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Words from GOD – Words to GOD

NAG HAMMURABI CODICES- ALLOGENES- by Archbishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

RMI

NAG HAMMURABI CODICES-

ALLOGENES (XI,3)

by Archbishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

Introduced by

Antoinette Clark Wire

Translated by

John D. Turner and Orval S. Wintermute

The tractate Allogenes is a revelation discourse in which a certain Allogenes receives divine auditions and visions and records them for his “son” Messos. The fictive nature of this repeated address of Allogenes to Messos is indicated by the name Allogenes, which means “stranger,” “one of another race,” and often in this period designates Seth or a representative of the Sethian spiritual race. The reader is thus encouraged to identify with Messos and learn from Allogenes how to overcome the fear and ignorance Allogenes initially feels, how to meditate on each step of revealed knowledge, and ultimately how to ascend into full realization of one’s spiritual self within the divine.

Although Allogenes presents itself as a single revelation discourse, it can be divided into two parts. Part One (45, 1–57, 23) highlights five revelations of the female diety Youel to Allogenes. Her revelations are complex mythological descriptions of the divine powers, particularly the aeon of Barbelo. Part Two (57, 24–69, 19) describes in more philosophical language the ascent of Allogenes as a progressive revelation by the heavenly luminaries. Its final stage, the “primary revelation of the Unknown One,” reveals the transcendent God as invisible, unfathomable, incomprehensible, “the spiritual, invisible Triple Power” which is “the best of the best” and exists, paradoxically, as “the nonbeing Existence.”

The differences between these two parts of Allogenes can be explained in terms of different sources being used or in terms of the one writer’s purpose. Source theories try to determine where certain traditions come from and how they have already developed. The Barbelo mythology of Part One is found also in The Apocryphon of John (BG 8502,2; NHC II,1; III,1; IV,1) where it is associated with an account of how Sophia brought deficiency into the universe. Allogenes’ Barbelo Gnosticism, like that of Zostrianos (VIII, 1) and The Three Steles of Seth (VII, 5), is not interested in how evil began but in positive revelation of divine reality. Part Two of Allogenes also parallels The Apocryphon of John to the extent of a full-page description of the transcendent God in terms of what God is not. But again it departs from this tradition in the same direction as do Zostrianos and The Three Steles of Seth by presenting this knowledge as an ascent ritual in a way parallel to Hermetic Gnosticism (Corp. Herm. I,24–26 and NHC VI, 6. Apparently the author has taken both Barbelo Gnosticism and philosophical monism from the same general tradition as The Apocryphon of John and put them in sequence with certain linking passages for a single purpose. Assuming that the reader has already been released from evil, the writer in the persona of Allogenes leads on up the heavenly path, praising the divine, into the blessing of knowledge, the vitality of life and finally the existence that is nonexistence. The ascent rituals of Hermetism refer occasionally to community life, and The Three Steles of Seth uses the first person plural to praise God at each ascent level. But here the instructions are spoken to a single person who is reading and could be meant as self-help in an individual’s search for God.

This tractate has attracted wide interest because the Neoplatonist Porphyry said that Plotinus attacked certain Gnostics who “produced revelations by Zoroaster and Zostrianos and Nicotheos and Allogenes and Messos and other such people” (Vit. Plot. 16). If this quote does indeed refer to this book named Allogenes, and to documents close to it (Zostrianos VIII, 1) bears a coded subtitle, “Words of Zoroaster”) as many are proposing, it suggests a somewhat different relation of the Gnostics to later Platonism than is commonly assumed. Not only did Gnostics clearly borrow many philosophical themes from Platonism, but Platonists and Neoplatonists were being forced to deal with Gnostic schools as rivals to their own. And though Plotinus in his own tractate against the Gnostics does his best to ridicule their dualism, cult, and jargon, it is clearly the monistic Gnostics of the Allogenes sort who challenge him most. It is they who attribute to revelation the truths he is convinced that they have derived from Plato; it is they who believe that through self-knowledge they become superior to the heavenly bodies (Enn. II. 9.5–11). The question that remains is whether the Gnostics may not have had a reverse influence on Neoplatonism, specifically whether these gnostic texts could be the source of a certain existence-life-thought triad which is not attested in Neoplatonism before Proclus in the fifth century (Theol. 101–03).

An Alexandrian origin of the original Greek text of Allogenes not long after 300 C.E. would allow time for its Greek circulation and its Coptic translation before it was placed in the Nag Hammadi library early in the next century.

ALLOGENES

XI 45, 1–69, 20

[…] 6 since they are | [perfect individuals and dwell] | all [together, joined with] the | [mind], the guardian [which I provided, 10 who] taught you (sg.). [And] it is [the power that | exists] within you that often [extended itself | as word] | from the Triple-Powered One, [that One | of] all [those] who [truly] exist 15 with the [Immeasurable One], the | eternal [Light of] the Knowledge | that appeared, the | male virginal [Youth, | the first] of the Aeons from 20 [a] unique triple-[powered Aeon], | [the] Triple-Powered One who | [truly exists], for when [he was stilled, | <he> was extended] and | [when he was extended], he became [complete 25 and] he received [power] from | all of [them]. He knows [himself | and the perfect] Invisible [Spirit]. | And he [came to be | in an] Aeon who knows 30 [that] she knows That One. | [And] she became Kalytpos | [who] acted in those whom she | knows. | He is a perfect, 35 invisible, noetic | Protophanes-Harmedon. [And] empowering | the individuals, she is a Triple-Male. | And being individually 46 [… 6 Individual on the one hand, they are together] | on the other hand, [since she] is an existence of [theirs], and she [sees] | them all [also] truly <existing>. 10 [She] contains the | divine Autogenes.

“When she [knew] | her [Existence] | and when she stood, [she brought] | This One (masc.), since he saw them [all] 15 existing individually as [he] | is. And [when they] | become as he is, [they shall] | see the divine Triple-Male, | the power that is [higher than] 20 God. [He is] the [Thought] | of all these who [exist] | together. If he [ponders them, | he] ponders [the] | great male […] 25 noetic Protophanes, the [procession | of] these. When [he] | sees it, [he sees | also those who truly exist] | and the procession [of those who are] 30 together. And when he [has seen | these], he has seen the [Kalyptos]. | And if he [sees] | one of the hidden ones, [he] | sees the Aeon of Barbelo. And as for [the] 35 unbegotten offspring of [That One], | if one [sees] | how he [lives 475 you have heard about the | abundance of] each one | of them [certainly].

[But] concerning | the invisible, spiritual | Triple-Powered One, hear! [He exists] as an 10 Invisible One who is incomprehensible | to them all. He | contains them all within [himself], | for [they] all exist because of | [him]. He is perfect, and he is 15 [greater] than perfect, and he is | blessed. [He is] always [One] | and [he] exists | [in] them all, being ineffable, | unnameable, 20 [being One] who exists through | [them all]–he whom, | [should] one discern | [him, one would not desire] anything that | [exists] before him among those 25 [that possess] existence, | for [he is] the divinity, | [and] he is prior [to] | every blessedness since he | provides for every power. And | he <is> a nonsubstantial substance, 35 since he is a God over whom there is no | divinity, the | transcending of whose | greatness and <beauty> 48 [… 6 power. It is not impossible for them] | to receive a [revelation of] these things | if [they] come together. | Since it is impossible for 10 the [individuals] to comprehend the Universal One | [situated in the] place that is higher than perfect, | they apprehend by means of | a First [Thought]– | (it is) not as Being (alone), [but] 15 it is along with the | latency of Existence that he confers Being. He [provides] | everything for [himself] since it is | he who shall come to be when he | recognizes himself]. And he is [One] 20 who subsists as a [cause] | and source [of Being] and [an] | immaterial [material and an] | innumerable [number and a formless] | form and a [shapeless] 25 shape and [a powerlessness and | a power and an insubstantial | substance and a motionless motion and an inactive | activity. [Yet he is 30 a] provider of [provisions | and] a divinity [of] | divinity–but whenever | they apprehend, they participate | the first Vitality and 35 an undivided activity, | an hypostasis of the First One | from the One who truly exists. | And a second 49 activity […] | however, is the […]. 5 He is endowed with | blessedness] and | goodness, because [when he is] | recognized [as the] traverser | of the boundlessness of the 10 Invisible Spirit [that | subsists] in him, it (the boundlessness) turns him to [it (the Invisible Spirit) | in] order that it might know what is | within him and | how he exists. And 15 he was becoming salvation for | every one by being a | point of departure for those who truly exist, | for through him | his knowledge endured, 20 since he is the one who knows what | he is. But they brought forth nothing | beyond themselves, neither | power nor rank nor | glory nor aeon, 25 for they are all | eternal. He is Vitality and | Mentality and That-Which-Is. | For then That | -Which-Is constantly possesses its 30 Vitality and Mentality, | and [Life has] | Vitality possesses | [non]-Being and | Mentality. Mentality 35 possesses Life and That-Which-Is. | And the three are one, | although individually they are three.

Now after | I heard these things, my son 50 [Messos, I was] afraid, and | [I turned toward the] multitude | […] thought [… 6 gives] power to [those who] are capable of knowing | these things [by] a revelation | that is much [greater]. And I | was capable], although flesh was 10 upon [me. 1] heard from you about these things | and about the doctrine | that is in them since the thought | which is in me distinguished [the things that are] | beyond measure as well as the unknowables. 15 Therefore I fear that | my doctrine may have become | something beyond what is fitting.

And | then, my | son Messos, the all-glorious One, 20 Youel, spoke to me again. She made a revelation | to me and said, “No | one is able to hear [these things] | except the great powers alone, | O Allogenes. 25 A great power was put upon you, which | the Father | of the All, the Eternal, put upon you | before you came to this place, in order that | those things that are difficult to distinguish 30 you might distinguish and those things | that are unknown to | the multitude you might know, | and that you might escape (in safety) | to the One who is yours, who 35 was first to save and | who does not need to be saved. 51 [… 6 to] you [a] | form [and a revelation of] | the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered One | outside of which [dwells] 10 an undivided, incorporeal, | [eternal] knowledge. |

“As with all the Aeons, | the Aeon of Barbelo exists, | also endowed with the types 15 and forms of those who truly | exist, the image of | Kalyptos. And endowed | with the intellectual Word of | these, he bears the 20 noetic male Protophanes like | an image, and he acts | within the individuals either with | craft or with skill | or with partial instinct. 25 He is endowed with the | divine Autogenes like | an image, and he knows | each one of these. He | acts separately and 30 individually, continuing to rectify | the failures | from nature. He is endowed with | the divine Triple-Male | as salvation for them all 35 (and) in cooperation with the Invisible Spirit. | He is a word from a | counsel, <he> is the perfect Youth. | And this hypostatis is a 52 […].

[… 7 my soul went slack] and | I fled [and was] very disturbed. | And [I] turned to myself 10 [and] saw the light | that [surrounded] me and the | Good that was in me, I became divine. |

And | the all-glorious One, Youel, anointed me again 15 and she gave power to me. She said, “Since | your instruction has become complete | and you have known the Good that is within you, | hear concerning | the Triple-Powered One those things that you will 20 guard in great | silence and great mystery, | because they are not spoken to | anyone except those who are worthy, | those who are able 25 to hear; nor is it fitting | to speak to an | uninstructed generation concerning | the Universal One that is higher than perfect. | But you have <these> because of 30 the Triple-Powered One, the One who exists | in blessedness | and goodness, the One | who is responsible for all these. |

“There exists within him 35 much greatness. | Inasmuch as he is One in a 53 […] 6 of the [First Thought, which] | does not fall away [from those who dwell] | in comprehension [and knowledge] | and [understanding. And] 10 That One moved motionlessly | in that which | governs, lest he sink | into the boundless by means of | another activity of 15 Mentality. And he entered | into himself and he appeared, | being all-encompassing, | the Universal One that is higher than perfect. |

“Indeed it is not through me 20 that he is to such a degree anterior to knowledge. | Whereas there is no possibility for complete | comprehension, he is (nevertheless) known. | And this is so because of the | third silence of Mentality 25 and the second | undivided activity which appeared | in the First Thought, | that is, the Aeon of Barbelo, | together with the Indivisible One of 30 the divisible likenesses and the Triple- | Powered One and the non-substantial Existence.” |

<And> the power | appeared by means of an activity | that is at rest 35 and silent, although it uttered | a sound thus: zza | zza zza. But when she heard | the power and she was filled 54 […] 6 thou art | […] Solmis! | […] according to the Vitality, | [that is thine, and] the first activity 10 which derives from | divinity: Thou art great, | Armedon! Thou art perfect, | Epiphaneus!

“And according to | that activity of thine, the second power 15 and the Mentality | which derives from blessedness: | Autoer, Beritheus, | Erigenaor, Orimenios, Aramen, | Alphleges, Elelioupheus, 20 Lalameus, Yetheus, Noetheus! | Thou art great! He who knows [thee] | knows the Universal One! Thou art One, | thou art One, He who is good, Aphredon! | Thou art the Aeon of 25 Aeons, He who is perpetually!” |

Then she praised | the Universal One, saying, | “Lalameus, Noetheus, Senaon, | Asine[us, …] riphanios, 30 Mellephaneus, Elemaoni, | Smoun, Optaon, He Who | Is! Thou art He Who Is, | the Aeon of Aeons, the | Unbegotten, who art higher than the unbegotten (ones), 35 Yatomenos, thou alone | for whom all the unborn ones were begotten, | the Unnameable One! 55 […] 11 knowledge.” |

[Now after I] heard these things, I | [saw the glories of the perfect] individuals | [and] the all-perfect ones 15 [who exist] together, and the | [all-perfect ones who] are before the perfect | ones.

[Again the greatly] glorious One, | Youel, said to me, | “[O Allogenes], in an 20 [unknowing knowledge] you know that the | [Triple-Powered One] exists before | [the glories]. They do not exist | [among those who exist]. They do not exist | [together] with those who exist 25 [nor (with) those who] truly exist. | [Rather all these] exist | [as divinity] and | [blessedness and] existence, | [and as] nonsubstantiality and 30 non-being [existence].” |

[And then I] prayed that | [the revelation] might occur to me. | [And then | the all-[glorious One], Youel, said to me, 35 “[O Allogenes], of course, | [the Triple-] Male | [is something beyond] substance. | Yet [were he insubstantial 56 …] 10 those who exist [in association] | with the [generation of those] | who [truly] exist. | [The self-begotten ones exist] | with the [Triple-Male]. 15

“If you [seek with a | perfect] seeking, [then] | you shall know [the Good that is] | in you; then [you will know yourself] | as well, (as) one who [derives from] 20 the God [who truly pre-exists]. | [For] after [a hundred] | years there shall [come to you] | a revelation [of That One] | by means of [Salamex] 25 and Semen [and … the] | Luminaries [of the Aeon of] | Barbelo. And [that beyond what] | is fitting for you, [you shall not know] | at first, so as not [to forfeit your] 30 kind. [And if so], | then when [you receive] | a conception [of That One, then | you] are filled [with] | the word [to completion]. 35 Then [you become divine] | and [you become perfect. You receive] | them […] 57 5 the seeking […] | the Existence […] | if it [apprehends] | anything, it is [apprehended by] | that one and by 10 the very one who is comprehended. | And then he | becomes greater | who comprehends and knows than | he who is comprehended and 15 known. But if | he descends to his nature, | he is less, for the | incorporeal natures have not associated with | any magnitude; having 20 this power, they are everywhere | and they are nowhere, | since they are greater than every magnitude, | and less than every exiguity.” |

Now after 25 the all-glorious One, Youel, said these things, | she separated from me and left | me. But I did not despair | of the words that I heard. | I prepared myself 30 therein and I deliberated | with myself for a hundred years. | And I rejoiced exceedingly, | since I was in a great | light and a blessed path 35 because those whom I was | worthy to see as well | as those whom I was worthy to hear | (are) those whom it is fitting | that the great powers alone 58 […] 6 of [God]. |

[When | the completion of] the one hundred years [drew nigh, | it brought] me a blessedness 10 of the eternal hope | full of auspiciousness. | I saw the good divine Autogenes; | and the Savior | who is the 15 youthful, perfect Triple-Male Child; and his | goodness, the | noetic perfect Protophanes-Harmedon; | and the blessedness | of the Kalyptos; and the 20 primary origin of the blessedness, | the Aeon of Barbelo | full of divinity; | and the primary origin of | the one without origin, the 25 spiritual, invisible Triple-Powered | One, the Universal One that | is higher than perfect.

When <I> was taken by the | eternal Light out of | the garment that was upon 30 me, and taken up to | a holy place whose | likeness can not be | revealed in the world, | then by means of a 35 great blessedness I | saw all those about whom I had | heard. And I | praised all of them and I 59 [stood] upon my knowledge and [I | inclined to] the knowledge [of] | the Universals, the Aeon of Barbelo. |

And I saw [holy] powers 5 by means of the [Luminaries] | of the virginal male Barbelo | [telling me | that] I would be able to test what | happens in the world: “O 10 Allogenes, behold your blessedness | how it silently abides, | by which you know | your proper self and, | seeking yourself, withdraw to the Vitality 15 that you will | see moving. And although it is | impossible for you to stand, fear | nothing; but if you | wish to stand, withdraw 20 to the Existence, and you will | find it standing and | at rest after the likeness of the One | who is truly at rest | and embraces all these 25 silently and | inactively. And when you receive | a revelation of him by | means of a primary revelation | of the Unknown One– 30 the One whom if you should | know him, be ignorant | of him–and you become | afraid in that place, | withdraw to the rear because of the 35 activities. And when you become | perfect in that place, | still yourself. And | in accordance with the pattern that indwells | you, know likewise 60 [that] it is this way in [all such (matters)] | after this (very) pattern. And | [do not] further dissipate, [so that] | you may be able to stand, 5 and do not desire to [be active] | lest you fall [in any way] | from the inactivity in [you] | of the Unknown One. Do not | [know] him, for it is impossible; 10 but if by means of an | enlightened thought you should know | him, be ignorant of him.” |

Now I was listening to these things as | those ones spoke them. There 15 was within me a stillness | of silence, and I heard the | Blessedness | whereby I knew <my> proper self. |

And I withdrew to the 20 Vitality as I sought <myself>, and | I joined into it, | and I stood, | not firmly but | silently. And I saw 25 an eternal, intellectual, undivided motion | that pertains to all the | formless powers, (which is] unlimited | by limitation.

And when | I wanted to stand firmly, 30 I withdrew to | the Existence, which I found | standing and at rest | like an image and | likeness of what is conferred upon 35 me by a revelation | of the Indivisible One and the One who | is at rest. I was filled | with revelation by means | of a primary revelation 61 of the Unknowable One. [As though] | I were ignorant of him, I [knew] | him and I received power [by] | him. Having been permanently strengthened 5 I knew the One who | exists in me and the Triple-Powered One | and the revelation of | his uncontainableness. [And] | by means of a primary 10 revelation of the First One (who is) unknowable | to them all, the God | who is beyond perfection, I | saw him and the Triple-Powered One that exists | in them all. I was seeking 15 the ineffable | and Unknowable God – | whom if one should | know him, he would be absolutely | ignorant of him–the Mediator of 20 the Triple-Powered One who subsists in | stillness and silence and is | unknowable.

And when I was confirmed | in these matters, | the powers of the Luminaries said to me, 25 “Cease hindering the inactivity | that exists in you | by seeking | incomprehensible matters; rather hear | about him in so far as it is 30 possible by means of a primary | revelation and a revelation. |

“Now he is | something insofar as he exists in that he either | exists and will become, 35 or acts or knows, although he lives | without Mind | or Life or Existence | or Non-Existence, | incomprehensibly. 62 And he is something along with | his proper being. | He is not left over in | some way, as if he yields 5 something that is assayed or purified [or that] | receives or gives. And he is not | diminished in any way, | [whether] by his own desire | or whether he gives or receives through 10 another. Neither does [he] have | any desire of himself | nor from another; | it does not affect him. | Rather neither does he give 15 anything by himself | lest he become diminished | in another respect; | nor for this reason does he need. | Mind, or Life, or 20 indeed anything at all. He is superior to the | Universals in his privation | and unknowability, | that is, the non-being existence, | since he is endowed with 25 silence and stillness lest | he be diminished by | those who are not diminished. |

“He is neither divinity | nor blessedness 30 nor perfection. Rather | it (this triad) is an unknowable entity of him, | not that which is proper to him; rather | he is another one | superior to the blessedness and 35 the divinity and | perfection. For he is not | perfect but he is another thing 63 that is superior. He is neither | boundless, nor | is he bounded by | another. Rather he is something [superior]. 5 He is not corporeal. | He is not incorporeal. | He is not great. [He is not] small. | He is not a number. He is not a [creature]. | Nor is he something 10 that exists, that | one can know. But | he is something else of himself that is superior, which | one cannot know. |

“He is primary revelation 15 and knowledge of himself, | as it is he alone who knows himself. | Since he is not one of those | that exist but is another thing, | he is superior to (all) superlatives 20 even in comparison to (both) what is (properly) his and | not his. He neither participates in | age nor | does he participate in time. | He does not receive anything from anything 25 else. He is not diminishable, | nor does he diminish | anything, nor is he undiminishable. | But he is | self-comprehending, as something 30 so unknowable | that he exceeds those who excel | in unknowability. |

“He is endowed with blessedness | and perfection 35 and silence–not <the blessedness> | nor the perfection– | and stillness. Rather | it (these attributes) is an entity of him that exists, | which one cannot 64 [know], and which is at rest. | Rather they are entities | of him unknowable to them | all.

“And he is much higher in 5 beauty than all those | [that] are good, and he is thus | unknowable to all of them | in every respect. And | through them all he is 10 in them all, not | only as the unknowable knowledge | that is proper to him. And | he is united with the | ignorance that sees him. Whether <one sees> 15 in what way he is unknowable, | or sees | him as he is | in every respect, or | would say that 20 he is something like | knowledge, he has sinned against him, | being liable to judgment because he did not | know God. He will not | be judged by 25 That One who | is neither concerned for anything nor | has any desire, | but it (judgment) <is> from | himself because he did not find the origin 30 that truly exists. He was blind | apart from the eye | of revelation that is at rest, | the (one) that is activated, | the (one) from the Triple- 35 Power of the First Thought | of the Invisible Spirit. | This one thus exists from 65 […] 16 something [… set firmly on the … a] | beauty and a [first emergence] | of stillness and silence 20 and tranquility and | unfathomable greatness. When he appeared, | he did not need | time nor <did he partake> of eternity. | Rather of 25 himself he is unfathomably | unfathomable. He does not activate | himself so as to become | still. He is not an | existence lest he 30 be in want. Spatially he is corporeal, | while properly he is incorporeal. | He has | non-being existence. | He exists for all of them unto himself 35 without any desire. | But he is a greater summit | of greatness. And he is | higher than his stillness in order that 66 [… 16 he] saw [them] | and [empowered them all], although they do not | concern [themselves] with That One at | all, nor, if one should 20 receive from him, does he receive power. | Nothing activates him in accordance with | the Unity that is at rest. | For he is unknowable; | he is an airless place of 25 the boundlessness. Since | he is boundless and powerless | and nonexistent, he was not giving | Being. Rather he contains | all of these in himself, being at rest 30 (and) standing out of | the one who stands | continually, since there had appeared | an Eternal Life, the | Invisible and Triple-Powered Spirit 35 which is in all of these | who exist. And it surrounds | them all, being higher than | them all. A shadow 67 […] 17 he [was filled with power. And | he] stood [before them], | empowering them all, and he filled 20 them all.”

And | concerning all of these (things) you have heard | certainly. And do not | seek anything more, | but go. 25 We do not know whether | the Unknowable One has | angels or | gods, or whether the One who is at rest | was containing 30 anything within himself except | the stillness, which is he, | lest he be diminished. | It is not fitting to | spend more 35 time seeking. It was | appropriate that you (pl.) <alone> know | and that they speak | with another one. But you will receive them 68 [… 6 and he said to me], “Write down | [the things that I] shall [tell] you and | of which I shall remind you for the sake of | those who will be worthy 20 after you. And you will leave | this book upon a mountain | and you will adjure the guardian: | ‘Come Dreadful One.’” |

And after he said these (things), he separated 25 from me. But I was full | of joy, and I wrote | this book which was appointed | for me, my son Messos, in order | that I might disclose to you the (things) 30 that were proclaimed before me in | my presence. And at first I received | them in great silence and | I stood by myself, preparing | myself. These are the things that 35 were disclosed to me, O my son 69 [Messos … 14 proclaim | them, O my] | son [Messos, as the] | seal [for] all [the | books of] | Allogenes. 20

Allogenes

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

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

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

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

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. 490

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