Some time back on the PalmTreeGarden a vote was taken and this selections of key Gnostic Texts came up as the most useful.

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Palm Tree Garden Gnostic Cannon

 

 

I propose that we use the following seven texts as the Palm Tree Garden Gnostic Cannon:

 

Gospel of Thomas

Gospel of Philip

Gospel of Truth

Exegesis on the Soul

Apocryphon of John

The Hymn of the Pearl

The Treatise on the Resurrection

 

The Gospel of Thomas

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 intoxicated from 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, and their 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.”

58. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the person who has toiled and has found life.”

59. 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.”

60. 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.”

61. 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.”

62. 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!”

64. 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.”

65. 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!”

66. Jesus said, “Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone.”

67. Jesus said, “Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking.”

68. Jesus said, “Congratulations to you when you are hated and persecuted; and no place will be found, wherever you have been persecuted.”

69. 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.”

70. 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.”

71. Jesus said, “I will destroy [this] house, and no one will be able to build it […].”

72. 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?”

73. Jesus said, “The crop is huge but the workers are few, so beg the harvest boss to dispatch workers to the fields.”

74. He said, “Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well.”

75. Jesus said, “There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite.”

76. 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.”

77. 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.”

78. 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.”

79. 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.'”

80. 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.”

81. Jesus said, “Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce <it>.”

82. Jesus said, “Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the (Father’s) kingdom.”

83. 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.”

84. 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!”

85. 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.”

86. Jesus said, “[Foxes have] their dens and birds have their nests, but human beings have no place to lay down and rest.”

87. Jesus said, “How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.”

88. 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?'”

89. 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?”

90. Jesus said, “Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will find rest for yourselves.”

91. 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.”

92. 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.”

93. “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 […].”

94. Jesus [said], “One who seeks will find, and for [one who knocks] it will be opened.”

95. [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.”

96. 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!”

97. 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.”

98. 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.”

99. 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 my mother. They are the ones who will enter my Father’s kingdom.”

100. 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.”

101. “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.”

102. Jesus said, “Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.”

103. 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.”

104. 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.”

105. Jesus said, “Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore.”

106. 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.”

107. 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.'”

108. 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.”

109. 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.”

110. Jesus said, “Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world.”

111. 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”?

112. Jesus said, “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh.”

113. 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:]
114. 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 Gospel of Philip

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 Gospel of Truth

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 the name 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 who was 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 Exegesis on the Soul

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.”

 

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