This definitive edition of THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY is the only complete, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of fourth-century manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945 It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary and other Gnostic gospels and sacred tests. First published in 1978 and revised, expanded, and updated in 1999, THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY launched modern Gnostic studies and exposed a movement within Christianity whose teachings are in many ways – as bestselling author Elaine Pagels has shown – as relevant today as they were centuries ago. This edition takes into account recent developments in Gnostic scholarship, including the significance of the Gospel of Thomas as a source of the authentic sayings of Jesus. The translators include such prominent scholars as Elaine Pagels, Marvin Meyer, Helmut Koester, and Bentley Layton. The Chicago Theological Seminary Register called it “A tremendous achievement”.
Paperback: 549 pages
Publisher: HarperOne; 3rd edition (1988)
The Three Steles of Seth
translated by James R. Robinson
The Nag Hammadi Library
The Three Steles of Seth
Translated by James R. Robinson
The revelation of Dositheos about the three steles of Seth, the Father of the living and unshakable race, which he (Dositheos) saw and understood. And after he had read them, he remembered them. And he gave them to the elect, just as they were inscribed there. Many times I joined in giving glory with the powers, and I became worthy of the immeasurable majesties. Now they (the steles) are as follows:
Stele of Seth
I bless thee, Father Geradama(s), I, as thine (own) Son, Emmacha Seth, whom thou didst beget without begetting, as a blessing of our God; for I am thine (own) Son. And thou art my mind, O my Father. And I, I sowed and begot; but thou hast seen the majesties. Thou hast stood imperishable. I bless thee, Father. Bless me, Father. It is because of thee that I exist; it is because of God that thou dost exist. Because of thee I am with that very one. Thou art light, since thou beholdest light. Thou hast revealed light. Thou art Mirotheas; thou art my Mirotheos. I bless thee as God; I bless thy divinity. Great is the good Self-begotten who stood, the God who had already stood. Thou didst come in goodness; thou hast appeared, and thou hast revealed goodness. I shall utter thy name, for thou art a first name. Thou art unbegotten. Thou hast appeared in order that thou mightest reveal the eternal ones. Thou art he who is. Therefore thou hast revealed those who really are. Thou art he who is uttered by a voice, but by mind art thou glorified, thou who hast dominion everywhere. Therefore the perceptible world too knows thee because of thee and thy seed. Thou art merciful.
And thou art from another race, and its place is over another race. And now thou art from another race, and its place is over another race. Thou art from another race, for thou art not similar. And thou art merciful, for thou art eternal. And thy place is over a race, for thou hast caused all these to increase; and for the sake of my seed. For it is thou who knows it, that its place is in begetting. But they are from other races, for they are not similar. But their place is over other races, for their place is in life. Thou art Mirotheos.
I bless his power which was given to me, who caused the malenesses that really are to become male three times; he who was divided into the pentad, the one who was given to us in triple power, the one who was begotten without begetting, the one who came from that which is elect; because of what is humble, he went forth from the midst.
Thou art a Father through a Father, a word from a command. We bless thee, Thrice Male, for thou didst unite all through them all, for thou hast empowered us. Thou hast arisen from one; from one thou hast gone forth; thou hast come to one. Thou hast saved, thou hast saved, thou hast saved us, O crown-bearer, crown-giver! We bless thee eternally. We bless thee, once we have been saved, as the perfect individuals, perfect on account of thee, those who became perfect with thee who is complete, who completes, the one perfect through all these, who is similar everywhere.
Thrice Male, thou hast stood. Thou hast already stood. Thou wast divided everywhere. Thou didst continue being one. And those whom thou hast willed, thou hast saved. But thou dost will to be saved all who are worthy.
Thou art Perfect! Thou art Perfect! Thou art Perfect!
Stele of Seth
The Second Stele
Great is the first aeon, male virginal Barbelo, the first glory of the invisible Father, she who is called "perfect".
Thou (fem.) hast seen first the one who truly pre-exists because he is non-being. And from him and through him thou hast pre-existed eternally, the non-being from one indivisible, triple power, thou a triple power, thou a great monad from a pure monad, thou an elect monad, the first shadow of the holy Father, light from light.
We bless thee, producer (fem.) of perfection, aeon-giver (fem.). Thou hast seen the eternal ones because they are from a shadow. And thou hast become numerable. And thou didst find, thou didst continue being one (fem.); yet becoming numerable in division, thou art three-fold. Thou art truly thrice, thou one (fem.) of the one (masc.). And thou art from a shadow of him, thou a Hidden One, thou a world of understanding, knowing those of the one, that they are from a shadow. And these are thine in the heart.
For their sake thou hast empowered the eternal ones in being; thou hast empowered divinity in living; thou hast empowered knowledge in goodness; in blessedness thou hast empowered the shadows which pour from the one. Thou hast empowered this (one) in knowledge; thou hast empowered another one in creation. Thou hast empowered him who is equal and him who is not equal, him who is similar and him who is not similar. Thou hast empowered in begetting, and (provided) forms in that which exists to others. [...] Thou hast empowered these. - He is that One Hidden in the heart. - And thou hast come forth to these and from these . Thou art divided among them. And thou dost become a great male noetic First-Appearer.
Fatherly God, divine child, begetter of multiplicity according to a division of all who really are, thou (masc.) hast appeared to them all in a word. And thou (masc.) dost possess them all without begetting and eternally indestructible on account of thee (fem.).
Salvation has come to us; from thee is salvation. Thou art wisdom, thou knowledge; thou art truthfulness. On account of thee is life; from thee is life. On account of thee is mind; from thee is mind. Thou art mind, thou a world of truthfulness, thou a triple power, thou threefold. Truly thou art thrice, the aeon of aeons. It is thou only who sees purely the first eternal ones and the unbegotten ones.
But the first divisions are as thou wast divided. Unite us as thou has been united. Teach us those things which thou dost see. Empower us that we may be saved to eternal life. For we are each a shadow of thee as thou art a shadow of that first pre-existent one. Hear us first. We are eternal ones. Hear us as the perfect individuals. Thou art the aeon of aeons, the all-perfect one who is established.
Thou hast heard! Thou hast heard!
Thou hast saved! Thou hast saved!
We give thanks! We bless thee always! We shall glorify thee!
The Second Stele
The Third Stele
We rejoice! We rejoice! We rejoice!
We have seen! We have seen! We have seen the really pre-existent one, that he really exists, that he is the first eternal one.
O Unconceived, from thee are the eternal ones and the aeons, the all-perfect ones who are established, and the perfect individuals.
We bless thee, non-being, existence which is before existences, first being which is before beings, Father of divinity and life, creator of mind, giver of good, giver of blessedness!
We all bless thee, knower, in a glorifying blessing, (thou) because of whom [all these are. ... really, ...], who knows thee, through thee alone. For there is no one who is active before thee. Thou art an only and living spirit. And thou knowest one, for this one who belongs to thee is on every side. We are not able to express him. For thy light shines upon us.
Present a command to us to see thee, so that we may be saved. Knowledge of thee, it is the salvation of us all. Present a command! When thou dost command, we have been saved! Truly we have been saved! We have seen thee by mind! Thou art them all, for thou dost save them all, he who was not saved, nor was he saved through them. For thou, thou hast commanded us.
Thou art one. Thou art one, just as there is one (who) will say to thee: Thou art one, thou art a single living spirit. How shall we give thee a name? We do not have it, For thou art the existence of them all. Thou art the life of them all. Thou art the mind of them all. For thou art he in whom they all rejoice.
Thou hast commanded all these to be saved through thy word [...] glory who is before him, Hidden One, blessed Senaon, he who begat himself, Asineu(s), [...]ephneu(s), Optaon, Elemaon the great power, Emouniar, Nibareu(s), Kandephor(os), Aphredon, Deiphaneus, thou who art Armedon to me, power-begetter, Thalanatheu(s), Antitheus, thou who existeth within thyself, thou who art before thyself - and after thee no one entered into activity.
As what shall we bless thee? We are not empowered. But we give thanks, as being humble toward thee. For thou hast commanded us, as he who is elect, to glorify thee to the extent we are able. We bless thee because we were saved. Always we glorify thee. For this reason we shall glorify thee, that we may be saved to eternal salvation. We have blessed thee, for we are empowered. We have been saved, for thou hast willed always, that we all do this.
We all did this. [...] not through [... aeon ...], the one who was [...], we and those who [...]. He who will remember these and give glory always will become perfect among those who are perfect and impassable beyond all things. For they all bless these individually and together. And afterwards they shall be silent. And just as they were ordained, they ascend. After the silence, they descend from the third. They bless the second; after these the first. The way of ascent is the way of descent.
Know therefore, as those who live, that you have attained. And you taught yourselves the infinite things. Marvel at the truth which is within them, and (at) the revelation.
The Three Steles of Seth
This book belongs to the fatherhood.
It is the son who wrote it.
Bless me O Father. I bless
you, O Father, in peace.
Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition.
HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990.
Never in your long ascendancy will you lose the power to recognize your associates of former existences. Always, as you ascend inward in the scale of life, will you retain the ability to recognize and fraternize with the fellow beings of your previous and lower levels of experience. Each new translation or resurrection will add one more group of spirit beings to your vision range without in the least depriving you of the ability to recognize your friends and fellows of former estates.
Princess Bride 1987 Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
And here is mystery: The more closely man approaches God through love, the greater the reality -- actuality -- of that man. The more man withdraws from God, the more nearly he approaches nonreality -- cessation of existence. When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will, when man gives God all that he has, then does God make that man more than he is.
"And do you not remember that I said to you once before that, if you had your spiritual eyes anointed, you would then see the heavens opened and behold the angels of God ascending and descending? It is by the ministry of the angels that one world may be kept in touch with other worlds, for have I not repeatedly told you that I have other sheep not of this fold?"
But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.
When you are through down here, when your course has been run in temporary form on earth, when your trial trip in the flesh is finished, when the dust that composes the mortal tabernacle "returns to the earth whence it came"; then, it is revealed, the indwelling "Spirit shall return to God who gave it." There sojourns within each moral being of this planet a fragment of God, a part and parcel of divinity. It is not yet yours by right of possession, but it is designedly intended to be one with you if you survive the mortal existence.
And the greatest of all the unfathomable mysteries of God is the phenomenon of the divine indwelling of mortal minds. The manner in which the Universal Father sojourns with the creatures of time is the most profound of all universe mysteries; the divine presence in the mind of man is the mystery of mysteries.
To every spirit being and to every mortal creature in every sphere and on every world of the universe of universes, the Universal Father reveals all of his gracious and divine self that can be discerned or comprehended by such spirit beings and by such mortal creatures. God is no respecter of persons, either spiritual or material. The divine presence which any child of the universe enjoys at any given moment is limited only by the capacity of such a creature to receive and to discern the spirit actualities of the supermaterial world.
Paradise is the eternal center of the universe of universes and the abiding place of the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, the Infinite Spirit, and their divine co-ordinates and associates. This central Isle is the most gigantic organized body of cosmic reality in all the master universe. Paradise is a material sphere as well as a spiritual abode. All of the intelligent creation of the Universal Father is domiciled on material abodes; hence must the absolute controlling center also be material, literal. And again it should be reiterated that spirit things and spiritual beings are real.
Culture presupposes quality of mind; culture cannot be enhanced unless mind is elevated. Superior intellect will seek a noble culture and find some way to attain such a goal. Inferior minds will spurn the highest culture even when presented to them ready-made.
True liberty is the associate of genuine self-respect; false liberty is the consort of self-admiration. True liberty is the fruit of self-control; false liberty, the assumption of self-assertion. Self-control leads to altruistic service; self-admiration tends towards the exploitation of others for the selfish aggrandizement of such a mistaken individual as is willing to sacrifice righteous attainment for the sake of possessing unjust power over his fellow beings.
How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality! No being, in the exercise of his supposed personal liberty, has a right to deprive any other being of those privileges of existence conferred by the Creators and duly respected by all their loyal associates, subordinates, and subjects.
There is no error greater than that species of self-deception which leads intelligent beings to crave the exercise of power over other beings for the purpose of depriving these persons of their natural liberties. The golden rule of human fairness cries out against all such fraud, unfairness, selfishness, and unrighteousness.