THE HYPOSTASIS OF THE ARCHONS

[Codex II,86.20-97.23]

Translated by Anne McGuire

Haverford College

On account of the reality of the authorities, in the spirit of the Father of Truth the great apostle told us concerning the "authorities of darkness" that "our struggle is not against flesh and [blood]; but against the authorities of the cosmos and the spiritual (forces) of evil." [I have] sent (you) this because you inquire about the reality [of the] authorities. [86.20-27]

Their great one is blind; [because of his] power and his ignorance [and his] arrogance he said with his [power], "It is I who am god; there is none [apart from me]." [86.27-31]

When he said this, he sinned against [the Entirety]. And this speech reached up to Incorruptibility. And behold, a voice came forth from Incorruptibility, saying, "You are mistaken, Samael"--which is, "god of the blind." [86.31-87.4].

His thoughts became blind. He cast out his power, that is, the blasphemy he had spoken. He pursued it down to chaos and the abyss, his mother, through Pistis Sophia. And she established his offspring, each one according to its power--after the pattern of the Aeons that are above, for from the Invisible were visible things invented. [87.4-11]

As Incorruptibility looked down into the regions of the waters, her image appeared in the waters; and the authorities of darkness became enamored of her. But they could not lay hold of that image, which had appeared to them in the waters, because of their weakness--for "those of soul (mpsychikos) cannot lay hold of spiritual ones (mpneumatikos)"--for they were from below, but it (the image) was from above. [87.11-20]

Because of this, Incorruptibility looked down into the regions so that by the will of the Father, she might conjoin the entirety with the light. The rulers (archons) conspired and said, "Come, let us create a human being of some soil from the earth." They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth. [87.20-27]

Now the rulers . . . body . . . they have . . . female . . .is . . . with the face of a beast. They had taken [some soil] from the earth and modeled their [human being], according to their body and [according to the image] of the god that had appeared [to them] in the waters. [87.27-33]

They said, "[Come, let] us lay hold of it with our modeled form, [so that] it may see its counterpart (m.) [ . . . ], and we may grasp it with our modeled form"--not understanding the power of God because of their powerlessness. And he breathed into his face; and the human being came to be soul (and remained) upon the earth many days. But they could not make him arise because of their powerlessness. Like storm winds they persisted, that they might try to capture that image, which had appeared to them in the waters. And they did not know the identity of its power. [87.33-88.10]

Now all these things came to pass by the will of the Father of the Entirety. Afterwards, the Spirit saw the human being of soul upon the earth. And the Spirit came forth from the adamantine earth; it descended and came to dwell within him, and that human being became a living soul. [88.10-16]

It called his name Adam since he was found moving upon the earth. A voice came forth from Incorruptibility for the assistance of Adam. And the rulers gathered together all the animals of the earth and all the birds of heaven. They brought them to Adam to see what Adam would call them, that he might give a name to each of the birds and all of the beasts. [88.16-24]

They took Adam [and] put him in the garden, that he might cultivate [it] and keep watch over it. And the rulers commanded him, saying, "From [every] tree in the garden you (sg.) shall eat; but [from] the tree of knowing good and evil do not eat, nor [touch] it; for the day you (pl.) eat [from] it, with death you (pl.) will die." [88.24-32]

They [ . . . ] this. They do not know what [they have said] to him. Rather, by the will of the Father they said this in this way so that he might eat and so that Adam might <not> regard them as would one entirely of matter. [88.32-89.3]

The rulers took counsel with one another and said, "Come, let us bring sleep upon Adam." And he slept. --But the sleep that they "brought upon him and he slept" is ignorance. They opened his side like a living woman (nnou-shime esonh). And they built up his side with some flesh in her place, and Adam came to be entirely of soul (mpsychikos). [89.3-11]

And the Spiritual Woman (t-shime mpneumatike) came to him and spoke with him, saying, "Arise, Adam." And when he saw her, he said, "It is you who have given me life; you will be called ‘Mother of the Living.’ --For it is she who is my Mother. It is She who is the Physician and the Woman and She who has given birth." [89.11-17]

Then the authorities came up to their Adam. And when they saw his counterpart (f.) speaking with him, they became disturbed in a great disturbance; and they became enamored of her. They said to one another, "Come, let us sow our seed (pn-sperma) in her," and they pursued her. And she laughed at them for their senselessness and their blindness. And in their clutches, she became a tree, and she left her shadow resembling herself before them; and they defiled [it] foully.-- And they defiled the impression of her voice, so that they made themselves liable to condemnation by their modeled form and [their] image . [89.17-31]

Then the Spiritual One (f., ti-pneumatike) came [in] the snake, the Instructor; and it instructed [them], saying, "What did he [say to] you (pl.)? Was it, ‘From every tree in the garden you (sg.) shall eat; but from [the tree] of knowing evil and good do not eat’?" [89.31-90.2)]

The fleshly woman (tshime nsarkike) said, "Not only did he say ‘Do not eat,’ but even ‘Do not touch it; for the day you (pl.) eat from it, with death you (pl.) are going to die.’" [90.2-5]

And the snake, the Instructor, said, "With death you (pl.) shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you (pl.). Rather your (pl.) eyes shall open and you (pl.) shall become like gods, knowing evil and good." And the Instructor was taken away from the snake, and she left it merely a thing of the earth. [90.6-12]

And the fleshly woman took from the tree and ate; and she gave to her husband and herself; and the ones of soul (am-psychikos) ate. And their deficiency showed forth in their ignorance; and they recognized that they were naked of the Spiritual (a-pneumatikon), and they took fig leaves and bound them upon their loins. [90.13-19]

Then the great ruler came; and he said, "Adam! Where are you?"--for he did not know what had happened. [90.19-21]

And Adam said, "I heard your voice and was afraid because I was naked; and I hid." [90.21-23]

The ruler said, "Why did you (sg.) hide, unless it is because you (sg.) ate from the tree from which alone I commanded you not to eat? And you ate!" [90.24-27]

Adam said, "The woman that you gave me, [she gave] to me and I ate." And the arrogant ruler cursed the woman. [90.27-30]

The woman said, "It was the snake that led me astray and I ate." [They turned] to the snake and cursed its shadow, [. . .] powerless, not knowing [that] it was their modeled form. From that day, the snake came to be under the curse of the authorities; until the Perfect Human Being (pteleios nrome) was to come, that curse fell upon the snake. [90.30-91.3]

They turned to their Adam and took him and cast him out of the garden along with his wife; for they have no blessing, since they too are beneath the curse [91.3-7]

And they cast humankind into great distraction and into difficulty, so that their humankind might become occupied with the things of earthly life and might not become devoted to the Holy Spirit. [91.7-11]

Now after these things, she (the woman) bore Cain, their son; and Cain cultivated the land. Thereupon he knew his wife; again becoming pregnant, she bore Abel; and Abel was a herdsman of sheep. Now Cain brought in from the crops of the field, but Abel brought in an offering (from) among his lambs. God looked upon the votive offering of Abel; but he did not accept the votive offerings of Cain. And fleshly Cain pursued Abel his brother. [91.11-21]

And God said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" [91.21-22]

He answered and said, "Am I, then, my brother’s keeper?" [91.23-24]

God said to Cain, "Listen! The voice of your brother’s blood is crying up to me! You have sinned with your mouth. It will return to you; anyone who kills Cain will let loose seven vengeances, and you will exist groaning and trembling upon the earth." [91.24-30]

And Adam [knew] his counterpart (f.) Eve, and she became pregnant and bore [Seth] to Adam. And she said, "I have borne [another] human being through God, in place [of Abel]." [91.30-33]

Again Eve became pregnant, and she bore [Norea]. And she said, "He has begotten on me a virgin as an assistance (nouparthenos nboetheia) [for] many generations of human beings." She is the virgin whom the powers did not defile. [91.34-92.3]

Then human beings began to multiply and improve. [92.3-4]

The rulers took counsel with one another and said, "Come, let us create a deluge with our hands and obliterate all flesh, from human being to beast." [92.4-8]

But when the ruler of the powers came to know of their plan, he said to Noah, "Make yourself an ark from some wood that does not rot and hide in it--you and your children and the beasts and the birds of heaven from small to large--and set it upon Mount Sir." [92.8-14]

The Orea came to him wishing to board the ark. And when he would not let her, she blew upon the ark and burned it up. Again he made the ark, for a second time. [92.14-18]

The rulers went to meet her wishing to lead her astray. Their great one among them said to her, "Your mother Eve came to us." [92.18-21]

But Norea turned to them and said to them, "It is you who are the rulers of the darkness; you are accursed. And you did not know my mother; rather it was your counterpart (f.) that you knew. For I am not from you (your descendant); rather it is from Above that I am come." [92.21-26]

The arrogant ruler turned in his power, [and] his countenance came to be like (a) black [ . . . ]; he acted boldly toward her and said to her, "It is necessary that you render service to us, like your mother Eve; for I have been given (?) [ . . . ]." [92.27-32]

But Norea turned, in the power of [ . . .]; and [she] cried out in a great voice [up to] the Holy One, the God of the Entirety, "Rescue me from the rulers of unrighteousness and save me from their clutches--at once!" [92.32-93.2]

The <Great> Angel came down from the heavens and said to her, "Why are you crying up to God? Why do you act so boldly towards the Holy Spirit?" [93.2-6]

Norea said, "Who are you?" [93.6]

The rulers of unrighteousness had withdrawn from her. He said, "It is I who am Eleleth, Sagacity, the Great Angel, who stands in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have been sent to speak with you and save you from the hands of the lawless. And I shall teach you about your root." [93.7-13]

--Now as for that angel, I cannot speak of his power: his appearance is like fine gold and his garment is like snow. For my mouth cannot bear to speak of his power and the appearance of his face! [93.13-17]

Eleleth, the Great Angel, spoke to me. "It is I," he said, "who am Understanding. I am one of the four Illuminators, who stand in the presence of the great Invisible Spirit. Do you think these rulers have any power over you (sg.)? None of them have power against the Root of Truth. For because of it (the Root), He appeared in the final ages; and they will reign over their authorities. And these authorities cannot defile you and that Generation. For your (pl.) abode is in Incorruptibility, where the Virginal Spirit (ppneuma m-parthenikon) dwells, who is superior to the authorities of chaos and their cosmos." [93.18-32]

But I said, "Lord, teach me about the [power of] these authorities--[how] did they come into being and from what reality, [and] of what matter, and who created them and their power?" [93.32-94.2]

And the great angel Eleleth, Understanding, spoke to me: "Within limitless aeons dwells Incorruptibility. Sophia, who is called Pistis, wished to create something, alone without her consort; and her product (work) became celestial images. [94.2-8]

"A veil exists between the Things Above and the Aeons below; and shadow came into being beneath the veil; and that shadow became matter; and that shadow was cast apart. And that which she had made became a product in the matter, like a miscarriage. And it took (its) pattern from the shadow, and became an arrogant beast resembling a lion." It was androgynous (ouhoutshime), as I have already said, because it was from matter that it came forth. [94.8-19]

"He opened his eyes and saw a great (quantity of) matter without limit; and he became arrogant, saying, ‘It is I who am god, and there is none other apart from me.’ [94.19-22]

"When he said this, he sinned against the Entirety. And a voice came forth from above (the realm of) authority, saying, ‘You are mistaken, Samael’--which is, ‘god of the blind.’ [94.22-26]

"And he said, ‘If any other thing exists before me, let it become manifest to me!’ And immediately Sophia stretched forth her finger and she put Light into matter; and she pursued it down to the regions of chaos. And she returned up [to] her light; again darkness [ . . .] matter. [94.26-34]

"This ruler, being androgynous (n-hooytshime), created for himself a great aeon, a greatness without limit. And he thought of creating offspring for himself. And he created for himself seven offspring, androgynous just like their father. [94.34-95.4]

"And he said to his offspring, ‘It is I who am the god of the entirety.’ [95.4-5]

"And Zoe, the daughter of Pistis Sophia, cried out and said to him, ‘You are mistaken, Sakla!’--for which the alternative is Yaltabaoth. She breathed into his face, and her breath became for her an angel of fire; and that angel bound Yaldabaoth and cast him down into tartaros below the abyss. [95.5-13]

"Now when his offspring Sabaoth saw the power of that angel, he repented and condemned his father and his mother matter. [95.13-17]

"He loathed her, and he sang songs of praise up to Sophia and her daughter Zoe. And Sophia and Zoe caught him up and appointed him over the seventh heaven, below the veil between the Above and the below. And he is called ‘the god of the powers, Sabaoth,’ since he is above the powers of chaos, for Sophia appointed him. [95.17-25]

"Now when these things had happened, he created for himself a great four-faced chariot of cherubim, and angels many in number to render service, and also harps and lyres. [95.26-31]

"And Sophia took her daughter Zoe and had her sit upon his right to teach him about the things that exist in the eighth (heaven). And the angel [of] wrath she placed upon his left.. [From] that day, [his right] has been called Zoe and the left has become the pattern of unrighteousness of the realm of authority above. It was before your (sg.) time that they came into being. [95.31-96.3]

"Now when Yaldabaoth saw him existing in this great glory and at this height, he envied him and the envy became an androgynous product (nou-ergon efo n-hooytshime) and this was the beginning of envy. And envy engendered death; and death engendered his offspring and gave each of them charge of its heaven; and all the heavens of chaos became full of their numbers. [96.3-11]

"But it was by the will of the Father of the Entirety that all these things came into being--after the pattern of all the Things Above--so that the number of chaos might be completed. [96.11-15]

"Behold, I have taught you (sg.) about the pattern of the rulers; and the matter in which it was engendered; and their father; and their cosmos." [96.15-17]

But I said, "Lord, do I also belong to their matter?" [96.17-19]

--"You and your offspring, belong to the Father who exists from the beginning; it is from Above, from the Imperishable Light that their souls have come. Because of this the authorities cannot approach them because of the Spirit of Truth present within them. And all who have come to know this way exist deathless in the midst of dying humankind. But that Seed (pe-sperma) will not become manifest now. [96.19-28]

"Rather, after three generations it will become manifest. It (He) has cast out from them the bond of the error of the authorities." [96.28-31]

Then I said, "Lord, how much longer?" [96.31-32]

He said to me, "When the True Human Being is manifest in a modeled form [ . . the Spirit of] Truth, which the Father has sent. [96.32-97.1]

"Then that one will teach them about everything. And he will anoint them in the chrism of Eternal Life, which was given to him from the Undominated Generation. [97.1-5]

"Then blind thought will be cast off from them. And they will trample under foot the death of the authorities. And they will ascend to the Light which has no limit, where this Seed (peeisperma) exists. [97.5-9]

"Then the authorities will relinquish their ages. And their angels will weep over their destruction. And their demons will lament their death. [97.10-13]

"Then all the children of the Light will know the Truth and their Root in Truth and the Father of the Entirety and the Holy Spirit. They will all say in a single voice, ‘The Truth of the Father is just, and the Son is over the Entirety.’ And from everyone unto the ages of ages, ‘Holy--holy--holy! Amen!’"[97.13-21]

The Reality of the Rulers [97.22-23]

 

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