The Pistis Sophia, Part 1


This “forbidden” book of the talks a lot about Mary Magdalene & her prominence within the core group of Jesus & his disciples/apostles. In this book, she gets honored in a way that’s not seen in other Christian texts. Which, for me personally, is nice. To have a book devoted not only to a woman, but to have this woman be a close follower, disciple, apostle, & defender of Jesus. It’s a nice change of pace.

This translation of portions of the Pistis Sophia is based on the Coptic text is ‘Pistis Sophia,’ ed. Carl Schmidt & Violet MacDermot, Leiden: E.J. Brill,1978.)

Mary is Exalted Above Her Brothers

When Jesus has said these things to his disciples, he told them, “Whoever has ears to hear should hear.” Now it happened, when Mary heard these words as the savior was speaking, she gazed into the air for an hour & said, “My master, command me to speak openly.” The compassionate Jesus answered & said to Mary, “Blessed Mary, you whom I shall complete with all the mysteries on high, speak openly, for you’re the one whose heart is set on heaven’s kingdom more than all of your brothers.”

Mary Explains Liberation from Fate

Then Mary said to the savior, “My master, when you said to us,’Whoever has ears to hear should hear,’ you said this so that we might understand what you’ve spoken. So listen, my master, & I shall speak openly. This is what you sides: ‘I’ve taken a third of the power of the rulers of all the realms, & I’ve turned their fate & the sphere they rule, so that when members of the human race invoke them in their mysteries, which the disobedient angels taught them to complete their evil & lawless deeds with the mystery of their magic, they may not be able to complete their lawless deeds from now on.’ You’ve taken their power from them & from their astrologers & fortune-tellers & soothsayers, & from now on the’ll not understand or explain anything that happens. For you’ve turned their sphere, & you’ve made them spend 6 months oriented to the left to exert their influence, & 6 months oriented to the right to exert their influence, My master, the power within the prophet Isaiah has spoken concerning this saying & has explained it once in a spiritual parable, speaking about the vision of Egypt: Where, Egypt, where are you fortune-tellers & astrologers & moaners & groaners? Let them tell you now what The Lord Sabaoth will do. Before you came, the power of the rulers of the realms & turn their sphere & their fate, so that from now on they would know nothing. Concerning this is has also been said, You will now know what The Lord Sabaoth will do. That’s to say, one of the rulers will know what you will do from now on. The rulers signify Egypt, for they are matter. The power within Isaiah once prophesied about you & said, ‘You’ll not know from now on what the Lord Sabaoth will do. Concerning the power of lighter that you’ve taken from good Sabaoth, who’s on the right, & that today is in your material body, concerning this, my master Jesus, you’ve said to us, ‘Whoever has ears to hear should hear,’ so that you may know whose heart so directed toward heaven’s kingdom.” When Mary finished saying these things, Jesus said, “Well done, Mary. You’re more blessed than all women on earth, because you’ll be the fullness of fullnesses & the completion of completions.”

These are the archons of all the aeons, i.e. Cosmic powers who rule this world & the power of fate in this world. Here the Tex addresses the powers of magic & astrology, & it promises that the astrological powers will be controlled & limited in their influence.  Lit., in Coptic, “moaners & groaners” are “those who call from the earth & those who call from their bellies (or ‘from within themselves’).” See Isaiah 19:3, 12.

In some gnostic texts Sabaoth (from The Lord [YHWH] Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts) is a prominent power & a force for good. In the text On the Origin of the World, Sabaoth is the son of the demiurge Yaldabaoth, & he despises his father & worships Pistis Sphia. Pistis Sophia in turn bestows light on him & gives him a [lace of great authority. Here his place on the right is such of honor. See the account in a Nag Hammadi text related to the text On the Origin of the World, the Reality of the Rulers (or, the Hypostasis (in philosophy, an underlying reality or substance, as opposed to attributes or that which lacks substance. In Trinitarian doctrine (or or relating to the belief in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.), each of the 3 persons of the Trinity, as contrasted with the unity of the Godhead. The single person of Christ, as contrasted with his dual human & divine nature.) of the Archons). On the exalted place of Mary, see the Gospel of Mary 10, 18; the Gospel of Philip 59, 63-64; Pistis Sophia 17.


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