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May 11, 2006 01:48 AM
by christinaleestemaker


The Nag Hammadi Library 

The Sophia of Jesus Christ 


Translated by Douglas M. Parrott 

The Sophia (Wisdom) of Jesus Christ. 
After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women 
continued to be his followers, and went to Galilee onto the mountain 
called "Divination and Joy". When they gathered together and were 
perplexed about the underlying reality of the universe and the plan, 
and the holy providence, and the power of the authorities, and about 
everything the Savior is doing with them in the secret of the holy 
plan, the Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the 
invisible spirit. And his likeness resembles a great angel of light. 
But his resemblance I must not describe. No mortal flesh could 
endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught 
us about on the mountain called "Of the Olives" in Galilee. 

And he said: "Peace be to you, My peace I give you!" And they all 
marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: "What 
are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching 
Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the 
The Savior said to them: "I want you to know that all men are born 
on earth from the foundation of the world until now, being dust, 
while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, 
have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from 
the ordering of the world and (its) movement. But their speculation 
has not reached the truth. For it is said that the ordering is 
directed in three ways, by all the philosophers, (and) hence they do 
not agree. For some of them say about the world that it is directed 
by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, 
that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of the three voices 
I have just mentioned, none is close to the truth, and (they are) 
from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I 
know him (Light) - that I might speak to you about the precise 
nature of the truth. For whatever is from itself is a polluted life; 
it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom in it. And fate does not 
discern. But to you it is given to know; and whoever is worthy of 
knowledge will receive (it), whoever has not been begotten by the 
sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, for he is an 
immortal in the midst of mortal men." 

Matthew said to him: "Lord, no one can find the truth except through 
you. Therefore teach us the truth." 
The Savior said: "He Who Is is ineffable. No principle knew him, no 
authority, no subjection, nor any creature from the foundation of 
the world until now, except he alone, and anyone to whom he wants to 
make revelation through him who is from First Light. From now on, I 
am the Great Savior. For he is immortal and eternal. Now he is 
eternal, having no birth; for everyone who has birth will perish. He 
is unbegotten, having no beginning; for everyone who has a beginning 
has an end. Since no one rules over him, he has no name; for whoever 
has a name is the creation of another." 

(BG 84, 13-17 adds: He is unnameable. He has no human form; for 
whoever has human form is the creation of another). 

"And he has a semblance of his own - not like what you have seen and 
received, but a strange semblance that surpasses all things and is 
better than the universe. It looks to every side and sees itself 
from itself. Since it is infinite, he is ever incomprehensible. He 
is imperishable and has no likeness (to anything). He is unchanging 
good. He is faultless. He is eternal. He is blessed. While he is not 
known, he ever knows himself. He is immeasurable. He is untraceable. 
He is perfect, having no defect. He is imperishability blessed. He 
is called 'Father of the Universe'". 

Philip said: "Lord, how, then, did he appear to the perfect ones?" 
The perfect Savior said to him: "Before anything is visible of those 
that are visible, the majesty and the authority are in him, since he 
embraces the whole of the totalities, while nothing embraces him. 
For he is all mind. And he is thought and considering and reflecting 
and rationality and power. They all are equal powers. They are the 
sources of the totalities. And their whole race from first to last 
was in his foreknowledge, (that of) the infinite, unbegotten 

Thomas said to him: "Lord, Savior, why did these come to be, and why 
were these revealed?" 
The perfect Savior said: "I came from the Infinite that I might tell 
you all things. Spirit-Who-Is was the begetter, who had the power 
<of> a begetter and a form-giver`s nature, that the great wealth 
that was hidden in him might be revealed. Because of his mercy and 
his love, he wished to bring forth fruit by himself, that he might 
not <enjoy> his goodness alone, but (that) other spirits of the 
Unwavering Generation might bring forth body and fruit, glory and 
honor, in imperishableness and his infinite grace, that his treasure 
might be revealed by Self-begotten God, the father of every 
imperishableness and those that came to be afterward. But they had 
not yet come to visibility. Now a great difference exists among the 

He called out, saying: "Whoever has ears to hear about the 
infinities, let him hear!"; and "I have addressed those who are 
awake." Still he continued and said: "Everything that came from the 
perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. But 
whatever came from imperishableness does not perish but becomes 
imperishable. So, many men went astray because they had not known 
this difference and they died." 

Mary said to him: "Lord, then how will we know that?" 
The perfect Savior said: "Come (you) from invisible things to the 
end of those that are visible, and the very emanation of Thought 
will reveal to you how faith in those things that are not visible 
was found in those that are visible, those that belong to Unbegotten 
Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear! 

"The Lord of the Universe is not called 'Father', but 'Forefather', 
the beginning of those that will appear, but he (the Lord) is the 
beginningless Forefather. Seeing himself within himself in a mirror, 
he appeared resembling himself, but his likeness appeared as Divine 
Self-Father, and <as> Confronter over the Confronted ones, First 
Existent Unbegotten Father. He is indeed of equal age <with> the 
Light that is before him, but he is not equal to him in power. 

"And afterward was revealed a whole multitude of confronting, self-
begotten ones, equal in age and power, being in glory (and) without 
number, whose race is called 'The Generation over Whom There Is No 
Kingdom' from the one in whom you yourselves have appeared from 
these men. And that whole multitude over which there is no kingdom 
is called 'Sons of Unbegotten Father, God, Savior, Son of God,' 
whose likeness is with you. Now he is the unknowable, who is full of 
ever-imperishable glory and ineffable joy. They all are at rest in 
him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy in his unchanging glory and 
measureless jubilation; this was never heard or known among all the 
aeons and their worlds until now." 

Matthew said to him: "Lord, Savior, how was Man revealed?" 
The perfect Savior said: "I want you to know that he who appeared 
before the universe in infinity, Self-grown, Self-constructed 
Father, being full of shining light and ineffable, in the beginning, 
when he decided to have his likeness become a great power, 
immediately the principle (or beginning) of that Light appeared as 
Immortal Androgynous Man, that 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. 

"And his consort is the Great Sophia, who from the first was 
destined in him for union by Self-begotten Father, from Immortal 
Man, who appeared as First and divinity and kingdom, for the Father, 
who is called 'Man, Self-Father', revealed this. And he created a 
great aeon, whose name is 'Ogdoad', for his own majesty. 

"He was given great authority, and he ruled over the creation of 
poverty. He created gods and angels, <and> archangels, myriads 
without number for retinue, from that Light and the tri-male Spirit, 
which is that of Sophia, his consort. For from this, God originated 
divinity and kingdom. Therefore he was called 'God of gods' 
and 'King of kings'. 

"First Man has his unique mind, within, and thought - just as he is 
it (thought) - (and) considering, reflecting, rationality, power. 
All the attributes that exist are perfect and immortal. In respect 
to imperishableness, they are indeed equal. (But) in respect to 
power, they are different, like the difference between father and 
son <, and son> and thought, and the thought and the remainder. As I 
said earlier, among the things that were created, the monad is 

"And after everything, all that was revealed appeared from his 
power. And from what was created, all that was fashioned appeared; 
from what was fashioned appeared what was formed; from what was 
formed, what was named. Thus came the difference among the 
unbegotten ones from beginning to end." 

Then Bartholomew said to him: "How (is it that) <he> was designated 
in the Gospel 'Man' and 'Son of Man'? To which of them, then, is 
this Son related?" 
The Holy One said to him: "I want you to know that First Man is 
called 'Begetter, Self-perfected Mind'. He reflected with Great 
Sophia, his consort, and revealed his first-begotten, androgynous 
son. His male name is designated 'First Begetter, Son of God', his 
female name, 'First Begettress Sophia, Mother of the Universe'. Some 
call her 'Love'. Now First-begotten is called 'Christ'. Since he has 
authority from his father, he created a multitude of angels without 
number for retinue from Spirit and Light." 

His disciples said to him: "Lord, reveal to us about the one 
called 'Man', that we also may know his glory exactly." 
The perfect Savior said: "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. 
First Begetter Father is called 'Adam, Eye of Light,' because he 
came from shining Light, and his holy angels, who are ineffable 
(and) shadowless, ever rejoice with joy in their reflecting, which 
they received from their Father. The whole Kingdom of Son of Man, 
who is called 'Son of God,' is full of ineffable and shadowless joy, 
and unchanging jubilation, (they) rejoicing over his imperishable 
glory, which has never been heard until now, nor has it been 
revealed in the aeons that came afterward, and their worlds. I came 
from Self-begotten and First Infinite Light, that I might reveal 
everything to you." 

Again, his disciples said: "Tell us clearly how they came down from 
the invisibilities, from the immortal to the world that dies?" 
The perfect Savior said: "Son of Man consented with Sophia, his 
consort, and revealed a great androgynous light. His male name is 
designated 'Savior, Begetter of All Things'. His female name is 
designated 'All-Begettress Sophia'. Some call her 'Pistis'. 

"All who come into the world, like a drop from the Light, are sent 
by him to the world of Almighty, that they might be guarded by him. 
And the bond of his forgetfulness bound him by the will of Sophia, 
that the matter might be <revealed> through it to the whole world in 
poverty, concerning his (Almighty's) arrogance and blindness and the 
ignorance that he was named. But I came from the places above by the 
will of the great Light, (I) who escaped from that bond; I have cut 
off the work of the robbers; I have awakened that drop that was sent 
from Sophia, that it might bear much fruit through me, and be 
perfected and not again be defective, but be <joined> through me, 
the Great Savior, that his glory might be revealed, so that Sophia 
might also be justified in regard to that defect, that her sons 
might not again become defective but might attain honor and glory 
and go up to their Father, and know the words of the masculine 
Light. And you were sent by the Son, who was sent that you might 
receive Light, and remove yourselves from the forgetfulness of the 
authorities, and that it might not again come to appearance because 
of you, namely, the unclean rubbing that is from the fearful fire 
that came from their fleshly part. Tread upon their malicious 

Then Thomas said to him: "Lord, Savior, how many are the aeons of 
those who surpass the heavens?" 
The perfect Savior said: "I praise you (pl.) because you ask about 
the great aeons, for your roots are in the infinities. Now when 
those whom I have discussed earlier were revealed, he provided .... 

[pages 109 and 110 are missing, replaced here by the corresponding 
section in the Berlin Gnostic Codex (no.8502), the beginning of 
which is somewhat different from the final partial sentence of III 
108 (the broken off sentence)] 

[BG107]: "Now when those whom I have discussed earlier were 
revealed, Self-begetter Father very soon created twelve aeons for 
retinue for the twelve angels. All these are perfect and good. Thus 
the defect in the female appeared." 

And <he> said to him: "How many are the aeons of the immortals, 
starting from the infinities?" 
The perfect Savior said: "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. 
The first aeon is that of Son of Man, who is called 'First 
Begetter', who is called 'Savior', who has appeared. The second aeon 
(is) that of Man, who is called 'Adam, Eye of Light'. That which 
embraces these is the aeon over which there is no kingdom, (the 
aeon) of the Eternal Infinite God, the Self-begotten aeon of the 
aeons that are in it, (the aeon) of the immortals, whom I described 
earlier, (the aeon) above the Seventh, that appeared from Sophia, 
which is the first aeon. 

"Now Immortal Man revealed aeons and powers and kingdoms, and gave 
authority to all who appear in him, that they might exercise their 
desires until the last things that are above chaos. For these 
consented with each other and revealed every magnificence, even from 
spirit, multitudinous lights that are glorious and without number. 
These were called in the beginning, that is, the first aeon and <the 
second> and <the third>. The first <is> called 'Unity and Rest'. 
Each one has its (own) name; for the <third> aeon was 
designated 'Assembly' from the great multitude that appeared: in 
one, a multitude revealed themselves. Now because the multitudes 
gather and come to a unity we call them 'Assembly of the Eighth.'It 
appeared as androgynous and was name partly as male and partly as 
female. The male is called 'Assembly', while the female is 
called 'Life', that it might be shown that from a female came the 
life for all the aeons. And every name was received, starting from 
the beginning. 

"For from his concurrence with his thought, the powers very soon 
appeared who were called 'gods'; and the gods of the gods from their 
wisdom revealed gods; <and the gods> from their wisdom revealed 
lords; and the lords of the lords from their thinkings revealed 
lords; and the lords from their power revealed archangels; the 
archangels from their words revealed angels; from them, semblances 
appeared, with structure and form and name for all the aeons and 
their worlds. 

"And the immortals, whom I have just described, all have authority 
from Immortal Man, who is called 'Silence', because by reflecting 
without speech all her own majesty was perfected. For since the 
imperishabilities had the authority, each created a great kingdom in 
the Eighth, (and) also thrones and temples (and) firmaments for 
their own majesties. For these all came by the will of the Mother of 
the Universe." 

Then the Holy Apostles said to him: "Lord, Savior, tell us about 
those who are in the aeons, since it is necessary for us to ask 
about them." 
The perfect Savior said: "If you ask about anything, I will tell 
you. They created hosts of angels, myriads without number, for 
retinue and their glory. They created virgin spirits, the ineffable 
and unchangeable lights. For they have no sickness nor weakness, but 
it is will. [BG 115,14 adds here: And they came to be in an 

"Thus the aeons were completed quickly in the heavens and the 
firmaments in the glory of Immortal Man and Sophia, his consort: the 
area from which every aeon and the world and those that came 
afterward took (their) pattern for their creation of likenesses in 
the heavens of chaos and their worlds. And all natures, starting 
from the revelation of chaos, are in the Light that shines without 
shadow, and joy that cannot be described, and unutterable 
jubilation. They ever delight themselves on account of their 
unchanging glory and the immeasurable rest, which cannot be 
described among all the aeons that came to be afterward, and all 
their powers. Now all that I have just said to you, I said that you 
might shine in Light more than these." 

Mary said to him: "Holy Lord, where did your disciples come from, 
and where are they going, and (what) should they do here?" 
The Perfect Savior said to them: "I want you to know that Sophia, 
the Mother of the Universe and the consort, desired by herself to 
bring these to existence without her male (consort). But by the will 
of the Father of the Universe, that his unimaginable goodness might 
be revealed, he created that curtain between the immortals and those 
that came afterward, that the consequence might follow ... [BG 
118:] ... every aeon and chaos - that the defect of the female might 
<appear>, and it might come about that Error would contend with her. 
And these became the curtain of spirit. From <the> aeons above the 
emanations of Light, as I have said already, a drop from Light and 
Spirit came down to the lower regions of Almighty in chaos, that 
their molded forms might appear from that drop, for it is a judgment 
on him, Arch-Begetter, who is called 'Yaldabaoth'. That drop 
revealed their molded forms through the breath, as a living soul. It 
was withered and it slumbered in the ignorance of the soul. When it 
became hot from the breath of the Great Light of the Male, and it 
took thought, (then) names were received by all who are in the world 
of chaos, and all things that are in it through that Immortal One, 
when the breath blew into him. But when this came about by the will 
of Mother Sophia - so that Immortal Man might piece together the 
garments there for a judgment on the robbers - <he> then welcomed 
the blowing of that breath; but since he was soul-like, he was not 
able to take that power for himself until the number of chaos should 
be complete, (that is,) when the time determined by the great angel 
is complete. 

"Now I have taught you about Immortal Man and have loosed the bonds 
of the robbers from him. I have broken the gates of the pitiless 
ones in their presence. I have humiliated their malicious intent, 
and they all have been shamed and have risen from their ignorance. 
Because of this, then, I came here, that they might be joined with 
that Spirit and Breath, [III continues:] and might from two become 
one, just as from the first, that you might yield much fruit and go 
up to Him Who Is from the Beginning, in ineffable joy and glory and 
honor and grace of the Father of the Universe. 

"Whoever, then, knows the Father in pure knowledge will depart to 
the Father and repose in Unbegotten Father. But whoever knows him 
defectively will depart to the defect and the rest of the Eighth. 
Now whoever knows Immortal Spirit of Light in silence, through 
reflecting and consent in the truth, let him bring me signs of the 
Invisible One, and he will become a light in the Spirit of Silence. 
Whoever knows Son of Man in knowledge and love, let him bring me a 
sign of Son of Man, that he might depart to the dwelling-places with 
those in the Eighth. 

"Behold, I have revealed to you the name of the Perfect One, the 
whole will of the Mother of the Holy Angels, that the masculine 
multitude may be completed here, that there might appear in the 
aeons, the infinities and those that came to be in the untraceable 
wealth of the Great Invisible Spirit, that they all might take from 
his goodness, even the wealth of their rest that has no kingdom over 
it. I came from First Who Was Sent, that I might reveal to you Him 
Who Is from the Beginning, because of the arrogance of Arch-Begetter 
and his angels, since they say about themselves that they are gods. 
And I came to remove them from their blindness, that I might tell 
everyone about the God who is above the universe. Therefore, tread 
upon their graves, humiliate their malicious intent, and break their 
yoke and arouse my own. I have given you authority over all things 
as Sons of Light, that you might tread upon their power with your 

These are the things the blessed Savior said, and he disappeared 
from them. Then all the disciples were in great, ineffable joy in 
the spirit from that day on. And his disciples began to preach the 
Gospel of God, the eternal, imperishable Spirit. Amen. 


The Sophia of Jesus 

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

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