and those who wish to follow our great Logos and his proclamation – […]

    Then the wrath of the archons burned. They were ashamed of their dissolution. And they fumed and were angry at the life. The cities were <overturned>; the mountains dissolve. The archon came, with the archons of the western regions, to the East, i.e., that place where the Logos appeared at first. Then the earth trembled, and the cities were troubled. Moreover, the birds ate and were filled with their dead. The earth mourned together with the inhabited world; they became desolate.

    Then when the times were completed, then wickedness arose mightily even until the final end of the Logos. Then the archon of the western regions arose, and from the East he will perform a work, and he will instruct men in his wickedness. And he wants to nullify all teaching, the words of true wisdom, while loving the lying wisdom. For he attacked the old, wishing to introduce wickedness and to put on dignity. He was incapable, because the defilement of his garments is great. Then he became angry. He appeared and desired to go up and to pass up to that place.

    Then the appointed time came and drew near. And he changed the commands. Then the time came until the child had grown up. When he had come to his maturity, then the archons sent the imitator to that man in order that they might know our great Power. And they were expecting from him that he would perform for them a sign. And he bore great signs. And he reigned over the whole earth and all those who are under heaven. He placed his throne upon the end of the earth, for “I shall make you god of the world”. He will perform signs and wonders. Then they will turn from me, and they will go astray.

    Then those men who will follow after him will introduce circumcision. And he will pronounce judgment upon those who are from the uncircumcision, who are the (true) people. For in fact he sent many preachers beforehand, who preached on his behalf.

    When he has completed the established time of the kingdom of the earth, then the cleansing of the souls will come, since wickedness is stronger than you. All the powers of the sea will tremble and dry up, And the firmament will not pour down dew. The springs will cease. The rivers will not flow down to their springs. And the waters of the springs of the earth will cease. Then the depths will be laid bare and they will open. The stars will grow in size, and the sun will cease.

    And I shall withdraw with everyone who will know me. And they will enter into the immeasurable light, (where) there is no one of the flesh nor the wantonness of the first to seize them. They will be unhampered (and) holy, since nothing drags them down. I myself protect them, since they have holy garments, which the fire cannot touch, nor darkness nor wind nor a moment, so as to cause one to shut the eyes.

    Then he will come to destroy all of them. And they will be chastised until they become pure. Moreover their period, which was given to them to have power, which was apportioned to them, (is) fourteen hundred and sixty years. When the fire has consumed them all, and when it does not find anything else to burn, then it will perish by its own hand. Then the […] will be completed […] the second power […] the mercy will come […] through wisdom […]. Then the firmaments will fall down into the depth. Then the sons of matter will perish; they will not be, henceforth.

    Then the souls will appear, who are holy through the light of the Power, who is exalted, above all powers, the immeasurable, the universal one, I and all those who will know me. And they will be in the aeon of beauty of the aeon of judgment, since they are ready in wisdom, having given glory to him who is in the incomprehensible unity; and they see him because of his will, which is in them. And they all have become as reflections in his light. They all have shone, and they have found rest in his rest.

    And he will release the souls that are being punished, and they will come to be in purity. And they will see the saints and cry out to them, “Have mercy on us, O Power who art above all powers!” For […] and in the tree of iniquity that exists […] to him their eyes. And they do not seek him because they do not seek us, nor do they believe us, but they acted according to the creation of the archons and its other rulers. But we have acted

    according to our birth of the flesh, in the creation of the archons, which gives law. We also have come to be in the unchangeable aeon.

    The Concept of Our Great Power

    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

    The Dialogue of the Savior

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    Translated by Stephen Emmel

    The Savior said to his disciples, “Already the time has come, brothers, for us to abandon our labor and stand at rest. For whoever stands at rest will rest forever. And I say to you, be always above […] time […] you […] be afraid of […] you […] anger is fearful […] arouse anger […] but since you have […] they accepted these words concerning it with fear and trembling, and it set them up with governors, for from it nothing was forthcoming. But when I came, I opened the path, and I taught them about the passage which they will traverse, the elect and solitary, who have known the Father, having believed the truth and all the praises while you offered praise.

    “So when you offer praise, do so like this: Hear us, Father, just as you heard your only- begotten son, and received him, and gave him rest from any […] You are the one whose power […] your armor […] is […] light […] living […] touch […] the word […] repentance […] life […] you. You are the thinking and the entire serenity of the solitary. Again: Hear us just as you heard your elect. Through your sacrifice, these will enter; through their good works, these have saved their souls from these blind limbs, so that they might exist eternally. Amen.

    “I will teach you. When the time of dissolution arrives, the first power of darkness will come upon you. Do not be afraid and say “Behold! The time has come!” But when you see a single staff … (3 lines indecipherable) … understand […] the work […] and the governors […] come upon you […]. Truly, fear is the power […]. So if you are going to be afraid of what is about to come upon you, it will engulf you. For there is not one among them who will spare you or show you mercy. But in this way, look at the […] in it, since you have mastered every word on earth. It […] take you up to the […] place where there is no rule […] tyrant. When you […] you will see those who […] and also […] tell you […]

    the reasoning power […] reasoning power […] place of truth […] but […]. But you […]

    truth, this […] living […] and your joy […]. So […] in order that […] your souls […] lest it […] the word […] raise… (3 lines indecipherable) … For the crossing place is fearful before you. But you, with a single mind, pass it by! For its depth is great; its height is enormous […] single mind […] and the fire […] […] all the powers […] you, they […] and

    the powers […] they […][…] soul […] […] in everyone […] you are the […] and […] forget […] son […] and you […][…].”

    Matthew said, “How […][…]?”

    The Savior said “[…] the things inside you […] will remain, you […].”

    Judas said, “Lord […] the works […] these souls, these […], these little ones, when […] where will they be? […] the spirit […]?”

    The Lord said, “[…] receive them. These do not die, […] they are not destroyed, for they have known their consorts and him who would receive them. For the truth seeks out the

    wise and the righteous.”

    The Savior said, “The lamp of the body is the mind. As long as the things inside you are set in order, that is, […], your bodies are luminous. As long as your hearts are dark, the luminosity you anticipate […] I have […] I will go […] my word […] I send […].”

    His disciples said, “Lord, who is it who seeks, and […] reveals?”

    The Lord said to them, “He who seeks […] reveals […].”

    Matthew said, “Lord, when I […] and when I speak, who is it who […] and who listens?”

    The Lord said, “It is the one who speaks who also listens, and it is the one who can see who also reveals.”

    Mary said, “Lord, behold! Whence do I bear the body while I weep, and whence while I [laugh]?”

    The Lord said, “[…] weeps on account of its works […] remain and the mind laughs

    […][…] spirit. If one does not […] darkness, he will be able to see […]. So I tell you […] light is the darkness […] stand in […] not see the light […] the lie […] they brought them from […]. You will give […] and […] exist forever. […][…] ever. Then all the powers which are above, as well as those below, will […] you. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth over the end of all these things.”

    Judas said, “Tell us, Lord, what was […] before the heaven and the earth existed.”

    The Lord said, “There was darkness and water, and spirit upon water. And I say to you […] what you seek after […] inquire after […] within you […] the power and the mystery […] spirit, for from […] wickedness […] come […] mind […] behold […][…].”

    […] said, “Lord, tell us where the […] is established, and where the true mind exists.”

    The Lord said, “The fire of the spirit came into existence […] both. On this account, the […] came into existence, and the true mind came into existence within them […]. If someone sets his soul up high, then he will be exalted.”

    And Matthew asked him, “[…] took […], it is he who […].”

    The Lord said, “[…] stronger than […] you […] to follow you and all the works […] your hearts. For just as your hearts […], so […] the means to overcome the powers above, as well as those below […]. I say to you, let him who possesses power renounce it and repent. And let him who […] seek and find and rejoice.”

    Judas said, “Behold! I see that all things exist […] like signs upon […]. On this account did they happen thus.”

    The Lord said, “When the Father established the cosmos, he […] water from it, and his

    Word came forth from it, and it inhabited many […]. It was higher than the path […] surrounds the entire earth […] the collected water […] existing outside them. […] the water, a great fire encircling them like a wall. […] time once many things had become

    separated from what was inside. When the […] was established, he looked […], and said to it, ‘Go, and […] from yourself, in order that […] be in want from generation to generation, and from age to age.’ Then it cast forth from itself fountains of milk and fountains of honey, and oil and wine and good fruits, and sweet flavor and good roots, in order that it might not be deficient from generation to generation, and from age to age. And it is above […] standing […] its beauty […] and outside there was a great light, powerful […] resemble it, for it […] rules over all the aeons above and below. […] was taken from the fire […] it was scattered in the […] above and below. All the works which depend on them, it is they […] over the heaven above and over the earth below. On them depend all the works.”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    And when Judas heard these things, he bowed down, and he […], and he offered praise to the Lord.

    Mary hailed her brethren, saying, “Where are you going to put these things about which you ask the son […]?”

    The Lord said to her, “Sister, [no one] will be able to inquire about these things except for

    someone who has somewhere to put them in his heart. […] to come forth […] and enter […], so that they might not hold back […] this impoverished cosmos.”

    Matthew said, “Lord, I want to see that place of life, [the place] where there is no wickedness, but rather, there is pure light!”

    The Lord said, “Brother Matthew, you will not be able to see it as long as you are

    carrying flesh around.”

    Matthew said, “Lord, even if I will not be able to see it, let me know it!”

    The Lord said, “Everyone who has known himself has seen it in everything given to him to do, […] and has come to […] it in his goodness.”

    Judas responded, saying, “Tell me, Lord, how it is that […] which shakes the earth moves.”

    The Lord picked up a stone and held it in his hand, saying “What am I holding in my hand?”

    He said, “It is a stone.”

    He said to them, “That which supports the earth is that which supports the heaven. When

    a Word comes forth from the Greatness, it will come on what supports the heaven and the earth. For the earth does not move. Were it to move, it would fall. But it neither moves nor falls, in order that the First Word might not fail. For it was that which established the cosmos and inhabited it, and inhaled fragrance from it. For […] which do not move, I […] you, all the sons of men. For you are from that place. In the hearts of those who speak out of joy and truth, you exist. Even if it comes forth in the body of the Father among men, and is not received, still it […] return to its place. Whoever does not know the work of perfection, knows nothing. If one does not stand in the darkness, he will not be able to see the light. If one does not understand how fire came into existence, he will burn in it, because he does not know the root of it. If one does not first understand water, he knows nothing. For what use is there for him to be baptized in it? If one does not understand how blowing wind came into existence, he will blow away with it. If one does not understand how body, which he bears, came into existence, he will perish with it. And

    how will someone who does not know the Son know the Father? And to someone who will not know the root of all things, they remain hidden. Someone who will not know the root of wickedness is no stranger to it. Whoever will not understand how he came will not understand how he will go, and he is no stranger to this cosmos which will […], which will be humiliated.”

    Then he […] Judas and Matthew and Mary […] the edge of heaven and earth. And when he placed his hand upon them, they hoped that they might […] it. Judas raised his eyes and saw an exceedingly high place, and he saw the place of the abyss below. Judas said to Matthew, “Brother, who will be able to climb up to such a height or down to the bottom of the abyss? For there is a tremendous fire there, and something very fearful!” At that moment, a Word came forth from it. As it stood there, he saw how it had come down. Then he said to it, “Why have you come down?”

    And the Son of Man greeted them and said to them, “A seed from a power was deficient,

    and it went down to the abyss of the earth. And the Greatness remembered it, and he sent the Word to it. It brought it up into his presence, so that the First Word might not fail.” Then his disciples were amazed at all the things he had said to them, and they accepted them on faith. And they concluded that it is useless to regard wickedness.

    (38) Then he said to his disciples, “Have I not told you that like a visible voice and flash of lightning will the good be taken up to the light?”

    Then all his disciples offered him praise and said, “Lord, before you appeared here, who

    was it who offered you praise? For all praises exist on your account. Or who is it who will bless you? For all blessing derives from you.”

    (40) As they stood there, he saw two spirits bringing a single soul with them in a great flash of lightning. And a Word came forth from the Son of Man, saying, “Give them their garment!” And the small one became like the big one. They were […] those who received them […] each other. Then […] disciples, whom he had […].

    Mary said, “[…] see evil […] them from the first […] each other.

    The Lord said, “[…] when you see them […] become huge, they will […]. But when you

    see the Eternal Existent, that is the great vision.” They all said to him, “Tell us about it!”

    He said to them, “How do you wish to see it? By means of a transient vision or an eternal vision?” He went on and said, “Strive to save that which can follow you, and to seek it

    out, and to speak from within it, so that, as you seek it out, everything might be in harmony with you. For I say to you, truly, the living God […] in you […] in him.”

    Judas said, “Truly, I want […].”

    The Lord said to him, “[…] living […] dwells […] entire […] the deficiency […].” Judas said, “Who […]?”

    The Lord said to him, “[…] all the works which […] the remainder, it is they which you […].”

    Judas said, “Behold! The governors dwell above us, so it is they who will rule over us!” The Lord said, “It is you who will rule over them! But when you rid yourselves of

    jealousy, then you will clothe yourselves in light and enter the bridal chamber.”

    Judas said, “How will our garments be brought to us?”

    The Lord said, “There are some who will provide for you, and there are others who will

    receive […]. For it is they who will give you your garments. For who will be able to reach that place which is the reward? But the garments of life were given to man because he knows the path by which he will leave. And it is difficult even for me to reach it!”

    Mary said, “Thus with respect to ‘the wickedness of each day,’ and ‘the laborer is worthy of his food,’ and ‘the disciple resembles his teacher.'” She uttered this as a woman who had understood completely.

    The disciples said to him, “What is the fullness, and what is the deficiency?”

    He said to them, “You are from the fullness, and you dwell in the place where the

    deficiency is. And lo! His light has poured down upon me!”

    Matthew said, “Tell me, Lord, how the dead die, and how the living live.”

    The Lord said, “You have asked me about a saying […] which eye has not seen, nor have I heard it, except from you. But I say to you that when what invigorates a man is removed, he will be called ‘dead’. And when what is alive leaves what is dead, what is alive will be called upon.”

    Judas said, “Why else, for the sake of truth, do they <die> and live?”

    The Lord said, “Whatever is born of truth does not die. Whatever is born of woman dies.”

    Mary said, “Tell me, Lord, why I have come to this place to profit or to forfeit.” The Lord said, “You make clear the abundance of the revealer!”

    Mary said to him, “Lord, is there then a place which is […] or lacking truth?”

    The Lord said, “The place where I am not!”

    Mary said, “Lord, you are fearful and wonderful, and […] those who do not know you.”

    Matthew said, “Why do we not rest at once?”

    The Lord said, “When you lay down these burdens!” Matthew said, “How does the small join itself to the big?”

    The Lord said, “When you abandon the works which will not be able to follow you, then you will rest.”

    Mary said, “I want to understand all things, just as they are!”

    The Lord said, “He who will seek out life! For this is their wealth. For the […] of this

    cosmos is […], and its gold and its silver are misleading.”

    His disciples said to him, “What should we do to ensure that our work will be perfect?” The Lord said to them, “Be prepared in face of everything. Blessed is the man who has found […] the contest […] his eyes. Neither did he kill, nor was he killed, but he came forth victorious.”

    Judas said, “Tell me, Lord, what the beginning of the path is.”

    He said, “Love and goodness. For if one of these existed among the governors,

    wickedness would never have come into existence.”

    Matthew said, “Lord, you have spoken about the end of everything without concern.” The Lord said, “You have understood all the things I have said to you, and you have accepted them on faith. If you have known them, then they are yours. If not, then they are not yours.”

    They said to him, “What is the place to which we are going?” The Lord said, “Stand in the place you can reach!”

    Mary said, “Everything established thus is seen.”

    The Lord said, “I have told you that it is the one who can see who reveals.”

    His disciples, numbering twelve, asked him, “Teacher, […] serenity […] teach us […].” The Lord said, “[…] everything which I have […] you will […] you […] everything.”

    Mary said, “There is but one saying I will speak to the Lord concerning the mystery of truth: In this have we taken our stand, and to the cosmic are we transparent.”

    Judas said to Matthew, “We want to understand the sort of garments we are to be clothed with when we depart the decay of the flesh.”

    The Lord said, “The governors and the administrators possess garments granted only for

    a time, which do not last. But you, as children of truth, not with these transitory garments are you to clothe ourselves. Rather, I say to you that you will become blessed when you strip yourselves! For it is no great thing […] outside.”

    […] said […] speak, I […].”

    The Lord said, “[…] your Father […].”

    Mary said, “Of what sort is that mustard seed? Is it something from heaven or is it something from earth?”

    The Lord said, “When the Father established the cosmos for himself, he left much over from the Mother of the All. Therefore, he speaks and he acts.”

    Judas said, “You have told us this out of the mind of truth. When we pray, how should we pray?”

    The Lord said, “Pray in the place where there is no woman.”

    Matthew said, “‘Pray in the place where there is no woman,’ he tells us, meaning ‘Destroy the works of womanhood,’ not because there is any other manner of birth, but because they will cease giving birth.”

    Mary said, “They will never be obliterated.”

    The Lord said, “Who knows that they will not dissolve and … [2 lines missing]?”

    Judas said to Matthew, “The works of womanhood will dissolve […] the governors will

    […]. Thus will we become prepared for them.”

    The Lord said, “Right. For do they see you? Do they see those who receive you? Now

    behold! A true Word is coming forth from the Father to the abyss, in silence with a flash of lightning, giving birth. Do they see it or overpower it? But you are even more aware of the path, this one, before either angel or authority has […] Rather, it belongs to the Father and the Son, because they are both a single […]. And you will go via the path which you

    have known. Even if the governors become huge, they will not be able to reach it. But listen – I tell you that it is difficult even for me to reach it!”

    Mary said to the Lord, “When the works […] which dissolve a work.”

    The Lord said, “Right. For you know […] if I dissolve […] will go to his place.”

    Judas said, “How is the spirit apparent?”

    The Lord said, “How is the sword apparent?” Judas said, “How is the light apparent?”

    The Lord said, “[…] in it forever.”

    Judas said, “Who forgives the works of whom? The works which […] the cosmos […] who forgives the works.”

    The Lord said, “Who […]? It behooves whoever has understood the works to do the will of the Father. And as for you, strive to rid yourselves of anger and jealousy, and to strip

    yourselves of your […], and not to …

    (next 18 lines virtually indecipherable)

    … he will live forever. And I say to you […], so that you will not lead your spirits and your souls into error.”

    [The Dialogue] of the Savior

    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

    The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth

    image

    Translated by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse, and Douglas M. Parrott

    “My father, yesterday you promised me that you would bring my mind into the eighth and afterwards you would bring me into the ninth. You said that this is the order of the tradition.”

    “My son, indeed this is the order. But the promise was according to human nature. For I told you when I initiated the promise, I said, ‘If you hold in mind each one of the steps.’ After I had received the spirit through the power, I set forth the action for you. Indeed, the understanding dwells in you; in me (it is) as though the power were pregnant. For when I conceived from the fountain that flowed to me, I gave birth.”

    “My father, you have spoken every word well to me. But I am amazed at this statement that you have just made. For you said, ‘The power that is in me’.”

    He said, “I gave birth to it (the power), as children are born.”

    “Then, my father, I have many brothers, if I am to be numbered among the offspring.” “Right, my son! This good thing is numbered by … (3 lines missing) … and […] at all times. Therefore, my son, it is necessary for you to recognize your brothers and to honor them rightly and properly, because they come from the same father. For each generation I have called. I have named it, because they were offspring like these sons.”

    “Then, my father, do they have (a) day?”

    “My son, they are spiritual ones. For they exist as forces that grow other souls. Therefore

    I say that they are immortal.”

    “Your word is true; it has no refutation from now on. My father, begin the discourse on the eighth and the ninth, and include me also with my brothers.”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    “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

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    <Self->begotten.

    The First who appeared before the universe in infinity is Self-grown, Self-constructed Father, and is full of shining, ineffable light. In the beginning, he decided to have his likeness become a great power. Immediately, the principle (or beginning) of that Light appeared as Immortal Androgynous Man. His male name is ‘Begotten, Perfect Mind’. And his female name is ‘All-wise Begettress Sophia’. It is also said that she resembles her brother and her consort. She is uncontested truth; for here below, error, which exists with truth, contests it.

    Through Immortal Man appeared the first designation, namely, divinity and kingdom, for the Father, who is called ‘Self-Father Man’ revealed this. He created a great aeon for his own majesty. He gave him great authority, and he ruled over all creations. He created gods and archangels and angels, myriads without number for retinue.

    Now through that Man originated divinity and kingdom. Therefore he was called ‘God of gods’, ‘King of kings’.

    First Man is ‘Faith’ (‘pistis’) for those who will come afterward. He has, within, a unique mind and thought – just as he is it (thought) – reflecting and considering, rationality and power. All the attributes that exist are perfect and immortal. In respect to imperishableness, they are indeed equal. (But) in respect to power, there is a difference, like the difference between father and son, and son and thought, and the thought and the remainder.

    As I said earlier, among the things that were created the monad is first, the dyad follows it, and the triad, up to the tenths. Now the tenths rule the hundredths; the hundredths rule the thousandths; the thousands rule the ten thousands. This is the pattern <among the> immortals. First Man is like this: His monad […].

    Again it is this pattern that exists among the immortals: the monad and the thought are those things that belong to Immortal Man. The thinkings are for <the> decads, and the hundreds are the teachings, and the thousands are the counsels, and the ten thousands are the powers. Now those who come from the […] exist with their […] in every aeon […].

    […] In the beginning, thought and thinkings appeared from mind, then teachings from thinkings, counsels from teachings, and power from counsels. And after all the attributes, all that was revealed appeared from his powers. And from what was created, what was fashioned appeared. And what was formed appeared from what was fashioned. What was named appeared from what was formed, while the difference among begotten things appeared from what was named, from beginning to end, by power of all the aeons. Now Immortal Man is full of every imperishable glory and ineffable joy. His whole kingdom rejoices in everlasting rejoicing, those who never have been heard of or known in any aeon that came after them and its worlds.

    Afterward another principle came from Immortal Man, who is called ‘Self-perfected Begetter.’ When he received the consent of his consort, Great Sophia, he revealed that first-begotten androgyne, who is called, ‘First-begotten Son of God’. His female aspect is ‘First-begotten Sophia, Mother of the Universe,’ whom some call ‘Love’. Now, First- begotten, since he has his authority from his father, created angels, myriads without number, for retinue. The whole multitude of those angels are called ‘Assembly of the Holy Ones, the Shadowless Lights.’ Now when these greet each other, their embraces become like angels like themselves.

    First Begetter Father is called ‘Adam of the Light.’ And the kingdom of Son of Man is full of ineffable joy and unchanging jubilation, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy over their imperishable glory, which has never been heard nor has it been revealed to all the aeons that came to be and their worlds.

    Then Son of Man consented with Sophia, his consort, and revealed a great androgynous Light. His masculine name is designated ‘Savior, Begetter of All things’. His feminine name is designated ‘Sophia, All-Begettress’. Some call her ‘Pistis’ (faith).

    Then Savior consented with his consort, Pistis Sophia, and revealed six androgynous spiritual beings who are the type of those who preceded them. Their male names are

    these: first, ‘Unbegotten’; second, ‘Self-begotten’; third, ‘Begetter’; fourth, ‘First begetter’; fifth, ‘All-begetter’; sixth, ‘Arch-begetter’. Also the names of the females are these; first,

    ‘All-wise Sophia’; second, ‘All-Mother Sophia’; third, ‘All-Begettress Sophia’; fourth, ‘First Begettress Sophia’; fifth, ‘Love Sophia’; sixth, ‘Pistis Sophia’.

    From the consenting of those I have just mentioned, thoughts appeared in the aeons that exist. From thoughts, reflectings; from reflectings, considerings; from considerings, rationalities, from rationalities, wills, from wills, words.

    Then the twelve powers, whom I have just discussed, consented with each other. <Six> males (and) females (each) were revealed, so that there are seventy-two powers. Each one of the seventy-two revealed five spiritual (powers), which (together) are the three hundred and sixty powers. The union of them all is the will.

    Therefore our aeon came to be as the type of Immortal Man. Time came to be as the type of First Begetter, his son. The year came to be as the type of Savior. The twelve months came to be as the type of the twelve powers. The three hundred and sixty days of the year came to be as the three hundred and sixty powers who appeared from Savior. Their hours and moments came to be as the type of the angels who came from them (the powers), who are without number.

    And when those whom I have discussed appeared, All-Begetter, their father, very soon created twelve aeons for retinue for the twelve angels. And in each aeon there were six (heavens), so there are seventy-two heavens of the seventy-two powers who appeared from him. And in each of the heavens there were five firmaments, so there are (altogether) three hundred sixty firmaments of the three hundred sixty powers that appeared from them. When the firmaments were complete, they were called ‘The Three Hundred Sixty Heavens’, according to the name of the heavens that were before them. And all these are perfect and good. And in this way the defect of femaleness appeared.

    The first aeon, then, is that of Immortal Man. The second aeon is that of Son of Man, who is called ‘First Begetter’ (“who is called ‘Savior'” added in Codex V). That which embraces these is the aeon over which there is no kingdom, (the aeon) of the Eternal Infinite God, the aeon of the aeon of the immortals who are in it, (the aeon) above the Eighth that appeared in chaos.

    Now Immortal Man revealed aeons and powers and kingdoms and gave authority to everyone who appeared from him, to make whatever they desire until the days that are above chaos. For these consented with each other and revealed every magnificence, even from spirit, multitudinous lights that are glorious and without number. These received

    names in the beginning, that is, the first, the middle, the perfect; that is, the first aeon and the second and the third. The first was called ‘Unity and Rest’. Since each one has its (own) name, the <third> aeon was designated ‘Assembly’, from the great multitude that appeared in the multitudinous one. Therefore, when the multitude gathers and comes to a unity, they are called ‘Assembly’, from the Assembly that surpassed heaven. Therefore, the Assembly of the Eighth was revealed as androgynous and was named partly as male and partly as female. The male was called ‘Assembly’, the female, ‘Life’, that it might be shown that from a female came the life in all the aeons. Every name was received, starting from the beginning.

    From his concurrence with his thought, the powers appeared who where called ‘gods’; and the gods from their considerings revealed divine gods; and the gods from their considerings revealed lords; and the lords of the lords from their words revealed lords; and the lords from their powers revealed archangels; the archangels revealed angels; from

    <them,> the semblance appeared, with structure and form for naming all the aeons and their worlds.

    All the immortals, whom I have just described, have authority – all of them – from the power of Immortal Man and Sophia, his consort, who was called ‘Silence’, who was named ‘Silence’ because by reflecting without speech she perfected her own majesty. Since the imperishabilities had the authority, each provided great kingdoms in all the immortal heavens and their firmaments, thrones (and) temples, for their own majesty.

    Some, Indeed, (who are) in dwellings and in chariots, being in ineffable glory and not able to be sent into any creature, provided for themselves hosts of angels, myriads without number for retinue and glory, even virgin spirits, the ineffable lights. They have no sickness nor weakness, but it is only will: it comes to be in an instant. Thus were completed the aeons with their heavens and firmaments for the glory of Immortal Man and Sophia, his consort: the area which <contained the pattern of> every aeon and their worlds and those that came afterward, in order to provide the types from there, their likenesses in the heavens of chaos and their worlds.

    And all natures from the Immortal One, from Unbegotten to the revelation of chaos, are in the light that shines without shadow and (in) ineffable joy and unutterable jubilation. They ever delight themselves on account of their glory that does not change, and the rest that is not measured, which cannot be described or conceived among all the aeons that came to be and their powers. But this much is enough. All I have just said to you, I said in the way that you might accept, until the one who need not be taught appears among you, and he will speak all these things to you joyously and in pure knowledge.

    Eugnostos the Blessed

    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

    The Exegesis on the Soul

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    Translated by William C. Robinson Jr.

    Wise men of old gave the soul a feminine name. Indeed she is female in her nature as well. She even has her womb.

    As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous. But when she fell down into a body and came to this life, then she fell into the hands of many robbers. And the wanton creatures passed her from one to another and […] her. Some made use of her by force, while others did so by seducing her with a gift. In short, they defiled her, and she […] her virginity.

    And in her body she prostituted herself and gave herself to one and all, considering each one she was about to embrace to be her husband. When she had given herself to wanton, unfaithful adulterers, so that they might make use of her, then she sighed deeply and repented. But even when she turns her face from those adulterers, she runs to others and they compel her to live with them and render service to them upon their bed, as if they were her masters. Out of shame she no longer dares to leave them, whereas they deceive her for a long time, pretending to be faithful, true husbands, as if they greatly respected her. And after all this they abandon her and go.

    She then becomes a poor desolate widow, without help; not even a measure of food was left her from the time of her affliction. For from them she gained nothing except the defilements they gave her while they had sexual intercourse with her. And her offspring by the adulterers are dumb, blind and sickly. They are feebleminded.

    But when the father who is above visits her and looks down upon her and sees her sighing – with her sufferings and disgrace – and repenting of the prostitution in which she engaged, and when she begins to call upon his name so that he might help her, […] all her heart, saying “Save me, my father, for behold I will render an account to thee, for I abandoned my house and fled from my maiden`s quarters. Restore me to thyself again.” When he sees her in such a state, then he will count her worthy of his mercy upon her, for many are the afflictions that have come upon her because she abandoned her house.

    Now concerning the prostitution on the soul, the Holy Spirit prophesies in many places. For he said in the prophet Jeremiah (3:1-4),

    If the husband divorces his wife and she goes and takes another man, can she return to him after that? Has not that woman utterly defiled herself? “And you prostituted yourself to many shepherds and you returned to me!” said the lord. “Take an honest look and see where you prostituted yourself. Were you not sitting in the streets defiling the land with your acts of prostitution and your vices? And you took many shepherds for a stumbling block for yourself. You became shameless with everyone. You did not call on me as kinsman or as father or author of your virginity”.

    Again it is written in the prophet Hosea (2:2-7),

    Come, go to law with your mother, for she is not to be a wife to me nor I a husband to her. I shall remove her prostitution from my presence, and I shall remove her adultery from between her breasts. I shall make her naked as on the day she was born, and I shall make her desolate like a land without water, and I shall make her longingly childless. I shall show her children no pity, for they are children of prostitution, since their mother prostituted herself and put her children to shame. For she said, “I shall prostitute myself to my lovers. It was they who gave me my bread and my water and my garments and my clothes and my wine and my oil and everything I needed.” Therefore behold I shall shut

    them up so that she shall not be able to run after her adulterers. And when she seeks them and does not find them, she will say, ‘I shall return to my former husband, in those days I was better off than now.”

    Again he said in Ezekiel (16:23-26),

    It came to pass after much depravity, said the lord, you built yourself a brothel and you made yourself a beautiful place in the streets. And you built yourself brothels on every lane, and you wasted your beauty, and you spread your legs in every alley, and you multiplied your acts of prostitution. You prostituted yourself to the sons of Egypt, those who are your neighbors, men great of flesh.

    But what does “the sons of Egypt, men great of flesh” mean, if not the domain of the flesh and the perceptible realm and the affairs of the earth, by which the soul has become defiled here, receiving bread from them, as well as wine, oil, clothing, and the other external nonsense surrounding the body – the things she thinks she needs.

    But as to this prostitution, the apostles of the savior commanded (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1Th 4:3; 1 Co 6:18; 2 Co 7:1): “Guard yourselves against it, purify yourselves from it,” speaking not just of the prostitution of the body but especially that of the soul. For this reason the apostles write to the churches of God, that such prostitution might not occur among us.

    Yet the greatest struggle has to do with the prostitution of the soul. From it arises the prostitution of the body as well. Therefore Paul, writing to the Corinthians (1Co 5:9-10), said, “I wrote you in the letter, ‘Do not associate with prostitutes,’ not at all (meaning) the prostitutes of this world or the greedy or the thieves or the idolaters, since then you would have to go out from the world.” – here it is speaking spiritually – “For our struggle is not

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    against flesh and blood – as he said (Ep 6:12) – but against the world rulers of this darkness and the spirits of wickedness.”

    As long as the soul keeps running about everywhere copulating with whomever she meets and defiling herself, she exists suffering her just deserts. But when she perceives the straits she is in and weeps before the father and repents, then the father will have mercy on her and he will make her womb turn from the external domain and will turn it again inward, so that the soul will regain her proper character. For it is not so with a woman. For the womb of the body is inside the body like the other internal organs, but the womb of the soul is around the outside like the male genitalia which is external.

    So when the womb of the soul, by the will of the father, turns itself inward, it is baptized and is immediately cleansed of the external pollution which was pressed upon it, just as garments, when dirty, are put into the water and turned about until their dirt is removed and they become clean. And so the cleansing of the soul is to regain the newness of her former nature and to turn herself back again. That is her baptism.

    Then she will begin to rage at herself like a woman in labor, who writhes and rages in the hour of delivery. But since she is female, by herself she is powerless to beget a child. From heaven the father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride. She gave up her former prostitution and cleansed herself of the pollutions of the adulterers, and she was renewed so as to be a bride. She cleansed herself in the bridal chamber; she filled it with perfume; she sat in it waiting for the true bridegroom. No longer does she run about the market place, copulating with whomever she desires, but she continued to wait for him – (saying) “When will he come?” – and to fear him, for she did not know what he looked like: she no longer remembers since the time she fell from her father’s house. But by the will of the father

    <…> And she dreamed of him like a woman in love with a man.

    But then the bridegroom, according to the father’s will, came down to her into the bridal chamber, which was prepared. And he decorated the bridal chamber.

    For since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden, they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire and they turn their faces from each other. But this marriage […]. But once they unite with one another, they become a single life. Wherefore the prophet said (Gn 2:24) concerning the first man and the first woman, “They will become a single flesh.” For they were originally joined one to another when they were with the father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true

    love, her real master, as it is written (cf. Gn 3:16; 1 Co 11;1; Ep 5:23), “For the master of the woman is her husband.”

    Then gradually she recognized him, and she rejoiced once more, weeping before him as she remembered the disgrace of her former widowhood. And she adorned herself still more so that he might be pleased to stay with her.

    And the prophet said in the Psalms (Ps 45:10-11): “Hear, my daughter, and see and incline your ear and forget your people and your father’s house, for the king has desired your beauty, for he is your lord.”

    For he requires her to turn her face from her people and the multitude of her adulterers, in whose midst she once was, to devote herself only to her king, her real lord, and to forget

    the house of the earthly father, with whom things went badly for her, but to remember her father who is in heaven. Thus also it was said (Gn 12:1) to Abraham: “Come out from

    your country and your kinsfolk and from your father`s house”

    Thus when the soul had adorned herself again in her beauty […] enjoyed her beloved, and he also loved her. And when she had intercourse with him, she got from him the seed that is the life-giving spirit, so that by him she bears good children and rears them. For this is the great, perfect marvel of birth. And so this marriage is made perfect by the will of the father.

    Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead. This is the ransom from captivity. This is the upward journey of ascent to heaven. This is the way of ascent to the father. Therefore the prophet said (Ps 103:1-5):

    “Praise the lord, O my soul, and, all that is within me, (praise) his holy name. My soul, praise God, who forgave all your sins, who healed all your sicknesses, who ransomed your life from death, who crowned you with mercy, who satisfies your longing with good things. Your youth will be renewed like an eagle’s.”

    Then when she becomes young again, she will ascend, praising the father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved. And this is due not to rote phrases or to professional skills or to book learning. Rather it is the grace of the […], it is the gift of the […]. For such is this heavenly thing. Therefore the savior cries out (Jn 6:44), “No one can come to me unless my Father draws him and brings him to me; and I myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    It is therefore fitting to pray to the father and to call on him with all our soul – not externally with the lips, but with the spirit, which is inward, which came forth from the depth – sighing; repenting for the life we lived; confessing our sins; perceiving the empty deception we were in, and the empty zeal; weeping over how we were in darkness and in the wave; mourning for ourselves, that he might have pity on us; hating ourselves for how we are now.

    Again the savior said (cf Mt 5:4, Lk 6:12): “Blessed are those who mourn, for it is they who will be pitied; blessed, those who are hungry, for it is they who will be filled.”

    Again he said (cf. Lk 14:26), “If one does not hate his soul he cannot follow me.” For the beginning of salvation is repentance. Therefore (cf. Acts 13:24), “Before Christ`s appearance came John, preaching the baptism of repentance.”

    And repentance takes place in distress and grief. But the father is good and loves humanity, and he hears the soul that calls upon him and sends it the light of salvation. Therefore he said through the spirit to the prophet (cf. 1 Cl 8:3), “Say to the children of my people, ‘If your sins extend from earth to heaven, and if they become red like scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and if you return to me with all your soul and say to me ‘my Father!’, I will heed you as a holy people.'”

    Again another place (Is 30:15), “Thus says the lord, the holy one of Israel: “If you return and sigh, then you will be saved and will know where you were when you trusted in what is empty.”

    Again he said in another place (Is 30:19-20), “Jerusalem wept much, saying, ‘Have pity on me.’ He will have pity on the sound of your weeping. And when he saw, he heeded you. And the lord will give you bread of affliction and water of oppression. From now on, those who deceive will not approach you again. Your eyes will see those who are deceiving you.”

    Therefore it is fitting to pray to God night and day, spreading out our hands towards him as do people sailing in the middle of the sea: they pray to God with all their heart without hypocrisy. For those who pray hypocritically deceive only themselves. Indeed, it is in order that he might know who is worthy of salvation that God examines the inward parts and searches the bottom of the heart. For no one is worthy of salvation who still loves the place of deception.

    Therefore it is written in the poet (Homer, Odyssey 1.48-1.59), “Odysseus sat on the island weeping and grieving and turning his face from the words of Calypso and from her tricks, longing to see his village and smoke coming forth from it. And had he not received help from heaven, he would not have been able to return to his village.”

    Again Helen <…> saying (Odyssey 4.260-261), “My heart turned itself from me. It is to my house that I want to return.”

    For she sighed, saying (Odyssey 4.261-4.264), “It is Aphrodite who deceived me and brought me out of my village. My only daughter I left behind me, and my good, understanding, handsome husband.”

    For when the soul leaves her perfect husband because of the treachery of Aphrodite, who exists here in the act of begetting, then she will suffer harm. But if she sighs and repents, she will be restored to her house.

    Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place, to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not sighed to God and wept for the oppression of its labors.

    Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9), “I was greatly troubled in my groaning. I will bathe my bed and my cover each night with my tears. I have become old in the midst of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you who work at lawlessness, for behold the lord has heard the cry of my weeping and the lord has heard my prayer.”

    If we repent, truly God will heed us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen!

    The Expository Treatise on the Soul

    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

    The Gospel of the Egyptians

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    Translated by Alexander Bohlig and Frederik Wisse

    The holy book of the Egyptians about the great invisible Spirit, the Father whose name cannot be uttered, he who came forth from the heights of the perfection, the light of the light of the aeons of light, the light of the silence of the providence <and> the Father of the silence, the light of the word and the truth, the light of the incorruptions, the infinite light, the radiance from the aeons of light of the unrevealable, unmarked, ageless, unproclaimable Father, the aeon of the aeons, Autogenes, self-begotten, self-producing, alien, the really true aeon.

    Three powers came forth from him; they are the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son, from the living silence, what came forth from the incorruptible Father. These came forth from the silence of the unknown Father.

    And from that place, Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons and the light of each one of their powers. And thus the Son came forth fourth; the Mother fifth; the Father sixth. He was […] but unheralded; it is he who is unmarked among all the powers, the glories, and the incorruptions.

    From that place, the three powers came forth, the three ogdoads that the Father brings forth in silence with his providence, from his bosom, i.e., the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son.

    The <first> ogdoad, because of which the thrice-male child came forth, which is the thought, and the word, and the incorruption, and the eternal life, the will, the mind, and the foreknowledge, the androgynous Father.

    The second ogdoad-power, the Mother, the virginal Barbelon, epititioch[…]ai, memeneaimen[…], who presides over the heaven, karb[…], the uninterpretable power, the ineffable Mother. She originated from herself […]; she came forth; she agreed with the Father of the silent silence.

    The third ogdoad-power, the Son of the silent silence, and the crown of the silent silence, and the glory of the Father, and the virtue of the Mother, he brings forth from the bosom the seven powers of the great light of the seven voices. And the word is their completion.

    These are the three powers, the three ogdoads that the Father, through his providence, brought forth from his bosom. He brought them forth at that place.

    Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons, and the throne which is in him, and the powers which surround him, the glories and the incorruptions. The Father of the great light who came forth from the silence, he is the great Doxomedon-aeon, in which the thrice- male child rests. And the throne of his glory was established in it, this one on which his unrevealable name is inscribed, on the tablet […] one is the word, the Father of the light of everything, he who came forth from the silence, while he rests in the silence, he whose name is in an invisible symbol. A hidden, invisible mystery came forth: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE oooooooooooooooooooooo uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (the 7 vowels, 22 times each).

    And in this way, the three powers gave praise to the great, invisible, unnameable, virginal, uncallable Spirit, and his male virgin. They asked for a power. A silence of living silence came forth, namely glories and incorruptions in the aeons […] aeons, myriads added on […], the three males, the three male offspring, the male races …

    (IV 55, 5-7 adds: … the glories of the Father, the glories of the great Christ, and the male offspring, the races …)

    … filled the great Doxomedon-aeon with the power of the word of the whole pleroma.

    Then the thrice-male child of the great Christ, whom the great invisible Spirit had anointed – he whose power was called ‘Ainon’ – gave praise to the great invisible Spirit and his male virgin Yoel, and the silence of silent silence, and the greatness that […] ineffable. […] ineffable […] unanswerable and uninterpretable, the first one who has come forth, and (who is) unproclaimable, […] which is wonderful […] ineffable […], he who has all the greatnesses of greatness of the silence at that place. The thrice-male child brought praise, and asked for a power from the great, invisible, virginal Spirit.

    Then there appeared at that place […], who […], who sees glories […] treasures in a […] invisible mysteries to […] of the silence, who is the male virgin Youel.

    Then the child of the child, Esephech, appeared.

    And thus he was completed, namely, the Father, the Mother, the Son, the five seals, the unconquerable power which is the great Christ of all the incorruptible ones. …

    … (one line unrecoverable)

    … holy […] the end, the incorruptible […], and […], they are powers and glories and incorruptions […]. They came forth …

    … (5 lines unrecoverable)

    … This one brought praise to the unrevealable, hidden mystery […] the hidden …

    … (4 lines unrecoverable)

    … him in the […], and the aeons […] thrones, […] and each one […] myriads of powers

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    without number surround them, glories and incorruptions […] and they […] of the Father, and the Mother, and the Son, and the whole pleroma, which I mentioned before, and the

    five seals, and the mystery of mysteries. They appeared …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … who presides over […], and the aeons of […] really truly […] and the …

    … (4 lines unrecoverable)

    … and the really truly eternal aeons.

    Then providence came forth from silence, and the living silence of the Spirit, and the Word of the Father, and a light. She […] the five seals which the Father brought forth from his bosom, and she passed through all the aeons which I mentioned before. And she established thrones of glory, and myriads of angels without number who surrounded them, powers and incorruptible glories, who sing and give glory, all giving praise with a single voice, with one accord, with one never-silent voice, […] to the Father, and the Mother, and the Son […], and all the pleromas that I mentioned before, who is the great Christ, who is from silence, who is the incorruptible child Telmael Telmachael Eli Eli Machar Machar Seth, the power which really truly lives, and the male virgin who is with him, Youel, and Esephech, the holder of glory, the child of the child, and the crown of his glory, […] of the five seals, the pleroma that I mentioned before.

    There, the great self-begotten living Word came forth, the true god, the unborn physis, he whose name I shall tell, saying, […]aia[…] thaOthOsth[…], who is the son of the great Christ, who is the son of the ineffable silence, who came forth from the great invisible and incorruptible Spirit. The son of the silence and silence appeared …

    … (one line unrecoverable)

    … invisible […] man and the treasures of his glory. Then he appeared in the revealed […].

    And he established the four aeons. With a word he established them.

    He brought praise to the great, invisible, virginal Spirit, the silence of the Father, in a silence of the living silence of silence, the place where the man rests …

    … (two lines unrecoverable)

    Then there came forth at/from that place the cloud of the great light, the living power, the mother of the holy, incorruptible ones, the great power, the Mirothoe. And she gave birth to him whose name I name, saying, ien ien ea ea ea, three times.

    For this one, Adamas, is a light which radiated from the light; he is the eye of the light. For this is the first man, he through whom and to whom everything came into being, (and) without whom nothing came into being. The unknowable, incomprehensible Father came forth. He came down from above for the annulment of the deficiency.

    Then the great Logos, the divine Autogenes, and the incorruptible man Adamas mingled with each other. A Logos of man came into being. However, the man came into being through a word.

    He gave praise to the great, invisible, incomprehensible, virginal Spirit, and the male virgin, and the thrice-male child, and the male virgin Youel, and Esephech, the holder of glory, the child of the child and the crown of his glory, and the great Doxomedon-aeon,

    and the thrones which are in him, and the powers which surround him, the glories and the incorruptions, and their whole pleroma which I mentioned before, and the ethereal earth, the receiver of God, where the holy men of the great light receive shape, the men of the Father of the silent, living silence, the Father and their whole pleroma, as I mentioned before.

    The great Logos, the divine Autogenes, and the incorruptible man Adamas gave praise, (and) they asked for a power and eternal strength for the Autogenes, for the completion of the four aeons, in order that, through them, there may appear […] the glory and the power of the invisible Father of the holy men of the great light which will come to the world, which is the image of the night. The incorruptible man Adamas asked for them a son out of himself, in order that he (the son) may become father of the immovable, incorruptible race, so that, through it (the race), the silence and the voice may appear, and, through it, the dead aeon may raise itself, so that it may dissolve.

    And thus there came forth from above the power of the great light, the Manifestation. She gave birth to the four great lights: Harmozel, Oroiael, Davithe, Eleleth, and the great incorruptible Seth, the son of the incorruptible man Adamas.

    And thus the perfect hebdomad, which exists in hidden mysteries, became complete. When she receives the glory, she becomes eleven ogdoads.

    And the Father nodded approval; the whole pleroma of the lights was well pleased. Their consorts came forth for the completion of the ogdoad of the divine Autogenes: the Grace of the first light Harmozel, the Perception of the second light Oroiael, the Understanding of the third light Davithe, the Prudence of the fourth light Eleleth. This is the first ogdoad of the divine Autogenes.

    And the Father nodded approval; the whole pleroma of the lights was well pleased. The

    <ministers> came forth: the first one, the great Gamaliel (of) the first great light Harmozel, and the great Gabriel (of) the second great light Oroiael, and the great Samlo of the great light Davithe, and the great Abrasax of the great light Eleleth. And the consorts of these came forth by the will of the good pleasure of the Father: the Memory of the great one, the first, Gamaliel; the Love of the great one, the second, Gabriel; the Peace of the third one, the great Samblo; the eternal Life of the great one, the fourth, Abrasax. Thus were the five ogdoads completed, a total of forty, as an uninterpretable power.

    Then the great Logos, the Autogenes, and the word of the pleroma of the four lights gave praise to the great, invisible, uncallable, virginal Spirit, and the male virgin, and the great Doxomedon-aeon, and the thrones which are in them, and the powers which surround them, glories, authorities, and the powers, <and> the thrice-male child, and the male virgin Youel, and Esephech, the holder of glory, the child of the child and the crown of his glory, the whole pleroma, and all the glories which are there, the infinite pleromas

    <and> the unnameable aeons, in order that they may name the Father the fourth, with the

    incorruptible race, (and) that they may call the seed of the Father the seed of the great Seth.

    Then everything shook, and trembling took hold of the incorruptible ones. Then the three male children came forth from above, down into the unborn ones, and the self-begotten ones, and those who were begotten in what is begotten. The greatness came forth, the whole greatness of the great Christ. He established thrones in glory, myriads without number, in the four aeons around them, myriads without number, powers and glories and incorruptions. And they came forth in this way.

    And the incorruptible, spiritual church increased in the four lights of the great, living Autogenes, the god of truth, praising, singing, (and) giving glory with one voice, with one accord, with a mouth which does not rest, to the Father, and the Mother, and the Son, and their whole pleroma, just as I mentioned <before>. The five seals which possess the myriads, and they who rule over the aeons, and they who bear the glory of the leaders, were given the command to reveal to those who are worthy. Amen.

    • * * Then the great Seth, the son of the incorruptible man Adamas, gave praise to the great, invisible, uncallable, unnameable, virginal Spirit, and the <male virgin, and the thrice-male child, and the male> virgin Youel, and Esephech, the holder of glory and the crown of his glory, the child of the child, and the great Doxomedon-aeons, and the pleroma which I mentioned before; and asked for his seed.Then there came forth from that place the great power of the great light Plesithea, the mother of the angels, the mother of the lights, the glorious mother, the virgin with the four breasts, bringing the fruit from Gomorrah, as spring, and Sodom, which is the fruit of the spring of Gomorrah which is in her. She came forth through the great Seth.Then the great Seth rejoiced about the gift which was granted him by the incorruptible child. He took his seed from her with the four breasts, the virgin, and he placed it with him in the fourth aeon (or, in the four aeons), in the third great light Davithe.After five thousand years, the great light Eleleth spoke: “Let someone reign over the chaos and Hades.” And there appeared a cloud whose name is hylic Sophia […] She looked out on the parts of the chaos, her face being like […] in her form […] blood. And the great angel Gamaliel spoke to the great Gabriel, the minister of the great light Oroiael; he said, “Let an angel come forth, in order that he may reign over the chaos and Hades.” Then the cloud, being agreeable, came forth in the two monads, each one of which had light. […] the throne, which she had placed in the cloud above. Then Sakla, the great angel, saw the great demon who is with him, Nebruel. And they became together a begetting spirit of the earth. They begot assisting angels. Sakla said to the great demon Nebruel, “Let the twelve aeons come into being in the […] aeon, worlds […].” […] the great angel Sakla said by the will of the Autogenes, “There shall be the […] of the number of seven […].” And he said to the great angels, “Go and let each of you reign over his world.” Each one of these twelve angels went forth. The first angel is Athoth. He is the one whom the great generations of men call […]. The second is Harmas, who is the eye ofthe fire. The third is Galila. The fourth is Yobel. The fifth is Adonaios, who is called ‘Sabaoth’. The sixth is Cain, whom the great generations of men call the sun. The seventh is Abel; the eighth Akiressina; the ninth Yubel. The tenth is Harmupiael. The eleventh is Archir-Adonin. The twelfth is Belias. These are the ones who preside over Hades and the chaos.And after the founding of the world, Sakla said to his angels, “I, I am a jealous god, and apart from me nothing has come into being,” since he trusted in his nature.

      Then a voice came from on high, saying, “The Man exists, and the Son of the Man.” Because of the descent of the image above, which is like its voice in the height of the image which has looked out through the looking out of the image above, the first creature was formed.

      Because of this, Metanoia came into being. She received her completion and her power by the will of the Father, and his approval, with which he approved of the great, incorruptible, immovable race of the great, mighty men of the great Seth, in order that he may sow it in the aeons which had been brought forth, so that through her (Metanoia), the deficiency may be filled up. For she had come forth from above, down to the world, which is the image of the night. When she had come, she prayed for (the repentance of) both the seed of the archon of this aeon, and <the> authorities who had come forth from him, that defiled (seed) of the demon-begetting god which will be destroyed, and the seed of Adam and the great Seth, which is like the sun.

      Then the great angel Hormos came to prepare, through the virgins of the corrupted sowing of this aeon, in a Logos-begotten, holy vessel, through the holy Spirit, the seed of the great Seth.

      Then the great Seth came and brought his seed. And it was sown in the aeons which had been brought forth, their number being the amount of Sodom. Some say that Sodom is the place of pasture of the great Seth, which is Gomorrah. But others (say) that the great Seth took his plant out of Gomorrah and planted it in the second place, to which he gave the name ‘Sodom’.

      This is the race which came forth through Edokla. For she gave birth through the word, to Truth and Justice, the origin of the seed of the eternal life, which is with those who will persevere, because of the knowledge of their emanation. This is the great, incorruptible race which has come forth through three worlds to the world.

      And the flood came as an example, for the consummation of the aeon. But it will be sent into the world because of this race. A conflagration will come upon the earth. And grace will be with those who belong to the race, through the prophets and the guardians who guard the life of the race. Because of this race, famines will occur, and plagues. But these things will happen because of the great, incorruptible race. Because of this race, temptations will come, a falsehood of false prophets.

      Then the great Seth saw the activity of the devil, and his many guises, and his schemes, which will come upon his (Seth’s) incorruptible, immovable race, and the persecutions of his powers and his angels, and their error, that they acted against themselves.

      Then the great Seth gave praise to the great, uncallable, virginal Spirit, and the male virgin Barbelon, and the thrice-male child Telmael Telmael Heli Heli Machar Machar Seth, the power which really truly lives, and the male virgin Youel, and Esephech, the holder of glory and the crown of his glory, and the great Doxomedon-aeon, and the thrones which are in him, and the powers which surround them, and the whole pleroma, as I mentioned before. And he asked for guards over his seed.

      Then there came forth from the great aeons four hundred ethereal angels, accompanied by the great Aerosiel and the great Selmechel, to guard the great, incorruptible race, its fruit, and the great men of the great Seth, from the time and the moment of Truth and Justice, until the consummation of the aeon and its archons, those whom the great judges have condemned to death.

      Then the great Seth was sent by the four lights, by the will of the Autogenes and the whole pleroma, through <the gift> and the good pleasure of the great invisible Spirit, and the five seals, and the whole pleroma.

      He passed through the three parousias which I mentioned before: the flood, and the conflagration, and the judgment of the archons and the powers and the authorities, to save her (the race) who went astray, through the reconciliation of the world, and the baptism through a Logos-begotten body which the great Seth prepared for himself secretly through the virgin, in order that the saints may be begotten by the holy Spirit, through invisible, secret symbols, through a reconciliation of the world with the world, through the renouncing of the world, and the god of the thirteen aeons, and (through) the convocations of the saints and the ineffable ones, and (through) the incorruptible bosom, and (through) the great light of the Father, who pre-existed with his Providence, and

      established through her the holy baptism that surpasses the heaven, through the

      incorruptible, Logos-begotten one, even Jesus the living one, even he whom the great Seth has put on. And through him, he nailed the powers of the thirteen aeons, and established those who are brought forth and taken away. He armed them with an armor of knowledge of this truth, with an unconquerable power of incorruptibility.

      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      There appeared to them the great attendant Yesseus Mazareus Yessedekeus, the living water, and the great leaders, James the great and Theopemptos and Isaouel, and they who preside over the spring of truth, Micheus and Michar and Mnesinous, and he who presides over the baptism of the living, and the purifiers, and Sesengenpharanges, and they who preside over the gates of the waters, Micheus and Michar, and they who preside over the mountain, Seldao and Elainos, and the receivers of the great race, the incorruptible, mighty men <of> the great Seth, the ministers of the four lights, the great Gamaliel, the great Gabriel, the great Samblo, and the great Abrasax, and they who preside over the sun, its rising, Olses and Hypneus and Heurumaious, and they who preside over the entrance into the rest of eternal life, the rulers Mixanther and Michanor,

      and they who guard the souls of the elect, Akramas and Strempsouchos, and the great power Heli Heli Machar Machar Seth, and the great invisible, uncallable, unnameable, virginal Spirit, and the silence, and the (first) great light Harmozel, the place of the living Autogenes, the God of the truth, and <he> who is with him, the incorruptible man Adamas, the second, Oroiael, the place of the great Seth, and Jesus, who possesses the life, and who came and crucified that which is in the law, the third, Davithe, the place of the sons of the great Seth, the fourth, Eleleth, the place where the souls of the sons are resting, the fifth, Yoel, who presides over the name of him to whom it will be granted to baptize with the holy baptism that surpasses the heaven, the incorruptible one.

      But from now on, through the incorruptible man Poimael, and they who are worthy of (the) invocation, the renunciations of the five seals in the spring-baptism, these will know their receivers as they are instructed about them, and they will know them (or: be known) by them. These will by no means taste death.

    • * * IE ieus EO ou EO Oua! Really, truly, O Yesseus Mazareus Yessedekeus, O living water, O child of the child, O glorious name! Really truly, aiOn o On (or: O existing aeon), iiii EEEE eeee oooo uuuu OOOO aaaa{a}. Really, truly, Ei aaaa OOOO, O existing one who sees the aeons! Really, truly, aee EEE iiii uuuuuu OOOOOOOO, who is eternally eternal! Really, truly, iEa aiO, in the heart, who exists, u aei eis aei, ei o ei, ei os ei (or: (Son) forever, You are what you are, You are who you are)!

    This great name of yours is upon me, O self-begotten Perfect one, who is not outside me. I see you, O you who are visible to everyone. For who will be able to comprehend you in another tongue? Now that I have known you, I have mixed myself with the immutable. I have armed myself with an armor of light; I have become light! For the Mother was at that place because of the splendid beauty of grace. Therefore, I have stretched out my hands while they were folded. I was shaped in the circle of the riches of the light which is in my bosom, which gives shape to the many begotten ones in the light into which no complaint reaches. I shall declare your glory truly, for I have comprehended you, sou iEs ide aeiO aeie ois, O aeon, aeon, O God of silence! I honor you completely. You are my place of rest, O Son Es Es o e, the formless one who exists in the formless ones, who exists raising up the man in whom you will purify me into your life, according to your imperishable name. Therefore, the incense of life is in me. I mixed it with water after the model of all archons, in order that I may live with you in the peace of the saints, you who exist really truly forever.

    * * * This is the book which the great Seth wrote, and placed in high mountains on which the sun has not risen, nor is it possible (that it should do so). And since the days of the prophets and the apostles and the preachers, the name has not at all risen upon their hearts, nor is it possible (that it should do so). And their ear has not heard it.

    The great Seth wrote this book with letters in one hundred and thirty years. He placed it in the mountain that is called ‘Charaxio,’ in order that, at the end of the times and the eras, by the will of the divine Autogenes and the whole pleroma, through the gift of the untraceable, unthinkable, fatherly love, it may come forth and reveal this incorruptible,

    holy race of the great savior, and those who dwell with them in love, and the great, invisible, eternal Spirit, and his only-begotten Son, and the eternal light, and his great, incorruptible consort, and the incorruptible Sophia, and the Barbelon, and the whole pleroma in eternity. Amen.

    * * * The Gospel of <the> Egyptians. The God-written, holy, secret book. Grace, understanding, perception, (and) prudence (be) with him who has written it – Eugnostos the beloved, in the Spirit – in the flesh, my name is Gongessos – and my fellow lights in incorruptibility. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, Ichthus. God-written (is) the holy book of the great, invisible Spirit. Amen.

    The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit.

    Amen.

    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

    The Gospel of Philip

    image

    Translated by Wesley W. Isenberg

    A Hebrew makes another Hebrew, and such a person is called “proselyte”. But a proselyte does not make another proselyte. […] just as they […] and make others like themselves, while others simply exist.

    The slave seeks only to be free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate of his master. But the son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. Those who are heirs to the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who are heirs to what is living are alive, and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? If he who is dead inherits what is living he will not die, but he who is dead will live even more.

    A Gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die. He who has believed in the truth has found life, and this one is in danger of dying, for he is alive. Since Christ came, the world has been created, the cities adorned, the dead carried out. When we were Hebrews, we were orphans and had only our mother, but when we became Christians, we had both father and mother.

    Those who sow in winter reap in summer. The winter is the world, the summer the other Aeon (eternal realm). Let us sow in the world that we may reap in the summer. Because of this, it is fitting for us not to pray in the winter. Summer follows winter. But if any man reap in winter he will not actually reap but only pluck out, since it will not provide a harvest for such a person. It is not only […] that it will […] come forth, but also on the Sabbath […] is barren.

    Christ came to ransom some, to save others, to redeem others. He ransomed those who were strangers and made them his own. And he set his own apart, those whom he gave as a pledge according to his plan. It was not only when he appeared that he voluntarily laid down his life, but he voluntarily laid down his life from the very day the world came into being. Then he came first in order to take it, since it had been given as a pledge. It fell into the hands of robbers and was taken captive, but he saved it. He redeemed the good people in the world as well as the evil.

    Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor

    death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

    Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word “God” does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with “the Father” and “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” and “life” and “light” and “resurrection” and “the Church (Ekklesia)” and all the rest – people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world […] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the Aeon.

    One single name is not uttered in the world, the name which the Father gave to the Son; it is the name above all things: the name of the Father. For the Son would not become

    Father unless he wore the name of the Father. Those who have this name know it, but

    they do not speak it. But those who do not have it do not know it.

    But truth brought names into existence in the world for our sakes, because it is not possible to learn it (truth) without these names. Truth is one single thing; it is many things and for our sakes to teach about this one thing in love through many things. The rulers (archons) wanted to deceive man, since they saw that he had a kinship with those

    that are truly good. They took the name of those that are good and gave it to those that are

    not good, so that through the names they might deceive him and bind them to those that are not good. And afterward, what a favor they do for them! They make them be removed from those that are not good and place them among those that are good. These things they knew, for they wanted to take the free man and make him a slave to them forever.

    These are powers which […] man, not wishing him to be saved, in order that they may […]. For if man is saved, there will not be any sacrifices […] and animals will not be offered to the powers. Indeed, the animals were the ones to whom they sacrificed. They were indeed offering them up alive, but when they offered them up, they died. As for man, they offered him up to God dead, and he lived.

    Before Christ came, there was no bread in the world, just as Paradise, the place were Adam was, had many trees to nourish the animals but no wheat to sustain man. Man used to feed like the animals, but when Christ came, the perfect man, he brought bread from heaven in order that man might be nourished with the food of man. The rulers thought

    that it was by their own power and will that they were doing what they did, but the Holy

    Spirit in secret was accomplishing everything through them as it wished. Truth, which existed since the beginning, is sown everywhere. And many see it being sown, but few are they who see it being reaped.

    Some said, “Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.” They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman? Mary is the virgin whom no power defiled. She is a great anathema to the Hebrews, who are the apostles

    and the apostolic men. This virgin whom no power defiled […] the powers defile themselves. And the Lord would not have said “My Father who is in Heaven” (Mt 16:17), unless he had had another father, but he would have said simply “My father”.

    The Lord said to the disciples, “[…] from every house. Bring into the house of the Father. But do not take (anything) in the house of the Father nor carry it off.”

    “Jesus” is a hidden name, “Christ” is a revealed name. For this reason “Jesus” is not particular to any language; rather he is always called by the name “Jesus”. While as for “Christ”, in Syriac it is “Messiah”, in Greek it is “Christ”. Certainly all the others have it according to their own language. “The Nazarene” is he who reveals what is hidden. Christ has everything in himself, whether man, or angel, or mystery, and the Father.

    Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would […].

    No one will hide a large valuable object in something large, but many a time one has tossed countless thousands into a thing worth a penny. Compare the soul. It is a precious thing and it came to be in a contemptible body.

    Some are afraid lest they rise naked. Because of this they wish to rise in the flesh, and they do not know that it is those who wear the flesh who are naked. It is those who […] to unclothe themselves who are not naked. “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Co 15:50). What is this which will not inherit? This which is on us. But what is this, too, which will inherit? It is that which belongs to Jesus and his blood. Because of this he said “He who shall not eat my flesh and drink my blood has not life in him” (Jn 6:53). What is it? His flesh is the word, and his blood is the Holy Spirit. He who has received these has food and he has drink and clothing. I find fault with the others who say that it will not rise. Then both of them are at fault. You say that the flesh will not rise. But tell me what will rise, that we may honor you. You say the Spirit in the flesh, and it is also this light in the flesh. (But) this too is a matter which is in the flesh, for whatever you shall say, you say nothing outside the flesh. It is necessary to rise in this flesh, since everything exists in it. In this world, those who put on garments are better than the garments. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the garments are better than those that put them on.

    It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified – the visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some things hidden through those visible. There is water in water, there is fire in chrism.

    Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not appear as he was, but in the manner in which they would be able to see him. He appeared to them all. He appeared to the great as great. He appeared to the small as small. He appeared to the angels as an angel, and to men as a man. Because of this, his word hid itself from everyone. Some indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing themselves, but when he appeared to his disciples in glory on the

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    mount, he was not small. He became great, but he made the disciples great, that they might be able to see him in his greatness.

    He said on that day in the thanksgiving, “You who have joined the perfect light with the Holy Spirit, unite the angels with us also, as being the images.” Do not despise the lamb, for without it, it is not possible to see the king. No one will be able to go in to the king if he is naked.

    The heavenly man has many more sons than the earthly man. If the sons of Adam are many, although they die, how much more the sons of the perfect man, they who do not die but are always begotten. The father makes a son, and the son has not the power to make a son. For he who has been begotten has not the power to beget, but the son gets brothers for himself, not sons. All who are begotten in the world are begotten in a natural way, and the others are nourished from the place whence they have been born. It is from being promised to the heavenly place that man receives nourishment. […] him from the mouth. And had the word gone out from that place, it would be nourished from the mouth and it would become perfect. For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we also kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.

    There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

    “The Father” and “the Son” are single names; “the Holy Spirit” is a double name. For they are everywhere: they are above, they are below; they are in the concealed, they are in the revealed. The Holy Spirit is in the revealed: it is below. It is in the concealed: it is above.

    The saints are served by evil powers, for they are blinded by the Holy Spirit into thinking that they are serving an (ordinary) man whenever they do so for the saints. Because of this, a disciple asked the Lord one day for something of this world. He said to him, “Ask your mother, and she will give you of the things which are another’s.”

    The apostles said to the disciples, “May our entire offering obtain salt.” They called Sophia “salt”. Without it, no offering is acceptable. But Sophia is barren, without child. For this reason, she is called “a trace of salt”. Wherever they will […] in their own way, the Holy Spirit […], and her children are many.

    What the father possesses belongs to the son, and the son himself, so long as he is small, is not entrusted with what is his. But when he becomes a man, his father gives him all that he possesses.

    Those who have gone astray, whom the spirit begets, usually go astray also because of the Spirit. Thus, by one and the same breath, the fire blazes and is put out.

    Echamoth is one thing and Echmoth, another. Echamoth is Wisdom simply, but Echmoth is the Wisdom of death, which is the one who knows death, which is called “the little Wisdom”.

    There are domestic animals, like the bull and the ass and others of this kind. Others are wild and live apart in the deserts. Man ploughs the field by means of the domestic animals, and from this he is nourished, he and the animals, whether tame or wild. Compare the perfect man. It is through powers which are submissive that he ploughs, preparing for everything to come into being. For it is because of this that the whole place stands, whether the good or the evil, the right and the left. The Holy Spirit shepherds everyone and rules all the powers, the “tame” ones and the “wild” ones, as well as those which are unique. For indeed he […] shuts them in, in order that […] wish, they will not be able to escape.

    He who has been created is beautiful, but you would <not> find his sons noble creations. If he were not created, but begotten, you would find that his seed was noble. But now he was created (and) he begot. What nobility is this? First, adultery came into being, afterward murder. And he was begotten in adultery, for he was the child of the Serpent. So he became a murderer, just like his father, and he killed his brother. Indeed, every act of sexual intercourse which has occurred between those unlike one another is adultery.

    God is a dyer. As the good dyes, which are called “true”, dissolve with the things dyed in them, so it is with those whom God has dyed. Since his dyes are immortal, they become immortal by means of his colors. Now God dips what he dips in water.

    It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself – and what you see you shall become.

    Faith receives, love gives. No one will be able to receive without faith. No one will be able to give without love. Because of this, in order that we may indeed receive, we believe, and in order that we may love, we give, since if one gives without love, he has no profit from what he has given. He who has received something other than the Lord is still a Hebrew.

    The apostles who were before us had these names for him: “Jesus, the Nazorean, Messiah”, that is, “Jesus, the Nazorean, the Christ”. The last name is “Christ”, the first is “Jesus”, that in the middle is “the Nazarene”. “Messiah” has two meanings, both “the Christ” and “the measured”. “Jesus” in Hebrew is “the redemption”. “Nazara” is “the Truth”. “The Nazarene” then, is “the Truth”. “Christ” […] has been measured. “The Nazarene” and “Jesus” are they who have been measured.

    When the pearl is cast down into the mud, it becomes greatly despised, nor if it is anointed with balsam oil will it become more precious. But it always has value in the eyes of its owner. Compare the Sons of God: wherever they may be, they still have value in the eyes of their Father.

    If you say, “I am a Jew,” no one will be moved. If you say, “I am a Roman,” no one will be disturbed. If you say, “I am a Greek, a barbarian, a slave, a free man,” no one will be troubled. If you say, “I am a Christian,” the […] will tremble. Would that I might […] like that – the person whose name […] will not be able to endure hearing.

    God is a man-eater. For this reason, men are sacrificed to him. Before men were sacrificed, animals were being sacrificed, since those to whom they were sacrificed were not gods.

    Glass decanters and earthenware jugs are both made by means of fire. But if glass decanters break, they are done over, for they came into being through a breath. If earthenware jugs break, however, they are destroyed, for they came into being without breath.

    An ass which turns a millstone did a hundred miles walking. When it was loosed, it found that it was still at the same place. There are men who make many journeys, but make no progress towards any destination. When evening came upon them, they saw neither city nor village, neither human artifact nor natural phenomenon, power nor angel. In vain have the wretches labored.

    The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac “Pharisatha,” which is “the one who is spread out,” for Jesus came to crucify the world.

    The Lord went into the dye works of Levi. He took seventy-two different colors and

    threw them into the vat. He took them out all white. And he said, “Even so has the Son of

    Man come as a dyer.”

    As for the Wisdom who is called “the barren,” she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. […] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples […]. They said to him “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them,”Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”

    The Lord said, “Blessed is he who is before he came into being. For he who is, has been and shall be.”

    The superiority of man is not obvious to the eye, but lies in what is hidden from view. Consequently, he has mastery over the animals which are stronger than he is and great in terms of the obvious and the hidden. This enables them to survive. But if man is

    separated from them, they slay one another and bite one another. They ate one another because they did not find any food. But now they have found food because man tilled the soil.

    If one goes down into the water and comes up without having received anything, and says “I am a Christian,” he has borrowed the name at interest. But if he receives the Holy Spirit, he has the name as a gift. He who has received a gift does not have to give it back, but of him who has borrowed it at interest, payment is demanded. This is the way it happens to one when he experiences a mystery.

    Great is the mystery of marriage! For without it, the world would not exist. Now the existence of the world […], and the existence of […] marriage. Think of the […] relationship, for it possesses […] power. Its image consists of a defilement.

    The forms of evil spirit include male ones and female ones. The males are they which unite with the souls which inhabit a female form, but the females are they which are mingled with those in a male form, though one who was disobedient. And none shall be able to escape them, since they detain him if he does not receive a male power or a female power, the bridegroom and the bride. One receives them from the mirrored bridal chamber. When the wanton women see a male sitting alone, they leap down on him and play with him and defile him. So also the lecherous men, when they see a beautiful woman sitting alone, they persuade her and compel her, wishing to defile her. But if they see the man and his wife sitting beside one another, the female cannot come into the man, nor can the male come into the woman. So if the image and the angel are united with one another, neither can any venture to go into the man or the woman.

    He who comes out of the world, and so can no longer be detained on the grounds that he was in the world, evidently is above the desire of the […] and fear. He is master over […]. He is superior to envy. If […] comes, they seize him and throttle him. And how will this one be able to escape the great […] powers? How will he be able to […]? There are some who say, “We are faithful” in order that […] the unclean spirits and the demons. For if they had the Holy Spirit, no unclean spirit would cleave to them. Fear not the flesh nor love it. If you fear it, it will gain mastery over you. If you love it, it will swallow and paralyze you.

    And so he dwells either in this world or in the resurrection or in the middle place. God forbid that I be found in there! In this world, there is good and evil. Its good things are not good, and its evil things not evil. But there is evil after this world which is truly evil – what is called “the middle”. It is death. While we are in this world, it is fitting for us to acquire the resurrection, so that when we strip off the flesh, we may be found in rest and not walk in the middle. For many go astray on the way. For it is good to come forth from the world before one has sinned.

    There are some who neither will nor have the power to; and others who, if they will, do not profit; for they did not act since […] makes them sinners. And if they do not will, justice will elude them in both cases: and it is always a matter of the will, not the act.

    An apostolic man in a vision saw some people shut up in a house of fire and bound with fiery […], lying […] flaming […], them in […] faith […]. And he said to them, “[…] able to be saved?” […], “They did not desire it. They received […] punishment, what is called ‘the […] darkness’, because he […].”

    It is from water and fire that the soul and the spirit came into being. It is from water and fire and light that the son of the bridal chamber (came into being). The fire is the chrism, the light is the fire. I am not referring to that fire which has no form, but to the other fire whose form is white, which is bright and beautiful, and which gives beauty.

    Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection. The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter

    through the image into the truth: this is the restoration. Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you. If one does not acquire them, the name (“Christian”) will also be taken from him. But one receives the unction of the […] of the power of the cross. This power the apostles called “the right and the left.” For this person is no longer a Christian but a Christ.

    The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. […] he said, “I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like those inside. I came to unite them in the place.” […] here through types […]and images.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Those who say, “There is a heavenly man and there is one above him” are wrong. For it is the first of these two heavenly men, the one who is revealed, that they call “the one who is below”; and he to whom the hidden belongs is that one who is above him. For it would be better for them to say, “The inner and outer, and what is outside the outer”. Because of this, the Lord called destruction the “the outer darkness”: there is not another outside of it. He said, “My Father who is in secret”. He said, “Go into your chamber and shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Mt 6:6), the one who is

    within them all. But that which is within them all is the fullness. Beyond it, there is

    nothing else within it. This is that of which they say, “That which is above them”.

    Before Christ, some came from a place they were no longer able to enter, and they went where they were no longer able to come out. Then Christ came. Those who went in, he brought out, and those who went out, he brought in.

    When Eve was still with Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his former self, death will be no more.

    “My God, my God, why, O Lord, have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34). It was on the cross that he said these words, for he had departed from that place.

    […] who has been begotten through him who […] from God.

    The […] from the dead. […] to be, but now […] perfect. […] flesh, but this […] is true flesh. […] is not true, but […] only possess an image of the true.

    A bridal chamber is not for the animals, nor is it for the slaves, nor for defiled women; but it is for free men and virgins.

    Through the Holy Spirit we are indeed begotten again, but we are begotten through Christ in the two. We are anointed through the Spirit. When we were begotten, we were united. None can see himself either in water or in a mirror without light. Nor again can you see in light without mirror or water. For this reason, it is fitting to baptize in the two, in the light and the water. Now the light is the chrism.

    There were three buildings specifically for sacrifice in Jerusalem. The one facing the west was called “The Holy”. Another, facing south, was called “The Holy of the Holy”. The third, facing east, was called “The Holy of the Holies”, the place where only the high priest enters. Baptism is “the Holy” building. Redemption is the “Holy of the Holy”. “The Holy of the Holies” is the bridal chamber. Baptism includes the resurrection and the redemption; the redemption (takes place) in the bridal chamber. But the bridal chamber is in that which is superior to […] you will not find […] are those who pray […] Jerusalem who […] Jerusalem, […] those called the “Holy of the Holies” […] the veil was rent, […] bridal chamber except the image […] above. Because of this, its veil was rent from top to bottom. For it was fitting for some from below to go upward.

    The powers do not see those who are clothed in the perfect light, and consequently are not able to detain them. One will clothe himself in this light sacramentally in the union.

    If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to

    those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to

    her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him.

    The soul of Adam came into being by means of a breath. The partner of his soul is the spirit. His mother is the thing that was given to him. His soul was taken from him and replaced by a spirit. When he was united (to the spirit), he spoke words incomprehensible to the powers. They envied him […] spiritual partner […] hidden […] opportunity […] for themselves alone […] bridal chamber, so that […].

    Jesus appeared […] Jordan – the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who was begotten before everything, was begotten anew. He who was once anointed, was anointed anew. He who was redeemed, in turn redeemed (others).

    Indeed, one must utter a mystery. The Father of everything united with the virgin who came down, and a fire shone for him on that day. He appeared in the great bridal chamber. Therefore his body came into being on that very day. It left the bridal chamber as one who came into being from the bridegroom and the bride. So Jesus established everything in it through these. It is fitting for each of the disciples to enter into his rest.

    Adam came into being from two virgins, from the Spirit and from the virgin earth. Christ therefore, was born from a virgin to rectify the Fall which occurred in the beginning.

    There are two trees growing in Paradise. The one bears animals, the other bears men. Adam ate from the tree which bore animals. He became an animal and he brought forth animals. For this reason the children of Adam worship animals. The tree […] fruit is […] increased. […] ate the […] fruit of the […] bears men, […] man. […] God created man. […] men create God. That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!

    Surely what a man accomplishes depends on his abilities. For this reason, we refer to one`s accomplishments as “abilities”. Among his accomplishments are his children. They originate in a moment of ease. Thus his abilities determine what he may accomplish, but this ease is clearly evident in the children. You will find that this applies directly to the image. Here is the man made after the image accomplishing things with his physical strength, but producing his children with ease.

    In this world, the slaves serve the free. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the free will minister to the slaves: the children of the bridal chamber will minister to the children of the marriage. The children of the bridal chamber have just one name: rest. Altogether, they need take no other form, because they have contemplation, […]. They are numerous […] in the things […] the glories […].

    Those […] go down into the water. […] out (of the water), will consecrate it, […] they who have […] in his name. For he said, “Thus we should fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15)

    Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing. So also when speaking about baptism they say, “Baptism is a great thing,” because if people receive it they will live.

    Philip the apostle said, “Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross.” But the Tree of Life is in the middle of the Garden. However, it is from the olive tree that we got the chrism, and from the chrism, the resurrection.

    This world is a corpse-eater. All the things eaten in it themselves die also. Truth is a life- eater. Therefore no one nourished by truth will die. It was from that place that Jesus came and brought food. To those who so desired, he gave life, that they might not die.

    God […] garden. Man […] garden. There are […] and […] of God. […] The things which are in […] I wish. This garden is the place where they will say to me, “[…] eat this or do not eat that, just as you wish.” In the place where I will eat all things is the Tree of Knowledge. That one killed Adam, but here the Tree of Knowledge made men alive. The law was the tree. It has power to give the knowledge of good and evil. It neither removed him from evil, nor did it set him in the good, but it created death for those who ate of it. For when he said, “Eat this, do not eat that”, it became the beginning of death.

    The chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word “Chrism” that we have been called “Christians,” certainly not because of the word “baptism”. And it is because of the chrism that “the Christ” has his name. For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the resurrection, the light, the cross, the Holy Spirit. The Father gave him this in the bridal chamber; he merely accepted (the gift). The Father was in the Son and the Son in the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The Lord said it well: “Some have entered the Kingdom of Heaven laughing, and they have come out […] because […] a Christian, […]. And as soon as […] went down into the water, he came […] everything (of this world), […] because he […] a trifle, but […] full of contempt for this […] the Kingdom of Heaven […] If he despises […], and scorns it as a trifle, […] out laughing. So it is also with the bread and the cup and the oil, even though there is another one superior to these.

    The world came about through a mistake. For he who created it wanted to create it imperishable and immortal. He fell short of attaining his desire. For the world never was imperishable, nor, for that matter, was he who made the world. For things are not imperishable, but sons are. Nothing will be able to receive imperishability if it does not first become a son. But he who has not the ability to receive, how much more will he be unable to give?

    The cup of prayer contains wine and water, since it is appointed as the type of the blood for which thanks is given. And it is full of the Holy Spirit, and it belongs to the wholly perfect man. When we drink this, we shall receive for ourselves the perfect man. The living water is a body. It is necessary that we put on the living man. Therefore, when he is about to go down into the water, he unclothes himself, in order that he may put on the living man.

    A horse sires a horse, a man begets man, a god brings forth a god. Compare the bridegroom and the bride. They have come from the […]. No Jew […] has existed. And […] from the Jews. […] Christians […] these […] are referred to as “The chosen people of […],” and “The true man” and “Son of Man” and “the seed of the Son of Man”. This true race is renowned in the world […] that the sons of the bridal chamber dwell.

    Whereas in this world the union is one of husband with wife – a case of strength complemented by weakness(?) – in the Aeon (eternal realm), the form of the union is different, although we refer to them by the same names. There are other names, however;

    they are superior to every other name that is named and are stronger than the strong. For where there is a show of strength, there those who excel in strength appear. These are not separate things, but both of them are this one single thing. This is the one which will not be able to rise above the heart of flesh.

    Is it not necessary for all those who possess everything to know themselves? Some indeed, if they do not know themselves, will not enjoy what they possess. But those who have come to know themselves will enjoy their possessions.

    Not only will they be unable to detain the perfect man, but they will not be able to see him, for if they see him, they will detain him. There is no other way for a person to acquire this quality except by putting on the perfect light and he too becoming perfect light. He who has put it on will enter […]. This is the perfect […] that we […] become […] before we leave […]. Whoever receives everything […] hither […] be able […] that place, but will […] the Middle as imperfect. Only Jesus knows the end of this person.

    The priest is completely holy, down to his very body. For if he has taken the bread, he will consecrate it. Or the cup or anything else that he gets, he will consecrate. Then how will he not consecrate the body also?

    By perfecting the water of baptism, Jesus emptied it of death. Thus we do go down into the water, but we do not go down into death, in order that we may not be poured out into the spirit of the world. When that spirit blows, it brings the winter. When the Holy Spirit breathes, the summer comes.

    He who has knowledge of the truth is a free man, but the free man does not sin, for “He who sins is the slave of sin” (Jn 8:34). Truth is the mother, knowledge the father. Those who think that sinning does not apply to them are called “free” by the world. Knowledge of the truth merely makes such people arrogant, which is what the words, “it makes them free” mean. It even gives them a sense of superiority over the whole world. But “Love builds up” (1 Co 8:1). In fact, he who is really free, through knowledge, is a slave, because of love for those who have not yet been able to attain to the freedom of knowledge. Knowledge makes them capable of becoming free. Love never calls something its own, […] it […] possess […]. It never says,”This is yours” or “This is mine,” but “All these are yours”. Spiritual love is wine and fragrance. All those who anoint themselves with it take pleasure in it. While those who are anointed are present, those nearby also profit (from the fragrance). If those anointed with ointment withdraw from them and leave, then those not anointed, who merely stand nearby, still remain in their bad odor. The Samaritan gave nothing but wine and oil to the wounded man. It is nothing other than the ointment. It healed the wounds, for “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 P 4:8).

    The children a woman bears resemble the man who loves her. If her husband loves her, then they resemble her husband. If it is an adulterer, then they resemble the adulterer. Frequently, if a woman sleeps with her husband out of necessity, while her heart is with the adulterer with whim she usually has intercourse, the child she will bear is born

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    resembling the adulterer. Now you who live together with the Son of God, love not the world, but love the Lord, in order that those you will bring forth may not resemble the world, but may resemble the Lord.

    The human being has intercourse with the human being. The horse has intercourse with the horse, the ass with the ass. Members of a race usually have associated with those of like race. So spirit mingles with spirit, and thought consorts with thought, and light shares with light. If you are born a human being, it is the human being who will love you. If you become a spirit, it is the spirit which will be joined to you. If you become thought, it is thought which will mingle with you. If you become light, it is the light which will share with you. If you become one of those who belong above, it is those who belong above who will rest upon you. If you become horse or ass or bull or dog or sheep, or another of the animals which are outside or below, then neither human being nor spirit nor thought nor light will be able to love you. Neither those who belong above nor those who belong within will be able to rest in you, and you have no part in them.

    He who is a slave against his will, will be able to become free. He who has become free by favor of his master, and has sold himself into slavery, will no longer be able to be free.

    Farming in the world requires the cooperation of four essential elements. A harvest is

    gathered into the barn only as a result of the natural action of water, earth, wind and light.

    God’s farming likewise has four elements – faith, hope, love, and knowledge. Faith is our earth, that in which we take root. And hope is the water through which we are nourished. Love is the wind through which we grow. Knowledge, then, is the light through which we ripen. Grace exists in four ways: it is earthborn; it is heavenly; […] the highest heaven; […] in […].

    Blessed is the one who on no occasion caused a soul […]. That person is Jesus Christ. He came to the whole place and did not burden anyone. Therefore, blessed is the one who is like this, because he is a perfect man. For the Word tells us that this kind is difficult to define. How shall we be able to accomplish such a great thing? How will he give everyone comfort? Above all, it is not proper to cause anyone distress – whether the person is great or small, unbeliever or believer – and then give comfort only to those who take satisfaction in good deeds. Some find it advantageous to give comfort to the one who has fared well. He who does good deeds cannot give comfort to such people, for he does not seize whatever he likes. He is unable to cause distress, however, since he does not afflict them. To be sure, the one who fares well sometimes causes people distress – not that he intends to do so; rather, it is their own wickedness which is responsible for their distress. He who possesses the qualities (of the perfect man) bestows joy upon the good. Some, however, are terribly distressed by all this.

    There was a householder who had every conceivable thing, be it son or slave or cattle or dog or pig or corn or barley or chaff or grass or […] or meat and acorn. Now he was a sensible fellow, and he knew what the food of each one was. He served the children bread […]. He served the slaves […] and meal. And he threw barley and chaff and grass to the cattle. He threw bones to the dogs, and to the pigs he threw acorns and slop. Compare the

    disciple of God: if he is a sensible fellow, he understands what discipleship is all about. The bodily forms will not deceive him, but he will look at the condition of the soul of each one and speak with him. There are many animals in the world which are in a human form. When he identifies them, to the swine he will throw acorns, to the cattle he will throw barley and chaff and grass, to the dogs he will throw bones. To the slaves he will give only the elementary lessons, to the children he will give the complete instruction.

    There is the Son of Man and there is the son of the Son of Man. The Lord is the Son of Man, and the son of the Son of Man is he who creates through the Son of Man. The Son of Man received from God the capacity to create. He also has the ability to beget. He who has received the ability to create is a creature. He who has received the ability to beget is an offspring. He who creates cannot beget. He who begets also has power to create. Now they say, “He who creates begets”. But his so-called “offspring” is merely a creature. Because of […] of birth, they are not his offspring but […]. He who creates works openly, and he himself is visible. He who begets, begets in private, and he himself is hidden, since […] image. Also, he who creates, creates openly. But one who begets, begets children in private.

    No one can know when the husband and the wife have intercourse with one another, except the two of them. Indeed, marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of defilement, how much more is the undefiled marriage a true mystery! It is not fleshly, but pure. It belongs not to desire, but to the will. It belongs not to the darkness or the night, but to the day and the light. If a marriage is open to the public, it has become prostitution, and the bride plays the harlot not only when she is impregnated by another man, but even if she slips out of her bedroom and is seen. Let her show herself only to her father and her mother, and to the friend of the bridegroom and the sons of the bridegroom. These are permitted to enter every day into the bridal chamber. But let the others yearn just to listen to her voice and to enjoy her ointment, and let them feed from the crumbs that fall from the table, like the dogs. Bridegrooms and brides belong to the bridal chamber. No one shall be able to see the bridegroom with the bride unless he become such a one.

    When Abraham […] that he was to see what he was to see, he circumcised the flesh of the foreskin, teaching us that it is proper to destroy the flesh.

    Most things in the world, as long as their inner parts are hidden, stand upright and live. If they are revealed, they die, as is illustrated by the visible man: as long as the intestines of the man are hidden, the man is alive; when his intestines are exposed and come out of him, the man will die. So also with the tree: while its root is hidden, it sprouts and grows. If its root is exposed, the tree dries up. So it is with every birth that is in the world, not only with the revealed but with the hidden. For so long as the root of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized, it is dissolved. When it is revealed, it perishes. That is why the Word says, “Already the axe is laid at the root of the trees” (Mt 3:10). It will not merely cut – what is cut sprouts again – but the ax penetrates deeply, until it brings up the root. Jesus pulled out the root of the whole place, while others did it only partially. As for ourselves, let each one of us dig down after the root of evil which is

    within one, and let one pluck it out of one’s heart from the root. It will be plucked out if we recognize it. But if we are ignorant of it, it takes root in us and produces its fruit in our heart. It masters us. We are its slaves. It takes us captive, to make us do what we do not want; and what we do want, we do not do. It is powerful because we have not recognized it. While it exists it is active. Ignorance is the mother of all evil. Ignorance will result in death, because those who come from ignorance neither were nor are nor shall be. […] will be perfect when all the truth is revealed. For truth is like ignorance: while it is hidden, it rests in itself, but when it is revealed and is recognized, it is praised, inasmuch as it is stronger than ignorance and error. It gives freedom. The Word said, “If you know the truth, the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). Ignorance is a slave. Knowledge is freedom. If we know the truth, we shall find the fruits of the truth within us. If we are joined to it, it will bring our fulfillment.

    At the present time, we have the manifest things of creation. We say, “The strong who are held in high regard are great people. And the weak who are despised are the obscure.” Contrast the manifest things of truth: they are weak and despised, while the hidden things are strong and held in high regard. The mysteries of truth are revealed, though in type and image. The bridal chamber, however, remains hidden. It is the Holy in the Holy. The veil at first concealed how God controlled the creation, but when the veil is rent and the

    things inside are revealed, this house will be left desolate, or rather will be destroyed.

    And the whole (inferior) godhead will flee from here, but not into the holies of the holies, for it will not be able to mix with the unmixed light and the flawless fullness, but will be under the wings of the cross and under its arms. This ark will be their salvation when the flood of water surges over them. If some belong to the order of the priesthood, they will be able to go within the veil with the high priest. For this reason, the veil was not rent at the top only, since it would have been open only to those above; nor was it rent at the bottom only, since it would have been revealed only to those below. But it was rent from the top to bottom. Those above opened to us the things below, in order that we may go in to the secret of the truth. This truly is what is held in high regard, (and) what is strong! But we shall go in there by means of lowly types and forms of weakness. They are lowly indeed when compared with the perfect glory. There is glory which surpasses glory. There is power which surpasses power. Therefore, the perfect things have opened to us, together with the hidden things of truth. The holies of the holies were revealed, and the bridal chamber invited us in.

    As long as it is hidden, wickedness is indeed ineffectual, but it has not been removed from the midst of the seed of the Holy Spirit. They are slaves of evil. But when it is revealed, then the perfect light will flow out on every one. And all those who are in it will receive the chrism. Then the slaves will be free and the captives ransomed. “Every plant which my father who is in heaven has not planted will be plucked out.” (Mt 15:13) Those who are separated will unite […] and will be filled. Every one who will enter the bridal chamber will kindle the light, for […] just as in the marriages which are […] happen at night. That fire […] only at night, and is put out. But the mysteries of that marriage are perfected rather in the day and the light. Neither that day nor its light ever sets. If anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light. If anyone does not receive it while he is here, he will not be able to receive it in the other place. He who will receive

    that light will not be seen, nor can he be detained. And none shall be able to torment a person like this, even while he dwells in the world. And again when he leaves the world, he has already received the truth in the images. The world has become the Aeon (eternal realm), for the Aeon is fullness for him. This is the way it is: it is revealed to him alone, not hidden in the darkness and the night, but hidden in a perfect day and a holy light.

    The Gospel According to Philip

    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

    The Gospel of Thomas

    image

    Translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

    (Visit the Gospel of Thomas Collection for additional information)

    These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

    1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”
    2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”
    3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”
    4. Jesus said, “The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one.”
    5. Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”
    6. His disciples asked him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?”Jesus said, “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.”
    7. Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”
    8. And he said, “The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”
    9. Jesus said, “Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn’t take root in the soil and didn’t produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.”
    10. Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”
    11. Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away.The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”
    12. The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”
    13. Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a just messenger.”Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.”Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.” Jesus said, “I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicatedfrom the bubbling spring that I have tended.”And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, “What did Jesus say to you?”Thomas said to them, “If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you.”
    14. Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them.After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”
    15. Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father.”
    16. Jesus said, “Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war.For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.”
    17. Jesus said, “I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.”
    18. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us, how will our end come?”Jesus said, “Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”
    19. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you. For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, andtheir leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death.”
    20. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what Heaven’s kingdom is like.”He said to them, “It’s like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.”
    21. Mary said to Jesus, “What are your disciples like?”He said, “They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, ‘Give us back our field.’ They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions.As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can’t find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come.Let there be among you a person who understands.When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”
    22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”
    23. Jesus said, “I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one.”
    24. His disciples said, “Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it.”He said to them, “Anyone here with two ears had better listen! There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark.”
    25. Jesus said, “Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.”
    26. Jesus said, “You see the sliver in your friend’s eye, but you don’t see the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend’s eye.”
    27. “If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father’s) kingdom. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father.”
    28. Jesus said, “I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways.”
    29. Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty.”
    30. Jesus said, “Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one.”
    31. Jesus said, “No prophet is welcome on his home turf; doctors don’t cure those who know them.”
    32. Jesus said, “A city built on a high hill and fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden.”
    33. Jesus said, “What you will hear in your ear, in the other ear proclaim from your rooftops.After all, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, nor does one put it in a hidden place. Rather, one puts it on a lampstand so that all who come and go will see its light.”
    34. Jesus said, “If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole.”
    35. Jesus said, “One can’t enter a strong person’s house and take it by force without tying his hands. Then one can loot his house.”
    36. Jesus said, “Do not fret, from morning to evening and from evening to morning, [about your food–what you’re going to eat, or about your clothing–] what you are going to wear. [You’re much better than the lilies, which neither card nor spin.As for you, when you have no garment, what will you put on? Who might add to your stature? That very one will give you your garment.]”
    37. His disciples said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?”Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”
    38. Jesus said, “Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me.”
    39. Jesus said, “The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves.”
    40. Jesus said, “A grapevine has been planted apart from the Father. Since it is not strong, it will be pulled up by its root and will perish.”
    41. Jesus said, “Whoever has something in hand will be given more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little they have.”
    42. Jesus said, “Be passersby.”
    43. His disciples said to him, “Who are you to say these things to us?” “You don’t understand who I am from what I say to you.Rather, you have become like the Judeans, for they love the tree but hate its fruit, or they love the fruit but hate the tree.”
    44. Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven.”
    45. Jesus said, “Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they yield no fruit.Good persons produce good from what they’ve stored up; bad persons produce evil from the wickedness they’ve stored up in their hearts, and say evil things. For from the overflow of the heart they produce evil.”
    46. Jesus said, “From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted.But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the (Father’s) kingdom and will become greater than John.”
    47. Jesus said, “A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows.And a slave cannot serve two masters, otherwise that slave will honor the one and offend the other.Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine. Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break, and aged wine is not poured into a new wineskin, or it might spoil.An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear.”
    48. Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move from here!’ and it will move.”
    49. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.”
    50. Jesus said, “If they say to you, ‘Where have you come from?’ say to them, ‘We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.’If they say to you, ‘Is it you?’ say, ‘We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.’If they ask you, ‘What is the evidence of your Father in you?’ say to them, ‘It is motion and rest.'”
    51. His disciples said to him, “When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?”He said to them, “What you are looking forward to has come, but you don’t know it.”
    52. His disciples said to him, “Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and they all spoke of you.”He said to them, “You have disregarded the living one who is in your presence, and have spoken of the dead.”
    53. His disciples said to him, “Is circumcision useful or not?”He said to them, “If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect.”
    54. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the poor, for to you belongs Heaven’s kingdom.”
    55. Jesus said, “Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.”
    56. Jesus said, “Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy.”

    57 Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a person who has [good] seed. His enemy came during the night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The person did not let the workers pull up the weeds, but said to them, ‘No, otherwise you might go to pull up the weeds and pull up the wheat along with them.’ For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be conspicuous, and will be pulled up and burned.”

    1. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the person who has toiled and has found life.”
    2. Jesus said, “Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see.”
    3. He saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb and going to Judea. He said to his disciples, “that person … around the lamb.” They said to him, “So that he may kill it and eat it.” He said to them, “He will not eat it while it is alive, but only after he has killed it and it has become a carcass.”They said, “Otherwise he can’t do it.”He said to them, “So also with you, seek for yourselves a place for rest, or you might become a carcass and be eaten.”
    4. Jesus said, “Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live.”Salome said, “Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone.”Jesus said to her, “I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father.””I am your disciple.””For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.”
    5. Jesus said, “I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries. 63 Jesus said, “There was a rich person who had a great deal of money. He said, ‘I shall

    invest my money so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouses with produce,

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    that I may lack nothing.’ These were the things he was thinking in his heart, but that very

    night he died. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”

    1. Jesus said, “A person was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests.The slave went to the first and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said, ‘Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master has invited you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me.’The slave returned and said to his master, ‘Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused.’ The master said to his slave, ‘Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner.’

      Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father.”

    2. He said, “A […] person owned a vineyard and rented it to some farmers, so they could work it and he could collect its crop from them. He sent his slave so the farmers would give him the vineyard’s crop. They grabbed him, beat him, and almost killed him, and the slave returned and told his master. His master said, ‘Perhaps he didn’t know them.’ He sent another slave, and the farmers beat that one as well. Then the master sent his son and said, ‘Perhaps they’ll show my son some respect.’ Because the farmers knew that he was the heir to the vineyard, they grabbed him and killed him. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”
    3. Jesus said, “Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone.”
    4. Jesus said, “Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking.”
    5. Jesus said, “Congratulations to you when you are hated and persecuted; and no place will be found, wherever you have been persecuted.”
    6. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who have been persecuted in their hearts: they are the ones who have truly come to know the Father.Congratulations to those who go hungry, so the stomach of the one in want may be filled.”
    7. Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.”
    8. Jesus said, “I will destroy [this] house, and no one will be able to build it […].”
    9. A [person said] to him, “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.” He said to the person, “Mister, who made me a divider?”He turned to his disciples and said to them, “I’m not a divider, am I?”
    10. Jesus said, “The crop is huge but the workers are few, so beg the harvest boss to dispatch workers to the fields.”
    11. He said, “Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well.”
    12. Jesus said, “There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite.”
    13. Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself.So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”
    14. Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.Split a piece of wood; I am there.Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”
    15. Jesus said, “Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, [like your] rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth.”
    16. A woman in the crowd said to him, “Lucky are the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you.”He said to [her], “Lucky are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, ‘Lucky are the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.'”
    17. Jesus said, “Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy.”
    18. Jesus said, “Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce <it>.”
    19. Jesus said, “Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the (Father’s) kingdom.”
    20. Jesus said, “Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.”
    21. Jesus said, “When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!”
    22. Jesus said, “Adam came from great power and great wealth, but he was not worthy of you. For had he been worthy, [he would] not [have tasted] death.”
    23. Jesus said, “[Foxes have] their dens and birds have their nests, but human beings have no place to lay down and rest.”
    24. Jesus said, “How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.”
    25. Jesus said, “The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what belongs to you. You, in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, ‘When will they come and take what belongs to them?'”
    26. Jesus said, “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don’t you understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?”
    27. Jesus said, “Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will find rest for yourselves.”
    28. They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.”He said to them, “You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment.”
    29. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.In the past, however, I did not tell you the things about which you asked me then. Now I am willing to tell them, but you are not seeking them.”
    30. “Don’t give what is holy to dogs, for they might throw them upon the manure pile. Don’t throw pearls [to] pigs, or they might … it […].”
    31. Jesus [said], “One who seeks will find, and for [one who knocks] it will be opened.”
    32. [Jesus said], “If you have money, don’t lend it at interest. Rather, give [it] to someone from whom you won’t get it back.”
    33. Jesus [said], “The Father’s kingdom is like [a] woman. She took a little leaven, [hid] it in dough, and made it into large loaves of bread. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”
    34. Jesus said, “The [Father’s] kingdom is like a woman who was carrying a [jar] full of meal. While she was walking along [a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal spilled behind her [along] the road. She didn’t know it; she hadn’t noticed a problem. When she reached her house, she put the jar down and discovered that it was empty.”
    35. Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one.”
    36. The disciples said to him, “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.” He said to them, “Those here who do what my Father wants are my brothers and mymother. They are the ones who will enter my Father’s kingdom.”
    37. They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “The Roman emperor’s people demand taxes from us.”He said to them, “Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.”
    38. “Whoever does not hate [father] and mother as I do cannot be my [disciple], and whoever does [not] love [father and] mother as I do cannot be my [disciple]. For my mother […], but my true [mother] gave me life.”
    39. Jesus said, “Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.”
    40. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who know where the rebels are going to attack. [They] can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive.”
    41. They said to Jesus, “Come, let us pray today, and let us fast.”Jesus said, “What sin have I committed, or how have I been undone? Rather, when the groom leaves the bridal suite, then let people fast and pray.”
    42. Jesus said, “Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore.”
    43. Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here!’ it will move.”
    44. Jesus said, “The (Father’s) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, ‘I love you more than the ninety- nine.'”
    45. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.”
    46. Jesus said, “The (Father’s) kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And [when] he died he left it to his [son]. The son [did] not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, [discovered] the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.”
    47. Jesus said, “Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world.”
    48. Jesus said, “The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death.”Does not Jesus say, “Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy”?
    49. Jesus said, “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh.”
    50. His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?””It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”

      [Saying probably added to the original collection at a later date:]

    51. Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.”

    Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

    Selection from Robert J. Miller, ed., The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version. (Polebridge Press, 1992, 1994).

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Gospel of Thomas

    image

    Translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

    (Visit the Gospel of Thomas Collection for additional information)

    These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

    1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”
    2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”
    3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”
    4. Jesus said, “The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one.”
    5. Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”
    6. His disciples asked him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?”Jesus said, “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.”
    7. Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”
    8. And he said, “The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”
    9. Jesus said, “Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn’t take root in the soil and didn’t produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.”
    10. Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”
    11. Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away.The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”
    12. The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”
    13. Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a just messenger.”Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.”Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.” Jesus said, “I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicatedfrom the bubbling spring that I have tended.”And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, “What did Jesus say to you?”Thomas said to them, “If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you.”
    14. Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them.After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”
    15. Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father.”
    16. Jesus said, “Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war.For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.”
    17. Jesus said, “I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.”
    18. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us, how will our end come?”Jesus said, “Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”
    19. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you. For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, andtheir leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death.”
    20. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what Heaven’s kingdom is like.”He said to them, “It’s like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.”
    21. Mary said to Jesus, “What are your disciples like?”He said, “They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, ‘Give us back our field.’ They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions.As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can’t find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come.Let there be among you a person who understands.When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”
    22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”
    23. Jesus said, “I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one.”
    24. His disciples said, “Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it.”He said to them, “Anyone here with two ears had better listen! There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark.”
    25. Jesus said, “Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.”
    26. Jesus said, “You see the sliver in your friend’s eye, but you don’t see the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend’s eye.”
    27. “If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father’s) kingdom. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father.”
    28. Jesus said, “I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways.”
    29. Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty.”
    30. Jesus said, “Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one.”
    31. Jesus said, “No prophet is welcome on his home turf; doctors don’t cure those who know them.”
    32. Jesus said, “A city built on a high hill and fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden.”
    33. Jesus said, “What you will hear in your ear, in the other ear proclaim from your rooftops.After all, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, nor does one put it in a hidden place. Rather, one puts it on a lampstand so that all who come and go will see its light.”
    34. Jesus said, “If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole.”
    35. Jesus said, “One can’t enter a strong person’s house and take it by force without tying his hands. Then one can loot his house.”
    36. Jesus said, “Do not fret, from morning to evening and from evening to morning, [about your food–what you’re going to eat, or about your clothing–] what you are going to wear. [You’re much better than the lilies, which neither card nor spin.As for you, when you have no garment, what will you put on? Who might add to your stature? That very one will give you your garment.]”
    37. His disciples said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?”Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”
    38. Jesus said, “Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me.”
    39. Jesus said, “The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves.”
    40. Jesus said, “A grapevine has been planted apart from the Father. Since it is not strong, it will be pulled up by its root and will perish.”
    41. Jesus said, “Whoever has something in hand will be given more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little they have.”
    42. Jesus said, “Be passersby.”
    43. His disciples said to him, “Who are you to say these things to us?” “You don’t understand who I am from what I say to you.Rather, you have become like the Judeans, for they love the tree but hate its fruit, or they love the fruit but hate the tree.”
    44. Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven.”
    45. Jesus said, “Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they yield no fruit.Good persons produce good from what they’ve stored up; bad persons produce evil from the wickedness they’ve stored up in their hearts, and say evil things. For from the overflow of the heart they produce evil.”
    46. Jesus said, “From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted.But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the (Father’s) kingdom and will become greater than John.”
    47. Jesus said, “A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows.And a slave cannot serve two masters, otherwise that slave will honor the one and offend the other.Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine. Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break, and aged wine is not poured into a new wineskin, or it might spoil.An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear.”
    48. Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move from here!’ and it will move.”
    49. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.”
    50. Jesus said, “If they say to you, ‘Where have you come from?’ say to them, ‘We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.’If they say to you, ‘Is it you?’ say, ‘We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.’If they ask you, ‘What is the evidence of your Father in you?’ say to them, ‘It is motion and rest.'”
    51. His disciples said to him, “When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?”He said to them, “What you are looking forward to has come, but you don’t know it.”
    52. His disciples said to him, “Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and they all spoke of you.”He said to them, “You have disregarded the living one who is in your presence, and have spoken of the dead.”
    53. His disciples said to him, “Is circumcision useful or not?”He said to them, “If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect.”
    54. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the poor, for to you belongs Heaven’s kingdom.”
    55. Jesus said, “Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.”
    56. Jesus said, “Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy.”

    57 Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a person who has [good] seed. His enemy came during the night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The person did not let the workers pull up the weeds, but said to them, ‘No, otherwise you might go to pull up the weeds and pull up the wheat along with them.’ For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be conspicuous, and will be pulled up and burned.”

    1. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the person who has toiled and has found life.”
    2. Jesus said, “Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see.”
    3. He saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb and going to Judea. He said to his disciples, “that person … around the lamb.” They said to him, “So that he may kill it and eat it.” He said to them, “He will not eat it while it is alive, but only after he has killed it and it has become a carcass.”They said, “Otherwise he can’t do it.”He said to them, “So also with you, seek for yourselves a place for rest, or you might become a carcass and be eaten.”
    4. Jesus said, “Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live.”Salome said, “Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone.”Jesus said to her, “I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father.””I am your disciple.””For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.”
    5. Jesus said, “I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries. 63 Jesus said, “There was a rich person who had a great deal of money. He said, ‘I shall

    invest my money so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouses with produce,

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    that I may lack nothing.’ These were the things he was thinking in his heart, but that very

    night he died. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”

    1. Jesus said, “A person was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests.The slave went to the first and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said, ‘Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master has invited you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner.’The slave went to another and said to that one, ‘My master invites you.’ That one said to the slave, ‘I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me.’The slave returned and said to his master, ‘Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused.’ The master said to his slave, ‘Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner.’

      Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father.”

    2. He said, “A […] person owned a vineyard and rented it to some farmers, so they could work it and he could collect its crop from them. He sent his slave so the farmers would give him the vineyard’s crop. They grabbed him, beat him, and almost killed him, and the slave returned and told his master. His master said, ‘Perhaps he didn’t know them.’ He sent another slave, and the farmers beat that one as well. Then the master sent his son and said, ‘Perhaps they’ll show my son some respect.’ Because the farmers knew that he was the heir to the vineyard, they grabbed him and killed him. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”
    3. Jesus said, “Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone.”
    4. Jesus said, “Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking.”
    5. Jesus said, “Congratulations to you when you are hated and persecuted; and no place will be found, wherever you have been persecuted.”
    6. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who have been persecuted in their hearts: they are the ones who have truly come to know the Father.Congratulations to those who go hungry, so the stomach of the one in want may be filled.”
    7. Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.”
    8. Jesus said, “I will destroy [this] house, and no one will be able to build it […].”
    9. A [person said] to him, “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.” He said to the person, “Mister, who made me a divider?”He turned to his disciples and said to them, “I’m not a divider, am I?”
    10. Jesus said, “The crop is huge but the workers are few, so beg the harvest boss to dispatch workers to the fields.”
    11. He said, “Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well.”
    12. Jesus said, “There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite.”
    13. Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself.So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”
    14. Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.Split a piece of wood; I am there.Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”
    15. Jesus said, “Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, [like your] rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth.”
    16. A woman in the crowd said to him, “Lucky are the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you.”He said to [her], “Lucky are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, ‘Lucky are the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.'”
    17. Jesus said, “Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy.”
    18. Jesus said, “Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce <it>.”
    19. Jesus said, “Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the (Father’s) kingdom.”
    20. Jesus said, “Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.”
    21. Jesus said, “When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!”
    22. Jesus said, “Adam came from great power and great wealth, but he was not worthy of you. For had he been worthy, [he would] not [have tasted] death.”
    23. Jesus said, “[Foxes have] their dens and birds have their nests, but human beings have no place to lay down and rest.”
    24. Jesus said, “How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.”
    25. Jesus said, “The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what belongs to you. You, in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, ‘When will they come and take what belongs to them?'”
    26. Jesus said, “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don’t you understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?”
    27. Jesus said, “Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will find rest for yourselves.”
    28. They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.”He said to them, “You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment.”
    29. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.In the past, however, I did not tell you the things about which you asked me then. Now I am willing to tell them, but you are not seeking them.”
    30. “Don’t give what is holy to dogs, for they might throw them upon the manure pile. Don’t throw pearls [to] pigs, or they might … it […].”
    31. Jesus [said], “One who seeks will find, and for [one who knocks] it will be opened.”
    32. [Jesus said], “If you have money, don’t lend it at interest. Rather, give [it] to someone from whom you won’t get it back.”
    33. Jesus [said], “The Father’s kingdom is like [a] woman. She took a little leaven, [hid] it in dough, and made it into large loaves of bread. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!”
    34. Jesus said, “The [Father’s] kingdom is like a woman who was carrying a [jar] full of meal. While she was walking along [a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal spilled behind her [along] the road. She didn’t know it; she hadn’t noticed a problem. When she reached her house, she put the jar down and discovered that it was empty.”
    35. Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one.”
    36. The disciples said to him, “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.” He said to them, “Those here who do what my Father wants are my brothers and mymother. They are the ones who will enter my Father’s kingdom.”
    37. They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “The Roman emperor’s people demand taxes from us.”He said to them, “Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.”
    38. “Whoever does not hate [father] and mother as I do cannot be my [disciple], and whoever does [not] love [father and] mother as I do cannot be my [disciple]. For my mother […], but my true [mother] gave me life.”
    39. Jesus said, “Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.”
    40. Jesus said, “Congratulations to those who know where the rebels are going to attack. [They] can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive.”
    41. They said to Jesus, “Come, let us pray today, and let us fast.”Jesus said, “What sin have I committed, or how have I been undone? Rather, when the groom leaves the bridal suite, then let people fast and pray.”
    42. Jesus said, “Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore.”
    43. Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here!’ it will move.”
    44. Jesus said, “The (Father’s) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, ‘I love you more than the ninety- nine.'”
    45. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.”
    46. Jesus said, “The (Father’s) kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And [when] he died he left it to his [son]. The son [did] not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, [discovered] the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.”
    47. Jesus said, “Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world.”
    48. Jesus said, “The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death.”Does not Jesus say, “Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy”?
    49. Jesus said, “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh.”
    50. His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?””It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”

      [Saying probably added to the original collection at a later date:]

    51. Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.”

    Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

    Selection from Robert J. Miller, ed., The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version. (Polebridge Press, 1992, 1994).

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Gospel of Thomas

    image

    Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin

    (Visit the Gospel of Thomas Collection for additional information)

    These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.

    1. And he said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”
    2. Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”
    3. Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”
    4. Jesus said, “The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same.”
    5. Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you . For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”
    6. His disciples questioned him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?”Jesus said, “Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in thesight of heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.”
    7. Jesus said, “Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man.”
    8. And he said, “The man is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman found a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish without difficulty. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”
    9. Jesus said, “Now the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered them. Some fell on the road; the birds came and gathered them up. Others fell on the rock, did not take root in the soil, and did not produce ears. And others fell on thorns; they choked the seed(s) and worms ate them. And others fell on the good soil and it produced good fruit: it bore sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure.”
    10. Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes.”
    11. Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”
    12. The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?”Jesus said to them, “Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”
    13. Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to someone and tell me whom I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a righteous angel.”Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.”Thomas said to him, “Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like.”Jesus said, “I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out.”And he took him and withdrew and told him three things. When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, “What did Jesus say to you?”Thomas said to them, “If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up.”
    14. Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will give rise to sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits. When you go into any land and walk about in the districts, if they receive you, eat what they will set before you, and heal the sick among them. For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but that which issues from your mouth – it is that which will defile you.”
    15. Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship him. That one is your father.”
    16. Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”
    17. Jesus said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.”
    18. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”Jesus said, “Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.”
    19. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who came into being before he came into being. If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death.”
    20. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.”He said to them, “It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.”
    21. Mary said to Jesus, “Whom are your disciples like?”He said, “They are like children who have settled in a field which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, ‘Let us have back our field.’ They (will) undress in their presence in order to let them have back their field and to give it back to them. Therefore I say, if the owner of a house knows that the thief is coming, he will begin his vigil before he comes and will not let him dig through into his house of his domain to carry away his goods. You, then, be on your guard against the world. Arm yourselves with great strength lest the robbers find a way to come to you, for the difficulty which you expect will (surely) materialize. Let there be among you a man of understanding. When the grain ripened, he came quickly with his sickle in his hand and reaped it. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”
    22. Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, “These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”They said to him, “Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like theoutside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”
    23. Jesus said, “I shall choose you, one out of a thousand, and two out of ten thousand, and they shall stand as a single one.”
    24. His disciples said to him, “Show us the place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it.”He said to them, “Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light,and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness.”
    25. Jesus said, “Love your brother like your soul, guard him like the pupil of your eye.”
    26. Jesus said, “You see the mote in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam in your own eye. When you cast the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to cast the mote from your brother’s eye.”
    27. <Jesus said,> “If you do not fast as regards the world, you will not find the kingdom. If you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not see the father.”
    28. Jesus said, “I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent.”
    29. Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty.”
    30. Jesus said, “Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him.”
    31. Jesus said, “No prophet is accepted in his own village; no physician heals those who know him.”
    32. Jesus said, “A city being built on a high mountain and fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden.”
    33. Jesus said, “Preach from your housetops that which you will hear in your ear. For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden place, but rather he sets it on a lampstand so that everyone who enters and leaves will see its light.”
    34. Jesus said, “If a blind man leads a blind man, they will both fall into a pit.”
    35. Jesus said, “It is not possible for anyone to enter the house of a strong man and take it by force unless he binds his hands; then he will (be able to) ransack his house.”
    36. Jesus said, “Do not be concerned from morning until evening and from evening until morning about what you will wear.”
    37. His disciples said, “When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?”Jesus said, “When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments andplace them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid”
    38. Jesus said, “Many times have you desired to hear these words which I am saying to you, and you have no one else to hear them from. There will be days when you will look for me and will not find me.”
    39. Jesus said, “The pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge (gnosis) and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”
    40. Jesus said, “A grapevine has been planted outside of the father, but being unsound, it will be pulled up by its roots and destroyed.”
    41. Jesus said, “Whoever has something in his hand will receive more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little he has.”
    42. Jesus said, “Become passers-by.”
    43. His disciples said to him, “Who are you, that you should say these things to us?”<Jesus said to them,> “You do not realize who I am from what I say to you, but you have become like the Jews, for they (either) love the tree and hate its fruit (or) love the fruit and hate the tree.”
    44. Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.”
    45. Jesus said, “Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things.”
    46. Jesus said, “Among those born of women, from Adam until John the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered (before him). Yet I have said, whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted with the kingdom and will become superior to John.”
    47. Jesus said, “It is impossible for a man to mount two horses or to stretch two bows. And it is impossible for a servant to serve two masters; otherwise, he will honor the oneand treat the other contemptuously. No man drinks old wine and immediately desires to drink new wine. And new wine is not put into old wineskins, lest they burst; nor is old wine put into a new wineskin, lest it spoil it. An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, because a tear would result.”
    48. Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move Away,’ and it will move away.”
    49. Jesus said, “Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return.”
    50. Jesus said, “If they say to you, ‘Where did you come from?’, say to them, ‘We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established itself and became manifest through their image.’ If they say to you, ‘Is it you?’, say, ‘We are its children, we are the elect of the living father.’ If they ask you, ‘What is the sign of your father in you?’, say to them, ‘It is movement and repose.'”
    51. His disciples said to him, “When will the repose of the dead come about, and when will the new world come?”He said to them, “What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.”
    52. His disciples said to him, “Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel, and all of them spoke in you.”He said to them, “You have omitted the one living in your presence and have spoken(only) of the dead.”
    53. His disciples said to him, “Is circumcision beneficial or not?”He said to them, “If it were beneficial, their father would beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become completely profitable.”
    54. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.”
    55. Jesus said, “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me.”
    56. Jesus said, “Whoever has come to understand the world has found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world.”
    57. Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a man who had good seed. His enemy came by night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The man did not allow them to pull up the weeds; he said to them, ‘I am afraid that you will go intending to pull up the weeds and pull up the wheat along with them.’ For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be plainly visible, and they will be pulled up and burned.”
    58. Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life.”
    59. Jesus said, “Take heed of the living one while you are alive, lest you die and seek to see him and be unable to do so.”
    60. <They saw> a Samaritan carrying a lamb on his way to Judea. He said to his disciples, “That man is round about the lamb.”They said to him, “So that he may kill it and eat it.”He said to them, “While it is alive, he will not eat it, but only when he has killed it and it has become a corpse.”They said to him, “He cannot do so otherwise.”He said to them, “You too, look for a place for yourself within repose, lest you become acorpse and be eaten.”
    61. Jesus said, “Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and the other will live.” Salome said, “Who are you, man, that you … have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?”Jesus said to her, “I am he who exists from the undivided. I was given some of the things of my father.”<…> “I am your disciple.”<…> “Therefore I say, if he is destroyed, he will be filled with light, but if he is divided,he will be filled with darkness.”
    62. Jesus said, “It is to those who are worthy of my mysteries that I tell my mysteries. Do not let your left (hand) know what your right (hand) is doing.”
    63. Jesus said, “There was a rich man who had much money. He said, ‘I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, withthe result that I shall lack nothing.’ Such were his intentions, but that same night he died.Let him who has ears hear.”
    64. Jesus said, “A man had received visitors. And when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servant to invite the guests.He went to the first one and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said, ‘I have claimsagainst some merchants. They are coming to me this evening. I must go and give them my orders. I ask to be excused from the dinner.’He went to another and said to him, ‘My master has invited you.’ He said to him, ‘I have just bought a house and am required for the day. I shall not have any spare time.’He went to another and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said to him, ‘My friend is going to get married, and I am to prepare the banquet. I shall not be able to come. I ask tobe excused from the dinner.’
      –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

      He went to another and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said to him, ‘I have just

      bought a farm, and I am on my way to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused.’

      The servant returned and said to his master, ‘Those whom you invited to the dinner have asked to be excused.’ The master said to his servant, ‘Go outside to the streets and bring

      back those whom you happen to meet, so that they may dine.’ Businessmen and merchants will not enter the places of my father.”

    65. He said, “There was a good man who owned a vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he might collect the produce from them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. They seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant went back and told his master. The master said, ‘Perhaps he did not recognize them.’ He sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said, ‘Perhaps they will show respect to my son.’ Because the tenants knew that it was he who was the heir to the vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear.”
    66. Jesus said, “Show me the stone which the builders have rejected. That one is the cornerstone.”
    67. Jesus said, “If one who knows the all still feels a personal deficiency, he is completely deficient.”
    68. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted. Wherever you have been persecuted they will find no place.”
    69. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have been persecuted within themselves. It is they who have truly come to know the father. Blessed are the hungry, for the belly of him who desires will be filled.”
    70. Jesus said, “That which you have will save you if you bring it forth from yourselves. That which you do not have within you will kill you if you do not have it within you.”
    71. Jesus said, “I shall destroy this house, and no one will be able to build it […].”
    72. A man said to him, “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.” He said to him, “O man, who has made me a divider?”He turned to his disciples and said to them, “I am not a divider, am I?”
    73. Jesus said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the harvest.”
    74. He said, “O Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the cistern.”
    75. Jesus said, “Many are standing at the door, but it is the solitary who will enter the bridal chamber.”
    76. Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a merchant who had a consignment of merchandise and who discovered a pearl. That merchant was shrewd. He sold themerchandise and bought the pearl alone for himself. You too, seek his unfailing and enduring treasure where no moth comes near to devour and no worm destroys.”
    77. Jesus said, “It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”
    78. Jesus said, “Why have you come out into the desert? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a man clothed in fine garments like your kings and your great men? Upon them are the fine garments, and they are unable to discern the truth.”
    79. A woman from the crowd said to him, “Blessed are the womb which bore you and the breasts which nourished you.”He said to her, “Blessed are those who have heard the word of the father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, ‘Blessed are the womb which has notconceived and the breasts which have not given milk.'”
    80. Jesus said, “He who has recognized the world has found the body, but he who has found the body is superior to the world.”
    81. Jesus said, “Let him who has grown rich be king, and let him who possesses power renounce it.”
    82. Jesus said, “He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom.”
    83. Jesus said, “The images are manifest to man, but the light in them remains concealed in the image of the light of the father. He will become manifest, but his image will remain concealed by his light.”
    84. Jesus said, “When you see your likeness, you rejoice. But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die not become manifest, how much you will have to bear!”
    85. Jesus said, “Adam came into being from a great power and a great wealth, but he did not become worthy of you. For had he been worthy, he would not have experienced death.”
    86. Jesus said, “The foxes have their holes and the birds have their nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head and rest.”
    87. Jesus said, “Wretched is the body that is dependant upon a body, and wretched is the soul that is dependent on these two.”
    88. Jesus said, “The angels and the prophets will come to you and give to you those things you (already) have. And you too, give them those things which you have, and say to yourselves, ‘When will they come and take what is theirs?'”
    89. Jesus said, “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not realize that he who made the inside is the same one who made the outside?”
    90. Jesus said, “Come unto me, for my yoke is easy and my lordship is mild, and you will find repose for yourselves.”
    91. They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.”He said to them, “You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to read this moment.”
    92. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find. Yet, what you asked me about in former times and which I did not tell you then, now I do desire to tell, but you do not inquire after it.”
    93. <Jesus said,> “Do not give what is holy to dogs, lest they throw them on the dung- heap. Do not throw the pearls to swine, lest they […] it […].”
    94. Jesus said, “He who seeks will find, and he who knocks will be let in.”
    95. Jesus said, “If you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to one from whom you will not get it back.”
    96. Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman. She took a little leaven, concealed it in some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him who has ears hear.”
    97. Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on the road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did not realize it; she had noticed no accident. When she reached her house, she set the jar down and found it empty.”
    98. Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a certain man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the powerful man.”
    99. The disciples said to him, “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.” He said to them, “Those here who do the will of my father are my brothers and my mother. It is they who will enter the kingdom of my father.”
    100. They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.”He said to them, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.”
    101. <Jesus said,> “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does not love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to me. For my mother […], but my true mother gave me life.”
    102. Jesus said, “Woe to the pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of oxen, for neither does he eat nor does he let the oxen eat.”
    103. Jesus said, “Fortunate is the man who knows where the brigands will enter, so that he may get up, muster his domain, and arm himself before they invade.”
    104. They said to Jesus, “Come, let us pray today and let us fast.”Jesus said, “What is the sin that I have committed, or wherein have I been defeated? Butwhen the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray.”
    105. Jesus said, “He who knows the father and the mother will be called the son of a harlot.”
    106. Jesus said, “When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move away,’ it will move away.”
    107. Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine sheep and looked for that one until he found it. When he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep, ‘I care for you more than the ninety-nine.'”
    108. Jesus said, “He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”
    109. Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a man who had a hidden treasure in his field without knowing it. And after he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know (about the treasure). He inherited the field and sold it. And the one who bought it went plowing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.”
    110. Jesus said, “Whoever finds the world and becomes rich, let him renounce the world.”
    111. Jesus said, “The heavens and the earth will be rolled up in your presence. And the one who lives from the living one will not see death.” Does not Jesus say, “Whoever finds himself is superior to the world?”
    112. Jesus said, “Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.”
    113. His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”<Jesus said,> “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here itis’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”
    114. Simon Peter said to him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    The Gospel According to Thomas

    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

    The Gospel of Thomas

    image

    Translated by Stephen J. Patterson and James M. Robinson

    (Visit the Gospel of Thomas Collection for additional information)

    These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke. And Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down.

    1. And he said: “Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste death.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “The one who seeks should not cease seeking until he finds.
    2. And when he finds, he will be dismayed.
    3. And when he is dismayed, he will be astonished.
    4. And he will be king over the All.”

    (03) Jesus says:

    1. “If those who lead you say to you: ‘Look, the kingdom is in the sky!’ then the birds of the sky will precede you.
    2. If they say to you: ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fishes will precede you.
    3. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you.”
    4. “When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will realize that you are the children of the living Father.
    5. But if you do not come to know yourselves, then you exist in poverty, and you are poverty.”

    (04) Jesus says:

    1. “The person old in his days will not hesitate to ask a child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live.
    2. For many who are first will become last, (3) and they will become a single one.”

    (05) Jesus says:

    1. “Come to know what is in front of you,and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you.
    2. For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest.”

    (06)

    1. His disciples questioned him, (and) they said to him:” Do you want us to fast?And how should we pray and give alms?And what diet should we observe?”—————————————
    2. Jesus says: “Do not lie. (3) And do not do what you hate.
    1. For everything is disclosed in view of <the truth>.
    2. For there is nothing hidden that will not become revealed.
    3. And there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.”
    4. Jesus says:
    1. “Blessed is the lion that a person will eat and the lion will become human.
    2. And anathema is the person whom a lion will eat and the lion will become human.”

    (08)

    1. And he says: “The human being is like a sensible fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea filled with little fish.
    2. Among them the sensible fisherman found a large, fine fish.
    3. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, (and) he chose the large fish effortlessly.
    4. Whoever has ears to hear should hear.”

    (09) Jesus says:

    1. “Look, a sower went out. He filled his hands (with seeds), (and) he scattered (them).
    2. Some fell on the path, and the birds came and pecked them up.
    3. Others fell on the rock, and did not take root in the soil, and they did not put forth ears.
    4. And others fell among the thorns, they choked the seeds, and worms ate them.
    5. And others fell on good soil, and it produced good fruit.

    It yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.”

    1. Jesus says: “I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “This heaven will pass away, and the (heaven) above it will pass away.
    2. And the dead are not alive, and the living will not died.
    3. In the days when you consumed what was dead, you made it alive.When you are in the light, what will you do?
    4. On the day when you were one, you became two.

    But when you become two, what will you do?

    (12)

    1. The disciples said to Jesus: “We know that you will depart from us. Who (then) will rule [lit., ‘be great’] over us?”
    2. Jesus said to them: “No matter where you came from, you should go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”

    (13)

    1. Jesus said to his disciples: “Compare me, and tell me whom I am like.”
    2. Simon Peter said to him: “You are like a just messenger.”
    3. Matthew said to him: “You are like an (especially) wise philosopher.”
    4. Thomas said to him:”Teacher, my mouth will not bear at all to say whom you are like.”
    5. Jesus said: “I am not your teacher. For you have drunk, you have become intoxicated at the bubbling spring that I have measured out.”
    6. And he took him, (and) withdrew, (and) he said three words to him.
    7. But when Thomas came back to his companions, they asked him:”What did Jesus say to you?”
    8. Thomas said to them: “If I tell you one of the words he said to me,

    you will pick up stones and throw them at me,

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    and fire will come out of the stones (and) burn you up.”

    (14) Jesus said to them:

    (1)‘If you fast, you will bring forth sin for yourselves.

    1. And if you pray, you will be condemned.
    2. And if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits.
    3. And if you go into any land and wander from place to place, (and) if they take you in,(then) eat what they will set before you. Heal the sick among them!
    4. For what goes into your mouth will not defile you.

    Rather, what comes out of your mouth will defile you.”

    1. Jesus says: “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your face (and) worship him. That one is your Father.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the earth.
    2. But they do not know that I have come to cast dissension upon the earth: fire, sword, war.
    3. For there will be five in one house: there will be three against two and two against three,father against son and son against father.
    4. And they will stand as solitary ones.”

    (17) Jesus says: “I will give you what no eye has seen, and what no ear has heard, and what no hand has touched, and what has not occurred to the human mind.”

    (18)

    1. The disciples said to Jesus: “Tell us how our end will be.”
    2. Jesus said: “Have you already discovered the beginning that you are now asking aboutthe end?For where the beginning is, there the end will be too.
    3. Blessed is he who will stand at the beginning.

    And he will know the end, and he will not taste death.”

    (19) Jesus says: (1)”Blessed is he who was, before he came into being.

    1. If you become disciples of mine (and) listen to my words, these stones will serve you.
    2. For you have five trees in Paradise that do not change during summer (and) winter, and their leaves do not fall. (4) Whoever comes to know them will not taste death.”

    (20)

    1. The disciples said to Jesus: “Tell us whom the kingdom of heaven is like!”
    2. He said to them: “It is like a mustard seed. (3) <It> is the smallest of all seeds.

    (4) But when it falls on cultivated soil, it produces a large branch (and) becomes shelter for the birds of the sky.”

    (21)

    1. Mary said to Jesus: “Whom are your disciples like?”
    2. He said: “They are like servants who are entrusted with a field that is not theirs.
    3. When the owners of the field arrive, they will say: ‘Let us have our field.’
    4. (But) they are naked in their presence so as to let them have it(and thus) to give them their field.”
    5. “That is why I say: ‘When the master of the house learns that the thiefis about to come, he will be on guard before he comes (and) will not let him break into his house, his domain, to carry away his possessions.’
    6. (But) you, be on guard against the world!
    7. Gird your loins with great strength, so that the robbers will not find a way to get toyou.”
    8. “For the necessities for which you wait (with longing) will be found.
    9. There ought to be a wise person among you!
    10. When the fruit was ripe, he came quickly with his sickle in his hand, (and) heharvested it.
    11. Whoever has ears to hear should hear.”

    (22)

    1. Jesus saw infants being suckled.
    2. He said to his disciples:”These little ones being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
    3. They said to him: “Then will we enter the kingdom as little ones?”
    4. Jesus said to them: “When you make the two into one,and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below –
    5. that is, to make the male and the female into a single one,so that the male will not be male and the female will not be female –
    6. and when you make eyes instead of an eye

    and a hand instead of a hand and a foot instead of a foot,

    an image instead of an image, (7) then you will enter [the kingdom].”

    (23) Jesus says:

    1. “I will choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand.
    2. And they will stand as a single one.”

    (24)

    1. His disciples said: “Show us the place where you are,because it is necessary for us to seek it.
    2. He said to them: “Whoever has ears should hear!
    3. Light exists inside a person of light, and he shines on the whole world. If he does not shine, there is darkness.”

    (25) Jesus says:

    1. “Love your brother like your life!
    2. Protect him like the apple of your eye!”

    (26) Jesus says:

    1. “You see the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam that is in your (own) eye.
    2. When you remove the beam from your (own) eye,

    then you will see clearly (enough) to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

    (27)

    1. “If you do not abstain from the world, you will not find the kingdom.
    2. If you do not make the Sabbath into a Sabbath, you will not see the Father.”

    (28) Jesus says:

    1. “I stood in the middle of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them.
    2. I found all of them drunk. None of them did I find thirsty.
    3. And my soul ached for the children of humanity,because they are blind in their heart, and they cannot see; for they came into the world empty,(and) they also seek to depart from the world empty.
    4. But now they are drunk.

    (But) when they shake off their wine, then they will change their mind.”

    (29) Jesus says:

    1. “If the flesh came into being because of the spirit, it is a wonder.
    2. But if the spirit (came into being) because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders.
    3. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has taken up residence in this poverty.”

    (30) Jesus says:

    1. “Where there are three gods, they are gods.
    2. Where there are two or one, I am with him.”

    (31) Jesus says:

    1. “No prophet is accepted in his (own) village.
    2. A physician does not heal those who know him.”
    1. Jesus says: “A city built upon a high mountain (and) fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden.”
    2. Jesus says:

    (1)”What you will hear with your ear {with the other ear} proclaim from your rooftops.

    1. For no one lights a lamp (and) puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden place.
    2. Rather, he puts it on a lampstand, so that everyone who comes in and goes out will see its light.”
    1. Jesus says: “If a blind (person) leads a blind (person), both will fall into a pit.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “It is not possible for someone to enter the house of a strong (person) (and) take it by force unless he binds his hands.
    2. Then he will loot his house.”

    (36) Jesus says: “Do not worry from morning to evening and from evening to morning about what you will wear.”

    (37)

    1. His disciples said: “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?”
    2. Jesus said: “When you undress without being ashamed and take your clothes (and) put them under your feet like little children (and) trample on them,
    3. then [you] will see the son of the Living One, and you will not be afraid.”

    (38) Jesus says:

    1. “Many times have you desired to hear these words,these that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them.
    2. There will be days when you will seek me (and) you will not find me.”

    (39) Jesus says:

    1. “The Pharisees and the scribes have received the keys of knowledge, (but) they havehidden them.
    2. Neither have they entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to.
    3. You, however, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves!”

    (40) Jesus says:

    1. “A grapevine was planted outside (the vineyard) of the Father.
    2. And since it is not supported, it will be pulled up by its roots (and) will perish.”

    (41) Jesus says:

    1. “Whoever has (something) in his hand, (something more) will be given to him.
    2. And whoever has nothing, even the little he has will be taken from him.”

    (42) Jesus says: “Become passers-by.” (43)

    1. His disciples said to him: “Who are you to say this to us?”
    2. “Do you not realized from what I say to you who I am?
    3. But you have become like the Jews!

    They love the tree, (but) they hate its fruit.

    Or they love the fruit, (but) they hate the tree.”

    (44) Jesus says:

    1. “Whoever blasphemes against the Father, it will be forgiven him.
    2. And whoever blasphemes against the Son, it will be forgiven him.
    3. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither on earth nor in heaven.”

    (45) Jesus says:

    (1) “Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs picked from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. (2) A good person brings forth good from his treasure. (3) A bad person brings (forth) evil from the bad treasure that is in his heart, and (in fact) he speaks evil.

    (4) For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil.”

    (46) Jesus says:

    (1) “From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women there is no one who

    surpasses John the Baptist so that his (i.e., John’s) eyes need not be downcast. (2) But I have also said: ‘Whoever among you becomes little will know the kingdom, and will surpass John.’”

    (47) Jesus says:

    1. “It is impossible for a person to mount two horses and to stretch two bows. (2) And itis impossible for a servant to serve two masters. Else he will honor the one and insult the other. (3) No person drinks old wine and immediately desires to drink new wine. (4) And new wine is not put into old wineskins, so that they do not burst; nor is old wine put into
      1. new wineskin, so that it does not spoil it. (5) An old patch is not sewn onto a new

    garment, because a tear will result.”

    1. Jesus says: “If two make peace with one another in one and the same house, (then) they will say to the mountain: ‘Move away,’ and it will move away.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “Blessed are the solitary ones, the elect. For you will find the kingdom.
    2. For you come from it (and) will return to it.”

    (50) Jesus says:

    1. If they say to you: ‘Where do you come from?’ (then) say to them: ‘We have comefrom the light, the place where the light has come into being by itself, has established [itself] and has appeared in their image.’
    2. If they say to you: ‘Is it you?’ (then) say: ‘We are his children, and we are the elect of the living Father.’
    3. If they ask you: ‘What is the sign of your Father among you?’ (then) say to them: ‘It is movement and repose.’”

    (51)

    1. His disciples said to him: When will the <resurrection> of the dead take place, andwhen will the new world come?”
    2. He said to them: “That (resurrection) which you are awaiting has (already) come, but

    you do not recognize it.”

    (52)

    1. His disciples said to him: “Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and all (ofthem) have spoken through you.”
    2. He said to them: “You have pushed away the living (one) from yourselves, and you

    have begun to speak of those who are dead.”

    (53)

    1. His disciples said to him: “Is circumcision beneficial, or not?”
    2. He said to them: “If it were beneficial, their father would beget them circumcized from their mother.
    3. But the true circumcision in the spirit has prevailed over everything.”
    1. Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to you.”
    2. Jesus says:

    (1)”Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple of mine.

    (2) And whoever does not hate his brothers and his sisters (and) will not take up his cross

    as I do, will not be worthy of me.”

    1. Jesus says:”Whoever has come to know the world has found a corpse.And whoever has found (this) corpse, of him the world is not worthy.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “The kingdom of the Father is like a person who had (good) seed.
    2. His enemy came by night. He sowed darnel among the good seed.
    3. The person did not allow (the servants) to pull up the darnel.He said to them: ‘Lest you go to pull up the darnel (and then) pull up the wheat alongwith it.’
    4. For on the day of the harvest, the darnel will be apparent and it will be pulled up (and)

    burned.”

    1. Jesus says: “Blessed is the person who has struggled. He has found life.”
    2. Jesus says: “Look for the Living One while you are alive, so that you will not die (and) then seek to see him.

    And you will not be able to see (him).”

    (60)

    1. <He saw> a Samaritan who was trying to steal a lamb while he was on his way toJudea.
    2. He said to his disciples: “That (person) is stalking the lamb.”
    3. They said to him: “So that he may kill it (and) eat it.”
    4. He said to them: “As long as it is alive he will not eat it, but (only) when he has killedit (and) it has become a corpse.”
    5. They said to him: “Otherwise he cannot do it.”
    6. He said to them: “You, too, look for a place for your repose so that you may not become a corpse (and) get eaten.”

    (61)

    1. Jesus said: “Two will rest on a bed. The one will die, the other will live.”
    2. Salome said: “(So) who are you, man?You have gotten a place on my couch as a <stranger> and you have eaten from my table.”
    3. Jesus said to her: “I am he who comes from the one who is (always) the same.I was given some of that which is my Father’s.”
    4. “I am your disciple!”
    5. “Therefore I say: If someone becomes <like> (God), he will become full of light. But if he becomes one, separated (from God), he will become full of darkness.”

    (62) Jesus says:

    1. “I tell my mysteries to those who [are worthy] of [my] mysteries.”
    2. “Whatever you right hand does, your left hand should not know what it is doing.”

    (63) Jesus says:

    1. “There was a rich person who had many possessions.
    2. He said: ‘I will use my possessions so that I might sow, reap, plant, (and) fill my storehouses with fruit so that I will not lack anything.’
    3. This was what he was thinking in his heart. And in that night he died.
    4. Whoever has ears should hear.”

    (64) Jesus says:

    1. “A person had guests. And when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servant, so that he might invite the guests.
    2. He came to the first (and) said to him: ‘My master invites you.’
    3. He said: ‘I have bills for some merchants. There are coming to me this evening. I willgo (and) give instructions to them. Excuse me from the dinner.’
    4. He came to another (and) said to him: ‘My master has invited you.’
    5. He said to him: ‘I have bought a house, and I have been called (away) for a day. I will not have time.’
    6. He went to another (and) said to him: ‘My master invites you.’
    7. He said to him: ‘My friend is going to marry, and I am the one who is going toprepare the meal. I will not be able to come. Excuse me from the dinner.’
    8. He came up to another (and) said to him: ‘My master invites you.’
    9. He said to him: ‘I have bought a village. Since I am going to collect the rent, I will not be able to come. Excuse me.’
    10. The servant went away. He said to his master:‘Those whom you invited to the dinner have asked to be excused.’
    11. The master said to his servant: ‘Go out on the roads.Bring (back) whomever you find, so that they might have dinner.’
    12. Dealers and merchants (will) not enter the places of my Father.”

    (65) He said: “A [usurer] owned a vineyard. He gave it to some farmers so that they would work it (and) he might receive its fruit from them. (2) He sent his servant so that the farmers might give him the fruit of the vineyard. (3) They seized his servant, beat him, (and) almost killed him. The servant went (back and) told his master.

    1. His master said: ‘Perhaps <they> did not recognize <him>.’
    2. He sent another servant, (and) the farmers beat that other one as well.
    3. Then the master sent his son (and) said: ‘Perhaps they will show respect for my son.’
    4. (But) those farmers, since they knew that he was the heir of the vineyard, seized him (and) killed him.
    5. Whoever has ears should hear.”
    1. Jesus says: “Show me the stone that the builders have rejected. It is the cornerstone.”
    2. Jesus says: “Whoever knows all, if he is lacking one thing, he is (already) lacking everything.”
    3. Jesus says:
    1. “Blessed are you when(ever) they hate you (and) persecute you.
    2. But they (themselves) will find no place there where they have persecuted you.”

    (69) Jesus says:

    1. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted in their heart.They are the ones who have truly come to know the Father.”
    2. “Blessed are those who suffer from hunger so that the belly of the one who wishes (it)

    will be satisfied.”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    (70) Jesus says:

    1. “If you bring it into being within you, (then) that which you have will save you.
    2. If you do not have it within you, (then) that which you do not have within you [will]

    kill you.”

    (71) Jesus says: “I will [destroy this] house, and no one will be able to build it [again].” (72)

    1. A [person said] to him: “Tell my brothers that they have to divide my father’spossessions with me.”
    2. He said to him: “Man, who has made me a divider?”
    3. He turned to his disciples (and) said to them: “I am not a divider, am I?”
    1. Jesus says:
      1. “The harvest is plentiful, but there are few workers.
      2. But beg the Lord that he may send workers into the harvest.”
    2. He said: “Lord, there are many around the well, but there is nothing in the <well>.”
    3. Jesus says: “Many are standing before the door, but it is the solitary ones who will enter the wedding hall.”
    4. Jesus says:
    1. “The kingdom of the Father is like a merchant who had merchandise and found apearl.
    2. That merchant is prudent. He sold the goods (and) bought for himself the pearl alone.
    3. You too look for his treasure, which does not perish, (and) which stays where no moth can reach it to eat it, and no worm destroys it.”

    (77) Jesus says:

    1. “I am the light that is over all. I am the All.The All came forth out of me. And to me the All has come.”
    2. “Split a piece of wood – I am there.
    3. Lift the stone, and you will find me there.”

    (78) Jesus says:

    1. “Why did you go out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind,
    2. and to see a person dressed in soft clothing [like your] kings and your great/powerfulpersons?
    3. They are dressed in soft clothing and will not be able to recognize the truth.”

    (79)

    1. A woman in the crowd said to him: “Hail to the womb that carried you and to thebreasts that fed you.”
    2. He said to [her]: “Hail to those who have heard the word of the Father (and) havetruly kept it.
    3. For there will be days when you will say: ‘Hail to the womb that has not conceived

    and to the breasts that have not given milk.’”

    (80) Jesus says:

    1. “Whoever has come to know the world has found the (dead) body.
    2. But whoever has found the (dead) body, of him the world is not worthy.”

    (81) Jesus says:

    1. “Whoever has become rich should be king.
    2. And the one who has power should renounce (it).”

    (82) Jesus says:

    1. “The person who is near me is near the fire.
    2. And the person who is far from me is far from the kingdom.”

    (83) Jesus says:

    1. “The images are visible to humanity, but the light within them is hidden in the image.
    2. {} The light of the Father will reveal itself, but his image is hidden by his light.”

    (84) Jesus says:

    (1) “When you see your likeness you are full of joy. (2) But when you see your likenesses

    that came into existence before you – they neither die nor become manifest – how much will you bear?”

    (85) Jesus says:

    1. “Adam came from a great power and a great wealth. But he did not become worthy ofyou.
    2. For if he had been worthy, (then) [he would] not [have tasted] death.”

    (86) Jesus says:

    1. “[Foxes have] their holes and birds have their nest.
    2. But the son of man has no place to lay his head down (and) to rest.”

    (87) Jesus says:

    1. “Wretched is the body that depends on a body.
    2. And wretched is the soul that depends on these two.”

    (88) Jesus says:

    1. “The messengers and the prophets are coming to you, and they will give you whatbelongs to you.
    2. And you, in turn, give to them what you have in your hands (and) say to yourselves:

    ‘When will they come (and) take what belongs to them?’”

    (89) Jesus says:

    1. “Why do you wash the outside of the cup?
    2. Do you not understand that the one who created the inside is also the one who created the outside?”

    (90) Jesus says:

    1. “Come to me, for my yoke is gentle and my lordship is mild.
    2. And you will find repose for yourselves.”

    (91)

    1. They said to him: “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.”
    2. He said to them: “You examine the face of sky and earth, but the one who is before you, you have not recognized,

    and you do not know how to test this opportunity.”

    (92) Jesus says:

    1. “Seek and you will find.
    2. But the things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not tell you in that day,

    now I am willing to tell you, but you do not seek them.”

    (93)

    1. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, lest they throw it upon the dunghill.
    2. Do not throw pearls to swine, lest they turn <them> into [mud].”

    (94) Jesus [says]:

    1. “The one who seeks will find.
    2. [The one who knocks], to that one will it be opened.”

    (95) [Jesus says:]

    1. “If you have money, do not lend (it) out at interest.
    2. Rather, give [it] to the one from whom you will not get it (back).”

    (96) Jesus [says]:

    1. “The kingdom of the Father is like [a] woman.
    2. She took a little bit of yeast. [She] hid it in dough (and) made it into huge loaves ofbread.
    3. Whoever has ears should hear.””

    (97) Jesus says:

    1. “The kingdom of the [Father] is like a woman who is carrying a [jar] filled with flour.
    2. While she was walking on [the] way, very distant (from home),the handle of the jar broke (and) the flour leaked out [on] the path.
    3. (But) she did not know (it); she had not noticed a problem.
    4. When she reached her house, she put the jar down on the floor (and) found it empty.”

    (98) Jesus says:

    1. “The kingdom of the Father is like a person who wanted to kill a powerful person.
    2. He drew the sword in his house (and) stabbed it into the wall to test whether his handwould be strong (enough).
    3. Then he killed the powerful one.”

    (99)

    1. The disciples said to him: “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.”
    2. He said to them: “Those here, who do the will of my Father, they are my brothers andmy mother.
    3. They are the ones who will enter the kingdom of my Father.”

    (100)

    1. They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him: “Caesar’s people demand taxes fromus.”
    2. He said to them: “Give Caesar (the things) that are Caesar’s.
    3. Give God (the things) that are God’s.
    4. And what is mine give me.”

    (101)

    1. “Whoever does not hate his [father] and his mother as I do will not be able to be a[disciple] of mine.
    2. And whoever does [not] love [his father] and his mother as I do will not be able to bea [disciple] of mine.
    3. For my mother […], but my true [mother] gave me life.”
    1. Jesus says: “Woe to them, the Pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in a cattle trough, for it neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.”
    2. Jesus says: “Blessed is the person who knows at which point (of the house) the robbers are going to enter, so that [he] may arise to gather together his [domain] and gird his loins before they enter.”

    (104)

    1. They said to [Jesus]: “Come, let us pray and fast today!”
    2. Jesus said: “What sin is it that I have committed, or wherein have I been overcome?
    3. But when the bridegroom comes out of the wedding chamber, then let (us) fast and pray.”
    1. Jesus says: “Whoever will come to know father and mother, he will be called son of a whore.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “When you make the two into one, you will become sons of man.
    2. And when you say ‘Mountain, move away,’ it will move away.”

    (107) Jesus says:

    1. “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep.
    2. One of them went astray, the largest. He left the ninety-nine, (and) he sought the oneuntil he found it.
    3. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep: ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine.’”

    (108) Jesus says:

    1. “Whoever will drink from my mouth will become like me.
    2. I myself will become he,
    3. and what is hidden will be revealed to him.”

    (109) Jesus says:

    1. “The kingdom is like a person who has a hidden treasure in his field, (of which) he knows nothing.
    2. And [after] he had died, he left it to his [son]. (But) the son did not know (about iteither).He took over that field (and) sold [it].
    3. And the one who had bought it came, and while he was ploughing [he found] the treasure.

    He began to lend money at interest to whom he wished.”

    1. Jesus says: “The one who has found the world (and) has become wealthy should renounce the world.”
    2. Jesus says:
    1. “The heavens will roll up before you, and the earth.
    2. And whoever is living from the living one will not see death.”
    3. Does not Jesus say: “Whoever has found himself, of him the world is not worthy”?

    (112) Jesus says:

    1. “Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul.
    2. Woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.”

    (113)

    1. His disciples said to him: “The kingdom – on what day will it come?”
    2. “It will not come by watching (and waiting for) it.
    3. They will not say: ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’
    4. Rather, the kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see

    it.”

    (114)

    1. Simon Peter said to them: “Let Mary go away from us, for women are not worthy oflife.”
    2. Jesus said: “Look, I will draw her in so as to make her male,so that she too may become a living male spirit, similar to you.”
    3. (But I say to you): “Every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of

    heaven.”

    The Gospel According to Thomas

    Original translation by the Berlin Working Group for Coptic Gnostic Writings. Taken from Synopsis Quattuor Evangelorium, 2nd corrected printing, 1997. As modified by Stephen J. Patterson and James M. Robinson in:

    Patterson, Robinson, and Bethge, The Fifth Gospel, Trinity Press International, 1998.

    Prepared by Michael W. Grondin, July, 2000

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Gospel of Truth

    image

    Translated by Robert M. Grant

    The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, who has come from the Pleroma and who is in the thought and the mind of the Father; he it is who is called “the Savior,” since that is the name of the work which he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the Father. For the name of the gospel is the manifestation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the All sought him from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

    This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

    For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist.

    That is the gospel of him whom they seek, which he has revealed to the perfect through the mercies of the Father as the hidden mystery, Jesus the Christ. Through him he enlightened those who were in darkness because of forgetfulness. He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. He became a fruit of the knowledge of the Father. He did not, however, destroy them because they ate of it. He rather caused those who ate of it to be joyful because of this discovery.

    And as for him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the all, in whom the All is, and whom the All lacks, since he retained in himself their perfection, which he had not given to the all. The Father was not jealous. What jealousy, indeed, is there between him and his members? For, even if the Aeon had received their perfection, they would not have been able to approach the perfection of the Father, because he retained their perfection in himself, giving it to them as a way to return to him and as a knowledge unique in perfection. He is the one who set the All in order and in whom the All existed and whom the All lacked. As one of whom some have no knowledge, he desires that they know him and that they love him. For what is it that the All lacked, if not the knowledge of the Father?

    He became a guide, quiet and in leisure. In the middle of a school he came and spoke the Word, as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation came to put him to the test. But he discredited them as empty-headed people. They hated him because they really were not wise men. After all these came also the little children, those who possess the knowledge of the Father. When they became strong they were taught the aspects of the Father’s face. They came to know and they were known. They were glorified and they gave glory. In their heart, the living book of the Living was manifest, the book which was written in the thought and in the mind of the Father and, from before the foundation of the All, is in that incomprehensible part of him.

    This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Oh, such great teaching! He abases himself even unto death, though he is clothed in eternal life. Having divested himself of these perishable rags, he clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one could possibly take from him. Having entered into the empty territory of fears, he passed before those who were stripped by forgetfulness, being both knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart of the Father, so that he became the wisdom of those who have received instruction. But those who are to be taught, the living who are inscribed in the book of the living, learn for themselves, receiving instructions from the Father, turning to him again.

    Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the

    All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him.

    Those whose name he knew first were called last, so that the one who has knowledge is he whose name the Father has pronounced. For he whose name has not been spoken is ignorant. Indeed, how shall one hear if his name has not been uttered? For he who remains ignorant until the end is a creature of forgetfulness and will perish with it. If this is not so, why have these wretches no name, why do they have no sound? Hence, if one has knowledge, he is from above. If he is called, he hears, he replies, and he turns toward him who called him and he ascends to him and he knows what he is called. Since he has knowledge, he does the will of him who called him. He desires to please him and he finds rest. He receives a certain name. He who thus is going to have knowledge knows whence he came and whither he is going. He knows it as a person who, having become intoxicated, has turned from his drunkenness and having come to himself, has restored what is his own.

    He has turned many from error. He went before them to their own places, from which they departed when they erred because of the depth of him who surrounds every place, whereas there is nothing which surrounds him. It was a great wonder that they were in the Father without knowing him and that they were able to leave on their own, since they were not able to contain him and know him in whom they were, for indeed his will had not come forth from him. For he revealed it as a knowledge with which all its emanations agree, namely, the knowledge of the living book which he revealed to the Aeons at last as his letters, displaying to them that these are not merely vowels nor consonants, so that one may read them and think of something void of meaning; on the contrary, they are letters which convey the truth. They are pronounced only when they are known. Each letter is a perfect truth like a perfect book, for they are letters written by the hand of the unity, since the Father wrote them for the Aeons, so that they by means of his letters

    might come to know the Father.

    While his wisdom mediates on the logos, and since his teaching expresses it, his knowledge has been revealed. His honor is a crown upon it. Since his joy agrees with it, his glory exalted it. It has revealed his image. It has obtained his rest. His love took bodily form around it. His trust embraced it. Thus the logos of the Father goes forth into the All, being the fruit of his heart and expression of his will. It supports the All. It chooses and also takes the form of the All, purifying it, and causing it to return to the Father and to the Mother, Jesus of the utmost sweetness. The Father opens his bosom, but his bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals his hidden self which is his son, so that through the compassion of the Father the Aeons may know him, end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that this is rest. After he had filled what was incomplete, he did away with form. The form of it is the world, that which it served. For where there is envy and strife, there is an incompleteness; but where there is unity, there is completeness. Since this incompleteness came about because they did not know the Father, so when they know the Father, incompleteness, from that moment on, will cease to exist. As one’s ignorance disappears when he gains knowledge, and as darkness disappears when light appears, so also incompleteness is eliminated by completeness.

    Certainly, from that moment on, form is no longer manifest, but will be dissolved in fusion with unity. For now their works lie scattered. In time unity will make the spaces complete. By means of unity each one will understand itself. By means of knowledge it will purify itself of diversity with a view towards unity, devouring matter within itself like fire and darkness by light, death by life.

    Certainly, if these things have happened to each one of us, it is fitting for us, surely, to think about the All so that the house may be holy and silent for unity. Like people who have moved from a neighborhood, if they have some dishes around which are not good, they usually break them. Nevertheless the householder does not suffer a loss, but rejoices, for in the place of these defective dishes there are those which are completely perfect. For this is the judgement which has come from above and which has judged every person, a drawn two-edged sword cutting on this side and that. When it appeared, I mean, the Logos, who is in the heart of those who pronounce it – it was not merely a sound but it has become a body – a great disturbance occurred among the dishes, for some were emptied, others filled: some were provided for, others were removed; some were purified, still others were broken. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed for they had no composure nor stability. Error was disturbed not knowing what it should do. It was troubled; it lamented, it was beside itself because it did not know anything. When knowledge, which is its abolishment, approached it with all its emanations, error is empty, since there is nothing in it. Truth appeared; all its emanations recognized it. They actually greeted the Father with a power which is complete and which joins them with the Father. For each one loves truth because truth is the mouth of the Father. His tongue is

    the Holy Spirit, who joins him to truth attaching him to the mouth of the Father by his

    tongue at the time he shall receive the Holy Spirit.

    This is the manifestation of the Father and his revelation to his Aeons. He revealed his hidden self and explained it. For who is it who exists if it is not the Father himself? All the spaces are his emanations. They knew that they stem from him as children from a perfect man. They knew that they had not yet received form nor had they yet received a name, every one of which the Father produces. If they at that time receive form of his knowledge, though they are truly in him, they do not know him. But the Father is perfect. He knows every space which is within him. If he pleases, he reveals anyone whom he desires by giving him a form and by giving him a name; and he does give him a name and cause him to come into being. Those who do not yet exist are ignorant of him who created them. I do not say, then, that those who do not yet exist are nothing. But they are in him who will desire that they exist when he pleases, like the event which is going to happen. On the one hand, he knows, before anything is revealed, what he will produce. On the other hand, the fruit which has not yet been revealed does not know anything, nor is it anything either. Thus each space which, on its part, is in the Father comes from the existent one, who, on his part, has established it from the nonexistent. […] he who does not exist at all, will never exist.

    What, then, is that which he wants him to think? “I am like the shadows and phantoms of the night.” When morning comes, this one knows that the fear which he had experienced was nothing. Thus they were ignorant of the Father; he is the one whom they did not see.

    Since there had been fear and confusion and a lack of confidence and doublemindness and division, there were many illusions which were conceived by him, the foregoing, as well as empty ignorance – as if they were fast asleep and found themselves a prey to troubled dreams. Either there is a place to which they flee, or they lack strength as they come, having pursued unspecified things. Either they are involved in inflicting blows, or they themselves receive bruises. Either they are falling from high places, or they fly off through the air, though they have no wings at all. Other times, it is as if certain people were trying to kill them, even though there is no one pursuing them; or, they themselves are killing those beside them, for they are stained by their blood. Until the moment when they who are passing through all these things – I mean they who have experienced all these confusions – awake, they see nothing because the dreams were nothing. It is thus that they who cast ignorance from them as sheep do not consider it to be anything, nor regard its properties to be something real, but they renounce them like a dream in the night and they consider the knowledge of the Father to be the dawn. It is thus that each one has acted, as if he were asleep, during the time when he was ignorant and thus he comes to understand, as if he were awakening. And happy is the man who comes to himself and awakens. Indeed, blessed is he who has opened the eyes of the blind.

    And the Spirit came to him in haste when it raised him. Having given its hand to the one lying prone on the ground, it placed him firmly on his feet, for he had not yet stood up. He gave them the means of knowing the knowledge of the Father and the revelation of his son. For when they saw it and listened to it, he permitted them to take a taste of and to smell and to grasp the beloved son.

    He appeared, informing them of the Father, the illimitable one. He inspired them with that which is in the mind, while doing his will. Many received the light and turned towards him. But material men were alien to him and did not discern his appearance nor recognize him. For he came in the likeness of flesh and nothing blocked his way because it was incorruptible and unrestrainable. Moreover, while saying new things, speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, he proclaimed the faultless word. Light spoke through his mouth, and his voice brought forth life. He gave them thought and understanding and mercy and salvation and the Spirit of strength derived from the limitlessness of the Father and sweetness. He caused punishments and scourgings to cease, for it was they which caused many in need of mercy to astray from him in error and in chains – and he mightily destroyed them and derided them with knowledge. He became a path for those who went astray and knowledge to those who were ignorant, a discovery for those who sought, and a support for those who tremble, a purity for those who were defiled.

    He is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which had not strayed and went in search of that one which was lost. He rejoiced when he had found it. For ninety-nine is a number of the left hand, which holds it. The moment he finds the one, however, the whole number is transferred to the right hand. Thus it is with him who lacks the one, that is, the entire right hand which attracts that in which it is deficient, seizes it from the left side and transfers it to the right. In this way, then, the number becomes one hundred. This number signifies the Father.

    He labored even on the Sabbath for the sheep which he found fallen into the pit. He saved the life of that sheep, bringing it up from the pit in order that you may understand fully what that Sabbath is, you who possess full understanding. It is a day in which it is not fitting that salvation be idle, so that you may speak of that heavenly day which has no night and of the sun which does not set because it is perfect. Say then in your heart that you are this perfect day and that in you the light which does not fail dwells.

    Speak concerning the truth to those who seek it and of knowledge to those who, in their error, have committed sin. Make sure-footed those who stumble and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry and set at ease those who are troubled. Foster men who love. Raise up and awaken those who sleep. For you are this understanding which encourages. If the strong follow this course, they are even stronger. Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be concerned with other things, namely, that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed. Do not return to them to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you have already shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles, because that is reprehensible. For the lawless one is nothing. He harms himself more than the law. For that one does his works because he is a lawless person. But this one, because he is a righteous person, does his works among others. Do the will of the Father, then, for you are from him.

    For the Father is sweet and his will is good. He knows the things that are yours, so that you may rest yourselves in them. For by the fruits one knows the things that are yours, that they are the children of the Father, and one knows his aroma, that you originate from the grace of his countenance. For this reason, the Father loved his aroma; and it manifests itself in every place; and when it is mixed with matter, he gives his aroma to the light; and into his rest he causes it to ascend in every form and in every sound. For there are no nostrils which smell the aroma, but it is the Spirit which possesses the sense of smell and it draws it for itself to itself and sinks into the aroma of the Father. He is, indeed, the place for it, and he takes it to the place from which it has come, in the first aroma which is cold. It is something in a psychic form, resembling cold water which is […] since it is in soil which is not hard, of which those who see it think, “It is earth.” Afterwards, it becomes soft again. If a breath is taken, it is usually hot. The cold aromas, then, are from the division. For this reason, God came and destroyed the division and he brought the hot Pleroma of love, so that the cold may not return, but the unity of the Perfect Thought prevail.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    This is the word of the Gospel of the finding of the Pleroma for those who wait for the salvation which comes from above. When their hope, for which they are waiting, is waiting – they whose likeness is the light in which there is no shadow, then at that time the Pleroma is about to come. The deficiency of matter, however, is not because of the limitlessness of the Father who comes at the time of the deficiency. And yet no one is able to say that the incorruptible One will come in this manner. But the depth of the Father is increasing, and the thought of error is not with him. It is a matter of falling

    down and a matter of being readily set upright at the finding of that one who has come to

    him who will turn back.

    For this turning back is called “repentance”. For this reason, incorruption has breathed. It followed him who has sinned in order that he may find rest. For forgiveness is that which remains for the light in the deficiency, the word of the pleroma. For the physician hurries to the place in which there is sickness, because that is the desire which he has. The sick man is in a deficient condition, but he does not hide himself because the physician possesses that which he lacks. In this manner the deficiency is filled by the Pleroma, which has no deficiency, which has given itself out in order to fill the one who is deficient, so that grace may take him, then, from the area which is deficient and has no grace. Because of this a diminishing occurred in the place which there is no grace, the area where the one who is small, who is deficient, is taken hold of.

    He revealed himself as a Pleroma, i.e., the finding of the light of truth which has shined towards him, because he is unchangeable. For this reason, they who have been troubled speak about Christ in their midst so that they may receive a return and he may anoint them with the ointment. The ointment is the pity of the Father, who will have mercy on them. But those whom he has anointed are those who are perfect. For the filled vessels are those which are customarily used for anointing. But when an anointing is finished, the vessel is usually empty, and the cause of its deficiency is the consumption of its ointment. For then a breath is drawn only through the power which he has. But the one who is without deficiency – one does not trust anyone beside him nor does one pour anything out. But that which is the deficient is filled again by the perfect Father. He is good. He knows his plantings because he is the one who has planted them in his Paradise. And his Paradise is his place of rest.

    This is the perfection in the thought of the Father and these are the words of his reflection. Each one of his words is the work of his will alone, in the revelation of his Logos. Since they were in the depth of his mind, the Logos, who was the first to come forth, caused them to appear, along with an intellect which speaks the unique word by means of a silent grace. It was called “thought,” since they were in it before becoming manifest. It happened, then, that it was the first to come forth – at the moment pleasing to the will of him who desired it; and it is in the will that the Father is at rest and with which he is pleased. Nothing happens without him, nor does anything occur without the will of the Father. But his will is incomprehensible. His will is his mark, but no one can know it, nor is it possible for them to concentrate on it in order to possess it. But that which he wishes takes place at the moment he wishes it – even if the view does not please anyone: it is God`s will. For the Father knows the beginning of them all as well as their end. For when their end arrives, he will question them to their faces. The end, you see, is the recognition of him who is hidden, that is, the Father, from whom the beginning came forth and to whom will return all who have come from him. For they were made manifest for the glory and the joy of his name.

    And the name of the Father is the Son. It is he who, in the beginning, gave a name to him who came forth from him – he is the same one – and he begat him for a son. He gave him his name which belonged to him – he, the Father, who possesses everything which exists around him. He possess the name; he has the son. It is possible for them to see him. The name, however, is invisible, for it alone is the mystery of the invisible about to come to

    ears completely filled with it through the Father`s agency. Moreover, as for the Father, his name is not pronounced, but it is revealed through a son. Thus, then, the name is great.

    Who, then, has been able to pronounce a name for him, this great name, except him alone to whom the name belongs and the sons of the name in whom the name of the Father is at rest, and who themselves in turn are at rest in his name, since the Father has no beginning? It is he alone who engendered it for himself as a name in the beginning before he had created the Aeons, that the name of the Father should be over their heads as a lord

  • that is, the real name, which is secure by his authority and by his perfect power. For thename is not drawn from lexicons nor is his name derived from common name-giving, But it is invisible. He gave a name to himself alone, because he alone saw it and because he alone was capable of giving himself a name. For he who does not exist has no name. For what name would one give him who did not exist? Nevertheless, he who exists also with his name and he alone knows it, and to him alone the Father gave a name. The Son is his name. He did not, therefore, keep it secretly hidden, but the son came into existence. He himself gave a name to him. The name, then, is that of the Father, just as the name of the Father is the Son. For otherwise, where would compassion find a name – outside of the Father? But someone will probably say to his companion, “Who would give a name to someone who existed before himself, as if, indeed, children did not receive their name from one of those who gave them birth?”Above all, then, it is fitting for us to think this point over: What is the name? It is the real name. It is, indeed, the name which came from the Father, for it is he who owns the name. He did not, you see, get the name on loan, as in the case of others because of the form in which each one of them is going to be created. This, then, is the authoritative name. There is no one else to whom he has given it. But it remained unnamed, unuttered,`till the moment when he, who is perfect, pronounced it himself; and it was he alone whowas able to pronounce his name and to see it. When it pleased him, then, that his son should be his pronounced name and when he gave this name to him, he who has come from the depth spoke of his secrets, because he knew that the Father was absolute goodness. For this reason, indeed, he sent this particular one in order that he might speak concerning the place and his place of rest from which he had come forth, and that he might glorify the Pleroma, the greatness of his name and the sweetness of his Father.Each one will speak concerning the place from which he has come forth, and to the region from which he received his essential being, he will hasten to return once again. And he want from that place – the place where he was – because he tasted of that place, as he was nourished and grew. And his own place of rest is his Pleroma. All the emanations from the Father, therefore, are Pleromas, and all his emanations have their roots in the one who caused them all to grow from himself. He appointed a limit. They, then, became manifest individually in order that they might be in their own thought, for that place to which they extend their thoughts is their root, which lifts them upward through all heights to the Father. They reach his head, which is rest for them, and they remain there near to it so that they say that they have participated in his face by means of embraces. But these of this kind were not manifest, because they have not risen above themselves. Neither have

    they been deprived of the glory of the Father nor have they thought of him as small, nor bitter, nor angry, but as absolutely good, unperturbed, sweet, knowing all the spaces before they came into existence and having no need of instruction. Such are they who possess from above something of this immeasurable greatness, as they strain towards that unique and perfect one who exists there for them. And they do not go down to Hades. They have neither envy nor moaning, nor is death in them. But they rest in him who rests, without wearying themselves or becoming involved in the search for truth. But, they, indeed, are the truth, and the Father is in them, and they are in the Father, since they are perfect, inseparable from him who is truly good. They lack nothing in any way, but they are given rest and are refreshed by the Spirit. And they listen to their root; they have leisure for themselves, they in whom he will find his root, and he will suffer no loss to his soul.

    Such is the place of the blessed; this is their place. As for the rest, then, may they know, in their place, that it does not suit me, after having been in the place of rest to say anything more. But he is the one in whom I shall be in order to devote myself, at all

    times, to the Father of the All and the true brothers, those upon whom the love of the Father is lavished, and in whose midst nothing of him is lacking. It is they who manifest themselves truly since they are in that true and eternal life and speak of the perfect light filled with the seed of the Father, and which is in his heart and in the Pleroma, while his Spirit rejoices in it and glorifies him in whom it was, because the Father is good. And his children are perfect and worthy of his name, because he is the Father. Children of this kind are those whom he loves.

    From Robert M. Grant, Gnosticism (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961),

    as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984).

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Gospel of Truth

    image

    Translated by Robert M. Grant

    The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, who has come from the Pleroma and who is in the thought and the mind of the Father; he it is who is called “the Savior,” since that is the name of the work which he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the Father. For the name of the gospel is the manifestation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the All sought him from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

    This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

    For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist.

    That is the gospel of him whom they seek, which he has revealed to the perfect through the mercies of the Father as the hidden mystery, Jesus the Christ. Through him he enlightened those who were in darkness because of forgetfulness. He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. He became a fruit of the knowledge of the Father. He did not, however, destroy them because they ate of it. He rather caused those who ate of it to be joyful because of this discovery.

    And as for him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the all, in whom the All is, and whom the All lacks, since he retained in himself their perfection, which he had not given to the all. The Father was not jealous. What jealousy, indeed, is there between him and his members? For, even if the Aeon had received their perfection, they would not have been able to approach the perfection of the Father, because he retained their perfection in himself, giving it to them as a way to return to him and as a knowledge unique in perfection. He is the one who set the All in order and in whom the All existed and whom the All lacked. As one of whom some have no knowledge, he desires that they know him and that they love him. For what is it that the All lacked, if not the knowledge of the Father?

    He became a guide, quiet and in leisure. In the middle of a school he came and spoke the Word, as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation came to put him to the test. But he discredited them as empty-headed people. They hated him because they really were not wise men. After all these came also the little children, those who possess the knowledge of the Father. When they became strong they were taught the aspects of the Father’s face. They came to know and they were known. They were glorified and they gave glory. In their heart, the living book of the Living was manifest, the book which was written in the thought and in the mind of the Father and, from before the foundation of the All, is in that incomprehensible part of him.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross.

    Oh, such great teaching! He abases himself even unto death, though he is clothed in eternal life. Having divested himself of these perishable rags, he clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one could possibly take from him. Having entered into the empty territory of fears, he passed before those who were stripped by forgetfulness, being both knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart of the Father, so that he became the wisdom of those who have received instruction. But those who are to be taught, the living who are inscribed in the book of the living, learn for themselves, receiving instructions from the Father, turning to him again.

    Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the

    All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him.

    Those whose name he knew first were called last, so that the one who has knowledge is he whose name the Father has pronounced. For he whose name has not been spoken is ignorant. Indeed, how shall one hear if his name has not been uttered? For he who remains ignorant until the end is a creature of forgetfulness and will perish with it. If this is not so, why have these wretches no name, why do they have no sound? Hence, if one has knowledge, he is from above. If he is called, he hears, he replies, and he turns toward him who called him and he ascends to him and he knows what he is called. Since he has knowledge, he does the will of him who called him. He desires to please him and he finds rest. He receives a certain name. He who thus is going to have knowledge knows whence he came and whither he is going. He knows it as a person who, having become intoxicated, has turned from his drunkenness and having come to himself, has restored what is his own.

    He has turned many from error. He went before them to their own places, from which they departed when they erred because of the depth of him who surrounds every place, whereas there is nothing which surrounds him. It was a great wonder that they were in the Father without knowing him and that they were able to leave on their own, since they were not able to contain him and know him in whom they were, for indeed his will had not come forth from him. For he revealed it as a knowledge with which all its emanations agree, namely, the knowledge of the living book which he revealed to the Aeons at last as his letters, displaying to them that these are not merely vowels nor consonants, so that one may read them and think of something void of meaning; on the contrary, they are letters which convey the truth. They are pronounced only when they are known. Each letter is a perfect truth like a perfect book, for they are letters written by the hand of the unity, since the Father wrote them for the Aeons, so that they by means of his letters

    might come to know the Father.

    While his wisdom mediates on the logos, and since his teaching expresses it, his knowledge has been revealed. His honor is a crown upon it. Since his joy agrees with it, his glory exalted it. It has revealed his image. It has obtained his rest. His love took bodily form around it. His trust embraced it. Thus the logos of the Father goes forth into the All, being the fruit of his heart and expression of his will. It supports the All. It chooses and also takes the form of the All, purifying it, and causing it to return to the Father and to the Mother, Jesus of the utmost sweetness. The Father opens his bosom, but his bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals his hidden self which is his son, so that through the compassion of the Father the Aeons may know him, end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that this is rest. After he had filled what was incomplete, he did away with form. The form of it is the world, that which it served. For where there is envy and strife, there is an incompleteness; but where there is unity, there is completeness. Since this incompleteness came about because they did not know the Father, so when they know the Father, incompleteness, from that moment on, will cease to exist. As one’s ignorance disappears when he gains knowledge, and as darkness disappears when light appears, so also incompleteness is eliminated by completeness.

    Certainly, from that moment on, form is no longer manifest, but will be dissolved in fusion with unity. For now their works lie scattered. In time unity will make the spaces complete. By means of unity each one will understand itself. By means of knowledge it will purify itself of diversity with a view towards unity, devouring matter within itself like fire and darkness by light, death by life.

    Certainly, if these things have happened to each one of us, it is fitting for us, surely, to think about the All so that the house may be holy and silent for unity. Like people who have moved from a neighborhood, if they have some dishes around which are not good, they usually break them. Nevertheless the householder does not suffer a loss, but rejoices, for in the place of these defective dishes there are those which are completely perfect. For this is the judgement which has come from above and which has judged every person, a drawn two-edged sword cutting on this side and that. When it appeared, I mean, the Logos, who is in the heart of those who pronounce it – it was not merely a sound but it has become a body – a great disturbance occurred among the dishes, for some were emptied, others filled: some were provided for, others were removed; some were purified, still others were broken. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed for they had no composure nor stability. Error was disturbed not knowing what it should do. It was troubled; it lamented, it was beside itself because it did not know anything. When knowledge, which is its abolishment, approached it with all its emanations, error is empty, since there is nothing in it. Truth appeared; all its emanations recognized it. They actually greeted the Father with a power which is complete and which joins them with the Father. For each one loves truth because truth is the mouth of the Father. His tongue is

    the Holy Spirit, who joins him to truth attaching him to the mouth of the Father by his

    tongue at the time he shall receive the Holy Spirit.

    This is the manifestation of the Father and his revelation to his Aeons. He revealed his hidden self and explained it. For who is it who exists if it is not the Father himself? All the spaces are his emanations. They knew that they stem from him as children from a perfect man. They knew that they had not yet received form nor had they yet received a name, every one of which the Father produces. If they at that time receive form of his knowledge, though they are truly in him, they do not know him. But the Father is perfect. He knows every space which is within him. If he pleases, he reveals anyone whom he desires by giving him a form and by giving him a name; and he does give him a name and cause him to come into being. Those who do not yet exist are ignorant of him who created them. I do not say, then, that those who do not yet exist are nothing. But they are in him who will desire that they exist when he pleases, like the event which is going to happen. On the one hand, he knows, before anything is revealed, what he will produce. On the other hand, the fruit which has not yet been revealed does not know anything, nor is it anything either. Thus each space which, on its part, is in the Father comes from the existent one, who, on his part, has established it from the nonexistent. […] he who does not exist at all, will never exist.

    What, then, is that which he wants him to think? “I am like the shadows and phantoms of the night.” When morning comes, this one knows that the fear which he had experienced was nothing. Thus they were ignorant of the Father; he is the one whom they did not see.

    Since there had been fear and confusion and a lack of confidence and doublemindness and division, there were many illusions which were conceived by him, the foregoing, as well as empty ignorance – as if they were fast asleep and found themselves a prey to troubled dreams. Either there is a place to which they flee, or they lack strength as they come, having pursued unspecified things. Either they are involved in inflicting blows, or they themselves receive bruises. Either they are falling from high places, or they fly off through the air, though they have no wings at all. Other times, it is as if certain people were trying to kill them, even though there is no one pursuing them; or, they themselves are killing those beside them, for they are stained by their blood. Until the moment when they who are passing through all these things – I mean they who have experienced all these confusions – awake, they see nothing because the dreams were nothing. It is thus that they who cast ignorance from them as sheep do not consider it to be anything, nor regard its properties to be something real, but they renounce them like a dream in the night and they consider the knowledge of the Father to be the dawn. It is thus that each one has acted, as if he were asleep, during the time when he was ignorant and thus he comes to understand, as if he were awakening. And happy is the man who comes to himself and awakens. Indeed, blessed is he who has opened the eyes of the blind.

    And the Spirit came to him in haste when it raised him. Having given its hand to the one lying prone on the ground, it placed him firmly on his feet, for he had not yet stood up. He gave them the means of knowing the knowledge of the Father and the revelation of his son. For when they saw it and listened to it, he permitted them to take a taste of and to smell and to grasp the beloved son.

    He appeared, informing them of the Father, the illimitable one. He inspired them with that which is in the mind, while doing his will. Many received the light and turned towards him. But material men were alien to him and did not discern his appearance nor recognize him. For he came in the likeness of flesh and nothing blocked his way because it was incorruptible and unrestrainable. Moreover, while saying new things, speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, he proclaimed the faultless word. Light spoke through his mouth, and his voice brought forth life. He gave them thought and understanding and mercy and salvation and the Spirit of strength derived from the limitlessness of the Father and sweetness. He caused punishments and scourgings to cease, for it was they which caused many in need of mercy to astray from him in error and in chains – and he mightily destroyed them and derided them with knowledge. He became a path for those who went astray and knowledge to those who were ignorant, a discovery for those who sought, and a support for those who tremble, a purity for those who were defiled.

    He is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which had not strayed and went in search of that one which was lost. He rejoiced when he had found it. For ninety-nine is a number of the left hand, which holds it. The moment he finds the one, however, the whole number is transferred to the right hand. Thus it is with him who lacks the one, that is, the entire right hand which attracts that in which it is deficient, seizes it from the left side and transfers it to the right. In this way, then, the number becomes one hundred. This number signifies the Father.

    He labored even on the Sabbath for the sheep which he found fallen into the pit. He saved the life of that sheep, bringing it up from the pit in order that you may understand fully what that Sabbath is, you who possess full understanding. It is a day in which it is not fitting that salvation be idle, so that you may speak of that heavenly day which has no night and of the sun which does not set because it is perfect. Say then in your heart that you are this perfect day and that in you the light which does not fail dwells.

    Speak concerning the truth to those who seek it and of knowledge to those who, in their error, have committed sin. Make sure-footed those who stumble and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry and set at ease those who are troubled. Foster men who love. Raise up and awaken those who sleep. For you are this understanding which encourages. If the strong follow this course, they are even stronger. Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be concerned with other things, namely, that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed. Do not return to them to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you have already shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles, because that is reprehensible. For the lawless one is nothing. He harms himself more than the law. For that one does his works because he is a lawless person. But this one, because he is a righteous person, does his works among others. Do the will of the Father, then, for you are from him.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    For the Father is sweet and his will is good. He knows the things that are yours, so that you may rest yourselves in them. For by the fruits one knows the things that are yours, that they are the children of the Father, and one knows his aroma, that you originate from the grace of his countenance. For this reason, the Father loved his aroma; and it manifests itself in every place; and when it is mixed with matter, he gives his aroma to the light; and into his rest he causes it to ascend in every form and in every sound. For there are no nostrils which smell the aroma, but it is the Spirit which possesses the sense of smell and it draws it for itself to itself and sinks into the aroma of the Father. He is, indeed, the place for it, and he takes it to the place from which it has come, in the first aroma which is cold. It is something in a psychic form, resembling cold water which is […] since it is in soil which is not hard, of which those who see it think, “It is earth.” Afterwards, it becomes soft again. If a breath is taken, it is usually hot. The cold aromas, then, are from the division. For this reason, God came and destroyed the division and he brought the hot Pleroma of love, so that the cold may not return, but the unity of the Perfect Thought prevail.

    This is the word of the Gospel of the finding of the Pleroma for those who wait for the salvation which comes from above. When their hope, for which they are waiting, is waiting – they whose likeness is the light in which there is no shadow, then at that time the Pleroma is about to come. The deficiency of matter, however, is not because of the limitlessness of the Father who comes at the time of the deficiency. And yet no one is able to say that the incorruptible One will come in this manner. But the depth of the Father is increasing, and the thought of error is not with him. It is a matter of falling

    down and a matter of being readily set upright at the finding of that one who has come to

    him who will turn back.

    For this turning back is called “repentance”. For this reason, incorruption has breathed. It followed him who has sinned in order that he may find rest. For forgiveness is that which remains for the light in the deficiency, the word of the pleroma. For the physician hurries to the place in which there is sickness, because that is the desire which he has. The sick man is in a deficient condition, but he does not hide himself because the physician possesses that which he lacks. In this manner the deficiency is filled by the Pleroma, which has no deficiency, which has given itself out in order to fill the one who is deficient, so that grace may take him, then, from the area which is deficient and has no grace. Because of this a diminishing occurred in the place which there is no grace, the area where the one who is small, who is deficient, is taken hold of.

    He revealed himself as a Pleroma, i.e., the finding of the light of truth which has shined towards him, because he is unchangeable. For this reason, they who have been troubled speak about Christ in their midst so that they may receive a return and he may anoint them with the ointment. The ointment is the pity of the Father, who will have mercy on them. But those whom he has anointed are those who are perfect. For the filled vessels are those which are customarily used for anointing. But when an anointing is finished, the vessel is usually empty, and the cause of its deficiency is the consumption of its ointment. For then a breath is drawn only through the power which he has. But the one who is without deficiency – one does not trust anyone beside him nor does one pour anything out. But that which is the deficient is filled again by the perfect Father. He is good. He knows his plantings because he is the one who has planted them in his Paradise. And his Paradise is his place of rest.

    This is the perfection in the thought of the Father and these are the words of his reflection. Each one of his words is the work of his will alone, in the revelation of his Logos. Since they were in the depth of his mind, the Logos, who was the first to come forth, caused them to appear, along with an intellect which speaks the unique word by means of a silent grace. It was called “thought,” since they were in it before becoming manifest. It happened, then, that it was the first to come forth – at the moment pleasing to the will of him who desired it; and it is in the will that the Father is at rest and with which he is pleased. Nothing happens without him, nor does anything occur without the will of the Father. But his will is incomprehensible. His will is his mark, but no one can know it, nor is it possible for them to concentrate on it in order to possess it. But that which he wishes takes place at the moment he wishes it – even if the view does not please anyone: it is God`s will. For the Father knows the beginning of them all as well as their end. For when their end arrives, he will question them to their faces. The end, you see, is the recognition of him who is hidden, that is, the Father, from whom the beginning came forth and to whom will return all who have come from him. For they were made manifest for the glory and the joy of his name.

    And the name of the Father is the Son. It is he who, in the beginning, gave a name to him who came forth from him – he is the same one – and he begat him for a son. He gave him his name which belonged to him – he, the Father, who possesses everything which exists around him. He possess the name; he has the son. It is possible for them to see him. The name, however, is invisible, for it alone is the mystery of the invisible about to come to

    ears completely filled with it through the Father`s agency. Moreover, as for the Father, his name is not pronounced, but it is revealed through a son. Thus, then, the name is great.

    Who, then, has been able to pronounce a name for him, this great name, except him alone to whom the name belongs and the sons of the name in whom the name of the Father is at rest, and who themselves in turn are at rest in his name, since the Father has no beginning? It is he alone who engendered it for himself as a name in the beginning before he had created the Aeons, that the name of the Father should be over their heads as a lord

  • that is, the real name, which is secure by his authority and by his perfect power. For thename is not drawn from lexicons nor is his name derived from common name-giving, But it is invisible. He gave a name to himself alone, because he alone saw it and because he alone was capable of giving himself a name. For he who does not exist has no name. For what name would one give him who did not exist? Nevertheless, he who exists also with his name and he alone knows it, and to him alone the Father gave a name. The Son is his name. He did not, therefore, keep it secretly hidden, but the son came into existence. He himself gave a name to him. The name, then, is that of the Father, just as the name of the Father is the Son. For otherwise, where would compassion find a name – outside of the Father? But someone will probably say to his companion, “Who would give a name to someone who existed before himself, as if, indeed, children did not receive their name from one of those who gave them birth?”Above all, then, it is fitting for us to think this point over: What is the name? It is the real name. It is, indeed, the name which came from the Father, for it is he who owns the name. He did not, you see, get the name on loan, as in the case of others because of the form in which each one of them is going to be created. This, then, is the authoritative name. There is no one else to whom he has given it. But it remained unnamed, unuttered,`till the moment when he, who is perfect, pronounced it himself; and it was he alone whowas able to pronounce his name and to see it. When it pleased him, then, that his son should be his pronounced name and when he gave this name to him, he who has come from the depth spoke of his secrets, because he knew that the Father was absolute goodness. For this reason, indeed, he sent this particular one in order that he might speak concerning the place and his place of rest from which he had come forth, and that he might glorify the Pleroma, the greatness of his name and the sweetness of his Father.Each one will speak concerning the place from which he has come forth, and to the region from which he received his essential being, he will hasten to return once again. And he want from that place – the place where he was – because he tasted of that place, as he was nourished and grew. And his own place of rest is his Pleroma. All the emanations from the Father, therefore, are Pleromas, and all his emanations have their roots in the one who caused them all to grow from himself. He appointed a limit. They, then, became manifest individually in order that they might be in their own thought, for that place to which they extend their thoughts is their root, which lifts them upward through all heights to the Father. They reach his head, which is rest for them, and they remain there near to it so that they say that they have participated in his face by means of embraces. But these of this kind were not manifest, because they have not risen above themselves. Neither have

    they been deprived of the glory of the Father nor have they thought of him as small, nor bitter, nor angry, but as absolutely good, unperturbed, sweet, knowing all the spaces before they came into existence and having no need of instruction. Such are they who possess from above something of this immeasurable greatness, as they strain towards that unique and perfect one who exists there for them. And they do not go down to Hades. They have neither envy nor moaning, nor is death in them. But they rest in him who rests, without wearying themselves or becoming involved in the search for truth. But, they, indeed, are the truth, and the Father is in them, and they are in the Father, since they are perfect, inseparable from him who is truly good. They lack nothing in any way, but they are given rest and are refreshed by the Spirit. And they listen to their root; they have leisure for themselves, they in whom he will find his root, and he will suffer no loss to his soul.

    Such is the place of the blessed; this is their place. As for the rest, then, may they know, in their place, that it does not suit me, after having been in the place of rest to say anything more. But he is the one in whom I shall be in order to devote myself, at all

    times, to the Father of the All and the true brothers, those upon whom the love of the Father is lavished, and in whose midst nothing of him is lacking. It is they who manifest themselves truly since they are in that true and eternal life and speak of the perfect light filled with the seed of the Father, and which is in his heart and in the Pleroma, while his Spirit rejoices in it and glorifies him in whom it was, because the Father is good. And his children are perfect and worthy of his name, because he is the Father. Children of this kind are those whom he loves.

    From Robert M. Grant, Gnosticism (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961),

    as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984).

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Gospel of Truth

    image

    Translated by Harold W. Attridge and George W. MacRae

    The gospel of truth is joy for those who have received from the Father of truth the grace of knowing him, through the power of the Word that came forth from the pleroma, the one who is in the thought and the mind of the Father, that is, the one who is addressed as ‘the Savior’, (that) being the name of the work he is to perform for the redemption of those who were ignorant of the Father, while in the name of the gospel is the proclamation of hope, being discovery for those who search for him.

    When the totality went about searching for the one from whom they had come forth – and the totality was inside of him, the incomprehensible, inconceivable one who is superior to every thought – ignorance of the Father brought about anguish and terror; and the anguish grew solid like a fog, so that no one was able to see. For this reason, error became powerful; it worked on its own matter foolishly, not having known the truth. It set about with a creation, preparing with power and beauty the substitute for the truth.

    This was not, then, a humiliation for him, the incomprehensible, inconceivable one, for they were nothing, the anguish and the oblivion and the creature of deceit, while the established truth is immutable, imperturbable, perfect in beauty. For this reason, despise error.

    Thus, it had no root; it fell into a fog regarding the Father, while it was involved in preparing works and oblivions and terrors, in order that by means of these it might entice those of the middle and capture them.

    The oblivion of error was not revealed. It is not a […] from the Father. Oblivion did not come into existence from the Father, although it did indeed come into existence because of him. But what comes into existence in him is knowledge, which appeared in order that oblivion might vanish and the Father might be known. Since oblivion came into existence because the Father was not known, then if the Father comes to be known, oblivion will not exist from that moment on.

    Through this, the gospel of the one who is searched for, which <was> revealed to those who are perfect, through the mercies of the Father, the hidden mystery, Jesus, the Christ, enlightened those who were in darkness through oblivion. He enlightened them; he showed (them) a way; and the way is the truth which he taught them.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    For this reason, error grew angry at him, persecuted him, was distressed at him, (and) was brought to naught. He was nailed to a tree (and) he became fruit of the knowledge of the Father. It did not, however, cause destruction because it was eaten, but to those who ate it, it gave (cause) to become glad in the discovery, and he discovered them in himself, and they discovered him in themselves.

    As for the incomprehensible, inconceivable one, the Father, the perfect one, the one who made the totality, within him is the totality, and of him the totality has need. Although he retained their perfection within himself, which he did not give to the totality, the Father was not jealous. What jealousy indeed (could there be) between himself and his members? For if this aeon had thus received their perfection, they could not have come […] the Father. He retains within himself their perfection, granting it to them as a return to him, and a perfectly unitary knowledge. It is he who fashioned the totality, and within him is the totality, and the totality was in need of him.

    As in the case of a person of whom some are ignorant, he wishes to have them know him and love him, so – for what did the totality have need of if not knowledge regarding the Father? – he became a guide, restful and leisurely. In schools he appeared, (and) he spoke the word as a teacher. There came the men wise in their own estimation, putting him to the test. But he confounded them, because they were foolish. They hated him, because they were not really wise.

    After all these, there came the little children also, those to whom the knowledge of the Father belongs. Having been strengthened, they learned about the impressions of the Father. They knew, they were known; they were glorified, they glorified. There was manifested in their heart the living book of the living – the one written in the thought and the mind of the Father, which from before the foundation of the totality was within his incomprehensibility – that (book) which no one was able to take, since it remains for the one who will take it to be slain. No one could have become manifest from among those who have believed in salvation unless that book had appeared. For this reason, the merciful one, the faithful one, Jesus, was patient in accepting sufferings until he took that book, since he knows that his death is life for many.

    Just as there lies hidden in a will, before it is opened, the fortune of the deceased master of the house, so (it is) with the totality, which lay hidden while the Father of the totality was invisible, being something which is from him, from whom every space comes forth. For this reason Jesus appeared; he put on that book; he was nailed to a tree; he published the edict of the Father on the cross. O such great teaching! He draws himself down to death, though life eternal clothes him. Having stripped himself of the perishable rags, he put on imperishability, which no one can possibly take away from him. Having entered the empty spaces of terrors, he passed through those who were stripped naked by oblivion, being knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart, […] teach those who will receive teaching.

    But those who are to receive teaching are the living, who are inscribed in the book of the living. It is about themselves that they receive instruction, receiving it from the Father,

    turning again to him. Since the perfection of the totality is in the Father, it is necessary for the totality to ascend to him. Then, if one has knowledge, he receives what are his own, and draws them to himself. For he who is ignorant is in need, and what he lacks is great, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the totality is in the Father, and it is necessary for the totality to ascend to him, and for each one to receive what are his own, he enrolled them in advance, having prepared them to give to those who came forth from him.

    Those whose name he knew in advance were called at the end, so that one who has knowledge is the one whose name the Father has uttered. For he whose name has not been spoken is ignorant. Indeed, how is one to hear, if his name has not been called? For he who is ignorant until the end is a creature of oblivion, and he will vanish along with it. If not, how is it that these miserable ones have no name, (that) they do not have the call? Therefore, if one has knowledge, his is from above. If he is called, he hears, he answers, and he turns to him who is calling him, and ascends to him. And he knows in what manner he is called. Having knowledge, he does the will of the one who called him, he wishes to be pleasing to him, he receives rest. Each one’s name comes to him. He who is to have knowledge in this manner knows where he comes from and where he is going. He knows as one who, having become drunk, has turned away from his drunkenness, (and) having returned to himself, has set right what are his own.

    He has brought many back from error. He has gone before them to their places, from which they had moved away, since it was on account of the depth that they received error, the depth of the one who encircles all spaces, while there is none that encircles him. It was a great wonder that they were in the Father, not knowing him, and (that) they were able to come forth by themselves, since they were unable to comprehend or to know the one in whom they were. For if his will had not thus emerged from him – for he revealed it in view of a knowledge in which all its emanations concur.

    This is the knowledge of the living book, which he revealed to the aeons at the end as his letters, revealing how they are not vowels nor are they consonants, so that one might read them and think of something foolish, but (rather that) they are letters of the truth, which they alone speak who know them. Each letter is a complete <thought>, like a complete book, since they are letters written by the Unity, the Father having written them for the aeons, in order that by means of his letters they should know the Father.

    While his wisdom contemplates the Word, and his teaching utters it, his knowledge has revealed <it>. While forebearance is a crown upon it, and his gladness is in harmony with it, his glory has exalted it, his image has revealed it, his repose has received it into itself, his love has made a body over it, his fidelity has embraced it. In this way, the Word of the Father goes forth in the totality, as the fruit of his heart and an impression of his will. But it supports the totality, purifying them, bringing them back into the Father, into the Mother, Jesus of the infinite sweetness.

    The Father reveals his bosom. – Now his bosom is the Holy Spirit. – He reveals what is hidden of him – what is hidden of him is his Son – so that through the mercies of the

    Father, the aeons may know him and cease laboring in search of the Father, resting there in him, knowing that this is the (final) rest. Having filled the deficiency, he abolished the form – the form of it is the world, that in which he served. – For the place where there is envy and strife is deficient, but the place where (there is) Unity is perfect. Since the deficiency came into being because the Father was not known, therefore, when the Father is known, from that moment on, the deficiency will no longer exist. As in the case of the ignorance of a person, when he comes to have knowledge, his ignorance vanishes of itself, as the darkness vanishes when the light appears, so also the deficiency vanishes in the perfection. So from that moment on, the form is not apparent, but it will vanish in the fusion of Unity, for now their works lie scattered. In time, Unity will perfect the spaces. It is within Unity that each one will attain himself; within knowledge, he will purify himself from multiplicity into Unity, consuming matter within himself like fire, and darkness by light, death by life.

    If indeed these things have happened to each one of us, then we must see to it above all that the house will be holy and silent for the Unity – as in the case of some people who moved out of dwellings having jars that in spots were not good. They would break them, and the master of the house would not suffer loss. Rather, <he> is glad, because in place of the bad jars (there are) full ones which are made perfect. For such is the judgment which has come from above. It has passed judgment on everyone; it is a drawn sword, with two edges, cutting on either side. When the Word appeared, the one that is within the heart of those who utter it – it is not a sound alone, but it became a body – a great disturbance took place among the jars, because some had been emptied, others filled; that is, some had been supplied, others poured out, some had been purified, still others broken up. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed, because they had no order nor stability. Error was upset, not knowing what to do; it was grieved, in mourning, afflicting itself because it knew nothing. When knowledge drew near it – this is the downfall of (error) and all its emanations – error is empty, having nothing inside.

    Truth appeared; all its emanations knew it. They greeted the Father in truth with a perfect power that joins them with the Father. For, as for everyone who loves the truth – because the truth is the mouth of the Father; his tongue is the Holy Spirit – he who is joined to the truth is joined to the Father’s mouth by his tongue, whenever he is to receive the Holy Spirit, since this is the manifestation of the Father, and his revelation to his aeons.

    He manifested what was hidden of him; he explained it. For who contains, if not the Father alone? All the spaces are his emanations. They have known that they came forth from him, like children who are from a grown man. They knew that they had not yet received form, nor yet received a name, each one of which the Father begets. Then, when they receive form by his knowledge, though truly within him, they do not know him. But the Father is perfect, knowing every space within him. If he wishes, he manifests whomever he wishes, by giving him form and giving him a name, and he gives a name to him, and brings it about that those come into existence who, before they come into existence, are ignorant of him who fashioned them.

    I do not say, then, that they are nothing (at all) who have not yet come into existence, but they are in him who will wish that they come into existence when he wishes, like the time that is to come. Before all things appear, he knows what he will produce. But the fruit which is not yet manifest does not know anything, nor does it do anything. Thus also, every space which is itself in the Father is from the one who exists, who established it from what does not exist. For he who has no root has no fruit either, but though he thinks to himself, “I have come into being,” yet he will perish by himself. For this reason, he who did not exist at all will never come into existence. What, then, did he wish him to think of himself? This: “I have come into being like the shadows and phantoms of the night.” When the light shines on the terror which that person had experienced, he knows that it is nothing.

    Thus, they were ignorant of the Father, he being the one whom they did not see. Since it was terror and disturbance and instability and doubt and division, there were many illusions at work by means of these, and (many) empty fictions, as if they were sunk in sleep, and found themselves in disturbing dreams. Either (there is) a place to which they are fleeing, or without strength they come (from) having chased after others, or they are involved in striking blows, or they are receiving blows themselves, or they have fallen from high places, or they take off into the air, though they do not even have wings. Again, sometimes (it is as) if people were murdering them, though there is no one even pursuing them, or they themselves are killing their neighbors, for they have been stained with their blood. When those who are going through all these things wake up, they see nothing, they who were in the midst of all these disturbances, for they are nothing. Such is the way of those who have cast ignorance aside from them like sleep, not esteeming it as anything, nor do they esteem its works as solid things either, but (rather,) they leave them behind like a dream in the night. The knowledge of the Father, they value as the dawn. This is the way each one has acted, as though asleep at the time when he was ignorant. And this is the way he has <come to knowledge>, as if he had awakened. {and} Good for the man who will return and awaken. And blessed is he who has opened the eyes of the blind.

    And the Spirit ran after him, hastening from waking him up. Having extended his hand to him who lay upon the ground, he set him up on his feet, for he had not yet risen. He gave them the means of knowing the knowledge of the Father and the revelation of his Son. For when they had seen him and had heard him, he granted them to taste him, and to smell him, and to touch the beloved Son.

    When he had appeared, instructing them about the Father, the incomprehensible one, when he had breathed into them what is in the thought, doing his will, when many had received the light, they turned to him. For the material ones were strangers, and did not see his likeness, and had not known him. For he came by means of fleshly form, while nothing blocked his course, because incorruptibility is irresistible, since he, again, spoke new things, still speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, having brought forth the flawless Word.

    When light had spoken through his mouth, as well as his voice, which gave birth to life, he gave them thought and understanding, and mercy and salvation, and the powerful spirit from the infiniteness and the sweetness of the Father. Having made punishments and tortures cease – for it was they which were leading astray from his face some who were in need of mercy, in error and in bonds – he both destroyed them with power and confounded them with knowledge. He became a way for those who were gone astray, and knowledge for those who were ignorant, a discovery for those who were searching, and a support for those who were wavering, immaculateness for those who were defiled.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    He is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which were not lost. He went searching for the one which had gone astray. He rejoiced when he found it, for ninety- nine is a number that is in the left hand, which holds it. But when the one is found, the entire number passes to the right (hand). As that which lacks the one – that is, the entire right (hand) – draws what was deficient and takes it from the left-hand side and brings (it) to the right, so too the number becomes one hundred. It is the sign of the one who is in their sound; it is the Father. Even on the Sabbath, he labored for the sheep which he found fallen into the pit. He gave life to the sheep, having brought it up from the pit, in order that you might know interiorly – you, the sons of interior knowledge – what is the Sabbath, on which it is not fitting for salvation to be idle, in order that you may speak from the day from above, which has no night, and from the light which does not sink, because it is perfect.

    Say, then, from the heart, that you are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does not fail. Speak of the truth with those who search for it, and (of) knowledge to those who have committed sin in their error. Make firm the foot of those who have stumbled, and stretch out your hands to those who are ill. Feed those who are hungry, and give repose to those who are weary, and raise up those who wish to rise, and awaken those who sleep. For you are the understanding that is drawn forth. If strength acts thus, it becomes even stronger. Be concerned with yourselves; do not be concerned with other things which you have rejected from yourselves. Do not return to what you have vomited, to eat it. Do not be moths. Do not be worms, for you have already cast it off. Do not become a (dwelling) place for the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen (those who are) obstacles to you, who are collapsing, as though (you were) a support (for them). For the lawless one is someone to treat ill, rather than the just one. For the former does his work as a lawless person; the latter as a righteous person does his work among others. So you, do the will of the Father, for you are from him.

    For the Father is sweet, and in his will is what is good. He has taken cognizance of the things that are yours, that you might find rest in them. For by the fruits does one take cognizance of the things that are yours, because the children of the Father are his fragrance, for they are from the grace of his countenance. For this reason, the Father loves his fragrance, and manifests it in every place. And if it mixes with matter, he gives his fragrance to the light, and in his repose, he causes it to surpass every form (and) every sound. For it is not the ears that smell the fragrance, but (it is) the breath that has the sense of smell and attracts the fragrance to itself, and is submerged in the fragrance of the Father, so that he thus shelters it, and takes it to the place where it came from, from the

    first fragrance, which is grown cold. It is something in a psychic form, being like cold water which has frozen (?), which is on earth that is not solid, of which those who see it think it is earth; afterwards, it dissolves again. If a breath draws it, it gets hot. The fragrances, therefore, that are cold are from the division. For this reason, faith came; it dissolved the division, and it brought the warm pleroma of love, in order that the cold should not come again, but (that) there should be the unity of perfect thought.

    This <is> the word of the gospel of the discovery of the pleroma, for those who await the salvation which is coming from on high. While their hope, for which they are waiting, is in waiting – they whose image is light with no shadow in it – then, at that time, the pleroma is proceeding to come. The <deficiency> of matter came to be not through the limitlessness of the Father, who is coming to give time for the deficiency, although no one could say that the incorruptible one would come in this way. But the depth of the

    Father was multiplied, and the thought of error did not exist with him. It is a thing that

    falls, (and) it is a thing that easily stands upright (again), in the discovery of him who has come to him whom he shall bring back. For the bringing-back is called ‘repentence’.

    For this reason, incorruptibility breathed forth; it pursued the one who had sinned, in order that he might rest. For forgiveness is what remains for the light in the deficiency, the word of the pleroma. For the physician runs to the place where sickness is, because that is the will that is in him. He who has a deficiency, then, does not hide it, because one has what the other lacks. So the pleroma, which has no deficiency, but (which) fills up the deficiency, is what he provided from himself for filling up what he lacks, in order that therefore he might receive the grace. For when he was deficient, he did not have the grace. That is why there was diminution existing in the place where there is no grace. When that which was diminished was received, he revealed what he lacked, being (now) a pleroma; that is the discovery of the light of truth which rose upon him because it is immutable.

    That is why Christ was spoken of in their midst, so that those who were disturbed might receive a bringing-back, and he might anoint them with the ointment. This ointment is the mercy of the Father, who will have mercy on them. But those whom he has anointed are the ones who have become perfect. For full jars are the ones that are usually anointed. But when the anointing of one (jar) is dissolved, it is emptied, and the reason for there being a deficiency is the thing by which its ointment goes. For at that time a breath draws it, a thing in the power of that which is with it. But from him who has no deficiency, no seal is removed, nor is anything emptied, but what he lacks, the perfect Father fills again. He is good. He knows his plantings, because it is he who planted them in his paradise. Now his paradise is his place of rest.

    This is the perfection in the thought of the Father, and these are the words of his meditation. Each one of his words is the work of his one will in the revelation of his Word. While they were still depths of his thought, the Word, which was first to come forth, revealed them, along with a mind that speaks the one Word in silent grace. He was called ‘thought’, since they were in it before being revealed. It came about, then, that he was first to come forth, at the time when the will of him who willed desired it. And the

    will is what the Father rests in, and is pleased with. Nothing happens without him, nor does anything happen without the will of the Father, but his will is unsearchable. His trace is the will, and no one will know him, nor is it possible for one to scrutinize him, in order to grasp him. But when he wills, what he wills is this – even if the sight does not please them in any way before God – desiring the Father. For he knows the beginning of all of them, and their end. For at their end, he will question them directly. Now, the end is receiving knowledge about the one who is hidden, and this is the Father, from whom the beginning came forth, (and) to whom all will return who have come forth from him. And they have appeared for the glory and the joy of his name.

    Now the name of the Father is the Son. It is he who first gave a name to the one who came forth from him, who was himself, and he begot him as a son. He gave him his name, which belonged to him; he is the one to whom belongs all that exists around him, the Father. His is the name; his is the Son. It is possible for him to be seen. The name, however, is invisible, because it alone is the mystery of the invisible, which comes to ears that are completely filled with it by him. For indeed, the Father’s name is not spoken, but (rather,) it is apparent through a Son.

    In this way, then, the name is a great thing. Who, therefore, will be able to utter a name for him, the great name, except him alone to whom the name belongs, and the sons of the name, in whom rested the name of the Father, (who) in turn themselves rested in his name? Since the Father is unengendered, he alone is the one who begot him for him(self) as a name, before he brought forth the aeons, in order that the name of the Father should be over their head as lord, that is the name in truth, which is firm in his command, through perfect power. For the name is not from (mere) words, nor does his name consist of appellations, but (rather,) it is invisible. He gave a name to him alone, since he alone sees him, he alone having the power to give him a name. For he who does not exist has no name. For what name is given to him who does not exist? But the one who exists, exists also with his name, and he alone knows it, and (he) alone (knows how) to give him a name. It is the Father. The Son is his name. He did not, therefore, hide it in the thing, but it existed; as for the Son, he alone gave a name. The name, therefore, is that of the Father, as the name of the Father is the Son. Where indeed would compassion find a name, except with the Father?

    But no doubt one will say to his neighbor: “Who is it who will give a name to him who existed before himself, as if offspring did not receive a name from those who begot

    <them>?” First, then, it is fitting for us to reflect on this matter: What is the name? It is

    the name in truth; it is not therefore the name from the Father, for it is the one which is the proper name. Therefore, he did not receive the name on loan, as (do) others, according to the form in which each one is to be produced. But this is the proper name. There is no one else who gave it to him. But he <is> unnamable, indescribable, until the time when he who is perfect spoke of him alone. And it is he who has the power to speak his name, and to see it.

    When, therefore, it pleased him that his name, which is loved, should be his Son, and he gave the name to him, that is, him who came forth from the depth, he spoke about his

    secret things, knowing that the Father is a being without evil. For that very reason, he brought him forth in order to speak about the place, and (about) his resting-place, from which he had come forth, and to glorify the pleroma, the greatness of his name, and the sweetness of the Father. About the place each one came from, he will speak, and to the region where he received his establishment, he will hasten to return again and to take from that place – the place where he stood – receiving a taste from that place, and receiving nourishment, receiving growth. And his own resting-place is his pleroma.

    Therefore, all the emanations of the Father are pleromas, and the root of all his emanations is in the one who made them all grow up in himself. He assigned them their destinies. Each one, then, is manifest, in order that through their own thought <…>. For the place to which they send their thought, that place, their root, is what takes them up in all the heights, to the Father. They possess his head, which is rest for them, and they are supported, approaching him, as though to say that they have participated in his face by means of kisses. But they do not become manifest in this way, for they are not themselves exalted; (yet) neither did they lack the glory of the Father, nor did they think of him as small, nor that he is harsh, nor that he is wrathful, but (rather that) he is a being without evil, imperturbable, sweet, knowing all spaces before they have come into existence, and he had no need to be instructed.

    This is the manner of those who possess (something) from above of the immensurable greatness, as they wait for the one alone, and the perfect one, the one who is there for them. And they do not go down to Hades, nor have they envy nor groaning nor death within them, but (rather) they rest in him who is at rest, not striving nor being twisted around the truth. But they themselves are the truth; and the Father is within them, and they are in the Father, being perfect, being undivided in the truly good one, being in no way deficient in anything, but they are set at rest, refreshed in the Spirit. And they will

    heed their root. They will be concerned with those (things) in which he will find his root,

    and not suffer loss to his soul. This is the place of the blessed; this is their place.

    For the rest, then, may they know, in their places, that it is not fitting for me, having come to be in the resting-place, to speak of anything else. But it is in it that I shall come to be, and (it is fitting) to be concerned at all times with the Father of the all, and the true brothers, those upon whom the love of the Father is poured out, and in whose midst there is no lack of him. They are the ones who appear in truth, since they exist in true and eternal life, and (since they) speak of the light which is perfect, and (which is) filled with the seed of the Father, and which is in his heart and in the pleroma, while his Spirit rejoices in it and glorifies the one in whom it existed, because he is good. And his children are perfect and worthy of his name, for he is the Father; it is children of this kind that he loves.

    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

    The Hypostasis of the Archons

    (The Reality of the Rulers)

    image

    Translated by Bentley Layton

    On account of the reality of the authorities, (inspired) by the spirit of the father of truth, the great apostle – referring to the “authorities of the darkness” – told us that “our contest is not against flesh and blood; rather, the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness.” I have sent this (to you) because you inquire about the reality of the authorities.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Their chief is blind; because of his power and his ignorance and his arrogance he said, with his power, “It is I who am God; there is none apart from me.” When he said this, he sinned against the entirety. And this speech got up to incorruptibility; then there was a voice that came forth from incorruptibility, saying, “You are mistaken, Samael” – which is, “god of the blind.”

    His thoughts became blind. And, having expelled his power – that is, the blasphemy he had spoken – he pursued it down to chaos and the abyss, his mother, at the instigation of Pistis Sophia. And she established each of his offspring in conformity with its power – after the pattern of the realms that are above, for by starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented.

    As incorruptibility looked down into the region of the waters, her image appeared in the waters; and the authorities of the darkness became enamored of her. But they could not lay hold of that image, which had appeared to them in the waters, because of their weakness – since beings that merely possess a soul cannot lay hold of those that possess a spirit – for they were from below, while it was from above. This is the reason why

    “incorruptibility looked down into the region (etc.)”: so that, by the father’s will, she might bring the entirety into union with the light.

    The rulers laid plans and said, “Come, let us create a man that will be soil from the earth.” They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth. Now the rulers […] body […] they have […] female […] is […] with the face of a beast. They had taken some soil from the earth and modeled their man after their body and after the image of God that had appeared to them in the waters. They said, “Come, let us lay hold of it by means of the form that we have modeled, so that it may see its male counterpart […], and we may seize it with the form that we have modeled” – not understanding the force of God, because of

    their powerlessness. And he breathed into his face; and the man came to have a soul (and remained) upon the ground many days. But they could not make him arise because of their powerlessness. Like storm winds they persisted (in blowing), that they might try to capture that image, which had appeared to them in the waters. And they did not know the identity of its power.

    Now all these things came to pass by the will of the father of the entirety. Afterwards, the spirit saw the soul-endowed man upon the ground. And the spirit came forth from the Adamantine Land; it descended and came to dwell within him, and that man became a living soul. It called his name Adam, since he was found moving upon the ground. A voice came forth from incorruptibility for the assistance of Adam; and the rulers gathered together all the animals of the earth and all the birds of heaven and brought them in to Adam to see what Adam would call them, that he might give a name to each of the birds and all the beasts.

    They took Adam and put him the garden, that he might cultivate it and keep watch over it. And the rulers issued a command to him, saying, “From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat, nor touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.”

    They […] this. They do not understand what they have said to him; rather, by the father’s will, they said this in such a way that he might (in fact) eat, and that Adam might <not> regard them as would a man of an exclusively material nature.

    The rulers took counsel with one another and said, “Come, let us cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” And he slept. – Now the deep sleep that they “caused to fall upon him, and he slept” is Ignorance. – They opened his side like a living woman. And they built up his side with some flesh in place of her, and Adam came to be endowed only with soul.

    And the spirit-endowed woman came to him and spoke with him, saying, “Arise, Adam.” And when he saw her, he said, “It is you who have given me life; you will be called ‘mother of the living’. – For it is she who is my mother. It is she who is the physician, and the woman, and she who has given birth.”

    Then the authorities came up to their Adam. And when they saw his female counterpart speaking with him, they became agitated with great agitation; and they became enamored of her. They said to one another, “Come, let us sow our seed in her,” and they pursued her. And she laughed at them for their witlessness and their blindness; and in their clutches she became a tree, and left before them her shadowy reflection resembling herself; and they defiled it foully. – And they defiled the stamp of her voice, so that by the form they had modeled, together with their (own) image, they made themselves liable to condemnation.

    Then the female spiritual principle came in the snake, the instructor; and it taught them, saying, “What did he say to you? Was it, ‘From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet

  • from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat’?”The carnal woman said, “Not only did he say ‘Do not eat’, but even ‘Do not touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.'”And the snake, the instructor, said, “With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather your eyes shall open and you shall come to belike gods, recognizing evil and good.” And the female instructing principle was taken away from the snake, and she left it behind, merely a thing of the earth.And the carnal woman took from the tree and ate; and she gave to her husband as well as herself; and these beings that possessed only a soul, ate. And their imperfection becameapparent in their lack of knowledge; and they recognized that they were naked of the spiritual element, and took fig leaves and bound them upon their loins.

    Then the chief ruler came; and he said, “Adam! Where are you?” – for he did not understand what had happened. And Adam said, “I heard your voice and was afraid because I was naked; and I hid.”

    The ruler said, “Why did you hide, unless it is because you have eaten from the tree from which alone I commanded you not to eat? And you have eaten!”

    Adam said, “The woman that you gave me, she gave to me and I ate.” And the arrogant ruler cursed the woman.

    The woman said, “It was the snake that led me astray and I ate.” They turned to the snake and cursed its shadowy reflection, […] powerless, not comprehending that it was a form

    they themselves had modeled. From that day, the snake came to be under the curse of the authorities; until the all-powerful man was to come, that curse fell upon the snake.

    They turned to their Adam and took him and expelled him from the garden along with his wife; for they have no blessing, since they too are beneath the curse. Moreover, they threw mankind into great distraction and into a life of toil, so that their mankind might be occupied by worldly affairs, and might not have the opportunity of being devoted to the holy spirit.

    Now afterwards, she bore Cain, their son; and Cain cultivated the land. Thereupon he knew his wife; again becoming pregnant, she bore Abel; and Abel was a herdsman of sheep. Now Cain brought in from the crops of his field, but Abel brought in an offering (from) among his lambs. God looked upon the votive offerings of Abel; but he did not accept the votive offerings of Cain. And carnal Cain pursued Abel, his brother.

    And God said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He answered saying, “Am I, then, my brother’s keeper?”

    God said to Cain, “Listen! The voice of your brother’s blood is crying up to me! You have sinned with your mouth. It will return to you: anyone who kills Cain will let loose

    seven vengeances, and you will exist groaning and trembling upon the earth.”

    And Adam knew his female counterpart Eve, and she became pregnant, and bore Seth to Adam. And she said, “I have borne another man through God, in place of Abel.” Again Eve became pregnant, and she bore Norea. And she said, “He has begotten on me a virgin as an assistance for many generations of mankind.” She is the virgin whom the forces did not defile.

    Then mankind began to multiply and improve. The rulers took counsel with one another and said, “Come, let us cause a deluge with our hands and obliterate all flesh, from man to beast.” But when the ruler of the forces came to know of their decision, he said to Noah, “Make yourself an ark from some wood that does not rot and hide in it – you and your children and the beasts and the birds of heaven from small to large – and set it upon Mount Sir.”

    Then Orea came to him, wanting to board the ark. And when he would not let her, she blew upon the ark and caused it to be consumed by fire. Again he made the ark, for a second time.

    The rulers went to meet her, intending to lead her astray. Their supreme chief said to her, “Your mother Eve came to us.” But Norea turned to them and said to them, “It is you who are the rulers of the darkness; you are accursed. And you did not know my mother; instead it was your female counterpart that you knew. For I am not your descendant; rather it is from the world above that I am come.”

    The arrogant ruler turned, with all his might, and his countenance came to be like (a) black […]; he said to her presumptuously, “You must render service to us, as did also your mother Eve; for I have been given […].” But Norea turned, with the might of […]; and in a loud voice, she cried out up to the holy one, the God of the entirety, “Rescue me from the rulers of unrighteousness and save me from their clutches – forthwith!”

    The <great> angel came down from the heavens and said to her, “Why are you crying up to God? Why do you act so boldly towards the holy spirit?”

    Norea said, “Who are you?” The rulers of unrighteousness had withdrawn from her. He said, “It is I who am Eleleth, sagacity, the great angel who stands in the presence of

    the holy spirit. I have been sent to speak with you and save you from the grasp of the lawless. And I shall teach you about your root.”

    (Norea apparently now speaking) Now as for that angel, I cannot speak of his power: his appearance is like fine gold and his raiment is like snow. No, truly, my mouth cannot bear to speak of his power and the appearance of his face!

    Eleleth, the great angel, spoke to me. “It is I,” he said, “who am understanding. I am one of the four light-givers, who stand in the presence of the great invisible spirit. Do you think these rulers have any power over you? None of them can prevail against the root of truth; for on its account he appeared in the final ages; and these authorities will be restrained. And these authorities cannot defile you and that generation; for your abode is in incorruptibility, where the virgin spirit dwells, who is superior to the authorities of chaos and to their universe.”

    But I said, “Sir, teach me about the faculty of these authorities – how did they come into being, and by what kind of genesis, and of what material, and who created them and their force?”

    And the great angel Eleleth, understanding, spoke to me: “Within limitless realms dwells incorruptibility. Sophia, who is called Pistis, wanted to create something, alone without her consort; and her product was a celestial thing. A veil exists between the world above and the realms that are below; and shadow came into being beneath the veil; and that shadow became matter; and that shadow was projected apart. And what she had created became a product in the matter, like an aborted fetus. And it assumed a plastic form molded out of shadow, and became an arrogant beast resembling a lion. It was androgynous, as I have already said, because it was from matter that it derived.

    Opening his eyes, he saw a vast quantity of matter without limit; and he became arrogant, saying, “It is I who am God, and there is none other apart from me”. When he said this, he sinned against the entirety. And a voice came forth from above the realm of absolute power, saying, “You are mistaken, Samael” – which is, ‘god of the blind’.

    And he said, “If any other thing exists before me, let it become visible to me!” And immediately Sophia stretched forth her finger and introduced light into matter; and she pursued it down to the region of chaos. And she returned up to her light; once again darkness […] matter.

    This ruler, by being androgynous, made himself a vast realm, an extent without limit. And he contemplated creating offspring for himself, and created for himself seven offspring, androgynous just like their parent. And he said to his offspring, “It is I who am god of the entirety.”

    And Zoe (Life), the daughter of Pistis Sophia, cried out and said to him, “You are mistaken, Sakla!” – for which the alternative name is Yaltabaoth. She breathed into his face, and her breath became a fiery angel for her; and that angel bound Yaldabaoth and cast him down into Tartaros below the abyss.

    Now when his offspring Sabaoth saw the force of that angel, he repented and condemned his father and his mother, matter. He loathed her, but he sang songs of praise up to Sophia and her daughter Zoe. And Sophia and Zoe caught him up and gave him charge of the seventh heaven, below the veil between above and below. And he is called ‘God of the forces, Sabaoth’, since he is up above the forces of chaos, for Sophia established him.

    Now when these (events) had come to pass, he made himself a huge four-faced chariot of cherubim, and infinitely many angels to act as ministers, and also harps and lyres. And Sophia took her daughter Zoe and had her sit upon his right to teach him about the things that exist in the eighth (heaven); and the angel of wrath she placed upon his left. Since that day, his right has been called ‘life’; and the left has come to represent the

    unrighteousness of the realm of absolute power above. It was before your time that they came into being.

    Now when Yaldabaoth saw him (Sabaoth) in this great splendor and at this height, he envied him; and the envy became an androgynous product, and this was the origin of envy. And envy engendered death; and death engendered his offspring and gave each of

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    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 GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    Hypsiphrone

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    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 GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Interpretation of Knowledge

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    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.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    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 GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Letter of Peter to Philip

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    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 […].”

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–
    […] Then Peter gathered together the others also, saying, “O, Lord Jesus Christ, author of our rest, give us a spirit of understanding in order that we also may perform wonders.”

    Then Peter and the other apostles saw him, and they were filled with a holy spirit, And each one performed healings. And they parted in order to preach the Lord Jesus. And they came together and greeted each other saying, “Amen.”

    Then Jesus appeared saying to them, “Peace to you all and everyone who believes in my name. And when you depart, joy be to you and grace and power. And be not afraid; behold, I am with you forever.”

    Then the apostles parted from each other into four words in order to preach. And they went by a power of Jesus, in peace.

    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

    Marsanes

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    Translated by Birger A. Pearson

    … (10 lines unrecoverable)

    … and a reward. They came to know; they found him with a pure heart, (and) they are not afflicted by him with evils. Those who have received you (pl.) will be given their choice reward for endurance, and he will ward off the evils from them. But let none of us be

    distressed and think in his heart that the great Father […]. For he looks upon the All and

    takes care of them all. And he has shown to them his […]. Those that …

    … (10 lines unrecoverable)

    … at first.

    But as for the thirteenth seal, I have established it, together with the summit of knowledge and the certainty of rest. The first and the second and the third are the worldly and the material. I have informed you concerning these, that you should […] your bodies. And a sense-perceptible power will […] those who will rest, and they will be kept from passion and division of the union.

    The fourth and the fifth, which are above, these you have come to know […] divine. He exists after the […] and the nature of the […], that is, the one who […] three. And I have informed you of […] in the three […] by these two. I have informed you concerning it, that it is incorporeal … (1 line unrecoverable) … and after […] within […] every […] which […] your […]. The fifth, concerning the conversion of those that are within me, and concerning those who dwell in that place.

    But the sixth, concerning the self-begotten ones, concerning the incorporeal being which exists partially, together with those who exist in the truth of the All […] for understanding and assurance. And the seventh, concerning the self-begotten power, which is the third perfect […] fourth, concerning salvation and wisdom. And the eighth, concerning the mind, which is male, which appeared in the beginning, and (concerning) the being which is incorporeal and the intelligible world. The ninth, […] of the power which appeared in the beginning. The tenth, concerning Barbelo, the virgin […] of the Aeon. The eleventh and the twelfth speak of the Invisible One who possesses three powers, and the Spirit which does not have being, belonging to the first Unbegotten (fem.). The thirteenth speaks concerning the Silent One who was not known, and the primacy of the one who was not distinguished.

    For I am he who has understood that which truly exists, whether partially or wholly, according to difference and sameness, that they exist from the beginning in the entire place which is eternal, <i.e.> all those that have come into existence, whether without being or with being, those who are unbegotten, and the divine aeons, together with the angels, and the souls which are without guile, and the soul-garments, the likenesses of the simple ones. And afterwards, they have been mixed with […] them. But still […] the entire being […] which imitates the incorporeal being and the unsubstantial (fem.). Finally the entire defilement was saved, together with the immortality of the former (fem.). I have deliberated, and have attained to the boundary of the sense-perceptible world. <I have come to know> part by part the entire place of the incorporeal being, and <I> have come to know the intelligible world. <I have come to know>, when <I> was deliberating, whether in every respect the sense-perceptible world is worthy of being saved entirely.

    For I have not ceased speaking of the Self-begotten One, O […] became […] part by part the entire place. He descended; again he descended <from> the Unbegotten One who does not have being, who is the Spirit. That one who exists before all of them reaches to the divine Self-engendered One. The one having being searches […] and he exists […] and he is like […] and from […] dividing […] I became […] for many, as it is manifest that he save a multitude.

    But after all of these things, I am seeking the kingdom of the Three-Powered One, which has no beginning. Whence did he appear and act to fill the entire place with his power? And in what way did the unbegotten ones come into existence, since they were not begotten? And what are the differences among the aeons? And as for those who are unbegotten, how many are they? And in what respect do they differ from each other?

    When I had inquired about these things, I perceived that he had worked from silence. He exists from the beginning among those that truly exist, that belong to the One who exists. There is another, existing from the beginning, belonging to the One who works within the Silent One. And the silence […] him works. For as much as this one […], that one works from the silence which belongs to the Unbegotten One among the aeons, and from the beginning he does not have being. But the energy of that One <is> the Three-Powered One, the One unbegotten before the Aeon, not having being. And it is possible to behold the supremacy of the silence of the Silent One, i.e., the supremacy of the energy of the Three-Powered. And the One who exists, who is silent, who is above the heaven […], revealed the Three-Powered, First-Perfect One.

    When he […] to the powers, they rejoiced. Those that are within me were perfected together with all the rest. And they all blessed the Three-Powered, one by one, who is the First-Perfect One, blessing him in purity, everywhere praising the Lord, who exists before the All, […] the Three-Powered. […] their worship […] myself, and I will still go on inquiring how they had become silent. I will understand a power which I hold in honor.

    The third power of the Three-powered, when it (fem.) had perceived him, said to me, “Be silent in order that you might know; run, and come before me. But know that this One

    was silent, and obtain understanding.” For the power is attending to me, leading me into the Aeon which is Barbelo, the male Virgin.

    For this reason the Virgin became male, because she had been divided from the male. The Knowledge stood outside of him, because it belongs to him. And she who exists, she who sought, possesses (it), just as the Three-Powered One possesses (it). She withdrew from them, from these two powers, since she exists outside of the Great One, as she […] who is above […], who is silent, who has this commandment to be silent. His knowledge and his hypostasis and his activity are those things of which the power of the Three- Powered spoke, <saying>, “We all have withdrawn to ourselves. We have become silent, and when we came to know him, that is, the Three-Powered, we bowed down; we […]; we blessed him […] upon us.” […].

    […] the invisible Spirit ran up to his place. The whole place was revealed; the whole place unfolded <until> he reached the upper region. Again he departed; he caused the whole place to be illuminated, and the whole place was illuminated. And you (pl.) have been

    given the third part of the spirit of the power of the One who possesses the three powers. Blessed is […]. He said, “O you who dwell in these places, it is necessary for you to know those that are higher than these, and tell them to the powers. For you (sg.) will become elect with the elect ones in the last times, as the invisible Spirits runs up above. And you yourselves, run with him up above, since you have the great crown which […].

    But on the day […] will beckon […] run up above […] and the sense-perceptible […] visible […] and they …

    (two pages missing, plus 14 lines at top of page after that)

    … the perception. He is for ever, not having being, in the One who is, who is silent, the One who is from the beginning, who does not have being […] part of […] indivisible. The […] consider a …

    … (approx. 20 lines unrecoverable)

    … I was dwelling among the aeons which have been begotten. As I was permitted, I have come to be among those that were not begotten. But I was dwelling in the great Aeon, as I […]. And […] the three powers […] the One who possesses the three powers. The three powers […] the Silent One and the Three-Powered One […] the one that does not have breath. We took our stand […] in the …

    … (approx. 23 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … who does not have breath, and he exists in a […] completely. And I saw […] him to the great (fem.) […] they knew him …

    … (approx. 21 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … is active […] why, again, (does) knowledge […] ignorant, and […] he runs the risk […] that he become …

    … (9 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … those […]. But it is necessary that a […] does not have form […] to this one […] exists

    before […] the thought […] from the beginning […] the one that …

    … (approx. 6 lines unrecoverable)

    … these […] look(ed) at […] in nine […] the cosmic hebdomad […] in a day of […] for ever

    … (8 lines unrecoverable)

    … and […] after many years […], when I saw the Father, I came to know him, and […]

    many […] partial […] for ever […] the material ones […] worldly […] above […] in addition …

    … (approx. 18 lines unrecoverable)

    … out of […] into those that […] them into […] name them. And (as for) their

    nomenclature, bear witness yourselves that you are inferior to their […] and their hypostasis.

    But in addition, when …

    … (approx. 18 lines unrecoverable)

    … hidden […] the third power. The blessed Authority (fem.) said […] among these and

    […], i.e., she who does not have […]. For there is not glory […] nor even the one who […]. For indeed, the one who …

    … (approx. 18 lines unrecoverable)

    … and the signs of the Zodiac […], and the […], and […] which do not have […] acquire

    for […] revolution […]. But the soul(s) […] there […] body(s) of this […] soul(s) of heaven […] around […] shape […] which is …

    … (approx. 19 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … all the likenesses […] them […] all the forms […] shape(s), so that they […] and become

    […] themselves […], and the […] the animals […], and the …

    (2 pages missing)

    … there. But their powers, which are the angels, are in the form of beasts and animals. Some among them are polymorphous, and, contrary to nature, they have for their names which […]. They are divided and […] according to the […] and […] in form […]. But these that are aspects of sound according to the third originate from being. And concerning these, all of these (remarks) are sufficient, since we have (already) spoken about them.

    For this division takes place again in these regions in the manner we have mentioned from the beginning. However, the soul, on the other hand, has different shape<s>. The shape of the soul exists in this form, i.e., (the soul) that came into existence of its own accord. The shape is the second spherical part, while the first allows it, eEiou, the self- begotten soul, aeEiouO. The second schema, eEiou, … by those having two sounds (diphthongs), the first being placed after them …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … the light.

    Control yourselves, receive the imperishable seed, bear fruit, and do not become attached to your possessions.

    But know that the oxytones exist among the vowels, and the diphthongs which are next to them. But the short are inferior, and the […] are […] by them. Those that […], since they

    are intermediate […]. The sounds of the semivowels are superior to the voiceless (consonants). And those that are double are superior to the semivowels, which do not change. But the aspirates are better than the inaspirates (of) the voiceless (consonants). And those that are intermediate will accept their combination in which they are; they are ignorant of the things that are good. They (the vowels) are combined with the

    intermediates, which are less. Form by form, <they constitute> the nomenclature of the

    gods and the angels, not because they are mixed with each other according to every form, but only (because) they have a good function. It did not happen that <their> will was revealed.

    Do not keep on sinning, and do not dare to make use of sin.

    But I am speaking to you (sg.) concerning the three […] shapes of the soul. The third shape of the soul is […] is a spherical one, put after it, from the simple vowels: eee, iii, ooo, uuu, OOO. The diphthongs were as follows: ai, au, ei, eu, Eu, ou, Ou, oi, Ei, ui, Oi, auei, euEu, oiou, ggg, ggg, ggg, aiau, eieu, Eu, oiou, Ou, ggg, ggg, aueieu, oiou, Eu, three times for a male soul. The third shape is spherical. The second shape, being put after it, has two sounds. The male soul’s third shape (consists) of the simple vowels: aaa, eee, EEE, iii, ooo, uuu, OOO, OOO, OOO. And this shape is different from the first, but they resemble each other, and they make some ordinary sounds of this sort: aeEoO. And from these (are made) the diphthongs.

    So also the fourth and the fifth. With regard to them, they were not allowed to reveal the whole topic, but only those things that are apparent. You (pl.) were taught about them, that you should perceive them, in order that they, too, might all seek and find who they are, either by themselves alone […], or by each other, or to reveal destinies that have been determined from the beginning, either with reference to themselves alone, or with reference to one another, just as they exist with each other in sound, whether partially or formally.

    They are commanded to submit, for their part is generated and formal. (They are commanded) either by the long (vowels), or by those of dual time value, or by the short (vowels), which are small […], or the oxytones, or the intermediates, or the barytones.

    And consonants exist with the vowels, and individually they are commanded and they submit. The constitute the nomenclature of the angels. And the consonants are self- existent, and as they are changed, <they> submit to the hidden gods by means of beat and pitch and silence and impulse. They summon the semivowels, all of which submit to them with one accord, since it is only the unchanging double (consonants) that coexist with the semivowels.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    But the aspirates and the inaspirates and the intermediates constitute the voiceless (consonants). Again […] they are combined with each other, and they are separate from one another. They are commanded and they submit, and they constitute an ignorant nomenclature. And they become one or two or three or four or five or six, up to seven, having a simple sound, <together with> these which have two sounds, […] the place of

    the seventeen consonants. Among the first names, some are less. And since these do not have being, either they are an aspect of being, or they divide the nature of the mind, which is masculine, (and) which is intermediate.

    And you (sg.) put in those that resemble each other with the vowels and the consonants. Some are: bagadazatha, begedezethe, bEgEdEzEthE, bigidizithi, bogodozotho, buguduzuthu, bOgOdOzOthO. And the rest […] babebEbibo bubO. But the rest are different: abebEbibob, in order that you (sg.) might collect them, and be separated from the angels.

    And there will be some effects. The first (fem.), which is good, is from the triad. It […] has need of … (1 line unrecoverable) … their shapes. <The> dyad and the monad do not resemble anything, but they are first to exist. The dyad, being divided, is divided from the monad, and it belongs to the hypostasis. But the tetrad received (the) elements, and the pentad received concord, and the hexad was perfected by itself. The hebdomad received beauty, and the ogdoad received […] ready … (1 line unrecoverable) … greatly. And the decad revealed the whole place. But the eleven and the twelve have traversed […] not having […] it is higher […] seven …

    … (9 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … promise that […] begin to separate them by means of a mark and a point, the one which

    quarrels from the one which is an enemy.

    Thus […] of being … (1 line unrecoverable) … the letters […] in a holy or according to a bond existing separately. And <they> exist with each other in generation or in birth. And according to […] generation, they do not have […] these …

    … (10 lines unrecoverable)

    … one […] speaking the riddle.

    Because within the sense-perceptible world there exists the temple, which measures seven hundred cubits, and a river, which […] within […] for ever, they […] three […] to the four […] seals […] clouds, and the waters, and the forms of the wax images, and some emerald likenesses.

    For the rest, I will teach you (sg.) about them. This is the generation of the names. That (fem.) which was not generated […] from the beginning …

    … (9 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … time(s), when confined, when spread out, when diminished. But there exists the gentle

    word, and there exists another word which approaches, being […] in this manner … (1 line unrecoverable) … And he […] the difference […] and the […] the all and a […] the undivided beings, and the power […] having a share in the joy separately and […], whether …

    … (7 lines unrecoverable)

    … power […] he exists in every place, […] them always. He dwells with the corporeal and the incorporeal ones.

    This is the word of the hypostasis that one should […] in this way: if […] with their […] helping those who stir up the […] manifest […]. If one knows him, he will call upon him.

    But there are words, some of which are two, but others existing separately …

    … (10 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … or according to those that have duration. And these either are separate from them, or

    they are joined to one another or with themselves, either the diphthongs, or the simple vowels, or every […] or […] or […] exist just as […] exist […] the consonants […] they exist individually until they are divided and doubled. Some have the power […] according the letters that are consonants …

    … (8 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … by themselves […] and three (times) for the vowels, and twice for the consonants, and

    once for the entire place, and with ignorance for those which are subject to change […] which became […] together with the entire place […] finally.

    And […] they all […] they are hidden, but they were pronounced openly. They did not stop without being revealed, nor did they stop without naming the angels. The vowels join the consonants, whether without or within, […] they said […] teach you (sg.) […] again for ever. They were counted four times, (and) they were engendered three times, and they became …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    For these reasons, we have acquired sufficiency; for it is fitting that each one acquire

    power for himself to bear fruit, and that we never cast aspersions on the mysteries […] the […]. For […], which is […] the souls […] the signs of the Zodiac […] a new hypostasis.

    And the reward which will be provided for such a one is salvation. But the opposite will happen there to the one who commits sin. The one who commits sin by himself […] will be in a […] in a …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … in order that before you (sg.) examine the one who <…>, one might tell another about an exalted power, and a divine knowledge, and a might which cannot be resisted. But you shall examine who is worthy that he should reveal them, knowing that those who commit sin […] down to […] as they […] the Father […] that which is fitting. Do not desire to give power to the sense-perceptible world. Are you (pl.) not attending to me, who have received salvation from the intelligible world? But (as for) these <words> – watch yourselves – do not […] them as a(n) …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … understand […], and he takes […] the rest, I will speak of them. The perfection […], in order that it might increase […] who commit sin … (1 line unrecoverable) … the embodied souls did not understand them. Those that are upon the earth, as well as those outside of the body, those in heaven, are more than the angels. The place which we talked about in every discourse, these […] stars … (1 line unrecoverable) … book(s) […] whether already […] into the […]. Blessed is […], whether he is gazing at the two, or he is gazing at the seven planets, or at the twelve signs of the Zodiac, or at the thirty-six Decans …

    … (9 lines virtually unrecoverable)

    … and these numbers, whether those in heaven or those upon the earth, together with

    those that are under the earth, according to the relationships and the divisions among these, and in the rest […] parts according to kind and according to species … (1 line unrecoverable) … they will submit, since she has power […] above […] they exist apart …

    (Of the remaining 26 pages, 10 are missing and the remaining 16 are so badly decomposed that only a few scattered words and phrases are recognizable.)

    Marsanes

    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

    Melchizedek

    image

    Translated by Søren Giversen and Birger A. Pearson

    Jesus Christ, the Son of God […] from …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … the aeons, that I might tell all of the aeons, and, in (the case of) each one of the aeons,

    that I might tell the nature of the aeon, what it is, and that I might put on friendship and goodness as a garment, O brother, […] and …

    … (7 lines unrecoverable)

    … their end […]. And he will reveal to them the truth […] in …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … proverb(s) …

    … (lines 26-eop [=end of page], and first 2 lines of next page, unrecoverable)

    … at first in parables and riddles […] proclaim them. Death will tremble and be angry, not

    only he himself, but also his fellow world-ruling archons, and the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods, together with the archangels. And …

    … (4 lines unrecoverable)

    … all of them, […] the world-rulers […], all of them, and all the […], and all the […].

    They will say […] concerning him, and concerning […] and …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … they will […] hidden mysteries …

    … (lines 27-eop, and first 2 lines of next page, unrecoverable)

    … out of […] the All. They will […] this. The lawyers will bury him quickly. They will call him ‘impious man’, ‘lawless’, ‘impure’. And on the third day, he will rise from the dead …

    … (lines 12-eop, and first 3 lines of next page, unrecoverable)

    … holy disciples. And the Savior will reveal to them the world that gives life to the All.

    But those in the heavens spoke many words, together with those on the earth, and those under the earth. …

    … (lines 11-eop unrecoverable)

    … which will happen in his name. Furthermore, they will say of him that he is unbegotten, though he has been begotten, (that) he does not eat, even though he eats, (that) he does not drink, even though he drinks, (that) he is uncircumcised, though he has been circumcised, (that) he is unfleshly, though he has come in the flesh, (that) he did not

    come to suffering, <though> he came to suffering, (that) he did not rise from the dead,

    <though> he arose from the dead.

    But all the tribes and all the peoples will speak the truth who are receiving from you yourself, O Melchizedek, Holy One, High-Priest, the perfect hope and the gifts of life. I am Gamaliel, who was sent to […] the congregation of the children of Seth, who are above thousands of thousands, and myriads of myriads, of the aeons […] essence of the aeons, aba[…] aiai ababa. O divine […] of the […] nature […]! O Mother of the aeons, Barbelo! O first-born of the aeons, splendid Doxomedon Dom[…]! O glorious one, Jesus Christ! O chief commanders of the luminaries, you powers Armozel, Oroiael, Daveithe, Eleleth, and you man-of-light, immortal aeon Pigera-Adamas, and you good god of the beneficent worlds, Mirocheirothetou, through Jesus Christ, the Son of God! This is the one whom I proclaim, inasmuch as there has visited the One who truly exists, among those who exist […] do(es) not exist, Abel Baruch – that you (sg.) might be given the knowledge of the truth […], that he is from the race of the High-priest, which is above thousands of thousands, and myriads of myriads, of the aeons. The adverse spirits are ignorant of him, and (of) their (own) destruction. Not only (that, but) I have come to reveal to you the truth, which is within the brethren. He included himself in the living offering, together with your offspring. He offered them up as an offering to the All. For it is not cattle that you will offer up for sin(s) of unbelief, and for the ignorances, and (for) all the wicked deeds which they will do […]. And they do not reach the Father of the All […] the faith …

    … (20 lines unrecoverable)

    For the waters which are above […] that receive baptism […]. But receive that baptism which is with the water which […], while he is coming …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … baptism as they …

    … (18 lines unrecoverable)

    … pray for the offspring of the archons and all the angels, together with the seed <which>

    flowed forth from the Father of the All […] the entire […] from […] there were engendered the gods and the angels, and the men […] out of the seed, all of the natures, those in the heavens and those upon the earth and those under the earth …

    … (14 lines unrecoverable)

    … nature of the females […], among those that are in the […]. They were bound with […] But this is not (the) true Adam nor (the) true Eve.

    For when they ate of the tree of knowledge, they trampled the Cherubim and the Seraphim with the flaming sword. They […], which was Adam’s, […] the world-rulers, and […] them out […] after they had brought forth […] offspring of the archons and their worldly things, these belonging to …

    … (13 lines unrecoverable)

    … light […]. And the females and the males, those who exist with […] hidden from every

    nature, and they will renounce the archons […] who receive from him the […]. For they are worthy of […] immortal, and great […], and great […], and great […] sons of men […] disciples […] image, and […] from the light […] which is holy. For […] from the beginning

    […] a seed …

    … (lines 13-eop unrecoverable)

    But I will be silent […], for we are the brethren who came down from the living […]. They will […] upon the …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … of Adam, […], Abel, Enoch, Noah, […] you, Melchizedek, the Priest of God Most High, […] those who […] women …

    … (lines 14-eop unrecoverable)

    … these two who have been chosen will at no time nor in any place will they be

    convicted, whenever they have been begotten, by their enemies, by their friends, nor by strangers, nor their (own) kin, (nor) by the impious, nor the pious. All of the adverse natures will […] them, whether those that are manifest, or those that are not manifest, together with those that dwell in the heavens, and those that are upon the earth, and those that are under the earth. They will make war […] every one. For […], whether in the …

    … (3 lines unrecoverable)

    … many …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    And these in the […] every one will […]. These will […] with every blow […] weaknesses. These will be confined in other forms, and will be punished. These the Savior will take them away, and they will overcome everything, not with their mouths and words, but by means of the […], which will be done for them. He will destroy Death.

    These things which I was commanded to reveal, these things reveal as I (have done). But that which is hidden, do not reveal to anyone, unless it is revealed to you (to do so).”

    And immediately, I arose, I, Melchizedek, and I began to […] God […] that I should rejoice …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … while he is acting […] living […] I said, “I …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … and I will not cease, from now on, forever, O Father of the All, because you have had pity on men, and you have sent the angel of light […] from your aeons […] to reveal […]. When he came, he caused me to be raised up from ignorance, and (from) the fructification of death to life. For I have a name: I am Melchizedek, the Priest of God Most High; I know that it is I who am truly the image of the true High-Priest of God Most High, and […] the world. For it is not a small thing that God […] with […] while he […]. And […] the angels that dwell upon the earth …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … is the sacrifice of […], whom Death deceived. When he died, he bound them with the natures which are leading them astray. Yet he offered up offerings […] cattle, saying, “I gave them to Death, and the angels, and the […] demons […] living offering […]. I have offered up myself to you as an offering, together with those that are mine, to you yourself, (O) Father of the All, and those whom you love, who have come forth from you who are holy (and) living. And <according to> the perfect laws, I shall pronounce my

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    name as I receive baptism now (and) forever, (as a name) among the living (and) holy names, and (now) in the waters. Amen.”

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, O Father of the All, who truly exists, […] do(es) not exist, Abel Baruch […], for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, Mother of the aeons, Barbelo, for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, First-born of the aeons, Doxomedon […], for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … first aeon, Harmozel, for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, commander, luminary of the aeons, Oriael, for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, commander of the aeons, man-of-light, Daveithe, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, commander-in-chief, Eleleth …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … the aeons …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, good god of the beneficent words, … Mirocheirothetou, for ever and ever, Amen.

    Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, Commander-in-chief of the All, Jesus Christ, for ever and ever, Amen.

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … blessed […] confession. And […] confess him […] now […], then it becomes […] fear and […], fear and […] disturb […] surrounding them […], in the place which has a great darkness in it, and many […] appear […] there […] appear …

    … (lines 23-eop unrecoverable)

    And […] they were clothed with […] all, and …

    … (6 lines unrecoverable)

    … disturbances. They gave […] their words […], and they said to me, “[…], Melchizedek,

    Priest of God Most High,” […] they spoke as though […] their mouths […] in the All …

    … (7 lines unrecoverable)

    … lead astray …

    … (lines 25-eop unrecoverable)

    … with his […] worship, and […] faith, and […] his prayers, and …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … those that are his […] first …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … They did not care that the priesthood which you perform, which is from …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … in the counsels of […] Satan […], the sacrifice […] his doctrines …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … of this aeon …

    … (4 lines unrecoverable)

    … which exist(s) in […], lead(s) astray …

    … (lines 27-eop unrecoverable)

    … and some …

    … (2 lines unrecoverable)

    … he gave them to …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … and thirteen …

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    … throw him […], in order that you might …

    … (1 line unrecoverable)

    … for immediately, […], by means of […] on the ground. The …

    … (lines 7-eop unrecoverable)

    (pp.23-24 of the codex are almost completely missing)

    … men. And […] you (pl.) struck me, […] you threw me, […] corpse. And you crucified me from the third hour of the Sabbath-eve until the ninth hour. And after these things, I arose from the dead, […] came out of […] into me, […] my eyes saw […], they did not find anyone …

    … (lines 13-eop unrecoverable)

    … greeted me […]. They said to me, “Be strong, O Melchizedek, great High-priest of God Most High, for the archons, who are your enemies, made war; (but) you have prevailed over them, and they did not prevail over you, and you endured, and you destroyed your enemies. […] of their […] will rest in any […] which is living (and) holy […] those that exalted themselves against him in […] flesh …

    … (lines 15-eop unrecoverable)

    “… with offerings, working on that which is good, fasting with fasts. These revelations, do not reveal to anyone in the flesh, since they are incorporeal, unless it is revealed to you (to do so).”

    When the brethren who belong to the generations of life had said these things, they were taken up to (the regions) above all the heavens. Amen.

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

    On the Anointing

    Translated by John D. Turner

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    [….] according to [….] the type of […] see him. It is fitting for you at this time to send thy Son Jesus Christ and anoint us so we might be able to trample upon the snakes and the heads of the scorpions and all the power of the Devil since he is a shepherd of the seed. Through him we have known thee. And we glorify thee : Glory be to thee, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Holy Church and in the holy angels! From now he abides forever in the perpetuity of the Aeons, forever until the untraceable Aeons of the Aeons. Amen.

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

    On the Baptism A

    Translated by John D. Turner

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    This is the fullness of the summary of knowledge which summary was revealed to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Monogenes. These are the sure and necessary items so that we may walk in them. But they are those of the first baptism [……The First] baptism is the Forgiveness of sins […] said, […] you to the […] your sins the […] is a pattern of the […] of the Christ which is the equal of the [..within] him […]. For the […] of Jesus […]. Moreover, the first baptism is the forgiveness of sins. We are brought from those of the right, that is, into the imperishability which is the Jordan. But that place is of the world. So we have been sent out of the world into the Aeon. For the interpretation of John is the Aeon, while the interpretation of that which is the upward progression, that is, our

    Exodus from the world into the Aeon.

    Excerpt taken from James R.Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990

    On the Baptism B

    Translated by John D.Turner

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    [….. from the ] world into the Jordan and from the blindness of the world into the sight of God, from the carnal into the spiritual, from the physical into the angelic, from the created into the Pleroma, from the world into the Aeon, from the servitudes into sonship, from entanglements into one another, from the desert into our village, from the cold into the hot, from […] into a […] and we […] into the [….thus] we were brought from seminal bodies into bodies with a perfect form. Indeed I entered by way of example the remnant for which the Christ rescued us in the fellowship of his Spirit. And he brought us forth who are in him, and from now on the souls will become perfect spirits. Now the things granted us by the first baptism [….invisible …which] is his, since […….speak][about…]….

    Excerpt taken from James R.Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990

    On the Eucharist (A)

    Translated by John D. Turner

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    We give thanks to you and we celebrate the eucharist, O Father, remembering for the sake of thy Son, Jesus Christ that they come forth […] invisible […] thy [Son….] his [love…] to [knowledge ……] they are doing thy will through the name of Jesus Christ and will do thy will now and always. They are complete in every spiritual gift and every purity. Glory be to thee through thy Son and they offspring Jesus Christ from now and forever. Amen.

    Excerpt taken from James R.Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990

    On the Eucharist (B)

    Translation by John D. Turner

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    […] in the […] the word of the [….the] holy one it is […] food and [drink…] Son, since you

    […] food of the […] to us the […] in the [life ..] he does [not boast…] that is[…] Church […] you are pure […] thou art the Lord. Whenever you die purely, you will be pure so as to have him […] everyone who will guide him to food and drink. Glory be to thee forever. Amen.

    Excerpt taken from James R.Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990

    THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

    The Nag Hammadi Library

    On the Origin of the World (“The Untitled Text”)

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    Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton

    Seeing that everybody, gods of the world and mankind, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root. Here is the demonstration.

    How well it suits all men, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is a kind of darkness! But in fact it comes from a shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. And the shadow comes from a product that has existed since the beginning. It is, moreover, clear that it existed before chaos came into being, and that the latter is posterior to the first product. Let us therefore concern ourselves with the facts of the matter; and furthermore, with the first product, from which chaos was projected. And in this way the truth will be clearly demonstrated.

    After the natural structure of the immortal beings had completely developed out of the infinite, a likeness then emanated from Pistis (Faith); it is called Sophia (Wisdom). It exercised volition and became a product resembling the primeval light. And immediately her will manifested itself as a likeness of heaven, having an unimaginable magnitude; it was between the immortal beings and those things that came into being after them, like […]: she (Sophia) functioned as a veil dividing mankind from the things above.

    Now the eternal realm (aeon) of truth has no shadow outside it, for the limitless light is everywhere within it. But its exterior is shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. From it, there appeared a force, presiding over the darkness. And the forces that came into being subsequent to them called the shadow ‘the limitless chaos’. From it, every kind of divinity sprouted up […] together with the entire place, so that also, shadow is posterior to the first product. It was <in> the abyss that it (shadow) appeared, deriving from the aforementioned Pistis.

    Then shadow perceived there was something mightier than it, and felt envy; and when it had become pregnant of its own accord, suddenly it engendered jealousy. Since that day, the principle of jealousy amongst all the eternal realms and their worlds has been apparent. Now as for that jealousy, it was found to be an abortion without any spirit in it. Like a shadow, it came into existence in a vast watery substance. Then the bile that had come into being out of the shadow was thrown into a part of chaos. Since that day, a

    watery substance has been apparent. And what sank within it flowed away, being visible in chaos: as with a woman giving birth to a child – all her superfluities flow out; just so, matter came into being out of shadow, and was projected apart. And it did not depart from chaos; rather, matter was in chaos, being in a part of it.

    And when these things had come to pass, then Pistis came and appeared over the matter of chaos, which had been expelled like an aborted fetus – since there was no spirit in it. For all of it (chaos) was limitless darkness and bottomless water. Now when Pistis saw what had resulted from her defect, she became disturbed. And the disturbance appeared, as a fearful product; it rushed to her in the chaos. She turned to it and blew into its face in the abyss, which is below all the heavens.

    And when Pistis Sophia desired to cause the thing that had no spirit to be formed into a likeness and to rule over matter and over all her forces, there appeared for the first time a ruler, out of the waters, lion-like in appearance, androgynous, having great authority within him, and ignorant of whence he had come into being. Now when Pistis Sophia saw him moving about in the depth of the waters, she said to him, “Child, pass through to here,” whose equivalent is ‘yalda baoth‘.

    Since that day, there appeared the principle of verbal expression, which reached the gods and the angels and mankind. And what came into being as a result of verbal expression, the gods and the angels and mankind finished. Now as for the ruler Yaltabaoth, he is ignorant of the force of Pistis: he did not see her face, rather he saw in the water the likeness that spoke with him. And because of that voice, he called himself ‘Yaldabaoth’. But ‘Ariael’ is what the perfect call him, for he was like a lion. Now when he had come to have authority over matter, Pistis Sophia withdrew up to her light.

    When the ruler saw his magnitude – and it was only himself that he saw: he saw nothing else, except for water and darkness – then he supposed that it was he alone who existed. His […] was completed by verbal expression: it appeared as a spirit moving to and fro upon the waters. And when that spirit appeared, the ruler set apart the watery substance. And what was dry was divided into another place. And from matter, he made for himself an abode, and he called it ‘heaven’. And from matter, the ruler made a footstool, and he called it ‘earth’.

    Next, the ruler had a thought – consistent with his nature – and by means of verbal expression he created an androgyne. He opened his mouth and cooed to him. When his eyes had been opened, he looked at his father, and he said to him, “Eee!” Then his father called him Eee-a-o (‘Yao’). Next he created the second son. He cooed to him. And he opened his eyes and said to his father, “Eh!” His father called him ‘Eloai’. Next, he created the third son. He cooed to him. And he opened his eyes and said to his father, “Asss!” His father called him ‘Astaphaios’. These are the three sons of their father.

    Seven appeared in chaos, androgynous. They have their masculine names and their feminine names. The feminine name is Pronoia (Forethought) Sambathas, which is ‘week’.

    And his son is called Yao: his feminine name is Lordship. Sabaoth: his feminine name is Deity.

    Adonaios: his feminine name is Kingship. Elaios: his feminine name is Jealousy.

    Oraios: his feminine name is Wealth.

    And Astaphaios: his feminine name is Sophia (Wisdom).

    These are the seven forces of the seven heavens of chaos. And they were born androgynous, consistent with the immortal pattern that existed before them, according to the wish of Pistis: so that the likeness of what had existed since the beginning might reign to the end. You will find the effect of these names and the force of the male entities in the Archangelic (Book) of the Prophet Moses, and the names of the female entities in the first Book of Noraia.

    Now the prime parent Yaldabaoth, since he possessed great authorities, created heavens for each of his offspring through verbal expression – created them beautiful, as dwelling places – and in each heaven he created great glories, seven times excellent. Thrones and mansions and temples, and also chariots and virgin spirits up to an invisible one and their glories, each one has these in his heaven; mighty armies of gods and lords and angels and archangels – countless myriads – so that they might serve. The account of these matters you will find in a precise manner in the first Account of Oraia.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    And they were completed from this heaven to as far up as the sixth heaven, namely that of Sophia. The heaven and his earth were destroyed by the troublemaker that was below them all. And the six heavens shook violently; for the forces of chaos knew who it was that had destroyed the heaven that was below them. And when Pistis knew about the

    breakage resulting from the disturbance, she sent forth her breath and bound him and cast

    him down into Tartaros. Since that day, the heaven, along with its earth, has consolidated itself through Sophia the daughter of Yaldabaoth, she who is below them all.

    Now when the heavens had consolidated themselves along with their forces and all their administration, the prime parent became insolent. And he was honored by all the army of angels. And all the gods and their angels gave blessing and honor to him. And for his part, he was delighted and continually boasted, saying to them, “I have no need of anyone.” He said, “It is I who am God, and there is no other one that exists apart from me.” And when he said this, he sinned against all the immortal beings who give answer. And they laid it to his charge.

    Then when Pistis saw the impiety of the chief ruler, she was filled with anger. She was invisible. She said, “You are mistaken, Samael,” (that is, “blind god”). “There is an immortal man of light who has been in existence before you, and who will appear among your modelled forms; he will trample you to scorn, just as potter’s clay is pounded. And you will descend to your mother, the abyss, along with those that belong to you. For at the consummation of your (pl.) works, the entire defect that has become visible out of the truth will be abolished, and it will cease to be, and will be like what has never been.” Saying this, Pistis revealed her likeness of her greatness in the waters. And so doing, she withdrew up to her light.

    Now when Sabaoth, the son of Yaldabaoth, heard the voice of Pistis, he sang praises to her, and he condemned the father […] at the word of Pistis; and he praised her because she had instructed them about the immortal man and his light. Then Pistis Sophia stretched out her finger and poured upon him some light from her light, to be a condemnation of his father. Then when Sabaoth was illumined, he received great authority against all the forces of chaos. Since that day he has been called “Lord of the Forces”.

    He hated his father, the darkness, and his mother, the abyss, and loathed his sister, the thought of the prime parent, which moved to and fro upon the waters. And because of his light, all the authorities of chaos were jealous of him. And when they had become disturbed, they made a great war in the seven heavens. Then when Pistis Sophia had seen the war, she dispatched seven archangels to Sabaoth from her light. They snatched him up to the seventh heaven. They stood before him as attendants. Furthermore, she sent him three more archangels, and established the kingdom for him over everyone, so that he might dwell above the twelve gods of chaos.

    Now when Sabaoth had taken up the place of repose in return for his repentance, Pistis also gave him her daughter Zoe (Life), together with great authority, so that she might instruct him about all things that exist in the eighth heaven. And as he had authority, he made himself first of all a mansion. It is huge, magnificent, seven times as great as all

    those that exist in the seven heavens.

    And before his mansion he created a throne, which was huge and was upon a four-faced chariot called “Cherubin”. Now the Cherubin has eight shapes per each of the four corners, lion forms and calf forms and human forms and eagle forms, so that all the forms amount to sixty-four forms – and seven archangels that stand before it; he is the eighth, and has authority. All the forms amount to seventy-two. Furthermore, from this chariot

    the seventy-two gods took shape; they took shape so that they might rule over the

    seventy-two languages of the peoples. And by that throne he created other, serpent-like angels, called “Seraphin”, which praise him at all times.

    Thereafter he created a congregation of angels, thousands and myriads, numberless, which resembled the congregation in the eighth heaven; and a firstborn called

    Israel – which is, “the man that sees God”; and another being, called Jesus Christ, who resembles the savior above in the eighth heaven, and who sits at his right upon a revered throne. And at his left, there sits the virgin of the holy spirit, upon a throne and glorifying him. And the seven virgins stand before her, […] possessing thirty harps, and psalteries and trumpets, glorifying him. And all the armies of the angels glorify him, and they bless him. Now where he sits is upon a throne of light <within a> great cloud that covers him. And there was no one with him in the cloud except Sophia <the daughter of> Pistis, instructing him about all the things that exist in the eighth heaven, so that the likenesses of those things might be created, in order that his reign might endure until the consummation of the heavens of chaos and their forces.

    Now Pistis Sophia set him apart from the darkness and summoned him to her right, and the prime parent she put at her left. Since that day, right has been called justice, and left called wickedness. Now because of this, they all received a realm in the congregation of justice and wickedness, […] stand […] upon a creature […] all.

    Thus, when the prime parent of chaos saw his son Sabaoth and the glory that he was in, and perceived that he was greatest of all the authorities of chaos, he envied him. And having become wrathful, he engendered Death out of his death: and he (viz., Death) was established over the sixth heaven, <for> Sabaoth had been snatched up from there. And thus the number of the six authorities of chaos was achieved. Then Death, being androgynous, mingled with his (own) nature and begot seven androgynous offspring. These are the names of the male ones: Jealousy, Wrath, Tears, Sighing, Suffering, Lamentation, Bitter Weeping. And these are the names of the female ones: Wrath, Pain, Lust, Sighing, Curse, Bitterness, Quarrelsomeness. They had intercourse with one another, and each one begot seven, so that they amount to forty-nine androgynous demons. Their names and their effects you will find in the Book of Solomon.

    And in the presence of these, Zoe, who was with Sabaoth, created seven good androgynous forces. These are the names of the male ones: the Unenvious, the Blessed, the Joyful, the True, the Unbegrudging, the Beloved, the Trustworthy. Also, as regards the female ones, these are their names: Peace, Gladness, Rejoicing, Blessedness, Truth, Love, Faith (Pistis). And from these are many good and innocent spirits. Their influences and their effects you will find in the Configurations of the Fate of Heaven That Is Beneath the Twelve.

    And having seen the likeness of Pistis in the waters, the prime parent grieved very much, especially when he heard her voice, like the first voice that had called to him out of the waters. And when he knew that it was she who had given a name to him, he sighed. He was ashamed on account of his transgression. And when he had come to know in truth that an immortal man of light had been existing before him, he was greatly disturbed; for he had previously said to all the gods and their angels, “It is I who am god. No other one exists apart from me.” For he had been afraid they might know that another had been in existence before him, and might condemn him. But he, being devoid of understanding, scoffed at the condemnation and acted recklessly. He said, “If anything has existed before me, let it appear, so that we may see its light.”

    And immediately, behold! Light came out of the eighth heaven above and passed through all of the heavens of the earth. When the prime parent saw that the light was beautiful as it radiated, he was amazed. And he was greatly ashamed. As that light appeared, a human likeness appeared within it, very wonderful. And no one saw it except for the prime parent and Pronoia, who was with him. Yet its light appeared to all the forces of the heavens. Because of this they were all troubled by it.

    Then when Pronoia saw that emissary, she became enamored of him. But he hated her because she was on the darkness. But she desired to embrace him, and she was not able to. When she was unable to assuage her love, she poured out her light upon the earth.

    Since that day, that emissary has been called “Adam of Light,” whose rendering is “the luminous man of blood,” and the earth spread over him, holy Adaman, whose rendering is “the Holy Land of Adamantine.” Since that day, all the authorities have honored the blood of the virgin. And the earth was purified on account of the blood of the virgin. But most of all, the water was purified through the likeness of Pistis Sophia, who had appeared to the prime parent in the waters. Justly, then, it has been said: “through the waters.” The holy water, since it vivifies the all, purifies it.

    Out of that first blood Eros appeared, being androgynous. His masculinity is Himireris, being fire from the light. His femininity that is with him – a soul of blood – is from the stuff of Pronoia. He is very lovely in his beauty, having a charm beyond all the creatures of chaos. Then all the gods and their angels, when they beheld Eros, became enamored of him. And appearing in all of them, he set them afire: just as from a single lamp many lamps are lit, and one and the same light is there, but the lamp is not diminished. And in this way, Eros became dispersed in all the created beings of chaos, and was not diminished. Just as from the midpoint of light and darkness Eros appeared and at the midpoint of the angels and mankind the sexual union of Eros was consummated, so out of the earth the primal pleasure blossomed. The woman followed earth. And marriage followed woman. Birth followed marriage. Dissolution followed birth.

    After that Eros, the grapevine sprouted up out of that blood, which had been shed over the earth. Because of this, those who drink of it conceive the desire of sexual union. After the grapevine, a fig tree and a pomegranate tree sprouted up from the earth, together with the rest of the trees, all species, having with them their seed from the seed of the

    authorities and their angels.

    Then Justice created Paradise, being beautiful and being outside the orbit of the moon and the orbit of the sun in the Land of Wantonness, in the East in the midst of the stones. And desire is in the midst of the beautiful, appetizing trees. And the tree of eternal life is as it appeared by God’s will, to the north of Paradise, so that it might make eternal the souls of the pure, who shall come forth from the modelled forms of poverty at the consummation of the age. Now the color of the tree of life is like the sun. And its branches are beautiful. Its leaves are like those of the cypress. Its fruit is like a bunch of grapes when it is white. Its height goes as far as heaven. And next to it (is) the tree of knowledge (gnosis), having the strength of God. Its glory is like the moon when fully radiant. And its branches are beautiful. Its leaves are like fig leaves. Its fruit is like a good appetizing date. And this tree is to the north of Paradise, so that it might arouse the souls from the torpor of the demons, in order that they might approach the tree of life and eat of its fruit, and so condemn the authorities and their angels. The effect of this tree is described in the Sacred Book, to wit: “It is you who are the tree of knowledge, which is in Paradise, from which the first man ate and which opened his mind; and he loved his female counterpart and condemned the other, alien likenesses and loathed them.”

    Now after it, the olive tree sprouted up, which was to purify the kings and the high priests of righteousness, who were to appear in the last days, since the olive tree appeared out of the light of the first Adam for the sake of the unguent that they were to receive.

    And the first soul (psyche) loved Eros, who was with her, and poured her blood upon him and upon the earth. And out of that blood the rose first sprouted up, out of the earth, out of the thorn bush, to be a source of joy for the light that was to appear in the bush. Moreover, after this the beautiful, good-smelling flowers sprouted up from the earth, different kinds, from every single virgin of the daughters of Pronoia. And they, when they had become enamored of Eros, poured out their blood upon him and upon the earth. After these, every plant sprouted up from the earth, different kinds, containing the seed of the authorities and their angels. After these, the authorities created out of the waters all species of beast, and the reptiles and birds – different kinds – containing the seed of the authorities and their angels.

    But before all these, when he had appeared on the first the first day, he remained upon the earth, something like two days, and left the lower Pronoia in heaven, and ascended towards his light. And immediately darkness covered all the universe. Now when she wished, the Sophia who was in the lower heaven received authority from Pistis, and fashioned great luminous bodies and all the stars. And she put them in the sky to shine upon the earth and to render temporal signs and seasons and years and months and days and nights and moments and so forth. And in this way the entire region upon the sky was adorned.

    Now when Adam of Light conceived the wish to enter his light – i.e., the eighth heaven – he was unable to do so because of the poverty that had mingled with his light. Then he created for himself a vast eternal realm. And within that eternal realm he created six eternal realms and their adornments, six in number, that were seven times better than the heavens of chaos and their adornments. Now all these eternal realms and their adornments exist within the infinity that is between the eighth heaven and the chaos below it, being counted with the universe that belongs to poverty. If you want to know

    the arrangement of these, you will find it written in the Seventh Universe of the Prophet

    Hieralias.

    And before Adam of Light had withdrawn in the chaos, the authorities saw him and laughed at the prime parent because he had lied when he said, “It is I who am God. No one exists before me.” When they came to him, they said, “Is this not the god who ruined our work?” He answered and said, “Yes. If you do not want him to be able to ruin our work, come let us create a man out of earth, according to the image of our body and according to the likeness of this being, to serve us; so that when he sees his likeness, he might become enamored of it. No longer will he ruin our work; rather,we shall make those who are born out of the light our servants for all the duration of this eternal realm.” Now all of this came to pass according to the forethought of Pistis, in order that man should appear after his likeness, and should condemn them because of their modelled form. And their modelled form became an enclosure of the light.

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    Then the authorities received the knowledge (gnosis) necessary to create man. Sophia Zoe – she who is with Sabaoth – had anticipated them. And she laughed at their decision. For they are blind: against their own interests they ignorantly created him. And they do not realize what they are about to do. The reason she anticipated them and made her own

    man first, was in order that he might instruct their modelled form how to despise them, and thus to escape from them.

    Now the production of the instructor came about as follows. When Sophia let fall a droplet of light, it flowed onto the water, and immediately a human being appeared, being androgynous. That droplet she molded first as a female body. Afterwards, using the body she molded it in the likeness of the mother, which had appeared. And he finished it in twelve months. An androgynous human being was produced, whom the Greeks call Hermaphrodites; and whose mother the Hebrews call Eve of Life (Zoe), namely, the female instructor of life. Her offspring is the creature that is lord. Afterwards, the authorities called it “Beast”, so that it might lead astray their modelled creatures. The

    interpretation of “the beast” is “the instructor”. For it was found to be the wisest of all

    beings.

    Now, Eve is the first virgin, the one who without a husband bore her first offspring. It is she who served as her own midwife. For this reason she is held to have said:

    It is I who am the part of my mother; and it is I who am the mother. It is I who am the wife; it is I who am the virgin.

    It is I who am pregnant; it is I who am the midwife. It is I who am the one that comforts pains of travail.

    It is my husband who bore me; and it is I who am his mother. And it is he who is my father and my lord.

    It is he who is my force; What he desires, he says with reason.

    I am in the process of becoming; yet I have borne a man as lord.

    Now these through the will <…> The souls that were going to enter the modelled forms of the authorities were manifested to Sabaoth and his Christ. And regarding these, the holy voice said, “Multiply and improve! Be lord over all creatures.” And it is they who were taken captive, according to their destinies, by the prime parent. And thus they were shut into the prisons of the modelled forms until the consummation of the age.

    And at that time, the prime parent then rendered an opinion concerning man to those who were with him. Then each of them cast his sperm into the midst of the navel of the earth. Since that day, the seven rulers have fashioned man with his body resembling their body, but his likeness resembling the man that had appeared to them. His modelling took place by parts, one at a time. And their leader fashioned the brain and the nervous system. Afterwards, he appeared as prior to him. He became a soul-endowed man. And he was called Adam, that is, “father”, according to the name of the one that existed before him.

    And when they had finished Adam, he abandoned him as an inanimate vessel, since he had taken form like an abortion, in that no spirit was in him. Regarding this thing, when the chief ruler remembered the saying of Pistis, he was afraid lest the true man enter his modelled form and become its lord. For this reason he left his modelled form forty days without soul, and he withdrew and abandoned it. Now on the fortieth day, Sophia Zoe

    sent her breath into Adam, who had no soul. He began to move upon the ground. And he could not stand up.

    Then, when the seven rulers came, they saw him and were greatly disturbed. They went up to him and seized him. And he (viz., the chief ruler) said to the breath within him, “Who are you? And whence did you come hither?” It answered and said, “I have come from the force of the man for the destruction of your work.” When they heard, they glorified him, since he gave them respite from the fear and the anxiety in which they found themselves. Then they called that day “Rest”, in as much as they had rested from toil. And when they saw that Adam could stand up, they were glad, and they took him and put him in Paradise. And they withdrew up to their heavens.

    After the day of rest, Sophia sent her daughter Zoe, being called Eve, as an instructor, in order that she might make Adam, who had no soul, arise, so that those whom he should engender might become containers of light. When Eve saw her male counterpart prostrate, she had pity upon him, and she said, “Adam! Become alive! Arise upon the earth!” Immediately her word became accomplished fact. For Adam, having arisen, suddenly opened his eyes. When he saw her, he said, “You shall be called ‘Mother of the Living’. For it is you who have given me life.”

    Then the authorities were informed that their modelled form was alive and had arisen, and they were greatly troubled. They sent seven archangels to see what had happened. They came to Adam. When they saw Eve talking to him, they said to one another, “What sort of thing is this luminous woman? For she resembles that likeness which appeared to us in the light. Now come, let us lay hold of her and cast her seed into her, so that when she becomes soiled she may not be able to ascend into her light. Rather, those whom she bears will be under our charge. But let us not tell Adam, for he is not one of us. Rather let us bring a deep sleep over him. And let us instruct him in his sleep to the effect that she came from his rib, in order that his wife may obey, and he may be lord over her.”

    Then Eve, being a force, laughed at their decision. She put mist into their eyes and secretly left her likeness with Adam. She entered the tree of knowledge and remained there. And they pursued her, and she revealed to them that she had gone into the tree and become a tree. Then, entering a great state of fear, the blind creatures fled.

    Afterwards, when they had recovered from the daze, they came to Adam; and seeing the likeness of this woman with him, they were greatly disturbed, thinking it was she that was the true Eve. And they acted rashly; they came up to her and seized her and cast their seed upon her. They did so wickedly, defiling not only in natural ways but also in foul ways, defiling first the seal of her voice – that had spoken with them, saying, “What is it that exists before you?” – intending to defile those who might say at the consummation (of the age) that they had been born of the true man through verbal expression. And they erred, not knowing that it was their own body that they had defiled: it was the likeness that the authorities and their angels defiled in every way.

    First she was pregnant with Abel, by the first ruler. And it was by the seven authorities and their angels that she bore the other offspring. And all this came to pass according to the forethought of the prime parent, so that the first mother might bear within her every seed, being mixed and being fitted to the fate of the universe and its configurations, and to Justice. A prearranged plan came into effect regarding Eve, so that the modelled forms of the authorities might become enclosures of the light, whereupon it would condemn them through their modelled forms.

    Now the first Adam, (Adam) of Light, is spirit-endowed and appeared on the first day. The second Adam is soul-endowed and appeared on the sixth day, which is called Aphrodite. The third Adam is a creature of the earth, that is, the man of the law, and he appeared on the eighth day […] the tranquility of poverty, which is called “The Day of the Sun” (Sunday). And the progeny of the earthly Adam became numerous and was completed, and produced within itself every kind of scientific information of the soul- endowed Adam. But all were in ignorance.

    Next, let me say that once the rulers had seen him and the female creature who was with him erring ignorantly like beasts, they were very glad. When they learned that the

    immortal man was not going to neglect them, rather that they would even have to fear the female creature that had turned into a tree, they were disturbed, and said, “Perhaps this is

    the true man – this being who has brought a fog upon us and has taught us that she who was soiled is like him – and so we shall be conquered!”

    Then the seven of them together laid plans. They came up to Adam and Eve timidly: they said to him, “The fruit of all the trees created for you in Paradise shall be eaten; but as for the tree of knowledge, control yourselves and do not eat from it. If you eat, you will die.” Having imparted great fear to them, they withdrew up to their authorities.

    Then came the wisest of all creatures, who was called Beast. And when he saw the likeness of their mother Eve he said to her, “What did God say to you? Was it ‘Do not eat from the tree of knowledge’?” She said, “He said not only, ‘Do not eat from it’, but, ‘Do not touch it, lest you die.'” He said to her, “Do not be afraid. In death you shall not die. For he knows that when you eat from it, your intellect will become sober and you will come to be like gods, recognizing the difference that obtains between evil men and good ones. Indeed, it was in jealousy that he said this to you, so that you would not eat from it.”

    Now Eve had confidence in the words of the instructor. She gazed at the tree and saw that it was beautiful and appetizing, and liked it; she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she gave some also to her husband, and he too ate it. Then their intellect became open. For when they had eaten, the light of knowledge had shone upon them. When they clothed themselves with shame, they knew that they were naked of knowledge. When they became sober, they saw that they were naked and became enamored of one another. When they saw that the ones who had modelled them had the form of beasts, they loathed them: they were very aware.

    Then when the rulers knew that they had broken their commandments, they entered Paradise and came to Adam and Eve with earthquake and great threatening, to see the effect of the aid. Then Adam and Eve trembled greatly and hid under the trees in Paradise. Then the rulers did not know where they were and said, “Adam, where are you?” He said, “I am here, for through fear of you I hid, being ashamed.” And they said to him ignorantly, “Who told you about the shame with which you clothed yourself? – unless you have eaten from that tree!” He said, “The woman whom you gave me – it is she that gave to me and I ate.” Then they said to the latter, “What is this that you have done?” She answered and said, “It is the instructor who urged me on, and I ate.”

    Then the rulers came up to the instructor. Their eyes became misty because of him, and they could not do anything to him. They cursed him, since they were powerless. Afterwards, they came up to the woman and cursed her and her offspring. After the woman, they cursed Adam, and the land because of him, and the crops; and all things they had created, they cursed. They have no blessing. Good cannot result from evil.

    From that day, the authorities knew that truly there was something mightier than they: they recognized only that their commandments had not been kept. Great jealousy was brought into the world solely because of the immortal man. Now when the rulers saw that their Adam had entered into an alien state of knowledge, they desired to test him, and they gathered together all the domestic animals and the wild beasts of the earth and the birds of heaven and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. When he saw them, he gave names to their creatures.

    They became troubled because Adam had recovered from all the trials. They assembled and laid plans, and they said, “Behold Adam! He has come to be like one of us, so that he knows the difference between the light and the darkness. Now perhaps he will be deceived, as in the case of the Tree of Knowledge, and also will come to the Tree of Life and eat from it, and become immortal, and become lord, and despise us and disdain us and all our glory! Then he will denounce us along with our universe. Come, let us expel him from Paradise, down to the land from which he was taken, so that henceforth he

    might not be able to recognize anything better than we can.” And so they expelled Adam from Paradise, along with his wife. And this deed that they had done was not enough for them. Rather, they were afraid. They went in to the Tree of Life and surrounded it with great fearful things, fiery living creatures called “Cheroubin”, and they put a flaming sword in their midst, fearfully twirling at all times, so that no earthly being might ever enter that place.

    Thereupon, since the rulers were envious of Adam they wanted to diminish their (viz., Adam’s and Eve’s) lifespans. They could not (, however,) because of fate, which had been fixed since the beginning. For to each had been allotted a lifespan of 1,000 years, according to the course of the luminous bodies. But although the rulers could not do this, each of the evildoers took away ten years. And all this lifespan (which remained) amounted to 930 years: and these are in pain and weakness and evil distraction. And so life has turned out to be, from that day until the consummation of the age.

    Thus when Sophia Zoe saw that the rulers of the darkness had laid a curse upon her counterparts, she was indignant. And coming out of the first heaven with full power, she chased those rulers out of their heavens, and cast them down into the sinful world, so that there they should dwell, in the form of evil spirits (demons) upon the earth.

    […], so that in their world it might pass the thousand years in Paradise – a soul-endowed living creature called “phoenix”. It kills itself and brings itself to life as a witness to the judgment against them, for they did wrong to Adam and his generation, unto the consummation of the age. There are […] three men, and also his posterities, unto the consummation of the world: the spirit-endowed of eternity, and the soul-endowed, and the earthly. Likewise, the three phoenixes <in> Paradise – the first is immortal; the second lives 1,000 years; as for the third, it is written in the Sacred Book that it is consumed. So, too, there are three baptisms – the first is the spiritual, the second is by

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    fire, the third is by water. Just as the phoenix appears as a witness concerning the angels,

    so the case of the water hydri in Egypt, which has been a witness to those going down into the baptism of a true man. The two bulls in Egypt possess a mystery, the sun and the moon, being a witness to Sabaoth: namely, that over them Sophia received the universe; from the day that she made the sun and the moon, she put a seal upon her heaven, unto eternity.

    And the worm that has been born out of the phoenix is a human being as well. It is written (Ps 91:13 LXX) concerning it, “the just man will blossom like a phoenix”. And the phoenix first appears in a living state, and dies, and rises again, being a sign of what has become apparent at the consummation of the age. It was only in Egypt that these great signs appeared – nowhere else – as an indication that it is like God’s Paradise.

    Let us return to the aforementioned rulers, so that we may offer some explanation of

    them. Now, when the seven rulers were cast down from their heavens onto the earth, they made for themselves angels, numerous, demonic, to serve them. And the latter instructed mankind in many kinds of error and magic and potions and worship of idols and spilling of blood and altars and temples and sacrifices and libations to all the spirits of the earth, having their coworker fate, who came into existence by the concord between the gods of injustice and justice.

    And thus when the world had come into being, it distractedly erred at all times. For all men upon earth worshiped the spirits (demons) from the creation to the consummation – both the angels of righteousness and the men of unrighteousness. Thus did the world come to exist in distraction, in ignorance, and in a stupor. They all erred, until the appearance of the true man.

    Let this suffice so far as the matter goes. Now we shall proceed to consideration of our world, so that we may accurately finish the description of its structure and management. Then it will become obvious how belief in the unseen realm, which has been apparent from creation down to the consummation of the age, was discovered.

    I come, therefore, to the main points regarding the immortal man: I shall speak of all the beings that belong to him, explaining how they happen to be here.

    When a multitude of human beings had come into existence, through the parentage of the Adam who had been fashioned, and out of matter, and when the world had already become full, the rulers were master over it – that is, they kept it restrained by ignorance. For what reason? For the following: since the immortal father knows that a deficiency of truth came into being amongst the eternal realms and their universe, when he wished to bring to naught the rulers of perdition through the creatures they had modelled, he sent your likenesses down into the world of perdition, namely, the blessed little innocent spirits. They are not alien to knowledge. For all knowledge is vested in one angel who appeared before them; he is not without power in the company of the father. And <he> gave them knowledge. Whenever they appear in the world of perdition, immediately and first of all they reveal the pattern of imperishability as a condemnation of the rulers and their forces. Thus when the blessed beings appeared in forms modelled by authorities, they were envied. And out of envy the authorities mixed their seed with them, in hopes of polluting them. They could not. Then when the blessed beings appeared in luminous form, they appeared in various ways. And each one of them, starting out in his land, revealed his (kind of) knowledge to the visible church constituted of the modelled forms of perdition. It (viz., the church) was found to contain all kinds of seed, because of the seed of the authorities that had mixed with it.

    Then the Savior created […] of them all – and the spirits of these are manifestly superior, being blessed and varying in election – and also (he created) many other beings, which have no king and are superior to everyone that was before them. Consequently, four races exist. There are three that belong to the kings of the eighth heaven. But the fourth race is kingless and perfect, being the highest of all. For these shall enter the holy place of their father. And they will gain rest in repose and eternal, unspeakable glory and unending joy. Moreover, they are kings within the mortal domain, in that they are immortal. They will condemn the gods of chaos and their forces.

    Now the Word that is superior to all beings was sent for this purpose alone: that he might proclaim the unknown. He said, “There is nothing hidden that is not apparent, and what has not been recognized will be recognized.” And these were sent to make known what is hidden, and the seven authorities of chaos and their impiety. And thus they were condemned to death.

    So when all the perfect appeared in the forms modelled by the rulers, and when they revealed the incomparable truth, they put to shame all the wisdom of the gods. And their fate was found to be a condemnation. And their force dried up. Their lordship was dissolved. Their forethought became emptiness, along with their glory.

    Before the consummation of the age, the whole place will shake with great thundering. Then the rulers will be sad, […] their death. The angels will mourn for their mankind, and the demons will weep over their seasons, and their mankind will wail and scream at their death. Then the age will begin, and they will be disturbed. Their kings will be intoxicated

    with the fiery sword, and they will wage war against one another, so that the earth is intoxicated with bloodshed. And the seas will be disturbed by those wars. Then the sun will become dark, and the moon will cause its light to cease. The stars of the sky will cancel their circuits. And a great clap of thunder will come out of a great force that is above all the forces of chaos, where the firmament of the woman is situated. Having created the first product, she will put away the wise fire of intelligence and clothe herself with witless wrath. Then she will pursue the gods of chaos, whom she created along with the prime parent. She will cast them down into the abyss. They will be obliterated because of their wickedness. For they will come to be like volcanoes and consume one another until they perish at the hand of the prime parent. When he has destroyed them, he will turn against himself and destroy himself until he ceases to exist.

    And their heavens will fall one upon the next and their forces will be consumed by fire. Their eternal realms, too, will be overturned. And his heaven will fall and break in two. His […] will fall down upon the […] support them; they will fall into the abyss, and the abyss will be overturned.

    The light will […] the darkness and obliterate it: it will be like something that has never been. And the product to which the darkness had been posterior will dissolve. And the deficiency will be plucked out by the root (and thrown) down into the darkness. And the light will withdraw up to its root. And the glory of the unbegotten will appear. And it will fill all the eternal realm.

    When the prophecy and the account of those that are king becomes known and is fulfilled by those who are called perfect, those who – in contrast – have not become perfect in the unbegotten father will receive their glory in their realms and in the kingdoms of the immortals: but they will never enter the kingless realm. For everyone must go to the place from which he has come. Indeed, by his acts and his knowledge, each person will make his (own) nature known.

    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

    The Paraphrase Of Shem

    image

    Translated by Frederik Wisse

    [The] paraphrase which was about the unbegotten Spirit.

    What Derdekea< s> revealed to me, Shem, 5 according to the will of the Majesty. My thought which was in my body snatched me away from my race. It took me up to the top of the world, 10 which is close to the light that shone upon the whole area there. I saw no earthly likeness, but there was light. And my thought separated 15 from the body of darkness as though in sleep.

    I heard a voice saying to me, Shem, since you are from an unmixed power 20 and you are the first being upon the earth, hear and understand what I shall say to you first concerning the great powers who were in existence in the beginning, before 25 I appeared. There was Light and Darkness and there was Spirit between them. Since your root fell into forgetfulness – he who was 30 the unbegotten Spirit – I reveal to you the truth about the powers. The Light was thought full of hearing and word. They were 35 united into one form. And the Darkness was 2 wind in waters. He possessed the mind wrapped in a chaotic fire. And the Spirit between them 5 was a gentle, humble light. These are the three roots. They reigned each in themselves, alone. And they covered each other, each one with 10 its power.

    But the Light, since he possessed a great power, knew the abasement of the Darkness and his disorder, namely that the root was not straight. 15 But the crookedness of the Darkness was lack of perception, namely (the illusion that) there is no one above him. And as long as he was able to bear up under his evil, he was covered with the water. And he 20 stirred. And the Spirit was frightened by the sound. He lifted himself up to his station. And he saw a great, dark water. And he was nauseated. And 25 the thought of the Spirit stared down; he saw the infinite Light. But he was overlooked by the putrid root. And by the will of the great Light 30 the dark water separated. And the Darkness came up wrapped in vile ignorance, and (this was) in order that the mind might separate from him because he prided 35 himself in it.

    And when he stirred, 3 the light of the Spirit appeared to him. When he saw it he was astonished. He did not know that another Power was above him. And when he 5 saw that his likeness was dark compared with the Spirit, he felt hurt. And in his pain he lifted up to the height of the members of Darkness his mind which 10 was the eye of the bitterness of evil. He caused his mind to take shape in a member of the regions of the Spirit, thinking

    that, by staring (down) at his evil, he would be able 15 to equal the Spirit. But he was not able. For he wanted to do an impossible thing, and it did not take place. But in order that the mind of Darkness, which 20 is the eye of the bitterness of evil, might not be destroyed, since he was made partially similar, he arose and shone with a fiery light upon all of Ha- des, so that 25 the equality to the faultless Light might become apparent. For the Spirit made use of every form of Darkness because he appeared in his majesty. 30

    And the exalted, infinite Light appeared, for he was very joyful.

    He wished to reveal himself to the Spirit. And the likeness 35 of the exalted Light appeared to the unbegotten Spirit. 4 appeared. [I] am the son of the incorruptible, infinite Light. appeared in the likeness 5 of the Spirit, for am the ray of the universal Light. And his appearance to me (was) in order that the mind of Darkness might not remain in

    Hades. 10 For the Darkness made himself like his mind in a part of the members. When ,

    (O) Shem, appeared in it (i.e. the likeness), in order that the Darkness might become dark to himself, 15 according to the will of the Majesty – in order that the Darkness might become free from every aspect of the power which he possessed – the mind drew the chaotic fire, with which 20 it was covered, from the midst of the Darkness and the water. And from the Darkness the water became a cloud. and from the cloud the womb took shape. 25 The chaotic fire which was a deviation went there.

    And when the Darkness saw it (i.e. the womb) he became unchaste and when he had aroused 30 the water, he rubbed the womb. His mind dissolved down to the depths of Nature. It mingled with the power of the bitterness of Darkness. And 35 her (i.e. the womb’s) eye ruptured at the wickedness in order that she might not again bring forth the mind. For it was 5 a seed of Nature from the dark root.

    And when Nature had taken to herself the mind by means of the dark power, 5 every likeness took shape in her. And when the Darkness had acquired the likeness of the mind, it resembled the Spirit. For Nature rose up to expel it; 10 she was powerless against it, since she did not have a form from the Darkness. For she brought it forth in the cloud. And the cloud shone. A mind appeared in 15 it like a frightful, harmful fire. It (i.e. the mind) collided against the unbegotten Spirit

    since it possessed a likeness from him. In order that 20 Nature might become empty of the chaotic fire, then immediately Nature was divided into four parts. They became clouds which varied 25 in their appearance. They were called Hymen, Afterbirth, Power, (and) Water. And the Hymen and the Afterbirth and the Power were 30 chaotic fires. And it (i.e. the mind) was drawn from the midst of the Darkness and the water – since the mind was in the midst of Nature

    and the dark power – 35 in order that the harmful waters might not cling to it. 6 Because of this Nature was divided, according to my will, in order that the mind may return to its power which the 5 dark root, which was mixed with it (i.e. the mind), had taken from it. And he (i.e. the dark root) appeared in the womb. And at the division of Nature he

    separated from the dark power 10 which he possessed from the mind. It (i.e. the mind) went into the midst of the power – this was the middle region of Nature.

    And the Spirit of light, when the mind 15 burdened him, was astonished. And the force of his Astonishment cast off the burden. And it (i.e. the burden) returned to its heat. It put on the light of the Spirit. 20 And when Nature moved away from the power of the light of

    the Spirit, the burden returned. And the Astonishment (of the) light cast off the burden. It stuck 25 to the cloud of the Hymen. And all the clouds of Darkness cried out, they who had separated from Hades, because of the alien Power. He is the Spirit of light who has come 30 in them. And by the will of the Majesty the Spirit gazed up at the infinite Light,

    –~~~~~~~~~~~~–

    in order that his light may be pitied and 35 the likeness brought up from Hades.

    And when the Spirit had looked, flowed 7 out – , the son of the Majesty – like a wave of bright light and like a whirlwind of the immortal Spirit. And blew from 5 the cloud of the Hymen upon the Astonishment of the unbegotten Spirit. It (i.e. the cloud) separated and cast light upon the clouds. These separated in order that the Spirit might return. Because of this the mind 10 took shape. Its repose was shattered. For the Hymen of Nature was a cloud which cannot be grasped; it is a great fire. Similarly, the Afterbirth 15 of Nature is the cloud of silence; it is an august fire. And the Power which was mixed with the mind, it, too, was a cloud of Nature which 20 was joined with the Darkness that had aroused Nature to unchastity. And the dark water was a frightful cloud. And the root 25 of Nature, which was below, was crooked, since it is burdensome an