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Reservations Contents  

  1. From the Apocryphon of James
  2. From the Gospel of Philip
  3. From the Gospel of Truth
  4. From the Thunder, Perfect Mind
  5. From the Apocryphon of John
  6. From the Book of Thomas the Contender
  7. From the Dialogue of the Saviour
  8. The Sophia of Jesus Christ
  9. From the Testimony of Truth
  10. From the Book of Secrets
  11. From the Teachings of Silvanus
  12. From the Sentences of Sextus
  13. From the Apocalypse of Peter
  14. From the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles
  15. From Allogenes

Gist of Gnostic Texts The findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi collection of ancient texts have added much to the understanding of how the Christian Bible developed. With one exception (No. 10) our extracted text parts are from the Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices with over fifty texts, discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. Other texts than our No. 10 have been found in caves near Qumran, where researches have identified about 800 different original manuscripts.

Gnosticism has been called a parallel philosophical-religious movement to Christianity. Gnosticism had its variegated ideas and doctrines that became quite popular throughout the Mediterranean world in the 100s and 200s AD. No specific origins of Gnosticism have been traced. [Source: Britannica Online: "Gnostic Texts"]

Moreover, in Gnosticism it was believed that the material cosmos was created by an imperfect god, frequently identified with Yahweh. There was also a superior entity, referred to by such as Godhead. The secret knowing, gnosis, was a form of esoteric knowledge for siding with the superior Godhead and thereby escaping from the world of matter.

Jesus of the Bible was identified by some Gnostic sects as a "false messiah".

Gnosticism spread in the Roman Empire and Persian Empire. Gnostic ideas became influential in the philosophies of various esoteric mystical movements of the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and North America. [See Wikipedia, s.v. "Gnosticism"]

Below are gathered some utterances from the extant texts and fragments. They could do good where conditions are suitable, and so on.


From the Apocryphon of James

Translated by Ron Cameron

No one ever will enter the Kingdom of Heaven if I bid him . . .

Woe to those who have seen the Son of Man! Blessed are those who have not seen the Man . . . and who have not listened to anything from him.

Become full and leave no place within you empty, since the Coming One is able to mock you.

Become full, in order that you may not be diminished.

I first spoke with you in parables, and you did not understand. Now, in turn, I speak with you openly, and you do not perceive.

Thought gives birth to hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is far from the truth.

Let not the Kingdom of Heaven wither away.

Unless you receive the Kingdom of Heaven through knowledge, you will not be able to find it.

Be sober. Do not go astray.

Understand what the great light is.

Pay attention to the Word.

Love Life.

Be glad as children of God.

Know yourselves.

Be zealous to reap for yourselves [the being] filled with the Kingdom.

Let not the Kingdom of Heaven become desolate among you. Do not become arrogant on account of the light which illumines.

From Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1982), as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984). On-line:


From the Gospel of Philip

Translated by Wesley W. Isenberg

A Gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die.

Let us sow in the world that we may reap in the summer [i.e., in the eternal realm].

Those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

If man is saved, there will not be any sacrifices. And animals will not be offered to the powers.

The soul is precious.

Through powers which are submissive a perfect man ploughs [Mod].

Faith receives, and love gives.

When the pearl is cast down into the mud, it becomes greatly despised. But the Sons of God, wherever they may be, still have value in the eyes of their Father [Mod].

God is a man-eater [and] men are sacrificed to him.

Before men were sacrificed, animals were being sacrificed.

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. There are men who make many journeys, but make no progress towards any destination. . . . In vain have the wretches laboured.

About Mary Magdalene: [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered them, "Why do I not love you like her?"

Blessed is he who is before he came into being.

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.

Great is the mystery of marriage!

There is evil after this world which is truly evil

That which is within them all is the fullness.

A bridal chamber is . . . for free men and virgins.

The "Holy of the Holies" is the bridal chamber.

There are two trees growing in Paradise. The one bears animals, the other bears men. Adam ate from the tree which bore animals. He became an animal and he brought forth animals.

The children of Adam worship animals.

God created man. [...] men create God. That is the way it is in the world - men make gods and worship their creation.

What a man accomplishes depends on his abilities.

In this world, the slaves serve the free. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the free will minister to the slaves.

Truth [can be] a life-eater.

The Tree of Knowledge made men alive. The law was the tree.

A horse sires a horse [a mule too].

Some, if they do not know themselves, will not enjoy what they possess.

Those who have come to know themselves will enjoy their possessions. [Mod].

Frequently, if a woman sleeps with her husband out of necessity, while her heart is with the adulterer with whim she usually has intercourse, the child she will bear is born resembling the adulterer. [Heh].

Thought consorts with thought.

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 nor thought nor light will be able to love you [But what about all these pets!].

He who is a slave against his will, will be able to become free.

It is not proper to cause anyone distress - whether the person is great or small, unbeliever or believer - and then give comfort only to those who take satisfaction in good deeds.

The one who fares well sometimes causes people distress - not that he intends to do so; rather, it is their own wickedness 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.

The disciple of God, if he is a sensible fellow, understands what discipleship is all about.

There are many animals in the world which are in a human form. When he identifies them, to the swine he will throw 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.

Marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife.

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 alive; 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 root is exposed, the tree dries up.

Let each one of us dig down after the root 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 in our heart. It masters us. We are its slaves. It takes us captive . . . and what we do want, we do not do. It is powerful because we have not recognized it. While it exists it is active.

One who will enter the bridal chamber will kindle the light. . . . The mysteries of that marriage are perfected rather in the day and the light.

If anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light. . . . The [eternal realm] is fullness for him.

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Gospel of Truth

Translated by Robert M. Grant

The path is the truth that was taught them [Mod.].

The living who are inscribed in the book of the living, learn for themselves.

He has knowledge who does the will of him who called him [Mod].

He had filled what was incomplete, he did away with form . . . the world.

Happy is the man who comes to himself and awakens.

He became a path for those who went astray and knowledge to those who were ignorant.

He laboured even on the Sabbath for the sheep.

Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be [overly] concerned with other things.

A certain turning back is called "repentance".

The Logos was the first to come forth.

The Father knows the beginning of them all as well as their end.

The name of the Father is the Son . . . however, [it] is invisible, his name is not pronounced, but it is revealed.

The Father's own children are those whom he loves.

From Robert M. Grant, Gnosticism (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961), as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984). On-line:


From the Thunder, Perfect Mind

Translated by George W. MacRae

Do not be arrogant to God [Mod.].

Be on your guard!

I am the one whom [the Greeks] call Life.

I am the one whom you have scattered.

The angels have been sent at my word, and of gods in their seasons by my counsel.

[I am ...] within.

I am . . . attainable to everyone.

I am the [repository of ] Truth.

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Apocryphon of John

Translated by Frederik Wisse

The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything.

He who establishes himself is eternal.

From the foreknowledge of the perfect mind, through the revelation of the will of the invisible Spirit and the will of the Autogenes, perfect Man (appeared), the first revelation, and the truth.

In [some] the despicable spirit has gained strength when they went astray. And he burdens the soul and draws it to the works of evil, and he casts it down into forgetfulness.

Guard yourself against what leads into poverty and chaos and all those who ensnare you. [Mod]

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Book of Thomas the Contender

Translated by John D. Turner

Examine yourself, and learn who you are.

He who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.

If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you, how can you hear about the things that are not visible?

Those who speak about things that are invisible and difficult to explain are like those who shoot their arrows at a target at night.

Whenever all the elect abandon bestiality, then this light will withdraw up to its essence.

For the males move [...] upon the females and the females upon the males.

It is impossible for an intelligent man to dwell with a fool.

Thomas: 'Many are [...] those who do not know [...] soul.".

And the saviour answered, saying, "Blessed is the wise man who sought after the truth, and when he found it, he rested upon it forever and was unafraid of those who wanted to disturb him.

Thomas "It is beneficial for us, lord, to rest among our own?" The saviour said, "Yes, it is useful. And it is good for you.

Thomas: What shall we say to blind men? (etc.)?" The saviour said, "Do not esteem them as men, but regard them as beasts . . . They are deprived of the kingdom . . . And they rejoice over [...] madness and derangement [...] They pursue this derangement without realizing their madness.

We realize in our heart.

He who will listen to your word and turn away his face or sneer at it or smirk at these things, truly I tell you that he will be handed over to the ruler above who rules over all the powers as their king, and he will turn that one around and cast him from heaven down to the abyss, and he will be imprisoned in a narrow dark place.

Woe to you, godless ones, who have no hope, who rely on things that will not happen!

Woe to you who hope in the flesh and in the prison that will perish! . . . You are corrupting your souls!

The burning that is in you [may] rend your souls secretly.

If the grapevine prevails and shades those weeds and all the other brush growing alongside, and spreads and flourishes, it alone inherits the land.

"Blessed are you who have prior knowledge of the stumbling blocks and who flee alien things.

Watch and pray that you . . . come forth from the bondage of the bitterness.

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Dialogue of the Saviour

Translated by Stephen Emmel

The things inside you [...] will remain.

It is the one who speaks who also listens.

The one who can see also reveals.

Before the heaven and the earth existed. . . there was darkness and water, and spirit upon water.

What you seek after [...] inquire after [...] within you.

Tell us . . . where the true mind exists.

Let him who possesses power renounce it and repent.

No one] will be able to inquire about these things except for someone who has somewhere to put them in his heart.

Everyone who has known himself has seen it in everything given to him to do.

That which supports the earth is that which supports the heaven.

When you see the Eternal Existent, that is the great vision . . . How do you wish to see it? By means of a transient vision or an eternal vision?".

Strive to save that which can follow you, and to seek it out, and to speak from within it.

Judas said, "Behold! The governors dwell above us, so it is they who will rule over us!" The Lord said, "It is you who will rule over them!

He said to them, "You are from the fullness, and you dwell in the place where the deficiency is.

When what invigorates a man is removed, he will be called 'dead'. And when what is alive leaves what is dead, what is alive will be called on."

Judas said, "Why else, for the sake of truth, do they and live?"

Whatever is born of truth does not die.

Mary said to him, "Lord, is there then a place which is [...] or lacking truth?" The Lord said, "The place where I am not!"

When you abandon the works which will not be able to follow you, then you will rest.

Be prepared in face of everything.

Judas said, "Tell me, Lord, what the beginning of the path is."

He said, "Love and goodness.

Stand in the place you can reach!

It is the one who can see who reveals.

I say to you that you will become blessed when you strip yourselves!

The Lord said, "Pray in the place where there is no woman."

A true Word is coming forth from the Father to the abyss, in silence with a flash of lightning, giving birth.

The Lord said, It behooves whoever has understood the works to do the will of the Father.

So that you will not lead your spirits and your souls into error.

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


The Sophia of Jesus Christ

Translated by Douglas M. Parrott

The Saviour appeared in the invisible spirit and said: "What are you searching for?" - Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan."

I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I know him (Light) - that I might speak to you.

He Who Is is ineffable.

Eternal is blessed.

He is thought and considering and reflecting and rationality and power. They all are equal powers.

Whatever came from imperishableness does not perish. Many men went astray because they had not known this difference and they died.

Emanation of Thought will reveal.

The Lord of the Universe is (called beginningless) ' Forefather'.

Through that Immortal Androgynous Man they might attain their salvation and awake from forgetfulness through the interpreter who was sent, who is with you until the end of the poverty of the robbers.

First Man has his unique mind, within, and thought - considering, reflecting, rationality, power. All the attributes that exist are perfect and in respect to imperishableness, they are indeed equal. [Abr.].

The whole Kingdom of Son of Man, who is called 'Son of God,' is full of ineffable and shadowless joy.

I have cut off the work of the robbers.

The first aeon is that of Son of Man, who is called 'First Begetter', who is called 'Saviour', who has appeared. The second aeon (is) that of Man, who is called 'Adam, Eye of Light'.

In a heaven multitudes gather and come to a unity.

Now I have taught you about Immortal Man . . . I have broken the gates of the pitiless ones. I have humiliated their malicious intent . . .

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Testimony of Truth

Translated by Søren Giversen and Birger A. Pearson

I will speak to those who know to hear . . . with the ears of the mind.

Many have sought after the truth and have not been able to find it.

No one who is under the Law will be able to look up to the truth.

The Son of Man came forth from Imperishability.

The Son of Man reveals to us: It is fitting for you (pl.) to receive the word of truth, if one will receive it perfectly.

One who is in ignorance, it is difficult for him to diminish his works of darkness which he has done.

The foolish think in their heart that if they confess, "We are Christians" in word only . . . they will live, when they are (really) in error.

The foolish fall into clutches because of their ignorance [Mod].

If the Father were to desire a human sacrifice, he would become vainglorious.

Many who are sick, are not able to raise themselves.

Do not expect, therefore, the carnal resurrection.

Those who receive him to themselves with uprightness and power [could be among] the ones whom he will transfer to the heights, unto life eternal.

He who has come to know the Father of Truth, has come to rest; he has ceased seeking, having found. And when he found, he became silent.

The baptism of truth is by renunciation of the world.

Wicked in their behavior! Some of them fall away to the worship of idols. Others have demons dwelling with them, as did David the king. He is the one who laid the foundation of Jerusalem [nonsense - cf. Salem of Melechesedic etc.]; and his son Solomon, whom he begat in adultery, is the one who built Jerusalem by means of the demons [Phoenicians], because he received power. When he had finished building, he imprisoned the demons in the temple. He placed them into seven waterpots. They remained a long time in the waterpots, abandoned there. When the Romans went up to Jerusalem, they discovered the waterpots, and immediately the demons ran out of the waterpots, as those who escape from prison.

Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990. On-line:


From the Book of Secrets

Provided by The Dead Sea Scroll Collection at The Gnostic Society Library

Who wants his money to be stolen by a wicked man?

Where is the people that has not robbed the wealth of another?

Listen, you who hold fast to the wonderful secrets of eternity, and the plots.

He [probably] knows every secret.

He created insight for all those who pursue true knowledge.

Wisdom is from eternity.



From the Teachings of Silvanus

Translated by Malcolm L. Peel and Jan Zandee

Arm yourself.

My son, throw every robber out of your gates.

The Wicked One . . . is a tyrant.

Do not show your back to enemies and flee, but rather, pursue them as a strong one.

Protect yourself.

Entrust yourself to this pair of friends, reason and mind.

Judge yourself like a wise judge.

Put knowledge on yourself.

Be seated on a throne of perception.

Do not be arrogant in opposition to every good opinion, but take for yourself the side of the divinity of reason.

Do not bring grief and trouble to the divine which is within you.

Know your birth.

Share in a true nature of life.

The rational nature will guide you in rational ways. Turn toward the rational nature.

The Adversary casts into your heart evil thoughts as good ones, and hypocrisy in the guise of true wisdom, avidity in the guise of conservative frugality, love of glory in the guise of that which is beautiful, boastfulness and pride in the guise of great austerity, and godlessness as great godliness.

How will you be able to comprehend the schemes of . . . soul-killing counsel?.

Malicious man harms his heart.

A wise man knows his way.

Do not trust anyone as a friend, . . . each one is seeking his own advantage.

My son, do not have anyone as a friend, but if you do acquire one, do not entrust yourself to him. Entrust yourself to God alone.

Be pleasing to God, and you will not need anyone.

The mind . . . in the body . . . with respect to thought, the mind is not in a place.

There is no small danger in speaking about these things.

Enlighten your mind with the light of heaven . . . turn to the light of heaven.

My son, guard yourself against wickedness.

Entrust yourself to reason.

Many think that they have reason, but if you look at them attentively, their speech is animalistic.

The man who does nothing is unworthy of (being called) rational.

He who will defile the temple of God, that one God will destroy.

God . . . wished to produce humility in the exalted.

Do not be slow with your ears.

For God is nearby; he is not far off.

For God does not need to put any man to the test.

Open the door for yourself, [and] know the One who is. Knock on yourself, that the Word may open for you.

Knock on for yourself, benefiting yourself. [Mod].

Help yourself, . . . (by) not proceeding with things in which there is no profit.

Do not wish to acquire . . . the boastfulness which brings you to ruin.

The right way is always profitable. [Mod].

Gist from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. San Franciso: HarperCollins, 1990. On-line:


From the Sentences of Sextus

Translated by Frederik Wisse

A godly heart produces a blessed life. (326b).

A good man is the good work of God. (394/395).

A wise man is a doer of good works . . . (176).

A wise man is the servant of God. (319).

As your heart is, (so) will be your life. (325/326a).

Both the great one exists and he who is next to the great one exists. (376b).

Do not become guilty of your own death. (321).

Do not deceive anyone, especially him who needs advice. (165f).

Do not give the word of God to everyone. (350).

Do not speak with a godless person about God. (354/356).

Guard yourself from lying. (393).

He who does not harm the soul neither does (so) to man (318).

If first your mind is persuaded that you have been god-loving, then speak to whoever you wish about God. (358).

It is better for you to be silent about the word of God, than to speak recklessly. (366).

It is better to dispose of a soul than to discard at random a word about God. (362).

It is better to serve others than to make others serve you. (336).

It is not a small danger . . . to speak the truth about God; (352/53).

Know what is fitting for the fortunate man to do. (343/344).

Let not an ungrateful man cause you to cease to do good. (328).

Love the truth (158/159).

Maintain self-sufficiency. (332/334).

May the right time precede your words. (160).

May your life confirm your words . . . (177).

May your pious works precede every word about God. (359).

Speak when it is not proper to be silent, but speak concerning the things you know (only (161/162).

The faithful do not speak many words, but their works are numerous. (383).

The innocent body is the garment of your soul: keep it, therefore, pure. (346).

To be able to restrain [the body] gently when it is necessary, can be good. (Mod. 320).

What it is fitting to say is not of greater value than the hearing. (171a).

What thinks in you, say with your mind that it is man. (315)

Gist from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. San Franciso: HarperCollins, 1990. On-line:


From the Apocalypse of Peter

Translated by James Brashler and Roger A. Bullard

As long as the hour is not yet come, it (the immortal soul) shall resemble a mortal one. But it shall not reveal its nature.

Many who oppose the truth and are the messengers of error, do business in my word. Those of this sort are the workers who will be cast into the outer darkness, away from the sons of light.

Not every soul is of the truth.

Peter, become perfect in accordance with your name.

Peter, I have told you many times that they are blind ones who have no guide.

Put your hands on (your) eyes - your robe."

But when I had done it, I did not see anything. I said "No one sees (this way)."

Again he told me, "Do it again."

And there came in me fear with joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. (Jyoti mudra is like it, but not exactly so - TK)

The guileless, good, pure one they push to the worker of death.

There shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also deacons, as if they have received their authority from God. They bend themselves under the judgement of the leaders. Those people are dry canals.

There will be no honour in any man who is not immortal.

Gist from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. San Franciso: HarperCollins, 1990. On-line:


From the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles

Translated by Douglas M. Parrott and R. McL.Wilson

A man does not give a pearl to a beggar, but (it is) bread and money that is usually received.

Great hardships are on the road!

Many are the robbers and wild beasts on that road.

Gist from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. San Franciso: HarperCollins, 1990. On-line:


From Allogenes

Translated by John D.Turner and Orval S. Wintermute

Cease seeking incomprehensible matters.

Do not desire to be active, lest you fall in any way from the inactivity in you of the Unknown One.

Do not dissipate so that you may be able to stand. [Mod]

God is much higher in beauty than all those that are good.

God is not a creature.

I rejoiced exceedingly in a great light and a blessed path.

I saw the light that surrounded me and the Good that was in me, I became divine.

Gist from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. San Franciso: HarperCollins, 1990. On-line:


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