Crucifixion body swapping

Recently I finished reading “The Gospel of Barnabas” which is an Islamic leaning text about the life and ministry of Jesus. If you are not familiar with the Islamic tradition, the Jesus of Islam is not exactly the same as the Jesus in Christianity. While there are a lot of similarities, the main difference is that Jesus (Isa) in Islam is a prophet, and even messiah, but is not Son of God like he is portrayed in Christianity. This Gospel has a storied past and most scholars pass it off as a medieval forgery. Personally, any text that bestows some wisdom, I’m all for regardless of any historical authenticity. That being said, this post is not covering the Gospel of Barnabas. I wanted to make mention of it’s ending and how it compares to various Gnostic texts. Yes, Gnosticism has some influences in the Muslim faith (a quick google search will bring up quite a few parallels and it’s a fascinating rabbit hole to go down). Various Gnostic texts talk of how Jesus did not die on the cross but another was in his place. The Quran mentions Jesus not dying on the cross but rather Allah raised him into the heavens and another took his place. From the Surah An-Nisa 157 & 158:

and for boasting, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” But they neither killed nor crucified him—it was only made to appear so.  Even those who argue for this ˹crucifixion˺ are in doubt. They have no knowledge whatsoever—only making assumptions. They certainly did not kill him.  Rather, Allah raised him up to Himself. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.

The “Gospel of Barnabas” takes it a step further and even mentions who took Jesus’s place…..Judas Iscariot! This is quite the story and I will present it in full.

215.
When the soldiers with Judas drew near to the place where Jesus was, Jesus heard the approach of many people, wherefore in fear he withdrew into the house. And the eleven were sleeping.

Then God, seeing the danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafael, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world.

The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looketh toward the South. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore.


216.
Judas entered impetuously before all into the chamber whence Jesus had been taken up. And the disciples were sleeping. Whereupon the wonderful God acted wonderfully, insomuch that Judas was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus that we believed him to be Jesus. And he, having awakened us, was seeking where the Master was. Whereupon we marvelled, and answered: 'Thou, Lord, art our master; hast thou now forgotten us?'

And he, smiling, said: 'Now are ye foolish, that know not me to be Judas Iscariot!'

And as he was saying this the soldiery entered, and laid their hands upon Judas, because he was in every way like to Jesus.

We having heard Judas' saying, and seeing the multitude of soldiers, fled as beside ourselves.

And John, who was wrapped in a linen cloth, awoke and fled, and when a soldier seized him by the linen cloth he left the linen cloth and fled naked. For God heard the prayer of Jesus, and saved the eleven from evil.


217.
The soldiers took Judas and bound him, not without derision. For he truthfully denied that he was Jesus; and the soldiers, mocking him, said: 'Sir, fear not, for we are come to make thee king of Israel, and we have bound thee because we know that thou dost refuse the kingdom.'

Judas answered: 'Now have ye lost your senses! Ye are come to take Jesus of Nazareth, with arms and lanterns as [against] a robber; and ye have bound me that have guided you, to make me king!'

Then the soldiers lost their patience, and with blows and kicks they began to flout Judas, and they led him with fury into Jerusalem.

John and Peter followed the soldiers afar off; and they affirmed to him who writeth that they saw all the examination that was made of Judas by the high priest, and by the council of the Pharisees, who were assembled to put Jesus to death. Whereupon Judas spake many words of madness, insomuch that every one was filled with laughter, believing that he was really Jesus, and that for fear of death he was feigning madness. Whereupon the scribes bound his eyes with a bandage, and mocking him said: 'Jesus, prophet of the Nazarenes,' (for so they called them who believed in Jesus), 'tell us, who was it that smote thee?' And they buffeted him and spat in his face.

When it was morning there assembled the great council of scribes and elders of the people; and the high priest with the Pharisees sought false witness against Judas, believing him to be Jesus: and they found not that which they sought. And why say I that the chief priests believed Judas to be Jesus? Nay, all the disciples, with him who writeth, believed it; and more, the poor virgin mother of Jesus, with his kinsfolk and friends, believed it, insomuch that the sorrow of every one was incredible. As God liveth, he who writeth forgot all that Jesus had said: how that he should be taken up from the world, and that he should suffer in a third person, and bthat he should not die until near the end of the world. Wherefore he went with the mother of Jesus and with John to the cross.

The high priest caused Judas to be brought before him bound, and asked him of his disciples and his doctrine.

Whereupon Judas, as though beside himself, answered nothing to the point. The high priest then adjured him by the living God of Israel that he would tell him the truth.

Judas answered: 'I have told you that I am Judas Iscariot, who promised to give into your hands Jesus the Nazarene; and ye, by what art I know not, are beside yourselves, for ye will have it by every means that I am Jesus.'

The high priest answered: 'O perverse seducer, thou hast deceived all Israel, beginning from Galilee even unto Jerusalem here, with thy doctrine and false miracles: and now thinkest thou to flee the merited punishment that befitteth thee by feigning to be mad? As God liveth, thou shalt not escape it!' And having said this he commanded his servants to smite him with buffetings and kicks, so that his understanding might come back into his head. The derision which he then suffered at the hands of the high priest's servants is past belief. For they zealously devised new inventions to give pleasure to the council. So they attired him as a juggler, and so treated him with hands and feet that it would have moved the very Canaanites to compassion if they had beheld that sight.

But the chief priests and Pharisees and elders of the people had their hearts so exasperated against Jesus that, believing Judas to be really Jesus, they took delight in seeing him so treated.

Afterwards they led him bound to the governor, who secretly loved Jesus. Whereupon he, thinking that Judas was Jesus, made him enter into his chamber, and spake to him, asking him for what cause the chief priests and the people had given him into his hands.

Judas answered: 'If I tell thee the truth, thou wilt not believe me; for perchance thou art deceived as the (chief) priests and the Pharisees are deceived.'

The governor answered (thinking that he wished to speak concerning the Law): 'Now knowest thou not that I am not a Jew? But the (chief) priests and the elders of thy people have given thee into my hand; wherefore tell us the truth, that I may do what is just. For I have power to set thee free and to put thee to death.'

Judas answered: 'Sir, believe me, if thou put me to death, thou shalt do a great wrong, for thou shalt slay an innocent person; seeing that I am Judas Iscariot, and not Jesus, who is a magician, and by his art hath so transformed me.'

When he heard this the governor marvelled greatly, so that he sought to set him at liberty. The governor therefore went out, and smiling said: 'In the one case, at least, this man is not worthy of death, but rather of compassion.' 'This man saith,' said the governor, 'that he is not Jesus, but a certain Judas who guided the soldiery to take Jesus, and he saith that Jesus the Galilean hath by his art magic so transformed him. Wherefore, if this be true, it were a great wrong to kill him, seeing that he were innocent. But if he is Jesus and denieth that he is, assuredly he hath lost his understanding, and it were impious to slay a madman.'

Then the chief priests and elders of the people, with the scribes and Pharisees, cried out with shouts, saying: 'He is Jesus of Nazareth, for we know him; for if he were not the malefactor we would not have given him into thy hands. Nor is he mad; but rather malignant, for with this device he seeketh to escape from our hands, and the sedition that he would stir up if he should escape would be worse than the former.'

Pilate (for such was the governor's name), in order to rid himself of such a case, said: 'He is a Galilean, and Herod is King of Galilee: wherefore it pertaineth not to me to judge such a case, so take ye him to Herod.'

Accordingly they led Judas to Herod, who of a long time had desired that Jesus should go to his house. But Jesus had never been willing to go to his house, because Herod was a Gentile, and adored the false and lying gods, living after the manner of unclean Gentiles. Now when Judas had been led thither, Herod asked him of many things, to which Judas gave answers not to the purpose, denying that he was Jesus.

Then Herod mocked him, with all his court, and caused him to be clad in white as the fools are clad, and sent him back to Pilate, saying to him, 'Do not fail in justice to the people of Israel!'

And this Herod wrote, because the chief priests and scribes and the Pharisees had given him a good quantity of money. The governor having heard that this was so from a servant of Herod, in order that he also might gain some money, feigned that he desired to set Judas at liberty. Whereupon he caused him to be scourged by his slaves, who were paid by the scribes to slay him under the scourges. But God, who had decreed the issue, reserved Judas for the cross, in order that he might suffer that horrible death to which he had sold another. He did not suffer Judas to die under the scourges, notwithstanding that the soldiers scourged him so grievously that his body rained blood. Thereupon, in mockery they clad him in an old purple garment, saying: 'It is fitting to our new king to clothe him and crown him': so they gathered thorns and made a crown, like those of gold and precious stones which kings wear on their heads. And this crown of thorns they placed upon Judas' head, putting in his hand a reed for scepter, and they made him sit in a high place. And the soldiers came before him, bowing down in mockery, saluting him as King of the Jews. And they held out their hands to receive gifts, such as new kings are accustomed to give; and receiving nothing they smote Judas, saying: 'Now, how art thou crowned, foolish king, if thou wilt not pay thy soldiers and servants?'

The chief priests with the scribes and Pharisees, seeing that Judas died not by the scourges, and fearing lest Pilate should set him at liberty, made a gift of money to the governor, who having received it gave Judas to the scribes and Pharisees as guilty unto death. Whereupon they condemned two robbers with him to the death of the cross.

So they led him to Mount Calvary, where they used to hang malefactors, and there they crucified him naked, for the greater ignominy.

Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why hast thou forsaken me, seeing the malefactor hath escaped and I die unjustly?'

Verily I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world.

But they that stood firm in the doctrine of Jesus were so encompassed with sorrow, seeing him die who was entirely like to Jesus, that they remembered not what Jesus had said. And so in company with the mother of Jesus they went to Mount Calvary, and were not only present at the death of Judas, weeping continually, but by means of Nicodemus and Joseph of Abarimathia they obtained from the governor the body of Judas to bury it. Whereupon, they took him down from the cross with such weeping as assuredly no one would believe, and buried him in the new sepulchre of Joseph; having wrapped him up in an hundred pounds of precious ointments.
Judas being crucified

I guess the love your enemies bit went out the window with this version of the story, lol. In these instances, the body swapping of Jesus is to rid him of the “Son of God” position and just present him as a prophet and to denounce followers of Christianity. So I understand the reasoning of it. What about the Gnostic stories? First up is the “Apocalypse of Peter”:

When he had said those things, I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said "What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?"

The Savior said to me, "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me."

But I, when I had looked, said "Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place."

But he said to me, "I have told you, 'Leave the blind alone!'. And you, see how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory instead of my servant, they have put to shame."

And I saw someone about to approach us resembling him, even him who was laughing on the tree. And he was <filled> with a Holy Spirit, and he is the Savior. And there was a great, ineffable light around them, and the multitude of ineffable and invisible angels blessing them. And when I looked at him, the one who gives praise was revealed.
The Savior said to me, “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus.

And from the “Second Treatise of Seth”:

For Adonaios knows me because of hope. And I was in the mouths of lions. And the plan which they devised about me to release their Error and their senselessness - I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them because these are my kinsfolk. I removed the shame from me and I did not become fainthearted in the face of what happened to me at their hands. I was about to succumb to fear, and I <suffered> according to their sight and thought, in order that they may never find any word to speak about them. For my death, which they think happened, (happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. For their Ennoias did not see me, for they were deaf and blind. But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance.

And I subjected all their powers. For as I came downward, no one saw me. For I was altering my shapes, changing from form to form. And therefore, when I was at their gates, I assumed their likeness. For I passed them by quietly, and I was viewing the places, and I was not afraid nor ashamed, for I was undefiled. And I was speaking with them, mingling with them through those who are mine, and trampling on those who are harsh to them with zeal, and quenching the flame. And I was doing all these things because of my desire to accomplish what I desired by the will of the Father above.

The Gnostic stories are used as an allegory (ignorance of the blind) and that Jesus is more than just flesh, but rather spirit. Now various groups had different opinions on the crucifixion, so this does not apply to all, just within these particular texts.

Below is a meme I found regarding the Apocalypse of Peter that I thought was very well done and gets the point across:

I must say though, it does some kind of messed up that Jesus would laugh when another is being crucified in his place. I get why there is laughter and it’s not really directed at the person being crucified, but……

-bP

Sources:

https://quran.com/4?startingVerse=157

https://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/gbar/index.htm

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/2seth.html

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/apopet.html

The Temptation of Allogenes

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:

-bP

First Apocalypse of James – Tchacos vs NHL

The Codex Tchacos is famous for having the “Gospel of Judas” but what many seem to forget, it actually contained four Gnostic texts! Besides Judas, there is “The Letter of Peter to Philip”, “Book of Allogenes” and “James”. The “Book of Allogenes” is a newly discovered book, and not to be confused with “Allogenes” from the Nag Hammadi Library. I will make a post about the BoA in the near future. The copy of “James” that appears in Tchacos is an alternate version of the “First Apocalypse of James” that is also found in the Nag Hammadi Library. There is a third version of JAMES, a Greek fragmented version, that was found in the Oxyrhynchus dig, and only identified in 2017. As of posting this blog, the translation has not been published for the public.

So let’s compare the Tchacos version with the Nag Hammadi Library one. I am using the Marvin Meyer & Gregor Wurst translation of the Tchacos version (only available via the “Gospel of Judas: Critical Edition” book), and the William R. Schoedel translation of the NHL version, which is available at gnosis.org. Where both copies have existing fragments, they actually match up rather well. Some areas do get expanded upon. At the beginning of the text after Jesus informs James that he is a brother but not a “physical” brother, he goes into a dialogue regarding the ONE. Here is the Tchacos version:

Nothing existed except the One Who Is.  It is unnamable and ineffable among those who are or who will be.  For my part, I am from the One Who Is and is unnamable, and while I have been called by many names that do not belong to me, they are foreign to me.  And I am not first; I am second, from the One Who Is.  Since you have inquired about femaleness, listen.  Femaleness did exist, but it did not preexist.  It created powers and deities for itself.  So the One Who Is preexists, and femaleness also exists, but it does not preexists.
As for me, I have come from the image of the One Who Is to show you the One Who Is.  And I have also come to show you the image of the powers, so that the children of the One Who Is may understand what is theirs and what is not theirs.  Look, I have revealed the mystery to you.  They will arrest me after three days.  A multitude of elders will ---- me, and they will condemn me and curse me, but my deliverance is near.”  

Now compare that with the NHL version:

"Nothing existed except Him-who-is. He is unnameable and ineffable. I myself am also unnameable, from Him-who-is, just as I have been given a number of names - two from Him-who-is. And I, I am before you. Since you have asked concerning femaleness, femaleness existed, but femaleness was not first. And it prepared for itself powers and gods. But it did not exist when I came forth, since I am an image of Him-who-is. But I have brought forth the image of him so that the sons of Him-who-is might know what things are theirs and what things are alien (to them). Behold, I shall reveal to you everything of this mystery. For they will seize me the day after tomorrow. But my redemption will be near."

A bit more detailed in the Tchacos version, but really, both say the same thing. While not a difference in terms of content, the NHL version is more complete in some areas where the Tchacos version is not. Since the NHL version is easily available, I will not cover those sections. Presented below are sections where the Tchacos version fills in gaps of the NHL version.

NHL version:
But this (people) existed as a type of the archons, and it deserved to be destroyed through them. But [...] the archons, [...] who has [...] but since it [...] angry with [...] The just [...] is his servant. Therefore your name is "James the Just".

Tchacos version:
Rather, this was inflicted upon the figure of the rulers, for whom it was fitting to be prepared.  It was the rulers who have prepared him.  Then he came to his end.  But watch out, because the just God is angry, for you have been a servant to him, and that is why you received the name ‘James the Just.’

NHL version:
He will say to you, 'What sort of son are you, and to what father do you belong?' You are to say to him, 'I am from the Pre-existent Father, and a son in the Pre-existent One.' When he says to you, [...], you are to say to him [...] in the [...] that I might [...]."

'[...] of alien things?' You are to say to him, 'They are not entirely alien, but they are from Achamoth, who is the female.

Tchacos version:
And he will say to you, ‘What son and what father?’  You will say to him, ‘The preexistent Father, and the Son who exists in the preexistent One.’  And he will say to you, ‘Where have you come from?’  You shall say to him, ‘From the preexistent One.’  And he will ask me, ‘Why have you come?’  You shall say, ‘I have come to all those who are mine and those who are not mine.’  He will say, ‘So what have you come after --- those who are not yours?’  And you shall say, ‘They are not at all alien to me, but to Achamoth, that is, the female, and she has created these for herself.

NHL version:
"But when you come to these three detainers who take away souls by theft in that place [...] these. You [...] a vessel [...] much more than [...] of the one whom you [...] for [...] her root. You too will be sober [...]. But I shall call upon the imperishable knowledge, which is Sophia who is in the Father (and) who is the mother of Achamoth.

Tchacos version:
But when you come to these three who carry off the soul, there is indeed a great struggle in that place, if you say these things to them: ‘I am a vessel that is more precious than Achamoth, the female who created you.  And if your mother is ignorant of her own root, then when will you become sober?  But I have called upon undefiled Sophia, who is in the Father, the mother of Achamoth

The following is a pretty extensive “gap filler”…..

NHL version:
And when he writes them down [...] and they are to give them [...] he has the [...] he is called Levi. Then he is to bring [...] word [...] from what I said earlier [...] a woman [...] Jerusalem in her [...] and he begets two sons through her. They are to inherit these things and the understanding of him who [...] exalts.

Tchacos version:
And then, when he has written them out, they will be taken from him and given to Manael--this is a holy name, and it has the same meaning as Masphel.  Let this person keep this very book as an inheritance for the children.  And there will come from him a seed, holy and worthy to inherit these things I have said.  And when his little child grows up --- he --- living, he will receive the name ‘Levi.’  Then the land will be at war again.  But Levi, as a little child, will hide there, and not a word from what I have said will pass his lips.  And he will marry a woman from Jerusalem, from his generation, and he will produce two sons from her, and the second (?) will inherit these words.  

NHL version:
 And may these things remain hidden in him until he comes to the age of seventeen years [...] beginning [...] through them. They will pursue him exceedingly, since they are from his [...] companions. He will be proclaimed through them, and they will proclaim this word. Then he will become a seed of [...]."

Tchacos version:
he will keep them hidden until he reaches his seventeenth birthday.  
And then the land will go to war.  But since he is not there, he will be safeguarded in accordance with providence, and he will grow up and rule over many provinces.  Many will be saved through him, and he will make this word become dogma for many provinces.  But he will be severely persecuted by his fellows ----.  And he will be attacked by them, and they will despise this very word.  And these things will happen to restrain the rulers.”

Another big chunk missing from the NHL version. It seems that the NHL version is very fragmented towards the end, more so than you may think.

NHL version:
James said, "I am satisfied [...] and they are [...] my soul. Yet another thing I ask of you: who are the seven women who have been your disciples? And behold all women bless you. I also am amazed how powerless vessels have become strong by a perception which is in them." The Lord said, "You [...] well [...] a spirit of [...], a spirit of thought, a spirit of counsel of a [...], a spirit [...] a spirit of knowledge [...] of their fear.

Tchacos version:
(James:) “Rabbi, I have come to believe all these things, and they are well placed in what is within my soul.  Yet I shall ask you this: who are the seven women who have become your disciples and whom all the generations bless?  And I am amazed that they are in weak vessels and have found powers and perceptions.”  (Jesus:) “James, you do well to be amazed, but the Son of Man has come and has revealed the secrets about the children of light, so that they may possess the secrets when they are revealed.  These seven women are seven spirits who are introduced in this (?) scripture: A spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of understanding and knowledge, a spirit of fear.
NHL version:
[...] when we had passed through the breath of this archon who is named Adonaios [...] him and [...] he was ignorant [...] when I came forth from him, he remembered that I am a son of his. He was gracious to me at that time as his son. And then, before <I> appeared here, <he> cast them among this people. And from the place of heaven the prophets [...]."

Tchacos version:
When I passed through the land of the great ruler, who is called ‘Addon,’ I went in by him.  And he was ignorant.  And when I left him, he thought that I was his son, and he was gracious to me as though to his own son.  And before I appeared in these places, these spirits already were there with this very people, where no prophets spoke without these seven spirits.  And these are the seven spirits who have preached about me through the mouths of people as they were able to speak, because I had not yet spoken with all strength.  But I came and brought it to completion, and I am not yet completed.”  
NHL version:
James said, "Rabbi, [...] I [...] all together [...] in them especially [...]." 

Tchacos version:
(James:) “You have also convinced me of all these things.  Rabbi, because it is the case, then, that after they have received the seven, they leave them with each other, do you have some who are more honored than others?” 
NHL version:
The Lord said, "James, I praise you [...] walk upon the earth [...] the words while he [...] on the [...]. For cast away from you the cup which is bitterness. For some from [...] set themselves against you. For you have begun to understand their roots from beginning to end. Cast away from yourself all lawlessness. And beware lest they envy you. When you speak these words of this perception, encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe [...] since he takes some [...] to me he is [...] burnt offerings and [...].

Tchacos version:
(Jesus:) “I praise you even more, O James, for you ask about the details, and you will not say a single idle word.  Truly, you are worthy of your own root, and you have cast away from yourself the cup of drunkenness.  Not a single ruler can stand against you, for you have begun to recognize those who are yours.  Cast far away from yourself all ignorance, and beware lest they become jealous of you because you have received these words, that is, the knowledge that makes one high-minded.  Let yourself also be persuaded by this other circumstance, which is that of Salome, Mary, and Arsinoe, whom I shall introduce to you, because they are worthy of the One Who Is.
NHL version:
But I [...] not in this way; but [...] first-fruits of the [...] upward [...] so that the power of God might appear. The perishable has gone up to the imperishable and the female element has attained to this male element."

Tchacos version:
For they also have become sober and have been saved from the blindness that was in their hearts, and they have recognized who I am.  This has happened in accordance with the providence of the Father, because he has sent me as a priest.  And everywhere one has to give me the firstfruits and the firstborn.  The priest of this world receives the firstfruits and assigns sacrifices and offerings.  But I am not like this.  Rather, I receive the firstfruits of those who are defiled, so that I may send them up undefiled, that the true power may be revealed.  For the defiled has separated from what is undefiled, and the work of the female (?) has attained to the male.”  
NHL version:
James said, "Rabbi, into these three (things), then, has their [...] been cast. For they have been reviled, and they have been persecuted [...]. Behold [...] everything [...] from anyone [...]. For you have received [...] of knowledge. And [...] that what is the [...] go [...] you will find [...]. But I shall go forth and shall reveal that they believed in you, that they may be content with their blessing and salvation, and this revelation may come to pass."  
And he went at that time immediately and rebuked the twelve and cast out of them contentment concerning the way of knowledge [...].

Tchacos version:

(James:) “Rabbi, the three, then, have perished and have not suffered, if in fact they deserved it and have been persecuted by others and have been told things that do not exist?”  (Jesus:) “James, it is completely unnecessary for anyone to perish.  These very three are separated from a place of faith --- the hidden knowledge.  These are the names of the three: Sapphira and Susanna and Joanna.  Look, I have revealed everything to you, and you are not a stranger to these very words.  For you have received the beginning of knowledge --- from those who are mine

At the very end here, both versions get very fragmented.

NHL version:
[...]. And the majority of them [...] when
they saw, the messenger took in [...]. The
others [...] said, "[...] him from this
earth. For he is not worthy of life."
These, then, were afraid. They arose,
saying, "We have no part in this blood,
for a just man will perish through
injustice" James departed so that [...]
look [...] for we [...] him.
The Apocalypse of James

Tchacos version:
Now go, and you will find the rest of
them. And I shall go to these and
appear to them, for they have ----
---
---
--- the twelve
--- he communicated to them
--- and knowledge
--- he persuaded them
--- are from them
---. The rest
---. It happened after
a while (?) that they seized James
instead of another man, against whom
they had brought charges, for he had fled
from ---- . And --- prison, but it was
another man named James who go out of
the prison. They seized this person
instead of him, and they brought him
before the judges. Most of the judges
saw that he was innocent, and they let
him go. But the others and all the
people stood there and said, “Make him
leave the earth; he is not worthy of life.”
But these were afraid, and they rose up
and said, “We are not ---- ---- .”
---
---
---
he remembered ---
he became --- ,
for the men ---
him, but the ---.
And when they were stoning him, he
said, “My Father, you who are in the
heavens, forgive them, for they do not
know what they are doing.”
JAMES

As you can see, towards the end of the text, the Tchacos version really steps up and fills in a lot of gaps to really give the text a more proper ending. If you are curious to read the full Tchacos version, as far as I know, it is only available in the book pictured below:

The book also features full color scans of the actual papyri. The translation of Judas in this book is an older one, and since then, more fragments have been returned (that in itself is a whole story, as the history of the codex is quite fascinating). I recommend Marvin Meyer’s 2011 translation, pictured below, as it includes the found fragments and goes a more neutral stance on the whole daemon issue (and that too, is quite the story, LOL).

To read the Nag Hammadi version of James, go to:

http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/1ja.html

bP

Black Madonna shrine – Pacific, Missouri

It’s been over a month since my last post, and I usually try not to let that happen. Unfortunately in the past month, I had to deal with the passing of my beloved senior dog (Krypto, 15 years old). The leading up to his death, and the grief afterwards, has been pretty tough. Thanks to some built up vacation time from work, I decided to take off the end of October for a few weeks to sort of get my mind back on track. One of the things I have been wanting to do for awhile is visit the Black Madonna shrine in Pacific, MO (USA). There are not many Black Madonnas in the US, but when I found out about this shrine about 4 hours away, I knew I would have to make it out there some time, and now it was good as time as any.

Located in the deep forest about 40 minutes south west of St. Louis, MO, this shrine is just up the road from a Franciscan Monastery. A history of the site can be found here: https://theblackmadonnashrine.org/who-we-are/

Upon arriving at the site, there is an outdoor chapel that had three variants of Our Lady of Czestochowa on display. Two of these were framed portraits on pull carts and a third was a mosaic version on the wall behind an altar. See the pics and video below:

The outdoor chapel

To the left of the altar is a mini museum. Inside are various artifacts either relating to the site, donated items or souvenirs of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Below is a few pics, as well as a quick video walk through.

At the other end of the chapel, there is a gift shop that features Catholic items, but what really impressed me was the amount of Our Lady of Czestochowa items they had! I expected a few things, but wow, this went into another level! So I ended up getting quite a few items like a small medal coin, a sticker suncatcher, 8×10 print in frame, a magnet and a gold leaf icon (the smaller version, as they had three different sizes). To find Black Madonna icons for sale can be a hassle at times, so I was thrilled to get one, especially one of such high quality. Pic below:

Besides this amazing shrine to Our Lady, the grounds also feature a large grotto that was built using locally found items. There is a geode grotto here locally that is similar to this one, so I have seen something like this before. It is one of those projects that is an absolute labor of love that took years to put together. Very impressive and is definitely an example of “folk art.” Here are a few pics below:

Main part of the grotto, but there are other exhibits on the flip side.

I was extremely happy that my wife and I made the trip to the shrine. While I do like seeing the large cathedrals, these little “labors of love” that exist in the middle of nowhere really warm my heart. Check it out if you are near to the area. Their official website is: https://theblackmadonnashrine.org

-bP

Summer Harvest

While we have various Valentinian texts in the NHL, there are fragments that exist elsewhere, usually in the writings of the church Fathers, and are typically presented for negative commentary directed towards them. That being said, they do preserve these tidbits, so hey, I’ll take it. The following survives thanks to Hippolytus of Rome, in the writing, Against Heresies. This psalm is apparently complete and not a fragment. It is rather short but the imagery it conjures up is quite interesting. Here is the translated version I did for the short video recording:

In the spirit I see all suspended,
In the spirit I know everything held:
The flesh hanging from the soul
The soul held aloft by the air
The air suspended from the ether
Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
A child emerges from the womb

Here is a commentary on the psalm by an unnamed Valentinian teacher that gives the reader a perspective on the meaning of the psalm:

He means this: "flesh" is matter which is "hanging" from the "soul" of the Craftsman. "The soul held aloft by the air" means the Craftsman held aloft by the Spirit that comes from the Fullness (i.e. Achamoth). And "the air suspended from the ether" means that the exterior Wisdom (Achamoth) is suspended from the inner Limit and the entire Fullness. "Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth" having become the complete emanation of the Aeons from the Father.

I ran the psalm through the Midjourney AI and eventually got the photo that is presented on this post.

Source: http://gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Fragments_Valentinus.htm

bP

A mantra for Barbelo

I like to pick out phrases / paragraphs from various Gnostic texts and put them in a binder for my own personal practice. This binder goes with me when I’m heading to my weekly pilgrimage to the Monte Cassino shrine or when I go out wanting to do any spiritual work. This binder has become a “travel binder”. Being that space is an issue, this is why I pull out various phrases / sections from numerous texts that I think I need to meditate / study upon. Recently I pulled a mantra/prayer to Barbelo from the NHL text Melchizedek. This particular text is a bit fragmented, but this short mantra / prayer is intact. It is as follows:

"Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, Mother of the aeons, Barbelo, for ever and ever, Amen."

I really like the short and simple aspect to this and figured others would appreciate such a mantra for your practice. The artwork featured on this blog post is another MidJourney A.I. creation I put together of Barbelo. It’s a bit different than others I did, but I like it!

Source: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/melchiz.html

bP

Readings from “Gospel of Truth” & “Gospel of Judas”

Another reading video, this time sections from the “Gospel of Truth” and the “Gospel of Judas”. With the Judas reading, I included some MidJourney AI artwork to accompany the text. I’ll post one of those pics below with the transcript of the text.

The section of Truth I decided to recite is of the section titled “Putting Knowledge into Practice.” What I really like about this section is that it’s a call to action. To “practice what you preach” in so many words.

PUTTING KNOWLEDGE INTO PRACTICE

Speak concerning the truth to those who seek it and of knowledge to those who, in their error, have committed sins.  Make sure-footed those who stumble, and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry, and set at ease those who are troubled. Raise up and awaken those who sleep. You are this understanding that seizes you.  If the strong follow this course, they are even stronger. Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be concerned with other things, namely, that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed. Do not return to them to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you have already shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles, because that is reprehensible. For the lawless one is nothing. He harms himself more than the law. For that one does his works because he is a lawless person. But this one, because he is a righteous person, does his works among others. Do the will of the father, then, for you are from him.

The section from “Gospel of Judas” I recite is as follows:

Judas said to him, "Rabbi, what kind of fruit does this generation produce?"

Jesus said, "The souls of every human generation will die. When these people, however, have completed the time of the kingdom and the spirit leaves them, their bodies will die but their souls will be alive, and they will be taken up."

I ran Jesus’ response through the MidJourney A.I. and after several variations, I ended up with one I really liked. I included two of these in the video, but the one below is my favorite:

External links:

Gospel of Truth: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/got-barnstone.html

Gospel of Judas: https://southerncrossreview.org/48/gospel-judas.htm

-bP

Salome

Last month I posted a blog about Mary Magdalene, which included included a conversation between her and Salome from the Pistis Sophia (Link: https://culminationofwisdom.org/2022/07/20/the-feast-day-of-mary-magdalene-july-22/ ), and it got me thinking, we don’t hear much about Salome! (and no, I am not referring to the Salome in the John the Baptist beheading story)

In the canonical gospels, she is mentioned in the Gospel of Mark as a witness to the crucifixion. In the Gospel of Matthew, she is not mentioned by name but rather the group that was at the crucifixion is mentioned and the phrase “The Mother of Zebedee’s children” is used. So it is presumed that person is Salome. Are they the same? The Diatessaron actually lists them as separate people. Personally I am going with the separate person theory, but really, it’s up to the reader. Back to the main point, Salome is barely in the Christian Bible. However, she shows up a few times in the Gnostic texts! She is supposedly a teacher for Marcellina (click for more info), a “Gnostic” teacher from the Carpocratian sect.

I have assembled some of the Salome stories from various texts for your reading enjoyment:

Up first, from the Gospel of Thomas, saying 61:

Jesus said, "Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live."

Salome said, "Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone."

Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father."

"I am your disciple."

"For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness."

This next bit comes from the GREEK Gospel of the Egyptians, not to be confused with the COPTIC Gospel of Egyptians that was found in the Nag Hammadi library. Let it be known that only fragments exist of this text and are found in the writings of Clement of Alexandria.

The Lord said to Salome when she inquired: How long shall death prevail? 'As long as ye women bear children', not because life is an ill, and the creation evil: but as showing the sequence of nature: for in all cases birth is followed by decay.

For when she had said, 'I have done well, then, in not bearing children?' the Lord answers and says: Every plant eat thou, but that which hath bitterness eat not.

When Salome inquired when the things concerning which she asked should be known, the Lord said: When ye have trampled on the garment of shame, and when the two become one and the male with the female is neither male nor female. 

The biggest source of Salome sayings come to us from the Pistis Sophia. She is featured several times in the discussions. They are as follows:

CHAPTER 58
Jesus sent forth a light-power to help Sophia. And Jesus continued again in the discourse and said unto his disciples: "It came to pass then, when Pistis Sophia had said these words, that the time was fulfilled that she should be led out of the chaos. And of myself, without the First Mystery, I dispatched out of myself a light-power, and I sent it down to the chaos, so that it might lead Pistis Sophia forth from the deep regions of the chaos, and lead [her] to the higher regions of the chaos, until the command should come from the First Mystery that she should be led entirely forth out of the chaos. And my light-power led Pistis Sophia up to the higher regions of the chaos. It came to pass then, when the emanations of Self-willed had noticed that Pistis Sophia was led forth into the higher regions of the chaos, that they also sped after her upwards, desiring to bring her again into the lower regions of the chaos. And my light-power, which I had sent to lead up Sophia out of the chaos, shone exceedingly. It came to pass then, when the emanations of Self-willed pursued Sophia, when she had been led into the higher regions of the chaos, that she again sang praises and cried out unto me, saying:

Sophia uttered a song of praise.

"'1. I will sing praises unto thee, O Light, for I desired to come unto thee. I will sing thee praises, O Light, for thou art my deliverer.

"'2. Leave me not in the chaos. Save me, O Light of the Height, for it is thou that I have praised.

"'3. Thou has sent me thy light through thyself and hast saved me. Thou hast led me to the higher regions of the chaos.

"'4. May the emanations of Self-willed which pursue me, sink down into the lower regions of the chaos, and let them not come to the higher regions to see me.

"'5. And may great darkness cover them and darker gloom come over them. And let them not see me in the light of thy power, which thou hast sent unto me to save me, so that they may not again get dominion over me.

"'6. And let not their resolution which they have formed, to take away my power, take effect for them. And as they have spoken against me, to take from me my light, take rather from them theirs instead of mine.

"'7. And they have proposed to take away my whole light and have not been able to take it, for thy light-power was with me.

"'8. Because they have taken counsel without thy commandment, O Light, therefore have they not been able to take away my light.

"'9. Because I have had faith in the Light, I shall not be afraid; and the Light is my deliverer and I shall not fear.'

"Now, therefore, let him whose power is exalted, speak the solution of the words which Pistis Sophia hath uttered."

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished speaking these words unto his disciples, that Salome came forward and said: "My Lord, my power constrained me to speak the solution of the words which Pistis Sophia hath uttered. Thy power hath prophesied aforetime through Solomon, saying:

Salome interpreted the song of Sophia from the Odes of Solomon.

"'1. I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, for thou art my God.

"'2. Abandon me not, O Lord, for thou art! my hope.

"'3. Thou hast given me thy vindication for naught, and I am saved through thee.

"'4. Let them who pursue me, fall down and let them not see me.

"'5. May a smoke-cloud cover their eyes and an air-mist darken them, and let them not see the day, so that they may not seize me.

"'6. May their resolution be impotent, and may what they concoct come upon them.

"'7. They have devised a resolution, and it hath not taken effect for them.

"'8. And they are vanquished, although they be mighty, and what they have wickedly prepared is fallen upon them.

"'9. My hope is in the Lord, and I shall not be afraid, for thou art my God, my Saviour.'"

It came to pass then, when Salome had finished saying these words, that Jesus said unto her: "Well said, Salome; and finely. This is the solution of the words which Pistis Sophia hath uttered."
CHAPTER 54
Jesus continued again in the discourse and said unto his disciples: "It came to pass then, when this lion-faced power saw me, how I drew nigh unto Pistis Sophia, shining very exceedingly, that it grew still more furious and emanated from itself a multitude of exceedingly violent emanations. When this then befell, Pistis Sophia uttered the eleventh repentance, saying:

"'1. Why hath the mighty power raised itself in evil?

The eleventh repentance of Sophia.

"'2. Its plotting taketh away the light from me all the time, and as sharp iron have they taken away power from me.

"'3. I chose to descend into the chaos rather than to abide in the thirteenth æon, the region of Righteousness.

"'4. And they desired to lead me craftily, in order to consume my whole light.

"'5. For this cause then will the Light take away their whole light, and also their whole matter will be made naught. And it will take away their light and not suffer them to abide in the thirteenth æon, their dwelling-place, and will not have their name in the region of those who shall live.

"'6. And the four-and-twenty emanations will see what hath befallen thee, O lion-faced power, and will be afraid and not be disobedient, but give the purification of their light.

"'7. And they will see thee and will rejoice over thee and say: Lo, an emanation which hath not given the purification of its light, so that it may be saved, but boasted itself in the abundance of the light of its power, because it did not emanate from the power in it, and hath said: I will take away the light from Pistis Sophia, which will now be taken from it.'

"Now, therefore, let him in whom his power is raised, come forward and proclaim the solution of the eleventh repentance of Pistis Sophia."

Then Salome came forward and said: "My Lord, concerning this thy light-power prophesied aforetime through David in the fifty-first Psalm, saying:

Salome interpreted the repentance from Psalm 51.

"'1. Why doth the mighty [one] boast himself in his wickedness?

"'2. Thy tongue hath studied unrighteousness all the day long; as a sharp razor hast thou practiced craft.

"'3. Thou lovedst wickedness more than goodness; thou lovedst to speak unrighteousness more than righteousness.

"'4. Thou lovedst all words of submerging and a crafty tongue.

"'5. Wherefore will God bring thee to naught utterly, and will uproot thee and drag thee out from thy dwelling-place, and will root out thy root and cast it away from the living. (Selah.)

"'6. The righteous will see and be afraid, and they will mock at him and say:

"'7. Lo, a man who made not God for his helper, but trusted to his great riches and was mighty in his vanity.

"'8. But I am as a fruit-bearing olive-tree in the house of God. I have trusted in the grace of God from all eternity.

"'9. And I will confess unto thee, for thou hast dealt faithfully with me; and I will wait on thy name, for it is auspicious in the presence of thy holy [ones].'

"This then is now, therefore, my Lord, the solution of the eleventh repentance of Pistis Sophia. While thy light-power hath roused me, I have spoken it according to thy desire."

Jesus commended Salome. It came to pass then, when Jesus had heard these words which Salome spoke, that he said: "Well said, Salome. Amen, amen, I say unto you: I will perfect you in all mysteries of the kingdom of the Light."
CHAPTER 145
Mary said: "Woe, woe, unto sinners!"

Salome answered and said: "My Lord Jesus, a murderer who hath never committed any sin but murdering, if he cometh out of the body, what is his chastisement?

Of the chastisement of the murderer. Jesus answered and said: "A murderer who hath never committed any sin but murdering, if his time is completed through the sphere, that he cometh out of the body, the receivers of Yaldabaōth come and lead his soul out of the body and bind it by its feet to a great demon with a horse's face, and he spent three days circling round with it in the world.

"Thereafter they lead it into the regions of the cold and of the snow, and they take vengeance on it there three years and six months.

"Thereafter they lead it down into the chaos before Yaldabaōth and his forty-and-nine demons, and every one of his demons scourged it another three years and six months.

"Thereafter they lead it down into the chaos before Persephonē and take vengeance on it with her chastisements another three years and six months.

"Thereafter they carry it on to the way of the midst, and every one of the rulers of the way of the midst taketh vengeance on it with the chastisements of its regions another three years and six months.

"Thereafter they lead it unto the Virgin of Light, who judged the righteous and the sinners, that she may judge it. And when the sphere turned itself, she commanded that it shall be cast into the outer darkness until the time when the darkness of the midst shall be upraised; it [the soul] will be destroyed and dissolved.

"This is the chastisement of the murderer."

Don’t forget to read my blog post of Mary Magdalene for another Salome Pistis Sophia story.

Next up is from the Infancy Gospel of James. This portrays Salome as a midwife to Mother Mary. So in this aspect, she was there at the time of Jesus’ birth, and also at his (physical) death!

Chapter 19: Jesus’ Birth

(1) And look! A woman was coming down from the mountain, and she said to me, “Man, where are you going?”

And I said, “I’m seeking a Hebrew midwife.”

And in reply she said to me, “Are you from Israel?”

And I said to her, “Yes.”

Then she said, “And who’s the one giving birth in the cave?”

And I said, “My betrothed.”

And she said to me, “She’s not your wife?”

And I said to her, “Mary was nurtured in the Temple of the Lord, and it was decided by lot that she would be my wife, yet she’s not my wife; but she’s conceived from the Holy Spirit.”

And the midwife said, “Really?”

And Joseph said to her, “Come and see.”

And the midwife went with him. (2) And they stood in front of the cave, and a bright cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said, “My soul is magnified today, because my eyes have seen something wonderful. Salvation has been born to Israel!”

And immediately the cloud withdrew from the cave, and a great light appeared in the cave, so that their eyes couldn’t bear it. And a little later, the light withdrew until an infant appeared. And he came and took the breast of his mother, Mary.

And the midwife cried out and said, “How great today is for me, that I’ve seen this new miracle!”

(3) And the midwife went out from the cave, and Salome met her. 

And she said to her, “Salome, Salome, I have to describe a new sight to you. A virgin has given birth, which is against her nature!”

And Salome said, “As the Lord my God lives, unless I examine her condition, I won’t believe that the virgin has given birth.” 

 

Chapter 20: Salome’s Examination

(1) And the midwife went in and said, “Mary, position yourself, because there’s no small test coming concerning you.”

And Salome examined her. And Salome cried out and said, “Woe because of my lawlessness and my unbelief! Because I’ve tested the living God, and look! My hand is on fire and falling away from me!”

(2) And she dropped to her knees before the Lord, saying, “God of my ancestors, remember me, that I’ve descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Don’t make an example of me to the people of Israel, but give me the back to the poor, because you know, Lord, that in your name I’ve healed people, and I’ve received my wages from you.”

(3) And look! An angel of the Lord appeared, saying to her, “Salome, Salome, the Lord of All has heard your prayer. Bring your hand to the child and lift him up, and you’ll receive salvation and joy.”

(4) And Salome joyfully went to the child and lifted him up, saying, “I worship him, because a great king has been born to Israel.” And immediately Salome was healed, and she left the cave justified.

And look! A voice was saying, “Salome, Salome, don’t report the wonderful things you’ve seen until the child comes into Jerusalem.”

The First Apocalypse of James also mentions Salome along with Mary, Martha and Arisnoe. I hope these texts help highlight another leader in the early Christian movement that seems to have been forgotten in time. Let us all venerate Saint Salome!

bP

external links:

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/1ja.html

http://gnosis.org/library/pistis-sophia/index.htm

http://www.gospels.net/infancyjames

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelegyptians.html

Jesus as a Quiet Guide

Today I present artwork and a reading video of the “Jesus as a Quiet Guide” portion from the “Gospel of Truth.” This particular verse is quite interesting and goes well with a few sayings from the “Gospel of Thomas.” Below is the quote I am reading:

Jesus became a guide, quiet and at leisure. In the middle of a school he came and spoke the word, as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation came to put him to the test. But he discredited them as empty-headed people. They hated him because they really were not wise. After all these came also the little children, those who possess the knowledge of the father. When they became strong they were taught the aspects of the father’s face. They came to know and they were known. They were glorified and they gave glory.

This version speaks of people who think they are a bit smarter than they really are and how we should be like children when we come to know the “Father.” Below are a few sayings from the “Gospel of Thomas” that really go well with this line of thought:

37. His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"

Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid."

21. Mary said to Jesus, "What are your disciples like?"

He said, "They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, 'Give us back our field.' They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.

46. Jesus said, "From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted.

But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the (Father's) kingdom and will become greater than John."

Now obviously one in the modern world can not always act like a child in all situations, but a lot of times, we should take their perspective on various issues. To see the world through that sort of thinking really puts everything in a different perspective. Something to think about next time you are around children, just observe how they act towards life (unless they are being a shithead at that moment, LOL!) and how carefree/happy/in awe they are at the moment.

Below is my reading from the “Gospel of Truth” quote:

The artwork that is at the beginning was made in MidJourney.

The full Gospel of Truth can be read here: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/got-barnstone.html

The full Gospel of Thomas can be read here: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

bP

Mary’s Spirit at Dormition

August 15 is the feast day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. Earlier in my blog, I posted a three part series about one of the earliest dormition stories (which includes various gnostic thought), so please check out that if you haven’t. Links at the end. With this post, I wanted to focus on the spirit of Mary after she left her body. (Take note, I personally view the soul and spirit to be different entities, but these stories present them as equals, thus I will go with that for this blog posting.) With the MidJourney A.I. artwork generator, I created the picture (above) based on the description from the Book of Mary’s Repose:

And the apostles saw Mary's spirit as it was given into Michael's hands: a perfect form, but its body was both male and female, and nevertheless one, being similar to every body and seven times white.

Very interesting androgynous description of the spirit, which makes sense. I wanted to compare this description to other stories of the dormition. Up next is from the earliest Greek Dormition narrative:

The Lord embraced her, and he took her holy soul and placed it in Michael's hands, wrapping it in indescribably splendid skins.  And we, the apostles, beheld the soul of Mary as it was given into Michael's hands: it was perfect in every human form, except for the shape of male or female, with nothing being in it, except for a likeness of the complete body and a sevenfold whiteness.

The description in the early Greek narrative is pretty much the same as the Book of Mary’s Repose, except a bit more wordy. The “Ethiopic Six Books” do not describe Mary’s soul like the other two. This particular text has Mary and others saying prayers right up to her dormition. Once she passes, this is what is said:

At the time Mary's soul went forth, and he brought it to the treasuries of the Father.  Then John stretched forth his hand and straightened her out and closed her eyes.  Peter and Paul straightened her hands and feet, but the clothes that she was wearing did not go forth, for the Holy Spirit clothed her with a great light, which cannot be comprehended.

This next sentence is from the Golden Legend (Medieval Roman Catholic) story of Mary’s assumption.

And the apostles saw the soul of her being so white that no mortal tongue might express it.

A longer description of this comes from the sixth century Assumption of the Virgin – Latin Narrative of Pseudo-Melito :

And the apostles saw that her soul was of such whiteness, that no tongue of mortals can worthily utter it; for it surpassed all the whiteness of snow, and of every metal, and of gleaming silver, by the great brightness of its light.

Links to my review of the Book of Mary’s Repose: https://culminationofwisdom.org/2022/03/28/the-book-of-marys-repose-1-of-3/ https://culminationofwisdom.org/2022/03/28/the-book-of-marys-repose-2-of-3/ https://culminationofwisdom.org/2022/03/28/the-book-of-marys-repose-3-of-3/

bP