As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a text in the Codex Tchacos that rarely gets spoken of and that is “A Book of Allogenes”, also known as “The Temptation of Allogenes”. This is not the actual name of the text but what was given to it due to the contents, and it is not to be confused with the “Allogenes” text in the Nag Hammadi Library. This very fragmented text, featured in the book, “The Gospel of Judas: Critical Edition” has been translated by Marvin Meyer and François Gaudard.
While the text is missing quite a bit, a read through will become quite familiar if you have read the canonical “Gospel of Matthew”. In that story, which is only 11 verses, we have Jesus being tempted by the devil while in the wilderness. For those unfamiliar with the actual text, here is the ESV translation:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
The “Temptation of Allogenes”, while extremely fragmentary, tells a similar story. In this particular text, the main character is Allogenes. Those unfamiliar with Allogenes, this figure is the “child” of Barbelo, i.e., the Logos, The Christ, etc…. This figure is a bridge between the upper and lower Aeons. While the beginning of the text is missing, once it picks up we are introduced with prayers to the Great Invisible Spirit. These prayers are similar to what we see in other Gnostic texts.
“O Lord God, you who are above all the great Aeons, you who have no beginning and no end, grant us a spirit of knowledge for the revelation of your mysteries, so that we may know ourselves, namely, where we have come from, where we are going, and what we should do in order that we may live.”
I must say that’s a great prayer! After Allogenes states the prayer, Satan shows up. The text breaks up after this. When it resumes, it has Satan offering Allogenes all the good things of world including food, silver, gold and clothes. Allogenes tells Satan:
“Depart from me, Satan, for I seek not you but my Father, Who is superior to all the great Aeons. For I was called Allogenes, because I am from another race; I am not from your race.”
(The picture at the top of this blog post was made using this phrase in the Midjourney A.I. program)
The next line of the text refers to Satan as “the one who rules the world”, so in the Gnostic cosmology, this is Yaldabaoth / Saklas. The text is missing during Satan’s speech but picks up with Allogenes’ response where it is said to Satan once again to depart and state that “I do not belong to you”. Satan leaves in shame and Allogenes goes back into prayer. Here is the prayer which unfortunately gets cut off towards the end:
“O God, You who are in the great Aeons, Hear my voice, have mercy on me, and Save me from everything evil. Look on me and hear me In this forsaken place. Now [let your] ineffable [light] shine on me. [---] [---] [---] [---] [---] your light [---]. Yea, Lord, help me, for [I] do not know [---] for ever and ever.”
Again, a really great prayer, from what is presented. After Allogenes said this prayer, a cloud of light surrounds Allogenes and begins to speak. The voice states that the prayer has been heard and it has been sent here to speak of the good news before Allogenes leaves this place. Unfortunately the texts breaks up and only fragmented words remain at random spots.
So what we have left is a Gnostic retelling of the Gospel of Matthew temptation story. It is a shame the ending is no longer there but to have what we have, that in itself is a great treasure. I do like the prayers that are presented in the text and believe they will work quite well in one’s practice.
The full text, along with photos of the actual papyrus, can be found in the following book: