#profile-container h2.sidebar-title {display:none;}


Third Century

1 The Father alone knows the Christ, and the Son alone the Father [cf. Matt. 11, 27], the latter as unique in the Unity and the former as Monad and Unity.

2 The Christ is he who alone has in himself the Unity and has received the judgement of the logikoi.

3 The Unity is it which now is known only by the Christ, (and is)† it of which the gnosis is essential.

4 It is the property of angels to nourish themselves at all times with the contemplation of beings, that of men not (to nourish themselves with it)* at all times, and that of the demons not (to nourish themselves with it)* either at one time or another.

5 The noes of the heavenly powers are pure and full of gnosis, and their bodies are of lights which are resplendent over those who draw near to them.

6 The naked nous is that which, by the contemplation which concerns it, is united to the gnosis of the Holy Trinity.

7 Each of the changes is established to nourish the logikoi, and those who nourish themselves (with it)* arrive at the excellent change, but those who do not nourish themselves (with it)* (arrive)* at the bad change.

8 The nous which possesses the last clothing is that (nous)† which knows only the contemplation of all the second beings.

9 In the world to come the bodies of ignorance will be surpassed, and in that (world)† which will follow it, the change will receive an increase of fire and air; and those who are below will apply themselves thenceforth to gnosis, if ‘the houses of the impious receive purification’ [Prov. 14, 9] and if ‘Today and tomorrow’ the Christ ‘works miracles and on the third day he is completed.’ [Luke 13, 32.]

10 The nous which is imperfect is the one which still has need of the contemplation that is known by means of the corporeal nature.

11 The corporeal nature has received ‘the most varied wisdom’ [Eph. 3, 10] of Christ, but it is not susceptible of it. But the incorporeal nature both manifests the wisdom of the Unity and is susceptible of the Unity.

12 The perfect nous is that which easily can receive the essential gnosis.

13 We have known the wisdom of the Unity united to the nature which is below it, but the Unity itself cannot be seen bound to one of the beings; for this reason, the incorporeal nous sees the Holy Trinity in those things which are not[1] bodies.

14 The deficient soul is that of which the passionate power inclines towards vanity.

15 If the perfection of the nous is the immaterial gnosis, as it is said, and if the immaterial gnosis is the Trinity only, it is evident that in perfection there will not remain anything of matter. And if that is so, the nous henceforth naked will become a seer of the Trinity.

16 The perfect soul is that in which the passionate power operates according to nature.

17 Those who have arrived in the immaterial contemplation are also in the (same)* order; but those who are in the same order are not those who are henceforth also in the immaterial contemplation. It is possible, indeed, that they might yet be in the contemplation which concerns the intelligibles, which also has need of a naked nous, if it has also seen it nakedly at a former time.

18 Torment is the intense suffering which purifies the passionate part of the soul.

19 The first and second contemplations have this in common, that they have a naked seer, but in distinction this, that the one is immaterial and the other material.

20 The change of the organa is the passage from body to body, according to the degree of the orders of those which are joined with them.

21 There is in common this, that the second and third contemplations are material, but in distinction this, that the one has a nous naked and of the same order, and the other is with the bodies and in diverse orders.

22 The first Movement of the logikoi is the separation of the nous from (being)† with the Unity which is in it.

23 There is in common this, that all the worlds are constituted from the four elements, but in distinction this, that each of them has a variation of quality.

24 The gnosis of the first nature is the spiritual contemplation of which the Creator made use in making only the noes which are susceptible of his nature.

25 The spiritual body and its opposite will not be (formed)* from our members or from our parts, but of a body. The change, indeed, is not a passage from members to members, but (the passage)* from an excellent or bad quality to an excellent or bad change.

26 The gnosis which concerns the second nature is the spiritual contemplation of which the Christ made use in creating from it the nature of the bodies and the worlds.

27 The first contemplation of nature is done to separate itself from the nous and so as not to separate itself from it. Indeed, that which is taught is separable, but that which appears in the nous which knows it (i.e. something)†is shown to be inseparable.[2]

28 The soul is the nous which because of negligence has fallen from the Unity and which by consequence of its non-vigilance has descended to the rank of praktike.

29 The sign of the human order is the human body, and the sign of each of the orders is the breadth, the forms, the colours, the qualities, the natural forces, the weakness, the time, the place, the parents, the increases, the modes, the life, the death and that which is connected to these things.

30 The nous is the seer of the Holy Trinity.

31 It is possible to say what is the unity of the nous; but that which is its nature is unsayable, for these is no gnosis of the quality (of that)* which has been constituted neither of form nor of matter. (For that reason)*, there is no gnosis of its quality.

32 The image of God is not that which is susceptible of wisdom, for thus the corporeal nature would also be image of God. But it is that which has become susceptible of the Unity that is the image of God.

33 The name of ‘immortality’ makes known the natural unity of the nous, and the fact that it is eternal (makes known)* its ‘incorruptibility’ [cf. 1 Cor. 15, 53–4]. The gnosis of the Trinity accompanies the first name; and the first contemplation of nature (accompanies)† the second.

34 The demon is the reasonable nature which has fallen from the service of God on account of an abundance of thumos.

35 Gnosis heals the nous; love, the thumos; and chastity, the epithumia.[3] And the cause of the first is the second; and that of the second, the third.

36 The world is the natural systasis which comprises the various and different bodies of the logikoi, for the sake of the gnosis of God.[4]

37 ‘The stars are superior to one another by the glory’ [1 Cor. 15, 41] and not by the bodies; but their size, their figures, their distances the one from the other and their courses are diverse. The fact that some are in the interior of the shadow of the earth and others outside it and others at the separating limit, teaches concerning their orders and concerning the governance which has been confided to them by God.

38 The judgement of God is the creation of the world, to[5] which he gives a body according to the degree of each of the logikoi.

39 One part of the fire is capable of burning and the other incapable of burning; capable of burning is that which burns the sensible matter, and incapable of burning that which is capable of consuming the trouble of those who are troubled. And the first does not burn the whole sensible mass, but the second is capable of burning the whole mass of trouble.

40 The ‘last trumpet’ [1 Cor. 15, 52] is the commandment of the judge who has joined the logikoi to the bodies (which are)† good or bad, after which there will not be a bad body.

41 In regard to the contemplation of beings and in regard to the gnosis of the Trinity, the demons and we have raised a great battle, the ones with the others, the former wishing to prevent us from knowing and we in applying ourselves to learn.

42 Contemplation is the spiritual gnosis of things which have been and which will be, which (contemplation)† makes the nous ascend to its first rank.

43 Those who apply themselves now to draw near to gnosis possess in common the water and the perfumed oil; but in distinction and in abundance, men possess the oil.

44 The intelligible sun is the reasonable nature which contains in itself the first and blessed light.

45 Just as one cannot say that there might be a nous more ancient that an(other)* nous, so also the spiritual bodies are not more ancient that the praktika bodies, if the change (which is the)† cause of the two organa is unique.

previous | Table of Contents | next

[1] O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 184) reads ‘have not’ instead of ‘are not’.

[2] O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 178) reads the Syriac of this rather difficult chapter thus: ‘The first contemplation of nature is naturally done in order to separate the nous and in order not to separate it. In effect, that which is instructed is separable, but that which appears in the nous which knows it is seen as inseparable.’

[3] For this sentence O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 155) quotes from Muyldermans a Greek fragment which reads (our translation): ‘Spiritual gnosis cleanses the mind (nous); love (agape) heals the irascible part (thumos); and continence stems flowing desire (epithumia).’

[4] For this chapter O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 125) quotes a Greek fragment from the Scholia in Psalmos, in Migne under the name of Origen, which reads (our translation): ‘The Age (aion) is a natural system (sustema) containing, for the sake of the gnosis of God, diverse rational beings (logikas diaphoras) out of various bodies.’

[5] O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 125) reads ‘in’ instead of ‘to’.


Post a Comment

<< Home