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NAG HAMMADI CODICES- The Gospel of Philip- by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

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The Musical – What do apocryphical gnostic scriptures tell about early christendom and today´s events ? 

NAG HAMMADI CODICES-

THE GOSPEL OF PHILIP (II,3)

by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

Introduced and translated by

Wesley W. Isenberg

The Gospel of Philip is a compilation of statements pertaining primarily to the meaning and value of sacraments within the context of a Valentinian conception of the human predicament and life after death.

Like the gospels of the New Testament canon these statements employ a variety of literary types: aphorism, analogy, parable, paraenesis, polemic, narrative dialogue, dominical sayings, biblical exegesis, and dogmatic propositions. However, The Gospel of Philip is not a gospel like one of the New Testament gospels. To be sure, it does provide the occasional word or deed of Jesus. It contains seventeen sayings of Jesus, nine of which are citations and interpretations of Jesus’ words already found in the canonical gospels (55, 33–34; 57, 3–5; 68, 8–12; 68, 26–27; 72, 33–73, 1; 77, 18; 83, 11–13; 84, 7–9; 85, 29–31). The new sayings (55, 37–56, 3; 58, 10–14; 59, 25–27; 63, 29–30; 64, 2–9; 64, 10–12; 67, 30–35; and 74, 25–27), identified by the formula introducing them (“he said,” “the Lord said,” or “the Savior said”) are brief and enigmatic and are best interpreted from a gnostic perspective. There are also a few stories about Jesus; they are similar to those in the early Christian apocryphal gospels. During a revelation on a mountain he appeared larger than life to his disciples (57, 28–58, 10). His three female companions were each named Mary (59, 6–11), though he had an apparent preference for Mary Magdalene (63, 32–36). After he had put seventy-two colors into a single vat in the dye-works of Levi, they coalesced into white (63, 25–30). Philip the apostle is said to be the source of the story that Joseph the carpenter made the cross on which his offspring later hung (73, 8–15).

These few sayings and stories about Jesus, however, are not set in any kind of narrative framework like one of the New Testament gospels. In fact, The Gospel of Philip is not organized in a way that can be conveniently outlined. Although some continuity is achieved through an association of ideas (cf. 51, 29–52, 35), a series of contrasts) or by catchwords (cf. 77, 15–78, 24, the word love), the line of thought is rambling and disjointed. Complete changes of subject are common.

The text gives the impression of logical coherence because of the recurrence of certain themes (e.g., the meaning of the names of Jesus, 56, 3–15; 62, 7–17; 63, 21–24; the need to experience resurrection before one dies, 56, 15–20; 56, 26–57, 22; 66, 16–23; 73, 1–8; putting on light to escape the hostile powers, 70, 5–9; 76, 22–77–1; 86, 4–10), but this coherence is probably more coincidental than planned.

It is possible that the compiler of this collection purposely disjoined what were once whole paragraphs of thought and distributed the pieces in various places in this work. A clear thought results if one joins 70, 5–9 with 76, 22–77, 1 and 66, 7–29, in that order. Indefinite pronouns gain proper antecedents in the process. Similarly 75, 13–14 seems to provide the theme amplified by 61, 36–62, 5. In 63, 5–11 one has the analogy prefacing the point made in 70, 22–29.

Since The Gospel of Philip is eccentrically arranged, its contents can best be considered by reference to summarizing statements. The statement at 69, 1–4 reflects a dominant concern, the mysteries of the bridal chamber, and distinguishes those who may participate — the free men and virgins — from those who may not — the animals, slaves, and defiled women.

Those excluded from the bridal chamber are described entirely in negative terms. We learn, inter alia, that animals and men must remain separate (78, 25–28; 75, 25–26). But “there are many animals in the world which are in human form” (81, 7–8). If one is an “animal” he belongs “outside or below” rather than “above” or “within” (79, 5–11). “Slaves” are to be contrasted with “sons” (52, 2–6), with “children” (81, 12–14) and with the “free” (79, 13–18). A “slave” is one who commits sin (77, 18), who is ignorant of the inner wickedness which enslaves him (83, 18–29; 85, 24). “Defiled women” are all women who participate in sexual intercourse, i.e., in “the marriage of defilement,” which is fleshly and lustful (81, 34–82, 10). Unclean spirits seek to defile men and woman sexually (65, 1–23).

“Free men and virgins” are the opposite of “animals, slaves, and defiled women.” A virgin has never been defiled by sexual intercourse (55, 27–28; cf. 81, 34–82, 8). The “free man” does not sin (77, 15–18). He neither fears the flesh nor loves it (66, 4–6). He is endangered by the deceptions of the archons who seek to enslave him (54, 16–31). “Free men and virgins” are those called “Christians” (74, 13–16), who possess “the resurrection, the light, the cross, the holy spirit” (74, 18–21).

According to this gospel the existential malady of humanity results from the differentiation of the sexes. When Eve was separated from Adam, the original androgynous unity was broken (68, 22–26). The purpose of Christ’s coming is to reunite Adam and Eve (70, 12–17). Just as a husband and wife unite in the bridal chamber, so also the reunion effected by Christ takes place in a bridal chamber, the sacramental one (70, 17–22), where a person receives a foretaste and assurance of ultimate union with an angelic, heavenly counterpart (cf. 58, 10–14).

This leads us to another summarizing statement (67, 27–30), “The lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber.” The sentence probably describes five stages of a complete initiation, rather than five separate, unrelated sacraments. It is possible that “bridal chamber” is a covering term for the whole initiation, since a particular benefit of one stage of the initiation (e.g., “light,” associated usually with chrism, 67, 5–6; 69, 12–14; 57, 27–28) is also connected with bridal chamber (86, 4–11; cf. 70, 5–9). In 74, 12–24 the person anointed in chrism is said to possess everything — resurrection, light, the cross, the holy spirit — but then the author adds, “the father gave him this in the bridal chamber.” Conversely, what one expects to be connected with bridal chamber appears in reference to eucharist (58, 10–14) or baptism and chrism (69, 4–14).

The Gospel of Philip does not describe, step by step, the ritual of all or any of the five stages of initiation. It does explain, however, that in baptism one “goes down into the water and comes up” with the gift of the name “Christian,” so that one can say, “I am a Christian” (64, 22–31; cf. 77, 9–12). The analogy of God as a dyer suggests that baptism was by immersion (61, 12–20). The initiate takes off his clothes before entering the water so that he may put on the perfect man as a new garment (75, 21–25). That the chrism was a warm perfumed oil is apparent from references to the chrism as fire (67, 5–9; 57, 27–28) and to the oil as being fragrant (77, 36–78, 7; 82, 15–23). Perhaps a trinitarian formula was used at the moment of anointing (67, 19–24). The priest consecrates the bread and the cup for the eucharist (77, 2–8). The consecrated cup contains wine mixed with water (75, 14–21). The consecrated bread is “bread from heaven,” food fit for the initiate (55, 10–14). To partake of the bread and the cup is to receive “the flesh and the blood” of Jesus (56, 26–57, 22; cf. 63, 21–24). A further ritual called ransom, or redemption, is mentioned, but no details are given. This stage of the initiation is compared to “the holy of the holy” in the Jerusalem temple and is said to take place in the bridal chamber (69, 23–27).

Because of the contents, the eccentric arrangement, and the literary types exhibited, it is likely that The Gospel of Philip is a collection of excerpts mainly from a Christian Gnostic sacramental catechesis. It explains the significance of sacramental rites of initiation, the meaning of sacred names, especially names of Jesus, and provides paraenesis for the life of the initiated. It interprets Biblical passages, particularly from the book of Genesis, makes use of typology, both historical and sacramental, and, as catechists do, argues on the basis of analogy and parable. In these and other ways The Gospel of Philip resembles the orthodox catechisms from the second through fourth centuries.

The title of this text may be derived merely from the fact that Philip is the only apostle named in it (73, 8), though Philip, along with Thomas and Matthew, had an eminence among Gnostics as a privileged recipient and custodian of dominical revelation. The Coptic text is undoubtedly a translation of a Greek text which was written perhaps as late as the second half of the third century C.E. Because of the interest in the meaning of certain Syriac words (63, 21–23; 56, 7–9), its affinities to Eastern sacramental practice and catecheses, and its ascetic ethics, an origin in Syria is probable.

THE GOSPEL OF PHILIP

II 51, 29–86, 19

A Hebrew makes another Hebrew, 30 and such a person is called | “proselyte.” But a proselyte does not | make another proselyte. […] | just as they […] | and make others like themselves, 52 while [others] simply exist. |

The slave seeks only to be | free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate | of his master. But the son is not only 5 a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. | Those who are heirs | to the dead are themselves dead, | and they inherit the dead. Those | who are heirs to what is living are alive, 10 and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. | The dead are heirs to | nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? | If he who is dead inherits | what is living he will not die, but he who is dead 15 will live even more.

A gentile | does not die, for he has never lived in order that | he may die. He who has believed in the truth | has found life, and this one is in danger of dying, for he is alive. | Since Christ came the world has been 20 created, the cities adorned, | the dead carried out. When we were | Hebrews we were orphans and | had only our mother, but when we became | Christians we had both father and mother. 25

Those who sow in winter reap in summer. | The winter is the world, the summer the other eternal realm (aeon). | Let us sow in the world that | we may reap in the summer. Because of this it is fitting | for us not to pray in the winter. Summer 30 follows winter. But if any man reap | in winter he will not actually reap but only | pluck out, since it will not provide | a harvest for such a person. It is not only […] that it | will […] come forth, but also on the Sabbath 35 […] is barren.

Christ came 53 to ransom some, | to save others, to | redeem others. He ransomed those who were strangers and | made them his own. And he set 5 his own apart, those whom he gave as a pledge | according to his plan. It was not only when he | appeared that he voluntarily laid down his life, | but he voluntarily laid down his life | from the very day the world came into being. 10 Then he came first in order to take it, since | it had been given as a pledge. It fell into the hands of | robbers and was taken captive, but he | saved it. He redeemed the good people | in the world as well as the evil.

Light and darkness, 15 life and death, right and left, | are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. | Because of this neither are the good | good, nor the evil evil, | nor is life life, nor death death. 20 For this reason each one will dissolve | into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted | above the world are indissoluble, | eternal.

Names given | to the worldly are very deceptive, 25 for they divert our thoughts | from what is correct to what is incorrect. | Thus one who hears the word “God” does not perceive | what is correct, but perceives | what is incorrect. So also with “the father” 30 and “the son” and “the holy spirit” and | “life” and “light” and “resurrection” | and “the church” and all the rest — | people do not perceive what is correct but they | perceive what is incorrect, [unless] they 35 have come to know what is correct. The [names which are heard] | are in the world [… 54 deceive. If they] were in the eternal realm (aeon), they would | at no time be used as names in the world. | Nor were they set among | worldly things. They have an end in 5 the eternal realm.

One single name is not uttered | in the world, the name which the father gave | to the son; it is the name above all things: | the name of the father. For the son | would not become father unless he wore 10 the name of the father. | Those who have this name know it, but they do | not speak it. But those who do not have it | do not know it.

But truth brought names into existence | in the world for our sakes because it is not possible 15 to learn it without these names. Truth is one single thing; | it is many things and for our sakes to | teach about this one thing in love through | many things. The rulers (archons) wanted to deceive | man, since they saw that he had 20 a kinship with those that are | truly good. They took the name of those that are good | and gave it to those that are not good, | so that through the names they might deceive | him and bind them to those that are 25 not good. And afterward, what a | favor they do for them! They make them be removed | from those that are not good and place them | among those that are good. These things they knew, | for they wanted to 30 take the free man and make him a | slave to them forever.

There are powers | which […] man, not wishing | him to be [saved], in order that they may | […]. For if man 35 is [saved, there will not] be any sacrifices | […] and animals will not be offered 55 to the powers. Indeed the animals were | the ones to whom they sacrificed. They were indeed offering | them up alive, but when they | offered them up they died. As for man, they offered 5 him up to God dead, and he lived. |

Before Christ came there was no bread | in the world, just as Paradise, the place | where Adam was, had many trees | to nourish the animals but no wheat 10 to sustain man. Man used to feed | like the animals, but when Christ | came, the perfect man, he brought bread | from heaven in order that man might be nourished | with the food of man. The rulers 15 thought that it was by their own power and will | that they were doing what they did, | but the holy spirit in secret | was accomplishing everything through them | as it wished. Truth, 20 which existed since the beginning, is sown everywhere. And | many see it being sown, | but few are they who see it being reaped. |

Some said, “Mary conceived by | the holy spirit.” They are in error. 25 They do not know what they are saying. When | did a woman ever conceive by a woman? | Mary is the virgin whom no | power defiled. She is a | great anathema to the Hebrews, who 30 are the apostles and [the] apostolic men. | This virgin whom no power defiled […] the powers | defile themselves. And the lord [would] not have said | “My [father who is in] heaven” (Mt 16:17) 35 unless [he] had had another father, | but he would have said simply “[My father].” |

The lord said to the disciples, “[…] 56 from every house. Bring into the house | of the father. But do not take (anything) in the house | of the father nor carry it off.”

“Jesus” is a hidden name, | “Christ” is a revealed name. 5 For this reason “Jesus” is not particular | to any language; rather he is always called | by the name “Jesus.” While as for “Christ,” in Syriac it is “Messiah,” | in Greek it is “Christ.” Certainly 10 all the others have it | according to their own language. | “The Nazarene” is he who reveals | what is hidden. Christ has everything | in himself, whether man or angel 15 or mystery, and the father.

Those who say | that the lord died first and (then) | rose up are in error, for he rose up | first and (then) died. If one does not first attain | the resurrection he will not die. As God 20 lives, he would …

No one | will hide a large valuable object | in something large, but many a time | one has tossed countless thousands | into a thing worth a penny. Compare 25 the soul. It is a precious thing and it came to be | in a contemptible body.

Some | are afraid lest they rise naked. | Because of this they wish to rise | in the flesh, and [they] do not know that it is those who 30 wear the [flesh] who are naked. | [It is] those who […] to unclothe | themselves who are not naked. “Flesh | [and blood shall] not inherit the kingdom | [of God]” (1 Co 15:50). What is this which will 57 not inherit? This which is on us. But what | is this, too, which will inherit? It is that which belongs to Jesus | and his blood. Because of this he said, | “He who shall not eat my flesh and drink 5 my blood has not life in him” (Jn 6:53). What | is it? His flesh is the word, and his blood | is the holy spirit. He who has received these has | food and he has drink and clothing. | I find fault with the others who say 10 that it will not rise. Then both of them | are at fault. You (sg.) say | that the flesh will not rise. But tell me | what will rise, that we may honor you (sg.). | You (sg.) say the spirit in the flesh, 15 and it is also this light in the flesh. (But) this too is a matter | which is in the flesh, for whatever you (sg.) shall, say, | you (sg.) say nothing outside the flesh. | It is necessary to rise in this flesh, since | everything exists in it. In this world 20 those who put on garments are better than the | garments. In the kingdom of heaven the garments | are better than those who have put them on.

It is through | water and fire that the whole place is purified — | the visible by visible, 25 the hidden by the hidden. There are some things | hidden through those visible. | There is water in water, there is fire | in chrism.

Jesus took them all by stealth, | for he did not appear as 30 he was, but | in the manner in which [they would] be able to see | him. He appeared to [them all. | He appeared] to the great | as great. He [appeared] 35 to the small as small. He [appeared 58 to the] angels as an angel, and | to men as a man. Because of this his | word hid itself from everyone. Some | indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing 5 themselves, but when he appeared | to his disciples in glory | on the mount he was not small. He | became great, but he made the disciples | great, that they might be able to see 10 him in his greatness.

He said on that day | in the thanksgiving, “You who have joined | the perfect light with the holy spirit, | unite the angels with us also, | as being the images.” Do not despise the lamb, for without it 15 it is not possible to see the king. No one | will be able to go in to the king if he is | naked.

The heavenly man has many more sons | than the earthly man. If the sons of Adam | are many, although they die, 20 how much more the sons of the perfect man, | they who do not die but are | always begotten. The father makes a son, | and the son has not the power to make | a son. For he who has been begotten has not the power 25 to beget, but the son gets | brothers for himself, not sons. All who | are begotten in the world | are begotten in a natural way, and | the others [are nourished] from [the place] whence they have been born. 30 It is from | being promised to the heavenly place | that man [receives] nourishment. | […] him from the mouth. | [And had] the word gone out from that place 59 it would be nourished from the mouth and | it would become perfect. For it is | by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason | we also kiss one another. 5 We receive conception from the grace which is in | one another.

There were three who always walked with | the lord: Mary his mother | and her sister and Magdalene, the one | who was called his companion. 10 His sister and his mother | and his companion were each a Mary. “The father” and “the son” | are single names, “the holy spirit” | is a double name. For they are | everywhere: they are above, they are below; 15 they are in the concealed, they are in the revealed. | The holy spirit is in the revealed: | it is below. It is in the concealed: | it is above.

The saints are served | by evil powers, 20 for they are blinded by the holy spirit | into thinking that they are serving | an (ordinary) man whenever they do so for the saints. | Because of this a disciple | asked the lord one day for something 25 of this world. He said to him, | “Ask your mother, and she will give you | of the things which are another’s.”

The apostles said | to the disciples, “May our entire offering | obtain salt.” 30 They called [Sophia] “salt.” Without it | no offering [is] acceptable. But Sophia | is barren, [without] child. For this reason | she is called “a trace of | salt.” Wherever they will […] 35 in their own way, the holy spirit […, 60 and] her children are many.

What the father possesses | belongs to the son, and the son | himself, so long as he is small, is not | entrusted with what is his. But when 5 he becomes a man his father gives him | all that he possesses.

Those who have gone astray, whom | the spirit (itself) begets, usually go astray also | because of the spirit. Thus, by one and the same breath, | the fire blazes and is put out. 10

Echamoth is one thing and Echmoth another. | Echamoth is Wisdom simply, | but Echmoth is the Wisdom of death which is | the one which | knows death, which is called 15 “the little Wisdom.”

There are | domestic animals, like the bull | and the ass and others of this kind. | Others are wild | and live apart in the deserts. Man ploughs 20 the field by means of the domestic animals, | and from this he is nourished (both) he and | the animals, whether tame or | wild. Compare the perfect | man. It is through powers which are submissive 25 that he ploughs, preparing for everything to come into being. | For it is because of this that the whole place stands, | whether the good or the evil, | the right and the left. The holy spirit | shepherds every one and rules 30 [all] the powers, the “tame” ones | and the “wild” ones, as well as those which are unique. | For indeed he […(and)] shuts them in, | in order that [if …]wish, they will not be able [to escape].

[He who] has been created is 35 [beautiful, but] you (sg.) would <not> find his sons 61 noble creations. If he were not | created but begotten, you (sg.) would find | that his seed was noble. But now | he was created, (and) he begot. What 5 nobility is this? First adultery | came into being, afterward murder. And he | was begotten in adultery, for he was the child | of the serpent. So he became | a murderer, just like his father, and 10 he killed his brother. Indeed every act of sexual intercourse | which has occurred between those unlike | one another is adultery.

God | is a dyer. As the good dyes, | which are called “true,” dissolve 15 with the things dyed in them, so | it is with those whom God has dyed. | Since his dyes are immortal, they become immortal by means of his colors. | Now God dips what he dips 20 in water.

It is not possible | for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist | unless he becomes like | them. This is not the way with man | in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; 25 and he sees the heaven and the earth and | all other things, but he is not these things. | This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you (sg.) saw | something of that place, and you became | those things. You saw the spirit, you 30 became spirit. You saw Christ, you became | Christ. You saw [the father, you] shall become father. | So [in this place] you see | everything and [do] not [see] yourself, | but [in that place] you do see yourself — and what 35 you see you shall [become].

Faith receives, love gives. [No one will be able 62 to receive] without faith. No one will be able to give without | love. Because of this, in order that we may indeed receive, | we believe, and in order that we may love, we give, since | if one gives without love, he has no 5 profit from what he has given. He who | has received something other than the lord is still a Hebrew. |

The apostles who were before us had these names for him: | “Jesus, the Nazorean, Messiah,” that | is, “Jesus, the Nazorean, the Christ.” The last 10 name is “Christ,” the first is “Jesus,” that in | the middle is “the Nazarene.” “Messiah” | has two meanings, both “the Christ” | and “the measured.” “Jesus” in Hebrew is | “the redemption.” “Nazara” is “the truth.” “The 15 Nazarene,” then, is “the truth.” “Christ” | … been measured. It is “the Nazarene” and “Jesus” | who have been measured.

When the pearl is cast | down into the mud it becomes greatly despised, 20 nor if it is anointed with balsam oil | will it become more precious. But it always has | value in the eyes of its owner. | Compare the sons of | God, wherever they may be. 25 They still have value in the eyes of their | father.

If you (sg.) say, “I am a Jew,” | no one will be moved. If you say, “I am a | Roman,” no one will be disturbed. If you say, “I am a Greek, a barbarian, 30 a slave, [a] free man,” no one | will be troubled. [If] you [say], “I am a | Christian,” the […] will tremble. Would | that I might […] like that — the person whose name | […] will not be able to endure 35 [hearing].

God is a 63 man-eater. For this reason men are [sacrificed] | to him. Before men were sacrificed | animals were being sacrificed, since those | to whom they were sacrificed were not gods. 5

Glass decanters and earthenware | jugs are both made by means of fire. | But if glass decanters break | they are done over, for | they came into being through a breath. If earthenware jugs 10 break, however, they are destroyed, | for they came into being without breath.

An ass | which turns a millstone did a hundred miles | walking. When it was loosed | it found that it was still at the same place. 15 There are men who make many journeys, | but make no progress towards | any destination. When evening came upon them, | they saw neither city nor | village, neither human artifact nor natural phenomenon, 20 power nor angel. In vain have the wretches | labored.

The eucharist is Jesus. For | he is called in Syriac “Pharisatha,” | which is “the one who is spread out,” | for Jesus came to crucify the world. 25

The lord went into the dye works | of Levi. He took seventy-two different colors | and threw them into the vat. He took them | out all white. And he said, “Even so | has the son 30 of man come [as] a dyer.”

As for the Wisdom | who is called “the barren,” she | is the mother [of the] angels. And the | companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. | [… loved] her 35 more than [all] the disciples [and used to] | kiss her [often] on her […]. | The rest of [the disciples 64 …]. They said to him, | “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The | savior answered and said to them, | “Why do I not love you 5 like her? When a blind man and one who sees | are both together in darkness, they are no different from | one another. When the light comes, then | he who sees will see the light, and | he who is blind will remain in darkness.” 10

The Lord said, “Blessed is he who | is before he came into being. For he who | is, has been and shall be.”

The superiority | of man is not obvious to the eye, but | lies in what is hidden from view. Consequently he 15 has mastery over the animals which are stronger than he is and | great in terms of the obvious and the hidden. | This enables them to survive. But if | man is separated from them, they slay | one another and bite one another. 20 They ate one another because they did not find | any food. But now they have found food because | man tilled the soil.

If one | go down into the water and come up without | having received anything and says, “I am a Christian,” 25 he has borrowed the name at interest. But if he | receive the holy spirit, he has | the name as a gift. He who has received a | gift does not have to give it back, but of him who | has borrowed it at interest, payment is demanded. This is the way 30 [it happens to one] when he experiences | a mystery.

Great is | the mystery of marriage! For [without] it the world | would [not exist]. Now the existence of | [the world …], and the existence 35 [… marriage]. Think of the [… relationship], for it possesses | […] power. Its image 65 consists of a [defilement].

The forms of evil spirit | include male ones and | female ones. The males are they that | unite with the souls which inhabit 5 a female form, but the females | are they which are mingled with those in a | male form, though one who was disobedient. And none | shall be able to escape them, since they detain him | if he does not receive a male power or a 10 female power, the bridegroom and | the bride. — One receives them from the | mirrored bridal chamber. — When the wanton women | see a male sitting | alone, they leap down on him and 15 play with him and defile him. So | also the lecherous men, when they see a | beautiful woman sitting alone, | they persuade her and compel her, | wishing to defile her. But if they see 20 the man and his wife sitting | beside one another, the female cannot come | in to the man, nor can the male | come in to the woman. So | if the image and the angel are united 25 with one another, neither can any venture | to go in to the man or the woman. |

He who comes out of the world | and so can no longer be detained on the grounds that he was in | the world evidently is above 30 the desire of the […] and fear. | He is master over […]. He is superior to | envy. If […] comes, they seize | him and throttle [him]. And how will [this one] be able to escape the [great …] powers? 35 How will he be able to […] | There are some [who say], | “We are faithful,” in order that [… 66 the unclean spirits] and the demons. | For if they had the holy spirit, | no unclean spirit would cleave | to them. Fear not the flesh nor 5 love it. If you (sg.) fear it, it will gain mastery | over you. If you love it, it will swallow and paralyze you. |

And so he dwells either in this world or in the | resurrection or in the middle place. | God forbid that I be found there! 10 In this world there is good | and evil. Its good things | are not good, and its evil things | not evil. But there is evil after | this world which is truly evil — 15 what is called “the middle.” It | is death. While we are in this world | it is fitting for us to acquire the resurrection, | so that when we strip off the flesh | we may be found in rest and not 20 walk in the middle. For many go astray | on the way. For it is good to come forth | from the world before one | has sinned.

There are some who neither will | nor have the power to; and others who, 25 if they will, do not profit: for | they did not act since, (they believe,) […] makes them | sinners. And if they do not will, justice | will elude them in both cases: | and [it is] always a matter of the will, not the act.

An 30 apostolic man in a vision saw some people | shut up in a house of fire and | bound with fiery […], lying | […] flaming […]. them in | […] faith […]. And they said to them, 35 “[…] able to be saved?” | […] “They did not desire it. They received | […] punishment, what is called 67 ‘the […] darkness,’ because he […]” |

It is from water and fire that the soul | and the spirit came into being. It is from water and | fire and light that the son of 5 the bridal chamber (came into being). The fire is the chrism, the light | is the fire. I am not referring to that fire | which has no form, but to the other fire whose | form is white, which is bright and beautiful, | and which gives beauty.

Truth did not come 10 into the world naked, but it came in | types and images. The world will not receive truth in | any other way. There is a rebirth and an | image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary | to be born again through the image. Which 15 one? Resurrection. The image must | rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and | the image must enter through the image into | the truth: this is the restoration. Not only must those who produce the name of 20 the father and the son and the holy spirit do so, | but <those who> have produced them for you. If one does not acquire | them, the name (“Christian”) will also be taken from him. | But one receives the unction of the […] | of the power of the cross. This power the apostles 25 called “the right and the left.” | For this person is no longer a Christian but | a Christ.

The lord [did] everything in a | mystery, a baptism and a chrism | and a eucharist and a redemption 30 and a bridal chamber.

[…] he said, | “I came to make [the things below] | like the things [above, and the things] | outside like those [inside. I came to unite] | them in the place.” […] 35 here through [types …]. | Those who say, “[There is a heavenly man and] | there is one above [him,” are wrong. | — For it is the first of these two heavenly [men], the one who is revealed, 68 that they call | “the one who is below”; and he to whom the hidden belongs | is (supposed to be) that one who is above him. | For it would be better for them to say, “The inner 5 and the outer, and what | is outside the outer.” Because of this the | lord called destruction “the outer darkness”: | there is not another outside of it. He said, | “My father who is in secret.” He said, 10 “Go into your (sg.) chamber and shut | the door behind you, and pray to your father | who is in secret” (Mt 6:6), the one who is | within them all. But that which is within | them all is the fullness. 15 Beyond it there is nothing else within it. | This is that of which they say, “That which is | above them.”

Before Christ some | came from a place they were no longer | able to enter, and they went where they were no longer 20 able to come out. Then Christ came. | Those who went in he brought out, and | those who went out he brought in.

When | Eve was still in Adam death did not exist. | When she was separated from him death came into being. 25 If he enters again and attains his former self, | death will be no more.

“My God, my God, | why, O lord, have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15.34 and parallels). It was | on the cross that he said these words, for he had departed from that place.

[…] who has been begotten through 30 him who […] from God. | The […] from the dead.

| […] to be, but now | […] perfect. | […] flesh, but this 35 […] is true flesh. | […] is not true, but | […] only an image of the true. 69

A bridal chamber is not for the animals, | nor is it for the slaves, nor for defiled | women; but it is for free | men and virgins.

Through 5 the holy spirit we are indeed begotten | again, but we are begotten through | Christ in the two. We are anointed through | the spirit. When we were begotten we were united. None | can see himself either in water or in 10 a mirror without light. Nor again can you (sg.) | see in light without water or mirror. | For this reason it is fitting to baptize in the two, | in the light and the water. Now the light | is the chrism.

There were three buildings specifically for 15 sacrifice in Jerusalem. The one | facing west was called | “the holy.” Another facing | south was called “the holy of | the holy.” The third facing 20 east was called “the holy | of the holies,” the place where only the high priest | enters. Baptism | is “the holy” building. Redemption is “the holy | of the holy.” “The holy of the holies” 25 is the bridal chamber. Baptism includes | the resurrection [and the] redemption; the redemption | (takes place) in the bridal chamber. But the bridal chamber | is in that which is superior to […] | you (sg.) will not find […] 30 are those who pray […] | Jerusalem. […] | Jerusalem who […] | Jerusalem, […] | those called “the holy 35 of the holies” [… the] | veil was rent […] bridal chamber except the image […] 70 above. Because of this its | veil was rent from top to bottom. For it was fitting for some | from below to go upward. 5

The powers do not see | those who are clothed in the perfect light, | and consequently are not able to detain them. | One will clothe himself in this light | sacramentally in the union.

If the 10 woman had not separated from the man, she should not die | with the man. His separation became | the beginning of death. Because of this | Christ came to repair | the separation which was from the beginning 15 and again unite the two, and to give life to those | who died as a result of the separation | and unite them. But the woman is united | to her husband in the bridal chamber. | Indeed those who have united in the bridal chamber will 20 no longer be separated. Thus Eve | separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber | that she united with him.

The soul of Adam | came into being by means of a breath. The | partner of his soul is the spirit. His mother 25 is the thing that was given to him. His soul was taken from him and | replaced by a [spirit]. When | he was united (to the spirit), [he spoke] words incomprehensible | to the powers. They envied him | […] spiritual partner 30 […] hidden | […] opportunity | […] for themselves alone | […] bridal chamber so that | […]

Jesus appeared 35 […] Jordan — the | [fullness of the kingdom] of heaven. He who | [was begotten] before everything 71 was begotten anew. He [who was] once [anointed] | was anointed anew. He who was redeemed | in turn redeemed (others).

Indeed, one must utter a | mystery. The father of everything united 5 with the virgin who came down, and | a fire shone for him on that day. | He appeared in the great bridal chamber. | Therefore, his body came into being | on that very day. It left the bridal chamber 10 as one who came into being | from the bridegroom and the bride. So | Jesus established everything | in it through these. | It is fitting for each of the disciples 15 to enter into his rest. |

Adam came into being from two virgins, | from the spirit and from | the virgin earth. Christ, therefore, | was born from a virgin 20 to rectify the fall which | occurred in the beginning. |

There are two trees growing in Paradise. | The one bears [animals], the other bears | men. Adam [ate] from the tree 25 which bore animals. [He] became an animal | and he brought forth animals. For this reason | the children of Adam worship [animals]. The tree […] | fruit is […] 30 increased. […] ate the […] | fruit of the […] | bears men, […] man. […] 35 God created man. [… men] 72 create God. That is the way it is in the world — | men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods | to worship men!

Surely 5 what a man accomplishes | depends on his abilities. | For this reason we refer to one’s accomplishments as | “abilities.” Among his accomplishments are his children. They | originate in a moment of ease. 10 Thus his abilities determine | what he may accomplish, but this ease | is clearly evident in the children. | You will find that this applies directly to the image. | Here is the man made after the image 15 accomplishing things with his physical strength, | but producing his children with ease. |

In this world the slaves | serve the free. In the | kingdom of heaven the free will 20 minister to the slaves: the children of | the bridal chamber will minister to the children | of the marriage. The children of the bridal chamber | have [just one] name: rest. | [Altogether] they need take no (other) 25 form [because they have] contemplation, | […]. They are numerous | […] in the things | […] the glories | […]

Those 30 [… go] down into the water. | […] out (of the water), will consecrate it, | […] they who have | […] in his name. For he said, | “[Thus] we should fulfill at 73 righteousness” (Mt 3:15).

Those who say they will | die first and then rise | are in error. If they do not first receive the | resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing. 5 So also when speaking about | baptism they say, “Baptism | is a great thing,” because if people receive it they will | live.

Philip the apostle | said, “Joseph the carpenter planted 10 a garden because he needed wood | for his trade. It was he who | made the cross from the | trees which he planted. His own offspring hung | on that which he planted. His offspring was 15 Jesus and the planting was the cross.” But the tree | of life is in the middle of the garden. | However, it is from the olive tree | that we get the chrism, and from the chrism, | the resurrection.

This world is a corpse-eater. 20 All the things eaten | in it themselves die also. Truth | is a life-eater. Therefore no one | nourished by [truth] will die. It was | from that place that Jesus came and brought 25 food. To those who | so desired he gave [life, that] | they might not die.

God […] a garden. | Man […] garden. | There are […] 30 and […] | of God. […] | The things which are in […] | I wish. This garden [is the place where] | they will say to me, “… eat] 35 this or do not eat [that, just as you (sg.)] 74 wish.” In the place where I will eat all things | is the tree of knowledge. | That one killed Adam, | but here the tree of knowledge made men alive. 5 The law was the tree. It has power | to give the knowledge of good | and evil. It neither removed him from | evil, nor did it set him in the good, | but it created death for those who 10 ate of it. For when he said, | “Eat this, do not eat that,” it became | the beginning of death.

The chrism is superior | to baptism, for it is from the word “chrism” | that we have been called “Christians,” certainly not because 15 of the word “baptism.” And it is because of the chrism that “the | Christ” has his name. For the father anointed | the son, and the son anointed the apostles, | and the apostles anointed us. He who | has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses 20 the resurrection, the light, the cross, | the holy spirit. The father gave him this | in the bridal chamber; he merely accepted (the gift). The father was | in the son and the son in the father. | This is [the] kingdom of heaven. 25

The lord said it well: “Some have entered the kingdom | of heaven laughing, and they have come out | […] because […] a Christian, | […] And as soon as | [… went down into] the water he came 30 […] everything (of this world), […] because | […] a trifle, but | [… full of] contempt for this | […] the kingdom of | [heaven …]. If he despises 35 […] and scorns it as a trifle, | […] out laughing. So it is also 75 with the bread and the cup and the oil, | even though there is another one superior to these.

The | world came about through a mistake. | For he who created it wanted to create 5 it imperishable and immortal. | He fell short of attaining his desire. | For the world never was imperishable, | nor, for that matter, was | he who made the world. 10 For things are not imperishable, | but sons are. Nothing | will be able to receive imperishability if it does not | first become a son. But he who has not the ability | to receive, how much more will he be unable to give?

The cup 15 of prayer contains wine and | water, since it is appointed as the type of | the blood for which thanks is given. And | it is full of the holy spirit, and | it belongs to the wholly perfect man. When 20 we drink this, we shall receive for ourselves the perfect | man. The living water is a body. | It is necessary that we put on the living man. | Therefore, when he is about to go down into the water, | he unclothes himself, in order that he may put on the living man. 25

A horse sires a horse, a | man begets man, a god | brings forth a god. Compare | [the] bridegroom and the [bride]. They have come from the […]. | No Jew […] 30 […] | has existed. And | […] | from the Jews. […] | Christians, […] 35 these […] are referred to as | “the chosen people of […]” 76 and “the true man” and “the son of | man” and “the seed of the son of man.” | This true race is renowned | in the world. … that 5 the sons of the bridal chamber dwell. |

Whereas in this world the union | is one of husband with wife — a case of strength complemented by | weakness (?) — in the eternal realm (aeon) the form of the union | is different, although we refer to them by the same names. There are 10 other names, however; they are superior to every name | that is named and are | stronger than the strong. For where there is a show of strength, | there those who excel in strength appear. | These are not separate things, 15 but both of them are this one | single thing. This is the one which will not be able to rise | above the heart of flesh.

Is it not necessary for all those who possess | everything to know themselves? | Some indeed, if they do not know 20 themselves, will not enjoy what they | possess. But those who have come to know themselves will | enjoy their possessions.

Not only | will they be unable to detain the perfect man, | but they will not be able to see him, for if they see him 25 they will detain him. There is no other way | for a person to acquire this quality except by putting on the perfect light | [and] he too becoming perfect light. He who has [put it] on will enter 30 […]. This is the perfect | […] that we […] become | […] before we leave | […]. Whoever receives everything | […] hither […] be able 35 […] that place, but will | [… the middle] as imperfect. 77 Only Jesus knows the end of this person. |

The priest is completely holy, down | to his very body. For if he has taken the bread, | he will consecrate it. Or the cup 5 or anything else that he gets, | he will consecrate. Then how will he not consecrate | the body also?

By perfecting | the water of baptism, Jesus | emptied it of death. Thus we do go 10 down into the water, but we do not go | down into death in order that we may not be poured | out into the spirit of the world. When | that spirit blows, it brings the winter. | When the holy spirit breathes, 15 the summer comes.

He who has | knowledge of the truth is a free man, | but the free man does not sin, | for “he who sins is the slave of sin” (Jn 8:34). | Truth is the mother, knowledge 20 the father. Those who think that sinning does not apply to them | are called “free” by the world. | “Knowledge” of the truth merely “makes | such people arrogant,” which | is what the words “it makes them free” mean. 25 It even gives them a sense of superiority over the whole world. But “love | builds up” (1 Co 8:1). In fact, he who is really free through | knowledge is a slave because of love | for those who have not yet been able to attain to the | freedom of knowledge. Knowledge 30 makes them capable of becoming | free. Love [never calls] | something its own, […] it […] possess […]. | It never [says “This is yours”] | or “This is mine,” [but “All these] 35 are yours.” Spiritual love | is wine and fragrance. 78 All those who anoint themselves with it take pleasure in it. | While those who are anointed are present, | those nearby also profit (from the fragrance). | If those anointed with ointment withdraw from them 5 and leave, then those not anointed, | who merely stand nearby, still | remain in their bad odor. The Samaritan | gave nothing but | wine and oil to the wounded man. It is nothing other than 10 the ointment. It healed the wounds, | for “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 P 4:8). |

The children a woman bears | resemble the man who loves her. If her | husband loves her, then they resemble her husband. If it is an adulterer, 15 then they resemble the adulterer. Frequently, | if a woman sleeps with her | husband out of necessity, while her heart is with the adulterer | with whom she usually has intercourse, the child | she will bear is born resembling 20 the adulterer. Now you who live together with the son | of God, love not the world, | but love the lord, in order that those you will | bring forth may not resemble the world, | but may resemble the lord. 25

The human being has intercourse with the human being. | The horse has intercourse with the horse, the ass | with the ass. Members of a race usually have associated | [with] those of like race. So spirit | mingles with spirit, and thought 30 consorts with thought, | and [light] shares | [with light. If you (sg.)] are born a human being, | it is [the human being] who will love you. If you become | [a spirit], it is the spirit which will be joined to you. If you become 35 thought, it is thought which will mingle 79 with you. If you become light, | it is the light which will share | with you. If you become one of those who belong above, | it is those who belong above who will rest 5 upon you. If you become horse | or ass or bull or dog or sheep | or another of the animals which are outside | or below, then | neither human being nor spirit 10 nor thought nor light will be able to love you. Neither | those who belong above nor those who belong within | will be able to rest in you, | and you have no part in them.

He | who is a slave against his will will be able to become free. 15 He who has become free by the favor | of his master and has sold | himself into slavery will no longer be able | to be free.

Farming in the | world requires the cooperation of four essential elements. A harvest is gathered 20 into the barn only as a result of the natural action of water, | earth, wind, and light. | God’s farming likewise | has four elements — faith, | hope, love, and 25 knowledge. Faith is our earth, that in which we | take root. [And] hope | is the water through which we are | nourished. Love is the wind through | which we grow. Knowledge then is the light 30 through which we [ripen]. | Grace exists in [four ways: it is] | earthborn; it is [heavenly; …] | the highest heaven; […] in […].

Blessed | is the one who on no occasion caused a soul […], 80 That person is Jesus Christ. He came to | the whole place and did not burden anyone. | Therefore, blessed is the one who is like | this, because he is a perfect man. For 5 the word tells us that this kind is difficult | to define. How shall we be able to accomplish | such a great thing? How will he give everyone comfort? | Above all, it is not proper | to cause anyone distress — whether the person is great or small, 10 unbeliever or believer — and then give comfort | only to those who take satisfaction in good deeds. | Some find it advantageous to give | comfort to the one who has fared well. He who does | good deeds cannot give comfort 15 to such people; for he does not seize whatever he likes. | He is unable to cause distress, | however, since he does not afflict them. To be sure, the one who | fares well sometimes causes people distress — | not that he intends to do so; rather it is their own wickedness 20 which is responsible for their distress. He who possesses | the qualities (of the perfect man) bestows joy upon the good. | Some, however, are terribly distressed by all this. |

There was a householder who had | every conceivable thing, be it son or slave or 25 cattle or dog or pig or corn | [or] barley or chaff or grass or | […] or meat and acorn. [Now he was] a sensible fellow | and he knew what the food of each | one was. He served the children bread 30 […]. He served the slaves | [… and] meal. And | [he threw barley] and chaff and grass to the cattle. | He threw bones to [the] dogs, | and to the pigs he threw acorns 81 and slop. Compare the disciple | of God: if he is a sensible fellow he | understands what discipleship is all about. The | bodily forms will not deceive him, 5 but he will look at the condition | of the soul of each one and speak | with him. There are many animals in the world | which are in human form. When | he identifies them, to the swine he will throw 10 acorns, to the cattle he will throw | barley and chaff and grass, to the | dogs he will throw bones. To the slaves | he will give only the elementary lessons, to the children he will give | the complete instruction.

There is the son of man 15 and there is the son of the son of man. | The lord is the son of man, | and the son of the son of | man is he who creates through the son | of man. The son of man received 20 from God the capacity to create. He also has the ability | to beget. He who has received | the ability to create is a creature. He who has received | the ability to beget is an offspring. He who creates cannot | beget. He who begets also has power to create. 25 Now they say, “He who creates begets.” | But his so-called “offspring” is merely a creature. Because of […] | of birth, they are not his offspring but […]. | He who creates works openly | and he himself is visible. 30 He who begets begets in [private] | and he himself is hidden, since […] | image. Also, he who creates [creates] | openly. But one who begets [begets] | children in private. No [one can] 35 know when [the husband] 82 and the wife have intercourse with one another | except the two of them. Indeed marriage in the | world is a mystery for those who have taken | a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of defilement, 5 how much more is the undefiled marriage | a true mystery! It is not fleshly | but pure. It belongs not to desire | but to the will. It belongs not to the darkness | or the night but to the day and 10 the light. If a marriage is open to the public, | it has become prostitution, and the bride | plays the harlot not only when she is impregnated by another man | but even if she slips out of her bedroom | and is seen. 15 Let her show herself only to her father and her | mother and to the friend of the bridegroom and | the sons of the bridegroom. These are permitted | to enter every day into the bridal chamber. | But let the others yearn just 20 to listen to her voice and to enjoy | her ointment, and let them feed from the | crumbs that fall from the table, like the | dogs. Bridegrooms and | brides belong to the bridal chamber. No one shall be able 25 to see the bridegroom with the bride unless | [he become] such a one.

When Abraham | […] that he was to see what he was to see, | [he circumcised] the flesh of the foreskin, teaching | us that it is proper to destroy the flesh. 30

[Most things] in the world, as long as their | [inner parts] are hidden, stand upright and live. | [If they are revealed] they die, as | is illustrated by the visible man: | [as long as] the intestines of the man are hidden, the man is 83 when his intestines are exposed | and come out of him, the man will die. | So also with the tree: while its root | is hidden it sprouts and grows. If its 5 root is exposed, the tree dries up. | So it is with every birth that is in the world, | not only with the revealed | but with the hidden. For so long as the root | of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized 10 it is dissolved. When it is revealed | it perishes. That is why the word says, | “Already the ax is laid at the root | of the trees” (Mt 3:10). It will not merely cut — what | is cut sprouts again — but the ax 15 penetrates deeply until it | brings up the root. Jesus pulled out | the root of the whole place, while others did it only | partially. As for ourselves, let each | one of us dig down after the root 20 of evil which is within one, and let one pluck it | out of one’s heart from the root. It will be plucked out | if we recognize it. But if we | are ignorant of it, it takes root in | us and produces its fruit 25 in our heart. It masters us. | We are its slaves. It takes us captive, | to make us do what we do [not] want; | and what we do want we do [not] do. It | is powerful because we have not recognized it. While [it exists] 30 it is active. Ignorance | is the mother of [all evil]. | Ignorance will result in [death, because] | those that come from [ignorance] | neither were nor [are] 35 nor shall be. […] 84 will be perfect when all the truth | is revealed. For truth is like | ignorance: while it is hidden it rests | in itself, but when it is revealed 5 and is recognized, it is praised inasmuch as | it is stronger than ignorance and error. | It gives freedom. The word said, | “If you (pl.) know the truth, | the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). 10 Ignorance is a slave. Knowledge is | freedom. If we know the truth, | we shall find the fruits of the truth within | us. If we are joined to it, it will bring our fulfillment. |

At the present time we have the manifest things 15 of creation. We say, | “The strong who are held in high regard are great people. | And the weak who are despised are the obscure.” Contrast the manifest things | of truth: they are weak and | despised, while the hidden things are strong and 20 held in high regard. The mysteries of truth are | revealed, though in type and image. The bridal chamber, | however, remains hidden. It is the holy in | the holy. The veil at first | concealed how God controlled 25 the creation, but when the veil is rent | and the things inside are revealed, | this house will be left | desolate, or rather will be | [destroyed]. And the whole (inferior) godhead will flee 30 [from] here but not into the holies | [of the] holies, for it will not be able to mix with the | unmixed [light] and the | [flawless] fullness, but will be under the wings of the cross | [and under] its arms. This ark will be 35 [their] salvation when the flood 85 of water surges over them. If | some belong to the order of the priesthood | they will be able to go | within the veil with the high priest. 5 For this reason the veil was not | rent at the top only, since it | would have been open only to those above; nor | was it rent at the bottom only, since | it would have been revealed only to those below. 10 But it was rent from top to bottom. Those | above opened to us the things below, | in order that we may go in to the secret | of the truth. This truly is what is | held in high regard (and) what is strong! But we shall go in there 15 by means of lowly types and forms of weakness. | They are lowly indeed when compared with the perfect glory. | There is glory which surpasses glory. There is power which surpasses | power. Therefore the perfect things have opened | to us, together with the hidden things of truth. The holies 20 of the holies were revealed, and | the bridal chamber invited us in.

As long | as it is hidden, wickedness is indeed ineffectual, but | it has not been removed from the midst of the seed of the holy spirit. | They are slaves of evil. But when 25 it is revealed, then the | perfect light will flow out on every | one. And all those who are in it will [receive the chrism]. | Then the slaves will be free [and] | the captives ransomed. “[Every] plant [which] 30 my father who is in heaven [has not] planted [will be] | plucked out” (Mt 15:13). Those who are separated will unite […] and | will be filled. Every one who will [enter] | the bridal chamber will kindle the [light], for […] | just as in the marriages which are […] happen 35 at night. That fire […] only 86 at night and is put out. But the mysteries | of that marriage are perfected rather in | the day and the light. Neither that day | nor its light ever sets. If anyone becomes a son 5 of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light. | If anyone does not receive it while he is here, he will not be able to receive it | in the other place. He who will receive that light | will not be seen, nor can he be detained. | And none shall be able to torment 10 a person like this even while he dwells | in the world. And again when he leaves | the world he has already received the truth in | the images. The world has become the eternal realm (aeon), | for the eternal realm is fullness for him. 15 This is the way it is: it is revealed | to him alone, not hidden in the darkness and the | night, but hidden in a perfect day | and a holy light.

The Gospel |

According to Philip

| 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.

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. 139

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