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Searchable Full Text of Pistis Sophia- A Gnostic Gospel

 

PISTIS SOPHIA

A GNOSTIC GOSPEL

 

 

A GNOSTIC GOSPEL (WITH EXTEACTS FROM THE BOOKS OF

THE SAVIOUE APPENDED) ORIGINALLY TRANSLATED

FROM GREEK INTOCOPTIC AND NOW FOE THE FIRST

TIME IN ENGLISH FROM SCHWAETZE'S LATIN VERSION

OF THE ONLY KNOWN COPTIC MS. AND CHECKED BY

AMELINEAU'S FRENCH VERSION

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY G. R. S. MEAD

 

 

 

 

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London

 

The Theosophical Publishing Society

26 Charing Cross, S.W.

 

NEW YOBK: THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY, 65 FIFTH

AVENUE

 

BENARES: THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY

MADRAS: "THE THEOSOPHIST" OFFICE, ADYAR 1896

 

 

ABERDEEN UNIVEBSITY PRE8S

 

 

 

TABLE OF SUMMARIES.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

PAGE

 

The documents and general literature of Gnosticism . xvii

 

The method of the best Gnostic doctors .... xxiii

 

Description and criticism of the MS xxv

 

General analysis of contents xxix

 

The date and authorship of the Greek original . . xxx

 

The Books of the Saviour xxxi

 

The probable history of the treatise xxxiii

 

The translator's apologia .......

 

The work that has been previously done ....

 

THE FIRST BOOK OF

-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24 - !DL


PISTIS SOPHIA

 

Jesus hitherto instructeth his disciples only up to the region

 

of the first mystery ........ 1

 

What the first mystery surroundeth .....

 

The regions of the great invisible 2

 

The treasure of light

 

The light-world 3

 

Jesus and his disciples are seated on the Mount of Olives . 4

A great light-stream descendeth on Jesus ....

 

It surroundeth him entirely 5

 

Jesus ascendeth into heaven

 

The confusion of the powers and the great earthquake . . 6

 

The dismay of the disciples

 

Jesus descendeth again

 

The nature of his glory 7

 

Jesus addresseth them ........

 

He draweth his light unto himself ...... 8

 

He promiseth to tell them all things

 

How the vesture of light was sent unto him .... 9

Of the souls of the disciples and their incarnation ... 10

Of the incarnation of John the Baptist . . . . .11

That John was Elias in a former birth 12

 

 

 

IV CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

Of his own incarnation through Mary 13

 

More concerning the light-powers in the disciples .

 

Why they should rejoice that the time of his investiture had

 

come 14

 

The mystery of the five words on the vesture .... 15

 

The interpretation thereof 16

 

The three robes of light

 

The first vesture 17

 

The second vesture

 

The third vesture

 

The day of " Come unto us " 18

 

Jesus putteth on his vesture 19

 

He entereth the firmament

 

The powers of the firmament are amazed and fall down and

 

worship him 20

 

He entereth the first sphere

 

The powers of the first sphere are amazed and fall down and

 

worship him

 

He entereth the second sphere 21

 

The powers of the second sphere are amazed and fall down

 

and worship him

 

He entereth the aeons 22

 

The powers of the aeons are amazed and fall down and wor-

ship him

 

Adamas and the tyrants fight against the light ... 23

He taketh from them a third of their power .... 24

He changeth the motion of their spheres ....

Mary asketh and receiveth permission to speak ... 25

Mary interpreted the above from the words of Isaiah . . 26

Jesus commendeth Mary. She further questioneth him on

 

the changing of the spheres 28

 

Jesus oxplaineth further the conversion of the spheres . . 29

 

Philip questioneth Jesus 31

 

Why the path of the aeons was changed 32

 

Mary questioneth him again 33

 

The coming of Melchisedcc 34

 

Of the fabrication of the souls of men

 

The rulers devour their matter so that souls may not be fabri-

cated 36

 

Adamas and the tyrants battle against the light-vesture . . 37

Jesus taketh from them a third of their power and changeth

 

their course 38

 

They no more have the power of devouring their matter . 39

The powers adore the light-vesture 40

 

 

 

CONTENTS. V

 

PAGE

 

The tyrants become as the dead 41

 

Jesus entereth the thirteenth aeon and findeth Pistia Sophia 42

Sophia and her fellow-powers behold the light

 

Mary desireth to hear the story of Sophia .... 48

 

The rulers hate her for ceasing in their mystery ... 44

Arrogant uniteth himself with the rulers of the twelve seons

 

and emanateth a lion-faced power to plague Sophia . . 45

Sophia taketh the lion-faced power of Arrogant for the true

light 46

 

She descendeth to the twelve aeons and thence into chaos

The emanations of Arrogant squeeze the light-powers out of

 

Sophia 47

 

The first repentonce of Sophia

 

Mary interpreted the first repentance from Psalm Ixviii. . 52

 

The second repentance of Sophia 55

 

Peter complaineth of Mary 57

 

Peter interpreteth the second repentance from Psalm Ixx. . 58

 

Jesus promiseth to perfect the disciples in all things . . 59

 

The third repentance of Sophia 60

 

Martha asketh and receiveth permission to speak .

 

Martha interpreteth the third repentance from Psalm Ixix. . 61

 

The fourth repentance of Sophia 62

 

John asketh and receiveth permission to speak ... 64

 

John interpreteth the repentance^from Psalm ci. . . 65

 

Jesus cominendeth John ........ 66

 

The emanations of Arrogant again squeeze the light out of

 

Sophia 67

 

The fifth repentance of Sophia

 

Philip, the scribe, complaineth 69

 

Jesus explaineth that the appointed scribes are Philip and

 

Thomas and Matthew 70

 

Mary interproteth the words of Jesus concerning the three

 

witnesses

 

Philip is now given permission to speak 71

 

Philip interproteth the fifth repentance from Psalm xlvii. . 72

 

Philip is commended and continueth writing .... 73

 

The sixth repentance of Sophia 74

 

Andrew interpreteth the sixth repentance from Psalm cxxix. . 75

Jesus cominendeth Andrew. He promiseth that the tyrants

 

shall be judged and consumed by the fire of wisdom

 

Mary interpreteth the words of Jesus 76

 

The repentance of Sophia is not yet accepted. She is mocked

 

by the aeons 77

 

The seventh repentance of Sophia 78

 

 

 

VI CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

Thomas interpreteth the seventh repentance from Psalm

 

xxiv 80

 

Jesus commendeth Thomas 82

 

Jesus leadeth Sophia to a less confined region, hut without

 

the command of the first mystery

 

The emanations of Arrogant cease for a time to constrain

 

Sophia 83

 

The eighth repentance of Sophia 84

 

The emanations of Arrogant constrain her again ... 85

 

She continueth her repentance

 

Matthew interpreteth the repentance from Psalm xxx. . . 87

Jesus commendeth Matthew, and promiseth his disciples that

 

they shall sit on thrones with him 88

 

Mary interpreteth the words of Jesus 89

 

The ninth repentance of Sophia

 

James interpreteth the repentance from Psalm xxxiv. . . 93

Jesus commendeth James, and promiseth the first place unto

 

the disciples 95

 

Mary interpreteth the words of Jesus 96

 

The repentance of Sophia is accepted. Jesus is sent to help

 

her

 

The tenth repentance of Sophia 98

 

Peter interpreteth the repentance from Psalm cxix.

 

Jesus commendeth Peter 99

 

The eleventh repentance of Sophia

 

Arrogant aideth his emanations, and they again constrain

 

Sophia 102

 

The twelfth repentance of Sophia 103

 

Andrew interpreteth the repentance from Psabn cviii. . . 105

 

The thirteenth repentance of Sophia 108

 

Martha interpreteth the repentance from Psalm 1. . . . 109

Jesus sendeth forth a light-power to aid Sophia

 

Sophia uttereth a song of praise 110

 

Salome interpreteth the song of Sophia from the Odes of

 

Solomon 112

 

The power sent by Jesus formeth a crown of light on Sophia's

 

head . . -

 

Sophia uttereth another song of praise 113

 

Mary, the mother, asketh and receiveth permission to speak . 114

Mary, the mother, interpreteth the song of Sophia from the

 

nineteenth Ode of Solomon 115

 

Jesus commendeth his mother

 

The statute of the first mystery is fulfilled for taking Sophia

 

entirely out of chaos

 

 

 

CONTENTS. Vll

 

PAGE

 

The first mystery and Jesus send forth two streams of light-

powers to help Sophia 116

 

Mary interpreteth the mystery

 

Mary, the mother, further interpreteth the scripture . . 118

 

The story of the phantom spirit

 

Of the spiritual and material hodies of Jesus .... 119

 

The other Mary further interpreteth the same scripture from

 

the baptism of Jesus 121

 

Mary, the mother, again further interpreteth the same

scripture from the meeting of herself with Elizabeth,

mother of John the Baptist 122

 

Of the incarnation of Jesus

 

THE NOTE OF A SCRIBE.

A note by a later hand 128

 

THE SECOND BOOK OF

-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24 - !DL


PISTIS SOPHIA

 

John further explaineth the same scripture .... 125

 

Of Saba6th, Barb&o, labraoth and the light-vesture . . 126

 

Gabriel and Michael are summoned to help Pistis Sophia . 127

 

The light-stream rostoreth the light-powers into Sophia . . 128

The light-stream, having accomplished its purpose, departeth

 

from Sophia 129

 

Peter interpreteth the narrative from the Odes of Solomon . 130

 

The emanations of Arrogant cry aloud to him for help . . 134

He sendeth forth another more violent power, like unto a

 

winged arrow 135

 

The creation of the serpent, basilisk and dragon powers .

 

The dffimonial power of Adamas dasheth Sophia to the ground 186

 

Sophia again crieth to the light 137

 

Gabriel and Michael and the light-stream again go to her aid .

 

The transfiguration of Sophia 138

 

Jesus, the first mystery, looking without, causeth Sophia to

 

triumph 139

 

James interpreteth the narrative from Psalm xc. . . . 140

 

Sophia bingeth a song of praise 147

 

Thomas interpretcth the song of Sophia from the Odes of

 

Solomon 149

 

Sophia singeth another song of praise 153

 

Matthew interpreteth the song of Sophia from the Odes of

 

Solomon 155

 

Sophia continueth to sing 160

 

 

 

Vlll CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

 

Mary is afraid of Peter 160

 

Mary interpreted the song of Sophia from the Psalms . . 161

 

Sophia continueth her song 162

 

Martha interpreteth from the Psalms

 

Sophia continueth her song

 

Mary iuterpreteth from the Psalms 163

 

Sophia is led to a region below the thirteenth 83on and given

 

a new mystery 164

 

She continueth her song

 

Andrew interpreteth from the Psalms 166

 

The conversation of Sophia and the Light .... 166

 

The Light promiseth to seal the regions of Arrogant . . 167

How Sophia shall know that the time of her final deliverance

 

hath como

 

What shall come to pass at that time 168

 

The time for the final deliverance of Sophia is fulfilled . . 169

Adanias sondeth forth two emanations of darkness to plague

 

Sophia 170

 

Sophia again singcth a song to the Light . . . .171

 

James interpreteth the song from Psalm vii 173

 

Sophia addresseth Adamas and his rulers .... 174

 

Sophia yet again singeth to the Light 175

 

Martha interpreteth the words of Sophia from Psalm vii. . 176

 

Jesus bringeth Sophia again to the thirteenth a?on .

 

Sophia singeth the praises of the Light to her fellow-invisibles 177

 

Philip interpreteth the song from Psalm cvi 180

 

Mary questioneth Jesus 182

 

Of the four and twenty invisibles ...... 184

 

Of the twelve aeons 186

 

Of the thirteenth jpon ........

 

Of the midst 187

 

Of the right

 

Of the treasure

 

Of the inheritance 188

 

Mary again questioneth Jesus 189

 

Of the twelve saviours and their regions in the inheritance . 190

 

Of the ascension of them of the treasure into the inheritance . 192

 

Of their respective ranks in the kingdom 193

 

Of the powers of the light and their emanation and ascension

 

Of the powers of the midst and their ascension . . . 194

 

But this shall not take place till the end of the aeon . . 195

Of the ascension of the souls of the perfect . . . .196

 

Of the rank of the souls of the perfect 197

 

Mary interpreteth the narrative from the Scriptures . . 198

 

 

 

CONTENTS. IX

 

PAGE

 

Of the last supporter 199

 

That the region beyond the supporters is indescribable . . 200

 

Mary further questioneth Jesus 201

 

Of the second supporter

 

Of the third, fourth, and fifth supporters 202

 

Mary again questioneth Jesus

 

Of them that receive the mystery in the last supporter . . 203

 

John questioneth Jesus 204

 

Of the first statute

 

Of the first space 205

 

Of the second space

 

Of the third space

 

Of the tri'-spirituals in the third space, i.e., the first space of

 

the ineffable 206

 

Of the absolute mystery

 

Of the gnosis of the absolute mystery 207

 

The gnosis of the mystery of the ineffable continued . . 210

 

Of the hierarchies of powers 212

 

The disciples lose courage 215

 

Jesus cxplaineth that that mystery is really simpler than all

 

mysteries 216

 

Of the fission and emanation of the powers of the pleroma . 218

Of them of the second space of the ineffable ....

Of them of the first space of the ineffable . . . .221

 

Jesus promise th to explain further all in detail . . . 223

 

Of the mystery succinctly

 

Of the one and only word of the ineffable .... 224

Of the ascension of the soul of him who shall receive the abso-

lute mystery 225

 

Of tho rank of such a soul 226

 

Such souls are " christs," and shall be kings in the kingdom 228

Of the dignity of the thrones in the kingdom .... 229

Of the gnosis of the word of the ineffable .... 230

Of the distinction between the absolute gnosis and the mys-

teries of light 231

 

Of the ascension of the souls of them that receive the twelve

 

mysteries of the first mystery 233

 

Mary questioneth Jesus 235

 

Of the three mysteries and five mysteries ....

 

Of tho first of the three mysteries 236

 

Of the second of the three mysteries

 

Of its efficacy with regard to the uninitiated . . . .237

 

Of the third of the three mysteries 238

 

Of its efficacy with regard to the uninitiated .... 239

 

 

 

X CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

 

Further concerning the three and five mysteries . . . 239

 

Of the one and only mystery 240

 

Of the mysteries of the second space 241

 

Of the mystery of the third space, the first from without

 

Of the reign of a thousand years of light 242

 

What is a year of the light

 

Of them of the first space in the kingdom of the thousand

 

years 248

 

Of them of the second space 244

 

Of them of the third space, the first from without .

 

Of the Books of leou 245

 

Andrew questioneth Jesus 246

 

That all men are potentially all powers 247

 

As to how men differ from the powers

 

Of the purifying mysteries 248

 

That all who are purified shall be saved 250

 

That finally they shall be higher than all powers ,

 

Jesus pardoneth the ignorance of Andrew .... 251

 

 

 

EXTRACT FROM THE BOOKS OF THE SAVIOUR.

 

Of the members of the ineffable 252

 

Jesus the great initiator is all the mysteries ....

 

Of the dignity of them who are initiated into the mysteries . 253

 

THE SECOND BOOK OF PISTIS SOPHIA (CONTINUED).

 

Of the preaching of the disciples 254

 

What men should avoid

 

What men should practise 259

 

Unto such the mysteries of light are to be given . . . 260

The mysteries are for the remission of sins .... 261

 

Mary again questioneth Jesus

 

Of the soul of the righteous man who is not initiated when it

 

passeth from the body

 

John questioneth Jesus 263

 

Of the initiated who sinneth and repcnteth until seven times 265

 

A former saying explained

 

Of the reward of the savers of souls

 

John continueth his questioning 266

 

That the mysteries shall be given unto a repentant brother

 

even up to the three of the second space ....

The limit of the power of the disciples to remit sins . , 268

A former saying explained

 

 

 

CONTENTS. xi

 

PAGE

 

Of the absolute mystery of the remission of sins . . . 269

 

John contimieth his questioning

 

The teaching with regard to sinners who receive the mysteries

 

further extended 270

 

John continueth his questioning 272

 

Of hypocrites who receive the mysteries 273

 

A former saying explained 274

 

Mary again questioneth Jesus 275

 

How the souls of them that have passed from the body may

 

be helped by those on earth 276

 

Mary continueth her questioning 277

 

How an initiate can escape from the death of the body with -

 

out pain

 

Mary continueth her questioning 279

 

The mystery of the resurrection of the dead ....

 

The disciples became frenzied at the sublimity of the teaching 280

 

How the disciples shall preach

 

What mysteries they shall give 281

 

The mystery of the resurrection not to be given to any .

 

Of the constitution of man 282

 

Of the counterfeit of the spirit 283

 

The state of the sinful soul after death 284

 

How a sinful soul is brought back to rebirth .... 285

Of the glorious ascension after death of the righteous soul

 

that hath received the mysteries 286

 

Of the state after death of one that hath received the mysteries

 

and yet hath transgressed 288

 

The apology of the rulers of the midst 290

 

The apology of the rulers of the fate

 

Of the ascension of that soul into the inheritance . . . 291

 

Mary interpreteth the teaching from former sayings . . 292

 

The piece of money that was brought unto Jesus . . . 293

 

A baying of Paul 294

 

The foes of one's own house

 

A saying concerning rebirth 295

 

Mary continueth to question Jesus 297

 

Of the workmen of wrath 298

 

How the soul of the sinner is stamped with its sins . . 299

 

How the baptisms purify sins

 

The separation of the " principles " by the mystery of baptism 300

Mary interpreteth the same from a former saying .

 

Mary further questioneth Jesus 302

 

Of the remission of sins according to the mysteries

 

Mary interpreteth the same from the Psalms .... 303

 

 

 

Xll CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

 

Of the forgiveness oven unto twelve times of them who have

 

received the mystery of the first mystery .... 304

Of such initiated who die without repentance .... 305

Of the unending forgiveness of them that have received the

 

mystery of the ineffable 306

 

Of such initiated who die without repentance .... 307

Mary interpreteth the same from a former saying .

Of the absolute compassion of the absolute mystery . . 309

That the initiated are watched over in passing from the body

Mary intcrpreteth the same from a former saying . . . 310

If even men on earth are compassionate, how much more then

 

the highest mystery 311

 

Jesus trieth Peter 312

 

Mary interpreteth the incident from a former saying . . 313

In the case of repentance only higher mysteries than those

 

previously received can remit sins 314

 

There is no limit to the number of mysteries the faithful may

 

receive .......... 315

 

The fate of the initiated who sinneth is more terrible than that

 

of the ignorant sinner ....... 31G

 

Mary interpreteth the same from a former saying .

 

Of them who procrastinate, saying they have many births

 

before them 317

 

They who procrastinate are excluded from the light . . 318

 

Their entreaties at the gates of light

 

Mary interpreteth the same 319

 

Of the dragon of outer darkness ...... 320

 

Of the rulers of the twelve dungeons and their names

 

Of the doors of the dungeons 322

 

The angels that watch at the doors ......

 

What souls pass into the dragon, and how ....

 

The nature of the names of the dragons ..... 323

 

Of the severity of the torments of the dragon .... 324

 

Of the various degrees of the fires of the torments .

 

The disciples bewail the fate of sinueis ..... 325

 

Mary further questioneth Jesus

 

How to save the souls of the uninitiated after death . . 326

How the mystery will even save them that have no more

 

chance of rebirth ........ 327

 

Of the light-streams 329

 

Mary pleadeth for them who have neglected the mysteries . 330

Of the efficacy of the names of the twelve rulers of the dun-

geons 332

 

The souls who know the names escape from the dragons and

 

are taken to leou 333

 

 

 

CONTENTS.

 

 

 

Of their subsequent fate

 

Mary interpreted the same from a former saying , . . 335

 

Of the light of the sun and the darkness of the dragon

 

Of the rulers of the fate and the draught of oblivion . . 336

 

The meaning of the term " counterfeit of the spirit " . . 337

 

Of the fashioning of a new soul ......

 

Of the inbreathing of the power ...... 333

 

Jesus promiseth to reveal all in detail ..... 339

 

The teaching as to the light-power and counterfeit of the

 

spirit summarised ........ 340

 

Who are the " parents " we are to abandon .... 341

 

Salome is in doubt as to the matter ......

 

Mary removeth the doubt of Salome ..... 342

 

Of the charge given unto the counterfeit of the spirit . . 343

Of the charge given unto the builders ..... 344

 

Of the embryonic stages of incarnation ..... 345

 

Of the karmic compulsion of the parents ..... 346

 

The occult process of gestation .......

 

Of the incarnation of the " principles " ..... 347

 

Occult physiognomy .........

 

Of the nature of the destiny ....... 349

 

Of how a man comcth by his death ......

 

There is no escape from destiny ...... 350

 

Of the nature of the mysteries .......

 

The mysteries are for all men ....... 351

 

A prophecy of John the Baptist ...... 352

 

The criterion of orthodoxy ....... 353

 

The Books of leou .........

 

Few only will really comprehend the mysteries . . . 354

No soul had entered into the light before the coming of the

 

first mystery ......... 355

 

None of the prophets had been initiated .....

 

The patriarchs have not yet entered into the light . . . 356

 

Of the souls of the righteous from Adam to Jesus .

 

The disciples know of a surety that Jesus is the Great

 

Initiator .......... 357

 

 

 

EXTEACT FROM THE BOOKS OF THE SAVIOUR.

 

The disciples ask a boon of Jesus 359

 

The prayer of Jesus

 

The grouping of the disciples

 

The interpretation of the word ia& 359

 

He prayeth for a boon to be given to his disciples .

 

 

 

XIV CONTENTS.

 

PAGE

 

He commandeth the veils of the heavens to be withdrawn . 359

 

The figure of the disk of the sun 360

 

The figure of the disk of the moon

 

Jesus and the disciples are transported to the ways of the

 

midst

 

Of the repentant and unrepentant rulers

 

Of the hierarchies of the rulers and the names of their five

 

regents 361

 

Of the powers that leou infused into the five regents . . 362

Of the functions of Zeus, the chief regent ....

 

The mystery names of the regents 363

 

Mary questioneth Jesus on the ways of the midst .

Of the mysteries which Jesus will give unto his disciples . 364

Of the constitution of the ways of the midst .... 365

Of the regent of the first dsemonial hierarchy ....

 

Of leou and Melchisedec 366

 

How the dsemonial rulers carry off souls 367

 

The length of their torments

 

Of the time when souls are freed from the torments of their

 

rulers 368

 

The regent of the second dsemonial hierarchy ....

 

The length of their torments 369

 

Of the time when souls are freed from their torments

 

The regent of the third dasmonial hierarchy ....

 

The length of their torments 370

 

Of the time when souls are freed from their torments

 

The regent of the fourth dcemonial hierarchy .... 371

 

The length of their torments

 

Of the time when souls are freed from their torments

 

The regent of the fifth daemonial hierarchy .... 372

 

The length of their torments

 

Of the time when souls are freed from their torments . . 373

The disciples beseech Jesus to have mercy upon sinners

 

Jesus encourageth his disciples 374

 

Jesus and his disciples ascend higher

 

He breatheth on their eyes

 

Their eyes are opened 375

 

Jesus explaineth the vision of fire and water, and wine and

 

blood

 

The same further explained from former sayings . . . 376

Jesus and his disciples descend to the earth ....

Jesus promiseth to give them the mystery of remission . . 377

 

The mystic sacrament

 

The sacramental invocation 378

 

 

 

CONTENTS. XV

 

PAGE

 

The rite is consummated 379

 

Directions as to the future use of the rite .... 880

 

Of three other great rites

 

Of the highest of all mysteries and of the great name

 

Of the efficacy of that name 381

 

The punishment of him that curseth ..... 382

 

Of the punishment of the slanderer 383

 

The punishment of the murderer ...... 385

 

Peter protesteth against the women 386

 

The punishment of the contemptuous ..... 387

 

The'.punishment of the blasphemer 389

 

The punishment of him that hath intercourse with males

 

The punishment of a foul act of sorcery ..... 390

 

Of the after-death state of the righteous 391

 

The cup of wisdom ......... 392

 

A man suffereth for each separate sin

 

Even the greatest of sinners, if he repent, shall inherit the

 

kingdom 393

 

Of the time favourable for the birth of thorn who shall find

 

the mysteries

 

The disciples beseech Jesus to have mercy upon them . . 394

The preaching of the disciples .......

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

IT is with somewhat of the feelings of one setting forth

on a forlorn hope that the writer ventures to T ^ do

plunge into the chaos of syncretism generally ments

classified under the vague term Gnosticism. a ^ cral

Indeed no subject connected with the history literature

of religion is fraught with greater difficulty, as f s ^ nosti "

may be seen from the comparative paucity of

general works on Gnosticism from the pens of European

scholars. In fact the English reader, outside of a few

translations, must content himself with Burton's Bampton

Lectures, MansePs Gnostic Heresies, Norton's History of the

Gnostics, King's Gnostics and their Remains, and an article

by Salmon.

 

Not only did the persecution of the early Gnostics cause

the loss of nearly all their documents, but also some of the

most important writings of the Fathers, which might have

thrown more light on the subject, have disappeared ; among

these may be mentioned the Syntagma of Justin, and the

Syntagma of Hippolytus.

 

Our chief authorities among the Fathers are Justin Martyr,

Irenfeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Hippo-

lytus, Thilastcr, Epiphanius, Jerome and Theodoret. But

as all, with the solitary exception of Hippolytus, quote the

Gnostic documents in the briefest possible manner, and

devote almost all their space to the refu tation of heretical

opinions, it is exceedingly difficult to make out from such

controversial writings what the real views of the various

Gnostic schools were ; and this in spite of the immense

labour and acumen which have been brought to the task

 

b

 

 

 

XV111 INTEODUCTION.

 

by such raen as Massuet, Beausobre and Mosheim in the

last century, and in the present by Neander, Matter, Baur,

Moller, Lipsius and others who will be mentioned later.

 

(The general literature of the subject consists of the

Church Histories of Neander, Baur and Sehaff ; Neander :

Genet. Entw. d. Gnost, Tub., 1831 ; Burton : Banipton

Lectures on Heresies of the Apost. Age, Oxf., 1830; Mohler:

Ursprung d. Gnost., Tub., 1831 ; Baur : D. christl. Gnosis,

Tub., 1835; Norton: Hist, of the Gnostics, Boat., 1845;

Moller : Gesch. d. Kosmologie, Halle, 1860 ; Lipsius : D.

Gnosticismus, Leip., 1860; Harnack : Zur Quellcncritik d.

Gesch. d. Gnost., Leip., 1873^ Mansel : Gnostic Heresies,

Lond., 1875.)

 

In fact, research into this obscure subject has given

rise to one of the most brilliant feats of scholarship on

record. This was achieved by R. A. Lipsius, the learned

professor of divinity in the university of Jena, in his

Quellencritik des Epiphanios (1865). From the accounts

of Epiphanius and Philaster he reconstructs to some ex-

tent the lost Syntagma of Hippolytus, of which a description

is given by Photius. This treatise was founded on certain

discourses of Ireiueus. By comparing Philaster, Epiphanius,

and the Pseudo-Tortullian, he recovers Hippolytus ; and by

comparing his restored Hippolytus with Irenams he infers

a common authority, probably the lost Syntagma of Justin,

or, as I ventured to suggest in my essay on Simon Magus

(1892 ; p. 41), the work from which Justin obtained his

information.

 

This brilliant attempt was owing to the revival of interest

in Gnostic studies aroused by a lucky find. In 1842

Minoides Mynas, a learned Greek, sent on a literary mission

by the French government, discovered what is said to be a

fourteenth century MS. in one of the monasteries on Mount

Athos. This purported to be a Refutation of all Heresies

in ten books, the first three and a half of which were un-

fortunately missing. Emmanuel Miller published the first

edition of this literary treasure at Oxford in 1851,

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XIX

 

erroneously attributing it to Origen. Further research,

however, demonstrated beyond a doubt that the author was

Hipppljtus Romanus, Bishop of Ostia, in the first quarter

of the third century. (See Bunsen, Hippolytus and His Age,

1852 ; Dollinger, Hippolytus und Kallistus, 1853, of which

there is an English translation by Plummer ; and Words-

worth, St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome, 1880, 2nd

ed.) As this treatise, entitled Philosophumena or the Refu-

tation of all Heresies, iw by far the most important work on

Gnosticism from the pen of any Church Father, owing to

its lengthy quotations from original Gnostic documents, it

may be useful to state hei^ that in 1859 Duncker, after

Schneidewin's death, edited and published his colleague's

excellent text and moderate Latin translation at Gottingen \

in 1860 Cruice published a less reliable text and Latin

translation at Paris ; and that the English reader will find

a passable translation by J. H. Macmahon in the Aute-

Niceiie Christian Library entitled The Writings of Hippo-

lytuis, vol. i., 1868.

 

Curiously enough it was in the same year in which the

text of the Philosophumena was published, 1851, that our

present document, Pistis Sophia, was first brought into

general notice.

 

Of Gnostic works that have come down to us, undoubtedly

the most valuable is the Coptic codex, of which we are

treating in the present work. In fact, the only other im-

portant relic of the Gnosis which is so far known to have

withstood the ravages of time and escaped the destruction

of Christian and Mohammedan vandalism, is the Coptic

papyrus, known as the Codex Brucianus and preserved in the

Bodleian at Oxford, to which reference will be made later on.

In the same library there is also another Coptic MS., a

small quarto of 236 pages, entitled Treatise on the Mysteries

of the Greek Letters, to which an Arabic translation is

appended. The author was a priest called Atasius, who,

somewhat in the fashion of the Gnostic doctor Marcus,

deduces from the form of the letters of the Greek alphabet

 

 

 

XX INTBODUCTION.

 

and the meaning of their names, the development of the

dogmas of creation, providence and redemption, as Dulaurior

tells us (op. inf. cit., p. 538). Dulaurier in 1847 promised to

publish the text and a French translation of this work, but

his labours have never seen the light.

 

To this may be added, as connected with the magical side

of the subject, some Greek Papyri mostly in fragments.

Two of the Leyden Papyri of the third century have

recently been edited, translated, and commentated upon

by A. Dieterich (Abraxas : Studien zur Religionsgeschichte

des Spatorn Altertums ; Leipzig, 1891); the London and

Parisian Papyri, of the third or fourth century, have been

edited by Wessely ; in 18. r >2 C. W. Goodwin also did some

good work on the subject (Fragment of a Gra?co-Kgyptian

Work upon Magic from a Papyrus in the British Museum,

Cambridge Antiquarian Society, Octavo Scries, No. 2;

Goodwin edited, translated and annotated this fragment).

Aim'linoiu (P. S., Intr. iv.) says that Rossi (F.), the

Egyptologist of Turin, has published a papyrus containing

an invocation similar to those in the Pistis Sophia, but I

have not been able to find this work. It is not in I Papyri

Copti del Museo Egi/io di Torino which Rossi transcribed

and translated (Turin, 1887-1892).

 

There is also a short Hebrew treatise, The Sword of

Moses (CM., Oxford, 1531, C; Cod. Heb., Caster, 178; see

(Master's text and translation, Journal of Royal Asiatic

Society, 1896, i. and ii.).

 

The above magical works, however, arc more connected

with the superstitions of sorcery than with magic proper,

and when attached to Gnosticism characterise its degrada-

tion in the hands of the superstitious and ignorant.

 

We may also mention the Codex Nazarams, although it

is said at earliest to be post-Mohammedan, of which there

are no less than four MS, copies, dated respectively 15GO,

1632, 1688 and 1730, in the Bibliothcuue Nationale alone.

This Codex is the scripture of the so-called Sahacana, or

Christians of St. John, or Mandaites, and is known aa

 

 

 

INTEODUCTION. xxi

 

Sidra Adam or The Book of Adam. The text, in a strange

Chald30-Syrinc idiom, was first published at Lund (1815,

1816), by Matth. Norberg, the learned Swede, together

with a vocabulary and a Latin translation, in four quarto

volumes. There is also a French translation by F. Tempes-

tini in Mignc's Dictionnaire des Apocryphes (185G). Compare

also the thesis, Stclkc Nasaneorum /Eoncs ex Sacro Gent is

Codice, by Olof Svanander, presumably a pupil of Norberg

(Lund, 1811).

 

Finally we may mention the .Ethiopic Enochian litera-

ture. In 1773 Bruce brought back from Abyssinia three

copies of the /Ethiopia version of The Book of Enoch.

Archbishop Laurence issued a translation in 1821 (2nd ed.,

1833 ; 3rd, 1838), under the title The Book of Enoch.

Hoffman published a German translation, Das Buch Henoch

(Jena, 1838), Gfn'uvr a Latin version of no value (Stuggart,

1840) ; Dillmann a critical text and also a German version

(Leip/ig, 1S51 ; 2nd ed., 1853); Migne's Dictioimahv des

Apocryphes (1856) contains an anonymous French transla-

tion ; there is also an anonymous reprint of Laurence's

translation, with a controversial introduction (London,

1883); and finally Charles recently (1893) published an

English translation from Dillmann's text. This year Charles

has also published The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford),

a translation from Slavonic, which presents us with a new

tradition entirely, namely, the Slavonic Enoch, from a Greek

original which he places from B.C. 30 to A.D. 70, the Greek

having in its turn a Hebrew background of a still earlier

date. In an Appendix is a translation from the Slavonic of

a fragment of Melchisedecian literature. For more than

1200 years this version of Enoch has been unknown save in

Russia, and in Western Europe >\as not known to exist

even in Kussia till 1892.

 

Outside of apocryphal scriptures and the ^ orld-biblcs,

these arc all the documents connected directly or indirectly

with the Gnosis, which, to my knowledge, we possess ; and,

in spite of the good work that has been done since 1850,

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

the chaos of Gnosticism still remains to a large extent in-

tractable, refusing to submit to the ordering of even the

most praiseworthy and painstaking industry .

 

Nor is the reason of this ill-success mostly due to the

paucity of material, but rather to the intrinsic difficulty of

the subject itself, which is not only replete with the most

involved mysticism, but also bound up with magic and

mystery and occasionally sorcery of every kind. It is,

therefore, not a matter of gre"at surprise, when we remember

thefabsojute disbelief of scholarship in magic of any kind,

and the distaste of the present age for everything connected

with mysticism, to find that no single writer on the subject,

except perhaps King in a very feeble fashion, has really

grappled with the problem. The point of view of the most

liberal-minded scholars with regard to this tabooed subject

may be seen from the remarks of Dr. (taster, who would

have magic treated after the fashion of folklore. The

translator of The Sword of Moses in the second paragraph

of his introduction Hoc. sup. cit.) writes : " it is remarkable

that we do not possess a good work, or exhaustive study,

on the history and development of magic. It is true that

we find allusions to it, and sometimes special chapters

devoted to the charms and incantations and other super-

stitious customs prevailing among various nations in books

dealing with such nations. But a comprehensive study

of magic is still a pious (or impious) wish." And, even

were such a task attempted by some venturesome scholar,

the result, we may venture to suggest, would at best be

merely a guess-work compilation, and of no real value,

unless the compiler in addition to his scholarship had not

only a belief in but also a knowledge of the art.

 

To treat of Gnosticism, then, in a really comprehensible

manner, requires not only a writer who at least believes

in the possibilities of magic, but also a mystic or at least

one who is in sympathy with mysticism a person difficult

to find nowadays, when the very names of magic and

mysticism evoke nothing but a smile of contempt and

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION . xxiii

 

a frown of disapproval from the world of science and

letters.

 

The present Introduction, however, is only concerned

with the purely historical and critical side of the subject,

and even this is restricted to the consideration of one

document.

 

Though it would be highly presumptuous to endeavour

to define Gnosticism without a previous analysis The

and classification of the various schools, sects method of

and offshoots which have been grouped under Gnostic

this vague heading, we may nevertheless venture doctors,

to suggest the probable point of view which led the best

of the Gnostic doctors, pre-eminently Valentinus, to compile

their various treatises. Let us then consider the movement

about the year 150 A.D. By that time the original Logia

or the Urevangelmm of Christianity had disappeared, and

the Synoptic Gospels were all set, in the framework of the

traditional life of the great Master of the Faith. The

popular tidal-wave of the new religion had come exclusively

from the ocean of Jewish tradition, and was engulfing

a more universal view of Christianity in the same flood of

intolerance and exclusiveness which had characterised the

Hebrew nation throughout the whole of its previous

history.

 

This startling phenomenon was now attracting the

attention of minds which were not only skilled in the

philosophy of the schools, but also imbued with the eclectic

spirit of a universal theosophy and a knowledge of the

inner doctrines of the ancient religions, Such men

thought that they saw in the Christian Gospel a similarity

of doctrine and a uni versalism which was consanguineous

with these inner teachings of the ancient faiths, and set to

work to endeavour to check the exclusive and narrowing

tendencies which they saw so rapidjy developing among

the less instructed, who made faith superior to knowledge,

even to such an extent as to openly cojnclemn eyjery other

form of religion and scoff at all philosophy and education.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

It is true that about this time such meii arose as Clement

of Alexandria and Origen who voiced much more liberal

views and laid the foundations of Christian theology, but

they were exceptions to the rule.

 

The Gnostic doctors could not believe that the Jews were

the only nation in the past to whom God had revealed

himself, and that the scriptures of the nations were to be

cast on the dustheap of falsehood and error. And yet they

saw that the old order of things had received a rude shock,

and that the fierce faith which had been aroused among the

people in the personality of Jesus, and the social revolution

which was rushing along with leaps and bounds under their

very eyes, could never be dammed back again. All they

could hope to do was to turn the energy generated into a

more universal channel. Accordingly they used the tradi-

tional story of Jesus which had roused such mighty enthu-

siasm, as the framework into which they wove the u wisdom"

of the great religions. Believing, as they did, that truth

was one, and at no time a respecter of persons or nations ;

that all the nations had received of that truth in proportion

to their needs and capacities, they wove these ideas into

the Christian tradition, and compiled gospels and apocalypses

of that veiled and mysterious wisdom which had been

guarded so carefully in the temples throughout the ages,

and into which they believed Jesus had been initiated and

was in his turn an initiator. Nor did they so much invent

these things out of their own heads as it would appear, but

rather compiled them from, existing scrijjtures, many of

which have since disappeared. Tliey drew from the wisdom

of Egypt, Chaldtea, Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, ^Ethiopia,

the books of Orpheus, Pythagoras and Plato, of the Magi

and Zorojister ; and even perhaps in some indirect way from

those of the Brfihnmns. Their source of information was for

the most part the Orient. : "' '''-*- ^ . / '

 

Believing as they did, that the orthodox life of Jesus was

legendary and allegorical, and finding many other legends

current which were not included in the Synoptic account ;

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXV

 

devoted to the mystic life, and making light of the historical

side of religion, with faith alone in the watchword " now

and within," it is evident that their views met with little

favour among the orthodox who clung above all things to

what they held to be the greatest fact of all history. The

ancient wisdom, however, proved far too difficult for

popular comprehension, and being also misunderstood even

by the followers of the great doctors themselves in many

cases, often degenerated into superstition and the wildest of

speculations.

 

But, as we are not attempting to trace the evolution of

the movement, but simply presenting one of the better

sides of the endeavour, we will proceed to a consideration of

the document we are especially interested in, at the same

time reminding the reader that in this Introduction only a

brief outline of the MS. will be attempted, and all further

considerations will be postponed for a further Commentary

which the writer has the intention of undertaking.

 

The only MS. of the Pistis Sophia known to exist was

bought by the British Museum from the heirs of

Dr. Askew at the end of the last century, and is t j on ai ,<j

now catalogued as MS. Add. 5114. The title on criticism

the back of the binding is Piste Sophia Coptice,

and below is printed Mus. Brit. Jure Emptionis. On the

top of the first page of the MS. is the signature A. Askew,

M.I). On the first page of the binding is the following note,

probably in Woide's hand : "Codex dialecti Supcrioris ^Egypti,

quam Sahidicam seu Thebaidicam vocant, en jus titulus

exstat pagina 115: Pinch suaou ntomos htpiste Sophia

Touios secundus fidelis Sapient he Deest pagina 337-344."

 

The title Piste Sophia is incorrect ; nowhere is this form

found in the book, and the suggested emendation of

Dulaurier and Renan from Pistis Sophia to Piste Sophia

" La fidele Sagessc," has received no support from other

scholars.

 

Where Askew found it or bought it, I cannot discover.

It is not mentioned in his biography, and the reference

 

 

 

XXVI INTRODUCTION.

 

given by Kostlin (v. i.) is unverifiable. When the Museum

bought it is not stated. It was evidently before the great

sale of the Askew library which lasted twenty days in 1785,

for the Pistis Sophia is not mentioned in the catalogue

(Bibliotheca Askeviana Manuscripta, etc., 1785; v. Askew,

A., Cat. B.M.). The MS. is written on vellum in Greek

uncial letters, and is in the Upper Egyptian dialect, called

Thebaidic or Sahidic. It consists of 346 quarto pages

written in double column, and for the most part is in an

excellent state of preservation ; several pages, however, are

badly defaced, and a number faint. Perhaps the most

competent expert who has yet given a decided opinion as

to its date is Woide, whose knowledge of such matters was

very extensive, and cannot be easily surpassed. It was by

Woidc that the New Testament, according to the text of

the famous Codex Alexandrinus, was edited, in uncial types

cast to imitate those of the MS., in 1786. In an Appendix

to this great undertaking, in 1799, he added certain frag-

ments of the New Testament in the Thebaico-Coptic dialect,

together with a dissertation on the Coptic version of the

New Testament. The date of the Codex Alexandrinus is

pretty generally assigned to the fifth century, and with the

exception of the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus,

which are sometimes assigned to the fourth century, is the

oldest extant MS. of the New Testament. This being

the case, it is of interest to read Woidc's description

and opinion of the MS. of Pistis Sophia, which was lent to

this ripe scholar by Dr. Askew and his heirs long enough

for him to copy it out from the first word to the last.

Woide was, therefore, eminently fitted in every way to form

an opinion ; in fact, no one of equal fitness seems to have

appeared in the field since his time. In Cramer's Beytrage

(op. inf. cit., pp. 82 sq.), Woide wrote as follows in 1778 :

"It [P. S.J is a very old MS. in 4 to on parchment in Greek

uncial characters, which are not so round as those in the

Alexandrine MS. in London, and in the Claromontain MS.

in Paris [Codex Regius Parisiensis, also an Alexandrine text].

 

 

 

INTEODUCTION. XXV11

 

The characters of the MS. [P. S.] are somewhat longer and

more angular, so that I take them to be older than both the

latter MSS., in which the letters eta, theta, omicron, rho

and sigma are much rounder. There are no capital letters

in the whole book ; the letters are all equal, only at the end

of the lines there are sometimes smaller letters to bring the

word in. There are no other marks of distinction than a

full stop or colon. The words are not separated from each

other ; the paragraphs arc not distinguished by breaks, but

by full stops. At the beginning of the book, of the second

part and of the two appendices, the first letter is not in

advance of the line. If the paragraph begins with the line,

1 have sometimes, though seldom, remarked that the first

letter is in advance of the line. If the paragraph begins in

the middle of a line sometimes, but not often, the first letter

of the following line is somewhat advanced. Here and

there also a section is noted on the edge by a mark that

looks almost like a Greek zeta, or by a line from the edge

to above the word. If the paragraph begins at the

beginning of the line, the marks arc on the same line ; if

it begins in the middle of the line, they are at the beginning

 

of the following line. The folios are numbered in Greek

letters."

 

Thus we see that Woide places the date of the MS. at

latest about the latter end of the fourth century. It is also

quite evident that the whole MS. from first to last is by the

same hand, and that it is a copj\of another MS. There

are also a few corrections at the top or bottom of the

columns by a hand of the same date. An inspection of its

contents reveals the further indisputable fact that the Coptic

text was not only a translation from a Greek original, but

that it has preserved an enormous quantity of the original

Greek terms without any attempt at translation. This

may at once be seen from Schwartze's Latin version, in

which he has also preserved these innumerable Greek

words without translation.

 

The whole style of the work, moreover, is foreign to

 

 

 

XXV111 INTRODUCTION.

 

the Coptic idiom, as may be seen from Amelineau's Intro-

duction to his French version (p. x), where he writes :

"Whoever has any knowledge of the Coptic language

knows that this idiom is foreign to long sentences ; that

it is a tongue eminently analytic and by no means syn-

thetic ; that its sentences are composed of small clauses

exceedingly precise, and almost independent of each other.

Of course all Coptic authors are not equally easy, some of

them are even exceedingly difficult to understand ; but this

much is certain, that never under any circumstances in

Coptic do we come across those periods with complicated

incidental sentences, of three or four different clauses,

whose elements are synthetically united together so that

the sense of the entire sentence cannot be grasped before

we arrive at the last clause. Nevertheless, this is just

what the reader meets with in this work. The sentences

are so entangled with incidental and complicated propo-

sitions, that often, indeed very often, the Coptic translator

has lost the thread, so to say, and made main propositions

out of incidental clauses, so that we find the continuation

of the first proposition three or four pages further on.

This peculiarity is not calculated to facilitate the trans-

lation of a work, the ideas in which are in themselves very

difficult to comprehend ; the one thing that it conclusively

proves is that the book w;is originally written in a learned

language ; that consequently none of the idioms spoken in

the Orient could have been the original language in which

the work in question was conceived and written ; that we

must accordingly choose between Greek and Latin ; that

only one of these languages at this period, the second

century [the date assigned to the original by Amelineau] ,

is at all likely in Egypt, namely, Greek."

 

Amelineau makes rather too much of the abstruse nature

of the subject ; for, though many passages are transcendent-

ally mystical, nevertheless the whole is conceived in a

narrative or descriptive style. There is no attempt at

philosophical argument, no involved logical propositions ;

 

 

 

INTEODUCTION.

 

there may also be another reason, as we shall suggest later

on, for the " losing of the thread." Nevertheless the main

argument of this learned Coptic scholar is unanswerable.

And not only is it evident that we are dealing with a

 

translation into Coptic from Greek, but also that

 

^ i i- . i . , , General

 

we are not dealing with a single work, but at analysis

 

least with two treatises, fragments of one of which of con '

have been in two places inserted in the body of

the main treatise, and a larger fragment appended at the

end of the MS. The main narrative also is broken by

several important lacuna;, due in one case to the loss of

several leaves of the MS., and generally to the carelessness

of the scribe ; the MS. is, moreover, evidently incomplete.

 

A general analysis of the contents reveals the following

general outline of contents, the references being to the

pagination of the MS. adopted in Schwartze's text, which

is retained between brackets in the present translation.

 

Pistis Sophia, Book I 1-124

 

Pistis Sophia, Book II. . . . 126-357

From the Books of the Saviour . . 357-390

 

There is, however, no title to Book 1., nor does there

seem to be any reason why the title " The Second Book of

Pistis Sophia " should be inserted where it is, right in the

middle of the narrative.

 

Book II. ends halfway down page 357, and the whole

subject abruptly changes with the heading, " Extract from

the Books of the Saviour."

 

In addition to these three main divisions of the MS., two

pages (253-254:), with the same heading, " Extract from the

Books of the Saviour/' are inserted at haphazard in the

middle of Book II. They have no reference to what goes

before or what follows ; nor are they quite of the same

nature as the lengthier Extract at the end of the MS.

 

There is, moreover, a note which occupies the last column

of Book I., and which has not the slightest reference to the

rest of the narrative ; why it is inserted in this place is a

 

 

 

XXX INTRODUCTION.

 

mystery. It was probably copied in by mistake, or the

Coptic translator for some reason or other added a note

from some other book, most probably one of the Books of

the Saviour.

 

At the end of the MS., and after the conclusion of the

narrative, there is an extra loaf which has only the left-hand

column partially filled with writing. The subject is here

again completely changed, and leads us to suppose that

some leaves are missing before it.

 

Finally, at page 379 eight pages or four leaves of the

MS. have disappeared.

 

A general view of the nature of the subjects treated of

may be seen from the contents table, which consists of the

indented summaries I have added to the text.

 

The question that next arises is what was the original

Greek work from which the Coptic translation of

and a C the Pistis Sophia was made. I am convinced that

author- ^ or jg ma i W as no other than the famous Apoca-

thc P Greek lypse of Sophia, composed by Valentinus, the most

origiual. ] earnec i doctor of the Gnosis, who lived for thirty

years in Egypt in the latter half of the second century, and

was also a master of the Greek language, in which he wrote

hi* treatises. But the further consideration of this point

must be postponed for the Commentary I propose to write,

and in which a comparison between the Pistis Sophia and

the rest of the fragments of the writings of Valentinus

which have come down to us, will be attempted. It is

sufficient to state here that this view is supported by

Woide, Jablonski, La Croze, Scholtze, Dulaurier, Schwartze,

Renan, Revaillaiit, Usener, and Amclineau, the last of whom,

in his Essay on Egyptian Gnosticism and in the introduction

to his translation of the Pistis Sophia, has dealt at length

with the matter. The guarded opinion of Harnack also

allows for the date of Valentinus. In his essay on the

subject in 1891 (op. inf. cit., pp. 95 sq.), the famous Biblical

critic gives the terminus a quo as 140, and the terminus

ad quern as 302. He bases the earliest limit on the fact

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXXI

 

that the Gospels and Pauline Epistles are regarded in the

text as Holy Scripture, and even a passage from the Epistle

to the Romans is quoted by the author as a saying of Jesus

by the mouth of Paul. Now, the Pauline writings \yere

never spoken of as Holy Scripture before the time of

Antoninus Pius (138). The latest limit is arrived at by the

passage about persecution on page 277, which leads Harnack

to conjecture that the author was writing at a time when

the Christians were still lawfully persecuted ; but on the

other hand the author does not seem to have written in a

persecution he had gone through. Thus Harnack eliminates

the persecution of Maximin and arrives at the 302 limit.

But all this is very unsatisfactory ; and deductions made

from internal evidence, though an essential part of the

higher criticism, arc in this case based on too slender

premises. The method of Ameliueau, who compares the

known fragments of Valeiitinus with the text of Pistis

Sophia, is the only really satisfactory test.

 

But what of the fragments from the Books of the

Saviour which have been iiisertgd in and added _to

the text of the Pistis Sophia proper ? On pages Books

 

246 and 354 mention is made of certain Books f t l ie

 

Saviour.

of leou, which Jesus promises to give to his disciples

 

when he has finished the teaching on which he is engaged.

In the first case, a fevs pages later on (253) the lirst short

extract is inserted in the text, and in the second,

almost immediately after, the Pistis Sophia treatise is

concluded (page 357), and we find the rest of the MS.

devoted to a far longer extract from the Books of the Saviour.

These extracts bear a remarkable similarity to the contents

of the Coptic Papyrus, which the famous Scottish traveller

Bruce brought to England in 1769 from Upper Egypt,

and bequeathed to the care of the Bodleian Library. This

Papyrus consists of 78 leaves, each containing from 27

to 34 lines, 29 centimetres high by 17 wide, not in roll

but in book form. It is written in Greek characters and

is in the Thebaico-Coptic dialect like the Pistis Sophia.

 

 

 

XXX11 INTBODUCTION.

 

Some twenty leaves at least are missing, and even when

Bruce found it it was in a very dilapidated condition.

It was further injured by neglect and damp in the

Bodleian, when Woide found it and carefully copied it.

Woide considered that it was the Egyptian form of the

Pistis Sophia written by Valentinus in Coptic. It is, how-

ever, evidently a translation like the Pistis Sophia from

the Greek, and like the Pistis Sophia is crammed full of

the Greek original technical terms. Schwartze also copied

it. Tn 1891 Amelineau published a text and a French

translation at Paris, and in 1892 Schmidt published a text

and a German translation at Leipzig.

 

Schmidt has sorted out this puzzling chaos of leaves

with the following results :

 

The Codex consists of two treatises quite distinct in

matter and character. The first is divided into two parts,

the two Books of Icon, under the general title, The Book

of the Great Logos according to the Mystery [? of IcouJ.

The second treatise has no title, and is followed by a long

Hymn to the Gnosis, also without title. The First Book of

leou opens with the title, "This is the Book of the Know-

ledge of the Invisible God."

 

One thing is abundantly clear on every page, namely,

that we are dealing with a MS. which contains the ideas

of the same school as that to which the Pistis Sophia and

the Books of the Suviour belong. In fact, the longer Extract

from the Books of the Saviour practically gives the same

account of the three baptisms as that found in far greater

fulness in the Codex Brucianus.

 

Whether or not the Extracts from the Books of the

Saviour appended to the MS. of the Pistis Sophia belong

to the miswing portions of the Codex Brucianus, or

whether the translator from the Greek abridged some

portion of the Books of Icon to give his readers an idea of

these books to which the text of the Pistis Sophia had

just made reference, it is impossible to say ; this much is

certain, that the Books of the Saviour and the treatises of

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXxiii

 

the Codex Brucianus are united by the closest ties of con-

sanguinity, and that a commentator on the one mast be

intimately acquainted with the contents of the other.

 

The frequent mention of the name Melchisedec through-

out the text of the Pistis Sophia reminds us of the frag-

ment of Melchisedecian literature translated by Charles

(v. s.), and its close connection with the Enochian literature,

and points perhaps to one of the sources of the Greek

original of the Books of the Saviour, and also of Pistis

Sophia.

 

The disconnected column at the end of Book I. un-

doubtedly belongs to the same collection of writings

as the Books of the Saviour, and also the two pages (253,

254) inserted in the middle of Book II. Finally the odd

column at the end of the MS. may either come from the

same source or be an unaided effort of the translator or

scribe.

 

Let us now run over the probable history of our

treatise, and suggest the accidents which may have The pro-

befallen it before it reached the hands of Antony t^of the

Askew. treatise.

 

The original Greek treatise of the Pistis Sophia was

compiled by Valentinus in the latter half of the second

century, perhaps in Alexandria. By "compiled" I mean

that the Apocalypse of Sophia, or whatever its title may

have been, was not invented from first to last by Valentinus.

The traditional framework of the narrative, the selection of

texts and passages from qtl^er scriptures, Hebrew, Christian,

Egyptian, Chaldrean, ^Ethiopic, etc., or whatever they may

have been, and the adaptation of nomenclature, were his

share of the task ; but it is evident that in many places he

was translating or paraphrasing himself, and that he had

great difficulty in turning some of the Oriental terms into

Greek, the original of the name Pistis Sophia being not

the least difficult of such n[ \\ i\y hj'mg left in its

 

present barbaric and un-Greek form.

 

Of this original of Valentinus doubtless several copies

 

 

 

XXXiv INTRODUCTION.

 

were made, and mistakes may have crept in. One of these

copies was carried up the Nile and translated into the

vernacular, Greek being but little understood so high up

the river. The translator was evidently not a very accurate

person, as may be seen from his casual insertion of scraps

from other books ; moreover, his knowledge of the subject

was so superficial that he had to leave many terms in the

original, and doubtless made guesses at others. It is also

probable that he added some things and subtracted others

on the score of orthodoxy, as may be seen by an inspection

of the rest of the fragments of Valentinus. The wearisome

length of the Psalms, for instance, which Pistis Sophia

recites in her repentances, followed by the shorter excerpts

from the Salornonic Odes, leads one to suppose that Valen-

tinus quoted only a few striking verses from each Psalm ;

and that the more orthodox translator, with that love of

wearisome repetition so characteristic of monkish piety,

added the other less apposite verses, with which he was

very familiar, while he was compelled to leave the Salomonic

Odes as they stood owing to his lack of acquaintance with

the originals.

 

Moreover, the translator must have either translated, or

possessed a translation of, The Books of the Saviour and

The Books of Teou. These were also most probably a com-

pilation of Valentinus, or perhaps The Books of the Saviour

were a compilation of Valentinus from the older Books of

leou, which may have belonged to the vEthiopic Enochian

literature, for they are stated in the Pistiw Sophia (pages

246 arid 354) to have been written down in Paradise by

Enoch, and preserved from the Flood.

 

The MS. of the Coptic translator was copied towards the

end of the fourth century by some ignorant copyist, who

made many mistakes of orthography. It was copied by

one man, as a task, and hurriedly executed ; and I should

suggest that two copies were then made and occasionally

a page of one copy substituted for a page of the other ; and,

as the pages were not quite exact to a word or phrase,

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXXV

 

we thus may account for some puzzling repetitions and for

equally puzzling lacunre.

 

What was the history of the MS. after that date is

almost impossible even to conjecture. Its history must,

however, have been exciting enough for it to have escaped

the hands of fanatics both Christian and Mohammedan, it

was during this period also that some of the pages, as we

have seen, were lost. May we not also hope that Abyssinia

and Upper Egypt may still preserve some MSS. that may

throw further light on this obscure but most interesting

subject? In fact, I was told in 1891 by Achinoff, chief of

the Free Cossacks, a resident in the country, that the

monasteries of Abyssinia do actually contain a mass of very

ancient MSS. which would be of exceeding great value to the

scholarship of Europe.

 

In presenting the following translation- to the English-

reading public, I may say that I should not have The

ventured on wiich an undertaking if any Coptic

scholur had undertaken the task, or I had heard apolo-

that such a task was contemplated. In a matter gia -

of such difficulty every possible liability to error should be

eliminated, and it stands to reason that the translation of a

translation must needs be but an apology for a first-hand

version. Nevertheless I am not without predecessors. The

Coptic MS. itself is in the first place a translation, so that

even Coptic scholars must give us the translation of a

translation. I am persuaded also that the anonymous and

imperfect French translation in the Appendix to Migne's

Dictionnaire des Apocryphes (vol. i.) is made from Schwartze's

Latin version and not from the Coptic text. C. W. King

in his Gnostics and their Remains has also translated a

number of pages of the Pistis Sophia from Schwartze.

Some three or four years ago Mr. Nutt, King's publisher,

sent out a notice for the publication of the whole of King's

translation, but the project fell through. Last year I

offered to edit this translation of King's, but was informed

that the literary legatee of the deceased scholar was of

 

 

 

XXXVI INTRODUCTION.

 

the opinion that it would be unfair to his memory to publish

a MS. that was in so incomplete a condition.

 

In 1890 I had already translated Schwartze's Latin

version into English and published pages 1 to 252, with a

commentary, notes, etc., in magazine form from April, 1890,

to April, 1891. But I hesitated to put it forward in book

form, and should not have done so, but for the appearance

of Ame'lineaii's French version in 1895. I then retranslated

the whole book again and checked it by Ani61incau's version.

1 was further induced to venture 011 this undertaking,

because the narrative, though dealing with mystical and

therefore obscure subjects, is in itself exceedingly simple,

and therefore mistakes cannot so readily creep in as into a

difficult philosophical work. I, therefore, present my trans-

lation with all hesitation, but at the same time think that

the English public, which is steadily increasing its interest

in mysticism and allied subjects, will be better satisfied with

half a loaf than with no bread.

 

In conclusion it only remains for me to append a brief

Thc summary of the work that has already been done

 

work on the subject. This may best be seen by treating

beenpre- ^ from a chronological point of view. In addition

viously to a few scattered articles in magazines which are

not of the first importance, the chief contributions

to the subject are :

 

a. 1770. Article in Brittnche Theol. Ma^azin; st-e Kostl in infra.

 

b. 1773. Woide (C. A.). Article in Journal <le .Savants.

 

c. 1778. Woide. Article in J. A. Cramer'n Beylriige zur 15efo-

 

(lei-ung theologisther und audrer wiclitigen Remit -

nisse (Kiel u. Hamburg, pp. H2 sq.

 

d. 1799. Woide. Appendix ad Editionem Novi Testament!

 

Grajci e Cudice MS. Alexandnno a Carol o God-

fredo Wuide Description qua conthientur Fragmenta

Novi Testament! juxta interpretationem Dialccti

Superior-is ^Egypti qua* Thcbaulica vel Saludica

appellatur e Codicibus Oxoniensibus maxima ex

parte Desumpta. cum Dissertatione de Vereione

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXXvii

 

Bibliorum ^E^yptiaca quibua subjictur Codicis

Vatican! Collatio (Oxonii) p. 137.

 

Woide not only carefully copied the whole of the MS.

but also the Codex Brucianus at Oxford. He gives the date

of the MS. as about the fourth century, and considers the

writer to have been Valcntinus. He, however, published

no work on the subject.

 

e. 1812. Milliter (F.). CM*, Gnosticre Salomoni Tiibuta?, The-

buice et Latine, Prefatione et Adnotatiouibus Philo-

logicis Illustrate* (Hafnisp).

 

Bishop Munter, a learned Dane, probably got his text

from Woide's copy ; his brief pamphlet is of no particular

importance, nevertheless it was solely upon these few brief

selections, the seven Odes of Solomon, that, with the ex-

ception of Dulaurier, scholars formed their opinion of the

Pistis Sophia up to the time of the publication of Schwartze's

work in 1851. Munter believes that the original treatise

belongs to the second century.

 

/. 1843. Matter (J.). Histuire Critique du Gnosticism^ et de son

Influence zur le^ Series religieiiHes et philosophises

ties six premier* Sieeles de 1'fere cliretienne (Paris)

2nd ed. ii. 41 t<q., 350 sq. The tirst edition appeared

in 1828 and contains no reference to P. S. In Dor-

ner's German tran^lat ion llie references tire, n. CD w|.

and 1<>3 sq.

 

Matter rejects the idea of Valentinus, but he had no

acquaintance whatever with the text and bases himself

entirely on Woide. He states that the MS. can scarcely

be prior to the fourth century, and (p. 352) places the date

of the original treatise between the end of the second and

the end of the fifth. He gives no opinion as to the school

to which it belongs.

 

g. 1838. Dulaurier (E). Article in the Moniteur (27th Sept.).

 

h. 1847. Dulaurier. Article in the Journal Asiatique, Quatneme

Serie, Tome ix., juin, pp. 534-548 ; entitled 4t Notice

 

 

 

XXXV111 INTBODUCTION .

 

pur le Manuscript copte-thebain, intituld La Fiddle

Sagesse ; et sur la Publication projet^e du Texte et

de la Traduction franchise de ce Manuscript."

 

On page 542 Dulaurier tells us that he had made a

French translation from the Coptic in the following words :

" The translation of the Pistis Sophia and the glossary

which forms a complement to it are finished, and will be

sent to the printers, when I have convinced myself that I

have fulfilled the requirements that this task imposes, taking

into consideration the present state of science and my own

capabilities. The MS. from which I have made my transla-

tion is a copy which I have taken from the original, during

my stay in England in 1838-1840, when I was charged by

MM. de Salvandy and Villemaiu, successive ministers of

public instruction, with the commission of proceeding to

London to study this curious monument." Dulaurier,

how r ever, did not publish his labours, nor have I as yet

come across any record of the fate of his MSS. He ascribes

the treatise to Valentino*.

 

i. 1851. Schwartze (M. G.). Pisti^ Sophia, Opus Gnosticnm

Valentino adjudication, e Codice Manuscripto

Coptico Londmensi descriptum, Latine vertit

M. (T. Schwartze, edidit J. II. Peterinann (Bero-

lini).

 

Schwartze died at an early age before the completion of

his labours on the Pistis Sophia, and the MS. translation

he left behind contained a number of blanks and passages

which he intended to fill up and correct. Petermaim has

confined himself in his notes strictly to verbal corrections

and suggestions as to variee lectiones. The consequence

is that we have a translation without the notes of the trans-

lator, and without a word of introduction, Petermann

says the task of editing was so severe that he frequently

suffered from fits of giddiness. Schwartze copied out the

whole of the Coptic MS. of Pistis Sophia and also the

Oxford Codex Brucianus. He considers the original treatise,

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. XXXIX

 

as we see from the title of his work, to be written by

the hand of Valentinus ; but Petermann is of the opinion

that it is the work of an Ophite, and promises to set forth

his reasons at length in a treatise, which has unfortunately

never seen the light. Kostlin and Schmidt also hold this

view, and as far as the Extracts from the Books of the

Saviour are concerned, I see no reason why there should not

be some truth in the idea. For we may connect these

Books closely with the Books of leou, and the latter connect

us at once with the Enochian literature. The Ophites

were pre-Valentinian and mostly Syrian. They were the

first to take the distinct name of Gnostics. Some of their

books were translated into Greek. This fits in with the

hypothesis put forth above that Valentinus compiled the

Books of the Saviour from a prior set of Gnostic writings.

The Melchisedecian ideas would also come through the

Syrian Gnosis, and be cognate to the Enochian tradition.

A review of Schwartze's work appeared in the Journal des

Savants of 1852 (p. 333).

 

j. 1852. Bunsen (C. C. J.). Hippulytus und .seine Zeit, Anfange

und Aussichten des Christenthums und der Men&ch-

heit (Leipzig), i. 47, 48. Hippulytus and hit? Age

(London, 185'J), i. Gl, G2.

 

"Great, therefore, were my hopes in 1842, that the

ancient Coptic manuscript of the British Museum, inscribed

Sophia, might be a translation, or at least an extract, from

that lost text-book of Gnosticism [the work quoted by

Hippolytus, sub Valent.] : but unfortunately the accurate

and trustworthy labours of that patient and conscientious

Coptic scholar, Dr. Schwartzc, so early taken away from

us, have proved to me (for 1 have seen and perused his

manuscript, which I hope will soon appear), that this

Coptic treatise is a most worthless (I trust, purely Coptic)

offshoot of the Marcosian heresy, of the latest and stupidest

mysticism about letters, sounds, and words." Bunsen

stands absolutely alone in this opinion, and we doubt

whether he could have read Schwartze's MS. with any care.

 

 

 

Xl INTBODUCTION.

 

k. 1853. Baur (F. C.). Dae Christenthum und die christliche

Kirche der drei ersten Jahrlmnderte (Ttibingen)

notes on pp. 185, 186, and 205, 206.

 

Baur evidently added these notes at the last moment

before publication. On page 206 n., he leans to the idea

of an Ophite origin.

 

/. 1854. Kostlin (K. R.). Two articles in Baur and Zeller's

Theologische Jalirbucher (Tubingen), xiii. 1-104 and

137-196 ; entitled " Das gnostische System des

Buches Pistis Sophia."

 

Kostlin was the first to make an exhaustive analysis of

the contents of the treatise, and his labours are used by

Lipsius in his article in Smith and Waco's Dictionary of

Christian Biography. He assigns its date to the first half

of the third century, and assumes that it is of Ophite

origin.

 

In a note to page 1, Kostlin writes :

 

" The MS. from which the work is published belongs

to the collection of MSS. collected by Dr. Askew of London

during his travels in Italy and Greece, of which the

British Theological Magazine (das Brittischc theol. Magazin)

for the year 1770 (vol. i. part 4, p. 223) gives more particu-

lars."

 

There is 110 such magazine in the catalogue of the

British Museum. The Theological Repository for 1770

contains no information on the subject; and no permutation

of names solves the mystery. There were very few

magazines published at that early date, so that the choice

is limited.

 

ra. 1856. An anonymous translation in Migne's Dictionnaire

 

des Apocryphes, torn. i. app. part ii. coll. 1181-

 

1286 ; this tome forms vol. xxiii. of his third

Encyclopedic

 

 

 

The translation is a sorry piece of work, more frequently

a mere paraphrase from Schwartze's version than a trans-

lation ; there are also frequent omissions, sometimes as

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. xli

 

many as 40 pagesof the Coptic Codex; e.g., pp. 18, 19,

36 sq., 50, 51, 72, 73, 86-90, 108-135, 139, 157-160, 162,

171, 179, 180, 184-186, 221-243, 245-255, 281-320, 324-

342. These are some of the omissions ; but there are many

more. It is, therefore, entirely useless to the student. The

anonymous writer vaguely suggests a late date for the

treatise because of the complicated nature of the system.

 

71. 1860. Lipsius(R. A.). Article " Gnosticism us " in Erach and

Gruber's Encyclopaedic, separately published at

Leipzig, 1860, pp. 9,5 sq. and 157 sq. ; also Article

" Pistis Sophia " in Smith and Wace's Dictionary

of Christian Biography (London), vol. iv., 1887.

 

Lipsius considers Pistis Sophia an Egypto-Ophite treatise,

and with Kostlin assigns its date to the first half of the

third century.

 

o. 1877. Jacobi. Article " Gnosis " in Herzog's Theolog. Real

Enryclopadie (Leipzig) ; 2nd ed., 1888 ; Translation,

New York ; 1882, 1883.

 

Jacobi believes in an Ophite origin.

 

p. 1875-1883. The Palaeograpliical Society, Facsimiles of MSS.

and Inscriptions, Oriental Series, ed. by William

Wright (London).

 

Plate xlii. The editor, or whoever is responsible for the

letter-press, says that the original is later than Valentinus,

and places the MS. in the seventh century. There is a care-

ful analysis of the text from the technical standpoint, and

the facsimile is of f . 11 a.

 

q. 1887. King(C. W.). The Gnostics and their Remains, Ancient

and Medieval (London), 2nd ed. The first ed.

appeared in 1864, but contains no reference to

P. S.

 

King regards the Pistis Sophia as the most precious

relic of Gnosticism. Besides many references scattered

throughout the volume, there are translations from

 

C*

 

 

 

Xlii INTRODUCTION.

 

Schwartze ofvpages 227-239, 242-244, 247-248, 255-259,

261-263, 282-^298-308, 341, 342, 358, 375 of the Codex.

King, who was moreNrf a numismatologist and antiquarian

than a critic, does not venture an opinion either on the date

or author.

 

r. 1887. Amelineau (E.). Essai aur lo Gnosticisme gyptien,

ses D6veloppementa et son Origitie c*gyptienne, in

the Annals du MustSe Quiinet (Paris), torn. xiv. Of.

especially the third part for system of Valeutinus

and Pirtis Sophia, pp. 166-322.

 

s. 1880. Amelineau. Article "Lea Trait*** gnostiques d'Oxford ;

iStude critique," in the Revue dc 1'Hiatoire des

Religions (Paris, edited by Rdville), an essay of 72

pp., 8vo.

 

t. 1891. Ame'lineau. Notice sur les Papyrus gnostique Bruce,

Texte et Traductiun (Paris), 305 pp., 4to.

 

u. 1895. Amliiieau. Pistis Sophia, Ouvrage gnostique de

Valentin, traduit du copte en fraucois, avec urie

Introduction (Paris), pp. xxxii. and 204, 8vo.

 

Amelineau goes thoroughly into the Valentinian origin

of the treatise, but leans almost exclusively to an Egyptian

origin of the ideas. The MS. itself, however, he places very

late, writing on page xi. of his Introduction as follows:

" After an examination of the enormous faults which the

scribe has committed, I cannot attribute to the MS. which

has preserved the Pistis Sophia to us, a date later than the

ninth or tenth century, and that too the minimum. For

this 1 have several reasons. Firstly, the MS. is written on

parchment, and parchment was hardly ever commonly used

in Egypt before the sixth or seventh century. Secondly,

the writing, which is uncial, though passable in the first

pages of the MS., becomes bastard in a large number of

leaves, when the scribe's hand is fatigued ; no longer is it

the beautiful writing of the Egyptian scribes of the great

periods, but slack, inconsistent, almost round and hurried.

Thirdly, the faults of orthography in the use of Greek words

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. xliii

 

evidently show that the scribe belonged to a period when

Greek was almost no longer known."

 

In a footnote Amelineau says that he is perfectly aware

that this opinion of his will " raise a tempest," and begs

for a suspension of judgment till he has published his

reasons as to the late use of parchment, at greater length.

Now it was Ptolemy II. (Philadelphia), King of Egypt

from 283-247 B.C., who forbade the exportation of papy-

rus from Egypt, and forced the rival bibliophiles at

Pergamus to copy their books on parchment. The library

of Pergamus was bequeathed to the Senate of Rome, and

Antony handed it over to Cleopatra somewhere about 35

B.C. ; this library, consisting for the most part of parchment

rolls and books, was placed in the new Bruchei6n at

Alexandria, to replace the old Library which was totally

destroyed by the fire of Caesar's fleet in 47. Parchment,

then, was common enough as a book-fabric in Alexandria,

at least 600 years before Amolineau's limit.

 

An examination of the MS. does not entirely substantiate

the strictures of Amelineau on the careless writing of the

scribe ; the writing though hurried is fairly consistent,

while the first dozen pages are most admirably written.

The faults of spelling only prove that this particular scribe

did not know Geeek, a likely enough thing if the copy was

made in Upper Egypt and not at Alexandria. I am, there-

fore, far from convinced by any one of the reasons Ame"-

lineau brings forward.

 

v. 1891. Hfirnack (A.). Ub<;r das gnostische Buch Pistis

Sophia

 

 

 

T have already given Haruack'a views on the date ; he

attributes the authorship to a modified Ophite origin. He

suggests that Book I. only is properly Pistis Sophia ; Book

II. should be called the Questions of Mary (p. 94).

 

w. 1892. Schmidt (C.). Gnostische Scbriften in koptischer

Sprache aus dem Codex Bruciauus, herausgegeben,

ubersetzt und bearbeitet, pp. 680, 8vo ; in von

 

 

 

xliv INTBODUCTION.

 

Gebhardt and Harnack'sTexte und Uiitersuchungen

zur Geschichle der alt christlichen Literatur (Leip-

zig), viii. Band.

 

Schmidt agrees with Harnack as to date, and thinks that

the Pistis Sophia may be attributed to an Ophite school.

In the works of the three writers referred to above there is a

mass of information with regard to the Pistis Sophia, but as

only the date and to some extent the authorship are being

dealt with in this Introduction, the further consideration of

their views must be postponed until a Commentary to form

a complement to the present translation is attempted.

 

 

 

[THE FIRST BOOK OF PISTIS SOPHIA.]

 

(l) IT came to pass, when Jesus had risen from

the dead, that he passed eleven years

 

. Jesus

 

speaking with his disciples, and in- hitherto

 

. . . . instructed

 

structing them up to the regions of hisdis-

 

j_i_ r* * , . , i i j_ ciples only

 

the first statutes only, and up to up to the

the regions of the first mystery, the thirst

mystery within the veil, within the mys ery '

first statute, which is the four and twentieth

mystery, and below those which are in the

second space of the first mystery, which is

before all mysteries the father in the likeness

of a dove.

 

And Jesus said to his disciples : "I am come

from that first mystery, which is also what the

the last mystery, the four and twen- ^|S"

tieth mystery." For his disciples knew roundeth -

not that mystery, nor did they understand that

there was anything within that mystery ; but

they thought that that mystery indeed was the

chief of the pleroma, and the head of all that

exists ; and they thought it was the end of all

ends, for Jesus had said to them concerning

 

 

 

2

-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24 - !DL

PISTIS SOPHIA

 

that mystery : " It surroundeth the first statute,

(2) and the five impressions, and the great

light, and the five supporters, and even the

whole treasure of light."

 

Moreover, Jesus had not told his disciples the

The regions whole distribution of all the regions of

 

of the great . . M , , , ,

 

invisible, the great invisible, and of the three

triple powers, and of the four and twenty in-

visibles, with all their regions, their seons, and

their orders, according to the manner of their

distribution, for they are the emanations of the

great invisible ; nor of their ungenerated, self-

generated, and generated, their light-givers and

unpaired, their rulers and authorities, their lords

and archangels, their angels and decans, their

workmen and all the habitations of their

spheres, and all the orders of each one of them.

Nor had Jesus told his disciples the whole

The tna- distribution of the emanations of the

sure of light, treasure, nor their orders, according to

which they are distributed ; nor had he told

them their saviours, according to the orders of

each as they are ; nor had he told them what

are the guardians which are beside each [gate]

of the treasure of light ; nor had he told them

the region of the saviour of the twins, (3) who

is the child of the child ; nor had he told them

the regions of the three amens, in what regions

they are distributed ; nor had he told them in

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 3

 

what region are the five trees, or the seven

amens, which are also the seven voices, what

is their region, according to the manner of their

distribution.

 

Nor had Jesus told his disciples of what type

are the five supporters, or from what The light-

region they were brought forth; nor world>

had he told them how the great light had

emanated, or from what region it had been

brought forth ; nor had he told them of the five

impressions, nor of the first statute, from what

region they had been brought forth ; but he

simply spoke of them, and taught them that

they existed, without speaking of their emana-

tion and the order of their regions. And this

is why they did not know that there were other

regions within that mystery.

 

Nor had he told his disciples : " I pass through

such or such a region until I enter that mystery,

or [when] I leave it " ; but, in instructing them,

he merely said : " I have come from that mys-

tery." And this is why they thought concern-

ing that mystery, that it was the end of ends, (4)

and that it was the chief of the pleroma, and

even that it was the pleroma itself. For Jesus

said to his disciples : " It is that mystery which

surroundeth all the pleromas of which I have

spoken, from the day on which I first met with

you even unto this day." And this is, there-

 

 

 

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PISTIS SOPHIA

 

fore, why the disciples thought there was nothing

within that mystery.

 

It came to pass, therefore, that the disciples

Jesus and were sitting together on the Mount of

aresiate 9 ] 68 0^ ves j speaking of these things, re-

Mount of J icin g with s reat Jy> and bein g ex -

 

oiives. ceeding glad and saying one to another :

" Blessed are we before all men who are on the

earth, for the saviour hath revealed this unto

us, and we have received all fulness and all

perfection." And while they were saying these

things the one to the other, Jesus sat a little

removed from them.

 

It came to pass, therefore, on the fifteenth

A great da 7 ^ ^6 month of Tobe, the day of

de^cendetlb 1 t^e ^ u ^ m IJ > on that day, when the

on Jesus. sun ^ad r j gen j n jt s going, that there

 

came forth after it a great stream of light

shining exceedingly ; there was no measure to

the light with which it was surrounded, for it

came forth from the light of lights, and it

came forth from the last mystery, (5) that is to

say, the four and twentieth mystery, from the

interiors to the exteriors which are in the orders

of the second space of the first mystery. And

this stream of light poured over Jesus, and

surrounded him entirely. He was seated apart

from bis disciples, and was shining exceedingly ;

there was no measure^o the light in which he was.

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK.

 

 

 

But the disciples saw not Jesus because of

the great light in which he was, or i t8Ur .

which proceeded from him ; for their im en* h

eyes were blinded by the great light tirely>

in which he was. They saw the light only,

shooting forth great rays of light. And the

rays of light were not equal together, but the

light was of every kind, and of every type,

from the lower to the higher part thereof ; each

[ray] more admirable than its fellow, in in-

finite manner, in a great glory of immeasurable

light, which stretched from the earth to the

heavens. And when the disciples saw the light,

they were in great fear and great confusion.

 

(6) It came to pass, therefore, when this stream

of light had come upon Jesus, and had Jesus as _

gradually surrounded him, that Jesus ^t^

was borne upward or soared aloft, heaven -

shining exceedingly in an immeasurable light.

And the disciples gazed after him, none of them

speaking, until he had entered into the heaven.

They were all in great silence. These things

then .came to pass on the fifteenth day of the

moon, the day on which it is full in the month

of Tobe.

 

It came to pass, when Jesus had ascended into

heaven, after the third hour, that all the powers

of the heavens were confused, and all were

thrown one on another in turn, they and all

 

 

 

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their seons, all their regions, and all their orders,

^ and the whole earth was shaken, and

 

The confu-

sion of the a ll the inhabitants thereof. And con-

 

the great fusion was upon all men in the world,

 

earthquake. * . in

 

and also upon the disciples, and all

thought that the world would surely be

destroyed.

 

And all the powers which are in the heavens

did not cease to be in confusion, they and the

whole world, and all were shaken the one on the

other in turn, from the third hour of the fifteenth

day of the moon of Tobe, until the ninth hour

of the morrow.

 

And all the angels with their archangels, and

The dismay all the powers of the height, (7) all

 

ofthedis- r , . . - ,

 

cipies. sang from the interior of the interiors,

so that the whole world heard their voice ; they

ceased not till the ninth hour of the morrow.

But the disciples sat together in fear, and were

in the greatest possible distress. They feared

because of the great earthquake which was

taking place, and they wept together, saying :

 

" What will be ? Surelv the saviour will riot

 

v

 

destroy all the regions?" Thus saying, they

wept together.

 

On the ninth hour of the morrow, the heavens

Jesus de- were opened, and they saw Jesus de-

 

soendeth . . ,. , ,

 

again. scendmg, shining exceedingly ; there

was no measure to the light which surrounded

 

 

 

PIBST BOOK. 7

 

him, for he shone more brightly than when he

had ascended to the heavens, so that it is

impossible for any in this world to describe the

light in which he was. He shot forth rays

shining exceedingly ; his rays were without

measure, nor were his rays of light equal to-

gether, but they were of every figure and of

every type, some being more admirable than

the others in infinite manner. And they were

all pure light in every part at the The nature

same time. It was of three degrees, Ofhi8 g lor y-

one surpassing the other in infinite manner. The

second, which was in the midst, excelled the

first which was below it, and the third, the most

admirable of all, surpassed the two below it.

The first glory was placed below all, like to the

light which came upon Jesus (8) before he as-

cended into the heavens, and was very regular

as to its own light. And the three degrees of

light were of every variety of light and type,

each excelling the others in infinite manner.

 

It came to pass, when the disciples had seen

these things, that they feared exceed-

 

 

 

ingly, and were troubled. But Jesus, them.

the compassionate and merciful-minded, when

he saw that his disciples were troubled with

great confusion, spake unto them, saying:

"Take courage. It is I, be not afraid."

It came to pass, when the disciples heard

 

 

 

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these words, that they said : " Master, if it be

thou, withdraw thy glorious light that we may

be able to stand, so that our eyes be not blinded.

We have been dismayed, and the whole world

hath been dismayed, by the greatness of the light

which is in thee."

 

Then Jesus drew to himself the glory of his

He draweth tight ; and when this was done, all the

untoMm- disciples took courage and came to

self> Jesus, and cast themselves together at

 

his feet and worshipped him, rejoicing with great

joy. They said unto him : " Master, whither

didst thou go ? or on what ministry wentest

thou ? or wherefore are all these confusions and

shakings which have taken place ? "

 

Then Jesus, the compassionate, said unto them:

He pro- "Rejoice and be glad from this hour,

 

tSuhem f r I h ave gone to the regions whence

ail things, i came forth ( 9 ) F rom t hi s day

 

forth, therefore, will I speak with you freely,

from the beginning of the truth unto the com-

pletion thereof; and I will speak to you face to

face without parable. From this hour will I

hide nothing from you of the things which

pertain to the height, and of those of the region

of truth ; for authority hath been given me by

the ineffable and by the first mystery of all

mysteries to speak to you, from the beginning

to the end, from the interiors to the exteriors,

 

 

 

FIEST BOOK. 9

 

and from the exteriors to the interiors.

Hearken, therefore, that I may tell you all

things.

 

" It came to pass, as I was sitting a little re-

moved from you on the Mount of Olives, medi-

tating on the duties of the ministry for which I

was sent, which they said was completed, and

[how] the last mystery had not yet sent me my

vesture it is the four and twentieth mystery

from the interiors to the exteriors, of those

which are in the second space of the first mys-

tery, in the orders of that space it came to

pass, therefore, when I understood that the duty

of the ministry for which I had come was ful-

filled, and that that mystery had not yet sent

me my vesture, which I had placed in it, until

its time should be fulfilled I was meditating

on this on the Mount of Olives, a little removed

from you it came to pass, when the sun rose

in the place of its rising, that then through the

first mystery, which was from the beginning, on

account of which the universe hath been created,

(10) from which also now 1 am come, now and

not formerly before they had crucified me ; it

came to pass, by order of that mystery,

 

, . -. ,. , How the

 

that this vesture of light was sent vesture of

me, which he had given me from the sent unto

beginning, and which I had placed lim "

in the last mystery, which is the four and

 

 

 

10 PI8TIS SOPHIA.

 

twentieth mystery, from the interior of those

which are in the orders of the second space of

the first mystery. This is the vesture, then,

which I had left in the last mystery, until the

time should be fulfilled when I should take it

again, and should begin to speak to the human

race, and reveal to them all things from the

beginning of the truth to its completion, and

speak to them from the interiors of the interiors

to the exteriors of the exteriors, and from the

exteriors of the exteriors to the interiors of the

interiors. Rejoice, therefore, and be glad and

rejoice more than greatly, for it is to you that it

hath been given, that I first speak from the

beginning of the truth to its completion.

 

"For this cause have I chosen you from the

beginning through the first mystery.

 

Ofthesouls * . 6 . . . . ; , ,

 

of the disci- Rejoice, therefore, and be glad, in that

their incar- when I came into the world, (11) from

the beginning, I brought with me

twelve powers, as I told you from the begin-

ning. I took them from the hands of the

twelve saviours of the treasure of light, accord-

ing to the command of the first mystery. These

powers, therefore, 1 cast into the wombs of your

mothers, when I came into the world, and they

are those which are in your bodies this day.

For these powers have been given unto you

before the whole world, for it is ye who are to

 

 

 

FIBST BOOK. 11

 

save the whole world, and that ye may be able

to bear the threat of the rulers of the world,

and the calamities of the world, and their

dangers, and all the persecutions which the

rulers of the height must bring upon you.

Many times have I said unto you, the power which

is in you, I have brought it from the twelve

saviours which are in the treasure of light. For

which cause I said unto you from the beginning

that ye were not of this world. And I also am

not of this world, for all men who are of this

world have taken their soul from the rulers of

the seons. But the power which is in you is

from me. Ye are souls which pertain to the

height, which I have brought from the twelve

saviours of the treasure of light, and which I

have received as a share of my power, which I

received from the beginning. (12) And when

I set forth to come into this world, I passed

through the midst of the rulers of the sphere ;

I assumed the likeness of the angel Gabriel, in

order that the rulers of the seons might not

recognise me, but think that I was the angel

Gabriel.

 

" It came to pass, when 1 had passed through

the midst of the rulers of the aeons,

that I looked down on the world of

men, by order of the first mystery ; Ba P tist -

I found Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist,

 

 

 

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before she had conceived him ; I cast into her a

power which I had received from the hand of

,the little Ia6, the good, who is in the midst,

that he might preach before me and prepare my

way, and baptise in the water of the remission

of sins. This power, then, is in the body of

John.

 

"Moreover, in the region of the soul of the

That John rulers, destined to receive it, I found

Holder 5 in the soul of the prophet Elias, in the

birth. aeons of the sphere, and I took him,

 

and receiving his soul also, I brought it to the

virgin of light, and she gave it to her receivers ;

they brought it to the sphere of the rulers, and

cast it into the womb of Elizabeth. Wherefore

the power of the little lao, who is in the midst,

and the soul of Elias the prophet, are united

with the body of John the Baptist. (13) For

this cause have ye been in doubt aforetime,

when I said unto you, 'John said, I am not

the Christ ' ; and ye said unto me, ' It is written

in the Scripture, that when the Christ shall

come, Elias will come before him, and prepare

his way/ And I, when ye had said this unto

me, replied unto you, ' Elias verily is come,

and hath prepared all things, according as it

is written ; and they have done unto him what-

soever they would/ And when I perceived that

ye did not understand that I had spoken con-

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 13

 

cerning the soul of Elias united with John the

Baptist, I answered you openly and face to face

with the words, ' If ye will receive it, John the

Baptist is Elias who, I said, was for to come.' "

 

And Jesus continued his conversation, and

said: "It came to pass, after these O f his own

things, that I looked down again into ^^ xm '

the world of men ; I found Mary, who Mar y-

is called my mother, after the material body ; I

spoke to her also in the form of Gabriel ; and

when she had betaken herself into the height

towards me, I implanted in her the first power

which I had received from the hands of Barbelo,

that is to say, the body which I bore in the

height, and instead of the soul, I implanted

in her the power which I had received from

the hands of the great Sabaoth, the good, (14)

who is in the region of the right.

 

" And the twelve powers of the twelve saviours

of the treasure of light, which I had More con-

received from the twelve ministers of

the midst, I cast into the sphere of

the rulers ; and the decans of the P les -

rulers, with their workmen, thought that they

were the souls of the rulers ; and the workmen

brought them, and I bound them into the bodies

of your mothers. And when your time was full,

ye were brought forth into the world, no soul

of the rulers being in you. Ye have received

 

 

 

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your portion from the power which the last

supporter breathed into the mixture, which

[power] was blended with all the invisibles and

rulers, and all the seons. Once only was it blended

with the world of destruction, which is the mix-

ture. This [power] I brought out from myself

from the beginning; I cast it into the first

statute, and the first statute cast a portion

thereof into the great light, and the great light

cast a portion of that which it received into the

five supporters, and the last supporter took a

portion of that which it received, and cast it

into the mixture. (15) And this [power] dwelleth

in all those who dwell in the mixture, in the

manner in which I have just told you."

 

When Jesus, therefore, had said these things

, , , to his disciples on the Mount of

 

Why they r

 

should re- Olives, he continued in his conversa-

 

joice that . ... -^

 

the time of tion to his disciples, and said : " Re-

 

his invest!- . . .

 

turehad joice, and be glad, and add joy to

joy, for the times are fulfilled for me

to put on my vesture, which hath been prepared

for me from the beginning; the same which I

laid up in the last mystery, until the time of

its completion. The time of its completion is

the time when I shall receive commandment

from the first myster)* to speak to you from

the beginning of the truth to the end thereof,

and from the interiors of the interiors, for the

 

 

 

FIEST BOOK. 15

 

world is to be saved by you. Rejoice, therefore,

and be glad, for ye are more blessed than all

men who are on the earth, for it is ye who shall

save the whole world."

 

It came to pass, when Jesus had finished

speaking these things to his disciples, that he

again continued in his conversation, and said

unto them : " Lo, I have put on my vesture,

and all power hath been given me by the first

mystery. Yet a little while and I will tell you

the mystery of the pleroma and the pleroma of

the pleroma ; I will conceal nothing from you

from this hour, but in perfectness will I perfect

you in the whole pleroma, and all perfection,

and every mystery, (16) which things, indeed,

are the perfection of all perfections, the pleroma

of all pleromas, and the gnosis of all grioses,

which are in my vesture. I will tell you all

mysteries from the exterior of the exteriors, to

the interior of the interiors. Hearken, I will

tell you all things which have befallen me.

 

"It came to pass, when the sun had risen in

the regions of the east, that a great

stream of light descended in which teryofthe

 

five words

 

was my vesture, the same which 1 had on the

 

vesture.

 

laid up in the four and twentieth

mystery, as I have said unto you. And I

found a mystery in my vesture, written in

these five words which pertain to the height,.

 

 

 

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zama zama ozza racharna $zai. And this is

the interpretation thereof:

 

" The mystery which is beyond the world,

The inter- that whereby all things exist : It is

 

pretation . in- -, .

 

thereof. all evolution and all involution ; it

projected all emanations and all things therein.

Because of it all mysteries exist and all their

regions.

 

" ' Come unto us, for we are thy fellow -mem-

bers. We are all one with thee. We are one

and the same, and thou art one and the

same. This is the first mystery, (17) which

hath existed from the beginning in the in-

effable, before it came forth ; and the name

thereof is all of us. Now, therefore, we all live

together for thee at the last limit, which also is

the last mystery from the interior. That also is

a part of us. Now, therefore, we have sent thee

thy vesture, which, indeed, is thine from the be-

ginning, which thou didst leave in the last limit,

which also is the last mystery from the interiors,

until its time should be fulfilled, according to

the commandment of the first mystery. Lo, its

time being fulfilled, I will give it thee.

 

" 'Come unto us for we all stand near to clothe

The three thee with the first mystery and all his

 

robes of

 

light. glory, by commandment of the same,

 

in that the first mystery gave us two vestures

to clothe thee, besides the one we have sent

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 17

 

thee, since thou art worthy of them, and art

prior to us, and came into being before us.

For this cause, therefore, the first mystery hath

sent for thee through us the mystery of all his

glory, two vestures.

 

" c The first hath in it the whole glory of all

the names of all the mysteries, and of The ^^

all the emanations of the orders of the vesturo -

spaces of the ineffable.

 

(18) "'And the second vesture hath in it

the whole glory of the name of all the The Becond

mysteries, and of all the emanations vesture -

which are in the orders of the two spaces of the

first mystery.

 

" ' And in this [third] vesture, which we have

now sent thee, is the glory of the The third

name of the mystery, the revealer, vesture -

which also is the first statute, and the mystery

of the five impressions, and the mystery of the

great legate of the ineffable, which is this

great light, and also the mystery of the five

leaders, which are the five supporters. There

is also in the vesture the glory of the name

of all the orders of the emanations of the

treasure of light, with their saviours and the

orders of their orders, to wit, the seven amens,

which are the seven voices, and the five trees

and the three amens, and the saviour of the

 

twins, which is the child of the child; and

 

2

 

 

 

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also the mystery of the nine guardians of

the three gates of the treasure of light. There

is also therein all the glory of every name which

is on the right, and of all those which are in

the midst. Moreover, there is also therein all

the glory of the great invisible, (19) that is to

say, of the great forefather, and all the mystery

of the three triple powers, and the mystery

of their whole region, and also the mystery of

all their invisibles and of all those who are in

the thirteenth aeon, and the name of the twelve

*eons, with all their rulers, all their archangels,

all their angels, and all who are in the twelve

aeons, and every mystery of the name of all

those who are in the [sphere of] fate, and in all

the heavens, and the whole mystery of the name

of those in the spheres and their firmaments, and

all that they contain, and their regions.

 

" ' Lo, therefore, we have sent thee this ves-

The day of ture, without any knowing it from

unto us." the first statute downwards, because

the glory of its light was hidden in it [the

first statute], aod the spheres with all their

regions from the first statute downwards [knew

it not]. Make haste, therefore, clothe thyself

with this vesture. Come unto us ; for ever,

until the time appointed by the ineffable was

fulfilled, have we been in need of thee, to clothe

thee with two of the vestures, by order of the

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 19

 

first mystery. (20) Lo, then, the time is ful-

filled. Come, therefore, to us quickly, that we

may put them on thee, until thou hast accom-

plished the full ministry of the perfections of

the first mystery, the ministry appointed for

thee by the ineffable. Come, therefore, to us

quickly, in order that we may clothe thee, ac-

cording to the commandment of the first mys-

tery ; for yet a little while, a very little while,

and thou shalt come to us, and shalt leave

the world. Come, therefore, quickly, that thou

mayest receive the whole glory, the glory of the

first mystery/

 

" It came to pass, therefore, when I saw the

whole mystery of those words in the Jesus

vesture which had been sent me, that MS vesture.

I at once clothed myself therewith. I became

exceedingly radiant, and soared into the height.

 

" I drew nigh to the gate of the firmament,

shining exceedingly; there was no He enter-

measure to the light in which I was. firmament.

The gates of the firmament were shaken one

above the other in turn, and all were thrown

open together.

 

"And all the rulers, all the powers, and all

the angels therein, were at once thrown into

confusion because of the great light which was in

me. They gazed at the vesture of light with

which I was clothed, and which was brilliantly

 

 

 

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shining ; they saw the mystery which contained

The powers their names ; they feared exceedingly;

 

mentw' ( 21 ) and a11 tlie bonds with which ^^

 

amazed, were bound were loosed ; each left his

 

and fall

 

down and ran k and they bowed down before me,

 

worship ' J

 

him - and worshipped me, saying, 'How

 

hath the lord of the pleroma changed us without

our knowing ? ' And they sang together to the

interior of the interiors, but me they saw not; but

they saw only the light, and they were in great

fear, and were exceedingly troubled, and sent

forth their song to the interior of the interiors.

 

"And having left that region behind me, I

He enter- came unto the first sphere, shining

first sphere, exceedingly, far more brightly than 1

shone in the firmament, forty and nine times.

It came to pass, therefore, when I had come to

the gate of the first sphere, that its gates were

shaken, and opened of themselves all together.

 

" I entered into the mansions of that sphere,

The powers shining exceedingly; there was no

of the first measure to the light that was in me.

 

sphere are

 

"T!^' And all the rulers, with all those who

 

and lall

 

down and were [ u that sphere, were in confusion

 

worship Jr

 

M- one with another ; they saw the great

 

light that was in me, and they gazed upon my

vesture ; they saw in it the mystery of their

name, and were more and more distressed. And

they were in great fear, saying, ' How hath the

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 21

 

lord of the pleroma changed us without our

knowing?' (22) And all their bonds were un-

loosed, as well as their regions and their orders ;

and each abandoned his order, they bowed them-

selves all together, they worshipped before me or

before my vesture, and they all sang together to

the interior of the interiors, being in great fear

and great confusion.

 

"And having left that region behind me, I

came unto the second sphere, which He enter-

is the fate. All its gates were thrown ^cond

into confusion, and opened one after 3 P here -

another in turn ; and I entered into the man-

sions of the fate, shining exceedingly ; there was

no measure to the light that was in me, for I

shone in the fate more than in the sphere forty

and nine times.

 

" And all the rulers and all those who were in

the fate were thrown into confusion ; The powerg

they fell on one another, they were

in exceeding great fear on seeing the

great light that was in me. They gazed

on my shining vesture, they saw the him -

mystery of their names on my vesture, and were

more and more confused, and were in great fear,

saying, ' How hath the lord of the pleroma

changed us without our knowing?' And all

the bonds of their regions, of their orders, and

of their mansions were unloosed ; they drew

 

 

 

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nigh all together, they bowed themselves, they

worshipped before me, and sang all together to

the interior of the interiors, (23) being in great

fear and great confusion.

 

" And having left that region behind me, I

Heenteroth ascended to the great aeons of the

 

theaxms.

 

 

 

their gates, shining exceedingly ; there was no

measure to the light which was in me. It came

to pass when I came unto the twelve aeons, that

their veils and their gates were shaken one on

another; their veils were drawn aside of their

own accord, and their gates opened of them-

selves. And I entered into the aeons, shining

exceedingly ; there was no measure to the light

that was in me, which was brighter than the

light with which I shone in the regions of the

fate, forty and nine times.

 

" And all the angels of the aeons, their arch-

angels, their rulers, their gods, their

 

The powers o > > & >

 

of the seons lords, their authorities, their tyrants,

 

are amazed, . . J

 

and fail their powers, their sparks, their light-

down and . , . i i - .i,

 

worship givers, their unpaired, their invisibles,

 

their forefathers, and their triple

powers, saw me, shining exceedingly ; there was

no measure to the light which was in me. They

were thrown into confusion the one on the other ;

great fear fell upon them when they saw the

great light that was in me. And their great

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 28

 

confusion (24) and great fear reached to the

region of the great invisible forefather, and of

the three great triple powers. Because of the

great fear of their confusion, the great forefather

himself, and the three triple powers, began to

run hither and thither in their region, and they

could not close all their regions because of the

great fear in which they were. They threw into

confusion all their aeons together, with all their

spheres and orderings, fearing and being greatly

troubled because of the great light that was in

me far different from what it was when I was

on the earth of human kind, when my shining

vesture came upon me, for the earth could not

have borne the light such as it was in reality,

else would the world be resolved and all upon it

at the same time. But the light which was in

me in the twelve aeons was . . . myriad,

and seven thousand and eight hundred times

greater than when I was in the world among

you.

 

" It came to pass, therefore, when all those

who are in the twelve aeons had seen

the great light which was in me, that

they were all thrown into confusion ^Lt the

one on another, and ran from one side li % hi '

to the other in the aeons ; and all the aeons,

with all their regions and all their ordering,

were shaken on account of the great fear

 

 

 

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PISTIS SOPHIA

 

which came upon them, (25) because they

knew not the mystery which had taken place.

And Adamas, the great tyrant, and all the

tyrants which are in all the aeons, began to fight

in vain against the light, and they knew not

with what they fought, for they saw nothing be-

yond the exceeding great light. It came to pass,

when they fought against the light, that they

expended their strength one against the other,

they fell down in the aeons, they became as the

inhabitants of the earth who are dead, and who

have no breath in them.

 

" And I took from all of them a third of their

power, in order that they should no

 

Hetaketh r ' . m J

 

from them more prevail in their evil doings ; and

 

a third of f , . , ,

 

their in order that, if the men who are in

 

the world should invoke them in

their mysteries which the transgressing angels

brought down from above that is to say, their

magic rites in order that, therefore, if they

should be invoked in evil practices, they should

not accomplish them.

 

" And the fate and sphere of which they are

 

the lords I changed, and I brought

 

changeth it to pass that for six months they

 

the motion *

 

of their should turn to the left and accom-

plish their influences, and for six

months turn to the right and accomplish their

influences. For by order of the first statute, and

 

 

 

FIBST BOOK. 25

 

by order of the first mystery, (26) leou, the over-

seer of the light, had placed them facing the left

for all time, accomplishing their influences and

actions. It came to pass, therefore, that when

I had entered into their regions, they rebelled

and fought against the light. I took from them

the third part of their power, in order that they

should not accomplish their evil actions. And

the fate and sphere over which they rule I

changed, and set them facing the left for six

months, accomplishing their influences, and set

them to turn six months to the right, accom-

plishing their influences."

 

And when he had spoken these things unto

his disciples, he said unto them : " He that hath

ears to hear, let him hear."

 

It came to pass, when Mary had heard the

words which the saviour said, that she gazed,

as one inspired, into the air for the space of an

hour. She said unto him : " Master, give com-

mandment unto me to speak freely."

 

And Jesus, the compassionate, answered and

said unto Mary : " Speak freely, Mary,

thou blessed one, whom I will perfect asketh and

 

receiveth

 

in all the mysteries of the dwellers on permission

high, thou, whose heart is right for the

kingdom of the heavens more than all thy

brethren."

 

Then said Mary to the saviour : " Master,

 

 

 

26

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PISTIS SOPHIA

 

the word that thou hast spoken, to wit, (27)

' he that hath ears to hear, let him hear/ thou

hast said it unto us, in order that we may

understand the word which thou hast spoken.

Give ear, therefore, Master, that I may

speak freely.

 

"The word which thou hast spoken, to wit,

' I changed their fate and their

 

Mary inter-

 

preteth the spheres over which they rule, in order

 

same from * .

 

the words that, if the race of men should invoke

 

of Isaiah. . . .

 

them, in the mysteries which the

transgressing angels taught them for the accom-

plishing of their evil deeds, and all that is un-

lawful in the mystery of their magic ' in order

[then], that they might no more from this hour

accomplish their impious works, (for thou hast

taken from them their power, and their or-

dainers of the hour, and diviners, and those who

teach the men of the world all that shall come

to pass,) in order that they should no more from

this hour have a mind for teaching them what

will come to pass, (for thou hast changed their

revolution, and thou hast made them turn to

the left for six months, accomplishing their

influences, and thou hast made them face to

the right for the six remaining months, accom-

plishing their influences) concerning this word,

Master, the power which was in Isaiah, the

prophet, spake as follows, and delivered it in a

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 27

 

spiritual parable, at the time when he spake of

the vision of Egypt, saying, * Where, then,

Egypt, where are thy diviners and ordainers of

the hour, (28) and those whom they evoke from

the earth, and those whom they evoke from

themselves ? Let them show thee from this

hour the deeds which the lord Sabaoth shall

do!'

 

"Thus then the power which was in Isaiah,

the prophet, prophesied before thy coming ; it

prophesied concerning thee that thou shouldst

take away the power of the rulers of the aeons ;

that thou shouldst change their sphere and

their fate, in order that they might know no-

thing from henceforth. This is why it said,

' Ye shall know nothing of that which the lord

Sabaoth shall do ' ; that is to say, none of the

rulers shall know what thou wilt do unto them

henceforth from this hour ; that is to say, with

' Egypt,' for they are the inefficacious matter.

The power, therefore, which was in the prophet

Isaiah, prophesied concerning thee aforetime,

saying, 'Henceforth, from this hour, ye shall

not know what the lord Sabaoth shall do unto

them/ because of the light-power which thou

didst receive from the hand of Sabaoth, the

good, who is in the region of the right, the

power which is in thy material body to-day. For

this cause, therefore, Jesus, my master, thou

 

 

 

28

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PISTIS SOPHIA

 

hast said unto us, 'He that hath ears to hear, let

him hear,' since thou wouldst know whose heart

is earnestly set on the kingdom of the heavens."

 

It came to pass, when Mary had finished

saying these things, that Jesus said unto her:

" Well said, Mary, since thou art blessed before

all women who are on the earth, (29) for thou

shalt be the pleroma of all pleromas, and the

perfection of all perfections."

 

When Mary heard the saviour speak these

Jesus com- words, she rejoiced greatly, and came

Mary. et she to J esus > an( ^ bowed herself before him,

anc * worshipped his feet, and said unto

him " Master, give ear unto me, that

the spheres, j ma y question thee on this matter,

before that thou tellest us the regions whither

thou hast gone."

 

And Jesus answered and said unto Mary :

" Speak freely, and fear not. All things thou

seekest, I will reveal unto thee."

 

Mary said : " Will all men who know the

mystery of the magic of all the rulers of all the

aeons of the fate, and of those of the sphere, in

the way in which the transgressing aiigels have

taught them ; if they invoke them in their

mysteries, that is to say, in their evil magic

rites, to the hindering of good deeds will they

accomplish them, henceforth from this hour, or

not?"

 

 

 

FIRST BOOK. 29

 

And Jesus answered and said unto Mary :

"They will not accomplish them as j esuaex .

they accomplished them from the be-

ginning, for I have taken from them

the third of their power; but they 8 P heres -

will make use of those who know the mysteries

of the magic of the thirteenth aeon ; (30) they

will accomplish them perfectly and at their

ease, for I have not taken away the power in

that region, according to the command of the

first mystery."

 

It came to pass, when Jesus had finished

saying these words, that Mary insisted further,

and said : " Master, surely the ordainers of the

hour, and diviners, will no more tell men what

will come to pass, henceforth from this hour ? "

 

But Jesus answered and said unto Mary :

" If the ordainers of the hour chance upon the

fate, and the sphere, turning towards the left,

according to their first emanation, their words

shall come to pass, and they will say what is

to take place ; but if they chance on the fate, or

the sphere, turning to the right, they cannot

obtain any truth, since I have changed their

influences, their four angles, their three angles,

and their eight configurations; for originally

their influences were constant, then when they

turned to the left, as well as their four angles,

their three angles, and their eight configura-

 

 

 

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tions ; but now that I have made them turn to

the left for six months and turn to the right for

six months, he who, verily, shall find their

numbering from the time when I changed

them, and when I set them for six months to

face their left hand, and for six months to

face their right hand course, (31) he who,

verily, shall thus observe them, will discover

their influences with certainty ; he will fore-

tell all that a man shall do. In the same way,

also, the diviners, if they invoke the name of

the rulers, if they meet with them facing the left,

all things which they shall ask of their decans,

the latter will tell them with accuracy. But if

the diviners invoke their names at the time

when their revolution is to the right, they will

not give ear unto them, because they are facing

in another way from the first figure in which

leou had placed them ; for other are their names

when they turn to the left, and other are their

names when they turn to the right ; and if they

are invoked when they turn to the right, the

truth will not be obtained, but confusion will

seize upon them, and with threatening they will

threaten them. Those, therefore, who do not

know their revolution, when they turn to the

right, their three angles, and their four angles,

and all their configurations, will find no truth,

but will be greatly confused, and will be in

 

 

 

PIEST BOOK. 31

 

great error, 'because the operations which they

were accustomed formerly to effect in their

four angles, at the time when they turned to

the left, and in their three angles, and in their

eight configurations, the operations in which

they were constant, at the time when they

turned to the left these I have now changed,

and I have caused them to make all their con-

figurations turning to the right for six months,

in order that they may be confused in all their

extent; (32) on the other hand, I have made

them turn to the left for six months, accom-

plishing the actions of their influences and of

all their configurations, in order that they may

be thrown into confusion, and wander in error

the rulers who are in the aeons, in their

spheres, in their heavens, and in all their

regions, so that they may not, even them-

selves, understand their path."

 

It came to pass, that when Jesus had said

these words Philip was sitting writ- Philip

 

Q| *- -

 

ing all the words that Jesus spake it J<

came to pass, therefore, after this, that Philip

drew nigh, bowed himself, and worshipped the

feet of Jesus, saying : " Master and saviour,

grant me permission to speak before thee and

to question thee on this word, before that thou

tellest us of the regions whither thou didst go

for thy ministry."

 

 

 

uostioneth

esus.

 

 

&nbs