(If you want to skip the introduction and just read the text itself, the full text of the Gospel of Philip is below.)
The Gospel of Philip is hardly a “gospel” in the usual sense of the word: a story about Jesus’s life, or at least a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus. Instead, it’s a “gospel” in the broadest sense of the term: discussions of the anonymous author’s interpretations of the “good news” (the literal meaning of the word “gospel”) of Christ’s message and the Christian traditions that grew out of it.
These discussions address themes that were particularly important to the group of Gnostic Christians who are today called the Valentinians, one of whom evidently wrote the Gospel of Philip: salvation as an inner, mystical transformation (gnosis) that occurs while one is still alive; the necessity of renouncing earthly concerns in order to achieve gnosis; the spiritual marriage of one’s soul with one’s angelic partner in Heaven; the hidden, spiritual meaning of Christian sacraments like baptism, chrism, and the eucharist; and the ways in which the myths and doctrines of Christianity are sets of “images and symbols” meant to help bring about salvation rather than ultimate truths in their own right.
Some of the most frequently-quoted passages in all of Gnostic literature come from the Gospel of Philip. For example, the text boldly states that someone who achieves gnosis ““is no longer just a Christian, but a Christ” (section 60 below), because such a person has become united with Christ. In contrast to those Christians who hold that salvation is first and foremost something that happens to someone after he or she dies, the Gospel of Philip says, “Some people mistakenly say that we must die before being resurrected. If they are not resurrected while they are still alive, they will not gain anything by dying” (section 79). The text asserts that the conventional markers of Christian identity mean nothing without an accompanying spiritual change: “Anyone who goes down into the water [of baptism] and comes up without having gotten anything and says, ‘I am a Christian,’ has borrowed the name” (section 53). And it contends that “In the other world, God created humans to worship him. In this world, humans create gods and worship their creations. It would make more sense for the gods to worship humans” (section 75)!
The Gospel of Philip was probably originally composed in the second half of the second century in what is now Syria. Though it was probably written in Greek, it contains a number of Syriac wordplays, which suggests that it was written for an audience that knew both Greek and Syriac. Given that geographical and cultural context, it’s surely no coincidence that the text bears the name of the apostle Philip, who was traditionally said to have journeyed to western Mesopotamia as a missionary after Jesus’s death. It’s likely that Philip was the specially favored apostle of the region’s Christians, which would have lent an aura of particular significance and authority to a text presented in his name.
Today, a single copy of the Gospel of Philip survives, a Coptic translation from the Nag Hammadi Library. The copy is almost complete, with relatively few gaps where bits of the manuscript pages have been lost.
One section of the Gospel of Philip – section 50 below – has become rather famous in pop culture due to a misunderstanding of it. That section states, “Mary Magdalene was the companion of the Savior. He loved her more than all the other disciples, and kissed her on her [text missing] more often than he kissed the rest of the disciples.” Some people have interpreted this passage as a claim that Jesus and Mary had a physical relationship, but that’s not what it actually says. Even if the missing word is “mouth” – and let’s be honest, that’s a really unfortunate place for there to be a gap in the manuscript – the Gospel of Philip elsewhere speaks of “kissing” only as a metaphor for speaking sweet, moving words that help the listener to advance spiritually (section 28). In context, that’s clearly what section 50 is referring to as well, since it goes on to say that Mary was more spiritually advanced than the other disciples. So this passage is saying that Jesus spoke with Mary about spiritual matters more often than he did with the other disciples – which is quite a striking claim in its own right, but isn’t the salacious message that some people seem to want it to be.
The following version of the Gospel of Philip is my own rendering of the text based on the translations of Bentley Layton and Marvin Meyer. My aim has been to produce a version of the text that’s clearer and more readable than the available academic translations, while still being closely based on them to ensure accuracy. I hope you find it useful. For more on my methods and goals, see A Note on My Renderings of the Gnostic Texts.
I’ve left out two sections of the text: the one that Layton numbers 56, which would have come between sections 57 and 58 in my numbering, and the one that Layton numbers 68, which would have come between 68 and 69 here. In both cases, I’ve excluded these sections because they contain so much missing text that it’s impossible to make sense of what’s left. I would never omit part of a text in order to “censor” it for any reason; I simply don’t want to present strings of indecipherable gibberish, which is unfortunately all that remains of these two sections today.
The section that I’ve numbered 87 also contains an especially large amount of missing text, but I think I’ve been able to make sense of it despite that. Nevertheless, my restoration of it is necessarily particularly tentative, and should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Gospel of Philip
When a Jew makes someone else a Jew, that person is called a convert. The convert is made by a Jew, not by another convert.
Some people are what they are and make others like them, while others are content to just be what they are.
The only thing a slave desires is freedom. His master’s riches are far from his mind.
But a child is not content with being a child. Instead, he lays claim to his father’s inheritance.
Those who inherit from the dead are themselves dead, and the things they inherit are also dead.
Those who inherit from the living are themselves alive, and they inherit both things that are alive and things that are dead.
Those who are dead do not inherit anything. How could they?
If the dead inherit something from the living, the living will not die, but the dead will live richly.
A pagan does not die, for he was never alive in the first place. One who has come to believe in the truth has been brought to life, and because he is alive, he is in danger of dying.
Since Christ came, the world has been created, cities have been built, and the dead have been buried.
When we were Jews, we were halfway to being orphans. We only had a mother. But when we became Christians, we got to have both a mother and a father.
If someone sows in winter, he reaps in summer.
Winter is this world. Summer is the other world. Let us sow in this world so that we can reap in summer. Therefore, let us not pray in winter.
Summer emerges from winter. But whoever reaps in winter reaps nothing. He only gets young shoots that are not yet a crop. His field is a wasteland now, and is still a wasteland on the Sabbath.
Christ came to buy some people, to rescue some, and to ransom some.
He bought strangers and made them friends, and he came back for those of his friends he had left as a deposit. He had laid down their souls as a deposit at the beginning of time, in anticipation of the right moment. Then he came back to retake what he had laid down as a deposit. They had fallen into the hands of bandits, who took them captive. But he rescued them, and he ransomed both the good and the bad.
Light and darkness, life and death, and right and left are conjoined twins. Therefore the good are not good, the bad are not bad, life is not life, and death is not death. Each disintegrates into that from which it came. But that which is superior to the world does not disintegrate, for it is eternal.
The names that are given to the things of this world are deceptive, for they distract the heart from what is real with what is unreal. When someone hears the word “god,” that person does not think of what is real, but of what is unreal. So, too, with the words “father,” “son,” “holy spirit,” “life,” “light,” “resurrection,” “church,” and so on. Though the words are supposed to refer to the real, when one hears them one thinks not of the real but of the unreal.
The words that one hears are things of this world. Do not let yourself be deceived. If such words were things of the eternal realm, they would never be spoken in this world, nor would they refer to things of this world. They would refer to things of the eternal realm.
There is only one name that is not spoken in this world: the name that the Father gave to the Son. It is a name above every other name. It is the Father’s name.
For if the Son had not taken on the Father’s name, he would not have become the Father.
Those who have this name know it but do not speak it. Those who do not have this name do not know it.
Truth placed names on the things of this world for our sakes, for no one can refer to something that does not have a name. Truth is one, but names are many. For our sakes truth lovingly refers to the one by means of the many.
The rulers (archons) saw that humanity is related to what is truly good, so they set out to deceive humanity. They took the names of good things and placed them on bad things so as to bind humanity to bad things. Likewise, they took the names of bad things and placed them on good things, as it is in their own minds. For they wanted humanity, which was free, to be enslaved to them forever.
There are powers in this world that seem to help people. They do not want people to be saved, for then the powers’ lives would be at risk. For if people are saved, they will no longer perform sacrifices, and animals will no longer be served to the powers.
Indeed, the powers to which these sacrifices are presented are themselves animals.
The animals are sacrificed alive, and when they are sacrificed, they die.
But when dead humans are sacrificed to God, they come to life.
Before Christ came, there was no bread to be found in this world. It was just as it was in the Garden of Eden when Adam lived: there were countless trees bearing animal food, but there was no wheat for human food. Humans ate like animals.
But when Christ, the perfect man, arrived, he brought bread from Heaven so that humans could at last eat human food.
The rulers thought that they did all that they did through no power or will but their own. In secret, however, the Holy Spirit was using them for her own purposes.
Truth has always existed, and is sown everywhere. When truth is sown, there are many who see it. But there are few who see it when it is reaped.
Some have said that Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Such people do not know what they are talking about. When has a woman ever impregnated another woman?
Mary is the virgin whom the powers could not defile. This is a scandal to the Jews and many who claim to follow the apostles. For rather than defiling this virgin, the powers defiled themselves.
The Lord would not have said “My Father who is in Heaven” if he had only one father. He would have just said “My Father.”
The Lord said to his disciples, “Bring something from every house to the Father’s house, but do not steal anything from the Father’s house.”
“Jesus” is a personal name, whereas “Christ” (“Anointed One”) is a public title. This is why the word “Jesus” cannot be found in any language, and is only the name of a person. In Greek, he is called Christos, and in Syriac, he is called Messias, and all other languages probably have a word that means the same thing. “The Nazarene,” too, is a public title rather than a personal name.
Christ contains everyone within himself, whether human, or angel, or mystery, or the Father.
Some people mistakenly say that the Lord died before he was resurrected. Rather, he was resurrected before he died.
Those who are resurrected do not die. As God lives, those who are not resurrected will die.
No one would try to hide a cherished treasure inside another valuable, yet fortunes are often kept in containers that are practically worthless. So, too, is the soul: a treasure found in a worthless body.
Some people worry that they will be naked when they are resurrected, so they hope to be resurrected in the flesh. They are unaware that the truly naked ones are those who wear the flesh. Only those who can strip themselves of the flesh are not naked.
“Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” What, then, is the “flesh” that will not inherit it? The flesh that we are wearing now. But what flesh will indeed inherit it? The flesh and blood of Jesus.
This is why he said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life within you.” What did he mean by that? His “flesh” signifies the Word, and his “blood” signifies the Holy Spirit. Whoever has received these has received food, drink, and clothing.
Some say that the flesh will not be resurrected. I say that they, too, are wrong.
Do you say that the flesh will not be resurrected? Then tell me what will be resurrected instead, so that I may be impressed with your wisdom!
Do you say that it is the spirit and the light that dwells within the flesh? But this thing that dwells within the flesh is nothing other than the Word – and therefore nothing other than the flesh! No one could be resurrected without it, for it contains everything else within itself.
In this world, those who put on clothes are superior to the clothes they put on. But in the Kingdom of Heaven, the clothes are superior to those who put them on.
Everything is anointed with water and fire: the visible by the visible, and the invisible by the invisible. Some invisible things dwell within visible things. There is water within water, and there is fire within the chrism oil.
Jesus played a trick on everyone. He did not come in his true form, but in a form that others could see.
He came to everyone. To the great he came as someone great. To the small he came as someone small. To the angels he came as an angel. And to humans he came as a human. Some who saw him thought they were seeing themselves. Thus the Word was hidden from all.
But when he revealed himself in glory to his disciples on the mountain, he was not small. He appeared as someone great. Or, rather, he made his disciples great, so that they could see his true greatness.
In the prayer over the eucharist, he said, “You who have united the Holy Spirit and the perfect light, unite us, too, with the angels, through images and symbols.”
Do not despise the lamb, for it is only because of the lamb that you can see the gate to the sheepfold.
No one will be brought before the king naked.
A person in Heaven has more children than a person on earth. Adam has populated the earth with his children, but all of them die. How many more children does the perfect man have – children who do not die, but are being born all the time!
Children come from adults, not from other children. Someone who is still a child cannot have children of his own. A child has brothers and sisters, not children.
All who are born are nourished by the place of their birth. Those who are born in this world are nourished by the nature of this world. But human beings are nourished by the promise of Heaven.
All are nourished through their mouths. If the Word came from someone’s mouth, he would be nourished by the Word, and would be perfect.
Those who are perfect conceive and give birth by kissing. Therefore we, too, kiss each other. We conceive by the grace within one another.
Three women would always walk with the Lord: Mary his mother, Mary his sister, and Mary Magdalene, who was called his companion. “Mary” is the name of his mother, his sister, and his companion.
“Father” and “Son” are one-part names, but “Holy Spirit” is a two-part name. The Father and the Son dwell everywhere: above, below, in the invisible, and in the visible. There is a Holy Spirit in the below and the visible, and there is a Holy Spirit in the above and the invisible.
Evil forces cannot help but serve the holy. They have been blinded by the Holy Spirit into thinking they are serving those people who are under their sway, when they are really serving the holy.
Thus, when a disciple of the Lord once asked to be given something from this world, the Lord replied, “Ask your mother. She will give you what you want, but from another world.”
The apostles said to the disciples, “May all of our offerings be seasoned with salt.” When they said “salt,” they were referring to Wisdom (Sophia). Without Wisdom, no offering is acceptable. Wisdom has no children; she is barren, and thus she is called “salt.” Wherever [text missing] the Holy Spirit [text missing] she has many children.
A child owns whatever his father owns. But while the child is still young, he will not be entrusted with it. When the child becomes mature, his father will give him what is his.
When the children of the Spirit go astray, it is the Spirit’s doing. The same Spirit lights the fire and puts it out.
Echamoth should not be confused with Echmoth. Echamoth is Wisdom herself, but Echmoth is the Wisdom of death: the Wisdom who is familiar with death, and who is called “Little Wisdom.”
Some animals are domestic, such as the cow, the donkey, and so on. Others are wild and live where people do not.
People plow their fields with domestic animals, and thereby all are nourished: people, domestic animals, and wild animals.
In the same way, the perfect man plows with domestic powers, preparing everything that will eventually happen. Thus everything is guaranteed: the good and the evil, the right and the left.
The Holy Spirit cares for all and rules over all, whether domestic or wild and on the loose. For the Spirit is determined to capture them, so that they cannot get out unless she lets them.
The first created man was virtuous, but his children were not. If he had been born rather than created, his children would have been virtuous. Instead, however, he was created, and then he had children.
And look at what virtue came out of that: first adultery, then murder! Cain was conceived by adultery, for he was the son of the snake. Like his father, he was a murderer, and killed his brother Abel.
Every time two beings who are unlike each other have sex, they commit adultery.
God dyes those who belong to him. In the same way that genuine fine dyes dissolve in the things that are dyed in them, the immortality of God’s dyes makes whatever is dyed in them immortal. He dyes people by dipping them in his water.
People cannot see anything in the other world unless they become it. That place is not like this world, where people see the sun without becoming the sun, see the earth without becoming the earth, and so on. In the realm of truth, if you see the Spirit, you become the Spirit; if you see Christ, you become Christ; and if you see the Father, you become the Father.
Though you see everything there is to see in this world, you do not see yourself. But in the other world, you see yourself, and you become what you see.
Love gives and faith receives. Without love, no one can give, and without faith, no one can receive.
So that we can give, we have love, and so that we can receive, we have faith.
Whoever gives without love does not benefit from the gift. And whoever receives something that is not the Lord is still a Jew.
Before our time, the apostles called the Lord Iesous Nazoraios Messias – “Jesus the Nazarene the Christ.” The first name is “Jesus,” the middle name is “Nazarene,” and the last name is “Christ.”
Messias can mean either of two things: “Christ” or “measured.” Iesous is Hebrew for “redemption.” Nazara means “truth,” so “the Nazarene” means “truth.”
Thus, the full name means, “Christ has measured out redemption and truth.”
A pearl that is dropped in mud does not become any less valuable, and a pearl that is rubbed with balsam oil does not become any more valuable. Its value is always the same for its owner.
In the same way, God’s children are always treasured by their Father, regardless of the circumstances of their lives.
If you say, “I am a Jew,” no one will be taken aback. If you say, “I am a Roman,” no one will be startled. If you say, “I am a Greek,” or a barbarian, or a slave, or a free person, no one will care.
But if you say, “I am a Christian,” the ground will shake.
So I cast my lot with Christ, for this world cannot bear to hear his name.
God eats humans, so humans are sacrificed to him. Previously, sacrifices had consisted of animals rather than humans, because the entities to whom those sacrifices were offered were not gods.
Glass and ceramic vessels are both created with fire. But when they break, the glass vessels, which are created with breath in addition to fire, can be remade, whereas the ceramic vessels, which are created without breath, cannot be remade and are instead destroyed.
A donkey walked a hundred miles turning a millstone. When it was set free, it was still in the same place as when it started.
Some people, too, exhaust themselves but go nowhere. When night falls, they have passed no cities, nor villages, nor buildings, nor countryside, nor powers, nor angels. The labor of such pitiable people is in vain.
Jesus is the eucharist. In Syriac, the eucharist is called pharisatha – “that which is spread out.” For Christ was spread out on the cross to crucify this world.
The Lord walked into Levi’s dye works and picked up seventy-two pieces of cloth, all of which were different colors. He threw them into a tub. When he pulled them out, they were all white. He said, “This is why the Son of Man came – to dye.”
Though Wisdom is called “barren,” she is the mother of many children.
Mary Magdalene was the companion of the Savior. He loved her more than all the other disciples, and kissed her on her [text missing] more often than he kissed the rest of the disciples. [Text missing]
The disciples asked him, “Why do you love her more than any of us?”
The Savior replied, “Why do I not love you like I love her? If a blind person and a person with keen eyes both sit in the dark, there is no difference between them. But when light shines, the person with keen eyes will see the light, and the blind person will still be in the dark.”
The Lord said, “Blessed is the one who existed before being born. That one is, was, and will be.”
The superiority of humans over the animals lies not in their outward appearance, but in something invisible within them. Because of this invisible quality, humans dominate animals and are more capable in all kinds of ways.
Animals survive because of humans. Without humans, animals kill and eat one another because they have no other food. But because humans till the soil, animals have other food.
Anyone who goes down into the water and comes up without having gotten anything and says, “I am a Christian,” has borrowed the name. But one who has gotten the Holy Spirit has been given the name as a gift.
One who has been given a gift does not have to return it, but one who has borrowed something does have to return it. This applies even to mysteries.
The mystery of marriage should be revered, for were it not for marriage, the world would cease to be. The world only exists because of people, and people only exist because of marriage. Consider, then, how great a mystery pure marriage, pure intercourse, is! It is no less great even though its earthly counterpart is full of corruption.
There are both male and female unclean spirits. The males have promiscuous sex with women, and the females have promiscuous sex with men.
When such spirits seize a soul, the soul cannot break free from them without the power of its bride or groom. This power comes from the bridal chamber.
Whenever the female unclean spirits see a man sitting alone, they jump on him, stroke him, and pollute him. And whenever the male unclean spirits see a beautiful woman sitting alone, they seduce her, violate her, and pollute her.
But when they see a husband and wife sitting together, the females cannot proposition the man, and the males cannot proposition the woman.
When one is united with one’s angel, no one dares to proposition either.
Whoever leaves the world will no longer be tied down by the world. That person has transcended desire, and [text missing].
How can someone escape the powers that want to capture and strangle him? Where can he hide from them?
Some people say, “We are faithful,” and think that these words will protect them from the demons and unclean spirits. But if they had gotten the Holy Spirit, no unclean spirit could get them.
Neither fear nor love the flesh. If you fear it, it will rule you. And if you love it, it will swallow you and smother you.
A person either dwells in this world or in the resurrection – or in the place between them. Do not let me be found there!
This world has its own standards of good and evil, even though what this world calls “good” is not truly good, and what it calls “evil” is not truly evil. But other than this world, there is something that is indeed truly evil: the place called the “middle.” That place is death.
As long as we dwell in this world, we are in need of resurrection, so that when our flesh is stripped off of us, we will be at rest rather than wandering around in the middle. For many lose sight of the path and become lost.
In a vision, an apostle saw people lying in chains made of fire in a house made of fire because of the insincerity of their faith. A voice said to the apostle, “They could have saved themselves, but they did not care to, so they ended up in this place of punishment called the ‘outer darkness.’” [Text missing]
Soul and spirit are made of fire and water. The bridal chamber’s attendant is made of fire, water, and light.
“Fire” is chrism. “Light” is fire – not mundane fire, which is just formless matter, but another kind of fire whose color is pure white. It shines with a beautiful brightness and makes whatever it shines upon beautiful.
Truth does not come into the world plainly, but in images and symbols, for that is the only way the world can perceive it.
There is rebirth itself and there is the image of rebirth. Only through the image of rebirth can one be reborn. And what is that image? Resurrection.
We ourselves are images, and so we can only approach the truth through this image and the bridal chamber. That is how we return to our home in the realm of truth.
Those who have received the names “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” and have put their faith in these names and the truth behind them must do this. Whoever does not put his faith in them will have his own name taken from him.
These names are received through the chrism oil, which holds the power of the cross. This power is what the apostles called “the right and the left.”
Such a person is no longer just a Christian, but a Christ.
The Lord did everything through a mystery: baptism, chrism, eucharist, redemption, and bridal chamber.
The Lord said, “I have come to make the lower like the higher and the outer like the inner, and to unite them in a single place.” Here he spoke in images and symbols.
Those who say that there is someone higher than the man who came from Heaven are in error, for they call the visible man “lower” and the owner of the invisible realm “higher.” They would be closer to the mark if they spoke in terms of the “inner,” the “outer,” and the “outermost.”
For the Lord referred to evil as the “outermost darkness” because there was nothing further from him than that. And he said, “Go into your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret” – that is, to the innermost one.
And what is the innermost? The Fullness (Pleroma). There is nothing deeper inside you than that. And this is what some call the “uppermost.”
Before Christ, some left a place they could not go back into, and went to a place they were unable to leave.
Then Christ came. He took them out of the place where they were trapped and took them back to the place they had left.
In the days before Eve was taken out of Adam, death had not yet come into being. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If she and Adam are united once again, death will disappear.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He said this on the cross because he was no longer there.
Through God, the Lord was born from what never dies. The Lord rose from the dead, but not as he had been before. This time, his body was perfect, for it was made of true flesh – not the same kind of flesh we have, which is only an imitation of true flesh.
Animals, slaves, and whores have no wedding bed. Only free people and virgins do.
Through the Holy Spirit, we are reborn. Through Christ, we are conceived when we are baptized in two things. The Spirit anoints us, and when we are conceived, we are united.
Without light, no one can see his reflection in a mirror or in water, and without a mirror or water, no one can see his reflection, even in a brightly-lit place. So one has to be baptized in two things: water and light, and the light is chrism.
Those who have put on the perfect light are invisible to the rulers, and cannot be captured by them. This light is put on when one participates in the mystery of union.
If the first woman had not been separated from the first man, neither of them would have died. That separation was the origin of death.
Christ came to unify those who had been separated, so that he could bring them back to life.
The union between husband and wife takes place in the bridal chamber, and those who are united there will never again have to face separation.
Adam and Eve became separated because they did not go into the bridal chamber to be unified.
Adam’s mind was given to him through breath. The spirit that he was given was his mother. When the shortcomings of his mind were rectified by the spirit, he was united with spirit, and he spoke words that demonstrated his superiority over the rulers. Because of this, they were jealous of him. The separated him from his spiritual partner… [text missing]
At the Jordan River, Jesus revealed who he truly was: the Fullness, the Kingdom of Heaven. He who had been born before anything else was born again. He who had been anointed before anyone else was anointed again. He who had been redeemed then set out to redeem others.
A mystery needs to be recounted:
The Father of the Fullness united himself with the virgin who came down from that realm. That virgin glowed with fire. On that day, he unveiled the great bridal chamber, for the sake of which he took on a body. And he stepped out of the bridal chamber like someone who had been born to a bride and groom.
Through these deeds, Jesus placed the Fullness inside the bridal chamber, and anyone who wants to be his disciple should enter into it to find rest.
Adam was born to two virgins: the Spirit and virgin soil.
Christ was born to a virgin in order to remedy the fall that happened at the beginning of time.
Two trees grew in paradise. The fruits of one of them were animals, and the fruits of the other were humans.
Adam ate from the tree with animal fruit, so he became an animal himself, and the father of more animals. This is why Adam’s children worship animals they call “gods.” The tree whose fruit he ate is called the “tree of knowledge,” and this meal multiplied sin beyond measure.
Had he instead eaten from the tree that produced human fruit, the tree of life, the “gods” would worship humans.
In the other world, God created humans to worship him. In this world, humans create gods and worship their creations. It would make more sense for the gods to worship humans!
When someone truly accomplishes something, it is due to his abilities. Therefore, when we talk about accomplishments, we are really referring to the abilities behind them.
The conception of a child is an accomplishment, and it happens during a moment of rest.
Abilities can be discerned by the accomplishments they produce, and children are full of rest.
So it is with the image of God and those who are made in it. Such people accomplish great things through the abilities of that image, and they conceive children through its rest.
In this world, servants serve those who are free. In the Kingdom of Heaven, free people serve the servants. The bridal chamber’s attendants serve the wedding guests.
The bridal chamber’s attendants are all in the same state: rest. While they are there, they have no need to do anything. Contemplation is all that is required of them. [Text missing]
Jesus had to go into the water to redeem and perfect it. Since then, everyone who has been baptized in his name has been perfected. Thus he said, “We shall make all righteousness perfect.”
Some people mistakenly say that we must die before being resurrected. If they are not resurrected while they are still alive, they will not gain anything by dying.
Hence the saying, “Great is baptism.” Those who receive baptism will live.
The apostle Philip said, “The carpenter Joseph planted a tree farm, for he needed wood for his work. The cross was made by him from the trees he himself had planted, and his own seed died from what he had planted. His seed was Jesus, and what he planted was the cross.
“But in the middle of that tree farm stands the tree of life: an olive tree from which comes the chrism oil, and from the chrism oil comes resurrection.”
This world eats the dead, and everything that is eaten in this world dies. But truth eats the living, and no one who lives on truth will die.
That is where Jesus came from, and he came bearing the food of that place. He served life to whomever wanted it, so that they might not die.
God planted a garden and placed humankind in it. [Text missing]
In this garden, I will be told to eat anything I want to eat, and to not eat anything I do not want to eat. So I will eat everything, for the tree of gnosis is there.
The earthly tree of knowledge murdered Adam, but this tree of gnosis brings the dead back to life.
Adam’s tree was the Law of Moses. It can indeed impart knowledge about good and evil, but it neither saved Adam from evil nor graced him with good. Instead, it unleashed death upon those who ate from it.
For when it was said, “Eat this, but do not eat that,” death was born.
Chrism is more powerful than baptism. Our name, “Christians,” comes from “chrism,” not from “baptism.” The name “Christ,” too, comes from “chrism:” Christ, the Son, was anointed by the Father. He then went on to anoint the apostles, who in turn anointed us.
Whoever has received chrism has received everything: resurrection, light, cross, Holy Spirit. All of these are received from the Father and accepted by the one being anointed in the bridal chamber.
The Father is part of the Son, and the Son is part of the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Lord said it best: “Some have entered the Kingdom of Heaven laughing, and have returned from it laughing.”
Someone replied, “Such a person is a Christian.”
That person went on to say, “Such a person has gone down into the water and has come up out of it as the lord of all.
“Redemption is the furthest thing from a joke that there is, but when someone enters the Kingdom of Heaven, he cannot help but laugh at the ridiculousness of his rags. He spurns the body as something worthy of only mocking laughter, so he returns from the Kingdom laughing, too.”
It is the same with the bread, the cup, and the oil – although there are things that are higher than even these.
The creation of this world was a mistake.
The creator wanted the world to be perfect and eternal, but he failed, and it did not turn out the way he wanted it. He is not perfect, and so his world is not perfect.
Nothing is perfect except children, and nothing can become perfect unless it is a child. And that which cannot become perfect certainly cannot bestow perfection.
The cup of prayer holds a mixture of wine and water, which symbolizes the blood for which we offer our gratitude. The Holy Spirit dwells within it, and it belongs to the perfect man. When we drink from it, we imbibe the perfect man.
The living water is the body of the living man, and we must put on that body. Therefore, one who is about to go down into the water must strip naked in order to put on the living man.
Horses come from horses, humans come from humans, gods come from gods, and brides and grooms come from brides and grooms.
Jews do not come from Greeks, Greeks do not come from Jews, and Christians do not come from either.
There is another race, the chosen people of the spiritual seed, the true humanity, the Son of Man and the children of the Son of Man. This race is spread throughout the world, and the attendants of the bridal chamber are among them.
In this world of both strength and weakness, men and women unite with each other. In the other world, however, there is another type of union.
We use the same word to refer to both of these, but there are other words that could be used instead – words that are stronger than even the strongest of words that can be uttered.
There is strength and there is that which is stronger than strength. Yet these two can be united. All of this is unfathomable to hearts made of flesh.
Should not even those who have everything know themselves? Those who do not know themselves are unable to enjoy anything that they have, but those who do know themselves can enjoy everything that they have.
Not only can the perfect man not be grasped – he cannot even be seen, for that which can be seen can be grasped.
Whoever has not put on the perfect light and become the perfect light cannot receive grace. But whoever puts on that light will find the place of rest.
Before we leave this world, we must become as perfect as that light. Whoever receives all the gifts of the spirit but does not sever himself from this world will not be able to reach the world of perfect light, and will instead find himself in the middle place, since he is not perfect. Only Jesus knows what will happen to such a person!
Everything about a holy person is holy – even his body. When he picks up bread, the bread is made holy. So, too, is a cup or anything else that he picks up and sanctifies. How could the holy person’s body not also be holy?
When Jesus poured the water of baptism, he poured out death. This is why, when we go down into the water, we do not go into death. We are not poured out into the spirit of this world.
When the wind of that spirit blows, it brings winter. But when the wind of the Holy Spirit blows, it brings summer.
A free person is someone with gnosis, the knowledge of what is true. Such a person does not sin, for “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin.”
Truth is our Mother. Gnosis is our Father.
Those who are free from this world are impervious to sin. Gnosis “puffs up” – it empowers them over all the world.
But “Love builds up.” Whoever has been liberated by gnosis is, through love, a slave of those who have not yet been liberated by gnosis.
Although love owns everything, it never says, “This is mine,” or “That is mine.” Instead, it says, “Everything I own is yours.”
Spiritual love is wine and fragrant oil. Those who are anointed with it get to smell its aroma, as does anyone who stands close to them. When the anointed one leaves, the others are left with only their own stink.
The Samaritan gave the injured man only wine and oil, but that was enough to heal the man’s wounds, for “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
A woman’s children look like the man she loves. If she loves her husband, they look like her husband. If she has committed adultery with another man, they look like that man. A woman who is obliged to sleep with her husband, but whose heart is with another man, will often bear children who look like that other man.
It is the same with you. If you love the Son of God, do not love this world. Love only the Lord, so that what comes forth from you will be like the Lord rather than this world.
Humans mate with humans, horses mate with horses, and donkeys mate with donkeys. Every being mates with other members of its own species.
In the same way, spirit mates with spirit, Word mates with Word, and light mates with light.
If you become human, your lover will be human. If you become spirit, you will unite with spirit. If you become Word, Word will mix with you. If you become light, light will mate with you. If you become that which is above, that which is above will rest with you.
If you become a horse, or a donkey, or a cow, or a sheep, or a dog, or any of the other kinds of animals, whether wild or domestic, neither human, nor spirit, nor Word, nor light will be able to love you. Neither that which is above nor that which is within will be able to rest with you, and you will have no share in them.
Those who do not want to be slaves can become free. Those who have been freed by the grace of their lord, but have sold themselves back into slavery, can never again be free.
Earthly cultivation involves four things, each of which is necessary for a successful harvest: soil, water, air, and light.
Divine cultivation, too, involves four things: faith, hope, love, and gnosis. Faith is the soil where we take root. Hope is the water that sustains us. Love is the air in which we grow. And gnosis is the light in which we ripen.
Grace is [text missing].
Blessed is the one who has never hurt another – namely Jesus Christ. He came to everyone in the world and oppressed none of them. Blessed is he for this – the perfect man.
The Word shows us how superhuman a feat this is. How could anyone ever accomplish it? How could any of us be nothing but help to everyone?
First and foremost, one must not bring grief to anyone – whether famous or ordinary, believer or unbeliever – and then go on to help those who recline in luxury. Some people profit by helping the rich, but the truly good person does not, for he does not do something merely because it is advantageous to him. Instead, he simply does not bring them grief. If they come to grief, it is only because of their own flaws. The person who shares the nature of the perfect man brings joy to the good, and some people are troubled by that.
There was once a head of a household who had everything there was to have: children, slaves, cows, pigs, dogs, wheat, chaff, barley, acorns, fodder, oil, meat, and so on. He was wise and knew what each mouth should be given for food.
He fed the children bread and meat. He fed the slaves grain and oil. He fed the cattle fodder, chaff, and barley. He fed the dogs bones. He fed the pigs acorns and porridge.
It is the same with God’s disciples. Those of them who are wise understand what discipleship means. They are not deceived by outward appearances, but instead see the state of each person’s soul, and tailor their words and actions toward that person accordingly.
In this world, many of those who appear to be humans are really animals. When God’s disciples see that someone is really a pig, they give him acorns to eat. When they see that someone is really a cow, they give him fodder, chaff, and barley. When they see a dog, they give him bones. When they see slaves, they give them only a first course. And when they see children, they give them a full meal.
There is the Son of Man, and there is the son of the Son of Man. The Lord is the Son of Man, and his son is the one who creates through him. The Son of Man received his power to create from God. God also gave him the power to procreate.
One who has been created can create, and one who has been procreated can procreate. One who has been created cannot procreate, but one who has been procreated can create. When we say, to the contrary, that a creator’s creations are his “children,” it is merely a figure of speech.
A creator creates out in the open and in the light. But a procreator procreates in secret and in darkness. He is beyond everything that can be seen.
When a husband and a wife sleep with each other, only they know about it, for marriage is a mystery in this world. If such corrupt marriage is a mystery, how much more of a mystery is pure marriage!
Where corrupt marriage is fleshly, pure marriage is spiritual and holy. It is not a matter of desire, but rather of will. It is not something whose central act happens in the darkness of night, but rather in the light of day.
In this world, when the things of marriage are brought into the light, they become adultery. A wife commits adultery not only if she sleeps with someone other than her husband, but even if she leaves the marriage bedroom while still naked and another sees her. Besides her husband, only her parents and the attendants of the bridal chamber should be allowed to see her as she is. Others, however, should be left to yearn to even hear her voice or smell her perfume. Like dogs, they should receive only the scraps that fall from the table.
Brides and grooms belong in the bridal chamber. No one can see a bride or a groom except by becoming one themselves.
When Abraham saw what he was meant to see, he circumcised himself, thereby teaching us the necessity of the mortification of the flesh.
Most beings in this world can only stand up with life as long as their innards are hidden. If others can see their innards, they are dead. This is the case with the human body, which dies when its innards are exposed and removed. Similarly, a tree whose roots are hidden grows higher and sends forth new shoots, but if its roots are uncovered, it withers.
It is the same with all the things of this world – not just visible things, but invisible ones, too. The root of evil is strong as long as it remains hidden. But as soon as it is perceived, it is destroyed. Thus it is written, “Even now the ax is placed by the roots of the tree.” That ax does not only cut down the tree, for then new shoots could grow from its living roots. Instead, it cuts the deepest roots, too.
While many have hacked away bits and pieces of the tree of this world, only Jesus pulled it out by its roots.
Each of us should likewise dig inside ourselves until we find the root of evil, and pull it out. As soon as we see it, it will be pulled out. But when we do not see it, it burrows down deep within us and bears fruit in our hearts. It overpowers us, takes us captive, and enslaves us. It forces us to do things that we do not want to do, and to not do things that we do want to do. It draws its strength from our ignorance of it, and as long as it is there, it is at work.
The root of all evil is the lack of gnosis. The lack of gnosis leads to death, for lack is the mother of no children; those born of it have never truly existed and never will truly exist.
But those who are born of truth will become perfect when they perceive all truth. Like evil, truth rests in itself while it remains hidden. But when truth appears and is recognized, its glory sweeps away all ignorance and error, and it liberates the one who has recognized it.
It is written, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” The lack of gnosis is slavery, and gnosis is freedom. When you come to know the truth, you will find the fruits of truth within you. When you become united with it, you will rest in fullness.
Right now, we can only see the visible parts of creation. We say that what is visible is worthwhile and powerful, and that what is invisible is worthless and powerless.
But does this hold for invisible truths? Are they worthless? Are they powerless? No. They are full of worth and power.
Truth’s mysteries come to us through images and symbols. The bridal chamber, the holy of holies, is invisible to us. The curtain in front of it has concealed the workings of God, but when it is ripped and what it has been covering is uncovered, the building that contains it will be abandoned and demolished.
The demiurge will flee from that place. But he will not be able to enter the holy of holies, for he cannot be in the presence of perfect light and perfect fullness. Instead, he will dwell under the wings and the arms of the cross. This is the ark that will be the people’s salvation when the waters of the flood tower over them.
All the holy ones will be able to peer behind the curtain and enter the holy of holies with the high priest. So that this could happen, the curtain was not only ripped at the top, for in that case only the upper world would be open. Nor was it only ripped at the bottom, for in that case only the lower world would be open. Instead, it was ripped all the way from top to bottom. The upper world was opened to us, who dwell in the lower world, so that we could enter the hidden world of truth.
That world is what is truly worthwhile and powerful. And we shall enter it through images and symbols that are worthless and powerless when compared to perfect glory – glory above glory, power above power.
Perfection and hidden truth have opened for us. The holy of holies has been unveiled, and we have been invited into the bridal chamber.
While the seed of the Holy Spirit is hidden, evil remains alongside it, and its children are enslaved to evil. But when that seed is revealed, perfect light will envelop everyone, and all who are in the midst of that light will be anointed with the chrism oil. The slaves and the captives will be set free. “Every plant that has not been planted by my Father in Heaven will be pulled out.” Separation will give way to union, and emptiness will give way to fullness.
Each person who enters the bridal chamber will spark the light. This is not like earthly marriages that are practiced under cover of darkness. Their fire burns at night, but is dead by daybreak. No, the mysteries of this marriage take place during a day whose light never sets.
Whoever becomes an attendant of the bridal chamber will receive the light. If the light is not received there, it will not be received elsewhere.
Whoever receives the light can be neither seen nor grasped. Nothing can disturb him, even while he lives in this world. And when he leaves this world, he will have already received the truth through images and symbols. The Fullness, the eternal world, is his world. It has been revealed to him alone; it is hidden from others not by darkness and night, but by perfect day and holy light.
 “Gospel” in the Online Etymology Dictionary. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=gospel&ref=searchbar_searchhint
 Scopello, Madeleine, and Marvin Meyer. 2008. “The Gospel of Philip.” In The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin Meyer. HarperOne. p. 158.
 Lewis, Nicola Denzey. 2013. Introduction to “Gnosticism:” Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds. Oxford University Press. p. 92-93.
 Scopello, Madeleine, and Marvin Meyer. 2008. “The Gospel of Philip.” In The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin Meyer. HarperOne. p. 160.
 Lewis, Nicola Denzey. 2013. Introduction to “Gnosticism:” Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds. Oxford University Press. p. 92-93.
 Ibid. p. 93.
 Ibid. p. 92-93.
 Ibid. p. 98.
 Layton, Bentley (trans.). 1987. “The Gospel of Philip.” In The Gnostic Scriptures. Doubleday. p. 329-353.
 Marvin Meyer (trans.). 2008. “The Gospel of Philip.” In The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin Meyer. HarperOne. p. 161-186.