Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Gospel

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 8, 2012 - Religion - 444 pages
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George Robert Stow Mead (1863-1933) was for twenty-five years a prominent member of the Theosophical Society and worked closely with its founder, Helena Blavatsky. He was fascinated both by eastern religions and by western esotericism, including gnosticism, and published widely in these areas. Pistis Sophia, an important, probably second-century, text preserved in a Coptic manuscript, presents complex gnostic teachings in 'gospel' format, as having been addressed by Jesus Christ to his disciples after the resurrection. This translation, based on a Latin version published in 1851, appeared in 1896 and was the first English version of a major gnostic work. The book also includes passages from the Books of the Saviour found in the same manuscript. Mead's introduction discusses the origin of the texts and highlights their difficulty. It also describes the upsurge of scholarly interest in Gnosticism in the mid-nineteenth century and the mysterious history of the manuscript itself.
 

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Contents

She descendeth to the twelve seons and thence into chaos
1
Of his own incarnation through Mary
13
Jesus putteth on his vesture
19
He changeth the motion of their spheres
25
Philip questioneth Jesus
31
Adamas and the tyrants battle against the lightvesture
37
Jesus commendeth his mother
49
The seventh repentance of Sophia
51
Of the three mysteries and five mysteries
236
Further concerning the three and five mysteries
239
Of them of the third space the first from without
245
That finally they shall be higher than all powers
251
What men should avoid
259
Of the initiated who sinneth and repenteth until seven times
265
Of the absolute mystery of the remission of sins
269
Mary again questioneth Jesus 275 How the souls of them that have passed from the body
276

cviii
58
The first mystery and Jesus send forth two streams of light PAGE
116
Mary the mother again further interpreteth the same
122
The lightstream restoreth the lightpowers into Sophia
128
The emanations of Arrogant cry aloud to him for help
134
James interpreteth the narrative from Psalm xc
140
Sophia singeth a song of praise
147
Sophia singeth another song of praise
153
Sophia continueth to sing
160
The conversation of Sophia and the Light
166
James interpreteth the song from Psalm vii
173
Philip interpreteth the song from Psalm cvi
180
Of the twelve aeons
186
Of the ascension of them of the treasure into the inheritance
192
Mary interpreteth the narrative from the Scriptures
198
Of the last supporter
199
Of the first statute
205
Of the hierarchies of powers
212
Of the fission and emanation of the powers of the pleroma
218
Of the mystery succinctly
224
Of the gnosis of the word of the ineffable
230
The mystery of the resurrection not to be given to
282
Of the state after death of one that hath received the mysteries
288
A saying of Paul
294
How the baptisms purify sins
300
Of such initiated who die without repentance
305
If even men on earth are compassionate how much more then
311
Mary interpreteth the same from a former saying
317
The angels that watch at the doors
323
Mary pleadeth for them who have neglected the mysteries
330
Of their subsequent fate
334
The teaching as to the lightpower and counterfeit of
340
Of the karmic compulsion of the parents
346
A prophecy of John the Baptist
352
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOKS OF THE SAVIOUR
358
The figure of the disk of the sun
360
Of the regent of the first deemonial hierarchy
366
Of the time when souls are freed from their torments
373
The rite is consummated
379
Peter protesteth against the women
386
The cup of wisdom
392
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