Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 1, by G.R.S. Mead, [1906]

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"BUT All-Father Mind, being Life and Light, did bring forth Man (Anthrupon) co-equal to Himself." [*1]

So runs the opening paragraph of what we may call the soteriological part of the "Poemandres" treatise of our Trismegistic literature. This Man or Anthropos is the Spiritual Prototype of humanity and of every individual man, and is a technical term found in a number of the early Christianised Gnostic systems.

For instance, in a system some outlines of which are preserved in the polemical Refutation of Irenaeus, [*2] and which the Bishop of Lyons seems to associate with an Ophite tradition, while Theodoret [*3] ascribes it to the Sethians, we are told that in the Unutterable Depth were two Great Lights,--the First Man, or Father, and His Son, the Second Man; and also the Holy Spirit, the First Woman, or Mother of all living.

In this tradition, moreover, the Son of the Mother--the chief Formative Power of the seven Demiurgic Potencies of the sensible cosmos--is called Ialdabaoth (? the Child of the Egg), who boasts himself to be

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supreme. But his mother, Wisdom, reproves his pride, saying unto him: "Lie not, Ialdabaoth, for above thee is the Father of All, First Man, and Man Son of Man." [*1]


But the main source of our information on this Anthropos tradition, in its Christianised Gnostic form, is to be found in Hippolytus' Philosophumena; or, Refutation of all Heresies.

In 1842, Minoides Mynas, a learned Greek, sent on a literary mission by the French Government, discovered in one of the monasteries on Mount Athos the only MS. (generally ascribed to the fourteenth century) which we possess of this extremely valuable work. It was originally in ten books, but, unfortunately, the first three and the beginning of the fourth are missing from our MS. The first book, however, was already known, though previously erroneously ascribed to Origen, and was accordingly prefixed to the text of the editio princeps of our work by Emmanuel Miller (Oxford, 1851).

The missing Books II. and III. dealt respectively with the doctrines and mysteries of the Egyptians and with those of the Chaldaeans. Hippolytus (Prooem.) boasts that he has divulged all their mysteries, as well as the secrets of those Christian mystics whom he stigmatises as heretics, and to whom he devotes Books V.-IX.

It is a curious fact that it is precisely those Books wherein this divulging of the Mysteries was attempted, which should be missing; not only have they disappeared, but in the Epitome at the beginning of Book X. the summary of their contents is also omitted. This seems almost to point to a deliberate removal of just

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that information which would be of priceless value to us to-day, not only for the general history of the evolution of religious ideas, but also for filling in an important part of the background of the environment of infant Christianity.

Why, then, were these books cut out? Were the subsequent Christian Orthodox deterred by religious scruples, or were they afraid to circulate this information? Hippolytus himself seems to have had no such hesitation; he is ever delightedly boasting that he is giving away to the multitude the most sacred secrets of others; it seems to have been his special metier to cry aloud on the house-tops what had been whispered in their secret chambers. It was for him a delicious triumph over "error" to boast, "I have your secret documents, and I am going to publish them!"

Why, then, should those who came after him hesitate? Surely they were like-minded with Hippolytus, and would have been as delighted as himself in humbling the pride of the hated Mystery-institutions in the dust? Can it possibly be that they saw far more clearly than he did that quite other deductions might be drawn from his "startling revelations"?


That far other deductions could be drawn from the Mystery-rites and Mystery-myths was at anyrate the view of a tradition of early Jewish and Christian mystics whom Hippolytus calls Naassenes. The claim of these Gnostics was practically that Christianity, or rather the Good News of the Christ, was precisely the consummation of the inner doctrine of the Mystery-institutions of all the nations; the end of them all was the revelation of the Mystery of Man.

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It is further to be noticed that these Naassenes, "who call themselves Gnostics" (v. 2), are the very first school of Christian "heresy" with which Hippolytus deals; he puts them in the forefront of his Refutation, as being, presumably, in his opinion, the oldest, or, at anyrate, as representing the most ancient form of Christian "heresy."

Although the name Naassene (Naassenoi) is derived from the Hebrew Nahash (Serpent), Hippolytus does not call them Ophites; indeed, he reserves the latter name to a body to which he also gives (viii. 20) the name Cainites and Nochaitae (Noxaitai)--? Nachaitae, again, from Nachash [*1]--and considers them of not sufficient importance for further mention.

These Naassenes possessed many secret books or apocrypha--that is, books kept back from general circulation--and also regarded as authoritative the following scriptures: The Gospel of Perfection, The Gospel of Eve, The Questions of Mary, [*2] Concerning the Offspring of Mary, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel according to Thomas, and The Gospel according to the Egyptians. All of which points somewhat to an Alexandrian or Egyptian circle.


One of their secret MSS. had fallen into the hands of Hippolytus. It is in the Bishop of Portus' quotations

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from this document that Reitzenstein (pp. 81 ff.) seeks to discover what he calls the "Hellenistic Myth of the God Anthropos." His theory is that, by eliminating the Christian citations and thoughts of the Naassene writer, we are face to face with a purely Heathen document.

The reproduction of their views, as given by Hippolytus, [*1] falls according to Reitzenstein into three divisions.

(i.) The first begins with the explanation of the name "Naassene" (S. 131, 1; C. 139, 1 [*2]), and, after giving a few brief headings, ends (S. 134, 8; C. 141, 2) with the statement that the writer of the MS. said they had their tradition from James, the Brother of the Lord, who had delivered it to Mariamne.

(iii.) The third begins (S. 170, 64; C. 178, 1) with another explanation of the name. In both of these parts are found remains of hymns from some liturgical collection.

(ii.) Between i. and ii. lies a longer exposition in which Hippolytus tries to show that the Naassene doctrines are taken from the Mysteries, culminating in the assertion that the Naassenes, as a matter of fact, were nothing else than sectaries of the Mysteries of the Mother of the Gods, in proof of which he quotes at length from a secret document of their school.

Our interest in these quotations, however, is very different from that of Hippolytus, for, as Reitzenstein has now shown, it is manifest on inspection that the Christian quotations and thoughts in this document

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violently disrupt its underlying continuity, and that they are for the most part easily removable without damage to the sense.

With regard to the Old Testament quotations it is not always so easy to disentangle them from the Hellenistic source, much less from the New Testament quotations; the phenomena, however, presented by them are of such a nature that, in my opinion, there is ample evidence before us that there was a Jewish working-over of the matter before it came into the hands of the Christian overwriter. Reitzenstein, however, does not venture so far.

Even, then, if we were content with Reitzenstein's analysis only, it is quite clear that the quotations from the Old Testament formed no part of the original; and that we have, therefore, before us what was once a purely Heathen text, with Gnostic Christian scholia, or rather overworked by a Christian Gnostic. The original Pagan text had, accordingly, been cut up by the Naassene overwriter before ever it came into the hands of Hippolytus.

Now, as the Christianised text must have been for some time in private circulation before it reached the library of the Bishop of Portus [*1]--even if we make no allowance for a Jewish Hellenistic stratum of overwriting, still seeing that Hippolytus' own view was that, in the Naassene MS., he had before him a basic document of those whom he regarded as the earliest Christian "heretics"--it is quite evident that if we were to place the date of the original Hellenistic source in the first century, we should not be doing violence even to the ecclesiastical traditional absurdity that Gnosticism first sullied the orthodox purity of the Church only

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in the reign of Trajan (96-117 A.D.). But we will return to the question of date later on.

As the whole matter is not only one of considerable interest for the student of our treatises, but also of the greatest importance for the student of the history of Gnosticism, I shall give a translation of Hippolytus' introductory and concluding sections, as well as of the intermediate section which specially concerns us, so that the reader may have a view of the whole medley as it comes to us from the hands of the heresy-hunting bishop.

I shall, moreover, proceed a stage further in the analysis of the material of Hippolytus than Reitzenstein has done, and hope, when the evidence has been laid before the reader, to win his assent to what appears to me to be the natural sifting out of the various elements, with resultant phenomena which are of the greatest importance for the history of Gnosticism, and, therefore, of the evolution of Christian dogmatics, and which lead to conclusions that are far too serious to be treated in the short space of a single chapter of our present essay.

In the following analysis H. stands for Hippolytus; C. for the Christian Gnostic final overwriter, the "Naassene" whose MS. lay before H.; J. for the Naassene Jewish mystic who preceded C. and overworked the original; S. for the original Heathen Hellenistic Source.

As H. and C. are of secondary importance for our immediate enquiry, though of themselves of the greatest value and interest, I shall print them in smaller type. J. I shall print in the same type as S., as nearer in contact with S. than C., and as being sometimes more difficult to detach from S. than from C.

The reader, to have the text of Hippolytus before him, must neglect all the critical indications and read straight on.

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With these brief preliminary indications we will, then, present the reader with a translation of the first section, or introductory part, [*1] of Hippolytus' exposure or exposition of the Naassene doctrines, begging him to remember throughout that it is a portrait painted by the hand of one of their bitterest foes.


H. The priests and chiefs of [this] doctrine [*2] were first of all those who were called Naasseni--so named in Hebrew, [in which] "serpent" is called naas. [*3] But subsequently they called themselves Gnostics, pretending that they alone knew the Depths.

From these many separated themselves and [so] turned the school, which was originally a single one, into numerous sects, setting forth the same ideas in various doctrinal forms, as our argument will show as it advances.

These [Naassenes] honour as the Logos (Reason) of all universals [*4] Man, and Son of Man. This Man is male-female, and is called by them Adamas. [*5] And they have many intricate [*6] hymns in his honour. These hymns--to dispose of them briefly--run somewhat as follows:

J. '"From Thee' [is] Father, and 'Through Thee' [*7] Mother--the two Immortal Names, [*8] Parents of Aeons, O Thou who hast the Heaven for Thy City, O Man of Mighty Names." [*9]

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H. And they divide him into three, like Geryones; [*1] for, they say, he has a mental, psychic, and choic [aspect]; [*2] and they think that the Gnosis of [*3] this [Man] is the beginning of the possibility of knowing God, saying:

J. The beginning of Perfection [is] the Gnosis of Man, but the Gnosis of God is perfected Perfection. [*4]

H. All these, he says [*5]--mental, psychic, and earthy--descended together into one man--Jesus, born of Mary.

And these three Men, he says, spake each from their own special essences to their own special folk.

For of the universal principles there are three kinds [or races]--the angelic, psychic, and earthy; and three churches--angelic, psychic, and earthy named the Elect, Called, and Bound.

These are the chief heads from a very large number of doctrines, [*6] which, he says, James, the Brother of the Lord, handed on to Mariamne. [*7]

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But in order that we may put an end to the lying accounts of these impious [heretics] concerning Mariamne, and James, and the Saviour Himself, [*1] let us come to the Initiations from which they get this myth--if you like [to call it so]--to the non-Grecian and Grecian [Initiations]; and let us see how, by combining together the secret Mysteries of all the Gentiles which must not be spoken of, and by telling lies about the Christ, they take in those who do not know that these things are the Orgies of the Gentiles.

Now, since the foundation of their system is Man Adamas, and they say it has been written of him, "Who shall declare his generation?" [*2]--learn how they have taken the undiscoverable and contradictory generation of Man and plastered it on the Christ.


(1) S. "Earth (say the Greeks [*3]) first brought forth Man--bearing a fair gift, desiring to be mother not of plants without feeling, nor of brutes without reason, but of a tamed God-loving life.

"Difficult is it (H. he says [*4]) to discover whether it was among the Boeotians that Alalkomeneus rose from the Kephisian Lake as first of men; or whether

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it was the Idaean Kuretes, race divine, or the Phrygian Korybantes, whom Helios saw first sprouting forth tree-like; or whether Arkadia brought forth Pelasgos [first], older than the Moon; or Eleusis Diaulos, dweller in Raria; or Lemnos Kabeiros, fair child of ineffable orgies; [*1] or whether Pallene Phlegraean Alkyoneus, eldest of Giants.

"The Libyans say that Garamas, [*2] rising from parched plains, first picked sweet date of Zeus; while Neilos, making fat the mud of Egypt to this day (H. he says), breeds living things, and renders from damp heat things clothed in flesh." [*3]

The Assyrians say it was with them Oannes, the Fish-eater; while the Chaldaeans [say that it was] Adam.

(2) J. And this Adam they [the Chaldaeans] say was the man that Earth produced--a body only, and that he lay breathless, motionless, immovable, like a statue, being an image of that Man Above--

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H. --of whom they sing, and brought into existence by the many Powers, [*1] concerning which there is much detailed teaching.

J. In order, then, that the Great Man from Above--

C. From whom, as is said, every fatherhood has its name on earth or in the heavens. [*2]

J. --might be completely brought low, there was given unto him [*3] Soul also, in order that through the Soul the enclosed plasm of the Great, Most-fair, and Perfect Man might suffer and be chastened.

H. For thus they call Him. They seek to discover then further what is the Soul, and whence, and of what nature, that by entering into man and moving him, it should enslave and chasten the plasm of the Perfect Man; but they seek this also not from the Scriptures, but from the Mysteries.

(3) S. And they [*4] say that Soul is very difficult to discover, and hard to understand; for it never remains of the same appearance, or form, or in the same state, so that one can describe it by a general type, [*5] or comprehend it by an essential quality.

H. These variegated metamorphoses they [*6] have laid down in the Gospel, superscribed "According to the Egyptians." [*7]

S. They are accordingly in doubt--

H. --like all the rest of the Gentiles--

J. --whether it [sc. the Soul] is from the Pre-existing [One], or from the Self-begotten, or from the Streaming Chaos. [*8]

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H. And first of all, in considering the triple division of Man, they fly for help to the Initiations of the Assyrians; for the Assyrians were the first to consider the Soul triple and [yet] one.

(4) S. Now every nature (H. he says) yearns after Soul--one in one way and another in another.

For Soul is cause of all in Genesis. All things that are sustained and grow (H. he says) need Soul. Indeed, no sustenance (H. he says) or growth is possible without the presence of Soul.

Nay, even stones (H. he says) are ensouled; [*1] for they have the power of increase [or growth]; and growth could not take place without sustenance; for it is by addition that things which increase grow; and addition is the sustenance of that which is sustained. [*2]

(5) Now the Assyrians call this [Mystery] Adonis (or Endymion). And whenever it is called Adonis (H. he says), it is Aphrodite who is in love with and desires Soul so-called.

H. And Aphrodite is Genesis according to them. [*3]

But when Persephone (that is, Kore) is in love with Adonis, Soul becomes subject to Death, separated from Aphrodite (that is, from Genesis).

But if Selene is impassioned of Endymion, and is in

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love with [formal] beauty, [*1] it is the Nature of the higher [spaces [*2]] (H. he says) which desires Soul.

(6 [*3]) But if (H. he says) the Mother of the Gods emasculate Attis--she, too, regarding him as the object of her love--it is the Blessed Nature Above of the supercosmic and aeonian [spaces] which calls back the masculine power of Soul to herself. [*4]

H. For Man, he says, is male-female. According, then, to this theory of theirs, the intercourse between man and woman is exhibited as most mischievous, and is forbidden according to their teaching.

J. For Attis (H. he says) is emasculated--that is, [Soul is separated] from the earthy parts of the creation [tending] downwards, and ascends in quest of the Aeonian Essence Above--

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C. --where (H. he says) is "neither male nor female," [*1] but a new creature, a new man, who is male-female.

H. What they call "Above" I will explain when I come to the proper place. And they say that this theory is supported not simply by [the myth] of Rhea, but also, to put it briefly, by universal creation.

Nay, they make out that this is [even] what was said by the Word (Logos): [*2]

C. "For the invisible [*3] things of Him [God]--namely, His Eternal [*4] Power and Godhead--are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by His things that are made; so that they [men] are without excuse. Because that, though knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, nor did they give [Him] thanks, but their non-understanding heart was made foolish. [*5]

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"Professing themselves to be wise, they convicted themselves of folly, and changed the Glory of the Incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and creeping things. [*1] . . . [*2]

"Wherefore also God gave them up to passions of dishonour; for both their females did change their natural use to that which is against nature--

H. And what the natural use is, according to them, we will say later on.

C. --"and likewise also their males, leaving the natural use of the female, burned in their lust for one another, males with males working unseemliness [*3]--

H. And "unseemliness," according to them, is the First and Blessed Formless Essence, the Cause of all forms for things enformed. [*4]

C. --"and receiving in themselves the recompense of their Error which was meet."

H. For in these words which Paul spake is contained, they say, the whole of their hidden and ineffable Mystery of the Blessed Bliss.

For what is promised by the [rite of the] bath [*5] is nothing else, according to them, than the introduction into Unfading Bliss of him who, according to them, is washed with Living Water, and anointed with the Chrism that no tongue can declare. [*6]

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(7) And they say that not only the Mysteries of the Assyrians and Phrygians substantiate this teaching (logos) concerning the Blessed Nature, which is at once hidden and manifest [but also those of the Egyptians [*1]].

C. [*2] [The Nature] which (H. he says) is the Kingdom of the Heavens sought for within man--

H. --concerning which [Nature] they hand on a distinct tradition in the Gospel entitled According to Thomas, saying as follows:

C. "He who seeketh shall find me in children from the age of seven years [*3]; for in them at the fourteenth year [*4] [lit. aeon] I hidden am made manifest."

H. But this is not Christ's Saying but that of Hippocrates:

"A boy of seven years [is] half a father." [*5]

Hence as they place the Original Nature of the universals in the Original Seed, having learned the Hippocratian dictum that a child of seven is half a father, they say at fourteen years, according to Thomas, it is manifested. This [*6] is their ineffable and mysterious Logos. [*7]

(8 [*8]) S. (H.--At anyrate they say that) the Egyptians--who are the most ancient of men after the Phrygians, who at the same time were confessedly the first to communicate to mankind the Mystery-rites and Orgies of all the Gods, and to declare their Forms and Energies--have the mysteries of Isis, holy, venerable, and not to be disclosed to the uninitiated.

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H. And these are nothing else than the robbing of the member of Osiris, and its being sought for by the seven-robed and black-mantled [*1] [Goddess].

And (they [the Egyptians] say) Osiris is Water. [*2] And Seven-robed Nature--

H. --having round her, nay, robing herself in seven aetheric vestures--for thus they [*3] allegorically designate the planet-stars, calling [their spheres] aetheric vestures--

S. --being metamorphosed, as ever-changing Genesis, by the Ineffable and Uncopiable and Incomprehensible and Formless, is shown forth as creation.

J. And this is what (H. he says) is said in the Scripture:

"Seven times the Just shall fall and rise again." [*4]

For these "fallings" (H. he says) are the changes of the stars, [*5] set in motion by the Mover of all things.

(9) S. Accordingly they [*6] declare concerning the Essence of the Seed which is the cause of all things in

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[paragraph continues] Genesis, that it is none of these things, but that it begets and makes all generated things, saying:

"I become what I will, and am what I am." [*1]

Therefore (H. he says) That which moves all is unmoved; for It remains what It is, making all things, and becomes no one of the things produced.

(H. He says that) This is the Only Good--

C. And concerning this was spoken what was said by the Saviour:

"Why callest thou me Good? One is Good [*2]--my Father in the Heavens, who maketh His sun to rise on righteous and unrighteous, and sendeth rain on saints and sinners." [*3]

H. And who are the saints on whom He sendeth rain and the sinners on whom He also sendeth rain--this also he tells subsequently with the rest.

S. --and (H. that) This is the Great, Hidden, and Unknown Mystery of the Egyptians, Hidden and [yet] Revealed.

For there is no temple (H. he says) before the

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entrance of which the Hidden [Mystery] does not stand naked, pointing from below above, and crowned with all its fruits of generation.

(10) And (H. they say) it stands so symbolised not only in the most sacred temples before the statues, but also set up for general knowledge--

C. --as it were "a light not under the bushel, but" set "on the candlestick" [*1]--a preaching "heralded forth on the house-tops." [*2]

S. --on all the roads and in all the streets, and alongside the very houses as a boundary and limit of the dwelling; (H. that) This is the God spoken of by all, for they call Him Bringer-of-good, not knowing what they say.

H. And this mystery [-symbol] the Greeks got from the Egyptians, and have it [even] to this day.

At anyrate, he says, we see the "Hermes" [*3] honoured by them in this form.

(11) S. And the Cyllenians, treating [this symbol] with special honour, [regard it as the] Logos. [*4]

For (H. he says) Hermes is [the] Logos, who, as being the Interpreter and Fabricator of all things that have been and are and shall be, was honoured by them under the symbolism of this figure, namely an ithyphallus.

And that he (H. that is Hermes, so symbolised) is

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[paragraph continues] Conductor and Reconductor of souls, [*1] and Cause of souls, has not escaped the notice of the poets (H. of the Gentiles), when saying:

"But Cyllenian Hermes summoned forth the souls
Of men mindful" [*2]--

--not the "suitors" of Penelope (H. he says), hapless wights! but of those who are roused from sleep, and have their memory restored to them--

"From what honour and [how great] degree of blessedness." [*3]

J. That is, from the Blessed Man Above--

H. --or Original Man, or Adamas, as they [*4] think--

J. --they [*5] have been thus brought down into the plasm of clay, in order that they may be enslaved to the Demiurge of this creation, Esaldaios [*6]--

H. --a fiery God, fourth in number, for thus they call the Demiurge and Father of this special cosmos. [*7]

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(13) S. "And he [*1] holds a rod in his hands,
Beautiful, golden; and with it he spell-binds the eyes of men,
Whomsoever he would, and wakes them again too from sleep." [*2]

This (H. he says) is He who alone hath the power of life and death. [*3]

J. Concerning Him it is written: "Thou shalt shepherd them with a rod of iron." [*4]

But the poet (H. he says), wishing to embellish the incomprehensibility of the Blessed Nature of the Logos, bestowed upon Him a golden instead of an iron rod.

S. "He spell-binds the eyes" of the dead (H. he says), and "wakes them again too from sleep"--those who are waked from sleep and become "mindful." [*5]

C. Concerning them the Scripture saith: "Awake thou that sleepest, and rise, and Christ will give thee light." [*6]

This is the Christ, the Son of Man (H. he says), expressed in all who are born from the Logos, whom no expression can express.

S. This (H. he says) is the Great Ineffable Mystery of the Eleusinia: "Hye Kye." [*7]

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J. And that (H. he says) all things have been put under Him, this too has been said: "Into all the earth hath gone forth their sound." [*1]

(14) S. And "Hermes leads them, moving his rod, and they follow, squeaking" [*2]--the souls in a cluster, as the poet hath shown in the following image:

"But as when bats into some awesome cave's recess
Fly squeaking--should one from out the cluster fall
Down from the rock, they cling to one another." [*3]

J. The "rock" (H. he says) means Adamas. This (H. he says) is the "corner-stone"--

C. --"that hath become the head of the corner." [*4] For in the

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[paragraph continues] "Head" is the expressive Brain [*1] of the Essence, from which [Brain] "every fatherhood" [*2] has its expression--

J. --which "I insert in the foundation of Zion." [*3]

[By this] (H. he says) he [*4] means, allegorically, the plasm of man. For the Adamas who is "inserted" is [the inner man, and the "foundations of Zion" are [*5]] the "teeth"--the "fence of the teeth," as Homer says--the Wall and Palisade [*6] in which is the inner man, fallen into it from the Primal Man, the Adamas Above--[the Stone] "cut without hands" [*7] cutting it, and brought down into the plasm of forgetfulness, the earthy, clayey [plasm].

(15) S. And (H. he says that) they followed Him squeaking [*8]--the souls, the Logos.

"Thus they went squeaking together; and he led them on,
Hermes, the guileless, down the dark ways." [*9]

That is, (H. he says) [He led them] into the eternal lands free from all guile. For where (H. he says) went they?

(16) "They passed by the streams of Ocean, and by the White Rock,
By the Gates of the Sun, and the People of Dreams." [*10]

For He (H. he says) is Ocean--"birth-causing of

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gods and birth-causing of men" [*1]--flowing and ebbing for ever, now up and now down.

J. When Ocean flows down (H. he says), it is the birth-causing of men; and when [it flows] up, towards the Wall and Palisade, and the "White Rock," it is the birth-causing of gods.

This (H. he says) is what is written:

"'I have said ye are Gods and all Sons of the Highest' [*2]--if ye hasten to flee from Egypt and get you beyond the Red Sea into the Desert"; that is, from the intercourse below to the Jerusalem Above, who is the Mother of the Living. [*3] "But if ye turn back again into Egypt"--that is, to the intercourse below--"'ye shall die like men.'" [*4]

For (H. he says) all the generation below is subject to death, but the [birth] begotten above is superior to death.

C. For from water alone--that is, spirit--is begotten the spiritual [man], not the fleshly; the lower [man] is fleshly. That is (H. he says) what is written: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." [*5]

H. This is their [*6] spiritual birth.

J. This (H. he says) is the Great Jordan, which, flowing downwards and preventing the sons of Israel

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from going forth out of Egypt, or from the intercourse below--

H. --for Egypt is the body, according to them--

J. --was turned back by Jesus [*1] and made to flow upwards.

H. Following after these and such like [follies], these most wonderful "Gnostics," discoverers of a new grammatical art, imagine that their prophet Homer showed forth these things arcanely; and, introducing those who are not initiated into the Sacred Scriptures into such notions, they make a mock of them.

And they say that he who says that all things are from One, is in error, [but] he who says they are from Three is right, and will furnish proof of the first principles [of things]. [*2]

J. For one (H. he says) is the Blessed Nature of the Blessed Man Above, Adamas; and one is the [Nature] Below, which is subject to Death; and one is the Race without a king [*3] which is born Above--where (H. he says) is Mariam the sought-for, and Jothor the great sage, and Sepphora the seeing, and Moses whose begetting is not in Egypt--for sons were born to him in Madiam. [*4]

S. And this (H. he says) also did not escape the notice of the poets:

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"All things were threefold divided, and each received his share of honour." [*1]

C. For the Greatnesses (H. he says) needs must be spoken, but so spoken by all everywhere, "that hearing they may not hear, and seeing they may not see." [*2]

J. For unless (H. he says) the Greatnesses [*3] were spoken, the cosmos would not be able to hold together. These are the Three More-than-mighty Words (Logoi): Kaulakau, Saulasau, Zeesar;--Kaulakau, the [Logos] Above, Adamas; Saulasau, the [Logos] Below; Zeesar, the Jordan flowing upwards. [*4]

(17 [*5]) S. He (H. he says) is the male-female Man

[p. 166]

in all, whom the ignorant call three-bodied Geryones--Earth-flow-er, as though flowing from the earth; [*1] while the Greek [theologi] generally call Him the "Heavenly Horn of Men," [*2] because He has mixed and mingled [*3] all things with all.

C. For "all things (H. he says) were made through Him, and without Him no one thing was made that was made. In Him is Life." [*4]

This (H. he says) is "Life," the ineffable Race of perfect men, which was unknown to former generations.

And the "nothing" [*5] which hath been made "without Him," is the special cosmos; [*6] for the latter hath been made without Him by the third and fourth [? Ruler]. [*7]

[p. 167]

J. This [*1] (H. he says) is the drinking-vessel--the Cup in which "the King drinketh and divineth." [*2]

This (H. he says) was found hidden in the "fair seed" of Benjamin.

(18) S. The Greeks also speak of it (H. he says) with inspired tongue, as follows:

"Bring water, bring [me] wine, boy!
Give me to drink, and sink me in slumber! [*3]
My Cup tells me of what race I must be born,
[Speaking with silence unspeaking]." [*4]

C. This (H. he says) would be sufficient alone if men would understand--the Cup of Anacreon speaking forth speechlessly the Ineffable Mystery.

J. For (H. he says) Anacreon's Cup is speechless--in as much as it tells him (says Anacreon) with speechless sound of what Race he must be born--

C. --that is, spiritual, not carnal--

J. --if he hear the Hidden Mystery in Silence.

C. And this is the Water at those Fair Nuptials which Jesus turned and made Wine.

"This (H. he says) is the great and true beginning of the signs which Jesus wrought in Cana of Galilee, and made manifest His Kingship [or Kingdom] of the Heavens." [*5]

This (H. he says) is the Kingship [or Kingdom] of the Heavens within us, [*6] stored up as a Treasure, [*7] as "Leaven hid in three measures of Flour." [*8]

[p. 168]

(19 [*1]) S. This is (H. he says) the Great Ineffable Mystery of the Samothracians,--

C. --which it is lawful for the perfect alone to know--[that is] (H. he says) for us.

J. For the Samothracians, in the Mysteries which are solemnised among them, explicitly hand on the tradition that this Adam is the Man Original.

S. Moreover, [*2] in the initiation temple of the Samothracians stand two statues of naked men, with both hands raised to heaven and ithyphallic, like the statue of Hermes in Cyllene. [*3]

J. The statues aforesaid are images of the Man Original. [*4]

C. And [also] of the regenerated [*5] spiritual [man], in all things of like substance with that Man.

This (H. he says) is what was spoken by the Saviour:

"If ye do not drink My Blood and eat My Flesh, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens. [*6]

"But even if ye drink (H. he says) the Cup which I drink, [*7] where I go, there ye cannot come." [*8]

[p. 169]

For He knew (H. he says) of which nature each of His disciples is, and that it needs must be that each of them should go to his own nature.

For from the twelve tribes (H. he says) He chose twelve disciples, and through them He spake to every tribe. [*1]

On this account (H. he says) all have not heard the preachings of the twelve disciples; and even if they hear, they cannot receive them. For the [preachings] which are not according to their nature are contrary to it.

(20) S. This [Man] (H. he says) the Thracians who dwell round Haimos call Korybas, [*2] and the Phrygians in like manner with the Thracians; for taking the source of His descent from the Head Above [*3]--

J. --and from the expressive Brain [*4]--

S. --and passing through all the sources of all things beneath--how and in what manner He descends we do not understand.

J. This is (H. he says) what was spoken:

"His Voice we heard, but His Form we have not seen." [*5]

For (H. he says) the Voice of Him, when He hath been delegated and expressed, is heard, but the Form that descended from Above, from the Inexpressible [Man]--what it is, no one knows. It is in the earthy plasm, but no one has knowledge of it.

This [Man] (H. he says) is He who "inhabiteth the

[p. 170]

[paragraph continues] Flood," [*1] according to the Psalter, who cries and calls from "many waters." [*2]

The "many waters" (H. he says) are the manifold genesis of men subject to death, from which He shouts and calls to the Inexpressible Man, saying:

"Save my [? Thy] alone-begotten from the lions." [*3]

To this [Man] (H. he says) it hath been spoken:

"Thou art my Son, O Israel, [*4] fear not; should'st thou pass through rivers, they shall not engulph thee; should'st thou pass through fire, it shall not consume thee." [*5]

By "rivers" (H. he says) he [*6] means the Moist Essence of Genesis, and by "fire" the impulse and desire towards Genesis.

And: "Thou art mine; fear not." [*7]

And again he [*8] says:

"If a mother forget her children so as not to take pity on them or give them suck, [then] I too will forget you" [*9]--saith Adamas (H. he says) to his own men.

"Nay, even if a woman shall forget them, I will not forget you. Upon my hands have I graven you." [*10]

And concerning His Ascent--

C. --that is, his regeneration in order that he may be born spiritual, not fleshly.

J. --the Scripture saith (H. he says):

"Lift up the gates, ye who are rulers of you, and be

[p. 171]

ye lift up ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in." [*1]

This is a wonder of wonders.

"For who (H. he says) is this King of Glory? [*2] A worm [*3] and no man, the scorn of men, and the contempt of the people. [*4] He is the King of Glory, the Mighty in War." [*5]

By "War" he [*6] means the "[war] in the body," for the plasm is compounded of warring elements, as it is written (H. he says):

"Remember the war that is [warred] in the body." [*7]

This (H. he says) is the Entrance, and this is the Gate, which Jacob saw, when he journeyed into Mesopotamia. [*8]

C. Which is the passing from childhood to puberty and manhood; that is, it was made known to him who journeyed into Mesopotamia.

J. And Meso-potamia (H. he says) is the Stream of Great Ocean flowing from the middle of the Perfect Man.

And he [*9] marvelled at the Heavenly Gate, saying:

"How terrible [is] this place! This is naught else than the House of God; yea, this [is] the Gate of Heaven." [*10]

C. On this account (H. he says) Jesus saith:

"I am the True Door." [*11]

J. And he [*12] who says these things is (H. he says)

[p. 172]

the [one] from the Inexpressible Man, expressed from Above--

C. --as the perfect man. The not-perfect man, therefore, cannot be saved unless he be regenerated passing through this Gate.

(21) S. This same [Man] (H. he says) the Phrygians call also Papa; [*1] for He calmed [*2] all things which, prior to His own manifestation, were in disorderly and inharmonious movement.

For the name Papa (H. he says) is [the] Sound-of-all-things-together in Heaven, and on Earth, and beneath the Earth, saying: "Calm, calm" [*3] the discord of the cosmos.

C. And: Make "peace for them that are far"--that is, the material and earthy--"and peace for them that are near" [*4]--that is, the spiritual and knowing and perfect men.

(22) S. The Phrygians call Him also Dead--when buried in the body as though in a tomb or sepulchre.

C. This (H. he says) is what is said:

"Ye are whited sepulchres, filled (H. he says) within with bones of the dead, [*5] for Man, the Living [One] [*6] is not in you."

And again He says:

"The dead shall leap forth from their graves" [*7]--

--that is, from their earthy bodies, regenerated spiritual, not fleshly.

This (H. he says) is the Resurrection which takes place

[p. 173]

through the Gate of the Heavens, through which all those who do not pass (H. he says) remain Dead.

S. The same Phrygians again call this very same [Man], after the transformation, God [or a God]. [*1]

C. For he becomes (H. he says) God when, rising from the Dead, through such a Gate, he shall pass into Heaven.

This is the Gate (H. he says) which Paul, the Apostle, knew, setting it ajar in a mystery, and saying that he was caught up by an angel and came to the second, nay the third heaven, into Paradise itself, and saw what he saw, and heard ineffable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter. [*2]

These (H. he says) are the Mysteries, ineffable [yet] spoken of by all,--

"--which [also we speak, yet] not in words taught of human wisdom, but in [words] taught of Spirit, comparing things spiritual with spiritual things. But the psychic man receiveth not the things of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness unto him." [*3]

And these (H. he says) are the Ineffable Mysteries of the Spirit which we alone know.

Concerning these (H. he says) the Saviour said:

"No one is able to come to Me, unless my Heavenly Father draw him." [*4]

For it is exceedingly difficult (H. he says) to receive and accept this Great Ineffable Mystery.

And again (H. he says) the Saviour said:

"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord! shall enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens, but he who doeth the Will of My Father who is in the Heavens" [*5]--

--which [Will] they must do, and not hear only, to enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.

[p. 174]

And again He said (H. he says):

"The tax-gatherers and harlots go before you into the Kingdom of the Heavens." [*1]

For by "tax-gatherers" (telunai) are meant (H. he says) those who receive the consummations [*2] (tele) of the universal [principles]; and we (H. he says) are the "tax-gatherers" [*3] [upon whom the consummations of the aeons have come" [*4]].

For the "consummations" (H. he says) are the Seeds disseminated into the cosmos from the Inexpressible [Man], by means of which the whole cosmos is consummated; for by means of these also it began to be.

And this (H. he says) is what is said:

"The Sower went forth to sow. And some [Seeds] fell by the way-side, and were trodden under foot; and others on stony places, and they sprang up (H. he says), but because they had no depth, they withered and died.

"Others (H. he says) fell on the fair and good ground, and brought forth fruit--one a hundred, another sixty, and another thirty.

"He who hath (H. he says) ears to hear, let him hear!" [*5]

That is (H. he says), no one has been a hearer of these Mysteries, save only the gnostic, perfect [man].

This (H. he says) is the "fair and good ground" of which Moses saith:

"I will bring you into a fair and good land, into a land flowing with milk and honey." [*6]

This (H. he says) is the "honey and milk" by tasting which the perfect [men] become free from all rule, [*7] and share in the Fullness.

This (H. he says) is the Fullness whereby all things that are generated both are and are full-filled from the Ingenerable [Man].

[p. 175]

(23) S. This same [Man] is called by the Phrygians Unfruitful.

C. For He is unfruitful as long as He is fleshly and works the work of the flesh.

This (H. he says) is what is said:

"Every tree that beareth not good fruit, is cut down and cast into the fire." [*1]

For these "fruits" (H. he says) are the logic, [*2] living men only who pass through the third Gate. [*3]

J. At anyrate they [*4] say:

"If ye have eaten dead things and made living ones, what will ye make if ye eat living things?" [*5]

And by "living things" they mean logoi and minds and men--the "pearls" of that Inexpressible [Man] cast into the plasm below. [*6]

C. This is what He saith (H. he says):

"Cast not the holy thing to the dogs nor the pearls to the swine." [*7]

H. For they say that the work of swine is the intercourse of man with woman.

(24 [*8]) S. This same [Man] (H. he says) the Phrygians also call Ai-polos; [*9] not because (H. he says) He feeds

[p. 176]

she-goats and he-goats, as the (C.--psychics [*1]) interpret the name, but because (H. he says) He is Aei-polos--that is, "Always-turning" (Aei-polon), [*2] revolving and driving round the whole cosmos in [its] revolution; for polein is to "turn" and change things.

  Hence (H. he says) all call the two centres [*3] of heaven poles. And the poet also  (H. he says) when he says: "Hither there comes and there goes (poleitai) Old Man of the Sea, whose words are e'er true--Egypt's undying Proteus." [*4]

[p. 177]

[By poleitai] he does not mean "he is put on sale," [*1] but "he turns about" [or comes and goes] there,--as though it were, [he spins] and goes round.

And the cities in which we live, in that we turn about and circulate in them, are called poleis.

Thus (H. he says) the Phrygians call Aipolos this [Man] who turns all things at all times all ways, and changes them into things kin.

(25) The Phrygians, moreover (H. he says), call Him Fruitful.

J. For (H. he says):

"Many more are the children of the desolate [woman] than of her who hath her husband." [*2]

C. That is, the regenerated, deathless, and ever-continuing [children] are many, although few are they [thus] generated; but the fleshly (H. he says) all perish, though many are they [thus] generated.

[p. 178]

C. For this cause (H. he says):

"Rachel bewailed her children, and would not (H. he says) be comforted weeping over them; for she knew (H. he says) that they are not." [*1]

J. And Jeremiah also laments the Jerusalem Below--not the city in Phoenicia, [*2] but the generation below--which is subject to destruction.

C. For Jeremiah also (H. he says) knew the perfect man, regenerated from water and spirit, not fleshly.

J. At anyrate the same Jeremiah said:

"He is man, and who shall know him?" [*3]

C. Thus (H. he says) the knowledge of the perfect man is deep and hard to comprehend.

J. For "The beginning of Perfection (H. he says) is Gnosis of man, but Gnosis of God is perfect Perfection." [*4]

(26) S. And the Phrygians (H. he says) call Him also "Plucked Green Wheat-ear"; and after the Phrygians the Athenians [so designate Him], when, in the secret rites at Eleusis, they show those who receive in silence the final initiation there into the Great--

C. --and marvellous and most perfect--

S. --Epoptic Mystery, a plucked wheat-ear. [*5]

[p. 179]

And this Wheat-ear is also with the Athenians the Light-giver [*1]--

C. --perfect [and] mighty--

J. --from the Inexpressible--

S. --as the hierophant himself--not emasculated like the "Attis," [*2] but made eunuch with hemlock juice--

C. --and divorced from all fleshly generation--

S. --in the night, at Eleusis, solemnising the Great Ineffable Mysteries, when the bright light streams forth, [*3] shouts and cries aloud, saying:

[p. 180]

"[Our] Lady hath brought forth a Holy Son: Brimo [hath given birth] to Brimos"--

--that is, the Strong to the Strong.

(27) J. And "[Our] Lady" (H. he says) is the Genesis--

C. --the Spiritual, Heavenly [Genesis]--

J. --Above. And the Strong is he who is thus generated.

For it is the Mystery called "Eleusis" and "Anaktoreion";--"Eleusis," because we--

C. --the spiritual--

J. --come [*2] from Above, streaming down from Adamas, for eleus-esthai (H. he says) is "to come"; and "Anaktoreion" [from anag-esthai, "leading back," that is [*3]] from "returning" [*4] Above. [*5]

This [Return] (H. he says) is that of which those who are initiated into the great Mysteries of the Eleusinia speak.

(28) S. And the law is that after they have been initiated into the Little Mysteries, they should be further initiated into the Great.

"For greater deaths do greater lots obtain." [*6]

The Little (H. he says) are the Mysteries of

[p. 181]

[paragraph continues] Persephone Below; concerning which Mysteries and the way leading there and--

C. --being broad and wide,--

--taking [men] to Persephone, the poet also speaks:

"Beneath this there is another path death-cold,
Hollow and clayey. But this [*1] is best to lead
To grove delightsome of far-honoured Aphrodite." [*2]

These [*3] are (H. he says) the Little Mysteries--

C. --those of the fleshly generation--

S. --and after men have been initiated into them, they should cease for a little, and become initiated in the Great--

C. --heavenly [Mysteries].

S. For they to whom the "deaths" in them [*4] are appointed, "receive greater lots."

J. For this [Mystery] (H. he says) is the Gate of Heaven, and this is the House of God, where the Good God dwells alone; into which [House] (H. he says) no impure [man] shall come--

C. --no psychic, no fleshly [man]--

J. --but it is kept under watch for the spiritual alone; where when they come, they must cast away their garments, and all become bridegrooms, obtaining their true manhood [*5] through the Virginal Spirit.

[p. 182]

For this (H. he says) is the Virgin big with child, conceiving and bearing a Son [*1]--

C. --not psychic, not fleshly, but a blessed Aeon of Aeons. [*2]

Concerning these [Mysteries] (H. he says) the Saviour hath explicitly said that:

"Narrow and strait is the Way that leadeth to Life, and few are they who enter it; but broad and wide [is] the Way that leadeth to Destruction, and many are they who journey thereby." [*3]

S. [*4] Moreover, also, the Phrygians say that the Father of wholes [*5] is Amygdalos [*6]--

J. --no [ordinary] tree [*7] (H. he says); but that He is that Amygdalos the Pre-existing, who having in Himself the Perfect Fruit, as it were, throbbing [*8] and moving in [His] Depth, He tore asunder [*9] His Womb, and gave birth to His own Son [*10]--

[p. 183]

C. --the Invisible, Unnameable, and Ineffable [One] of whom we tell. [*1]

S. For "amyxai" [*2] is, as it were, "to break" and "cut open"; just as (H. he says) in the case of inflamed bodies and those which have some internal tumour, when physicians lance them, they speak of "amychas." [*3]

Thus (H. he says) the Phrygians call him Amygdalos.

C. From whom proceeded and was born the Invisible--

"Through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made." [*4]

(30) S. The Phrygians also say that that which is generated from Him is Syriktes. [*5]

J. For that which is generated is Spirit in harmony. [*6]

C. For "God (H. he says) is Spirit." [*7]

Wherefore He says:

"Neither in this mountain do the true worshippers worship, nor in Jerusalem, but in Spirit." [*8]

[p. 184]

For the worship of the perfect [men] (H. he says) is spiritual, not fleshly.

J. And "Spirit" (H. he says) is there where both Father and Son are named, generated there from Him [*1] and the Father.

S. He [*2] (H. he says) is the Many-named, Myriad-eyed, Incomprehensible, whom every nature desires, some one way, some another.

J. This (H. he says) is the Word [*3] of God, which is:

"The Word of Announcement of the Great Power. Wherefore It shall be sealed, and hidden, and concealed, stored in the Habitation, where the Root of the Universals has its foundation--

"Of Aeons, Powers, Intelligences, Gods, Angels, Spirits Delegate, Existing Non-existences, Generated Ingenerables, Comprehensible Incomprehensibles,--Years, Months, Days, Hours,--of [the] Boundless Point, from which the most minute begins to increase by parts. [*4]

"For (H. he says) the Point which is nothing and is composed of nothing, though partless, will become by

[p. 185]

means of its own Thought a Greatness [*1] beyond our own comprehension."

C. This [Point] (H. he says) is the Kingdom of the Heavens, the "grain of mustard seed," [*2] the partless point, the first existing for the body; which no one (H. he says) knows save the spiritual [men] alone.

J. This (H. he says) is what is said:

"They are neither words nor languages whereby their [*3] sounds are heard." [*4]

H. These things, [then,] which are said and done by all men, they thus interpret off-hand to their peculiar theory (noun), pretending that they are all done with a spiritual meaning.

For which cause also they [*5] say that the performers in thetheatres--they, too, neither say nor do anything without Design. [*6]

S. For example (H. he says), when the peopleassemble in the theatres, and a man comes on the stage,clad in a robe different from all others, with lute [*7] inhand on which he plays, and thus chants the GreatMysteries, not knowing what he says: [*8]

"Whether blest Child of Kronos,
or of Zeus, or of Great Rhea,--
Hail, Attis, thou mournful song [*9] of Rhea!

[p. 186]

Assyrians call thee thrice-longed-for Adonis;
all Egypt [calls thee] Osiris;
the Wisdom of Hellas [names thee] Men's Heavenly Horn;
the Samothracians [call thee] august Adama;
the Haemonians, Korybas;
the Phrygians [name thee] Papa sometimes,
at times again Dead, or God, [*1] or Unfruitful,
or Aipolos, or Green Reaped [*2] Wheat-ear,
or the Fruitful that Amygdalos brought forth,
Man, Piper . . . Attis!"

H. He [S.] says that this is the Attis of many forms of whomthey [NN., in H.'s opinion] sing as follows:

S. "Of Attis will I sing, of Rhea's [Beloved];--
not with the boomings [*3] of bells,
nor with the deep-toned [*4] pipe of Idaean Kuretes;
but I will blend my song with Phoebus' music of the lyre.
Evoi! Evan!--for [thou art] Pan, [thou] Bacchus [art],
and Shepherd of bright stars!"


H. For these and suchlike reasons these [Naassenes] frequent what are called the Mysteries of the Great Mother, believing that they obtain the clearest view of the Universal Mystery from the things done in them.

For they have nothing beyond the [mysteries] therein enacted except that they are not emasculated. Their sole "accomplishment," [however,] is the business of the Eunuch, for they most severely and vigilantly enjoin to abstain, as though emasculated, from intercourse with women. And the rest of their business, as we have stated at length, they carry out just like the Eunuchs.

[p. 187]

And they honour nothing else but "Naas," [*1] being called Naasseni. And Naas is the Serpent--

J. [*2]--from whom (H. he says) are all those [things] called naous [*3] under heaven, from naas.

To that Naas alone every shrine and every rite of initiation and every mystery (H. he says) is dedicated; and, in general, no initiation can be found under heaven in which a naos does not play a part, and [also] the Naas in it, from which it has got the name of naos.

(H. Moreover, they say that) the Serpent is the Moist Essence--

H. --just as [did] also Thales the Milesian [*4]--

J. --and (H. that) naught at all of existing things, immortal or mortal, animate or inanimate, can hold together without Him.

[And they say] (H. that) all things are subject to Him, and (H. that) He is Good, and has all things in Him as in "the horn of the one-horned bull"; [*5] so that He distributes beauty and bloom to all that exist according to each one's nature and peculiarity, as though permeating all, just as [the River] "proceeding forth out of Eden and dividing itself into four sources." [*6]

H. And they say that Eden is His Brain, as though it were bound and constricted in its surrounding vestures like heavens; while Paradise they consider to be the Man as far as His Head only.

This River, then, coming forth out of Eden (H. that is, from His Brain), is divided into four streams.

[p. 188]

And the name of the first river is called Pheison. "This is that which encircles all the land of Evilat, there where is the gold, and the gold of that land is fair; there too is the ruby and the green stone." [*1]

This (H. he says) is His Eye--by its dignity and colours bearing witness to what is said.

The name of the second river is Geon. "This is that which encircles all the land of Aethiopia." [*2]

This (H. he says) is [His organ of] Hearing; for it is labyrinth-like.

And the name of the third is Tigris. "This is that which flows the opposite way to the Assyrians." [*3]

This (H. he says) is [His organ of] Smell, for the current of it is very rapid; and it "flows the opposite way to the Assyrians," because after the breath is breathed out, on breathing in again, the breath that is drawn in from without, from the air, comes in more rapidly, and with greater force. For this (H. he says) is the nature of respiration.

"And the fourth river [is] Euphrates." [*4]

This (H. they say) [is] the mouth, through which by the utterance of prayer and entrance of food, the (? C.--spiritual, perfect) man is rejoiced, and nourished and expressed. [*5]

This [River] (H. he says) is the Water above the Firmament. [*6]

C. Concerning which (H. he says) the Saviour hath said:

"If thou hadst known Who it is Who asketh, thou wouldst have asked from Him [in return], and He would have given thee to drink of Living Water bubbling [forth]." [*7]

[p. 189]

J. To this Water (H. he says) every nature comes, each selecting its own essence, and from this Water there comes to each nature what is proper [to it] (H. he says), more surely than iron to magnet, [*1] and gold to the bone [*2] of the sea-hawk, and chaff to amber.

C. And if any man (H. he says) is "blind from birth," [*3] and hath not seen "the True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," [*4]--let him see again through us, and let him see as it were through--

J. [*5] --Paradise, planted with Trees and all kinds of seeds, the Water flowing amid all the Trees and Seeds, and [then] shall he see that from one and the same Water the Olive selects and draws Oil, and the Vine Wine, and each of the rest of the Trees according to its kind.

[p. 190]

But (H. he says) that Man is of no honour in the World, though of great honour [in Heaven, betrayed] [*1] by those who know not to those who know Him not, being accounted "as a drop from a cask." [*2]

But we (H. he says)--

C. --are the spiritual [men] who--

J. --choose for ourselves from--

C. --the Living Water--

J. --the Euphrates, that flows through the midst of Babylon, what is proper [to each of us]--journeying through the True Gate--

C. --which is Jesus the Blessed.

And of all men we alone are Christians, [*3] accomplishing the Mystery at the third Gate--

J. --and being anointed with the Ineffable Chrism from the Horn, [*4] like David [was], not from the flask [*5] of clay, like Saul--

C. --who was fellow-citizen with an evil daemon of fleshly desire.

H. These things, then, we have set down as a few out of many.For innumerable are the attempts of their folly, silly and crazy.But since we have, to the best of our ability, exposed theirunknowable Gnosis, it seems best to set down the following also.

This is a Psalm which they have improvised; by means ofwhich they fancy they thus sing the praises of all the mysteriesof their Error. [*6]

[p. 191]

J. [*1] "First [was there] Mind the Generative [*2] Law of All; [*3]
Second to the Firstborn was Liquid Chaos;
Third Soul through toil received the Law.
Wherefore, with a deer's [*4] form surrounding her,
She labours at her task beneath Death's rule.
Now, holding sway, [*5]  she sees the Light;
And now, cast into piteous plight, she weeps;
Now she weeps, and now rejoices;
Now she weeps, and now is judged;
Now is judged, and now she dieth;
Now is born, with no way out for her; in misery
She enters in her wandering the labyrinth of ills.
(? C.--And Jesus [*6] said): O Father, see!
[Behold] the struggle still of ills on earth!

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Far from Thy Breath [*1] away she [*2] wanders!
She seeks to flee the bitter Chaos, [*3]
And knows not how she shall pass through.
Wherefore, send me, O Father!
Seals in my hands, I will descend;
Through Aeons universal will I make a Path;
Through Mysteries all I'll open up a Way!
And Forms of Gods will I display; [*4]
The secrets of the Holy Path I will hand on,
And call them Gnosis." [*5]


All this may have seemed, quite naturally, contemptible foolishness to the theological prejudices ofour worthy Church Father; but it is difficult for me,even in the twentieth century, not to recognise thebeauty of this fine Mystic Hymn, and I hope it may beequally difficult for at least some of my readers.

But to return to the consideration of our much overwritten Source.

This Source is plainly a commentary, or elaborateparaphrase, of the Recitation Ode, "Whether, blest Childof Kronos," which comes at the end ( section 30) and not, aswe should expect, at the beginning, and has probablybeen displaced by Hippolytus. It is an exegetical

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commentary written from the standpoint of theAnthropos-theory of the Mysteries (? originally Chaldaean), the Man-doctrine.

This commentary seems for the most part to run onso connectedly, that we can almost persuade ourselvesthat we have most of it before us, the lacunae beingpractically insignificant. Paragraphs 6 and 7 S., however, are plainly misplaced, and  section section 17 and 18 S. alsoas evidently break the connection. [*1]


The writer is transparently a man learned in thevarious Mystery-rites, and his information is of thegreatest possible importance for a study of this exceedingly obscure subject from an historical standpoint.

With  section 8 S., and the Egyptian Mystery-doctrine, wecome to what is of peculiar interest for our presentTrismegistic studies. Osiris is the Heavenly Man, theLogos; not only so, but in straitest connection withthis tradition we have an exposition of the Hermes-doctrine, set forth by a system of allegorical interpretations of the Bible of Hellas--the Poems of theHomeric cycle. Here we have the evident syncrasiaThoth = Osiris = Hermes, a Hermes of the "GreekWisdom," as the Recitation Ode phrases it, and adoctrine which H., basing himself on the commentator( section 10), squarely asserts the Greeks got from Egypt.

Nor is it without importance for us that in closestconnection with Hermes there follow the apparentlymisplaced sections 17 and 18, dealing with the"Heavenly Horn," or drinking-horn, of the GreekWisdom, and the "Cup" of Anacreon; with which wemay compare the Crater, Mixing-bowl or Cup, in which,

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according to Plato's Timaeus, the Creator mingled andmixed the elements and souls, and also the spiritualCup of the Mind in our Trismegistic treatise, "TheCrater or Monas," C. H., iv. (v.).

But above all things is it astonishing that we shouldfind the commentator in S. quoting ( section 9) a logos froma document which, as we have shown in the noteappended to the passage, is in every probability aTrismegistic treatise of the Poemandres type.


This commentary S. was worked over by a JewishHellenistic mystic J., whose general ideas and methodof exegesis are exactly paralleled by those of Philo.In my opinion, he was a contemporary of that periodand a member of one of those communities whom Philoclasses generally as Therapeut. He was, moreover,not a worshipper of the serpent, but a worshipper ofthat Glorious Reality symbolised as the Serpentof Wisdom, and this connects him with initiationinto Egypto-Chaldaean or Chaldaeo-Egyptian Mysteries.These he finds set forth allegorically in the propheticalscriptures of his race. His quotations from the him to be, like Philo, an Alexandrian HellenisticJew; the LXX. was his Targum.

J. again was overwritten by C., a Christian Gnostic,no enemy of either J. or S., but one who claimed thathe and his were the true realisers of all that had gonebefore; he is somewhat boastful, but yet recognisesthat the Christ-doctrine is not an innovation but aconsummation. The phenomena presented by the NewTestament quotations of C. are, in my opinion, of extraordinary interest, especially his quotations from orparallels with the Fourth Gospel. His quotations from

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or parallels with the Synoptics are almost of the samenature as those of Justin; he is rather dealing with"Memoirs of the Apostles" than with verbatim quotations from our stereotyped Gospels. His parallelswith the Fourth Gospel also seem to me to open up thequestion as to whether or no he is in touch with"Sources" of that "Johannine" document.

On top of all our strata and deposits, we have--tocontinue the metaphor of excavation, and if it be notthought somewhat uncharitable--the refutatory rubbishof Hippolytus, which need no longer detain us here.

I would, therefore, suggest that C. is to be placedsomewhere about the middle of the second century A.D.;J. is contemporary with Philo--say the first quarter ofthe first century A.D.; the Pagan commentator of S. isprior to J.--say somewhere in the last half of the firstcentury B.C.; while the Recitation Ode is still earlier,and can therefore be placed anywhere in the earlyHellenistic period, the termini being thus 300-50 B.C. [*1]

And if the redactor or commentator in S. is to be placed somewhere in the last half of the firstcentury B.C. (and this is, of course, taking only theminimum of liberty), then the Poemandres type ofour literature, which J. quotes as scripture, must, in itsoriginal Greek form, be placed back of that--say atleast in the first half of the first century B.C., as amoderate estimate. [*2] If those dates are not proved,

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[paragraph continues] I am at any rate fairly confident they cannot be disproved.

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