As I continue down the rabbit hole that is the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, I noticed a fragment that I have read before. While describing the Gnostics (Borborites), Epiphanius mentions they use a “Gospel of Philip” and then writes out a saying from said gospel. I have edited the saying (i.e. took out his notes and redundant words such as “and he said”, etc…) and present it as follows:
“The Lord hath shown me what my soul must say on its ascent to heaven, and how it must answer each of the powers on high. ‘I have recognized myself and gathered myself from every quarter, and have sown no children for the archon. But I have pulled up his roots, and gathered my scattered members, and I know who thou art. For I am of the ones on high.’ ”
Obviously this is not in the Nag Hammadi version of the Gospel of Philip. So is this from another Gospel with the same name, or was this verse lost/edited out of the NHL version? Unless another manuscript of Philip pops up, we will not know (and even then, it still may not have this passage). But looking at this passage, it is quite the interesting phrase. So to escape this cycle of reincarnation / samsara / hell / whatever you want to call it, and ascend to the pleroma, one must not have children. Really, this makes sense. If humans are the life source of the ruler archon, then cutting off the energy source would diminish it’s power if we are taking this literally. Allegorically this can be seen in numerous ways. I can see it pertaining to one gathering up their thoughts (i.e. getting a clear mind), leaving no attachments to the physical world and knowing oneself to be a spiritual being.
Now when I read this, I recognized this phrase before. Sure enough, our Gnostic scholar from the early 20th century, G.R.S. Mead had included it in his work Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. It is not mentioned that it is from the Gospel of Philip however. Here is his translation:
I recognized myself, and gathered myself together from all sides; I sowed no children for the ruler, but I tore up his roots, and gathered together [my] limbs that were scattered abroad; I know thee who thou art, for I am front the realms above.
Check out Fragments of a Faith Forgotten for more great pieces of obscure sayings: https://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/fff/fff72.htm
As usual, the featured artwork was made using Midjourney A.I. with this passage.