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The large enclosure
- Caspar David Friedrich -


From the Mandaean Scriptures

From the Secret Book of John

From The Second Treatise of the Great Seth

From The Third Stele of Seth

From the Gospel of Truth

From The Trimorphic Protennoia

From The Gospel of Thomas

From The Gospel of Philip

From Theodotus

The Pauline Gnosis

From The Preaching of Peter according to Clement

From The Gospel of Truth

From The Interpretation of Knowledge



From the Mandaean Scriptures:

"In the name of the first great Alien Life, from the worlds of Light, the sublime that stands above all works."

"In the name of that Alien Man, who forced his way through the worlds, came, split the firmament and revealed himself."


From the Secret Book of John:

I am a jealous god and there is no other god beside me. But by making this announcement he suggested to the angels that there is another god. For if there were no other God, of whom would he be jealous?

The One is a sovereign that has nothing over it. It is God and Father of all, the Invisible One that is over all, that is imperishable, that is pure light no eye can see. It is the invisible Spirit. One should not think of it as a god, or like a god. For it is greater than a god, because it has nothing over it and no lord above it….It is not one among many things that are in existence: it is much greater. Not that it is actually greater. Rather, as it is in itself, it is not a part of the world or of time, for whatever is part of a world was once produced by something else. Time was not allotted to it, since it receives nothing from anyone.


From The Second Treatise of the Great Seth:

And then a voice – of the cosmocrat – came to the angels. I am God and there is no other beside me. But I laughed joyfully when I examined his empty glory.


From The Third Stele of Seth:

We rejoice! We rejoice! We rejoice!
We have seen! We have seen! We have seen the really pre-existent one, that he really exists, that he is the first eternal one.

Oh Unconceived, from thee are the eternal ones and the Aeons, the all-perfect ones who are established, and the perfect individuals.

We bless thee, non-being, existence which is before existences, first being which is before beings, Father of divinity and life, creator of consciousness, giver of good, giver of blessedness!

We all bless thee, knower, in a glorifying blessing, (thou) because of whom [all these are…], who know thee, through thee alone. For there is no one who is active before thee. Thou art an only and living spirit. And thou knowest one, for this one who belongs to thee is on every side. We are not able to express him. For thy light shines upon us.

Present a command to us to see thee, so that we may be saved. Knowledge of thee, it is the salvation of us all. Present a command! When thou dost command, we have been saved! Truly we have been saved! We have seen thee by awareness! Thou art them all, for thou dost save them all, he who was not saved, nor was he saved through them. For thou, thou hast commanded us.

Thou art one. Thou art one, just as there is one (who) will say to thee: Thou art one, thou art a single living spirit. How shall we give thee a name? We do not have it, For thou art the existence of them all. Thou art the life of them all. Thou art the awareness of them all. For thou art he in whom they all rejoice.


From the Gospel of Truth:

His name is Fore-beginning, Fore-father and Abyss. No thing can comprehend Him. Through immeasurable eternities He remained in profound repose….and once the Abyss sought to project out of Himself the beginnings of all things, he sank into this project like a seed into the womb of the Silence that was with Him, and she conceived and brought forth consciousness which is like and equal to the begetter.


From The Trimorphic Protennoia:

I am the movement that dwells in the All, she in whom the All takes its stand, the first-born among those who came to be, she who exists before the All. She (Protennoia) is called by three names, although she dwells alone, since she is perfect. I am invisible within the Thought of the Invisible One. I am revealed in the immeasurable, ineffable (things). I am incomprehensible, dwelling in the incomprehensible. I move in every creature.

I am the life of my Epinoia that dwells within every Power and every eternal movement, and (in) invisible Lights and within the Archons and Angels and Demons, and every soul dwelling in Tartaros, and (in) every material soul. I dwell in those who came to be. I move in everyone and I delve into them all. I walk uprightly, and those who sleep, I awaken. And I am the sight of those who dwell in sleep.

I am the Invisible One within the All. It is I who counsel those who are hidden, since I know the All that exists in it. I am numberless beyond everyone. I am immeasurable, ineffable, yet whenever I wish, I shall reveal myself of my own accord. I am the head of the All. I exist before the All, and I am the All, since I exist in everyone.

I am a Voice speaking softly. I exist from the first. I dwell within the Silence that surrounds every one of them. And it is the hidden Voice that dwells within my, within the incomprehensible, immeasurable Thought, within the immeasurable Silence.

I descended to the midst of the underworld, and I shone down upon the darkness. It is I who poured forth the water. It is I who am hidden within radiant waters. I am the one who gradually put forth the All by my Thought.

It is I who am laden with the Voice. It is through me that Gnosis comes forth. I dwell in the ineffable and unknowable ones. I am perception and knowledge, uttering a Voice by means of thought. I am the real Voice. I cry out in everyone, and they recognize it (the voice), since a seed indwells them. I am the Thought of the Father, and through me proceeded the Voice, that is, the knowledge of the everlasting things. I exist as Thought for the All -- being joined to the unknowable and incomprehensible Thought -- I revealed myself -- yes, I -- among all those who recognize me. For it is I who am joined with everyone by virtue of the hidden Thought and an exalted (Voice), even a Voice from the invisible Thought. And it is immeasurable, since it dwells in the Immeasurable One. It is a mystery; it is unrestrainable by the Incomprehensible One. It is invisible to all those who are visible in the All. It is a Light dwelling in Light.


From The Gospel of Thomas:

Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

Jesus said: "…the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you."

Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.

And he said, "The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!"

Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."

Jesus said, "Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."

Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.

But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways."

His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"

Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid."

Jesus said, "Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me."

39. Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.

As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves."

Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."

Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.'

His disciples said to him, "When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?"

He said to them, "What you are looking forward to has come, but you don't know it."

"Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone."

Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."

Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.

Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

 Jesus said, "When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!"

They said to him, "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you."

He said to them, "You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment."

Jesus said, "Seek and you will find. In the past, however, I did not tell you the things about which you asked me then. Now I am willing to tell them, but you are not seeking them."

Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"

"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."


From The Gospel of Philip:

Those who sow in winter reap in summer. The summer is the other Aeson [the eternal realm].

In the beginning God created human beings. Now, however human beings are creating God. Such is the way of this world – humans invent gods and worship their creations. It would be better for such gods to worship humans.

Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its original nature. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

Names given to worldly things are very deceptive for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word God does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit and Life and Light and Ressurrection and the Church (Ekklesia) and all the rest - people do not perceive what is correct. The names which are heard in the world to deceive. If they were in the Aeon, they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the Aeon.

One single name is not uttered in the world, the name which the Father gave to the Son, the name above all things; the name of the Father. For the Son would not become Father unless he wears the name of the Father. Those who have this name know it, but they do not speak it. But those who do not have it do not know it.

Jesus is a hidden name; Christ is a revealed name for this reason: Jesus does not exist in any other language, but his name is always Jesus as he is called. Christ is also his name; in Syriac it is Messiah, in Greek it is Christ. Certainly all the others have it according to their own language. The Nazarene is he who reveals what is hidden. Christ has everything in himself - man, angel, mystery, and the Father.

If one goes down into the water and comes up again without having received anything, and says I am a Christian he has borrowed the name at interest. But if he receives the Holy Spirit, he has the name as a gift. He who has received a gift does not have to give it back, but of him who has borrowed it at interest, payment is demanded.

You say that the flesh will not rise. But tell me what will rise, that we may honour you. You say the Spirit in the flesh, and it is also this light in the flesh. But this too is a matter which is in the flesh, for whatever you shall say, you say nothing outside the flesh. It is necessary to rise in this flesh, since everything exists in it. In this world those who put on garments are better than the garments. In the Kingdom of Heaven the garments are better than those that put them on.

Those who say that the Lord died first and [then] rose up are in error, for he rose up first and then died.

It is not possible for anyone to see any of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with the man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things…But you saw something of that place and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do not see yourself but – and what you do see you shall become.

It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified - the visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some things hidden through those visible. There is water in the water, there is fire in the chrism. Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not reveal himself in the manner in which he was, but it was in the manner in which they would be able to see him that he revealed himself. He revealed himself to them all. He revealed himself as great to the great. He revealed himself as small to the small. He revealed himself to the angels as an angel. Because of this his word hid itself from everyone. Some indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing themselves, but when he appeared to his disciples in glory on the mount he was not small. He became great, but he made the disciples great, that they might be able to see his greatness.

A harvest is gathered into the barn only as a result of the natural actions of water, earth, wind and light. God’s farming likewise has four elements – faith, hope, love and knowledge. Faith is our earth, that in which we take root. Love is the wind through which we grow. And hope is the water through which we are nourished. Knowledge then, is the light through which we ripen.

Faith receives, love gives. No one will be able to receive without faith. No one will be able to give without love…since if one gives without love, he has no profit from what he has given.

Love never calls something its own,…It never says "This is yours" or "This is mine" but "All these are yours." Spiritual love is wine and fragrance. All those who anoint themselves with it take pleasure in it. Whilst those who are anointed are present, those nearby also profit from the fragrance.

If you become a spirit, it is the spirit which will be joined to you. If you become thought it is thought which will mingle with you.

He who possesses the qualities … bestows joy upon the good. Some, however, are terribly distressed by all this.

The Word said: "If you know the truth, the truth will make you free." Ignorance is a slave. Knowledge is freedom. If we know the truth we shall find the fruits of the truth within us. If we are joined to it, it will bring our fulfilment.

…he who has become free through knowledge is a slave for love's sake to those who have not yet been able to take up the freedom of knowledge.

Those above opened to us the things below, in order that we may go into the secret of the truth. This truly is what is held in high regard, what is strong! But we shall go in there by means of lowly types and forms of weakness.

There is glory which surpasses glory. There is power which surpasses power.

Those who are separated will unite … and will be filled. Every one who will enter the bridal chamber will kindle the light …. just as in the marriages which …. happen at night. But the mysteries of that marriage are perfected rather in the day and the light. Neither that day nor its light ever sets. If anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light.

He who will receive the light will not be seen, nor can he be detained. And none shall be able to torment a person like this, even while he dwells in the world.

The world has become the Aeon, for the Aeon is fullness for him. This is the way it is: it is revealed to him alone, not hidden in the darkness and the night, but hidden in a perfect day and a holy light.


From Theodotus:

Now I know that the mysteries of gnosis are a laughing-stock to many, especially when not patched up with sophistical figurative language. And the few are at first startled at them; as when light is suddenly brought into a convivial party in the dark. Subsequently, on getting used and accustomed, and trained to reasoning, as if gladdened and exulting for delight, they praise the Lord. For as pleasure has for its essence release from pain; so also has knowledge the removal of ignorance.

It is, therefore, equally requisite for him who wishes to have a pupil who is docile, and has blended faith with aspiration, to exercise himself and constantly to study by himself, investigating the truth of his speculations; and when he thinks himself right, to descend to questions regarding things contiguous. For the young birds make attempts to fly in the nest, exercising their wings.

Now the more ancient men did not write…And, perhaps convinced that the function of composition and the department of teaching did not belong to the same cast of mind, they gave way to those who had a natural turn for it…For that which was committed in trust to the elders, speaking in writing, uses the writer's help to hand itself down to those who are to read it. As, then, the magnet, repelling other matter, attracts iron alone by reason of affinity; so also books, though many read them, attract those alone who are capable of comprehending them. For the word of truth is to some "foolishness," and to others a "stumbling-block;" but to a few "wisdom." So also is the power of God found to be. But far from the Gnostic be envy. For it is for this reason also that he asks whether it be worse to give to the unworthy, or not commit to the worthy; and runs the risk, from his abundant love of communicating, not only to every one who is qualified, but sometimes also to one unworthy, who asks importunately; not on account of his entreaty (for he loves not glory), but on account of the persistency of the petitioner who bends his mind towards faith with copious entreaty.

The athlete, who knows the Olympic stadium, strips for training, contends, and becomes victor, tripping up his antagonists who contend against his scientific method, and fighting out the contest. For scientific knowledge is necessary both for the training of the soul and for gravity of conduct; making the faithful more active and keen observers of things. For as there is no believing without elementary instruction, so neither is there comprehension without science. The exposition, too, of heterodox teaching affords another exercise of the inquiring soul, and keeps the disciple froth being seduced from the truth, by his having already had practice beforehand in sounding all round on warlike instruments of music. 


The Pauline Gnosis:

…among the mature we do speak of this wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of its rulers, (who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden.

Therefore let us leave behind the elementary doctrines of Christ and go on to the level of maturity, not laying again a foundation of dead works and of faith towards God, with teachings of baptisms, laying on of hands, of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement … For it is impossible for those who have become enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the holy spirit…and the powers of the age to come, to have fallen back to renew repentance again. They recrucify for themselves the son of God.

But some will say "How are the dead raised? With what body do they come?" You fool…Not all flesh is the same flesh. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. And the glory of the heavenly is one, and of the earthly, another.

See that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the elements of the cosmos and not according to Christ. For in him dwells the whole fullness (pleroma) of divinity somatically, and in him you have come to fullness…

We have received not from the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are unspiritual.

To one is given through the spirit the word (logos) of wisdom (sophia), to another the word of gnosis according to the same spirit, to another faith (pistis) in the same spirit; to another gifts (charismata) of healing; to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discerning of spirits, to another different tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are actualised by one and the same spirit…


From The Preaching of Peter according to Clement:

But that the most approved of the Greeks do not know God by direct knowledge, but indirectly, Peter says in his Preaching.

Then he goes on: This God worship ye, not after the manner of the Greeks. . . showing that we and the good (approved) Greeks worship the same God, though not according to perfect knowledge, for they had not learned the tradition of the Son. 'Do not', he says, 'worship' - he does not say 'the god whom the Greeks worship', but 'not after the manner of the Greeks': he would change the method of worship of God, not proclaim another God. What, then, is meant by 'not after the manner of the Greeks'? Peter himself will explain, for he continues: Carried away by ignorance and not knowing God as we do, according to the perfect knowledge, but shaping those things over which he gave them power, for their use, even wood and stones, brass and iron, gold and silver (forgetting) their material and proper use, they set up things subservient to their existence and worship them…offering dead things to the dead as to gods, they show ingratitude to God, by these practices denying that he exists.

From the Apocalypse of Peter:

The Saviour said"But you yourself, Peter, become perfect in accordance with your name with myself, the one who chose you, because from you I established a base for the remnant whom I have summoned to knowledge."

The Saviour said "I have told you that these people are blind and deaf. Now then, listen to the things which they are telling you in a mystery, and guard them. Do not tell them to the sons of this age. For they shall blaspheme you in these ages since they are ignorant of you, but they will praise you in knowledge."

"For many will accept our teaching in the beginning….And they (will) praise the men of propagation of falsehood, those who will come after you. And they will cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure. But they will become greatly defiled and they will fall into a name of error, and into the hand of an evil, cunning man and a manifold dogma, and they will be ruled without law."

"And there shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also deacons, as if they have received their authority from God. They bend themselves under the judgment of the leaders. Those people are waterless channels."

And he said to me, "Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been given, to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the first-born, and the home of demons, and the stony vessel in which they dwell, of Elohim, of the Cross, which is under the Law. But he who stands near him is the living Saviour, the first in him, whom they seized and released, who stands joyfully looking at those who did him violence, while they are divided among themselves. Therefore he laughs at their lack of perception, knowing that they are born blind. So then the one susceptible to suffering shall come, since the body is the substitute. But what they released was my incorporeal body. But I am the intellectual Spirit filled with radiant light. He whom you saw coming to me is our intellectual Pleroma, which unites the perfect light with my Holy Spirit."

"These things, then, which you saw you shall present to those of another race who are not of this age. For there will be no honour in any man who is not immortal, who has shown that he is able to contain him who gives his abundance. Therefore I said, ‘Every one who has (gnosis), it will be given to him, and he will have plenty…But he who does not have, that is, the man of this place, who is completely dead, who is removed from the planting of the creation of what is begotten, (they are) whom, if one of the immortal essence appears, think that they possess him - it will be taken from him and be added to the one who is.’ You, therefore, be courageous and do not fear at all. For I shall be with you in order that none of your enemies may prevail unto you. Peace be to you, Be strong!"

When he had said these things, Peter came to himself.


From The Gospel of Truth:

He who possesses gnosis…is like a person who, having been intoxicated, becomes sober, and having come to himself, re-affirms that which is essentially his own.


From The Interpretation of Knowledge:

But is someone making progress in the Word? Do not be hindered by this; do not say: ''Why does he speak while I do not?", for what he says is (also) yours, and that which discerns the Word and that which speaks is the same power.