The First Repentance of Pistis Sophia

About three years ago, I did my first reading of the PISTIS SOPHIA. The translation I read was by G. R. S. Mead. When I was finished, the book sort of left me in a confused state. I was able to grasp some of what was being said but other parts left me clueless. Now granted, this happens with a lot of older esoteric texts. I planned on re-reading the text at a later time after I made myself more familiar with Gnostic literature. Unlike other texts, the PISTIS SOPHIA is a rather large book, so it is not something I could easily re-read over and over. Recently I obtained a book titled The Fall of Sophia: A Gnostic Text on the Redemption of Universal Consciousness that features an alternate translation of the Pistis Sophia (at least parts 1 & 2) by Violet MacDermot. This time around, the story is clicking on all cylinders! My knowledge of Gnosticism has grown substantially since my first encounter with the PS but this translation also flows much better IMO. I appreciate Mead’s translation but MacDermot’s really sticks with me. I plan to do a comparison of all 13 Repentances that Sophia makes after her fall with each translation. I will not be including the student’s interpretation of each repentance (read the text for yourself 😉 ).

This page is recommended to view in the desktop format, as it will show the translations side by side. Mobile view does not do this.

Here is the first Repentance of Pistis Sophia:

MacDermot Translation:

l. 0 Light of Lights, in whom I have believed from the beginning, hear my repentance now at this time, 0 Light; save me, 0 Light, for wicked thoughts have entered into me.

2. I looked, 0 Light, to the parts below. I saw a light in that place, and I thought : I will go to that place to receive that light. And I went, and I came to be in the darkness which is in the Chaos below. And I was not able to proceed out to go to my place, because I was oppressed among all the emanations of the Authades. And the lion-faced power took away my inner light.

3. And I cried out for help, and my voice did not penetrate the darkness. And I looked to the height, so that the Light in which I had believed might help me.

4. And when I looked to the height, I saw all the archons of the aeons, that they were numerous and they looked down upon me, rejoicing over me, although I had done nothing evil to them, but they had hated me without cause. And when the emanations of the Authades saw the archons of the aeons rejoicing over me, they knew that the archons of the aeons would not help me. And those emanations which oppressed me without cause were encouraged. And they took from me the light which I did not take from them.  

5. Now at this time, 0 true Light, thou knowest that I have done these things in my simplicity, thinking that the lion-faced light belonged to thee, and the sin which I have committed is manifest in thy presence.

6. Do not now let me be lacking, 0 Lord, for I have believed in thy light from the beginning, 0 Lord, Light of the powers, do not let me now lack my light.

7. For on account of thee and thy light I have come to be in this oppression, and shame has covered me.

8. And because of the delusion of thy light, I have become a stranger to my brothers, the invisible ones, and also to the great emanations of the Barbelo.

9. These things happened to me, 0 Light, because I was eager for thy dwelling-place. And the anger of the Authades came down upon me – this one who did not obey thy command to emanate from the emanation of his power – because I was in his aeon and not performing his mystery.

10. · And all the archons of the aeons mocked me.

11. And I was in that place, sorrowing and seeking the light which I had seen in the height.

12. And the watchers of the gates of the aeons were seeking me, and all those who continued in their mystery mocked me.  

13. But I looked up to the height to thee, 0 Light. And I believed in thee. Now at this time, 0 Light of Lights, I am oppressed in the darkness of the Chaos. If now thou dost wish to come to save me – great is thy compassion – hear me truly and save me.

14. Save me out of the matter of this darkness, so that I shall not be immersed in it, and that I shall be saved from the emanations of the deity, Authades, which oppress me, and from their evils.

15. Do not allow this darkness to immerse me, and do not allow this lion-faced power to swallow up all my power completely. And do not allow this Chaos to cover over my power.

16. Hear me, 0 Light, for thy mercy is precious, and look down upon me, according to the great compassion of thy light.

17. Do not turn away thy face from me, for I am greatly afflicted.

18. Hear me quickly and save my power.

19. Save me, on account of the archons which hate me, for thou knowest my affliction and my torment, and the torment of my power which they have taken from me. Those who have put me into all these evils are in thy presence. Deal with them according to thy will.

20. My power looked forth from the midst of the Chaos, and from the midst of the darkness. I looked for my partner, that he should come and fight for me, and he did not come. And I looked that he should come and give power to me, and I did not find him.

21. And when I sought for light, I was given darkness. And when I sought for my power, I was given matter.

22. Now at this time, 0 Light of Lights, let the darkness and the matter which the emanations of the Authades have brought upon me become a snare for them, and let them be ensnared therein. And do thou repay them and bring disgrace upon them, so that they do not come to the place of their Authades.

23. Let them remain in darkness and not see the light. Let them look at the Chaos at all times, and do not let them look at the height.

24. Bring down upon them their vengeance, and let thy judgment seize them.

25. Do not let them go to their place from this time, to their deity, Authades. And do not let his emanations go to their places from this time. Because their god is impious and insolent, because he thought that he had clone these wicked things of himself, not knowing that, unless I was humbled according to thy ordinance, he would have had no power over me.

26. But when thou didst humble me, according to thy ordinance, I was persecuted the more. And their emanations inflicted torments upon my humiliation.

27. And they took a light-power from me. And furthermore they began to torment me greatly, in order to take away all the light that was in me. On account of these things into which I was put, do not let them go up to the thirteenth aeon, the place of righteousness.

28. And do not let them be numbered within the portion of those who purify themselves and their light. And do not let them be numbered among those who will repent quickly, so that they will quickly receive mysteries in the light.

29. For they have taken my light from me. And my power has begun to decrease within me. And I lack my light.

30. Now at this time, 0 Light which art in thee and with me, I sing praises to thy name, 0 Light, in glory.

31. And may my song of praise, 0 Light, please thee, like an excellent mystery which is received into the gates of light, which those who will repent, will recite, and whose light they will purify.

32. Now at this time, let all material things rejoice; seek the light, all of you, so that the power of your souls, which is within you, may live.

33. Because the Light has heard the material things, and it will not leave any material things which it has not purified.

34. Let the souls and the material things bless the Lord of all the aeons; the material things and all things in them.  

35. For God will save their souls out of all matter, and a city will be prepared in the light; and all souls which will be saved will dwell in that city, and they will inherit it.

36. And the soul of those who will receive mysteries will be in that place, and they who have received mysteries in his name will be within it.

Mead Translation:

1. O Light of lights, in whom I have had faith from the beginning, hearken now then, O Light, unto my repentance. Save me, O Light, for evil thoughts have entered into me.

2. I gazed, O Light, into the lower parts and saw there a light. thinking: I will go to that region, in order that I may take that light. And I went and found myself in the darkness which is in the chaos below, and I could no more speed thence and go to my region, for I was sore pressed by all the emanations of Self-willed, and the lion-faced power took away my light in me.

3. And I cried for help, but my voice hath not reached out of the darkness. And I looked unto the height, that the Light, in which I had had faith, might help me.

4. And when I looked unto the height, I saw all the rulers of the æons, how in their numbers they looked down on me and rejoiced over me, though I had done them no ill; but they hated me without a cause. And when the emanations of Self-willed saw the rulers of the æons rejoicing over me, they knew that the rulers of the æons would not come to my aid; and those emanations which sore pressed me with violence, took courage, and the light which I had not taken from them, they have taken from me.

5. Now, therefore, O Light of Truth, thou knowest that I have done this in my innocence, thinking that the lion-faced light-power belonged to thee; and the sin which I have done is open before thee.

6. Suffer me no more to lack, O Lord, for I have had faith in thy light from the beginning; O Lord, O Light of the powers, suffer me no more to lack my light.

7. For because of thy inducement and for the sake of thy light am I fallen into this oppression, and shame hath covered me.

8. And because of the illusion of thy light, I am become a stranger to my brethren, the invisibles, and to the great emanations of Barbelo.

9. This hath befallen me, O Light, because I have been zealous for thy abode; and the wrath of Self-willed is come upon me–of him who had not hearkened unto thy command to emanate from the emanation of his power–because I was in his æon without performing his mystery.

10. And all the rulers of the æons mocked me.

11. And I was in that region, mourning and seeking after the light which I had seen in the height.

12. And the guards of the gates of the æons searched for me, and all who remain in their mystery mocked me.

13. But I looked up unto the height towards thee and had faith in thee. Now, therefore, O Light of lights, I am sore pressed in the darkness of chaos. If now thou wilt come to save me,–great is thy mercy,–then hear me in truth and save me.

14. Save me out of the matter of this darkness, that I may not be submerged therein, that I may be saved from the emanations of god Self-willed which press me sore, and from their evil doings.

15. Let not this darkness submerge me, and let not this lion-faced power entirely devour the whole of my power, and |50. let not this chaos shroud my power.

16. Hear me, O Light, for thy grace is precious, and look down upon me according to the great mercy of thy Light.

17. Turn not thy face from me, for I am exceedingly tormented.

18. Haste thee, hearken unto me and save my power.

19. Save me because of the rulers who hate me, for thou knowest my sore oppression and my torment and the torment of my power which they have taken from me. They who have set me in all this evil are before thee; deal with them according to thy good pleasure.

20. My power looked forth from the midst of the chaos and from the midst of the darkness, and I waited for my pair, that he should come and fight for me, and he came not, and I looked that he should come and lend me power, and I found him not.

21. And when I sought the light, they gave me darkness; and when I sought my power, they gave me matter.

22. Now, therefore, O Light of lights, may the darkness and the matter which the emanations of Self-willed have brought upon me, be unto them for a snare, and may they be ensnared therein, and recompense them and may they be made to stumble and not come into the region of their Self-willed.

23. May they remain in the darkness and not behold the light; may they behold the chaos for ever, and let them not look unto the height.

24. Bring upon them their revenge, and may thy judgment lay hold upon them.

25. Let them not henceforth come into their region to their god Self-willed, and let not his emanations henceforth come into their regions; for their god is impious and self willed, and he thought that he had done this evil of himself, not knowing that, had I not been brought low according to thy command, he would not have had any authority over me.

26. But when thou hadst by thy command brought me low, they pursued me the more, and their emanations added pain to my humiliation.

27. And they have taken light-power from me and fallen again to pressing me sore, in order to take away all the light in me. Because of this in which they have set me, let them not ascend to the thirteenth æon, the region of Righteousness.

28. But let them not be reckoned in the lot of those who purify themselves and the light, and let them not be reckoned with those who will quickly repent, that they may quickly receive mysteries in the Light.

29. For they have taken my light from me, and my power hath begun to cease in me and I am destitute of my light.

30. Now, therefore, O Light, which is in thee and is with me, I sing praises to thy name, O Light, in glory.

31. May my song of praise please thee, O Light, as an excellent mystery, which leadeth to the gates of the Light, which they who shall repent will utter, and the light of which will purify them.

32. Now, therefore, let all matters rejoice; seek ye all the Light, that the power of the stars which is in you, may live.

33. For the Light hath heard the matters, nor will it leave any without having purified them.

34. Let the souls and the matters praise the Lord of all æons, and [let] the matters and all that is in them [praise him].

35. For God shall save their soul from all matters, and a city shall be prepared in the Light, and all the souls who are saved, will dwell in that city and will inherit it.

36. And the soul of them who shall receive mysteries will abide in that region, and they who have received mysteries in its name will abide therein.

I apologize for not exactly lining up some of the texts. WordPress is kind of weird with their formatting, but it’s close enough. 😉

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