Translated by John D.Turner and Orval S. Wintermute
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… since they are perfect individuals and dwell all together, joined with the mind, the guardian which I provided, who taught you (sg.). And it is the power that exists within you that often extended itself as word from the Triple-Powered One, that One of all those who truly exist with the Immeasurable One, the eternal Light of the Knowledge that appeared, the male virginal Youth, the first of the Aeons from a unique triple-powered Aeon, the Triple-Powered-One who truly exists, for when he was stilled, was extended and when he was extended, he became complete and he received power from all of them. He knows himself and the perfect Invisible Spirit. And he came to be in an Aeon who knows that she knows That One. And she became Kalyptos, who acted in those whom she knows. He is a perfect, invisible, noetic Protophanes-Harmedon. And empowering the individuals, she is a Triple-Male. And being individually …(5 lines missing)
… individual on the one hand, they are together on the other hand, since she is an existence of theirs, and she sees them all also truly. She contains the divine Autogenes.
When she knew her Existence and when she stood, she brought This One (masc.), since he saw them all existing individually as he is. And when they become as he is, they shall see the divine Triple-Male, the power that is higher than God. He is the Thought of all these who exist together. If he ponders them, he ponders the great male […] noetic Protophanes, the procession of these. When he sees it, he sees also those who truly exist and the procession of those who are together. And when he has seen these, he has seen the Kalyptos. And if he sees one of the hidden ones, he sees the Aeon of Barbelo. And as for the unbegotten offspring of That One, if one sees how he lives …
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… you have heard about the abundance of each one of them certainly.
But concerning the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered-One, hear! He exists as an Invisible One who is incomprehensible to them all. He contains them all within himself, for they all exist because of him. He is perfect, and he is greater than perfect, and he is blessed. He is always One and he exists in them all, being ineffable, unnameable, being One who exists through them all – he whom, should one discern him, one would not desire anything that exists before him among those that possess existence, for he is the source from which they were all emitted. He is prior to perfection. He was prior to every divinity, and he is prior to every blessedness, since he provides for every power. And he <is> a nonsubstantial substance, since he is a God over whom there is no divinity, the transcending of whose greatness and beauty …
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… power. It is not impossible for them to receive a revelation of these things, if they come together. Since it is impossible for the individuals to comprehend the Universal One situated in the place that is higher than perfect, they apprehend by means of a First Thought – not as Being alone, but it is along with the latency of Existence that he confers Being. He provides everything for himself, since it is he who shall come to be when he recognizes himself. And he is One who subsists as a cause and source of Being, and an immaterial material and an innumerable number and a formless form and a shapeless shape and a powerlessness and a power and an insubstantial substance and a motionless motion and an inactive activity. Yet he is a provider of provisions and a divinity of divinity – but whenever they apprehend, they participate the first Vitality and an undivided activity, an hypostasis of the First One from the One who truly exists. And a second activity […] however, is the […]. He is endowed with blessedness and goodness, because when he is recognized as the traverser of the boundlessness of the Invisible Spirit that subsists in him, it (the boundlessness) turns him to it (the invisible spirit) in order that it might know what is within him and how he exists. And he was becoming salvation for every one by being a point of departure for those who truly exist, for through him his knowledge endured, since he is the one who knows what he is. But they brought forth nothing beyond themselves, neither power nor rank nor glory nor aeon, for they are all eternal. He is Vitality and Mentality and That-Which-Is. For then That-Which-Is constantly possesses its Vitality and Mentality, and Life has Vitality possesses non-Being and Mentality. Mentality possesses Life and That-Which-Is. And the three are one, although individually they are three.
Now after I heard these things, my son Messos, I was afraid, and I turned toward the multitude […] thought […] gives power to those who are capable of knowing these things by a revelation that is much greater. And I was capable, although flesh was upon me. I heard from you about these things and about the doctrine that is in them, since the thought which is in me distinguished the things that are beyond measure as well as the unknowables. Therefore I fear that my doctrine may have become something beyond what is fitting.
And then, my son Messos, the all-glorious One, Youel, spoke to me again. She made a revelation to me and said: “No one is able to hear these things except the great powers alone, O Allogenes. A great power was put upon you, which the Father of the All, the Eternal, put upon you before you came to this place, in order that those things that are difficult to distinguish you might distinguish and those things that are unknown to the multitude you might know, and that you might escape (in safety) to the One who is yours, who was first to save and who does not need to be saved …
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… to you a form and a revelation of the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered One, outside of which dwells an undivided, incorporeal, eternal knowledge.
As with all the Aeons, the Aeon of Barbelo exists also endowed with the types and forms of those who truly exist, the image of Kalyptos. And endowed with the intellectual Word of these, he bears the noetic male Protophanes like an image, and he acts within the individuals, either with craft or with skill or with partial instinct. He is endowed with the divine Autogenes like an image, and he knows each one of these. He acts separately and individually, continuing to rectify the failures from nature. He is endowed with the divine Triple-Male as salvation for them all, in cooperation with the Invisible Spirit. He is a word from a counsel, <he> is the perfect Youth. And this hypostasis is a …(6 lines missing)
… my soul went slack, and I fled and was very disturbed. And I turned to myself and saw the light that surrounded me and the Good that was in me, I became divine.
And the all-glorious One, Youel, anointed me again and she gave power to me. She said, “Since your instruction has become complete, and you have known the Good that is within you, hear concerning the Triple-Powered One those things that you will guard in great silence and great mystery, because they are not spoken to anyone except those who are worthy, those who are able to hear: nor is it fitting to speak to an uninstructed generation concerning the Universal One that is higher than perfect. But you have <these> because of the Triple-Powered One, the One who exists in blessedness and goodness, the One who is responsible for all these.
“There exists within him much greatness. Inasmuch as he is one in a …
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… of the First Thought, which does not fall away from those who dwell in comprehension and knowledge and understanding. And That One moved motionlessly in that which governs, lest he sink into the boundless by means of another activity of Mentality. And he entered into himself and he appeared, being all-encompassing, the Universal One that is higher than perfect.
“Indeed it is not through me that he is to such a degree anterior to knowledge. Whereas there is no possibility for complete comprehension, he is (nevertheless) known. And this is so because of the third silence of Mentality and the second undivided activity which appeared in the First Thought, that is, the Aeon of Barbelo, together with the Indivisible One of the divisible likenesses and the Triple-Powered-One and the non-substantial Existence.”
<Then> the power appeared by means of an activity that is at rest and silent, although it uttered a sound thus: zza zza zza. But when she (Youel) heard the power and she was filled …
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… “Thou art […], Solmis! […] according to the Vitality that is thine, and the first activity which derives from divinity. Thou art great, Armedon! Thou art perfect, Epiphaneus!
“And according to that activity of thine, the second power and the Mentality which derives from blessedness: Autoer, Beritheus, Erigenaor, Orimenios, Aramen, Alphleges, Elelioupheus, Lalameus, Yetheus, Noetheus, thou art great! He who knows thee knows the Universal One! Thou art One, thou art One, He who is good, Aphredon! Thou art the Aeon of the Aeons, He who is perpetually!”
Then she praised the Universal One, saying “Lalameus, Noetheus, Senaon, Asine[us, …]riphanios, Mellephaneus, Elemaoni, Smoun, Optaon, He Who Is! Thou art He Who Is, the Aeon of Aeons, the Unbegotten, who art higher than the unbegotten (ones), Yatomenos, thou alone for whom all the unborn ones were begotten, the Unnameable One! … (10 lines missing) … knowledge.”
Now after I heard these things, I saw the glories of the perfect individuals and the all-perfect ones who exist together, and the all-perfect ones who are before the perfect ones.
Again the greatly glorious One, Youel, said to me, “O Allogenes, in an unknowing knowledge you know that the Triple-Powered One exists before the glories. They do not exist among those who exist. They do not exist together with those who exist nor those who truly exist. Rather, all these exist as divinity and blessedness and existence, and as nonsubstantiality and non-being existence.”
And then I prayed that the revelation might occur to me. And then the all-glorious one, Youel, said to me, “O Allogenes, of course, the Triple-Male is something beyond substance. Yet were he insubstantial …
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… those who exist in association with the generation of those who truly exist. The self-begotten ones exist with the Triple-Male.
“If you seek with a perfect seeking, then you shall know the Good that is in you; then you will know yourself as well, (as) one who derives from the God who truly pre-exists. For after a hundred years there shall come to you a revelation of That One by means of Salamex and Semen and […] the Luminaries of the Aeon of Barbelo. And that beyond what is fitting for you, you shall not know at first, so as not to forfeit your kind. And if so, then when you receive a conception of That One, then you are filled with the word to completion. Then you become divine, and you become perfect. You receive them …
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… the seeking […] the Existence […] if it apprehends anything, it is apprehended by that one and by the very one who is comprehended. And then he becomes greater who comprehends and knows than he who is comprehended and known. But if he descends to his nature, he is less, for the incorporeal natures have not associated with any magnitude; having this power, they are everywhere and they are nowhere, since they are greater than every magnitude, and less than every exiguity.”
Now after the all-glorious One, Youel, said these things, she separated from me and left me. But I did not despair of the words that I heard. I prepared myself therein and I deliberated with myself for a hundred years. And I rejoiced exceedingly, since I was in a great light and a blessed path because those whom I was worthy to see as well as those whom I was worthy to hear (are) those whom it is fitting that the great powers alone … (5 lines missing) … of God.
When the completion of the one hundred years drew nigh, it brought me a blessedness of the eternal hope full of auspiciousness. I saw the good divine Autogenes; and the Savior, who is the youthful, perfect Triple-Male Child; and his goodness, the noetic perfect Protophanes-Harmedon; and the blessedness of the Kalyptos; and the primary origin of the blessedness, the Aeon of Barbelo, full of divinity; and the primary origin of the one without origin, the spiritual, invisible Triple-Powered One, the Universal One that is higher than perfect.
When <I> was taken by the eternal Light out of the garment that was upon me, and taken up to a holy place whose likeness cannot be revealed in the world, then by means of a great blessedness I saw all those about whom I had heard. And I praised all of them and I stood upon my knowledge and I inclined to the knowledge of the Universals, the Aeon of Barbelo.
And I saw holy powers by means of the Luminaries of the virginal male Barbelo telling me that I would be able to test what happens in the world: “O Allogenes, behold your blessedness, how it silently abides, by which you know your proper self and, seeking yourself, withdraw to the Vitality that you will see moving. And although it is impossible for you to stand, fear nothing; but if you wish to stand, withdraw to the Existence, and you will find it standing and at rest after the likeness of the One who is truly at rest and (who) embraces all these silently and inactively. And when you receive a revelation of him by means of a primary revelation of the Unknown One – the One whom if you should know him, be ignorant of him – and you become afraid in that place, withdraw to the rear because of the activities. And when you become perfect in that place, still yourself. And in accordance with the pattern that indwells you, know likewise that it is this way in all such (matters) after this pattern. And do not further dissipate, so that you may be able to stand, and do not desire to be active, lest you fall in any way from the inactivity in you of the Unknown One. Do not know him, for it is impossible; but if by means of an enlightened thought you should know him, be ignorant of him.”
Now I was listening to these things as those ones spoke them. There was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the Blessedness whereby I knew <my> proper self.
And I withdrew to the Vitality as I sought <myself>, and I joined into it, and I stood, not firmly but silently. And I saw an eternal, intellectual, undivided motion that pertains to all the formless powers, (which is) unlimited by limitation.
And when I wanted to stand firmly, I withdrew to the Existence, which I found standing and at rest, like an image and likeness of what is conferred upon me by a revelation of the Indivisible One and the One who is at rest. I was filled with revelation by means of a primary revelation of the Unknowable One. As though I were ignorant of him, I knew him, and I received power by him. Having been permanently strengthened, I knew the One who exists in me, and the Triple-Powered One, and the revelation of his uncontainableness. And by means of a primary revelation of the First One unknowable to them all, the God who is beyond perfection, I saw him and the Triple-Powered One that exists in them all. I was seeking the ineffable and Unknowable God – whom if one should know him, he would be absolutely ignorant of him – the Mediator of the Triple-Powered One who subsists in stillness and silence and is unknowable.
And when I was confirmed in these matters, the powers of the Luminaries said to me, “Cease hindering the inactivity that exists in you, by seeking incomprehensible matters; rather, hear about him in so far as it is possible by means of a primary revelation and a revelation.”
“Now he is something insofar as he exists in that he either exists and will become, or acts or knows, although he lives without Mind or Life or Existence or Non-Existence, incomprehensibly. And he is something along with his proper being. He is not left over in some way, as if he yields something that is assayed or purified or that receives or gives. And he is not diminished in any way, whether by his own desire, or whether he gives or receives through another. Neither does he have any desire of himself nor from another; it does not affect him. Rather, neither does he give anything by himself, lest he become diminished in another respect; nor for this reason does he need Mind, or Life, is indeed anything at all. He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability, that is, the non-being existence, since he is endowed with silence and stillness lest he be diminished by those who are not diminished.
“He is neither divinity nor blessedness nor perfection. Rather, it (this triad) is an unknowable entity of him, not that which is proper to him; rather, he is another one superior to the blessedness and the divinity and perfection. For he is not perfect, but he is another thing that is superior. He is neither boundless, nor is he bounded by another. Rather, he is something superior. He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not great. He is not small. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists, that one can know. But he is something else of himself that is superior, which one cannot know.
“He is primary revelation and knowledge of himself, as it is he alone who knows himself. Since he is not one of those that exist, but is another thing, he is superior to superlatives, even in comparison to what is his and not his. He neither participates in age nor does he participate in time. He does not receive anything from anything else. He is not diminishable, neither does he diminish anything, nor is he undiminishable. But he is self-comprehending, as something so unknowable that he exceeds those who excel in unknowability.
“He is endowed with blessedness and perfection and silence – not <the blessedness> nor the perfection – and stillness. Rather it (these attributes) is an entity of him that exists, which one cannot know, and which is at rest. Rather they are entities of him unknowable to them all.
“And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the unknowable knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him. Whether <one sees> in what way he is unknowable, or sees him as he is in every respect, or would say that he is something like knowledge, he has sinned against him, being liable to judgment because he did not know God. He will not be judged by That One who is neither concerned for anything nor has any desire, but it (judgment) <is> from himself, because he did not find the origin that truly exists. He was blind, apart from the eye of revelation that is at rest, the (one) that is activated, the (one) from the Triple-Power of the First Thought of the Invisible Spirit. This one thus exists from …
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… something […] set firmly on the […], a beauty and a first emergence of stillness and silence and tranquility and unfathomable greatness. When he appeared, he did not need time nor <did he partake> of eternity. Rather of himself he is unfathomably unfathomable. He does not activate himself so as to become still. He is not an existence, lest he be in want. Spatially, he is corporeal, while properly he is incorporeal. He has non-being existence. He exists for all of them unto himself without any desire. But he is a greater summit of greatness. And he is higher than his stillness, in order that …
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… he saw them, and empowered them all, although they do not concern themselves with That One at all, nor, if one should receive from him, does he receive power. Nothing activates him in accordance with the Unity that is at rest. For he is unknowable; he is an airless place of boundlessness. Since he is boundless and powerless and nonexistent, he was not giving Being. Rather he contains all of these in himself, being at rest (and) standing out of the one who stands continually, since there had appeared an Eternal Life, the Invisible and Triple-Powered Spirit which is in all of these who exist. And it surrounds them all, being higher than them all. A shadow …
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… he was filled with power. And he stood before them, empowering them all, and he filled them all.”
And concerning all of these things you have heard certainly. And do not seek anything more, but go. We do not know whether the Unknowable One has angels or gods, or whether the One who is at rest was containing anything within himself except the stillness, which is he, lest he be diminished. It is not fitting to spend more time seeking. It was appropriate that you (pl.) know, and that they speak with another one. But you will receive them …
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… and he said to me, “Write down the things that I shall tell you, and of which I shall remind you, for the sake of those who will be worthy after you. And you will leave this book upon a mountain and you will adjure the guardian: “Come Dreadful One”.
And after he said these (things), he separated from me. But I was full of joy, and I wrote this book which was appointed for me, my son Messos, in order that I might disclose to you the (things) that were proclaimed before me in my presence. And at first I received them in great silence, and I stood by myself, preparing myself. These are the things that were disclosed to me, O my son Messos …
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… proclaim them, O my son Messos, as the seal for all the books of Allogenes.
Original translation of this text was prepared by members of the
Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School.
The Coptic Gnostic Library Project was funded by UNESCO, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other Institutions.
E. J. Brill has asserted copyright on texts published by the Coptic Gnostic Library Project.
The translation presented here has been edited, modified and formatted for use in the Gnostic Society Library.
For academic citation, please refer to published editions of this text.