Image by/from M. G. Schwartze

Pistis Sophia (Koine Greek: Pistis Sofia) is really a gnostic text discovered in 1773, possibly written between your 3rd and fourth centuries AD. The present manuscript, which some scholars devote the late fourth century, relates one Gnostic group’s teachings from the transfigured Jesus towards the put together disciples, including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha. (Within this context, “transfigured” describes Jesus after his dying and resurrection, and not the event throughout his existence where he spoke to appearances of Moses and Elijah on the mountain.) Within this text, the risen Jesus had spent eleven years talking to his disciples, teaching them just the lower mysteries. After eleven years, he receives his true outfit and has the capacity to reveal the greater mysteries revered with this group. The prized mysteries connect with complex cosmologies and understanding essential for the soul to achieve the greatest divine realms.

A lot of the very first two books from the manuscript focus on outlining the parable from the fall and restoration from the figure referred to as Pistis Sophia, particularly giving detailed parallels between her hopes of repentance and particular Psalms and Odes of Solomon.

Although in lots of Gnostic texts and systems Sophia is really a major female divinity, in Pistis Sophia she originates and dwells outdoors from the divine realm. Her fall and redemption parallel that present in versions from the Sophia myth for example that within the Apocryphon of John, however the actions all occur within the material aeons, and she or he are only able to be restored to her devote the thirteenth aeon, outdoors the dominion of sunshine.

Pistis Sophia continues to be preserved in one Coptic language manuscript initially comprising 178 leaves of parchment, but presently composed of 174 leaves. This “Askew Codex” was purchased through the British Museum (now British Library) in 1785 from Anthony Askew. The Greek title Pistis Sophia was assigned by Carl Gottfried Woide, with different title at the outset of Book 2, “The 2nd Book from the Pistis Sophia,” that was added with a later hands. Carl Schmidt suggests Teyxi toy Sotiros “Books from the Saviour”, with different title available at the finish of the identical book.

The expression Pistis Sophia is obscure, and it is British translations varied: “Belief Knowledge”, “Knowledge in Belief”, or “Belief in Knowledge”. With a later Gnostics, Sophia would be a divine syzygy of Christ, instead of just a word meaning knowledge, which context suggests the interpretation “The Belief of Sophia”. Both Berlin Codex along with a papyrus codex at Nag Hammadi come with an earlier, simpler Sophia in which the transfigured Christ explains Pistis obscurely:

Again, his disciples stated: “Inform us clearly the way they came lower in the invisibilities, in the immortal around the world that dies?”

The right Saviour stated: “Boy of individual agreed with Sophia, his consort, and revealed an excellent androgynous light. Its male name is designated ‘Saviour, begetter of things’. Its female name is designated ‘All-begettress Sophia’. Some call her ‘Pistis'”.

The job is split into several parts, with scholarly debate regarding the quantity of parts. The most typical view would be that the work includes four books, however, many scholars have posited as much as 5 or 6 books. Furthermore, the codex contains two fragments inside a later hands that aren’t directly linked to the primary books.

Before the discovery from the Nag Hammadi library in 1945, the Askew Codex was 1 of 3 codices that contained many of the Gnostic writings which had survived the suppression of these literature in East and West, another two codices to be the Bruce Codex and also the Berlin Codex. Apart from these primary sources, everything discussed gnosticism prior to the Nag Hammadi library grew to become available is dependant on quotes, characterizations, and caricatures within the writings from the opponents of Gnosticism. The objective of these heresiological writings was polemical, presenting gnostic teachings as absurd, bizarre, and self-serving, so that as an aberrant heresy from the proto-orthodox and orthodox Christian perspective.

The job in general shows obvious indications of getting been compiled from multiple sources, with simply the very first two books following on one another. Even inside a single book, from time to time multiple, differing accounts of merely one event or cosmological outline appear, suggesting the utilization and upkeep of countless sources. Alterations in terminology and cosmological description between books also shows that it’s a selection of texts that might have been written during a period of a while.

The majority of the written text (Books 1-3) is by means of a dialogue between Jesus and also the disciples, both men and women. Mary Magdalene is easily the most featured disciple, who provides many questions and spiritual interpretations John “the Virgin” may be the second most prominent. Other figures named as supporters include Andrew, Bartholomew, James, John, Mary mom of Jesus, Martha, Matthew, Peter, Philip, Salome, Simon the Canaanite, and Thomas.

The very first book (Chapters 1-62) establishes that Jesus continued to be using the disciples for 11 years following the resurrection, teaching them just the cheapest from the mysteries. In a certain point, he ascends and traverses the aeons, defeating the wicked archons, before coming back to talk with the disciples further. It connects Jesus’ actions to the potency of astrologers on the planet – it suggests he’s reduced, although not eliminated, the potency of astrological magic. This leads into the development of the parable of Pistis Sophia’s fall and restoration, that takes up the majority of both the foremost and second book. Pistis Sophia recites several hopes/repentances, after each one of these a disciple interprets the repentance considering among the Psalms or Odes of Solomon.

Unlike other versions from the Gnostic myth, like the Apocryphon of John, here Pistis Sophia is really a being from the lower, material aeons. She isn’t a higher, divine being, and her restoration isn’t towards the realms of sunshine, only to her devote the thirteenth aeon. This really is significant in distinguishing the theology of the book using their company Gnostic systems – it prioritizes its very own, distinct cosmology and mythology over the Sophia myth, which for this author represents inferior, material struggles.

This book comprises Chapters 63-101. Following the conclusion from the story of Pistis Sophia, the written text turns to extended explanations of cosmology and also the understanding provided by the mysteries of the author’s system. The finish from the book also suggests the close connection of the use the Books of Jeu based in the Bruce Codex (Chapter 99).

The 3rd book (Chapters 102-135) is mainly worried about presenting a moral or lifestyle code for adherents from the text. It outlines precisely what it takes for right thought and right action, in addition to actions that aren’t acceptable as well as their punishments. Additionally, it discusses in more detail the distribution from the mysteries, repentance, and when it’s or perhaps is not allowable to allow the mysteries to other people. Finally, it discusses the development from the individual, its components, and just how they’re connected. Again the Books of Jeu are referenced (Chapter 134), using the stipulation they contain mysteries which are essential for all, such as the righteous.

The beginning of the book (Chapters 136-143) handles cosmological and astrological speculation, and ritual development. It presents a myth of fallen archons from the aeons being imprisoned inside the zodiacal sphere outlines five realms of punishment (the Midst, mhte) and the kinds of sinners each holds and provides specific configurations from the planets within the zodiac that permit souls to be sold from each region. Jesus also interprets the weather of his incarnation as well as their role on the planet, and administers the “baptism from the first offering” to his disciples.

The 2nd part of what’s generally regarded as the 4th book (chapters 144-148) seems following a lacuna within the text, and it is most likely a part of another book. Its cosmology differs towards the preceding text, also it focuses positioned on the future of various souls and also the punishments of sinners. A few of the sins listed are duplicates from the beginning of book four, but list different punishments.

Cosmology is really a primary focus from the Pistis Sophia – understanding the structure from the world and the way to traverse it’s considered type in these texts, and also the cosmology is among the most complex from the Gnostic text remaining today. Summarizing the cosmology is further complicated since the structure is slightly different in every of their separate books, with certain realms added and removed.

Some scholars have recommended cosmologies encompassing the whole from the codex lately an overview has been created searching in the cosmology of every text individually. An over-all overview might be viewed as:

• The Treasury of sunshine (the area from the right separate regions in magazines 1 & 2 only)

• The Midst (mesos)

• The thirteenth aeon (excluded in Book 3 and part a couple of Book 4)

• The twelve aeons/heimarmene (separate regions in magazines 1 & 2 only)

• The first sphere (Books 1 & 2 only)

• The firmament (Books 1 & 2 only)

• Amente (Book 3 and part a couple of Book 4 only)

• Chaos (Book 3 and part a couple of Book 4 only)

• The Midst (mhte) (Books 3 & 4 only)

• The Outer Darkness (Books 3 & 4 only)

Particularly, the part of Books 1 & 2 coping with the parable of Pistis Sophia’s fall and redemption make use of a different cosmology from the remainder of individuals books. Probably the most questionable reason for this alternate cosmological conception is mention of thirteenth aeon, Pistis Sophia’s home, like a host to “righteousness” this look at the thirteenth aeon is absent from all of those other text.

In Magazines 1-3, all of the regions aside from the punishment realms can also be known because the Spaces from the First Mystery, as well as in Books 1 & 2, all of the regions in the thirteenth aeon downward are seen as the Outer Darkness.

In most cases, the aeonic realms represent the fabric world, bounded through the stars and also the zodiac. The Midst may be the space dividing this region in the upper realms, and it is a waiting space for souls prior to being permitted to go in the sunshine realms. The aim of the soul would be to ascend past the aeons and go into the upper realms of sunshine. This is done by finding the mysteries provided by the audience symbolized by these texts.

The mysteries aren’t clearly indexed by the written text an initiate would definitely need to prove her or himself worthy by living for many period based on the ethical guidelines provided within the texts before undergoing the baptisms and accessing the mysteries. The Books of Jeu are noted as an origin of the mysteries it’s probable the texts based in the Bruce Codex are extremely similar, otherwise identical, using these texts.

The storyline of Pistis Sophia’s fall and restoration (chapters 29-82) dominates a lot of Books 1 & 2. She dwells within the thirteenth aeon, is tricked into departing her aeon and climbing down into Chaos, has her light-power stolen, and isn’t permitted to go back to her place until Jesus ascends with the aeons. She recites many repentances and hopes, and it is frequently persecuted by wicked archontic beings prior to being permitted to hold back just outdoors from the thirteenth aeon for restoration.

It’s significant that she’s not really a divine being, as portrayed in other versions from the Gnostic myth like the Apocryphon of John. She’s a being from the material aeons, and her restoration is just so far as the thirteenth material aeon. The parable in general appears to possess been adopted to deal with the beliefs of some other Gnostic group, and also to assert the brilliance of the text’s system: humans who get the mysteries of the group can exceed Pistis Sophia and achieve the divine realms of sunshine.

Authades is the same as Ialdabaoth/the demiurge in versions from the Sophia myth for example that based in the Apocryphon of John. Unlike Ialdabaoth, he isn’t produced through the Sophia figure, and actually he holds a rather greater hierarchical position than Pistis Sophia. His crime is wanting to rule all of the material aeons, and that he grows jealous when Pistis Sophia decides to worship the sunshine instead of ongoing the methods from the aeons. Authades seems only within the chapters coping with the Sophia myth elsewhere Sabaoth the Adamas may be the associated with evil during these texts.

Jesus works as a teacher or instructor, teaching his disciples details about the divine world they will have to progress to some greater condition to be, in addition to understanding from the cosmic realms, their occupants, as well as their functions. He teaches the disciples baptismal rites, and instructs these to give these rites to any or all who show themselves worthy. He’s carefully associated with the greatest divine being. However, little significance is offered to his earthly incarnation – the ritual bread and wine within the baptism isn’t connected using the Christian Eucharist, and also the crucifixion and resurrection play little role. Here, he only gains his true outfit and teaches the disciples the greater mysteries eleven years after his resurrection – downplaying versions of Christianity claiming his earlier teachings as ultimate truth.

This is actually the demiurge of those texts. Jeu dwells within the Treasury of sunshine and organizes the cosmos. He places the archons and also the aeons within their proper places, and assigns forces towards the planets, effectively supplying a divine origin for zodiac. Many of the significant because of the anti-cosmic nature of one other Gnostic groups.

He’s sometimes known as the “Father of Jesus’ Father.” Jeu is the father from the Great Sabaoth, the great, who offers the soul to Jesus’ earthly incarnation – thus Jeu may be the father of Jesus’ earthly father. The divine Jesus’ true father continues to be the greatest, ineffable god.

Frequently known simply as Melchisedek, this figure also dwells within the Treasury of sunshine or Host to the best. His primary role is overseeing transport of sunshine in the lower realms towards the greater light realms because it becomes purified. His subordinates also deliver certain souls from the punishment regions when believers on the planet pray on their behalf.

As pointed out above, this figure supplies a power or soul for Jesus’ earthly incarnation, making them effectively Jesus’ earthly father. This role is most broadly discussed through extensive interpretations of Psalm 85:10-11 in Chapters 62-63.

This is actually the primary associated with evil or wickedness in a lot of the Pistis Sophia. He’s charged with inappropriate sexual conduct, begetting archons along with other beings, and for that reason he’s imprisoned within the bounds from the zodiac, or even the material world. For individuals human souls who didn’t get the mysteries before dying and therefore are thus certain to be reincarnated on the planet, he’s also accountable for giving the “cup of forgetfulness,” denying them the understanding they’d acquired from previous lives and punishments.