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Words from GOD – Words to GOD






by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz


Introduced and translated by

George W. Macrae and William R. Murdock

Edited by

Douglas M. Parrott

The first of the four apocalypses in Codex V is a highly syncretistic, gnostic version of the ascension of Paul through the heavens. It bears no literary relationship to the Greek work of the same name, though the latter also deals with Paul’s vision of judgment in the heavens. Whether it had affinities with the now lost “Ascension of Paul” used by the “Gnostics” according to Epiphanius, it is impossible to tell, but it should be noted that in Epiphanius’ account the “Ascension” refers only to three heavens, whereas it is the uniqueness of the present work that it describes Paul’s experience of the fourth to the tenth heavens; the third is mentioned only as a starting point.

Apoc. Paul begins with a narrative of Paul’s encounter with a small child on the “mountain of Jericho” en route to Jerusalem. The child, who is Paul’s guiding spirit or interpreting angel, sometimes called the Holy spirit in the text, takes him to the heavens to meet his fellow apostles, who accompany him during his further ascent. In the fourth heaven Paul witnesses the judgment of souls; in the fifth, angels driving souls to judgment. The sixth heaven is illuminated by a light from above, and in the seventh Paul meets an old man on a shining throne who threatens to block his further ascent. He continues, however, into the Ogdoad and the ninth and tenth heavens, and when he reaches the last he has been transformed so that he greets, no longer his fellow-apostles, but his fellow-spirits. The language of the narrative fluctuates from third person to first at 19,8, back to third person at 19, 18, and finally to first person again from 20,5 on. The inconsistency may perhaps be attributed to literary carelessness rather than to multiple sources, for at these points in the narrative no clear “seams” can be detected on other grounds.

For purposes of analysis, the contents of Apoc. Paul may be divided into three distinct episodes: an epiphany scene, a scene of judgment and punishment, and a heavenly journey. In the first, the little child who meets Paul on the mountain and gives him a revelation most naturally suggests an epiphany of the risen Christ, who is sometimes described as a small child (e.g., in Ap. John (BG,2) 20, 19–21,4, Act. Jn. 88). This experience, as the allusion to Gal 1:15 (Jer 1:5) in 18, 15–16 suggests, functions as the calling of Paul to be an apostle and thus interprets Gal 1:11–17. The heavenly visitor not only reveals to Paul but conducts him above to (the heavenly) Jerusalem, to the apostles, thus interpreting Gal 2:1–2 also. The ascent itself builds on 2 Co 12:2–4.

The scene of the judgment and punishment of souls in the fourth and fifth heavens has its closest parallel in Jewish apocalyptic literature, notably in the Testament of Abraham 10 (long recension) and even more closely in the Coptic version of the short recension, which has several details peculiar to it. The author of Apoc. Paul is indebted to other traditions, however, for his picture of the three angels who rival one another in whipping the souls forward to judgment (22, 5–10). This is clearly an evocation of the Erinyes of Greek mythology. Likewise the toll-collector who is also judge belongs to Babylonian and Hellenistic astrology. The scene is thus the result of popular syncretism.

The third main element of the work, the heavenly journey, is concentrated for the most part in the sixth and seventh heavens. The ascent theme may have been borrowed from Jewish apocalyptic tradition, but its gnostic coloring is obvious in the depiction of the “old man” on the throne in the seventh heaven (Dan 7:13; 1 Enoch 46–47) as a hostile figure who tries to block the gnostic soul’s ascent to the Ogdoad and the higher heavens. And the interrogation of Paul also recalls similar dialogues or formulas in other gnostic works (e.g., 1 Apoc. Jas. (V,3), Gos. Mary (BG,1), Gos. Thom. (II,2, saying 50).

The date and provenance of the document cannot be determined with any certainty. That it comes from gnostic circles with a typical anti-Jewish bias seems assured by the negative view of the deity in the seventh heaven. The portrayal of Paul as exalted even above the other apostles is at home in second-century Gnosticism, especially Valentinianism, and, according to Irenaeus (Haer. II.30.7), there was a gnostic tradition of interpreting Paul’s experience in 2 Co 12:2–4. Nothing in Apoc. Paul demands any later date than the second century for its composition.


V 17, 19–24, 9

[The Apocalypse of] Paul |

[…] 18 3 the road. And [he spoke to him], | saying, “[By which] 5 road [shall I go] up to [Jerusalem]?” | The little child [replied, saying], | “Say your name, so that [I may show] | you the road.” [The little child] | knew [who Paul was]. 10 He wished to make conversation with | him through his words [in order that] he | might find an excuse for speaking | with him.

The little child spoke, | saying, “I know 15 who you are, Paul. | You are he who was blessed from | his mother’s womb. For I have [come] | to you that you may [go up to Jerusalem] | to your fellow [apostles. And] 20 for this reason [you were called. And] | I am the [Spirit who accompanies] | you. Let [your mind awaken, | Paul], with […]. 19 For […] | whole which […] | among the [principalities and] these authorities [and] | archangels and powers 5 and the whole race of demons, | […] the one that reveals | bodies to a soul-seed.” |

And after he brought that speech | to an end, he spoke, saying 10 to me, “Let your mind awaken, | Paul, and see that this mountain | upon which you are standing is the mountain | of Jericho, so that you may know the | hidden things in those that are visible. 15 Now it is to the twelve apostles | that you shall go, | for they are elect spirits, and they will | greet you.” He raised | his eyes and saw them 20 greeting him.

Then the | Holy [Spirit] who was speaking | with [him] caught him up | on high to the third | heaven, and he passed 25 beyond to the fourth [heaven]. | The [Holy] Spirit spoke to him, | saying, “Look | and see your [likeness] | upon the earth.” And he [looked] 30 down and saw those [who were upon] | the earth. He stared [and saw] | those who were upon the […. Then 20 he] gazed [down and] saw | the [twelve] apostles | [at] his right [and] at his left | in the creation; and the Spirit was 5 going before them.

But I saw | in the fourth heaven according to class — I | saw the angels resembling | gods, the angels bringing | a soul out of the land of 10 the dead. They placed it at the gate | of the fourth heaven. And | the angels were whipping it. | The soul spoke, saying, | “What sin was it that I committed 15 in the world?” | The toll-collector who dwells in the | fourth heaven replied, saying, | “It was not right to commit all those lawless deeds | that are in the world 20 of the dead.” | The soul replied, saying, | “Bring witnesses! Let them [show] you | in what body I committed lawless deeds. | [Do you wish] to bring a book 25 [to read from]?”

And | the three witnesses came. | The first spoke, saying, | “Was I [not | in] the body the second hour 30 […]? I rose up against you 21 until [you fell] into anger [and | rage] and envy.” And | the second spoke, saying, | “Was I not 5 in the world? And I entered at | the fifth hour, and I saw you | and desired you. And behold, | then, now I charge you with the | murders you committed.” 10 The third spoke, saying, | “Did I not come to you at | the twelfth hour of the day when | the sun was about to set? I gave you darkness | until you should accomplish your sins.” 15 When the soul heard these things, | it gazed downward in | sorrow. And then it gazed | upward. It was cast down. | The soul that had been cast down 20 [went] to [a] body which had been prepared | [for it. And] behold | [its] witnesses were finished.

[Then I | gazed] upward and [saw | the] Spirit saying [to me], 25 “Paul, come! [Proceed | toward] me!” Then as I [went], | the gate opened, [and] | I went up to the fifth [heaven]. | And I saw my fellow apostles 30 [going with me] 22 while the Spirit accompanied us. | And I saw a great angel | in the fifth heaven holding | an iron rod in his 5 hand. There were three other angels with | him, and I stared into | their faces. But they were rivalling | each other, with whips | in their hands, goading the 10 souls on to the judgment. | But I went with the Spirit | and the gate opened for me. |

Then we went up to the sixth heaven. | And I saw my fellow apostles 15 going with me, and the Holy Spirit | was leading me before them. | And I gazed up on high and saw a | great light shining down | on the sixth heaven. I spoke, 20 saying to the toll-collector | who was in the sixth heaven, “[Open] | to me and the [Holy] Spirit [who | is] before [me].” He opened [to me].

[Then | we went] up to the seventh [heaven 25 and I saw] an old man […] | light [and | whose garment] was white. [His throne], | which is in the seventh heaven, | [was] brighter than the sun 30 by [seven] times. 23 The old man spoke, saying to [me], | “Where are you going, Paul, | O blessed one and the one who was | set apart from his mother’s womb?” 5 But I looked at the Spirit, | and he was nodding his head, saying | to me, “Speak with him!” | And I replied, saying | to the old man, “I am going to the place 10 from which I came.” And | the old man responded to me, “Where are you from?” | But I replied, saying, | “I am going down to the world of | the dead in order to lead captive 15 the captivity | that was led captive | in the captivity of Babylon.” | The old man replied to me, | saying, “How will you be 20 able to get away from me? Look | and see the principalities and | authorities.” [The] | Spirit spoke, saying, “Give him [the] | sign that you have, and [he will] 25 open for you.” And then I gave [him] | the sign. He turned his face | downwards to his creation | and to those who are his own authorities. |

And then the 30 <seventh> heaven opened and we went up to [the] 24 Ogdoad. And I saw the | twelve apostles. They | greeted me, and we went | up to the ninth heaven. I 5 greeted all those who were in the | ninth heaven, and we went up | to the tenth heaven. And I | greeted my fellow spirits. |

The Apocalypse of Paul


Introduced and translated by

William R. Schoedel

Edited by

Douglas M. Parrott

The manuscript names this writing The Apocalypse of James. We refer to it here as The (First) Apocalypse of James to distinguish it from the next writing (V,4) which the manuscript also entitles The Apocalypse of James. Our apocalypse is an excellent example of a “revelation dialogue.” The partners in the dialogue are the Lord and James the Lord’s brother (though the latter is said to be the Lord’s brother only in a purely spiritual sense). In the first part of the writing (24, 10–30, 11) James addresses questions to the Lord that reflect his anxiety at the suffering soon to overtake both himself and the Lord, and the Lord provides James consolation in terms of standard gnostic teaching about the place of man in the universe. An oblique and very brief reference to the crucifixion in 30, 12–13 serves as the turning point in the account. After the reappearance of the Lord, the story is dominated by a series of formulae transmitted to James to enable him to meet the challenges of the hostile powers who will attempt to block his ascent to “the Pre-Existent One” after his martyrdom (32, 23–36, 1). These formulae represent a dramatized version of texts that appear elsewhere in the context of rites for the dying in forms of Valentinian Gnosticism (Irenaeus, Haer. 1.21.5; Epiphanius, Pan. 36.3.1–6). It is worth noting, however, that at least one characteristic line that appears here (“I am an alien, a son of the Father’s race”) has a close parallel in the Corpus Hermeticum (13.3). Other interesting matters taken up in the second part of our apocalypse include the directions concerning the handing on of the teaching in secret (36, 13–38, 11), the comments about the value of women as disciples (38, 15–41, 18), the mention of James’ rebuke of the twelve disciples (42, 20–24), and the relatively lengthy account (now much mutilated) of James’ martyrdom at the conclusion of the writing.

The designation of James as “James the Just” (32, 2–3; cf. 43, 19) indicates contact with Jewish Christian tradition (cf. Hegesippus, in Eusebius, H.E. 2.23.4, 7; Gospel according to the Hebrews, in Jerome, De viris inl. 2; Gos. Thom., saying 12). The inclusion of Addai (36, 15–24) in the list of figures who will hand on the teaching in secret points to contact with Syria and thereby possibly also to a Semitic form of Christianity (cf. Eusebius, H.E. 1.13). Some scholars have argued that numerous other themes in our apocalypse also betray the influence of Jewish Christian theology. But apart from the importance attributed to James the Just there is little in the writing that can with any confidence be attributed to the influence of Jewish Christianity in particular. There is a good possibility, then, that the figure of James was chosen by a circle of Gnostics as a convenient peg on which to hang their teaching.

One reason for the appeal of the figure of James was the fact that he stood outside the circle of twelve disciples and because of his relationship to Jesus (here understood in purely spiritual terms) could be appealed to as the originator of a purer form of Christian teaching than that represented by the twelve. In this connection, the command to hand on the teaching in secret presumably served to explain why it was that Gnosticism appeared to the uninitiated as a relatively late flowering of the religion of Jesus. Our apocalypse, in short, was attempting to present an alternative to the apostolic authority claimed for the teaching of a steadily advancing catholic form of Christianity. It appears, however, that whereas Jerusalem and Judaism are associated with the darker powers of the universe, the twelve (and thus catholic Christianity) move within the more beneficent spheres of the activity of Achamoth, the lesser Sophia.

Another reason for the appeal that the figure of James had for some Gnostics was that it enabled them to make more sense of the history of the first century. The fall of Jerusalem was an event that cried out for explanation. And though it soon seemed natural to attribute the disaster to the treatment of Jesus by the Jews (cf. Origen, Contra Celsum 2.13; Eusebius, H.E. 3.7), it was even more natural to connect the fall of Jerusalem with the treatment meted out to James by Jewish authorities just before the great war with Rome (Hegesippus, in Eusebius, H.E. 2.23). A careful Christian scholar was bound to find this disquieting (cf. Origen, Contra Celsum 1.47). Our apocalypse, however, has no such uneasiness and finds it possible to exploit the role of James for two reasons. First, the difference between the redeemer (the Lord) and the redeemed (James, the prototypical disciple) is significantly less pronounced in Gnosticism (cf. 27, 8–10 where James is flatly identified with “Him-who-is”). Consequently, the two figures complement rather than rival one another in ways that are difficult for catholic Christianity to contemplate. Second, the general gnostic view that martyrdom could be (and in the minds of some Gnostics inevitably was) embraced for the wrong reasons made the emergence of resolve in this regard only after a long period of fear and anxiety a perfectly natural expectation. Thus the crucifixion of Jesus and the martyrdom of James are seen as complementary events, both of which are required for the full exemplification of the victory over the powers of darkness. In this connection, the defeat of the archons by James during his ascent to God is presumably connected with the fall of Jerusalem, the dwelling place (according to 25, 15–19) of many archons.

A guide to the place of James the Just in early Christianity is provided by a fragment of Clement of Alexandria: “To James the Just and John and Peter the Lord transmitted the gnosis after the resurrection. They transmitted it to the other apostles. And the other apostles transmitted it to the seventy …” (Eusebius, H.E. 2.1.4). The passage strongly suggests that there were three main (no doubt overlapping) stages in the development of the image of James: 1) as James the Just, a symbol of Jewish-Christian values; 2) as the recipient of postresurrection revelation in a Gnosticizing milieu; and 3) as a colleague of the apostles of the Lord in a catholicizing milieu. Our apocalypse presumably reflects an interest in James that corresponds to the second main stage of the development of his image.

It should be noted finally that there is some evidence of the direct influence of esoteric Jewish speculation in our apocalypse. For it is only through an unusual manipulation of numbers and an awareness of the importance of the number 72 in Jewish lore that we can account for the fact that “twelve hebdomads” (12 × 7) amount to “seventy-two heavens (26, 2–18).


V 24, 10–44, 10

The Apocalypse of James |

It is the Lord who spoke with me: | “See now the completion of my redemption. | I have given you a sign of these things, James, | my brother. For not without reason have I called 15 you my brother, although you are not my brother | materially. And I am not ignorant | concerning you; so that | when I give you a sign — know and | hear.

“Nothing existed except 20 Him-who-is. He is unnameable | and ineffable. | I myself also am unnameable, | from Him-who-is, just as I have been | [given a] number of names — two 25 from Him-who-is. And I, | [I] am before you. Since you have | [asked] concerning femaleness, femaleness existed, | but femaleness was | not [first]. And 30 [it] prepared for itself powers and gods. | But [it did] not exist [when] I came forth, 25 since I am an image of Him-who-is. | But I have brought forth the image of [him] | so that the sons of Him-who-is | might know what things are theirs 5 and what things are alien (to them). Behold, | I shall reveal to you everything | of this mystery. For they will seize | me the day after tomorrow. But my | redemption will be near.” 10

James said, “Rabbi, you have said, | ‘They will seize me.’ But I, | what can I do?” He said to me, | “Fear not, James. | You too will they seize. 15 But leave Jerusalem. | For it is she who always gives the cup of bitterness | to the sons | of light. She is a dwelling place | of a great number of archons. 20 But your redemption will be preserved | from them. So that | you may understand who they are [and] | what kinds they are, you will […]. | And listen. They [are] not […] 25 but [archons …]. | These twelve | […] down […] 29 archons […] 26 upon his own hebdomad.” |

James said, “Rabbi, are there then | twelve hebdomads | and not seven as 5 there are in the scriptures?” | The Lord said, “James, he who spoke | concerning this scripture had a limited understanding. | I, however, shall reveal to you | what has come forth from him 10 who has no number. I shall give a sign concerning their | number. As for what has come forth from him | who has no measure, I shall give a sign concerning their | measure.”

James said, | “Rabbi, behold then, I have received 15 their number. There are seventy-two measures!” | The Lord said, “These | are the seventy-two heavens, which | are their subordinates. These are the powers of | all their might; and they were 20 established by them; | and these are they who were distributed | everywhere, existing under the [authority] | of the twelve archons. | The inferior power among them 25 [brought forth] for itself angels | [and] unnumbered hosts. | Him-who-is, however, has been given | […] on account of | […] Him-who-is 30 […] they are unnumbered. 27 If you want | to give them a number now, you [will] | not be able to (do so) until you cast away | from your-self blind thought, 5 this bond of flesh which encircles you. | And then you will reach | Him-who-is. | And you will no longer be | James; rather you are 10 the One-who-is. And all those who are | unnumbered will | all have been named.” |

<James said, “Then,> | Rabbi, in what way shall I reach 15 Him-who-is, since | all these powers and these | hosts are armed against me?” | He said to me, “These powers | are not armed against you specifically, 20 but are armed against another. | It is against me that they are armed. | And they are armed with other [powers]. | But they are armed against me [in] | judgment. They did not give […] 25 to me in it […] | through them […]. | In this place […] | suffering, I shall […]. | He will […] 28 and I shall not rebuke them. But there shall | be within me a silence and | a hidden mystery. But I | am fainthearted before their anger.” 5

James said, “Rabbi, | if they arm themselves against you, then | is there no blame?

You have come with knowledge,

that | you might rebuke their forgetfulness.

You have come with | recollection,

that you might rebuke their 10 ignorance.

But I was concerned | because of you.

For you descended into a | great ignorance,

but | you have not been defiled by anything in it.

For you descended into a great mindlessness, 15

and your recollection remained. |

You walked in mud, |

and your garments were not soiled, |

and you have not been buried | in their filth,

and 20 you have not been caught.

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

There is in me | forgetfulness,

yet I | remember things that are not theirs 25

There is in me […], |

and I am in their | […].

[…] knowledge | […] not in their sufferings | […]. But I have become afraid 30 [before them], since they rule. For what 29 will they do? What will I be able | to say? Or what word will I be able | to say that I may escape them?” |

The Lord said, “James, I praise 5 your understanding and your fear. | If you continue to be distressed, | do not be concerned for anything else | except your redemption. | For behold, I shall complete this destiny 10 upon this earth as | I have said from the heavens. | And I shall reveal to you | your redemption.”

James said, | “Rabbi, how, after these things, 15 will you appear to us again? | After they seize you, | and you complete this destiny, | you will go up to Him- | who-is.” The Lord said, “James, 20 after these things I shall reveal to you | everything, not for your sake | alone but for the sake of [the] | unbelief of men, | so that [faith] may 25 exist in them. | For [a] multitude will [attain] | to faith [and] | they will increase [in …]. 30 And after this I shall appear | for a reproof to the archons. And I shall | reveal to them that | he cannot be seized. If they 5 seize him, then | he will overpower each of them. | But now I shall go. Remember | the things I have spoken and let them | go up before you.” 10 James said, “Lord, I shall hasten | as you have said.” | The Lord said farewell to him and fulfilled | what was fitting.

When James | heard of his sufferings 15 and was much distressed, | they awaited the sign | of his coming. And he came after | several days. And James | was walking upon the mountain, 20 which is called “Gaugelan,” | with his disciples, | who listened to him | [because they had been distressed], and he was | […] a comforter, 25 [saying], “This is | […] the (or: a) second […” | Then the] crowd dispersed, | but James remained | […] prayer 30 […], as 31 was his custom. |

And the Lord appeared to him. | Then he stopped (his) prayer | and embraced him. He kissed 5 him, saying, “Rabbi, | I have found you! I have heard of your | sufferings, which you endured. And | I have been much distressed. My | compassion you know. 10 Therefore, on reflection, I was wishing | that I would not see this people. They must | be judged for these things that they have done. | For these things that they have done are contrary to | what is fitting.”

The Lord said, 15 “James, do not be concerned | for me or for | this people. I am he who | was within me. Never | have I suffered in any way, 20 nor have I been distressed. | And this people has done | me no harm. | But this (people) existed [as] | a type of the archons, 25 and it deserved to be [destroyed] | through them. But […] | the archons, […] | who (or: which) has […] | but since it (fem.) […] 30 angry with […. | The] just […] 32 is his servant. Therefore | your name is ‘James | the Just.’ You see | how you will become sober when you see 5 me. And you stopped this prayer. | Now since you are a just | man of God, you have | embraced me and kissed me. | Truly I say to you that 10 you have stirred up great anger and | wrath against yourself. But | (this has happened) so that these others might come to be.” |

But James was timid | (and) wept. And he was very distressed. 15 And they both sat down | upon a rock. The Lord said | to him, “James, thus | you will undergo these sufferings. But do not | be sad. For the flesh is 20 weak. It will receive what has been | ordained for it. But as for you, do not | be [timid] or afraid.” | The Lord [ceased].

[Now] when James | heard these things, he 25 wiped away [the] tears in | [his eyes] and very bitter (?) | […] which is | […]. The Lord [said] to [him, | “James], behold, I shall 33 reveal to you your redemption. | When [you] are seized, | and you undergo these sufferings, | a multitude will arm themselves against you 5 that <they> may seize you. And in particular | three of them | will seize you — they who | sit (there) as toll collectors. Not | only do they demand toll, but 10 they also take away souls | by theft. When | you come into their power, | one of them who is their guard will say | to you, 15 ‘Who are you or where are you from?’ | You are to say to him, ‘I am | a son, and I am from | the Father.’ He will say to you, | ‘What sort of son are you, and 20 to what father do you belong?’ You are to | say to him, ‘I am from | the Pre-existent Father, | and a son in the | Pre-existent One.’ [When he says] 25 to you, […], | you are to [say to him, …] | in the […] | that I might […].

“[… 34 of] alien things?” You are to say to him, | ‘They are not entirely alien, | but they are from Achamoth, | who is the female. And these 5 she produced as she brought down the race | from the | Pre-existent One. So then | they are not alien, but they are ours. | They are indeed ours because she who 10 is mistress of them is from | the Pre-existent One. | At the same time they are alien because | the Pre-existent One did not | have intercourse with her, when she 15 produced them.’ When he also says to you, | “Where will you go?,’ you are to | say to him, ‘To the place from which I have come, | there shall I return.’ | And if you say these things, you will 20 escape their attacks.

“But when | you come to | [these] three detainers | [who] take away souls by | theft in that place 25 […] these. You | […] a vessel | […] much more than […] 35 of the one (fem.) whom | you […] for […] | her root. You | too will 5 be sober […]. But I shall call | [upon] the imperishable knowledge, | which is Sophia who | is in the Father (and) who is the mother | of Achamoth. 10 Achamoth had no father nor | male consort, but | she is female from a | female. She produced you (pl.) | without a male, since she was alone 15 (and) in ignorance as to what | [lives through] her mother because she thought | that she alone existed. | But [I] shall cry out | to her mother. And then 20 they will fall into confusion (and) will | blame their | root and the race [of] | their mother. [But] you | will go up to [what is] 25 yours […] | you will […] 36 the [Pre-existent One].

“[They are | a] type [of the] twelve | disciples and [the] twelve | pairs, […] 5 Achamoth, which is | translated ‘Sophia.’ | And who I myself am, | and (who) the imperishable Sophia (is) | through whom you will be redeemed, 10 and (who are) all the sons of Him-who- | is — these things they have known | and have hidden within | them. You are to hide <these things> within you, | and you are to keep silence. 15 But you are to reveal them to | Addai. When you [depart], | immediately war will be [made] | with this land. [Weep], | then, for him who dwells in Jerusalem. 20 But let Addai take these things | to heart. In the tenth | year let Addai sit | and write them down. | And when he writes them down 25 […] and they are to give them | […] he has the […] 37 6 he is [called] | Levi. Then he is to bring | […] word | […] from 10 [what I] said earlier | […] a woman | […] Jerusalem in her | [… and] he begets | [two] sons through her. 15 [They are to] inherit these things | [and] the understanding of him who | […] exalts. And they are to receive | […] through him from his | intellect. Now, the younger of them 20 is greater. And | may these things remain | hidden in him until [he] | comes to the age of | seventeen years […] 38 3 beginning […] 5 through [them]. They will pursue | him exceedingly, since [they are] from | his […] companions. He will be | proclaimed [through] them, | and [they will] proclaim this word. 10 [Then he will become] | a seed of […].” |

James said, “[I am] | satisfied […] | and they are […] 15 my soul. Yet [another thing] | I ask of you: who are the [seven] | women who have [been] your disciples? | And behold, | all women bless you. 20 I also am amazed | how [powerless] vessels | have become strong by a perception | which is in them.” | [The] Lord [said], “You […] well […] 39 3 a spirit [of …] | a [spirit] of thought, [a spirit] 5 of counsel of [a …], | a spirit […, a] spirit | of knowledge […] of their | fear. […] when we had passed | through [the breath] of 10 [this] archon who | is [named] Adonaios | […] him and | […] he was ignorant | […] when I came forth from him, 15 [he] remembered that I | am [a] son of his. He was gracious | [to me] at that time as | his son. And then, | before <I> 20 appeared here, <he> | cast them among [this] | people. And from the [place] | of heaven the prophets […].” 40 4

James [said], “Rabbi, […] 6 I […] all together | […] in them | especially [ | ].” | The Lord said, “[James], I 10 praise [you …] | walk upon the earth […] | the words while he […] | on the […]. | For cast away from [you the] 15 cup, which is bitterness. | For some from […] | set themselves against you. For [you have begun] | to understand [their roots] | from beginning to end. Cast 20 away from yourself all lawlessness. | And beware lest | they envy you. When you | speak these words of this | [perception], encourage these 25 [four]: Salome and Mariam | [and Martha and Arsinoe …] 41 6 since he takes | some […]to me | he is […] burnt offerings | and […]. But I 10 […] not in this way; but | […] first-fruits of the | […] upward | […] so that | the power [of God might] appear. 15 The perishable has [gone | up] to the imperishable and | the female element has | attained to this male element.” |

James said, 20 “Rabbi, into these three (things), then, | has their […] been cast. | For they have been reviled, [and they have been] | persecuted […]. 42 5 Behold | […] everything | […] from | anyone […]. | For you have received […] of 10 knowledge. [And …] | that what is the […] | go […] | you will [find …]. | But I shall go [forth] 15 and shall reveal | that they believed in you [that they may] | be content with their [blessing] | and salvation, and | this revelation may come to pass.” 20 And he went at that time | [immediately] and rebuked the | twelve, and cast | [out] of them contentment | [concerning the] way of knowledge […].

[…], 43 7 And the majority | of [them …] when they | [saw, the] messenger took in 10 […]. The others […] 12 said, “[…] 14 him from this earth. | For [he is] not [worthy] of life.” | These, then, [were] afraid. They arose, | saying, “We | have no part in this blood, | for a just man 20 will perish through | injustice.” James departed | so that […] 44 6 look | […] for | we (?) […] him. |

The Apocalypse 10

of James


Introduced and translated by

Charles W. Hedrick

Edited by

Douglas M. Parrott

The fourth tractate in Codex V has been given the modern title The (Second) Apocalypse of James in order to distinguish it from the preceding tractate, since both documents have the same ancient title: The Apocalypse of James. The twenty pages comprising the tractate are preserved in a fragmentary state. The literary form is difficult to describe. The title of the text calls it an apocalypse, and the first line describes it as a discourse. In the sense that James relates a revelation received from the resurrected Jesus, it may be called a revelation discourse. However, its actual structure is cast in the form of a two-part report to Theuda, the father of James, by Mareim, a priest and relative of Theuda, who apparently was present at the stoning of James.

The tractate contains at least four sections artistically arranged. Because of their balance and stylized form they have been described as “harmonic prose” possessing a “hymnic” quality. Three of these units are aretalogies. One (49, 5–15) is a series of self-assertions by the resurrected Jesus in the “I am” style. Another (58, 2–20) is a series of predications about the resurrected Jesus made by James in the third person (i.e., “he is”). In a further aretalogy (55, 15–56, 13) the resurrected Jesus describes James’ special role in the second person (i.e., “you are”). The entire description in the third aretalogy suggests that James is intended to perform the function of gnostic redeemer.

The fourth unit (62, 16–63, 29) is a prayer attributed to James. Its present setting requires that one read it as the prayer of a martyr shortly before death. However, it is by no means certain that the present setting of the prayer was its original setting. Apart from its context, it has the character of a prayer that one might pray if one were facing some future period of persecution or trial. The request in 62, 21–22 suggests that there was a prospect of continued existence in the world. The material in 63, 23–24 speaks of something other than a painful death, already mentioned in 63, 5–6, and in fact suggests trials and tribulations such as one might anticipate in one’s daily experience.

The tractate as a whole is clearly gnostic in character, yet it shows remarkable restraint in treating usual gnostic themes. Nor can it be identified with any of the known gnostic systems of the second century. On the other hand, the author has made extensive use of Jewish-Christian traditions. James, who held a position of special prominence in Jewish-Christian circles, is regarded as the possessor of a special revelation from Jesus and is assigned a role in the gnostic tradition that rivals, and perhaps exceeds, that of Peter in the canonical tradition. For example, James is the “escort” who guides the Gnostic through the door of the heavenly kingdom and even rewards him (55, 6–14; cf. 55, 15–56, 13). The description is similar to Peter’s charge as the keeper of the keys of heaven (Mt 16:19).

As to the date and place of composition, little can be said with certainty. Because of the basic Jewish-Christian traditions out of which the tractate is composed, it is probable that its origin is to be associated with Jewish-Christian circles. The absence of allusions to the later developed gnostic systems, and the almost total absence of allusions to the New Testament tradition suggest an early date for the origin of the tractate.

The presence and order of the two James apocalypses in Codex V are undoubtedly due to deliberate scribal organization. The two apocalypses stress different aspects of the James tradition and actually complement one another. The setting of 1 Apoc. Jas. emphasizes the period prior to the suffering of James, while 2 Apoc. Jas. describes his suffering and death in line with the predictions in 1 Apoc. Jas.


V 44, 11–63, 32

The Apocalypse | of

| [James]

This is [the] discourse that James | [the] Just spoke 15 in Jerusalem, [which] | Mareim, one [of] the priests, | wrote. He had told it to | Theuda, the father of the Just One, | since he was a relative 20 of his. He said, | “[Hasten]! Come with | [Mary], your wife and | your relatives […] 45 therefore […] 5 of this […] | to [him, he will] understand. | For behold, a multitude 10 are disturbed over | his […], and they are greatly | angry [at him. …] | and they pray […] 15 For | [he would] often say these words | and others | also.

“He used to speak these words | while the multitude of people 20 were seated. But (on this occasion) he entered | and did <not> sit down | in the place, as was his custom. | Rather he sat above | the fifth flight of steps, [which] 25 is (highly) esteemed, while all our people […] 27 the words […].

“ ‘[…]. 46 6 I am he who | received revelation from | the Pleroma [of] Imperishability. | (I am) he who was first summoned 10 by him who is great, and | who obeyed the [Lord] — | he who passed [through] | the [worlds …] | he who [… he who] 15 stripped [himself and] | went about naked, | he who was found in a | perishable (state), though he was about to be brought | up into imperishability. — 20 This Lord who is present | [came] as a son who sees, | and as a brother | [was he sought). He will come to | […] produced him because 25 […] and he unites | […] make him free […] 47 in […] | he who came [to …]. 7

“ ‘Now again am I rich in | knowledge [and] I have | a unique [understanding], 10 which was produced only from | above and the […] | comes from a […]. | I am the […] 15 whom I | knew. That which was revealed | to me was hidden from everyone | and shall (only) be revealed | through him. These 20 two who see I <…> | (and) they have already proclaimed | through these [words]: | “He shall be judged with the [unrighteous].” | He who lived [without] 25 blasphemy died by means of [blasphemy]. | He who was cast out | they […].

“ ‘ “[… 48 5 the] flesh | [and] it is by knowledge | that I shall come forth from the [flesh]. | I am surely dying, | but it is in life that I shall be found. 10 I entered] | in order that they might judge [… I] | shall come forth [in …] | judge [… I do] | not bring blame against the 15 servants of his […] | I hasten | to make them free and | want to take them above | him who wants to rule 20 over them. If | they are helped, | I am the brother in | secret, who prayed | to the Father [until 25 he …] in […] 49 2 reign: [… | imperishability …] first | in […]. 5

I [am the] first [son] | who was begotten. —

He will destroy | the dominion of [them] all. — |

I am the beloved. |

I am the righteous one. 10

I am the son of | [the Father].

I speak even as | [I] heard.

I command | even as I [received] the order.

I | show you (pl.) even as 15 I have [found].

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

“ ‘ “If I | have come into existence, who then am I? 20 For I did <not’ come as I am, | nor would I have appeared | as I am. | For I used to exist | for a brief period 25 of time […].” 50 5

“ ‘Once when I was sitting | deliberating, | [he] opened [the] door. | That one | whom you hated 10 and persecuted came in to me. | He said to me, “Hail, my | brother; my brother, hail.” | As I raised my [face] | to stare at him, 15 (my) mother said to me, “Do not | be frightened, my son, because | he said ‘My brother’ to you (sg.). | For you (pl.) were nourished with | this same milk. Because of 20 this he calls | me ‘My mother.’ | For he is not a stranger to us. | He is your [step-brother…].”

“ ‘ “[…] 51 2 these words […] 5 great […] | I shall [find] them, and [they shall come] | forth. [However], I am the stranger, | and they have no knowledge | of me in [their] thoughts, 10 for they know me in | [this place]. But it | was fitting that others | know through you. |

“ ‘ “<You are> the one to whom I say: 15 Hear and understand – | for a multitude, when they | hear, will be slow witted. | But you, understand as I | shall be able to tell you. Your father 20 is not my father. But | my father has become a father | to [you].

“ ‘ “This virgin | about whom you hear – | this is how […] 27 virgin […] 52 namely, the virgin. | […], how | […] to me for | […] to know 5 […] not as | […] whom I […]. For this one (masc.) | […] to him, | and this also is profitable | for you. Your father, whom you 10 consider to be [rich], | shall grant that you inherit | all these (things) that you | see.

“ ‘ “I proclaim | to you to tell you 15 these (words) that I shall speak. When | you hear, therefore, | open your ears | and understand and walk (accordingly)! | It is because of you that they pass by, 20 activated by | that one who is glorious. | And if they want to make a | disturbance and (seize) possession […] 53 he began […] | not, nor those who are [coming], | who were sent forth [by] | him to make this present [creation]. 5 After [these things, | when he] is ashamed, he shall be disturbed | that his labor, which is far [from] | the aeons, is nothing. And | his inheritance, 10 which he boasted | to be great, shall appear | small. And his | gifts are not | blessings. His promises are evil 15 schemes. For you are not an (instrument) | of his compassion, | but it is through you | that he does violence. He wants | to do injustice to us, and 20 will exercise dominion for a time | allotted to him.

“ ‘ “But | understand and know the Father | who has compassion. | He was not given 25 an inheritance that was unlimited, | [nor] does it (his inheritance) [have] | a (limited) number of days, | but it is as [the] eternal [day …] 30 it is […] 54 perceive […]. | And he used | […]. For in fact he is not | one (come) from [them], (and) because of this he 5 [is despised]. Because of this he [boasts], so | that he may not be reproved. | For because of this he is superior to | those who are below, those | by whom you 10 were looked down upon. After he imprisoned | those from [the] Father, | he seized them | and fashioned them to resemble | himself. And it is 15 with him that they exist.

“ ‘ “I | saw from the height | those (things) that happened, and I have explained | how they happened. | They were visited while they 20 were in another form, and, | while I was watching, | [they] came to know <me> as I am, | through those whom I know. |

“‘“Now before those (things) 25 [have happened] they will make a […]. I know | [how] they attempted | [to come] down to this place 55 [that] he might approach […] | the small children, [but | I] wish to reveal | through you and the [Spirit 5 of Power], in order that he might reveal | [to those] who are yours. And | those who wish to enter, | and who seek to | walk in the way that is 10 before the door, | open the good door through you. And they | follow you; they enter | [and you] escort them inside, and give a reward | to each one who is ready for it. 15

For you are not the redeemer |

nor a helper of strangers. |

You are an illuminator | and a redeemer |

of those who are mine,

and now 20 of those who are yours.

You shall | reveal (to them);

you shall bring good | among them all.

You [they shall] | admire

because of every powerful (deed). |

You are he whom the heavens 25 bless.

You | he shall envy,

he [who has] | called himself your [Lord]. |

I am the […] 56

[those who] are instructed in these

(things) with [you]. |

For your sake

they will be told | [these (things)],

and will come to rest. |

For your sake

they will reign,

[and will] 5 become kings.

For [your] sake |

they will have pity

on whomever they pity. |

For just as | you are first

having clothed | yourself,

you are also the 10 first who will strip himself, |

and you shall become | as you were |

before you were stripped.” |

“ ‘And he kissed 15 my mouth. He took hold of me, saying, | “My beloved! | Behold, I shall reveal | to you those (things) that (neither) | [the] heavens nor their archons 20 have known. Behold, | I shall reveal to you | those (things) that he did not know, | he who [boasted, ‘… 26 there is no] 57 other except me. Am I not alive? | Because I am a father, | [do] I [not have power] for everything?” | Behold, I shall reveal to you 5 everything, my beloved. | [Understand] and know them | [that] you may come forth just as | I am. Behold, I | [shall] reveal to you him who 10 [is hidden]. But now, stretch out your | [hand]. Now, take hold of me.” | [And] then I stretched out my | hands and I did not find him | as I thought (he would be). But 15 afterward I heard him | saying, “Understand and | take hold of me.” Then I understood, | and I was afraid. And | I was exceedingly joyful. 20

“ ‘Therefore, I tell | you (pl.), judges, you | have been judged. And you | did not spare, but you were spared. | Be sober and […] 58 you did not [know]. |

He was that one | whom he who created | the heaven and the earth, 5 and dwelled in it, | did not see.

He was [this one who] | is the life.

He | was the light.

He | was that one who will come to be. 10

And again he shall provide

[an] | end for what | has begun

and a beginning | for what is about to be ended. |

He was the Holy Spirit 15 and the Invisible One, | who did not descend | upon the earth.

He was | the virgin, and that which | he wishes happens 20 to him.

I saw | that he was naked, | and there was no garment clothing | him. That which he wills | happens to him […]. 59

“ ‘[Renounce] this difficult way, | which is (so) variable, | [and] walk in accordance with him who desires | [that] you become free men 5 [with] me, after you have passed above | every [dominion]. For he will not [judge] (you) | for those (things) that you did, | but will have mercy on you. | For (it is) not you that did them, but it is 10 [your] Lord (that did them). [He was not] | a wrathful one, but he was a kind Father. |

“ ‘But you have judged [yourselves], | and because of this you will remain | in their fetters. You 15 have oppressed yourselves, and you | will repent, (but) you will | not profit at all. Behold him | who speaks and seek | him who is silent. Know him 20 who came to this place, and understand | him who went forth (from it). I am | the Just One, and I do <not> judge. | I am not a master, then, but | I am a helper. He was cast 25 out before he | stretched out his hand. I […].

“ ‘[…] 60 and he allows me to hear. | And play your trumpets, | your flutes | and your harps [of 5 this house]. The Lord has taken | you captive | from the Lord, having closed | your ears, that | they may not hear the sound of 10 my word. Yet you [will be able to pay] | heed in your hearts, [and] | you will call me “the Just One.” | Therefore, I tell | you: Behold, I gave 15 you your house, which | you say that God | has made – that (house) in which | he promised to give you | an inheritance through it. 20 This (house) I shall doom to | destruction and derision of those | who are in ignorance. | For behold, | those who judge deliberate […].’ 61

“[On] that day | all the [people] and the crowd | were disturbed, and they | showed that they had not been persuaded. 5 And he arose and went | forth speaking in this [manner]. | And he entered (again) on that same day and | spoke a few hours. | And I was with the priests 10 and revealed nothing | of the relationship, | since all of them were saying | with one voice, ‘Come, | let us stone the Just One.’ 15 And they arose, | saying, ‘Yes, let | us kill this man, that | he may be taken from our midst. | For he will be of no use to us.’ 20

“And they were there and found him | standing beside the columns of | the temple beside the mighty corner | stone. And they decided to throw | him down from 25 the height, and they cast | him down. And | they […] they […]. 62 They seized him and [struck] | him as they dragged him upon the ground. | They stretched him out, and placed | a stone on his abdomen. 5 They all placed their feet on him, | saying, | ‘You have erred!’

“Again | they raised him up, since he was alive, and made him | dig a hole. They made him stand 10 in it. After having covered him | up to his abdomen, they stoned | him in this manner.

“And | he stretched out his hands | and said this prayer – 15 not that (one) which it is his custom to say: |

‘My God and my Father, |

who saved me from | this dead hope, |

who made me alive through a 20 mystery of what he wills, |

do not let these days of this world | be prolonged for me, |

but the day of your (sg.) | [light …] remains 25

in […] 63 salvation.

Deliver me from this | [place of] sojourn!

Do not let your grace be left behind | in me,

but may | your grace become pure! 5

Save me from an | evil death!

Bring me from | a tomb alive,

because your grace – | love – is alive in me |

to accomplish a work of fullness! 10

Save me from | sinful flesh,

because I trusted | in you with all my strength!

Because you | are the life of the life,

save me | from a humiliating 15 enemy!

Do not give me into the hand | of a judge

who is severe | with sin!

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

Because I am alive 20 in you, your grace is alive in me. |

I have renounced everyone, |

but you I have confessed. |

Save me from evil | affliction!

But now is the [time] 25 and the hour.

O Holy | [Spirit], send [me] |

salvation […] the light […] |

the light […] | in a power […].’ 30

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


Introduced and translated by

George W. MacRae

Edited by

Dougls M. Parrott

The Apocalypse of Adam is a revelation received by Adam from three heavenly visitors and narrated by him to his son Seth. He explains the loss of saving knowledge by himself and Eve (the fall), its transmission to Seth and his descendants, and its preservation, despite the attempts of the creator-god to destroy mankind by flood and by fire, until the third coming of a savior figure, the “Illuminator.” The latter is persecuted by the powers of the world but will ultimately triumph over them. At the mention of his coming there is a long hymnic passage (77, 27–83, 4), which may be an interpolation into an original apocalypse, in which thirteen false or inadequate explanations of his origin are contrasted with a true one by the “generation without a king,” i.e., the Gnostics. This unusual passage is a remarkable example of gnostic syncretism.

In terms of literary form the work embodies a whole succession of the traditional revelation devices. First, the revelation comes to Adam in a dream vision (65, 24–66, 23) in which it is not clearly stated that he sees the events of the future but perhaps is merely told them. Secondly, Adam’s narration to Seth takes the form of a secret traditio from father to son (85, 19–22). Thirdly, though not written in a book, these words are hidden on a high mountain (85, 3–11). Finally, since Adam’s revelation takes place just before his death, the work assumes the form of a testament. Though it is clearly dependent on certain episodes of the Genesis story which are often found in gnostic revelation literature, Apoc. Adam does not follow closely the text of Genesis as do Hyp Arch (II, 4) and Ap. John (II, 1), for example.

The most notable feature of this work is the absence of any explicit or clear borrowings from the Christian tradition. This has led several interpreters to see in it a witness to a non-Christian Gnosticism which contains an already well developed redeemer myth. On the other hand, its close dependence on Jewish apocalyptic tradition suggests that it may represent a transitional stage in an evolution from Jewish to gnostic apocalyptic. In this case the document may be a very early one, perhaps first or second century C.E., but no clear indications of its date have been perceived. Apoc. Adam is a Sethian work in the sense that Seth and his posterity are the tradents of the saving knowledge; it does not have any uniquely close affinities to the description of the Sethians found in Hippolytus (Ref. V. 19–21) or Epiphanius (Pan. 39). Within the Nag Hammadi collection it has a great deal in common with Gos. Eg. (III, 2), which seems to suppose a christianized version of the story. Using as a key the three sets of angel names, which are not common in the gnostic writings (Abrasax, Sablo, and Gamaliel, 75, 22–23; Micheu, Michar, and Mnesinous, 84, 5–6; Iesseus Mazareus Iessedekeus, 85, 30–31), we find that Apoc. Adam is related to The Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex, to Gos. Eg., to Zostrianos (VIII, I), and to Trim. Prot. (XIII, I). In addition several of these works share an interest in the personage of Seth and some concern with the interpretation of baptism, thus reflecting at least a remote connection with (Jewish) baptist circles.

There are references to “apocalypses of Adam” in the writings of the heresiologist Epiphanius (4th cent. C.E.) and Manichaean writings refer to “an apocalypse of Adam,” but no direct connection with this tractate can be made in either case.

(George W. MacRae †)

The possibility that the third illuminator, described in 76, 8–77, 18, might be Christ, has continued to be discussed. Some who favor the identification with Christ have argued that the vagueness of the allusions is precisely what one would expect in an apocalyptic work. The apocalyptic tradition, however, did not prevent the writer from being rather precise about the flood. Also, the details that do come through in the illuminator’s description only partly resemble the traditional details about Christ: He will come in great glory, bring the knowledge of the eternal God, and perform signs and wonders. The god of the powers will become angry. At that point the glory will withdraw. The flesh of the man, who was the illuminator when he had the glory, will be punished. We are not told the form of the punishment or whether it ended in death. Nor are we told of a subsequent resurrection. Thus the description is that of a charismatic figure who ran afoul of the authorities and was punished. It is difficult to see any compelling reason to identify this figure with Christ.

Seams in the text have invited those interested in source analysis. In addition to the suggestion, noted above, that the long hymnic passage (13 Kingdoms) was originally independent, two other proposals should be mentioned. One is that the tractate originally ended at 84, 3 and that the remainder was added later (it seems to have its own theme – opposition to water baptism). The other is that the tractate is the result of the combining of two separate source documents by a redactor, who also made some contributions of his own. One can get a sense of the basis for the latter theory by looking at the following passages, which, it is contended, are the beginning sections of each of the sources: (A) 64, 6–65, 23; 66, 12–67, 11; (B) 65, 24–66, 12; 67, 12–67, 21).

(Douglas M. Parrott)


V 64, 1–85, 32

The Apocalypse of Adam |

The revelation which Adam | taught his son Seth in | the seven hundredth year, saying, 5 “Listen to my words, my | son Seth. When | god had created me out of | the earth along with Eve your mother, | I went about with her in a 10 glory which she had seen in | the aeon from which we had come | forth. She taught me a word | of knowledge of the eternal god. | And we resembled 15 the great eternal angels, | for we were higher than | the god who had created us and | the powers with him, whom | we did not know. 20

“Then god, | the ruler of the aeons | and the powers, divided us in wrath. Then | we became two aeons. | And the glory in our heart(s) 25 left us, | me and your mother Eve, | along with the first knowledge | that breathed within us. And | it (glory) fled from us; 30 it entered into […] great […] which (fem.) 65 [had come] forth, not from this aeon from which [we had] | come forth, I | and Eve your mother. But | it (knowledge) entered into the seed of 5 great aeons. For this reason | I myself have called you | by the name of that man | who is the seed of the great generation | or from whom (it comes). After 10 those days the eternal knowledge | of the God of truth | withdrew from me | and your mother Eve. | Since that time we 15 learned about dead things, | like men. Then | we recognized the god who had | created us. For we were not | strangers to his powers. And 20 we served him in fear | and slavery. | And after these (events) we became | darkened in our heart(s). | Now I slept in the 25 thought of my heart. |

“And I saw three | men before me | whose likeness I was unable | to recognize, since they 30 were not the powers | of the god who had [created | us]. They surpassed […] | glory, and […] | men […] 66 saying to me, ‘Arise, | Adam, from the sleep | of death, and hear | about the aeon and the seed 5 of that man | to whom life has come, | who came from you and | from Eve, your wife.’ |

“When I had heard these 10 words from the great men | who were standing | before me, then we | sighed, I and Eve, in | our heart(s). And the Lord, the god 15 who had created us, stood | before us. He said to us, | ‘Adam, why were you (pl.) | sighing in your heart? | Do you not know that I 20 am the god who created | you? And I breathed into | you a spirit of life | as a living soul.’ | Then darkness came upon our 25 eyes.

“Then the god, who | created us, created a | son from himself [and] Eve, | [your mother], for [… 67 in] the thought [of] | my […]. I knew | a sweet desire | for your mother. Then 5 the vigor of | our eternal knowledge | was destroyed in us, | and weakness | pursued us. 10 Therefore the days of | our life became few. | For I knew that I had | come under the authority | of death.

“Now then, 15 my son Seth, I will | reveal to you the things | which those men | whom I saw | before me 20 at first | revealed to me: | after I have completed | the times | of this generation 25 and [the] years of | [the generation] | have been accomplished, [then | …] slave […]. (p. 68 blank) 69 2

“For rain-showers | of [god] the | almighty 5 will be poured forth [so that] he | might destroy [all] flesh [of | god the almighty, | so that he might destroy all flesh] | from the earth 10 on account of the things that it seeks | after, along with [those from] | the seed [of] the men | to whom passed | the life of 15 the knowledge, which | came from me [and] Eve, | your mother. For they were | strangers to him. | Afterwards great 20 angels will come | on high clouds, | who will bring those men | into the place | where the spirit [of] life dwells […] 70 glory | […] there, | […] come from heaven | to earth. [Then] 5 the whole [multitude] of flesh | will be left behind in the [waters].

“Then god | will rest from | his wrath. And he will cast | his power upon the waters, 10 and [he will] give power to his sons | and their wives by means of the ark | along with [the] animals, | whichever he pleased, and the | birds of heaven, which he 15 called and released | upon the earth. And god | will say to Noah — | whom the generations will call | Deucalion — , ‘Behold, 20 I have protected <you> in the ark | along with your wife and your sons | and their wives and their | animals and the birds of | [heaven], which you called 25 [and released upon the earth]. 71 Therefore I will give the [earth] to you – | you and your sons. In | kingly fashion you will rule over it – you | and your sons. And no 5 seed will come from you | of the men who will not | stand in my presence in | another glory.’

“Then they will | become as the cloud of the 10 great light. Those | men will come who have | been cast forth from the knowledge | of the great aeons and the | angels. They will stand 15 before Noah and the aeons. | And god will say to | Noah, ‘Why have you departed from | what I told you? You have | created another generation so that you 20 might scorn my power.’ Then | Noah will say, ‘I shall | testify before your | might that the generation | of these men did not come 25 [from me] nor [from | my sons. …] 72 knowledge.

“And [he] will | […] those men | and bring them into their proper | land and build them a 5 holy dwelling-place. And | they will be called by that | name and dwell there | six hundred years in a | knowledge of imperishability. 10 And angels of the great | light will dwell with them. | No foul deed | will dwell in their heart(s), but | only the knowledge of god. 15

“Then Noah will divide the | whole earth among his sons, | Ham and Japheth and Shem.He will say to them, ‘My sons, | listen to my words. Behold, 20 I have divided the earth among you. But | serve him in fear and | slavery all the days | of your life. Let not | your seed depart from the face 25 of god the almighty. | […] I and your […] 73 son of Noah, ‘[My] | seed [will be] pleasing before you | and before your power. | Seal it by your | strong hand with fear and | commandment, so that the whole | seed which came forth from me | may not be inclined away from you | and god the almighty, 10 but it will serve | in humility and | fear of its knowledge.’ |

“Then others | from the seed of Ham and 15 Japheth will come, four hundred | thousand men, and enter into | another land and sojourn | with those men who | came forth from the great 20 eternal knowledge. For | the shadow of their power will | protect those who have sojourned | with them from every evil thing | and every unclean desire. 25 Then the seed of Ham and | Japheth will form twelve | kingdoms, and their | seed [also] will enter into | the kingdom of another people. 30

“[Then …] will take counsel […] | aeons […] 74 who are dead, of the great | aeons of imperishability. | And they will go to Sakla | their god. They will go in 5 to the powers, accusing the great | men who are in their | glory.

“They will say to Sakla, | ‘What is the power of these men who | stood in your presence, 10 who were taken from the | seed of Ham and Japheth, | who will number four hundred <thousand> men? | They have been received into another aeon | from which they had come forth, and 15 they have overturned all the glory of your | power and the dominion of your hand. | For the seed of Noah through | his sons has done | all your will, and (so have) all the powers 20 in the aeons over which your might | rules, while both those | men and the ones who are | sojourners in their glory | have not done your will. 25 [But] they have turned (aside) your | whole throng.’.

“Then the god | of the aeons will give them | (some) of those who serve [him …] 30 they will come upon that land 75 where the great men | will be who | have not been defiled, nor will be | defiled by any desire. 5 For their soul did not come | from a defiled hand, but it | came from a great commandment | of an eternal angel. | Then fire 10 and sulphur and asphalt will be cast upon | those men, and | fire and (blinding) mist will come over | those aeons, and | the eyes of the powers of the illuminators will be darkened, 15 and the aeons will not see | them in those days. | And great clouds of light | will descend, and | other clouds of light 20 will come down upon them from | the great aeons. |

“Abrasax and Sablo and | Gamaliel will descend and bring | those men out of 25 the fire and the wrath, and | take them above the aeons | and the rulers of the [powers], and | [take] them away […] | of life […] 30 and take them away […] | aeons [… 76 dwelling place] of the [great …] | there with the holy angels | and the aeons. | The men will be like 5 those angels, for they | are not strangers to them. But | they work in the imperishable seed. |

“Once again, for the | third time, the illuminator 10 of knowledge will pass by in great | glory, in order to leave | (something) of the seed of Noah | and the sons of Ham and Japheth – | to leave for himself 15 fruit-bearing trees. And he will | redeem their souls from the | day of death. For the whole creation | that came from | the dead earth will be 20 under the authority of death. | But those who reflect upon the knowledge | of the eternal God | in their heart(s) will not perish. | For they have not received spirit 25 from this kingdom alone, | but they have received (it) from an | […] eternal angel. | […] illuminator | [… will] come upon 30 [… that is] dead […] 77 of Seth. And he will perform | signs and wonders in order to | scorn the powers and their ruler. |

“Then the god 5 of the powers will be disturbed, saying, ‘What | is the power of this man who | is higher than we?’ Then he will | arouse a great wrath against | that man. And 10 the glory will withdraw and | dwell in holy houses which | it has chosen for itself. And | the powers will not see it | with their eyes, nor will they 15 see the illuminator either. | Then they will punish the flesh | of the man upon whom the | holy spirit came.

“Then | the angels and all the 20 generations of the powers | will use the name | in error, asking, | ‘Where did it (the error) come from?’ or | ‘Where did the 25 words of deception, which | all the powers have failed to discover, come from?

“[Now] the first | kingdom [says of him] |

[that] he came [from …]. 78 A spirit […] to heaven.

He was nourished | in the heavens.

He received the glory | of that one and the power. He came | to the bosom of his mother. 5

And thus he came to the water. |

“And the second kingdom says | about him

that he came | from a great prophet. | And a bird came, took 10 the child who was born and brought him | onto a high mountain. |

And he was nourished by | the bird of heaven. An angel | came forth there. He said to him, 15 ‘Arise! God has given glory | to you.’

He received glory and strength. |

And thus he came to the water. |

“The third kingdom says | of him

that he came 20 from a virgin womb. | He was cast out of his city, | he and his mother; he was brought | to a desert place.

He was nourished | there.

He came and received 25 glory and power.

And thus | he came to the water. |

“[The fourth] kingdom says | [of him]

[that] he came | [from a virgin. 30 … Solomon 79 sought] her, he and Phersalo | and Sauel and his armies, | which had been sent out. Solomon | himself sent his army 5 of demons to seek out the | virgin. And they did not find | the one whom they sought, but | the virgin who was given to them. | It was she whom they fetched. 10 Solomon took her. | The Virgin became pregnant and gave birth to | the child there. |

She nourished him on a border | of the desert. When 15 he had been nourished.

he received glory | and power from the seed | from which he had been begotten. |

And thus he came to the | water.

“And the fifth 20 kingdom says of him

that | he came from a | drop from heaven. He was thrown | into the sea. The abyss | received him, gave birth to him, 25 and brought him to heaven.

He received | glory and power.

And | thus he came to [the water]. |

“And [the] sixth kingdom | [says]

that a [… 30 down] to the aeon 80 which is below, in order to [gather] | flowers. She became pregnant from | the desire of the flowers. She | gave birth to him in that place. 5

The angels of the | flower garden nourished him.

He received | glory there | and power.

And thus he came | to the water.

“And the 10 seventh kingdom says | of him

that he is a drop. | It came from heaven to earth. | Dragons brought him down to caves. | He became a 15 child. A spirit came upon him and | brought him on high to the place where the | drop had come forth. |

He received glory and power | there.

And thus 20 he came to the water.

“And the | eighth kingdom says | of him

that a cloud came | upon the earth and enveloped a | rock. He came 25 from it.

The angels | who were above the cloud | nourished him.

He [received] glory | [and] power [there].

And [thus he] came to [the water]. 81

“And the [ninth] kingdom says | of him

that from the nine | Muses one separated away. | She came to a high mountain and spent 5 (some) time seated there, so that | she desired herself alone | in order to become androgynous. | She fulfilled her desire | and became pregnant from her desire. 10 He was born.

The | angels who were over the desire nourished him. |

And he received glory there | and power.

And | thus he came to the water.

“The 15 tenth kingdom says of him |

that his god loved a cloud | of desire. He begot him | in his hand and cast | upon the cloud above him 20 (some) of the drop, and | he was born.

He received glory and | power there.

And | thus he came to the water. |

“And the eleventh 25 kingdom says

that the father | desired his [own] | daughter. She herself became pregnant | [from] her father. She cast […] | tomb 82 out in the desert.

The angel | nourished him there.

And thus he came | to the water.

“The 5 twelfth kingdom says | of him

that he came from | two illuminators.

He was | nourished there.

He received glory | and power.

And thus he came 10 to the water.

“And the | thirteenth kingdom says | of him

that every birth | of their ruler is a word. |

And his word received 15 a mandate there.

He | received glory and power. |

And thus he came to the water, |

in order that the desire | of those powers might be satisfied.

“But the generation 20 without a king over it says | that God chose | him from all the aeons. | He caused knowledge of the | undefiled one of truth to come to be 25 [in] him. [He (or: It)] said, ‘[Out of] | a foreign air, | [from a] great aeon, [the | great] illuminator came forth. [And he made] 83 the generation of those men | whom he had chosen for himself shine, | so that they could shine upon the | whole aeon.’

“Then the seed, 5 those who will receive his | name upon the water and (that) of them all, will fight against the power. | And a cloud | of darkness will come upon them.

“Then | the peoples will cry out with a 10 great voice, saying, | ‘Blessed is the soul of those | men because they have known | God with a knowledge | of the truth! They shall live forever, 15 because they have not been | corrupted by their desire, | along with the angels, nor | have they accomplished the works of the | powers, but they have stood 20 in his presence in a knowledge | of God like light | that has come forth from | fire and blood.

“‘But we | have done every deed of the powers 25 senselessly. We have | boasted in the transgression | of [all] our works. | We have [cried] against [the God] | of [truth] because all his works […] 84 is eternal. These are against our | spirits. For now we have known that | our souls will die the death.” |

“Then a voice came to them, 5 saying, ‘Micheu and Michar and Mnesinous, who | are over the holy baptism | and the living water, why | were you crying out against the 10 living God with lawless voices | and tongues without law | over them, and souls | full of blood and foul | [deeds]? You are full of 15 works that are not of the truth, | but your ways are full of | joy and rejoicing. | Having defiled the water of life, | you have drawn it within 20 the will of the powers | to whom you have been given | to serve | them.

“ ‘And your | thought is not like that of 25 those men whom | you persecute […] 28 desire […]. 85 Their fruit does not wither. But | they will be known | up to the great aeons, because the words | they have kept, of the God 5 of the aeons, were not committed to | the book, nor were they written. | But angelic (beings) will bring | them, whom all the generations | of men will not know. 10 For they will be on a high | mountain, upon a rock of truth. | Therefore they will be named | “The Words of Imperishability | [and] Truth,” for those who know 15 the eternal God in | wisdom of knowledge | and teaching of angels | forever, for he knows all things.’ ” |

These are the revelations which 20 Adam made known to Seth his | son. And his son taught | his seed about them. This is the | hidden knowledge of Adam, | which he gave to Seth, which is the 25 holy baptism of those who | know the eternal knowledge | through those born of the word | and the imperishable illuminators, who | came from the holy seed: 30 Yesseus, Mazareus, | [Yesse]dekeus, [the Living] Water. |

The Apocalypse of Adam

[ 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.

| 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.

< 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.

( 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.

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. 256


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