Coptic MS

 

[English translation made from a French translation of a Coptic Gnostic MS in Carl Riedmen's private collection. --E.M.]

 

The One who exists before all, the Father, on whom none can look, of Him we know through the One sent us.  For from the Father the Aeons were brought forth in perfection, and in Him their strength is grounded.  From Him the Aeons extended through Chaos, testing all its darkness against their perfection. 

      

And the Aeons extended into the darkness.  Enfolded in Chaos they enfolded it; they articulated; they embraced.  And the darkness did retreat before them, for in perfection they reached forth, for they are perfect like the One.

    

And the Aeons reached forth in pairs of male and female: each male with its female consort, each female with its male consort.  In pairs did the Father bring them forth.  And the Chaos retreated before them.

    

One of them is called Sophia: she is an Aeon of the Father.  And she comes forth from the Father.  Like the Father she is perfect and extends in her strength.

    

And it happened once that Sophia met with a disjunction in the darkness of Chaos.  The disjunction was small, and the darkness retreated before her.  But it was a disjunction in the fabric Sophia embraced; a flaw embracing her as she embraced it.

    

Through the smallness of the flaw Sophia at first felt no difference.  She occupied it as if it were like all of Chaos: only darkness in retreat from her perfection.

    

But before Sophia knew, she had thought a new thought.  She had conceived a desire to emanate a being from herself, an emanation of her own, the rule of her own perfection against Chaos.

    

Sophia did not know the newness of her thought: that it was a thought entirely unknown. 

    

Sophia's desire and power were such that once the thought came forth it was embodied.  Having thought the thought, she felt a being already there beside her, a being that had never been known.  Sophia looked upon the new being and saw its form.  She retreated in horror.  And before the being could turn to her, she separated it from herself with a vast curtain of darkness.  But the being had already taken some of her power into it.

    

And it turned in its darkness, hovering about in the space of its conception.  And in its darkness it saw itself.  Though descended from its mother's perfection, it had been conceived obliviously: a conception that had never been known.

    

"I am," it said.

    

And in the darkness about it the being's knowledge was flawed, and it saw only the darkness and felt only its own power therein.  And he had no knowledge of his origin and conceived that he must always have been, for there seemed to be none other in the eternal darkness where he found himself. 

    

"I am the All," he said. 

    

And he is Yaldabaoth.

     

And Yaldabaoth felt the power of his greatness against the darkness, and in his greatness he called forth light from himself.  And calling it forth the light was there, and Yaldabaoth separated the light from the darkness.

    

And he saw that it was good.

    

But his greatness was not fulfilled by this.  So on the second day of his being he called forth [. . .]

 

[From a later section of the text:]

 

"[. . .] where they still remain."

     

And Sophia said: "The sparks of the divine that he has breathed into the humans shall escape from his flawed creation.  They shall return to us in the Pleroma."

    

And Epinoia said: "It is decided that we must bring this about through a Messenger to them.  The Messenger shall pass by the Archons without their notice and awaken the knowledge in humans of their home.  But who shall go down?"

    

And Sophia said: "The Messenger will come forth from the Father.  He shall go down, passing by the Archons' snares.  And through him knowledge will be given sufficient to wake them.  Once the sparks are awoken the Archons shall have no power over them.  And as the sparks escape, Yaldabaoth shall be without power."

    

And Epinoia said: "The Messenger shall come forth to go down.  Through his message they will know the distance that holds them from the Pleroma."

    

And Sophia said: "When Yaldabaoth will recognize that [. . . ]"

 

[From a later section of the text:]

 

[. . .] the child of Sophia and a flaw; born obliviously and wrapped in darkness [. . .]

 

For the embrace does extend across the flaw, and the sparks in the humans [. . .]

 

[From a later section of the text:]

 

[. . .] have come to you for this reason.  And I have conquered death utterly and shall bring knowledge of it to the One who sent me.  And to you I have brought knowledge of Him and of your origin in Him, so that you, now in this realm of darkness, can achieve resurrection in this life and so heal the wound in the Entirety.  For in knowledge and perseverance the flaw will be known in its darkness even as you realize yourselves as children of the light.  To know what in you is [. . .]

 

 

 

 

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