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KGN -- VIa

Sixth Century

1 The Divine Book has not made known what is the contemplation of beings; but how one draws near to it by the practice of the commandments and by the true doctrines, it has taught in a manifest fashion.

2 The contemplation of this world is double: one manifest and gross, the other intelligible and spiritual. The impious and the demons draw near to the first contemplation, and to the second the just and the angels of God. And just as, more than the just, the angels know the spiritual contemplation, so, more than the impious, the demons know the gross contemplation which, it is thought, they also give to certain ones who belong to them; and we, we have learned from the Divine Book that the holy angels do that also.

3 The sensible nations are distinguished the ones from the others by the places, by the laws, by the languages, by the clothing, and sometimes also by the qualities. The intelligible and holy (nations)* (are distinguished)* by the worlds, by the bodies and, it is said, by the languages also. The father of the first is Adam, and he of the second, Christ, of whom Adam is ‘the figure’ [Rom. 5, 14].

4 The Father is considered before the Son insofar as Father, before the Spirit insofar as Principle; and he is anterior to the incorporeals and corporeals insofar as Creator.

5 The Uncreated is he to whom, because he is[1] by his essence, there is nothing that might be anterior.

6 Just as the knife circumcises the sensible Jew, so praktike circumcises the intelligible Jew, that which symbolically Christ has named the ‘sword’ [Matt. 10, 34] which he has cast into the world.

7 If the eighth day is the symbol of the resurrection and if Christ might be the resurrection, those therefore who are circumcised on the eighth day are circumcised in Christ.

8 Just as Paradise is the teacher[2] of the just, so also Sheol is capable of making the torment of the impious.

9 If time is considered with (regard to)† genesis and destruction, then the genesis of the incorporeals is timeless, because a destruction is not anterior to this genesis.

10 The Holy Trinity is not like a tetrad, a pentad or a hexad; indeed, these latter, (being)† numerical, are forms without substance; but the Holy Trinity is essential gnosis.

11 The numerical triad is accompanied by a tetrad, but the Holy Trinity is not accompanied by a tetrad; it is therefore not a numerical triad.

12 The numerical triad is preceded by a dyad, but the Holy Trinity is not preceded by a dyad; indeed, it is not a numerical triad.

13 The numerical triad is constituted by the addition of unities without substance; but the Blessed Trinity is not constituted by the addition of unities; it is therefore not a triad which might be with numbers.

14 The Christ is not connatural with the Trinity. Really, he is not also essential gnosis; but alone he always has inseparably in himself the essential gnosis. But the Christ—I wish to say, he who is come with the Word of God and (who)† in spirit is the Lord—is inseparable from his body and by union he is connatural with his Father, because He[3] also is essential gnosis.

15 The ‘feet’ of Christ are praktike and contemplation, and ‘if he places under his feet all his enemies’ [1 Cor. 15, 25], then all will know praktike and contemplation.

16 The Christ is he who, from the essential gnosis and from the incorporeal nature and from the corporeal (nature)* has appeared to us; and he who says two Christs or two Sons resembles him who calls the wise man and wisdom two wise men or two wisdoms.

17 A holy power is that which has been constituted of the contemplation of beings and of the incorporeal nature and of the corporeal (nature)*.

18 There was a time when the Christ did not have a body; but, in this, there is not (a time)† when the Word of God was not in him. It is with his genesis, indeed, that the Word of God also has resided in him.

19 Conversion is the ascent from the Movement and from vice and from ignorance towards the gnosis of the Holy Trinity.

20 Before the Movement, God was good, powerful, wise, Creator of incorporeals, Father of the logikoi, and omnipotent; after the Movement, he became Creator of bodies, Judge, Governor, Doctor, Pastor, Merciful and Long-Suffering, and even Door, Way, Lamb, High Priest, along with the other names which are said by modes. And he is Father and Principle even before the genesis of incorporeals: Father of Christ[4] and Principle of the Holy Spirit.

21 Virtue is the state of the reasonable soul in which it (i.e. the soul)† is with difficulty put into motion towards evil.[5]

22 If sensible words also make known objects in the world to come, it is evident that the sages of this world also will receive the Kingdom of the Heavens. But if it is the purity of the nous which sees, and the word appropriate to that purity which makes known, then the sages of this world are kept at a distance from the gnosis of God.

23 Just as this word here teaches concerning the objects in this world, so the word of the spiritual body will make known the objects of the world to come.

24 If those who in the world to come will be angels ruling also ‘over five’ or ‘over ten cities’, it is evident that they will also receive the gnosis that can push the reasonable souls from vice to virtue and from ignorance to the gnosis of God.

25 When the demons have not been able to put into motion the bad thoughts in the gnostic, then they close his eyes by means of a great cold and they draw them towards a heavy sleep; for the bodies of demons are very cold, similar to ice.[6]

26 Just as it is not the fire itself which is in our bodies, but it is its quality which has been placed in them, so in the bodies of demons, it is not the earth itself nor the water itself, but their quality, which the Creator has sown there.

27 If ‘all the nations come and prostrate themselves before the Lord’ [cf. Ps. 86, 9], it is evident that even the nations which wish war will come. And if that is so, all the nature of the logikoi will prostrate themselves before the name of the Lord[7] who makes known the Father who is in him. That is, indeed, ‘the name which is above all names’ [Phil. 2, 9].

28 The Father is the generator of essential gnosis.

29 The Father is he who has a reasonable nature which is united to the gnosis of the Trinity.

30 The Father is he who has a reasonable nature which is united to the contemplation of beings.

31 Engendered[8] is that which has been engendered by something, as by a father.

32 Engendered[9] is that which has been engendered by something as by a creator.

33 When the Christ will no longer be imprinted in the various worlds and in names of every sort, ‘then he also will be submitted’ [1 Cor. 15, 28] to God the Father and will delight in the gnosis of him alone, who is not divided in the worlds and in the increases of the logikoi.

34 In the worlds, God ‘will change the body of our humiliation into the likeness of the glorious body’ [cf. Phil. 3, 21] of the Lord; and, after all the worlds, he will also make us ‘in the likeness of the image of his Son’ [Rom. 8, 29], if the image of his Son is the essential gnosis of God the Father.

35 By means of the mental representations of exhortation, the holy angels purify us of vice and render us dispassionate; and by those (mental representations)† of nature and by the divine logoi, they liberate us from ignorance and render us sages and gnostics.

36 ‘He who has been created to be the mockery of the angels’ [Job 40, 19; 41, 25] of God, would he not be he who had the initiative of the Movement and in the beginning has overstepped the borders of vice, and on account of that has been called ‘the commencement of the creatures of the Lord’ [Job 40, 19]?

37 Just as the cranes fly in the form of letters, even though they do not know letters, so also the demons recite the words of the fear of God, even though they do not know the fear of God.

38 The intelligible cross is the voluntary mortification of the body, which perfects the chastity of Christ.

39 The generation of Christ is the regeneration of our inner man, which, in building it, Christ, like a good builder, has founded on the principal stone of the edifice of his body.

40 The crucifixion of Christ is the mortification of our old man, the cancellation of the sentence brought against us and the remission which makes us return to life.

41 Complete solitude[10] softens the desiring part of the soul and renders hard the thumike part.

42 The death of Christ is the mysterious operation which restores to eternal life those who have hoped in him in this life.

43 The providence of God accompanies the freedom of the will; but his judgement considers the order of the logikoi.

44 The spiritual demonstration is the accomplishment of the things which have been said beforehand in divine fashion by the Holy Spirit.

45 Not one of the worlds has been above the first world; it is said, indeed, that the latter has been made from the principal quality; and an athlete and gnostic has taught us that in it will be completed all the worlds.

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[1] That is, exists.

[2] O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 146) reads the Syriac as a transliteration of the Greek word meaning ‘teaching’. He goes on to quote a passage from the Scholia on the Psalms, in Migne under the name of Origen, which reads: ‘Just as Paradise is the habitation of the just, so Hades is the place of punishment of sinners.’

[3] That is, the Father.

[4] The sense seems to require ‘Son’ instead of ‘Christ’. Cf. Chapter VI, 4, above.

[5] O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 169) gives from Hausherr the text of a Greek fragment which reads (our translation): ‘Virtue, then, is the excellent habit of a reasonable soul according to which the soul becomes difficult to put into motion towards vice.’

[6] Cf. On the Thoughts, Chapter 33.

[7] The Christ, in Evagrius’ system.

[8] The underlying Greek is thought by the French translator to be gennetos (born). Cf. Chapter VI, 32, below.

[9] The underlying Greek is thought by the French translator to be genetos (made, become). Cf. Chapter VI, 31, above.

[10] Literally, ‘distance’ or ‘separation’.


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