Six Gnostic Texts from the Nag Hammadi
I. The Gospel of
II. The Apocryphon of James.
III. The Treatise on Resurrection.
IV. The Dialogue of the Savior.
V. Thunder Perfect Mind.
VI. The Prayer of Thanksgiving.
These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.
1. And he said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."
2. Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will be troubled. When he becomes troubled he will be astonished and he will rule over the All."
3. Jesus said "If those who lead you say to you 'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you 'It is in the sea,' then the fish wil precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves you will dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."
4. Jesus said "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last and they will become one and the same."
5. Jesus said, "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden that shall not become manifest."
6. His disciples questioned him and said to him "Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?" Jesus said "Do not tell lies and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered."
7. Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes a man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."
8. And he said "The man is like a wise fisherman who cast net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman found a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish without difficulty. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
9. Jesus said "Now the sower went out and took a handful of seeds and scattered them. Some fell on the road, the birds came and gathered them up. Others fell on rock and did not take root in the soil and did not produce ears. And others fell on thorns; they choked the seed and the worms ate them. And others fell on the good soil and produced good fruit: it bore sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure."
10. Jesus said, "I have cast a fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes."
11. Jesus said "This heaven will pass away and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were One you became Two. But when you become two what will you do?"
12. The disciples said to Jesus: "We know that you will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?" Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."
13. Jesus said to his disciples: "Compare me to someone and tell me whom I am like." Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a righteous angel." Matthew said to him "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas said to him, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like." Jesus said "I am not your Master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out."
James writes to [...]thos: Peace [be with you from] Peace, [love from] Love,[grace from] Grace, [faith from] Faith, life from Holy Life! Jesus said; [...] Scorn death and take thought for life! Remember my cross and my death and you will live!" I answered him and said to him, "Lord, do not mention to us the cross and death, for they are far from you." The Lord answered and said "Verily I say unto you, none will be saved unless they believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross theirs is the Kingdom of God. Therefore become seekers for death, like the dead who seek for life; for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to trouble them? As for you, when you examine death it will teach you election. Verily I say unto you, none of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom of death belongs to those who put themselves to death. Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit!" Then I asked him "Lord, how shall we be able to prophesy to those who ask us to prophesy to them? For there are many who ask us and look to us to hear an oracle from us." The Lord answered "Do you not know that the head of prophesy was cut off with John?" But I said "Lord, can it be possible to remove the head of prophesy?" The Lord said to me: "When you come to know what 'head' means, and that prophesy issues from the head then understand the meaning of 'its head was removed.' At first I spoke to you in parables and you did not understand; now I speak to you openly and you still do not perceive. Yet it is you who served me as a parable in parables and that which is open in the words that are open." [...]
Some there are, my son Rheginos, who want to learn much. They have this goal when they are occupied with questions whose answer is lacking. If they succeed with these, they usually think very highly of themselves. But I do not think they have stood within the Word of Truth. They seek rather their own rest, which we have received through our Savior, our Lord Christ. We received it [rest] when we knew the truth and rested ourselves upon it. But since you ask us pleasantly what is proper concerning the resurrection, I am writing to you [to say] that it is necessary. To be sure, many are lacking Faith in it but there are a few who find it. So then, let us discuss the matter. How did the Lord make use of things while he existed in flesh and after he had revealed himself as Son of God? He lived in this place where you remain, speaking about the Law of Nature-but I call it "death"! Now the Son of God, Rheginos, was Son of Man. He embraced them both, possessing the humanity and the divinity, so that on one hand he might vanquish death through his being Son of God, and that on the other through the Son of Man the restoration of the Pleroma might occur; because he was originally from above, a seed of the Truth, before this structure [kosmos] had come into being. In this [structure] many dominions and divinities came into existence. I know that I am presenting the solution in difficult terms, but there is nothing difficult in the Word of Truth. But since the solution appeared so as not to leave anything hidden, but to reveal all things openly concerning existence-the destruction of evil on the one hand, the revelation of the elect on the other-that is the emanation of Truth and Spirit; Grace is that which belongs to Truth. The Savior swallowed up death-[of this] you are not reckoned as being ignorant-for he put aside the world which was perishing. He transformed himself into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, and he gaveus the way of our immortality. Then, indeed, as the Apostle said [...] (Romans 8:17, Ephesians 2:5-6) "We suffered with him, and we arose with him and we went to heaven with him." Now if we are manifest in this world wearing him we are that one's beams, and we are embraced by him until our setting, that is to say, our death in this life. We are drawn to keaven by him, like beams by the Sun, not being restrained by anything. This is the spiritual resurrection which swallows up the psychic in the same way as the fleshly. [...] "Strong is the system of the Pleroma; small is that which broke loose "[and] became [the] world. But the All is what is encompassed. It has "[not] come into being; it was existing." [...] Many are looking forward to this which I have written to you. To these I say: peace be among them and grace. I greet you and those who love you [pl.] in brotherly love.
[...] The disciples said to him, "What is the pleroma and what is the deficiency?" He said to them "You are from the Pleroma, and you dwell in the place where the dificiency is. And behold, its light was poured down upon me."Matthew said, "Tell me, Lord, how the dead die and how the living live?" The Lord said "You have asked me for a word [about that] which eye hath not seen, nor have I heard about it, except from you. But I say unto you, that when that which moves man is withdrawn he will be called 'dead' and when the living one sets free the dead one, he will be called the 'living.'" Judas said "Why then, by the truth, do they die and live?" The Lord said "He who is from the truth does not die; he who is from the woman dies." Mariam said "Tell me, Lord, why I have ocme to this place, to benefit or to suffer loss?" The Lord said "Because you reveal the greatness of the revealer." Mariam said to him "Lord, is there a place that is [...] or is deprived of the truth?" The Lord said "The place where I am not." Mariam said "Lord, you are fearful and wonderful and [apart] from those who do not know you." Matthew said "Why do we not put ourselves at rest at once?" The Lord said, "You will when you lay down these burdens." [...] Judas said to Matthew "We wish to know with what kind of garments we will be clothed when we come from the corruption of the flesh." The Lord said "The archons and the governors have garments that are given to them for a time, which do not abide. As for you, however, since you are sons of the truth, it is not with these temporary garments that you will clothe yourselves. Rather, I say to you that you will be blessed when you strip yourselves, for it is still a great thing to [...] outside. Mariam said "What is the mustard seed like? Is it from heaven or earth?" The Lord said "When the Father established the world for himself he left behind many things from the Mother of the All. Because of this he speaks and acts. Judas said "You have said this to us from the mind of truth. When we pray, how shall we pray?" The Lord said "Pray in the place where there is no woman." Matthew said "He says to us 'Pray in the place where there is no woman.' and 'Destroy the works of femaleness' not because she is another [...] but so that the works will cease." Mariam said "Will they never be destroyed?" The Lord said "The Mother is the one who knows that the works of femaleness will dissolve and be destroyed in this place."
I was sent forth from the power, and I have come to those who reflect upon me, and I have been found among those who seek after me. Look upon me, you who reflect upon me, and you hearers, hear me. You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves. And do not banish me from your sight. And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing. Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard! Do not be ignorant of me. For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and the daughter. I am the members of my mother. I am the barren one and many are her sons. I am she whose wedding is great and I have not taken a husband. I am the midwife and she who does not bear. I am the solace of my labor pains. I am the bride and the bridegroom, and it is my husband who begot me. I am the mother of my father and the sister of my husband and he is my offspring I am the slave of him that prepared me. I am the ruler of my offspring, but he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday. And he is my offspring in due time and my power is from him. I am the staff of his power in his youth, and he is the rod of my old age and whatever he wills, happens to me. I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent. I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance is multiple. I am the utterance of my name. Why, you who hate me, do you love me, and you hate those who love me? You who deny me, confess me and you who confess me, deny me. You who tell the truth about me, lie about me, and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me. You who know me, be ignorant of me, and those who have not known me, let them know me. For I am knowledge and ignorance. I am shame and boldness. I am shameless and I am ashamed. I am strength and I am fear. I am war and peace. Give heed to me. I am the one who is disgraced and the great one. Give heed to my poverty and my wealth. Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the earth, and you will find me in those that are to come. And do not look upon me on the dung- heap nor go out and leave me cast out, and you will find me in the kingdoms. And do not look upon me when I am cast out among those who are disgraced and in the least places, nor laugh at me. And do not cast me out among those who are slain in violence. But I, I am compassionate and I am cruel. Be on your guard! Do not hate my obedience and do not love my self control. In my weakness, do not forsake me and do not be afraid of my power. For why do you dispise my fear and curse my pride? But I am she who exists in all fears and strength in trembling. I am she who is weak, and I am well in a pleasant place. I am senseless and I am wise. [...] Look then at his words and all the writings which have been completed. Give heed then, you hearers; and you also, the angels of those sent, and you spirits who have risen from the dead. For I am the one who alone exists and I have no one who will judge me.
This is the prayer that they spoke: "We give thanks to thee! Every soul and heart is lifted up to thee, O undisturbed name, honored with the name 'God' and praised with the name 'Father,' for to everyone and everything comes the fatherly kindness and affection and love and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain, giving us mind, speech and knowledge: Mind, so that we man understand thee Speech, so that we may expound thee, Knowledge, so that we may know thee. We rejoice because thou hast shown us Thyself. We rejoice because we were in the body. Thou hst made us divine through thy knowledge. The delight of the man who attains to thee is one thing: that we know thee. We have known thee, O intellectual light. O life of life, we have known thee. O womb of every creature, we hve known thee. O womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we have known thee. O eternal permanence of the begetting Father thus have we worshipped thy goodness. There is one petition that we ask: we would be preserved in knowledge. And there is one protection that we desire: we do not stumble in this life. When they had said these things in prayer, they embraced each other and went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.