Plato, Republic 588A-589B

Plato, Republic 588A-589B

SINCE WE HAVE COME TO THIS POINT IN A DISCUSSION, let us again take up the first things that were said to us. And we will find that he says, ‘Good is he who has been done injustice completely. He is glorified justly.’ Is not this how he was reproached?

“This is certainly the fitting way!”

And I said, “Now then, we have spoken because he said that he who does injustice and he who does justice each has a force.”

”How then?”

“He said, ‘An image that has no likeness is the rationality of soul,’ so that he who said these things will understand. He […] or not? We […] is for me. But all […] who told them […] ruler, these now have become natural creatures – even Chimaera and Cerberus and all the rest that were mentioned. They all came down and they cast off forms and images. And they all became a single image. It was said, ‘Work now!’ Certainly it is a single image that became the image of a complex beast with many heads. Some days indeed it is like the image of a wild beast. Then it is able to cast off the first image. And all these hard and difficult forms emanate from it with effort, since these are formed now with arrogance. And also all the rest that are like them are formed now through the word. For now it is a single image. For the image of the lion is the one thing and the image of the man is another. […] single […] is the […] of […] join. And this […] much more complex than the first. And the second is small.”

On the Origin of the World

On the Origin of the World

Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton

SEEING THAT EVERYBODY, GODS OF THE WORLD AND MANKIND, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root. Here is the demonstration.

How well it suits all men, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is a kind of darkness! But in fact it comes from a shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. And the shadow comes from a product that has existed since the beginning. It is, moreover, clear that it existed before chaos came into being, and that the latter is posterior to the first product. Let us therefore concern ourselves with the facts of the matter; and furthermore, with the first product, from which chaos was projected. And in this way the truth will be clearly demonstrated.

After the natural structure of the immortal beings had completely developed out of the infinite, a likeness then emanated from Pistis (Faith); it is called Sophia (Wisdom). It exercised volition and became a product resembling the primeval light. And immediately her will manifested itself as a likeness of heaven, having an unimaginable magnitude; it was between the immortal beings and those things that came into being after them, like […]: she (Sophia) functioned as a veil dividing mankind from the things above.

On the Anointing &c.

On the Anointing &c.

Translated by John D. Turner

[….] according to [….] the type of […] see him. It is fitting for you at this time to send thy Son Jesus Christ and anoint us so we might be able to trample upon the snakes and the heads of the scorpions and all the power of the Devil since he is a shepherd of the seed. Through him we have known thee. And we glorify thee : Glory be to thee, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Holy Church and in the holy angels! From now he abides forever in the perpetuity of the Aeons, forever until the untraceable Aeons of the Aeons. Amen.




Jesus Christ, the Son of God […] from .
(2 lines unrecoverable)
… the aeons, that I might tell all of the aeons, and, in (the case of) each one of the aeons, that I might tell the nature of the aeon, what it is, and that I might put on friendship and goodness as a garment, O brother, […] and … … (7 lines unrecoverable)
… their end […]. And he will reveal to them the truth […] in …
(3 lines unrecoverable)
… proverb(s) …

(lines 26-eop, and first 2 lines of next page, unrecoverable)
… at first in parables and riddles […] proclaim them. Death will tremble and be angry, not only he himself, but also his fellow world-ruling archons, and the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods, together with the archangels. And …
(4 lines unrecoverable)
… all of them, […] the world-rulers […], all of them, and all the […], and all the […].

They will say […] concerning him, and concerning […] and ..
. .(2 lines unrecoverable)



Information on Marsanes

BIRGER A. PEARSON WRITES, “The prophet Marsanes is known from two other sources. He, together with another prophet named Nicotheus (or Nikotheos), is named in the ‘Untitled Text’ of the Bruce Codex (ch. 7). As noted above, Nicotheus is also mentioned in Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus (ch. 16). In the Bruce Codex, Marsanes and Nicotheus are said to be ‘great ones’ who have seen heavenly verities and revealed them to others. Epiphanius, in his discussion of the Archontics, mentions two prophets honored by them, Martiades and Marsianos, who had been snatched up to the heavens and had come down after three days (Panarion 40.7.6). (‘Marsianos’ and ‘Marsanes’ are two different ways of rendering in Greek a name of Syriac origin.) Visionary ascent is certainly a prominent feature of what remains of the Nag Hammadi tractate Marsanes. In this tractate Marsanes gives advanced instruction to a group of his followers who have already been initiated into gnosis. The author of the tractate may be the Gnostic prophet Marsanes himself; alternatively he may be an otherwise unknown teacher who claims to be writing in the name of the prophet Marsanes. Marsanes reflects a good deal of the Platonist school tradition that we have seen in Steles Seth, Zostrianos, and Allogenes.” (Ancient Gnosticism, pp. 92-93)

John D. Turner writes, “All scholars who have had occasion to comment on Marsanes in relation to other Sethian literature have called attention to its unique postulation of a new supreme principle, the Unknown Silent One, which transcends the Invisible Spirit, who is otherwise the supreme principle of all the other Sethian treatises. This modification of Sethian theology is parallel to a similar phenomenon that occurs in Iamblichus (cf. Damascius On First Principles 1.21,11-14; 25,21-22) and his disciple Theodore of Asine (Proclus Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus 2,274,10-20), who placed an ineffable One absolutely unrelated to anything else at the summit of all reality – including Plotinus’s supreme One, which was at least ‘present to’ subsequent reality. Of course, at least in the case of Marsanes and Theodore, this supreme One nevertheless has some relation to its inferiors, since for Theodore, the ‘second One’ was the aspiration (‘breathing’), self-contact, and intelligibility of the first One, and for Marsanes, the Invisible Spirit (which ‘has no breath,’ 15,1-4; 15,29-16,2) eems to share both the silence and the activity of the Unknown Silent One. On these grounds as well as the presence of the prophet’s name in the Bruce Codex, one might date Marsanes to the late third or early fourth century, contemporary with Iamblichus and Theodore.” (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 631)



Translated by John D. Turner

Original translation of this text was prepared by members of the Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School.

The Coptic Gnostic Library Project was funded by UNESCO, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other Institutions.

E. J. Brill has asserted copyright on texts published by the Coptic Gnostic Library Project.

The translation presented here has been edited, modified and formatted for use in the Gnostic Society Library.

For academic citation, please refer to published editions of this text.

THE BOOK CONCERNING THE THINGS THAT WERE SEEN BY HYPSIPHRONE being revealed in the place of her virginity. And she listens to her brethren […] Phainops and […], and they speak with one another in a mystery.

Now I was first by individual ranking […] I came forth to the place of my virginity and I went down to the world. Then I was told about them (by) those who abide in the place of my virginity.

And I went down to the world and they said to me, “Again Hypsiphrone has withdrawn outside the place of her virginity.” Then the one who heard, Phainops, who breathes into her fount of blood, spread out for her.

And he said, [“I am Phainops …] err […] desire [… the number] of just the human remnants or that I may see a [man, the blood-likeness or …] of a [… fire] and a [… in] his hands.

Eugnostos the Blessed

Eugnostos the Blessed

Translated by Douglas M. Parrott (combining III,3 and V,1)

The Nag Hammadi Library

Eugnostos, the Blessed, to those who are his.

Rejoice in this, that you know. Greetings! I want you to know that all men born from the foundation of the world until now are dust. While they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, they have not found him. The wisest among them have speculated about the truth from the ordering of the world. And the speculation has not reached the truth. For the ordering is spoken of in three (different) opinions by all the philosophers; hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it was directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of three voices that I have just mentioned, none is true. For whatever is from itself is an empty life; it is self-made. Providence is foolish. Fate is an undiscerning thing.

Whoever, then, is able to get free of these three voices I have just mentioned and come by means of another voice to confess the God of truth and agree in everything concerning him, he is immortal dwelling in the midst of mortal men.

Authoritative Teaching

Authoritative Teaching

Translated by George W. MacRae

THE AUTHORITATIVE TEACHING IS A NAG HAMMADI LOST GOSPEL (CODEX VI) found buried in Egypt in 1945. It was likely written in the first or second century AD. The discourse reflects early Christian teachings eventually banned by the Romans following the creation of the Roman Catholic sect. This text also includes some parables utilized by Jesus in his teachings. The Authoritative Teaching also explains the origin of the entity Jesus often referred to as the “soul.”

[…] in heaven […] within him […] anyone appears […] the hidden heavens […] appear, and before the invisible, ineffable worlds appeared. From these the invisible soul of righteousness came, being a fellow member, and a fellow body, and a fellow spirit. Whether she is in the descent or is in the Pleroma, she is not separated from them, but they see her and she looks at them in the invisible world.

Secretly her bridegroom fetched it. He presented it to her mouth to make her eat it like food, and he applied the word to her eyes as a medicine to make her see with her mind and perceive her kinsmen and learn about her root, in order that she might cling to her branch from which she had first come forth, in order that she might receive what is hers and renounce matter.

[…] he [dwelt…] having […] sons. The sons […] truly, those who have come from his seed, call the sons of the woman “our brothers”. In this very way, when the spiritual soul was cast into the body, it became a brother to lust and hatred and envy, and a material soul. So therefore the body came from lust, and lust came from material substance. For this reason the soul became a brother to them.

Asclepius 21-29

Asclepius 21-29

Translated by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse, and Douglas M. Parrott

AND IF YOU (ASCLEPIUS) WISH TO SEE THE REALITY OF THIS MYSTERY, then you should see the wonderful representation of the intercourse that takes place between the male and the female. For when the semen reaches the climax, it leaps forth. In that moment, the female receives the strength of the male; the male, for his part, receives the strength of the female, while the semen does this.

“Therefore, the mystery of intercourse is performed in secret, in order that the two sexes might not disgrace themselves in front of many who do not experience that reality. For each of them (the sexes) contributes its (own part in) begetting. For if it happens in the presence of those who do not understand the reality, (it is) laughable and unbelievable. And, moreover, they are holy mysteries, of both words and deeds, because not only are they not heard, but also they are not seen.

“Therefore, such people (the unbelievers) are blasphemers. They are atheistic and impious. But the others are not many; rather, the pious who are counted are few. Therefore, wickedness remains among (the) many, since learning concerning the things which are ordained does not exist among them. For the knowledge of the things which are ordained is truly the healing of the passions of the matter. Therefore, learning is something derived from knowledge.



Translated by John D.Turner and Orval S. Wintermute

(5 lines missing)… since they are perfect individuals and dwell all together, joined with the mind, the guardian which I provided, who taught you (sg.). And it is the power that exists within you that often extended itself as word from the Triple-Powered One, that One of all those who truly exist with the Immeasurable One, the eternal Light of the Knowledge that appeared, the male virginal Youth, the first of the Aeons from a unique triple-powered Aeon, the Triple-Powered-One who truly exists, for when he was stilled, was extended and when he was extended, he became complete and he received power from all of them. He knows himself and the perfect Invisible Spirit. And he came to be in an Aeon who knows that she knows That One. And she became Kalyptos, who acted in those whom she knows. He is a perfect, invisible, noetic Protophanes-Harmedon. And empowering the individuals, she is a Triple-Male. And being individually …
(5 lines missing)… individual on the one hand, they are together on the other hand, since she is an existence of theirs, and she sees them all also truly. She contains the divine Autogenes.

When she knew her Existence and when she stood, she brought This One (masc.), since he saw them all existing individually as he is. And when they become as he is, they shall see the divine Triple-Male, the power that is higher than God. He is the Thought of all these who exist together. If he ponders them, he ponders the great male […] noetic Protophanes, the procession of these. When he sees it, he sees also those who truly exist and the procession of those who are together. And when he has seen these, he has seen the Kalyptos. And if he sees one of the hidden ones, he sees the Aeon of Barbelo. And as for the un-begotten offspring of That One, if one sees how he lives …