The Pistis Sophia is a Gnostic treatise that puts Gnostic teachings into a Christian framework. It is a much harder read that The Hypostasis of the Archons and The Secret Book of John. I’m going to attempt to make it easier to read for modern audiences, without changing the meaning of the text. My modern English version is based on G. S. R. Mead’s translation, which is available from the Gnostic Society Library. Mead based his translation on a Latin translation of a Coptic translation of a Greek original.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he spent eleven years discoursing with his disciples, and instructing them only up to the regions of the First Commandment and up to the regions of the First Mystery, that within the Veil, within the First Commandment, which is the twenty-fourth mystery without and below–those twenty-four which are in the second space of the First Mystery which is before all mysteries,–the Father in the form of a dove.
“I have come forth out of the First Mystery, which is also the last mystery, which is the twenty-fourth1 mystery,” Jesus said to his disciples.
His disciples had not known nor understood that anything existed within that mystery. They thought that mystery was the source of the universe and of all existence. They thought it was the completion of all completions, because of what Jesus had told them concerning it: that it surrounded the First Commandment, the five Impressions, the great Light, the five Helpers, and the whole Treasury of the Light.
Jesus had not told his disciples of the total expansion of all the regions of the great Invisible, the three triple-powers, the twenty-four invisibles, and all their regions, æons, and orders, nor of how they were extended–those which were the emanations of the great Invisible–and their ungenerated, self-generated, and generated, and their light-givers, their unpaired, their rulers, authorities, lords, archangels, angels, decans, servitors and all the houses of their spheres and all the orders of every one of them.
Jesus had not told his disciples of the total expansion of the emanations of the Treasury of the Light, nor their orders, nor how they were extended; nor had he told them their saviours, according to the order of every one, how they were; nor had he told them what guard was at each of the gates of the Treasury of the Light; nor had he told them of the region of the Twin-saviour, who is the Child of the Child; nor had he told them about the regions of the three Faithful2, nor in what regions they were expanded; nor had he told them into what region the five Trees were expanded; nor what the region the seven Faithful2 known as the Voices was, nor how they were expanded.
Jesus had not told his disciples of what the types of the five Helpers were, nor into what region they were brought; nor had he told them how the great Light had expanded itself, nor into what region it had been brought; nor had he told them of the five Impressions, nor as to the First Commandment, into what region they have been brought. He had discoursed with them generally, teaching that they exist, but he had not told them their expansion and the order of their regions, how they are. For this cause they have not known that there were also other regions within the first mystery.
Jesus did not tell his disciples that he had gone forth out of such regions before he entered into the first mystery, and until he came forth out of it. For this reason, they thought that the first mystery was the completion of completions, that it was the source of the universe, and that it is the total Fullness3.
“The first mystery surrounds the universe that I have spoken of to you from the day when I met you until now,” Jesus said to his disciples.
For this reason, the disciples thought there was nothing within that mystery.
1 According to Acts, Jesus remained with his disciples for only forty days after his resurrection before ascending to Heaven.
2 The first is the last, which is the twenty-fourth. In the old testament, Yahweh, the heavenly father, declares himself to be the alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and the omega, the last and twenty-fourth letter.
3 I’ve replaced the Greek word Amēns with Faithful.
4 Fullness is almost certainly Mead’s translation of the word Pleroma.
Next Chapter: Pistis Sophia – Book 1, Chapter 2