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)
A Valentinian Exposition
translated by John D. Turner
The Nag Hammadi Library
A Valentinian Exposition
Translated by John D. Turner
[...] enter [...] the abundance [...] those who [...] I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine. Moreover it is these who have known him who is, the Father, that is, the Root of the All, the Ineffable One who dwells in the Monad. He dwells alone in silence, and silence is tranquility since, after all, he was a Monad and no one was before him. He dwells in the Dyad and in the Pair, and his Pair is Silence. And he possessed the All dwelling within him. And as for Intention and Persistence, Love and Permanence, they are indeed unbegotten.
God came forth: the Son, Mind of the All, that is, it is from the Root of the All that even his Thought stems, since he had this one (the Son) in Mind. For on behalf of the All, he received an alien Thought since there were nothing before him. From that place it is he who moved [...] a gushing spring. Now this is the Root of the All and Monad without any one before him. Now the second spring exists in silence and speaks with him alone. And the Fourth accordingly is he who restricted himself in the Fourth: while dwelling in the Three-hundred-sixtieth, he first brought himself (forth), and in the Second he revealed his will, and in the Fourth he spread himself out.
While these things are due to the Root of the All, let us for our part enter his revelation and his goodness and his descent and the All, that is, the Son, the Father of the All, and the Mind of the Spirit; for he was possessing this one before [...]. He is a spring. He is one who appears in Silence, and he is Mind of the All dwelling secondarily with Life. For he is the projector of the All and the very hypostasis of the Father, that is, he is the Thought and his descent below.
When he willed, the First Father revealed himself in him. Since, after all, because of him the revelation is available to the All, I for my part call the All 'the desire of the All'. And he took such a thought concerning the All - I for my part call the thought 'Monogenes'. For now God has brought Truth, the one who glorifies the Root of the All. Thus it is he who revealed himself in Monogenes, and in him he revealed the Ineffable One [...] the Truth. They saw him dwelling in the Monad and in the Dyad and in the Tetrad. He first brought forth Monogenes and Limit. And Limit is the separator of the All and the confirmation of the All, since they are [...] the hundred [...]. He is the Mind [...] the Son. He is completely ineffable to the All, and he is the confirmation and the hypostasis of the All, the silent veil, the true High Priest, the one who has the authority to enter the Holies of Holies, revealing the glory of the Aeons and bringing forth the abundance to <fragrance>. The East [...] that is in Him. He is the one who revealed himself as the primal sanctuary and the treasury of the All. And he encompassed the All, he who is higher than the All. These for their part sent Christ forth to establish her just as they were established before her descent. And they say concerning him: [...] He is not manifest, but invisible to those remaining within Limit. And he possesses four powers: a separator and a confirmor, a form-provider and a substance-producer. Surely we alone would discern their presences and the time and the places which the likenesses have confirmed because they have [...] from these places [...] the Love [...] is emanated [...] the entire Pleroma [...]. The persistence endures always, and [...] for also [...] the time [...] more [...] that is, the proof of his great love.
So why a separator, and a confirmor and a substance-producer and a form-provider as others have said? For they say concerning Limit that he has two powers, a separator and a confirmor, since it separates Depth from the Aeons, in order that [...]. These, then [...] of Depth [...]. For [...] is the form [...] the Father of the Truth [...] say that Christ [...] the Spirit [...] Monogenes [...] has [...].
It is a great and necessary thing for us to seek with more diligence and perseverance after the scriptures and those who proclaim the concepts. For about this the ancients say, "they were proclaimed by God." So let us know his unfathomable richness! He wanted [...] servitude. He did not become [...] of their life [...]. They look steadfastly at their book of knowledge and they regard one another`s appearance.
That Tetrad projected the Tetrad which is the one consisting of Word and Life and Man and Church. Now the Uncreated One projected Word and Life. Word is for the glory of the Ineffable One while Life is for the glory of Silence, and Man is for his own glory, while Church is for the glory of Truth. This, then, is the Tetrad begotten according to the likeness of the Uncreated (Tetrad). And the Tetrad is begotten [... ] the Decad from Word and Life, and the Dodecad from Man, and Church became a Triacontad. Moreover, it is the one from the Triacontad of the Aeons who bear fruit from the Triacontrad. They enter jointly, but they come forth singly, fleeing from the Aeons and the Uncontainable Ones. And the Uncontainable Ones, once they had looked at him, glorified Mind since he is an Uncontainable One that exists in the Pleroma.
But the Decad from Word and Life brought forth decads so as to make the Pleroma become a hundred, and the Dodecad from Man and Church brought forth and made the Triacontad so as to make the three hundred sixty become the Pleroma of the year. And the year of the Lord [...perfect...] perfect [...] according to [...] Limit and [...] Limit [...] the greatness which [...] the goodness [...] him. Life [...] suffer [...] by the face [...] in the presence of the Pleroma [...] which he wanted [...]. And he wanted to leave the Thirtieth - being a szygy of Man and Church, that is, Sophia - to surpass the Triacontad and bring the Pleroma [...] his [...] but [...] and she [...] the All [...] but [...] who [...] the All [...]. He made [...] the thoughts and [...] the Pleroma through the Word [...] his flesh. These, then, are the Aeons that are like them. After the Word entered it, just as I said before, also the one who comes to be with the Uncontainable One brought forth [...] before they [...] forth [...] hide him from [...] the syzygy and [...] the movement and [...] project the Christ [...] and the seeds [...] of the cross since [...] the imprints of the nail wound [...] perfection. Since it is a perfect form that should ascend into the Pleroma, he did not at all want to consent to the suffering, but he was detained [...] him by Limit, that is, by the syzygy, since her correction will not occur through anyone except her own Son, whose alone is the fullness of divinity. He willed within himself bodily to leave the powers and he descended. And these things (passions) Sophia suffered after her son ascended from her, for she knew that she dwelt in a [...] in unity and restoration. They were stopped [...] the brethren [...] these. A [...] did not [...]. I became [...]. Who indeed are they? The [...], on the one hand, stopped her [...], on the other hand, [...]. with the [...] her. These moreover are those who were looking at me, these who, [...] these who considered [...] the death. They were stopped [...] her and she repented and she besought the Father of the truth, saying, "Granted that I have renounced my consort. Therefore I am beyond confirmation as well. I deserve the things (passions) I suffer. I used to dwell in the Pleroma putting forth the Aeons and bearing fruit with my consort" And she knew what she was and what had become of her.
So they both suffered; they said she laughs since she remained alone and imitated the Uncontainable One, while he said she laughs since she cut herself off from her consort. [...] Indeed Jesus and Sophia revealed the creature. Since, after all, the seeds of Sophia are incomplete and formless, Jesus contrived a creature of this sort and made it of the seeds while Sophia worked with him. For since they are seeds and without form, he descended and brought forth that pleroma of aeons which are in that place, since even the uncreated ones of those Aeons are of the pattern of the Pleroma and the uncontainable Father. The Uncreated One brought forth the pattern of the uncreated, for it is from the uncreated that the Father brings forth into form. But the creature is a shadow of pre-existing things. Moreover, this Jesus created the creature, and he worked from the passions surrounding the seeds. And he separated them from one another, and the better passions he introduced into the spirit and the worse ones into the carnal.
Now, first among all those passions [...] nor [...] him, since, after all, Pronoia caused the correction to project shadows and images of those who exist from the first and those who are and those who shall be. This, then, is the dispensation of believing in Jesus for the sake of him who inscribed the All with likenesses and images and shadows.
After Jesus brought forth further, he brought forth for the All those of the Pleroma and of the syzygy, that is, the angels. For simultaneously with the agreement of the Pleroma her consort projected the angels, since he abides in the will of the Father. For this is the will of the Father: not to allow anything to happen in the Pleroma apart from a syzygy. Again, the will of the Father is: always produce and bear fruit. That she should suffer, then, was not the will of the Father, for she dwells in herself alone without her consort. Let us [...] another one [...] the Second [...] the son of another [...] is the Tetrad of the world. And that Tetrad put forth fruit as if the Pleroma of the world were a Hebdomad. And it entered images and likenesses and angels and archangels, divinities and ministers.
When all these things were brought to pass by Pronoia [...] of Jesus who [...] the seeds [...] of Monogenes [...]. Indeed they are spiritual and carnal, the heavenly and the earthly. He made them a place of this sort and a school of this sort for doctrine and for form.
Moreover the Demiurge began to create a man according to his image on the one hand and on the other according to the likeness of those who exist from the first. It was this sort of dwelling place that she used for the seeds, namely [... separate ...] God. When they [...] in behalf of man, since indeed the Devil is one of the divine beings. He removed himself and seized the entire plaza of the gates and he expelled his own root from that place in the body and carcasses of flesh, for he is enveloped by the man of God. And Adam sowed him. Therefore he acquired sons who angered one another. And Cain killed Abel his brother, for the Demiurge breathed into them his spirit. And there took place the struggle with the apostasy of the angels and mankind, those of the right with those of the left, those in heaven with those on earth, the spirits with the carnal, and the Devil against God. Therefore the angels lusted after the daughters of men and came down to flesh so that God would cause a flood. And he almost regretted that he had created the world [...] the consort and Sophia and her Son and the angels and the seeds. But the syzygy is the complete one, and Sophia and Jesus and the angels and the seeds are images of the Pleroma. Moreover, the Demiurge cast a shadow over the syzygy and the Pleroma and Jesus and Sophia and the angels and the seeds. The complete one glorifies Sophia; the image glorifies Truth. And the glory of the seeds and Jesus are those of Silence and Monogenes. And the angels of the males and the seminal ones of the females are all Pleromas. Moreover whenever Sophia receives her consort and Jesus receives the Christ and the seeds and the angels, then the Pleroma will receive Sophia joyfully, and the All will come to be in unity and reconciliation. For by this the Aeons have been increased; for they knew that should they change, they are without change.
A Valentinian Exposition
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.