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NAG HAMMADI CODEX – part II, ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

THE TREATISE ON THE RESURRECTION (I,4)

Introduced and translated by

Malcolm L. Peel

The importance of this short, eight-page, didactic letter lies in its witness to a distinctively unorthodox interpretation of Christian teaching about survival after death. By the late second century, the probable time of its composition, Christians — whether Gnostic or orthodox — were struggling with certain challenges and questions. Was such survival philosophically demonstrable (as Socrates had argued in the Phaedo)? What form might it take? (Immortality of the soul? Resurrection of the body? Reincarnation?) When would such survival be experienced? (At death? At Christ’s final return? Perhaps even before death?) The New Testament teaching was somewhat ambiguous on several of these points, though within the great church there seemed general agreement on at least two matters: the prototype and basis of hope for such survival was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of individuals would entail their retention of personal identity.

The anonymous author of The Treatise on the Resurrection, however, claimed a Christ-given knowledge (49, 41–50, 2) that enabled him to offer direct and unambiguous answers to such questions, questions which in this case had been put to him by his pupil, Rheginos (43, 25). First, the resurrection is a matter of faith in the reality of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and his destruction of death (46, 14–19). Such cannot be the result of philosophical “persuasion,” and most philosophers of the world are in fact sceptics.

Second, the form of survival will be the “resurrection,” which is not understood as the recreation of a spiritual body at Christ’s Parousia (cf. 1 Co 15 passim). Rather, at the point of biological death, the “elect” believer experiences the separation of the inward, “living members,” whose intellectual nature is clarified by reference to the “mind” and its “thought,” from the external “body” of “perishable,” “visible,” outward “members” (47, 38–48, 2; 45, 39–46, 2; 45, 19–21). Even so, this “resurrection body,” covered with a new “flesh” (47, 4–8) or “garment of light” (“rays” in 45, 30–31), retains personally identifiable features, as the appearance of Elijah and Moses at Christ’s transfiguration (Mk 9:2–8) makes clear. Such is the “spiritual resurrection” which “swallows up” (i.e., renders nonsensical or destroys) the “resurrection” of either the naked “soul” or of the crudely literal “flesh” (45, 39–46, 2). Implied is a dualistic doctrine of outer/inner that goes beyond Pauline anthropology.

Third, unlike the early church, which in its resurrection hope held to an “eschatological reservation” (i.e., the notion that the full benefit of individual Christians’ participation in the resurrection would wait the final return of Christ), the author of The Treatise on the Resurrection held that for the elect believer who had proleptically participated in Christ’s suffering (death), resurrection, and ascension (45, 24–28), the new reality should be clear: one already has the resurrection in the present. In sum, our author, like the Hymenaeus and Philetus condemned in 2 Timothy 2:18, teaches that the resurrection has already occurred! He reinforces it by means of a kind of existential proof: the believer who knows of death’s inevitability should consider himself as dead already and thus as already participating in the resurrected state (49, 16–30). Thus, the believer is to have “faith” in the reality of Christ’s victory over death and its guarantee (45, 14–46, 4, 14–17; 46, 8–13), to avoid all “doubt” (47, 36–48, 3), to “know” the “Son of Man” and the truth proclaimed about his resurrection (46, 13–17, 30–32), to “practise” one’s release from the inimical power of this cosmos (49, 30–33) through correct thought, and to realize the mystical unity between the experience of the Savior and that of the believer (45, 15–46, 2).

Major studies of the text have clarified that the author is a Christian Gnostic teacher who is clearly influenced by Valentinian Gnosticism. The evidence for this is found in the close parallels between the treatise’s teaching that the spiritual resurrection has already occurred and the reports of Valentinian “realized eschatology” in Tertullian (De praes. haer. 33:7; De res. mort. 19, 2–7) and Irenaeus (Haer. 2.31.2). Also, certain conceptual complexes unique to Valentinianism appear in Treat. Res., such as the idea of a primordial pleroma which suffered a devolution and resulting “deficiency” (46, 35–47, 1; 49, 4–5) which the Savior must “restore” (44, 30–33).

Only to be expected, then, is the presence of Middle Platonic ideas which, as prior scholarship has shown, influenced Valentinianism. Such ideas include a distinction between a world of being (including the Good itself) and the sphere of becoming and corruption (48, 20–27), as well as between an “intelligible world” and a “sensible” world (46, 35–47, 1). Also Platonic are notions of the pre-existence of souls (46, 38–47, 1; cf. 47, 4–6; 49, 30–36) and of “practising” for dying (49, 28–33).

Rather un-Platonic, however, is the absence of any mention of an ultimate quest for ecstatic vision/union with the ultimate One, as well as our treatise’s stress on retention of identifiable personal characteristics in the post mortem resurrected state.

Because of the centrality of Jesus Christ in the text, however, and because the author appeals to the New Testament as highest authority for his proofs (cf. 43, 34; 45, 4, 24–28; 48, 6–11), we conclude that the author is a Christian Gnostic whose thought displays the influence of Middle Platonism as filtered through a late and somewhat vaguely articulated Valentinian Gnosticism.

Critical opinion now generally holds that Treat. Res. is not written by Valentinus himself. Studies of the stage of the New Testament canon of which the anonymous author seems aware, of the place of Treat. Res. teaching in the context of debates over the resurrection in the early church, and of the type of Middle Platonic ideas found in it all converge in pointing toward the late second century as the probable time of composition. As to its provenance, neither internal nor external evidence provides any clues.

Debate continues over whether the writing is a genuine didactic letter lacking a praescriptio naming its author (such as are the Epistula Apostolorum or the Letter of Ptolemy to Flora) and incorporating elements of the diatribe style, or whether it is principally a philosophical discourse decisively shaped by the Cynic-Stoic diatribe. As yet, the last named is lacking a convincing demonstration. Most scholars do seem to reject the suggestions, however, that the text is the result of combining two originally separate letters or that it is the result of a gnostic redaction of an originally Christian text.

THE TREATISE ON THE RESURRECTION

I 43, 25–50, 18

Some there are, my son Rheginos, | who want to learn many things. | They have this goal | when they are occupied with questions | whose answer is lacking. 30 If they succeed with these, they usually | think very highly of | themselves. But I do not think | that they have stood within | the Word of Truth. They seek 35 rather their own rest, which | we have received through our | Savior, our Lord Christ. 44 We received it (i.e., Rest) when we came to know | the truth and rested | ourselves upon it. But | since you ask us 5 pleasantly what is proper | concerning the resurrection, I am writing | you (to say) that it is necessary. | To be sure, many are | lacking faith in it, but there are a few 10 who find it. | So then, let us discuss | the matter. |

How did the Lord proclaim | things while he existed 15 in flesh and after | he had revealed himself as Son | of God? He lived | in this place where you | remain, speaking 20 about the Law of Nature — but I call | it “Death!” Now the Son | of God, Rheginos, | was Son of Man. | He embraced them 25 both, possessing the | humanity and the divinity, | so that on the one hand he might vanquish | death through his | being Son of God, 30 and that on the other through the Son of | Man the restoration | to the Pleroma | might occur; because | he was originally from above, 35 a seed of the Truth, before | this structure (of the cosmos) had come into being. | In this (structure) many dominions and | divinities came into existence. |

I know that I am presenting 45 the solution in difficult terms, | but there is nothing | difficult in the Word | of Truth. But since 5 the Solution appeared | so as not to leave anything hidden, | but to reveal all | things openly concerning | existence — the destruction 10 of evil on the one hand, the revelation | of the elect on the other. This (Solution) is | the emanation of Truth and | Spirit, Grace is of the Truth. |

The Savior swallowed up 15 death — (of this) you are not reckoned as being ignorant — | for he put aside the world | which is perishing. He transformed [himself] | into an imperishable Aeon | and raised himself up, having 20 swallowed the visible | by the invisible, | and he gave us | the way of our immortality. Then, | indeed, as the Apostle 25 said, “We suffered | with him, and we arose | with him, and we went to heaven | with him.” Now if we are | manifest in 30 this world wearing | him, we are that one’s beams, | and we are | embraced by | him until our setting, that is 35 to say, our death in this life. | We are drawn to heaven | by him, like beams | by the sun, not being restrained | by anything. This is 40 the spiritual resurrection | 46 which swallows up the psychic | in the same way as the fleshly. |

But if there is one who | does not believe, he does not have 5 the (capacity to be) persuaded. For it is the domain of faith, | my son, and not that which belongs | to persuasion: the dead shall | arise! There is one who believes | among the philosophers who are in this world. 10 At least he will arise. And let not the philosopher | who is in this world have cause to | believe that he is one who returns himself | by himself — and (that) because of our faith! | For we have known the Son of 15 Man, and we have believed | that he rose from among the | dead. This is he of whom we say, | “He became the destruction | of death, as he is a great one 20 in whom they believe.” | <Great> are those who believe. |

The thought of those | who are saved shall not perish. | The mind of those who have known him shall not perish. 25 Therefore, we are elected to | salvation and redemption since | we are predestined from the beginning | not to fall into the | foolishness of those who are without knowledge, 30 but we shall enter into the | wisdom of those who have known the | Truth. Indeed, the Truth which is kept | cannot be abandoned, | nor has it been. 35 “Strong is the system of the | Pleroma; small is that which | broke loose (and) became | (the) world. But the All is | what is encompassed. It has not 47 come into being; it was existing.” So, | never doubt concerning | the resurrection, my son Rheginos! | For if you were not existing 5 in flesh, you received flesh when you | entered this world. Why | will you not receive flesh when you | ascend into the Aeon? | That which is better than the flesh is that which is 10 for it (the) cause of life. | That which came into being on your account, is it not | yours? Does not that which is yours | exist with you? | Yet, while you are in this world, what is it that you 15 lack? This is what | you have been making every effort to learn. |

The afterbirth of the body is | old age, and you | exist in corruption. You have 20 absence as a gain. | For you will not give up what | is better if you depart. That which is worse | has diminution, | but there is grace for it.

Nothing, 25 then, redeems us from | this world. But the All which | we are, we are saved. We have received | salvation from end | to end. Let us think in this way! 30 Let us comprehend in this way!

But | there are some (who) wish to understand, | in the enquiry about | those things they are looking into, whether | he who is saved, if he leaves 35 his body behind, will | be saved immediately. Let | no one doubt concerning this. | … indeed, the visible members | which are dead 48 shall not be saved, for (only) the living [members] | which exist within | them would arise.

What, | then, is the resurrection? 5 It is always the disclosure of | those who have risen. For if you | remember reading in the Gospel | that Elijah appeared | and Moses 10 with him, do not think the resurrection | is an illusion. | It is no illusion, but | it is truth! Indeed, it is more | fitting to say that 15 the world is an illusion, | rather than the resurrection which | has come into being through | our Lord the Savior, | Jesus Christ. 20

But what am I telling | you now? Those who are living | shall die. How | do they live in an illusion? | The rich have become poor, 25 and the kings have been overthrown. | Everything is prone | to change. The world | is an illusion! — lest, | indeed, I rail at 30 things to excess!

But | the resurrection does not have | this aforesaid character, for | it is the truth which stands firm. | It is the revelation of 35 what is, and the transformation | of things, and a | transition into | newness. For imperishability 49 [descends] upon | the perishable; the light flows | down upon the darkness, | swallowing it up; and the Pleroma 5 fills up the deficiency. | These are the symbols and | the images of the resurrection. | He (Christ) it is who makes the | good.

Therefore, do not 10 think in part, O Rheginos, | nor live | in conformity with this flesh for the sake of | unanimity, but flee | from the divisions and the 15 fetters, and already you have | the resurrection. For if | he who will die knows | about himself that he | will die — even if he spends many 20 years in this life, he is | brought to this — | why not consider yourself | as risen and (already) | brought to this? 25 If you have | the resurrection but continue as if | you are to die — and yet that one knows | that he has died — why, then, | do I ignore your 30 lack of exercise? It is fitting for each | one to practice | in a number of ways, and | he shall be released from this Element | that he may not fall into error but shall himself 35 receive again | what at first was. |

These things I have received from | the generosity of my 50 Lord, Jesus Christ. [I have] taught | you and your [brethren], my sons, concerning them, | while I have not omitted any of | the things suitable for strengthening you (pl.). 5 But if there is one thing written | which is obscure in my exposition of | the Word, I shall interpret it for you (pl.) | when you (pl.) ask. But now, | do not be jealous of anyone who is in your number 10 when he is able to help. |

Many are looking into | this which I have written | to you. To these I say: | peace (be) among them and grace. 15 I greet you and those who love | you (pl.) in brotherly love. |

The Treatise on the | Resurrection

THE TRIPARTITE TRACTATE (I,5)

Introduced by

Harold W. Attridge and Elaine H. Pagels

Translated by

Harold W. Attridge and Dieter Mueller

The final tractate of Codex I is an elaborate, but untitled, Valentinian theological treatise which gives an account of the whole process of devolution from and reintegration into the primordial godhead. The text is divided by scribal decoration into three segments which contain the major acts of the cosmic drama; hence its modern title.

The date of composition can only be determined within broad limits. Since the doctrine of the text represents a revised form of Valentinian theology which may be a response to the criticism of orthodox theologians such as Irenaeus or Hippolytus, the work was probably written in the early to mid third century. The text displays some affinities with Origen’s doctrines, although these may be due to common theological and philosophical sources.

The tractate offers no information about the identity of its author. Some scholars have speculated that the Valentinian teacher Heracleon could have written the work. While there are affinities with Heracleon and the Western or Italian school of Valentinianism, the work departs from classical Valentinian doctrine more radically than any known representative of the tradition.

Like the other tractates of Codex I and most of the works in the Nag Hammadi collection, The Tripartite Tractate was originally composed in Greek. The Coptic translation presents numerous difficulties and obscurities, many of which probably reflect the style of the original.

The theological purview of the tractate is comprehensive. The first part (51, 1–104, 3) describes the emanation of all supernatural entities from their primal source. It begins with the Father (51, 1–57, 8), described primarily through a via negativa as an utterly transcendent entity. What can be affirmed is that he is unique and monadic. The insistence on the unitary character of the Father distinguishes the text from most other Valentinians who posit a primal masculine-feminine dyad, although some members of the school, such as those mentioned by Hippolytus (Ref. 6.29.2–8), also hold to a monadic first principle.

Emanating from the Father are two other entities, the Son and the Church (57, 8–59, 38). At this point the tractate again differs from other Valentinian sources, which regularly posit a more complex godhead. The pleroma or “fullness of deity” usually consists of an ogdoad, a set eight syzygies, or pairs of divine entities, a similarly composed decad, and duodecad. Instead, The Tripartite Tractate posits an initial trinity.

Some elements of the complex traditional Valentinian picture are retained in the description of the components or “aeons” of the third element of the trinity, the Church (50, 1–74, 18). The dependence on, as well as revision of, Valentinian sources is clear in the stage of the text which describes the problems created by one of the aeons (74, 18–80, 11). In other Valentinian accounts, which are based on earlier, non-Christian speculation, the problem in the godhead arises because of a female aeon, Sophia (Wisdom), who attempts to do the impossible. According to different versions of the story, she either tries to produce offspring without her consort or tries to know the unknowable primal source. In either case, she falls outside the divine pleroma and produces the world of psychic and material forces. In The Tripartite Tractate the agent of the rupture in the pleroma is a masculine aeon, the Logos (Word). His fall, which includes elements of both traditional explanations of Sophia’s catastrophe, is presented in remarkably positive terms, as a result of his own “abundant love” (76, 19–20). It is also, remarkably enough, in accordance with the Father’s will (76, 24–77, 1). Most importantly, it proceeds from the Logos’ free choice (75, 35–76, 1), a quality which all entities dependent on him share.

The fall of the Logos produces two orders of beings which are outside the pleroma (80, 11–85, 15). From his confused and defective procreative activity emerge hylic forces. When the Logos, on his own initiative, repents, he produces psychic forces. These supernatural forces will play a role in creation of the first human and in cosmic governance.

The most important result of the conversion of the Logos is the generation of the Savior (85, 15–90, 13). This transpires when the Logos splits in two. His better, masculine self returns to the pleroma to intercede for his defective, feminine self. That better self, along with the aeons who have never left the pleroma, produce the Savior. That being is also called, by analogy with the highest level of reality, the Son, because as the Son reveals the Father to the aeons of the pleroma, the Savior will provide revelatory insight to those outside the pleroma.

The brief second part of the tractate (104, 4–108, 12) offers an interpretation of Genesis 1–3. The first human being is produced on the one hand by the Demiurge and on the other hand by the Logos. The former provides Adam’s psychic and material components and the latter his spiritual component. The three potencies of the first human being will later be actualized in three classes of human beings at the coming of the Savior.

The third part of the tractate (108, 13–138, 27) focuses on soteriological issues. The Savior’s appearance divides humankind into three classes (118, 14–122, 12). The pneumatic or spiritual recognize the Savior immediately and respond to him, while the hylic or material reject him utterly. Between these two extremes the psychic or soulful types hesitate, and only gradually come to join the Savior. As is usual in Valentinian texts, the three types have clear social referents. The pneumatics are the Valentinians themselves, the hylics are non-Christians and the psychics are ordinary Christians. The attention lavished on the detailed description of the psychics is indicative of the apologetic and irenic tendencies of the work.

In its final section (129, 34–138, 27) the text returns to the issue of the psychic and the process of their salvation. It then proceeds to sketch an eschatological tableau, the last portions of which are quite fragmentary. It concludes with a hymn to “the Savior, the Redeemer of all those who belong to the one filled with love, through his Holy Spirit, from now on through all generations forever” (138, 20–25).

The Tripartite Tractate has revised traditional Valentinianism on several key points: in its insistence on the unity of the first principle; in the substitution of a trinity for a more complex godhead; in its portrait of the Logos as the element of the godhead responsible for the rupture in the divine; in its moderate assessment of the psychic demiurge; in its detailed analysis of the tripartition of humanity as a result of the freely chosen response of each individual to the appearance of the Savior; and in the hope of final redemption held out to ordinary Christians. This bold revision of Valentinian speculation serves as the basis for a comprehensive theological statement designed to appeal not simply to an isolated sect, but to the church as a whole.

THE TRIPARTITE TRACTATE

I 51, 1–138, 27

Part I

  1. Introduction

As for what we can say about the things which are exalted, | what is fitting is that we | begin with the Father, who is the root of | the Totality, the one from whom we have received 5 grace to | speak about him.

  1. The Father

He existed | before anything other than himself | came into being. The Father is a | single one, like a 10 number, for he is the first one and the one who | is only himself. Yet he is | not like a solitary individual. | Otherwise, how could he be a father? | For whenever there is a “father,” 15 the name “son” follows. But the single | one, who alone is | the Father, is like a root | with tree, branches | and fruit. It is said 20 of him that he is | a father in the proper sense, since he is | inimitable | and immutable. Because of | this he is single in the proper sense 25 and is a god, because no | one is a god for him nor | is anyone a father to him. | For he is unbegotten and there is no other | who begot him, nor 30 another who created him. | For whoever is someone’s father | or his creator, | he, too, has a father and | creator. It is certainly possible 35 for him to be father and creator | of the one who came into being | from him and the one whom he created, | for he is not a father in the proper sense, nor 40 a god, because he has 52 someone who begot [him and] who | created him. It is, then, | only the Father and God in the proper sense | that no one else begot. As for [the] Totalities, 5 he is the one who begot them and | created them. He is without beginning | and without end.

Not only | is he without end — He is immortal for this reason, | that he is unbegotten — 10 but he is also invariable in | his eternal existence, | in his identity, in that | by which he is established and in that | by which he is great. Neither 15 will he remove himself from that by which he | is, nor will anyone else | force him to produce | an end which he has not ever desired. | He has not had 20 anyone who initiated his own existence. | Thus, he is himself unchanged | and no one else | can remove him from his | existence and 25 his identity, that in which he is, | and his greatness, so that | he cannot be grasped; nor is it possible | for anyone else to change him into a different | form or to reduce him, or alter him 30 or diminish him, — since this is so | in the fullest sense of the truth — | who is the unalterable, immutable one, | with immutability clothing him. | Not only is he the one 35 called | “without a beginning” and “without an end,” | because he is unbegotten | and immortal; | but just as he has 40 no beginning and no | end as he is, he is | unattainable 53 in his greatness, inscrutable | in his wisdom, incomprehensible | in his power, | and unfathomable in his 5 sweetness.

In the proper sense | he alone, the good, | the unbegotten Father and the | complete perfect one, is the one filled | with all his offspring 10 and with every virtue and with | everything of value. And he has | more, that is, lack of any | malice, in order that it may be discovered | that whoever has [anything] is indebted to him, 15 because he gives it, being | himself unreachable and unwearied | by that which he gives, since he is wealthy | in the gifts which he bestows | and at rest 20 in the favors which he grants. |

He is of such a kind and | form and great magnitude | that no one else has been with | him from the beginning; nor is there a place 25 in which he is, or from which he has come forth, | or into which he will go; | nor is there a primordial form, | which he uses as a model | as he works; nor is there any difficulty 30 which accompanies him in what | he does; nor is there any material which | is at his disposal, from which <he> creates | what he creates; | nor any substance within him from 35 which he begets what he begets; | nor a co-worker | with him, working with him on the things at which he works. | To say anything of this sort | is ignorant. Rather, (one should speak of him) as 40 good, faultless, perfect, 54 complete, being himself the Totality. |

Not one of | the names which are conceived, |

or spoken, seen or 5 grasped, | not one of them applies to him, | even though they are exceedingly glorious, magnifying | and honored. However, | it is possible to utter these names for his glory 10 and honor, in accordance with the capacity | of each of those who give him glory. | Yet as for him, in his own | existence, being | and form, 15 it is impossible for mind to conceive | him, nor can any speech | convey him, nor can any eye | see him, nor can any body | grasp him, because of 20 his inscrutable greatness | and his incomprehensible depth, | and his immeasurable height, | and his illimitable will. | This is the nature of the 25 unbegotten one, which does not touch | anything else; nor is it joined (to anything) | in the manner of something which is limited. | Rather, he possesses this constitution, | without having a 30 face or a form, things which | are understood through | perception, whence also comes (the epithet) “the incomprehensible.” | If he is incomprehensible, | then it follows that 35 he is unknowable, that he is the one who is inconceivable | by any thought, | invisible by any thing, | ineffable by any word, | untouchable by any hand. 40 He alone | is the one who knows himself as he 55 is, along with his form | and his greatness and his magnitude, | and since he has the ability to | conceive of himself, to see himself, to name 5 himself, to comprehend himself, he | alone is the one who is his own mind, | his own eye, | his own mouth, his own | form, and he is what he thinks, 10 what he sees, | what he speaks, | what he grasps, himself, | the one who is inconceivable, | ineffable, incomprehensible, immutable, 15 while sustaining, joyous, | true, delightful, | and restful is that which he conceives, | that which he sees, that about which he speaks, | that which he has as thought 20 He transcends | all wisdom, and is | above all intellect, and is | above all glory, and is | above all beauty, and 25 all sweetness, and all greatness, | and any depth and any height. |

If this one, who is | unknowable in his | nature, to whom pertain all the greatnesses which 30 I already mentioned, | if out of the abundance of his sweetness he wishes to grant knowledge | so that he might be known, | he has the ability to do so. | He has his power, 35 which is his will. Now, however, | in silence he himself holds back, | he who is | the great one, who is the cause | of bringing the Totalities into their 40 eternal being. 56

It is in | the proper sense that he begets | himself as ineffable, | since he alone is self-begotten, 5 since he conceives of himself, and since he | knows himself as he is. | What is worthy of | his admiration and glory and honor | and praise, he produces 10 because of the boundlessness | of his greatness, and the | unsearchability of his | wisdom, and the immeasurability | of his power and his 15 untasteable sweetness. | He is the one who projects himself | thus, as generation, having | glory and honor | marvelous and lovely; the one who 20 glorifies himself, | who marvels, <who> | honors, who also loves; | the one who has | a Son, who subsists 25 in him, who is silent concerning him, who is | the ineffable one | in the ineffable one, the | invisible one, the incomprehensible one, | the inconceivable one in 30 the inconceivable one. Thus, | he exists in him forever. | The Father, in the way we mentioned earlier, | in an unbegotten way, is the one in whom | he knows himself, 35 who begot him having | a thought, | which is the thought | of him, that is, the 57 perception of him, which is the […] | of his constitution | forever. That is, | however, in the proper sense, 5 [the] silence and the wisdom | and the grace, if it is designated | properly | in this way.

  1. The Son and the Church

Just as [the] | Father exists in the proper sense, 10 the one before whom [there was no one] | else and [the one] | apart from [whom] there is no other unbegotten one, so | too the [Son] | exists in the proper sense, 15 the one before whom there was no other, | and after whom | no other son exists. | Therefore, he is a firstborn | and an only Son, 20 “firstborn” because no one | exists before him and “only Son” | because no one is after | him. Furthermore, he has | his fruit, 25 that which is unknowable because | of its surpassing greatness. Yet | he wanted it to be known, | because of the riches of his | sweetness. 30 And he revealed the unexplainable power and | he combined with it | the great abundance of his generosity. |

Not only did the Son exist | from the beginning, but the Church, 35 too, existed from the beginning. | Now, he who thinks that the discovery | that the Son is an only son | opposes the statement (about the Church) — | because of the mysterious quality of the matter 40 it is not so. For just as 58 the Father is a unity | and has revealed himself | as Father for him | alone, so too 5 the Son was found | to be a brother to himself alone, | in virtue of the fact that he is unbegotten | and without beginning. He | wonders at himself 10 [along with the] Father, and he gives | [him(self)] glory and honor and | [love.] Furthermore, he too | is the one whom he conceives of | as Son, in accordance with the 15 dispositions: “without | beginning” and “without end.” | Thus is the matter | something which is fixed. | Being innumerable and 20 illimitable, his offspring | are indivisible. Those | which exist have come | forth from the Son and the Father | like kisses, because of the multitude 25 of some who kiss one | another with a | good, insatiable thought, | the kiss being a unity, although it involves | many kisses. This is to say, it is the 30 Church consisting of many men that | existed before the aeons, | which is called, in the proper | sense, “the aeons of the aeons.” | This is the nature of the 35 holy imperishable spirits, | upon which the Son rests, | since it is his essence, just as | the Father rests 59 upon the Son.

  1. Aenoic Emanations

[…] | the Church exists in the | dispositions and properties | in which the Father and the Son exist, 5 as I have said from the start. | Therefore, it subsists | in the procreations of innumerable aeons. | Also in an uncountable way [they] | too beget, by [the] properties [and] 10 the dispositions in which it (the Church) [exists.] | [For] these [comprise its] | association which [they form] | toward one another and [toward those] | who have come forth from [them] 15 toward the Son, for whose glory they exist. | Therefore, | it is not possible for mind to conceive of | him — He was the perfection of that place — | nor can speech 20 express them, for they are ineffable | and unnameable | and inconceivable. They | alone have the ability | to name themselves and to conceive 25 of themselves. For they have not been rooted | in these places.

Those of that place | are ineffable, | (and) innumerable in | the system which is 30 both the manner and the | size, the joy, the gladness | of the unbegotten, | nameless, unnameable, | inconceivable, invisible, 35 incomprehensible one. | It is the fullness of paternity, | so that his abundance | is a begetting 60 […] of the aeons.

They | were forever in | thought, for the Father | was like a thought 5 and a place for them. When their | generations had been established, the one who is completely in control | wished to lay hold of and to bring forth that which was deficient in the 10 […, and he brought] forth those | […] him. But since he is | [as] he is, | [he is] a spring, which is not | diminished by the water which 15 abundantly flows from it. | While they were | in the Father’s thought, that | is, in the hidden depth, | the depth knew them, 20 but they | were unable to know | the depth in which they were; | nor was it | possible for them to know 25 themselves, nor | for them to know anything else. That | is, they were | with the Father; they did not exist for | themselves. Rather, 30 they only had | existence in the manner | of a seed, so that it has been discovered | that they existed like a | fetus. Like the word 35 he begot them, subsisting | spermatically, and | the ones whom he was to beget had not yet come into being 61 from him. The one who | first thought of them, the Father, | — not only so that they might exist for him, | but also that they might exist for themselves as well, 5 that they might then exist in [his] thought | as mental substance | and that they might exist for themselves too, — | sowed a thought like a [spermatic] seed. | Now, in order that [they] 10 might know [what exists] | for them, he graciously [granted the] | initial form, while in order that they might [recognize] | who is the Father who exists [for them]. | he gave them the name “Father” 15 by means of a voice proclaiming to them | that what exists exists through | that name, which they have | by virtue of the fact that they came into being, because the exaltation, | which has escaped their notice, is in the name. 20

The infant, while in the | form of a fetus | has enough for itself, | before ever seeing the one who | sowed it. Therefore, they had 25 the sole task | of searching for him, realizing | that he exists, ever wishing to find out | what exists. Since, however, | the perfect Father is good, 30 just as he did not hear | them at all so that they would exist (only) | in his thought, but rather granted that | they, too, might come into being, so | also will he give them grace 35 to know what exists, | that is, the one who knows | himself eternally, 62 […] | form to [know] what | exists, just as people are begotten in this | place: when they are born, they are in 5 the light, so that they see those who have begotten them. |

The Father brought forth everything, | like a little child, | like a drop from a | spring, like a blossom 10 from a , like a | [flower], like a <planting> | […] in need of gaining | [nourishment] and growth and | faultlessness. He withheld it 15 for a time. He who had thought | of it from the very beginning, | possessed it from the very beginning, | and saw it, but he closed it off | to those who first came from 20 him. (He did this,) not out of envy, but | in order that the aeons might not receive their faultlessness | from the very beginning | and might not exalt themselves to the | glory, to the Father, and might think 25 that from themselves alone | they have this. But | just as he wished | to grant that they might come into being, so | too, in order that they might come into being as 30 faultless ones, when he wished, he gave them | the perfect idea of | beneficience | toward them.

The one whom he raised up | as a light for those who came 35 from himself, the one | from whom they take their name, | he is the Son, who is full, complete | and faultless. He brought him forth | mingled with what came forth from 63 him […] | partaking of the […] | the Totality, in accordance with […] by which each | one can receive [him] for himself, 5 though such was not his greatness | before he was received by it. Rather, | he exists by himself. As | for the parts in which he exists in his own manner and | form and greatness, 10 it is possible for <them> to see him | and speak about that which they know | of him, since they wear | him while he wears them, [because] | it is possible for them to comprehend him. 15 He, however, is as he is, | incomparable. | In order that the Father might receive | honor from each one | and reveal himself, 20 even in his ineffability, | hidden, and invisible, | they marvel at him mentally. | Therefore, the | greatness of his loftiness consists in the fact that they 25 speak about him and see him. | He becomes manifest, | so that he may be hymned because of the abundance | of his sweetness, with the grace | of <…>. And just as 30 the admirations | of the silences | are eternal generations | and they are mental offspring, | so too the dispositions 35 of the word are spiritual | emanations. Both of them [admirations and dispositions], | since they belong to a word, 64 are [seeds] and | thoughts [of] his offspring, | and roots which live | forever, appearing 5 to be offspring which have come forth from | themselves, being minds and | spiritual offspring to | the glory of the Father.

There is no need | for voice and spirit, mind and 10 word, because there is no need to | [work at] that which they desire | [to do], but on the pattern | by which [he was] existing, so | are those who have come forth from him, 15 begetting everything which they desire. And | the one whom they conceive of, and | whom they speak about, and the one | toward whom they move, and | the one in whom they are, and 20 the one whom they hymn, thereby glorifying him, | he has | sons. For this is their procreative | power, like | those from whom they have come, 25 according to their mutual assistance, | since they assist one another | like the unbegotten ones. |

The Father, in accordance with his | exalted position over the Totalities, being 30 an unknown and incomprehensible one, | has such greatness | and magnitude, that, | if he had revealed himself | suddenly, quickly, 35 to all the exalted ones among the aeons | who had come forth from him, they | would have perished. Therefore, he | withheld his power and his inexhaustibility | within that in which he 65 is. [He is] | ineffable [and] unnameable | and exalted above every mind | and every word. This one, however, stretched 5 himself out | and it was that which he stretched out | which gave a foundation and | a space and a dwelling place for | the universe, a name of his being “the 10 one through whom,” since he is | Father of the All, out of his | laboring for those who exist, | having sown into their thought that [they] | might seek after him. The abundance of their […] 15 consists in the fact that they understand that he | exists and in the fact that they ask what it is | [that] was existing. This one was | given to them for enjoyment and | nourishment and joy and an abundance 20 of illumination, which | consists in his fellow laboring, | his knowledge and his mingling | with them, that is, the one | who is called and is, in fact, 25 the Son, since he is the Totalities | and the one of whom they know both who he is | and that it is he who clothes. | This is the one who is called | “Son” and the one of whom they understand 30 that he exists and they were seeking | after him. This is the one who exists | as Father and (as) the one about whom they cannot speak, | and the one of whom they do not conceive. | This is the one who first came into being. 35

It is impossible for anyone to conceive | of him or think of him. Or can anyone | approach there, toward the exalted one, | toward the preexistent in the proper | sense? But all the names conceived 66 or spoken | about him are presented | in honor, as a trace | of him, according to the ability of each 5 one of those who glorify him. Now he who arose from him when he stretched | himself out for begetting and | for knowledge on the part of the Totalities, he | […] all of the names, without falsification, 10 and he is, | in the proper sense, the sole first one, | [the] man of the Father, that is, the one whom I | call

the form of the formless, |

the body of the bodiless,

the face 15 of the invisible,

the word of [the] | unutterable,

the mind of the inconceivable, |

the fountain which flowed from | him,

the root of those who are planted, |

and the god of those who exist,

the light 20 of those whom he illumines,

the love of those | whom he loved,

the providence of those for whom he | providentially cares,

the wisdom | of those whom he made wise,

the power | of those to whom he gives power,

the assembly 25 [of] those whom he assembles to him,

the revelation | of the things which are sought after,

the eye | of those who see,

the breadth of those who breathe, |

the life of those who live,

the unity | of those who are mixed with the Totalities. 30

All of them exist in the single one, | as he clothes himself completely | and by his single name | he is never called. | And in 35 this unique way they are equally | the single one and the Totalities. | He is neither divided as a body, | nor is he separated into the names | which he has [received], 40 (so that) he is one thing in this way and another 67 in [another way.] Also, neither | does he change in […], nor | does he turn into [the names] which he | [thinks of,] and become now this, now 5 something else, this thing now being one thing | and, at another time, something else, | but rather he is wholly himself to the uttermost. [He] | is each and every one of the Totalities | forever at the same time. He is what 10 all of them are. He brought | the Father to the Totalities. He also is the Totalities, | for he is the one who is knowledge | for himself and he is | each one of the properties. He 15 has the powers and [he is] beyond | all that which he knows, | while seeing himself in himself | completely and having a | Son and form. Therefore, 20 his powers and properties are innumerable | and inaudible, | because of the begetting [by] which he | begets them. Innumerable | and indivisible are 25 the begettings of his words, and | his commands and his Totalities. | He knows them, which things he himself is, | since they are in | the single name, and 30 are all speaking in it. And | he brings (them) forth, in order that | it might be discovered that they | exist according to their individual properties in a unified way. | And he did not reveal the multitude 35 to the Totalities at once | nor did he reveal his equality | to those who had come forth from him. |

  1. Aeonic Life

All those who came forth from him, | <who> are the aeons of the aeons, 68 being emanations and offspring of | <his> procreative nature, | they too, in their procreative | nature, have (given) glory to 5 the Father, as he was | the cause of their establishment. This is what | we said previously, namely that he creates | the aeons as roots and 10 springs and fathers, and that he | is the one to whom they give glory. They have begotten, for | he has knowledge | and wisdom | and the Totalities knew 15 that it is from knowledge | and wisdom that they have come forth. | They would have brought forth | a seeming honor: “The Father is the one | who is the Totalities,” 20 if the aeons had risen up to give | honor individually. | Therefore, in the | song of glorification and | in the power of the unity 25 of him from | whom they have come, they were drawn into a mingling | and a combination and a unity | with one another. | They offered glory worthy of 30 the Father from the pleromatic | congregation, which is a | single representation although many, | because it was brought forth as a glory | for the single one and because 35 they came forth toward the one who | is himself the Totalities. Now, this 69 was a praise […] | the one who brought forth the Totalities, | being a first-fruit of the immortals | and an eternal one, because, 5 having come forth from the living aeons, being | perfect and full because of the one who is perfect | and full, it left full | and perfect those who have given glory in | a perfect way because of the 10 fellowship. For, like the faultless Father, | when he is glorified he | also hears the glory which glorifies him, | so as to make them manifest as that which | he is.

The cause of the second 15 honor which accrued to them | is that which was returned | to them from the Father when they had known | the grace by which they bore fruit with one another | because of the Father. 20 As a result, just as they | <were> brought forth in glory for the Father, | so too in order to appear | perfect, they appeared | acting by giving glory.

They 25 were fathers of the third glory | according to the independence and | the power which was begotten with them, | since each one of them individually does not | exist so as to give glory 30 in a unitary way to him whom he loves. |

They are the first and the | second and thus both of them are perfect and | full, for they are manifestations | of the Father who is perfect 35 and full, as well as of those who came forth, | who are perfect by the fact that they glorify | the perfect one. The fruit of the third, however, | consists of honors of | the will of each one of the aeons 40 and each one of the properties. — | The Father has power. — It exists 70 fully, | perfect in [the thought] which is a product of | agreement, since it is a product | of the individuality 5 of the aeons. It is this which he loves | and over which he has power, | as it gives glory to the Father by means of it. |

For this reason, they are minds of | minds, which are found to be 10 words of words, | elders of | elders, degrees | of degrees, which are exalted above | one another. Each one 15 of those who give glory has | his place and his | exaltation and his dwelling and his | rest, which consists of the glory | which he brings forth. 20

All those who glorify the Father | have their begetting | eternally, — they beget in | the act of assisting one another — | since the emanations are limitless and 25 immeasurable and since there is | no envy on the part | of the Father toward those who came forth from | him in regard to their begetting something | equal or similar to him, since he is the one who 30 exists in the Totalities, begetting | and revealing himself. | Whomever he wishes, he makes into a father, | of whom he in fact is Father, | and a god, of whom he in fact 35 is God, and he makes them | the Totalities, whose | entirety he is. In the proper sense all the names which 71 are great are kept there, | these (names) which | the angels share, | who have come into being in 5 the cosmos along with the archons, although [they] do not have | any resemblance | to the eternal beings.

The entire system | of the aeons has | a love and a longing 10 for the perfect, complete discovery | of the Father and this is their unimpeded agreement. | Though the Father reveals | himself eternally, | he did not wish 15 that they should know him, since he grants that he be | conceived of in such a way as to be sought for, while | keeping to himself his unsearchable | primordial being.

It is he, | [the] Father, who gave root impulses 20 to the aeons, since they are places | on the path which leads toward him, | as toward a school of | behavior. He has extended to them | faith in and prayer to him whom 25 they do not see; and a firm hope | in him of whom they do not conceive; | and a fruitful love, | which looks toward that which it does not | see; and an acceptable understanding 30 of the eternal mind; | and a blessing, | which is riches and freedom; | and a wisdom of the one | who desires the glory of the Father 35 for <his> thought.

It is by virtue of his will that the Father, | the one who is exalted, is known, 72 that is, | (by virtue of) the spirit which breathes in the Totalities | and it gives them an | idea of seeking after the 5 unknown one, just as one is drawn | by a pleasant | aroma to search for the thing | from which the aroma arises, | since the aroma 10 of the Father surpasses these ordinary ones. | For his sweetness | leaves the aeons in | ineffable pleasure | and it gives them their idea 15 of mingling with him who | wants them to know him in | a united way and to assist | one another in the spirit which | is sown within them. Though existing 20 under a great weight, | they are renewed in an inexpressable way, | since it is impossible | for them to be separated from that | in which they are set in an uncomprehending way, 25 because they will not speak, | being silent about the Father’s glory, | about the one who has power | to speak, and yet they will take form from | him. He revealed [himself, though] 30 it is impossible to speak of him. | They have him, hidden in | a thought, since from | this one […]. They are silent about | the way the Father is 35 in his form and his nature | and his greatness, 73 while the aeons have become worthy of knowing | through his spirit | that he is unnameable and | incomprehensible. It is through 5 his spirit, which is the trace | of the search for him, that he provides | them the ability to conceive of him and | to speak about him.

Each one | of the aeons is a name, <that is>, each of 10 the properties and powers of | the Father, since he exists in many names, which are | intermingled and harmonious with one another. | It is possible to speak of him because | of the wealth of speech, just as the Father 15 is a single name, because | he is a unity, yet is innumerable | in his properties and | names.

The emanation of | the Totalities, which exist from the one 20 who exists, did not occur according | to a separation from one another, | as something cast off from the one who begets | them. Rather, their begetting is like | a process of extension, 25 as the Father extends himself | to those whom he loves, so that | those who have come forth from him might | become him as well.

Just as | the present aeon, though a 30 unity, is divided by units of time | and units of time are divided into | years and years are divided into | seasons and seasons into months, | and months into days, and days 35 into hours, and hours into moments, so 74 too the aeon of the Truth, | since it is a unity | and multiplicity, receives honor in the small | and the great names according to the 5 power of each to grasp it — by way | of analogy — like a spring | which is what it is, | yet flows into streams | and lakes and canals 10 and branches, or like a | root spread out beneath | trees and branches with | its fruit, or like a | human body, which is partitioned 15 in an indivisible way into members | of members, primary members | and secondary, great [and] | small.

  1. The Imperfect Begetting by the Logos

The aeons have brought [themselves] forth | in accord with the third 20 fruit by the | freedom of the will | and by the wisdom | with which he favored them for their thought. | They do not wish to give honor 25 [with] that which is from an agreement, [though] | it was produced for words of [praise] | for each of the Pleromas. | Nor do they wish | to give honor with the Totality. Nor do 30 they wish (to do so) with anyone else | who was originally above | the depth of that one, or (above) his | place, except, however, for the one who exists | in an exalted name and 35 in the exalted place, and only if he receives | from the one who wished (to give honor), 75 and takes it to him(self) for the one above | him, and (only if) he begets | him(self), so to speak, himself, and, | through that one, begets him(self) 5 along with that which he is, and himself | becomes renewed along with the one who came upon him, | by his brother, and sees him | and entreats him about the matter, | namely, he who wished to ascend to him. 10

So that it might be in this way, | the one who | wished to give honor does not say anything to him about this, | except only that there is a limit | to speech set in the Pleroma, so 15 that they are silent about the incomprehensibility | of the Father, but they speak about the one | who wishes to comprehend him. It came to | one of the aeons that he should attempt | to grasp the incomprehensibility 20 and give glory to it and | especially to the ineffability of the Father. | [Since] he is a Logos of the unity, | he is one, though he is not from | the agreement of the Totalities, nor 25 from him who brought them forth, | namely, the one who brought forth the Totality, the Father. |

This aeon was among those | to whom was given wisdom, so that he could become | pre-existent in each one’s 30 thought. By that which he wills | will they be produced. Therefore, | he received a wise nature | in order to examine the hidden basis, | since he is a wise fruit; 35 for, the free will | which was begotten with | the Totalities was a cause | for this one, such as to make him do 76 what he desired, with no one | to restrain him.

The | intent, then, of the Logos, who | is this one, was good. 5 When he had come forth, he gave | glory to the Father, even if it led | to something beyond possibility, | since he had wanted to bring forth one | who is perfect, from an 10 agreement in which he had not been, | and without having the | command. |

This aeon was last to have | <been> brought forth by 15 mutual assistance, and he was small | in magnitude. And before | he begot anything else for the glory | of the will and in agreement with the Totalities, | he acted, magnanimously, 20 from an abundant love, | and set out | toward that which surrounds | the perfect glory, for | it was not without the will of the Father 25 that the Logos was produced, which | is to say, not without it | will he go forth. But | he, the Father, had brought him forth | for those about whom he knew that it was 30 fitting that they should come into being.

The Father | and the Totalities drew away from him, | so that the limit | which the Father had set | might be established — for 35 it is not from grasping the incomprehensibility | but by the will 77 of the Father, — and furthermore, (they withdrew) so that | the things which have come to be might become | an organization which would come into being. | If it were to come, it would not come into being 5 by the manifestation of the Pleroma. | Therefore, it is not fitting to | criticize the movement which is the Logos, | but it is fitting that we should say about | the movement of the Logos that it is a cause 10 of an organization which has been destined to | come about.

The Logos himself caused it to happen, | being complete and unitary, | for the glory of the Father, whom | he desired, and (he did so) being content with it, 15 but those whom he wished to take hold of | firmly he begot in shadows | [and] copies and likenesses. | For, he was not able to bear the sight | of the light, but he looked into 20 the depth and he doubted. | Out of this there was a division — he became | deeply troubled — and a turning away because of his | self-doubt and division, forgetfulness | and ignorance of himself and 25 (of that) which is.

His self-exaltation and | his expectation of comprehending | the incomprehensible became firm for him | and was in him. But the sicknesses | followed him 30 when he went beyond | himself, having come into being | from self-doubt, namely from the fact | that he did not <reach the attainment of> | the glories of the Father, the one whose exalted status 35 is among things unlimited. This one | did not attain him, for he did not receive him. | |

The one whom he himself brought forth 78 as a unitary aeon | rushed up to | that which is his and this kin of his | in the Pleroma abandoned 5 him who came to be in the defect along with | those who had come forth from him in | an imaginary way, since they are not his. |

When he who produced | himself as perfect actually did bring 10 himself forth, | he became weak like a female nature | which has abandoned its | virile counterpart.

From that | which was deficient in itself there 15 came those things which came into being | from his thought and [his] | arrogance, but from that | which is perfect in him he left it and raised [himself] | up to those who are his. He was 20 in the Pleroma as | a remembrance for him so that he [would be] | saved from his arrogance. |

The one who ran on high and | the one who drew him to himself were not 25 barren, but in bringing | forth a fruit in the Pleroma, | they upset those who | were in the defect. |

Like the Pleromas are the things which came into being from the 30 arrogant thought, | which are their (the Pleromas’) | likenesses, | copies, shadows, | and phantasms, lacking 35 reason and the light, these | which belong to the vain thought, | since they are not products of anything. Therefore, 79 their end will be like | their beginning: from that which did | not exist (they are) to return once again to | that which will not be. It is they, however, 5 by themselves | who are greater, more powerful, | and more honored than the names | which are given to them, which are [their] shadows. | In the manner of a reflection are they beautiful. 10 For the [face] of the copy normally takes its beauty | from that of which it is a copy. |

They thought of themselves | that they are beings existing by themselves | and are without a source, 15 since they do not see anything else | existing before them. Therefore, they | [lived] in disobedience | [and] acts of rebellion, without | having humbled themselves before the one because of whom they came into being. 20

They wanted to command | one another, overcoming one another | [in] their vain ambition, | while the glory which they possess | contains a cause 25 [of] the system which was to be. |

They are likenesses of the things which are exalted. | They were brought to a lust for power | in each one of them, | according to the greatness of the name 30 of which each is a shadow, | each one imagining that it is superior | to his fellows.

The thought of these | others was not barren, | but just like <those> 35 of which they are shadows, all that | they thought about they have as | potential sons; 80 those of whom they thought | they had | as offspring. Therefore, | it happened that many offspring came forth from them, 5 as fighters | as warriors, as | troublemakers, as apostates. | They are disobedient beings, | lovers of power. 10 All [the] other beings of this sort were [brought] | forth from these.

  1. The Conversion of the Logos

The Logos was | a cause of those [who] | came into being and he continued all the more | to be at a loss and he was astonished. 15 Instead of perfection, he saw a defect; | instead of unification, he saw division; | instead of stability, he [saw] disturbances; instead of [rests,] | tumults. Neither was it [possible] 20 for him to make them cease from [loving] | disturbance, nor was it possible for him | to destroy it. He was completely powerless, | once his totality and his exaltation | abandoned him.

Those who had come into being 25 not knowing themselves | both did not know | the Pleromas from which they came forth | and did not know | the one who was the cause of 30 their existence.

The Logos, | being in | such unstable conditions, | did not continue to bring | forth anything like emanations, 35 the things which are in the Pleroma, | the glories which exist for the honor | of the Father. Rather, he brought 81 forth little weaklings, | [hindered] by the illnesses | by which he too was hindered. | It was the likeness of the disposition which was 5 a unity, that which | was the cause of the things | which do not themselves exist from the first. |

Until the one who brought | forth into the defect these things which were thus 10 in need, until he | judged those who came into being because | of him contrary to reason — which is the judgment | which became a condemnation — | he struggled against them unto destruction, 15 that is, the ones who struggled against the condemnation | and whom the wrath pursues, while | it (the wrath) accepts and | redeems (them) from their (false) opinion and | apostasy, since from it 20 [is] the conversion which is | also called “metanoia.” | The Logos turned to [another] opinion | and another thought. | Having turned away from evil, 25 he turned toward the good things. | Following the conversion came | the thought of the things which exist | and the prayer for the one who converted | himself to the good. 30

The one who is in the Pleroma | was what he first prayed to and | remembered; then (he remembered) his brothers | individually and (yet) always | with one another; then all of them together; 35 but before all of them, the Father. 82 The prayer of the agreement | was a help for him | in his own return | and (in that of) the Totality, for a cause 5 of his remembering | those who have existed from the first was | his being remembered. This | is the thought which calls out | from afar, bringing him back. 10

All his prayer and | remembering were | numerous powers according to that limit. | For there is nothing | barren in his thought. 15 The powers were good | and were greater than those of the | likeness. For those belonging to the | likeness also belong to a nature of [falsehood]. | From an illusion 20 of similarity and a thought | of arrogance has [come about] | that which they became. And they | originate from the thought | which first knew [them.] 25

To what do the former beings pertain? | They are like forgetfulness | and heavy sleep; being | like those who dream | troubled dreams, to whom 30 sleep comes while they — | those who dream — are oppressed. | The others are | like some creatures of light | for him, looking for 35 the rising of the sun, since it happened that | they saw in him dreams | which are truly sweet. 83 It immediately put a stop | [to] the emanations of the thought. | They [did] not any longer have | their substance and also they did 5 not have honor any longer. |

Though he is not equal to those who | pre-existed, if they were superior to | the likenesses, it was he alone | through whom they were more exalted than those, 10 for they are not from a good intent. | It was not | from the sickness which came into being that they were produced, | from which is the good intent, | but (from) the one who 15 sought after the pre-existent. | Once he had prayed, he both raised | himself to the good | and sowed in them | a pre-disposition to seek 20 and pray to the | glorious pre-existent one, | and he sowed in them a thought | about him and an idea, so that they should | think that something greater than themselves 25 exists prior to them, although they did not understand | what it was. Begetting | harmony and mutual love | through that thought, | they acted in 30 unity and unanimity, | since from | unity and from unanimity | they have received their very being. |

They were stronger than them 35 in the lust for power, | for they were more honored 84 than the first ones, who had been raised | above them. Those had not | humbled themselves. They thought about themselves | that they were beings originating from themselves 5 alone and were | without a source. As they brought [forth] | at first according to their own birth, | the two orders assaulted one another, | fighting for 10 command because of their manner of | being. As a result, they were submerged in | forces and natures | in accord with the condition of mutual assault, | having 15 lust for power | and all other things | of this sort. It is from these that the | vain love of glory draws | all of them to 20 the desire of the lust | for power, while none | of them has the exalted | thought nor acknowledges | it.

The powers 25 of this thought are prepared | in the works of the preexistent | <ones>, those of which they are | the representations. For the order | of those of this sort 30 had mutual | harmony, but it | fought against the order | of those of the likeness, while the order | of those of the likeness wages war 35 against the representations and acts | against it alone, because of its wrath. 85 From this it […] | them […] | one another, many […] | necessity appointed them […] 5 and might prevail […] | was not a multitude, […] | and their envy and their […] | and their wrath and violence and | desire and prevailing ignorance 10 produce empty matters and | powers of various sorts, mixed in | great number with one another; while the mind of the Logos, who was | a cause of their begetting, was open | to a revelation of the hope 15 which would come to him from above.

  1. The Emanation of the Savior

The Logos | which moved had | the hope and the expectation of him | who is exalted. As for those of the shadow, he separated | himself from them in every way, 20 since they fight against him and are not at all humble | before him. He was content | with the beings of the thought. And as for the one who is set up | in this way and who is within the | exalted boundary, remembering 25 the one who is defective, the Logos brought him forth | I in an invisible way, | among those who came into being according to the thought, according | to the one who was with them, | until the light shone upon him from 30 above as a lifegiver, the one who was begotten | by the thought of brotherly love | of the pre-existent Pleromas.

| The stumbling, which happened to the aeons | of the Father of the Totalities who did 35 not suffer, was brought to them, as if it were their own, | in a careful and non-malicious | and immensely sweet way. 86 [It was brought to the] Totalities so that they might be instructed about the | [defect] by the single one, | from whom [alone] they all [received strength] | to eliminate the defects.

The order 5 [which] was his came into being from | him who ran [on] high and that which brought itself forth | from him and from the entire perfection. | The one who ran on high became | for the one who was defective an intercessor with the 10 emanation of the aeons which had come into being in accord with | the things which exist. When he prayed | to them, they consented joyously and | willingly, since they were in agreement, and with harmonious | consent, to aid the 15 defective one. They gathered together, | asking the Father with beneficent intent | that there be aid from | above, from the Father, for his glory, | since the defective one could not become perfect in any other way, 20 unless it was the will of | the Pleroma of the Father, which he had drawn to himself, | revealed, and given to the defective | one. Then from the harmony, in a | joyous willingness which had come into being, they 25 brought forth the fruit, which was a begetting | from the harmony, a unity, a possession of the Totalities, | revealing the countenance of | the Father, of whom the aeons thought 30 as they gave glory and prayed for help for their | brother with a wish in which the Father counted himself | with them. Thus, it was willingly and | gladly that they bring forth | the fruit. And he made manifest the agreement of the 35 revelation of his union | with them — which is his beloved | Son. 87 But the Son in whom the Totalities are pleased | put himself on them as a garment, | through which | he gave perfection to the defective one, 5 and gave confirmation to those who are perfect, | the one who is properly called | “Savior” and “the Redeemer” | and “the Well-Pleasing one” and “the Beloved,” | “the one to whom prayers have been offered” and “the Christ” and 10 “the Light of those appointed,” in accordance with the ones from whom | he was brought forth, since he has become | the names of the positions [which] were given | to him. Yet, what other name may be applied | to him except “the Son,” as we previously 15 said, since he is the knowledge | of the Father, whom he wanted them | to know?

Not only did the aeons | generate the countenance of the Father to whom | they gave praise, which was written previously, but also 20 they generated their own; for the aeons | who give glory generated their countenance | and their face. They were produced as an army | for him, as for a king, | since the beings of the thought have a 25 powerful fellowship and an intermingled | harmony. They came forth | in a multifaceted form, in | order that the one to whom help was to be given might | see those to whom he had prayed 30 for help. He also sees the one who gave | it to him.

The fruit | of the agreement with him, of which we previously spoke, | is subject to the power of the Totalities. | For the Father has set the Totalities within him, 35 both the ones which pre-exist | and the ones which are, and the ones which will be. 88 He was capable (of doing it). He revealed | those which he had placed within him. | He did not give them, when he entrusted (them] to him. | He directed the organization of the universe 5 according to the authority which was given him | from the first and (according to) the power of the task. | Thus, he began and effected | his revelation.

The one | in whom the Father is and the one 10 in whom the Totalities are <was> created | before the one who lacked | sight. He instructed him about those who searched | for their sight, by | means of the shining of that perfect light. 15 He first perfected him | in ineffable joy. He | perfected him for himself as a perfect one | and he also gave him what is appropriate to each | individual. For this is the determination of 20 the first joy. And <he> sowed | in him in an invisible way | a word which is destined to be | knowledge. And he gave him power | to separate and cast out from himself 25 those who are disobedient to him. | Thus, he made himself manifest | to him. But to those | who came into being because of him he | revealed a form surpassing 30 them. They acted in a hostile way | toward one another. Suddenly he revealed himself to them, | approaching them | in the form of lightning. And | in putting an end to the entanglement which they have with 35 one another he stopped it 89 by the sudden revelation, | which they were not informed about, | did not expect, | and did not know of. Because of this, they 5 were afraid and fell down, since they were not able to bear | the appearance of the light which struck | them. The one who appeared was an | assault for the two orders. Just as | the beings of thought had been given the name 10 “little one,” so they have | a faint notion that they have the | exalted one, — he exists before them, — and they | have sown within them an attitude of | amazement at the exalted one who 15 will become manifest. Therefore, they welcomed | his revelation and | they worshipped him. They became | convinced witnesses to <him>. They acknowledged | the light which had come into being as 20 one stronger than those who fought against them. The | beings of the likeness, however, were exceedingly afraid, | since they were not able to hear about him | in the beginning, that there is a vision of this sort. | Therefore they fell down 25 to the pit of ignorance | which is called “the Outer Darkness,” | and “Chaos” and | “Hades” and “the Abyss.” He set up what | was beneath the order of the beings 30 of thought, as it was | stronger than they. They were worthy of | ruling over the unspeakable darkness, | since it is theirs | and is the lot which was assigned to them. He 35 granted them that they, too, should be of use | for the organization which was to come, 90 to which he had [assigned] them.

There is a great | difference between the revelation of the one who came into being | to the one who was defective and to those things which are to come into being because of | him. For he revealed himself to him within 5 him, since he is with him, is | a fellow sufferer with him, gives | him rest little by little, makes | him grow, lifts him up, gives himself | to him completely for enjoyment from 10 a vision. But to those who fall outside, | he revealed himself quickly and | in a striking way and he withdrew to himself suddenly | without having let them see him. |

  1. The Pleroma of the Logos

When the Logos which was defective was illumined, 15 his Pleroma began. | He escaped those who had disturbed | him at first. He became | unmixed with them. He stripped off | that arrogant thought. 20 He received mingling with the Rest, | when those who had been disobedient to him at first | bent down and humbled themselves before him. | And [he] rejoiced | over the visitation of his brothers 25 who had visited him. He gave | glory and praise to those who had become manifest | as a help to him, while he gave thanks, | because he had escaped those who revolted against him, | and admired and honored the greatness 30 and those who had appeared to him in a | determined way. He generated manifest images | of the living visages, pleasing | among [things] which are good, existing | among the things which exist, resembling 35 them in beauty, but unequal to them | in truth, since they [are] not from | an agreement with him, between the one who brought them 91 forth and the one who revealed himself to him. But | in wisdom and knowledge | he acts, mingling the Logos with | him(self) entirely. Therefore, those which came 5 forth from him are great, just as | that which is truly great. | After he was amazed at the beauty | of the ones who had appeared to him, | he professed gratitude for this 10 visitation. The Logos performed this activity, | through those from whom he had received | aid, for the stability | of those who had come into being because of him and | so that they might receive something good, 15 since he thought to pray for the organization | of all those who came forth from him, | which is stabilized, so that it might make them established. | Therefore, those whom he intentionally produced | are in chariots, 20 just as those who came into being, those who | have appeared, so that they might pass through | every place of things which are below, | so that each one might be given the place | which is constituted as he 25 is. This is destruction | for the beings of the likeness, yet is an act of beneficence | for the beings of the thought, a revelation | [Dittography] | of those who are from 30 the ordinance, which was a unity | while suffering, while they are seeds, | which have not come to be by themselves. |

The one who appeared was a countenance | of the Father and of the harmony. He was 35 a garment (composed) of every grace, and food | which is for those whom the Logos | brought forth while praying and [giving] glory and | honor. 92 This is the one whom he glorified and honored | while looking to those to whom he prayed, | so that he might perfect them through the | images which he had brought forth.

The Logos added 5 even more to | their mutual assistance and | to the hope of the promise, since | they have joy and abundant rest | and undefiled pleasures. 10 He generated those whom he | remembered at first, when they | were not with him, (he generated them) having the perfection. | [Dittography] | Now, while he who belongs to the vision is with him, 15 he exists in hope and | faith in the perfect Father, as much as the Totalities. | He appears to him before he | mingles with him in order that the things which have | come into being might not perish by looking 20 upon the light, for they can | not accept the great, exalted stature. |

The thought of the Logos, | who had returned to his stability | and ruled over those who had 25 come into being because of him, was called | “Aeon” and “Place” of | all those whom he had brought forth | in accord with the ordinance, and it is also called | “Synagogue of 30 Salvation,” because he healed him(self) from | the dispersal, which is the multifarious thought | and returned to | the single thought. Similarly, | it is called “Storehouse,” 35 because of the rest which he | obtained, giving (it) to himself alone. 93 And it is also called “Bride,” | because of the joy of the one | who gave himself to him in the hope of fruit | from the union, and who appeared to him. 5 It is also called “Kingdom,” | because of the stability which he received, while he | rejoices at the domination over those who fought him. | And it is called “the Joy | of the Lord,” because of the gladness in [which he] 10 clothed himself. With him is the light, | giving him recompense for the | good things which are in him | and (with him is) the thought of freedom. |

The aeon, of whom we previously spoke, 15 is above the two orders | of those who fight against one another. | It is not a companion of those who hold dominion and | is not implicated in the illnesses and weaknesses, | things belonging to the thought and to the likeness. 20

That in which the Logos set | himself, perfect in joy, | was an aeon, having | the form of matter, but also having | the constitution of the cause, which 25 is the one who revealed himself. (The aeon was) an image | of those things which are in the Pleroma, | those things which came into being from the abundance | of the enjoyment of the one who exists | joyously. It, moreover, the 30 countenance of the one who revealed himself, was | in the sincerity and the attentiveness | and the promise concerning | the things for which he asked. It had | the designation of the Son 35 and his essence and his power and his | form, who is the one whom he loved | and in whom he was pleased, 94 who was entreated in a loving way. | It was light and was a desire | to be established and an openness | for instruction and an eye for vision, 5 qualities which it had | from the exalted ones. It was also wisdom | for his thinking in opposition to the things beneath the | organization. It was also a word for | speaking and the perfection of the things 10 of this sort. And it is these who | took form with him, but according to the image | of the Pleroma, having | their fathers who are the ones who gave them life, | each one being a copy 15 of each one of the faces, | which are forms of maleness, | since they are not from the illness which | is femaleness, but are from | this one who already has left behind 20 the sickness. It has the name | “the Church,” for in harmony | they resemble the harmony in the assembly | of those who have revealed themselves.

That | which came into being in the image of the 25 light, it too is perfect, | inasmuch as it is an image of the | one existing light, which is the | Totalities. Even if it was inferior to the one of whom | it is an image, nevertheless it has 30 its indivisibility, because | it is a countenance of the | indivisible light. Those, however, | who came into being in the image | of each one of the aeons, 35 they in essence are in the one whom we | previously mentioned, but in power they are not equal, | because it (the power) is in each | of them. In | this mingling with one another 40 they have equality, 95 but each one has not cast off what is peculiar to itself. | Therefore, they are passions, | for passion is sickness, since | they are productions not of the agreement 5 of the Pleroma, but of this one, | prematurely, before he received the Father. Hence, | the agreement with his Totality and will | was something beneficial for the organization | which was to come. It was granted them l0 to pass through the places which are below, | since the places are unable | to accommodate their | sudden, hasty coming, unless (they come) individually, | one by one. 15 Their coming is necessary, since | by them will everything be perfected. |

In short, the Logos received the vision of all things, | those which pre-exist and those which are now | and those which will be, 20 since he has been entrusted | with the organization of all that which | exists. Some things are already | in things which are fit for | coming into being, but the seeds which are to 25 be he has within himself, | because of the promise which belonged to that | which he conceived, as something belonging | to seeds which are to be. And | he produced his offspring, that 30 is, the revelation of that which | he conceived. For a while, however, the seed of | promise is guarded, | so that those who have been appointed for a | mission might be appointed 35 by the coming of the Savior and of those who | are with him, the ones who are first | in knowledge and glory of | the Father.

| Small strokes above the line indicate line divisions. Every fifth line a small number is inserted in place of a stroke; the frequency of these numbers, however, may vary in tractates which are quite fragmentary. A new page is indicated with a number in bold type. When the beginning of a new line or page coincides with the opening of a paragraph, the line divider or number is placed at the end of the previous paragraph.

( Parentheses indicate material supplied by the editor or translator. Although this material may not directly reflect the text being translated, it provides useful information for the reader.

[ Square brackets indicate a lacuna in the manuscript. When the text cannot be reconstructed, three dots are placed within the brackets, regardless of the size of the lacuna; a fourth dot, if appropriate, may function as a period. An exception to this rule is the occasional use of a different number of dots to estimate the extent of the missing portion of a proper noun. In a few instances the dots are used without brackets to indicate a series of Coptic letters which do not constitute a translatable sense unit. A bracket is not allowed to divide a word, except for a hyphenated word or a proper noun. Other words are placed entirely inside or outside the brackets, depending on the certainty of the Coptic word and the number of Coptic letters visible.

< Pointed brackets indicate a correction of a scribal omission or error. The translator has either inserted letters unintentionally omitted by the scribe, or replaced letters erroneously inserted with what the scribe presumably intended to write.

Robinson, James McConkey ; Smith, Richard ; Coptic Gnostic Library Project: The Nag Hammadi Library in English. 4th rev. ed. Leiden; New York : E.J. Brill, 1996, S. 52

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