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Words from GOD – Words to GOD

NAG HAMMADI CODICES- The Gospel of JOHN [Apocryphon] , by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz


Assemblies of GOD ART

Women touches the troddle of JESUS robe- how is the apocryphe Gospel of John related to early Christendom??


(II,1, III,1, IV,1, AND BG 8502,2)

Introduced and translated by

Frederik Wisse

The Apocryphon of John is an important work of mythological Gnosticism. Using the framework of a revelation delivered by the resurrected Christ to John the son of Zebedee, this tractate offers a remarkably clear description of the creation, fall, and salvation of humanity; the mythological description is developed largely in terms of the early chapters of Genesis. Reports of the church fathers indicate that some of them were familiar with the contents of The Apocryphon of John: the teachings of certain Gnostics described by Irenaeus are very similar to the cosmological teachings of the present tractate. Though Irenaeus apparently did not know The Apocryphon of John in its present form, it is certain that the main teachings of the tractate existed before 185 C.E., the date of Irenaeus’ work Against Heresies. The Apocryphon of John was still used in the eighth century by the Audians of Mesopotamia.

The Apocryphon of John supplies answers to two basic questions: What is the origin of evil? How can we escape from this evil world to our heavenly home? The cosmogeny, in spite of its exotic details, also seeks to answer these questions. The highest deity is defined in terms of an abstract Greek concept of perfection, a perfection which excludes all anthropomorphism and all involvement in the world. From this supreme deity emanates a series of light-beings, including Christ and Sophia.

According to The Apocryphon of John, the fall occurs when Sophia desires to bring forth a being without the approval of the great Spirt or her consort. Consequently, she produces the monstrous creator-god Yaldabaoth, who still possesses some of the light-power of his mother. Yaldabaoth creates angels to rule over the world and aid in the creation of man; man himself is fashioned after the perfect Father’s image, which was mirrored on the water. Man comes to life when Yaldabaoth is tricked into breathing light-power into him. Thus begins a continuous struggle between the powers of light and the powers of darkness for the possession of the divine particles in man. The evil powers put man in a material body to keep him imprisoned, and also create woman and sexual desire to spread the particles of light and make escape more difficult. Finally Christ is sent down to save humanity by reminding people of their heavenly origin. Only those who possess this knowledge and have lived ascetic lives can return to the realm of light; the others are reincarnated until they also come to saving knowledge.

Three versions of The Apocryphon of John are known. III,1 and BG,2 represent independent translations into Coptic of a short Greek recension of the work. II, 1 and IV,1 are copies of the same Coptic translation of a long Greek recension. The English translation presented here is of the long recension. Page and line numbers are given for II,1, except where IV,1 preserved text which was omitted in II,1 through scribal error.


II 1, 1–32, 9=IV 1, 1–49, 28

| The teaching [of the savior], and [the revelation] | of the mysteries, [and the] things hidden in | silence, [even these things which] he taught | John, [his] disciple. 5

[And] it happened one [day], when | John, [the brother] of James | — who are the sons of Zebedee — had come up to | the temple, that a Pharisee | named Arimanius approached him and said l0 to him, “Where is your master [whom] | you followed?” And he [said] to him, | “He has gone to the [place] from which he came.” The Pharisee | [said to him, “With deception | did this Nazarene] deceive you (pl.), 15 and he filled [your ears with lies], | and closed [your hearts (and) turned you] | from the traditions [of your fathers.”]

[When] | I, [John], heard these things [I turned] | away from the temple [to a desert place]. 20 And I grieved [greatly in my heart saying], | “How [then was] the savior [appointed], | and why was he sent [in to the world] | by [his Father, and who is his] | Father who [sent him, and of what sort] 25 is [that] aeon [to which we shall go?] | For what did he [mean when he said to us], | ‘This aeon to [which you will go is of the] type | of the [imperishable] aeon,’ [but he did not teach] | us concerning [the latter of what sort it is.”] 30

Straightway, [while I was contemplating these things,] | behold, the [heavens opened and] the whole creation [which is] below heaven shone, | and [the world] was shaken. 2 [I was afraid, and behold I] saw in | the light [a youth who stood] by me. | While I looked [at him he became] like an | old man. And he [changed his] likeness (again) becoming 5 like a servant. There was [not a plurality] before me, | but there was a [likeness] with multiple forms | in the light, and the [likenesses] appeared | through each other, [and] the [likeness] had three | forms.

He said to me, “John, John, 10 why do you doubt, or why [are you] | afraid? You are not unfamiliar with this image, are you? | — that is, do not [be] timid! — I am the one who | is [with you (pl.)] always. I | [am the Father], I am the Mother, I am the Son. 15 I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. | Now [I have come to teach you] what is | [and what was] and what will come to | [pass], that [you may know the] things which are not revealed | [and those which are revealed, and to teach you] concerning the 20 [unwavering race of] the perfect [Man]. Now, | [therefore, lift up] your [face, that] you may | [receive] the things that I [shall teach you] today, [and] | may [tell them to your] fellow spirits who [are | from] the [unwavering] race of the perfect 25 Man.”

[And I asked] to | [know it, and he said] to me, “The Monad | [is a] monarchy with nothing above it. | [It is he who exists] as [God] and Father of | everything, [the invisible] One who is above 30 [everything, who exists as] incorruption, which is | [in the] pure light into which no | [eye] can look. |

He [is the] invisible [Spirit] of whom it is not right | [to think] of him as a god, or something 35 similar. For he is more than a god, | since there is nothing above him, for no one 3 lords it over him. [For he does] not [exist] in something | inferior [to him, since everything] exists in him. | (IV 4, 9–10: [For it is he who establishes]) himself. [He is eternal] since | he does [not] need [anything]. For [he] is total 5 perfection. [He] did not [lack anything] that he might | be completed by [it; rather] he is always completely perfect | in [light]. He is [illimitable] since | there is no one [prior to him] to set limits to him. | He is unsearchable [since there] exists no one 10 prior to him to [examine him. He is] immeasurable | since there [was] no one [prior to him to measure] | him. [He is invisible since no] | one saw [him. He is eternal] since he [exists] | eternally. He is [ineffable since] 15 no one was able to comprehend him to speak [about him]. | He is unnameable since [there is no one prior to him] | to give [him] a name.

He is [immeasurable light] | which is pure, holy [(and) immaculate]. | He is ineffable [being perfect in] incorruptibility. 20 (He is) [not] in perfection, nor in | blessedness, nor in | divinity, but he is far superior. | He is not corporeal [nor] is he incorporeal. | He is neither large [nor] is he small. [There is no] 25 way to say, ‘What is his quantity?’ or, ‘What [is his quality?’], | for no one can [know him]. | He is not someone among (other) [beings, rather he is] | far superior. [Not] that [he is (simply) superior], but his | essence does not [partake] in the aeons nor 30 in time. For he who partakes in [an aeon] | was prepared beforehand. Time [was not] | apportioned to him, [since] he does not | receive anything from another, [for it would be received] | on loan. For he who precedes someone does not [lack] 35 that he may receive from [him]. | For [rather] it is the latter that looks expectantly at him in 4 his light.

For the [perfection] is majestic. | He is pure, immeasurable [mind]. | He is an aeon-giving aeon. | He is [life]- | giving life. He is a blessedness-giving 5 blessed one. He is knowledge-giving | knowledge. [He is] goodness-giving | goodness. [He is] mercy and redemption-[giving mercy]. | He is grace-giving grace, [not] because | he possesses it, but because he gives [the] immeasurable, 10 incomprehensible [light].

[How am I to speak] with you about him? His | [aeon] is indestructible, at rest and | existing in [silence, reposing] (and) being | prior [to everything. For he] is the head of [all] the aeons, | [and] it is he who gives them strength in 15 his goodness. For [we know] not | [the ineffable things, and we] do not understand what | [is immeasurable], except for him who came forth | [from] him, namely (from) [the] Father. For it is he | who [told] it to us [alone]. For it is he who looks 20 at him[self] in his light which surrounds | [him], namely the spring [of the] water of life. And | it is he who gives to [all] the [aeons] and in every way, (and) who | [gazes upon] his image which he sees | in the spring of the [Spirit]. It is he who puts his desire in his 25 [water]-light [which is in the] spring of the | [pure light]-water [which] surrounds him.

And | [his thought performed] a deed and she came forth, | [namely] she who had [appeared] before him | in [the shine of] his light. This is 30 the first [power which was] before all of them | (and) [which came] forth from his mind, She | [is the forethought of the All] — her light | [shines like his] light — the [perfect] | power which is [the] image of the invisible, 35 virginal Spirit who is perfect. | [The first power], the glory of Barbelo, the perfect 5 glory in the aeons, the glory of the | revelation, she glorified the virginal | Spirit and it was she who praised him, because thanks to him | she had come forth. This is the first thought, 5 his image; she became the womb of everything | for it is she who is prior to them all, the | Mother-Father, the first man, the holy Spirit, | the thrice-male, the thrice-powerful, | the thrice-named androgynous one, and the 10 eternal aeon among the invisible ones, and | the first to come forth.

<She> requested from | the invisible, virginal Spirit — | that is Barbelo — to give her foreknowledge. | And the Spirit consented. And when he had [consented], 15 the foreknowledge came forth, and | it stood by the forethought; it originates from | the thought of the invisible, | virginal Spirit. It glorified him [and] | his perfect power, Barbelo, for 20 it was for her sake that it had come into being.

“And she requested again | to grant her [indestructibility], and he consented. | When he had [consented], indestructibility | [came] forth, and it stood by | the thought and the foreknowledge. It glorified 25 the invisible One and Barbelo, | the one for whose sake they had come into being.

“And Barbelo requested | to grant her eternal life. And | the invisible Spirit consented. And | when he had consented, eternal life 30 came forth, and [they attended] and glorified | the invisible [Spirit] and Barbelo, | the one for whose sake they had come into being.

“And she requested again | to grant her truth. And the invisible Spirit | consented. (IV 8, 24f.: And [when he had] consented) truth came forth, 35 and they attended and glorified the invisible, 6 excellent Spirit and his Barbelo, | the one for whose sake they had come into being.

“This is the pentad of the aeons | of the Father, which is the first | man, the image of the invisible Spirit; 5 it is the forethought, which is Barbelo, | and the thought, and the foreknowledge, and | the indestructibility, and the eternal life, and | the truth. This is the androgynous pentad of the aeons, | which is the decad of the aeons, which is 10 the Father.

“And he looked at Barbelo | with the pure light which surrounds the invisible | Spirit and (with) his spark, and she conceived | from him. He begot a spark of light with a light | resembling blessedness. But it does not equal 15 his greatness. This was an only-begotten child | of the Mother-Father which had come forth; | it is the only offspring, the only-begotten one of | the Father, the pure Light.

“And | the invisible, virginal Spirit rejoiced 20 over the light which came forth, that which | was brought forth first by the first power | of his forethought which is Barbelo. | And he anointed it with his goodness | until it became perfect, not lacking 25 in any goodness, because he had anointed it | with the goodness of the invisible Spirit. And | it attended him as he poured upon | it. And immediately when it had received from | the Spirit, it glorified the holy Spirit 30 and the perfect forethought 32 for whose sake it had | come forth.

“And it requested to give it a fellow worker, | which is the mind, and he consented (IV 10, 14: [gladly] ). 35 And when the invisible Spirit had consented, 7 the mind came forth, and it attended | Christ glorifying him and | Barbelo. And all these came into being | in silence.

“And the mind wanted 5 to perform a deed through the word | of the invisible Spirit. And his will became | a deed and it appeared with | the mind; and the light glorified it. | And the word followed the will. 10 For because of the word, Christ | the divine Autogenes created everything. And the | eternal life <and> his will and the mind | and the foreknowledge attended and glorified | the invisible Spirit and Barbelo, 15 for whose sake they had come into being.

“And the holy | Spirit completed the divine Autogenes, | his son, together with Barbelo, | that he may attend the mighty and invisible, | virginal Spirit as the divine 20 Autogenes, the Christ whom he had | honored with a mighty voice. He came forth | through the forethought. And the invisible, | virginal Spirit placed the | divine Autogenes of truth over everything. 25 And he subjected to him every authority, | and the truth which is in him, | that he may know the All which | had been called with a name exalted above | every name. For that name will be mentioned 30 to those who are worthy of it.

“For from the light, | which is the Christ, and the indestructibility, | through the gift of the Spirit the four | lights (appeared) from the divine Autogenes. | He expected that they might attend 8 him. And the three (are) will, | thought, and life. And the four | powers (are) understanding, grace, perception, | and prudence. And grace belongs to 5 the lightaeon Armozel, which | is the first angel. And there are | three other aeons with this aeon: grace, | truth, and form. And the second | light (is) Oriel, who has been placed 10 over the second aeon. And there are | three other aeons with him: conception, perception, | and memory. And the third light | is Daveithai, who has been placed | over the third aeon. And there are 15 three other aeons with him: understanding, | love, and idea. And the fourth | aeon was placed over the fourth | light Eleleth. And there are | three other aeons with him: perfection, 20 peace, and wisdom. These are the four lights | which attend the divine Autogenes, | (and) these are the twelve aeons which attend | the son of the mighty one, the Autogenes, the Christ, | through the will and the gift of the invisible 25 Spirit. And the twelve aeons belong to | the son of the Autogenes. And all things were | established by the will of the holy Spirit | through the Autogenes.

“And from | the foreknowledge of the perfect mind, 30 through the revelation of the will of the invisible | Spirit and the will of the Autogenes, | (the) perfect Man (appeared), the first revelation, | and the truth. It is he whom | the virginal Spirit called Pigera- 35 Adamas, and he placed him over 9 the first aeon with the mighty one, the Autogenes, | the Christ, by the first light Armozel; | and with him are his powers. | And the invisible one gave him a spiritual, 5 invincible power. And he spoke | and glorified and praised the invisible | Spirit, saying, ‘It is for thy sake that everything | has come into being and everything will return to thee. | I shall praise and glorify thee and 10 the Autogenes and the aeons, the three: the Father, | the Mother, and the Son, the perfect power.’

“And he | placed his son Seth over the second | aeon in the presence of the second light | Oriel. And in the third aeon 15 the seed of Seth was placed | over the third light Daveithai. | And the souls of the saints were placed (there). | And in the fourth aeon | the souls were placed of those who do not know the 20 Pleroma and who did not repent at once, | but who persisted for a while and repented | afterwards; they are by the fourth | light Eleleth. These are | creatures which glorify the invisible Spirit. 25

“And the Sophia of the Epinoia, being an aeon, | conceived a thought from herself and | the conception of the invisible Spirit and | foreknowledge. She wanted to bring forth | a likeness out of herself without the consent of the Spirit, 30 — he had not approved — and without her consort, | and without his consideration. And though the person of her | maleness had not approved, | and she had not found her agreement, | and she had thought without the consent of the Spirit 35 and the knowledge of her agreement, (yet) she brought forth. 10 And because of the invincible power which is in her, | her thought did not remain idle and | something came out of her | which was imperfect and different from her appearance, 5 because she had created it without her consort. | And it was dissimilar to the likeness of its mother | for it has another form.

“And when she saw (the consequences of) her | desire, it changed into a form | of a lion-faced serpent. And its eyes 10 were like lightning fires which | flash. She cast it away from her, outside | that place, that no one | of the immortal ones might see it, for she had created it | in ignorance. And she surrounded it with 15 a luminous cloud, and she placed a throne | in the middle of the cloud that no | one might see it except the holy Spirit | who is called the mother of the living. | And she called his name Yaltabaoth.

“This 20 is the first archon who took a great | power from his mother. And he | removed himself from her and moved | away from the places in which he was born. He | became strong and created for himself other aeons with 25 a flame of luminous fire which (still) exists | now. And he joined with his arrogance | which is in him and begot | authorities for himself. The name of the first one | is Athoth, whom the generations call 30 [the reaper]. The second one is Harmas, | who [is the eye] of envy. The third one | is Kalila-Oumbri. The fourth one is Yabel. | The fifth one is Adonaiou, who is called | Sabaoth. The sixth one is Cain, 35 whom the generations of men call | the sun. The seventh is Abel. The | eighth is Abrisene. The ninth is Yobel. 11 The tenth is Armoupieel. The eleventh | is Melceir-Adonein. The twelth | is Belias, it is he who is over the depth | of Hades. And he placed seven kings 5 — each corresponding to the firmaments of heaven — over the | seven heavens, and five over the depth of the abyss, | that they may reign. And he shared his fire | with them, but he did not send forth from | the power of the light which he had taken from his mother, 10 for he is ignorant darkness.

“And | when the light had mixed with the darkness, it caused the | darkness to shine. And when the darkness had mixed with | the light, it darkened the light and it became | neither light nor dark, but it became 15 dim.

“Now the archon who is weak has | three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, | the second is Saklas, and the third is | Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance | which is in him. For he said, 20 ‘I am God and there is no other God | beside me,’ for he is ignorant of his strength, | the place from which he had come.

“And the archons | created seven powers for themselves, and | the powers created for themselves six angels for 25 each one until they became 365 angels. | And these are the bodies belonging with the names: the first is Athoth, | he has a sheep’s face; the second is Eloaiou, | he has a donkey’s face; the third | is Astaphaios, he has a [hyena’s] face; the 30 fourth is Yao, he has a [serpent’s] face with | seven heads; the fifth is Sabaoth, | he has a dragon’s face; the sixth is Adonin, | he had a monkey’s face; the seventh is Sabbede, | he has a shining fire-face. This is the 35 sevenness of the week.

“But Yaltabaoth | had a multitude 12 of faces more than all of them | so that he could put a face before | all of them, according to his desire, when he is in | the midst of seraphs. He shared 5 his fire with them; | therefore he became lord over them. Because of the power of | the glory he possessed of his mother’s | light, he called | himself God. And he did not 10 obey the place from which he came. And | he united | the seven powers in his thought with the authorities which were with him. | And when he spoke it happened. And | he named each power beginning 15 with the highest: the first is | goodness with the first (authority), Athoth; | the second is foreknowledge with | the second one, Eloaio; and the third | is Astraphaio (II has been corrected by a later hand to read: and the third is divinity with the third one, Astraphaio); the fourth is 20 lordship with the fourth one, Yao; | the fifth is kingdom with the fifth one, | Sabaoth; the sixth is envy with | the sixth one, Adonein; the seventh | is understanding with the seventh one, 25 Sabbateon. And these have | a firmament corresponding to each aeon-heaven. They were | given names according to the glory which belongs to heaven | for the [destruction of the] powers. And in the names which were | given to [them by] their Originator 30 there was power. But the names which were given | them according to the glory which belongs to heaven mean | for them destruction and powerlessness. | Thus they have two names. |

“And (IV 20, 11: having created [ ]) everything he organized according to the model of the first 35 aeons which had come into being, so that he might 13 create them like the indestructible ones. Not because | he had seen the indestructible ones, but the power | in him, which he had taken from | his mother, produced in him the likeness of 5 the cosmos. And when he saw the creation which surrounds | him and the multitude of the angels around | him which had come forth from him, | he said to them, ‘I am a jealous God | and there is no other God beside me.’ But by 10 announcing this he indicated to the angels | who attended him that there exists another God. | For if there were no other one, of whom | would he be jealous?

Then the mother began | to move to and fro. She became aware of the deficiency when 15 the brightness of her light diminished. And she | became dark because her consort | had not agreed with her.”

And I | said, “Lord, what does it mean that she moved to and fro?” But he | smiled and said, “Do not think it is, as 20 Moses said, ‘above | the waters.’ No, but when she had seen | the wickedness which had happened, and the theft which | her son had committed, she repented. | And she was overcome by forgetfulness in the darkness of 25 ignorance and she began to be ashamed. (IV 21, 13–15: And she did not dare | to return, but she was moving) | about. And the moving is the going to and fro.

“And the | arrogant one took a power from | his mother. For he was ignorant, | thinking that there existed no other except 30 his mother alone. And when he saw the multitude | of the angels which he had created, then he exalted | himself above them.

“And when | the mother recognized that the garment of darkness | was imperfect, then she knew 35 that her consort had not agreed | with her. She repented 14 with much weeping. And the whole | pleroma heard the prayer of her repentance | and they praised on her behalf | the invisible, virginal 5 Spirit. (IV 22, 5–7: And | he consented; and when the invisible Spirit | had consented), the holy Spirit poured | over her from their whole pleroma. | For it was not her consort who came to her, | but he came to her through the pleroma | in order that he might correct her deficiency. And she was taken 10 up not to her own aeon |

but above her son, that she might be | in the ninth until she has corrected her | deficiency.

“And a voice came forth from the exalted | aeon-heaven: ‘The Man exists and 15 the son of Man.’ And the chief archon, Yaltabaoth, | heard (it) and thought that the | voice had come from his mother. | And he did not know from where it came. And | he taught them, the holy and perfect Mother-Father, 20 the complete foreknowledge, | the image of the invisible one who is the Father | of the all (and) through whom everything came into being, | the first Man. For he revealed his likeness | in a human form.

“And the 25 whole aeon of the chief archon trembled, | and the foundations of the abyss shook. And | of the waters which are above | matter, the underside was illuminated by | the appearance of his image which 30 had been revealed. And when all the authorities | and the chief archon looked, they | saw the whole region of the underside which was | illuminated. And through the light they saw | the form of the image in the water. 15

“And he said to the authorities which attend him, | ‘Come, let us create a man according to | the image of God and according to our likeness, that | his image may become a light for us.’ 5 And they created by means of their respective powers | in correspondence with the characteristics which were given. And | each authority supplied a characteristic | in the form of the image which he had seen | in its natural (form). He created a being 10 according to the likeness of the first, perfect Man. | And they said, ‘Let us call him | Adam, that his name may become | a power of light for us.’

“And the powers | began: the first one, goodness, created 15 a bonesoul; and the second, foreknowledge, | created a sinew-soul; the third, | divinity, created a flesh-soul; | and the fourth, the lordship, created | a marrow-soul; the fifth, kingdom 20 created a blood-soul; the sixth, | envy, created a skin-soul; | the seventh, understanding, created | a hairsoul. And the multitude | of the angels attended him and they received 25 from the powers the seven substances | of the natural (form) in order to create | the proportions of the limbs and the proportion of the rump | and the proper working together of each | of the parts.

“The first one began to create 30 the head. Eteraphaope-Abron created | his head; Meniggesstroeth created | the brain; Asterechme (created) the right eye; | Thaspomocha (created) the left eye; | Yeronumos (created) the right ear; Bissoum (created) 35 the left ear; Akioreim (created) the nose; 16 Banen-Ephroum (created) the lips; Amen (created) | the teeth; Ibikan (created) the molars; Basiliademe (created) | the tonsils; Achcha (created) the uvula; Adaban (created) | the neck; Chaaman (created) the vertebrae; 5 Dearcho (created) the throat; Tebar (created) the (IV 25, 4–5: right shoulder; | [… (created) the]) left | shoulder; Mniarcon (created) the (IV 25, 6–7: right | elbow; [… (created) the])left elbow; | Abitrion (created) the right underarm; | Evanthen (created) the left underarm; Krys (created) the right hand; | Beluai (created) the left hand; Treneu 10 (created) the fingers of the right hand; Balbel | (created) the fingers of the left hand; Kriman (created) the nails | of the hands; Astrops (created) the right breast; | Barroph (created) the left breast; Baoum (created) the right | shoulder joint; Ararim (created) the left shoulder joint; Areche (created) 15 the belly; Phthave (created) the navel; Senaphim (created) | the abdomen; Arachethopi (created) the right | ribs; Zabedo (created) the left ribs; | Barias (created) the (IV 25, 19–20: right | hip; Phnouth the) left hip; Abenlenarchei (created) | the marrow; Chnoumeninorin (created) the bones; 20 Gesole (created) the stomach; Agromauna (created) | the heart; Bano (created) the lungs; Sostrapal (created) | the liver; Anesimalar (created) the spleen; Thopithro | (created) the intestines; Biblo (created) the kidneys; | Roeror (created) the sinews; Taphreo (created) the spine 25 of the body; Ipouspoboba (created) the veins; | Bineborin (created) the arteries; Atoimenpsephei, | theirs are the breaths which are in all the limbs; | Entholleia (created) all the flesh; Bedouk (created) | the right buttock (?); Arabeei (created) the left penis; 30 Eilo (created) the testicles; Sorma (created) the genitals; Gorma-Kaiochlabar | (created) the right thigh; Nebrith (created) | the left thigh; Pserem (created) the kidneys of | the right leg; Asaklas (created) the left | kidney; Ormaoth (created) the right leg; 35 Emenun (created) the left leg; Knyx (created) the 17 right shin-bone; Tupelon (created) the left shin-bone; | Achiel (created) the right knee; Phnene (created) the | left knee; Phiouthrom (created) the right foot; | Boabel (created) its toes; Trachoun (created) 5 the left foot; Phikna (created) its toes; | Miamai (created) the nails of the feet; Labernioum —. |

“And those who were appointed over all of these | are: Zathoth, Armas, Kalila, Jabel, (IV 26, 19–20: Sabaoth, Cain, | Abel). And | those who are particularly active in the limbs 10 (are) the head Diolimodraza, the neck Yammeax, | the right shoulder Yakouib, the | left shoulder Verton, the right hand | Oudidi, the left one Arbao, the fingers of the right hand | Lampno, the fingers of the left hand 15 Leekaphar, the right breast Barbar, the | left breast Imae, the chest Pisandriaptes, | the right shoulder joint Koade, the left shoulder joint | Odeor, the right ribs Asphixix, the left | ribs Synogchouta, the belly Arouph 20 the womb Sabalo, the right thigh | Charcharb, the left thigh Chthaon, | all the genitals Bathinoth, the right | leg Choux, the left leg Charcha, | the right shin-bone Aroer, the left shin-bone 25 Toechtha, the right knee Aol, the left | knee Charaner, the right foot | Bastan, its toes Archentechtha, the | left foot Marephnounth, its toes | Abrana.

“Seven have power over 30 all of these: Michael, Ouriel, | Asmenedas, Saphasatoel, Aarmouriam, | Richram, Amiorps. And the ones who are in charge over the senses | (are) Archendekta; and he who is in charge over the receptions | (is) Deitharbathas; and he who is in charge over the imagination 35 (is) Oummaa; and he who is over the composition 18 Aachiaram, and he who is over the whole impulse | Riaramnacho.

“And the origin of the demons | which are in the whole body is determined to be four: | heat, cold, wetness, 5 and dryness. And the mother of all of them is matter. | And he who reigns over the heat (is) Phloxopha; | and he who reigns over the cold | is Oroorrothos; and he who reigns over | what is dry (is) Erimacho; and he who reigns 10 over the wetness (is) Athuro. And the mother of all of these, | Onorthochrasaei, stands in their midst | since she is illimitable, and she mixes | with all of them. And she is truly matter, | for they are nourished by her.

“The four 15 chief demons are: Ephememphi who | belongs to pleasure, Yoko who belongs to desire, | Nenentophni who belongs to grief, Blaomen | who belongs to fear. And the mother of them all is | Aesthesis-Ouch-Epi-Ptoe. And from the four 20 demons passions came forth. | And from grief (came) envy, jealousy, | distress, trouble, pain, | callousness, anxiety, mourning, | etc. And from pleasure 25 much wickedness arises, and empty | pride, and similar things. | And from desire (comes) anger, wrath, | and bitterness, and bitter passion, | and unsatedness, and similar things. 30 And from fear (comes) dread, | fawning, agony, and shame. All of these | are like useful things as well as evil things. | But the insight into their true (character) is Anaro, | who is the head of the material soul, 19 for it belongs with the seven senses, Ouch-Epi-Ptoe. |

“This is the number of the angels: | together they are 365. They | all worked on it until, 5 limb for limb, the natural and | the material body was completed by them. Now there are | other ones in charge over the remaining passions | whom I did not mention to you. But if you | wish to know them, it is written in 10 the book of Zoroaster. And | all the angels and demons worked | until they had constructed the natural body. | And their product was completely | inactive and motionless for a long time. 15

“And when the mother wanted to retrieve | the power which she had given to the chief archon, | she petitioned the Mother-Father | of the All who is most merciful. He sent, | by means of the holy decree, the five lights 20 down upon the place of the angels of | the chief archon. They advised him that they should | bring forth the power of the mother. And they said | to Yaltabaoth, ‘Blow into his face | something of your spirit and 25 his body will arise.’ And he blew | into his face the spirit which is the power | of his mother; he did not know (this), for he exists | in ignorance. And the power | of the mother went out of 30 Yaltabaoth into the natural body | which they had fashioned after the image of the one who | exists from the beginning. The body moved and gained strength, | and it was luminous. |

“And in that moment the rest of the powers 20 became jealous, because he had come into being | through all of them and they had given their | power to the man, and his intelligence was greater | than that of those who had made him, and 5 greater than that of the chief archon. And when they recognized | that he was luminous, and that he could think better | than they, and that he was free from wickedness, they took | him and threw him into the lowest region | of all matter.

“But the blessed One, the Mother-Father, 10 the beneficent and merciful One, | had mercy on the power of the mother | which had been brought forth out of the chief archon, | for they (the archons) might gain power over the | natural and perceptible body. And he 15 sent, through his beneficent | Spirit and his great mercy, a helper | to Adam, luminous Epinoia | which comes out of him, who is called | Life. And she assists the whole creature, 20 by toiling with him and by restoring | him to his fullness and by | teaching him about the descent of his | seed (and) by teaching him about the way of ascent, | (which is) the way he came down. 25 And the luminous Epinoia was hidden in Adam, | in order that the archons might not know her, | but that the Epinoia might be a correction | of the deficiency of the mother.

“And the man came forth | because of the shadow of the light 30 which is in him. And his thinking | was superior to all those who had made him. | When they looked up they saw | that his thinking was superior. And they took | counsel with the whole array of archons 35 and angels. They took fire and earth 21 and water and mixed them together | with the four fiery winds. And they wrought them | together and caused a great | disturbance. And they brought him (Adam) into the shadow 5 of death in order that they might form (him) again | from earth and water and fire | and the spirit which originates in matter, which is | the ignorance of darkness and desire, | and their counterfeit spirit. This 10 is the tomb of the newly-formed body | with which the robbers had clothed the man, | the bond of forgetfulness; and he became a | mortal man. This is the first one who came down | and the first separation. But the 15 Epinoia of the light which was in him, | she is the one who was to awaken his thinking.

“And | the archons took him and placed | him in paradise. And they said to him, | ‘Eat, that is at leisure,’ for 20 their luxury is bitter and their beauty is depraved. | And their luxury is deception and | their trees are godlessness and their fruit | is deadly poison and their | promise is death. And the tree of their 25 life they had placed in the midst of paradise. |

“And I shall teach you (pl.) | what is the mystery of their life, | which is the plan which they made together, | which is the likeness of their spirit. 30 The root of this (tree) is bitter and its branches | are death, its shadow is hate | and deception is in its leaves, | and its blossom is the ointment of evil, | and its fruit is death and 35 desire is its seed, and | it sprouts in darkness. The 22 dwelling place of those who taste from it is | Hades and the darkness is their place of rest. |

“But what they call | the tree of knowledge of good and 5 evil, which is the Epinoia of the light, | they stayed in front of it in order that he (Adam) might not | look up to his fullness and | recognize the nakedness of his shamefulness. | But it was I who brought about that they ate.”

And 10 I said to the savior, “Lord, was it not the serpent | that taught Adam to eat?” | The savior smiled and said, “The serpent taught them | to eat from wickedness of begetting, | lust, (and) destruction, that he (Adam) might 15 be useful to him. And he (Adam) knew that he was | disobedient to him (the chief archon) due to light of the Epinoia | which is in him, which made him more correct in his | thinking than the chief archon. And (the latter) | wanted to bring about the power which he himself had given 20 him. And he brought a forgetfulness | over Adam.

And I said to the savior, “What is | the forgetfulness?” And he said, “It is not the way Moses | wrote (and) you heard. For he said in | his first book, ‘He put him to sleep’ (Gn 2: 21), but 25 (it was) in his perception. For also he said through the | prophet, ‘I will make their | hearts heavy that they may not pay attention and may not | see’ (Is 6: 10).

“Then the Epinoia of the light | hid herself in him (Adam). And the chief archon wanted 30 to bring her out of his rib. | But the Epinoia of the light cannot be grasped. | Although darkness pursued her, it did not catch her. And | he brought a part of his power | out of him. And he made another creature 35 in the form of a woman according to the likeness of the Epinoia | which had appeared to him. And he brought 23 the part which he had taken from the power | of the man into the female creature, | and not as Moses said, | ‘his rib-borne.’

“And he (Adam) saw the woman beside 5 him. And in that moment | the luminous Epinoia appeared, and she lifted | the veil which lay over his mind. | And he became sober from the drunkenness of darkness. | And he recognized his counter-image, and he said, 10 ‘This is indeed bone of my bones | and flesh of my flesh.’ Therefore | the man will leave his father and his | mother and he will cleave to his wife and they will | both be one flesh. For they 15 will send him his consort, | and he will leave his father and his mother. {….} 20

“And our sister | Sophia (is) she who came down in innocence | in order to rectify her deficiency. | Therefore she was called Life, which is | the mother of the living, by the foreknowledge 25 of the sovereignty of heaven (IV 36, 18–20: and [          ] to him [          ].) And through her | they have tasted the perfect Knowledge. I appeared | in the form of an eagle on | the tree of knowledge, which is the Epinoia | from the foreknowledge of the pure light, 30 that I might teach them and awaken | them out of the depth of sleep. For they | were both in a fallen state and they | recognized their nakedness. The Epinoia | appeared to them as a light (and) she awakened 35 their thinking.

“And when Yaldabaoth | noticed that they withdrew from him, | he cursed his earth. He found the woman as she was 24 preparing herself for her husband. He was lord | over her though he did not know the mystery | which had come to pass through the holy decree. | And they were afraid to blame him. And 5 he showed his angels his | ignorance which is in him. And | he cast them out of paradise and | he clothed them in gloomy darkness. And the | chief archon saw the virgin who stood 10 by Adam, and that the luminous | Epinoia of life had appeared in her. | And Yaldabaoth was full of ignorance. | And when the foreknowledge of the All | noticed (it), she sent some and they snatched 15 life out of Eve.

“And the chief archon | seduced her and he begot in her | two sons; the first and the second | (are) Eloim and Yave. Eloim has a bear-face | and Yave has a cat-face. The one 20 is righteous but the other is unrighteous. (IV 38, 4–6: Yave | is righteous but Eloim is | unrighteous.) | Yave he set | over the fire and the wind, and Eloim he set | over the water and | the earth. And these he called with the names 25 Cain and Abel with a view to deceive. |

“Now up to the present day | sexual intercourse continued due to the chief archon. | And he planted sexual desire | in her who belongs to Adam. And he produced through 30 intercourse the copies of the bodies, | and he inspired them with his counterfeit spirit. |

“And the two archons he set | over principalities so that | they might rule over the tomb. 35 And when Adam recognized the likeness of his own | foreknowledge, he begot the likeness 25 of the son of man. He called him Seth | according to the way of the race in the aeons. Likewise | the mother also sent down her spirit | which is in her likeness and a 5 copy of those who are in the pleroma, for she will | prepare a dwelling place for the aeons which will come | down. And he made them drink water of forgetfulness, | from the chief archon, in order that they might not | know from where they came. Thus 10 the seed remained for | a while assisting (him) in order that, when | the Spirit comes forth from | the holy aeons, he may raise up and | heal him from the deficiency, that the 15 whole pleroma may (again) become holy and | faultless.”

And I said to the savior, | “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely | into the pure light?” He answered | and said to me, “Great things 20 have arisen in your mind, for it is | difficult to explain them to others | except to those who are from | the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life | will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, 25 they will be saved and become perfect | and be worthy of the greatness and | be purified in that place from | all wickedness and the involvements in evil. | Then they have no other care than 30 the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention | from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy | or desire and greed of | anything. They are not affected by | anything except the state of being in 35 the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly | for the time when they will be met 26 by the receivers (of the body). Such | then are worthy of the imperishable, | eternal life and the calling. For they endure | everything and bear up under 5 everything, that they may finish | the good fight and inherit | eternal life.”

I said to him, “Lord, | the souls of those who did not do these works, | (but) on whom the power and Spirit 10 descended, (IV 40, 24–25: will they be rejected?” He | answered and said to me, “If) the | Spirit (IV 40, 24–25: descended upon them), they will in any case be saved | and they will change (for the better). For the | power will descend on every man, | for without it no one can stand. 15 And after they are born, then, | when the Spirit of life increases and | the power comes and strengthens that soul, | no one can lead it astray | with works of evil. 20 But those on whom the counterfeit spirit | descends are drawn by | him and they go astray.”

And I | said, “Lord, where will the souls of these go | when they have come out of their 25 flesh?” And he smiled | and said to me, “The soul, in which the power | will become stronger than the counterfeit spirit, | is strong and it flees from | evil and, through 30 the intervention of the incorruptible one, it is saved | and it is taken up to the rest | of the aeons.”

And I said, “Lord, | those, however, who have not known | to whom they belong, where will their souls 35 be?” And he said to me, | “In those the despicable spirit has 27 gained strength when they went astray. And he | burdens the soul and draws it | to the works of evil, and he casts | it down into forgetfulness. And after it 5 comes out of (the body), it is handed over to the authorities, | who came into being through the archon, and | they bind it with chains and cast | it into prison and consort with it | until it is liberated from the forgetfulness and 10 acquires knowledge. And if thus it | becomes perfect, it is saved.”

And I | said, “Lord, how can the soul become smaller | and return into the nature | of its mother or into man?” Then 15 he rejoiced when I asked him this, and | he said to me, “Truly, you are blessed, | for you have understood! That soul | is made to follow another one (fem.), since the Spirit of | life is in it. It is saved through 20 him. It is not again cast | into another flesh.”

And I said, | “Lord, these also who did not know but | have turned away, where will their | souls go?” Then he said to me, “To that place 25 where the angels of poverty go | they will be taken, the place | where there is no repentance. And | they will be kept for the day on which | those who have blasphemed the spirit will be tortured, 30 and they will be punished with eternal punishment.” |

And I said, “Lord, | from where did the counterfeit spirit come?” | Then he said to me, “The Mother-Father | who is rich in mercy, the holy Spirit 35 in every way, the One who is merciful and 28 who sympathizes with you (pl.), i.e. the | Epinoia of the foreknowledge of light, | he raised up the offspring of the perfect | race and its thinking and the eternal 5 light of man. When | the chief archon realized that they were exalted | above him in the height — and they surpass | him in thinking — then he wanted to seize their | thought, not knowing that they surpassed 10 him in thinking and that he will not be able | to seize them.

“He made a plan | with his authorities, which are his powers, | and they committed together adultery with Sophia, and | bitter fate was begotten through them, 15 which is the last of the changeable bonds. | And it is of a sort that | is interchangeable. And it is harder and | stronger than she with whom | the gods united and the angels and the demons 20 and all the generations until this day. | For from that fate | came forth every sin and | injustice and blasphemy and the chain | of forgetfulness and ignorance and every 25 severe command and serious sins | and great fears. And thus | the whole creation was made blind, | in order that they may not know God who is | above all of them. And because of the chain of forgetfulness 30 their sins were hidden. For they are bound with | measures and times and moments, | since it (fate) is lord over everything.

“And he (the chief archon) | repented for everything which had come into being | through him. This time he planned 35 to bring a flood 29 upon the work of man. But the greatness | of the light of the foreknowledge informed | Noah, and he proclaimed (it) to all the offspring | which are the sons of men. But 5 those who were strangers to him did not listen to him. | It is not as Moses said, | ‘They hid themselves in an ark’ (Gn 7: 7), but | they hid themselves in a place, not | only Noah but also many other people 10 from the immovable race. They went | into a place and hid themselves in a | luminous cloud. And he (Noah) recognized his authority, | and she who belongs to the light was with him, | having shone on them because 15 he (the chief archon) had brought darkness upon the whole earth. |

“And he made a plan with his powers. | He sent his angels to the daughters | of men, that they might take some of them for themselves | and raise offspring 20 for their enjoyment. And at first they did not succeed. | When they had no success, they gathered | together again and they made | a plan together. They created | a counterfeit spirit, who resembles the Spirit who had descended, 25 so as to pollute the souls through it. | And the angels changed themselves in their | likeness into the likeness of their (the daughters of men) mates, | filling them with the spirit of darkness, | which they had mixed for them, and with evil. 30 They brought gold and silver | and a gift and copper and iron | and metal and all kinds | of things. And they steered the people | who had followed them 30 into great troubles, by leading them astray | with many deceptions. They (the people) became old without having enjoyment. | They died, not having found truth and | without knowing the God of truth. And 5 thus the whole creation became enslaved forever, | from the foundation of the world | until now. And they took women | and begot children out of the darkness according to | the likeness of their spirit. And they closed their hearts, 10 and they hardened themselves through the hardness | of the counterfeit spirit until now.

“I, | therefore, the perfect Pronoia of the all, | changed myself into my seed, for I existed | first, going on every road. 15 For I am the richness of the light; | I am the remembrance of the pleroma.

“And I | went into the realm of darkness and | I endured till I entered the middle | of the prison. And the foundations of chaos 20 shook. And I hid myself from them because of | their wickedness, and they did not recognize me.

“Again | I returned for the second time | and I went about. I came forth from those who belong to the light, | which is I the remembrance of the Pronoia. 25 I entered into the midst of darkness and | the inside of Hades, since I was seeking (to accomplish) | my task. And the foundations of chaos | shook, that they might fall down upon those who | are in chaos and might destroy them. 30 And again I ran up to my root of light | lest they be destroyed before | the time.

“Still for a third time | I went — I am the light | which exists in the light, I am 35 the remembrance of the Pronoia — that I might | enter into the midst of darkness and the inside 31 of Hades. And I filled my face with | the light of the completion of their aeon. | And I entered into the midst of their prison | which is the prison of the body. And 5 I said, ‘He who hears, let him get up from the deep | sleep.’ And he wept and shed tears. | Bitter tears he wiped from | himself and he said, ‘Who is it that calls my | name, and from where has this hope come to me, 10 while I am in the chains of the prison?’ And | I said, ‘I am the Pronoia of the pure light; | I am the thinking of the virginal | Spirit, who raised you up to the honored | place. Arise and remember 15 that it is you who hearkened, and follow | your root, which is I, the merciful one, and | guard yourself against | the angels of poverty and the demons | of chaos and all those who ensnare you, 20 and beware of the | deep sleep and the enclosure of the inside | of Hades.’

“And I raised him up | and sealed him in the light | of the water with five seals, in order that 25 death might not have power over him from this time on.

“And | behold, now I shall go up to the perfect | aeon. I have completed everything for you | in your hearing. And I | have said everything to you that you might write 30 them down and give them secretly to your fellow spirits, | for this is the mystery of the immovable race.” |

And the savior presented these things to him that | he might write them down and keep them | secure. And he said to him, “Cursed be 35 everyone who will exchange these things for a gift | or for food or for | drink or for clothing or for any other such thing.” 32 And these things were presented to him | in a mystery, and immediately | he disappeared from him. | And he went to his fellow disciples and related 5 to them what the savior had told him. |

Jesus Christ, Amen. |

The | Apocryphon | According to John

| 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.

[ 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.

( 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.

< 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.

{ Braces indicate superfluous letters or words added by the scribe.

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. 104


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