Excerpts from The Gospel of Philip

Translated by Wesley W. Isenberg

Note from AMcGuire: Below are a selection of passages from The Gospel of Philip. This selection does not represent all of the passage that have to do with the themes of gender, the bridal chamber, or the Holy Spirit, but it does include all of the references to Mary Magdalene (# 28 & 48) and Mary his mother (#14).

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GPhil 11 (55.6-13)

Before Christ came, there was no bread in the world, just as Paradise, the place were Adam was, had many trees to nourish the animals but no wheat to sustain man. Man used to feed like the animals, but when Christ came, the perfect human being, he brought bread from heaven in order that human beings might be nourished with the food of the human being. The rulers thought that it was by their own power and will that they were doing what they did, but the Holy Spirit in secret was accomplishing everything through them as it wished. Truth, which existed since the beginning, is sown everywhere. And many see it being sown, but few are they who see it being reaped.

Some said, "Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit." They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman? Mary is the virgin whom no power defiled. She is a great anathema to the Hebrews, who are the apostles and the apostolic men. This virgin whom no power defiled [...] the powers defile themselves. And the Lord would not have said "My Father who is in Heaven" (Mt 16:17), unless he had had another father, but he would have said simply "My father".


GPhil 12

The Rulers thought that it was by their own power and will that they did what they did: but the Holy Spirit was secretly activating the Entirety through them, as it willed.


GPhil 13

Truth, which has existed from the first, is sown everywhere. And there are many who see it being sown, but few who see it being reaped.


GPhil 14

Some said that Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit: they are mistaken, they do not realize what they say. When did a female ever conceive by a female? Mary is the virgin whom the forces did not defile. Her existence is anathema to the Hebrews, meaning the apostles and apostolic persons. This virgin whom the forces did not defile [ . . . ] forces defiled themselves.

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GPhil 19

Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would [...].

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GPhil 24

He said that day in the prayer of thanksgiving, "O you who have joined the Perfect Light with the Holy Spirit, join the angels with us, too, as images."

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GPhil 27

The heavenly human has many more sons than the earthly human. If the children of Adam are many, although they die, how much more the sons of the perfect human, they who do not die but are always begotten. The father makes a son, and the son has not the power to make a son. For he who has been begotten has not the power to beget, but the son gets brothers for himself, not sons. All who are begotten in the world are begotten in a natural way, and the others are nourished from the place whence they have been born. It is from being promised to the heavenly place that man receives nourishment. [...] him from the mouth. And had the word gone out from that place, it would be nourished from the mouth and it would become perfect. For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we also kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.


GPhil 28

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion (Greek: koinonos). His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.


GPhil 29

"The Father" and "the Son" are single names; "the Holy Spirit" is a double name. For they are everywhere: they are above, they are below; they are in the concealed, they are in the revealed. The Holy Spirit is in the revealed: it is below. It is in the concealed: it is above.

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GPhil 34

Ekhamoth is one thing: and ekhmoth another. Ekhamoth refers to Wisdom (Sophia) proper. But ekhmoth to the wisdom of death -- that is, the wisdom who is acquainted with death, and who is called the little wisdom.

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GPhil 48

As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," she is the mother of the angels. And the companion (koinonos) of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her [. . .]. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them,"Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness."

GPhil 49

The Lord said, "Blessed is he who is before he came into being. For he who is, has been and shall be."

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GPhil 52

Great is the mystery of marriage! For without it, the world would not exist. Now the existence of the world [...], and the existence of [...] marriage. Think of the [...] relationship, for it possesses [...] power. Its image consists of a defilement.

GPhil 53

The forms of evil spirit include male ones and female ones. The males are they which unite with the souls which inhabit a female form, but the females are they which are mingled with those in a male form, though one who was disobedient. And none shall be able to escape them, since they detain him if he does not receive a male power or a female power, the bridegroom and the bride. One receives them from the mirrored bridal chamber. When the wanton women see a male sitting alone, they leap down on him and play with him and defile him. So also the lecherous men, when they see a beautiful woman sitting alone, they persuade her and compel her, wishing to defile her. But if they see the man and his wife sitting beside one another, the female cannot come into the man, nor can the male come into the woman. So if the image and the angel are united with one another, neither can any venture to go into the man or the woman.

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GPhil 59

Truth (Greek: Aletheia, fem.) did not come into the world nakedly; rather, it came in prototypes and images: the world will not accept it in any other form. Rebirth exists along with an image of rebirth: by means of this image one must be truly reborn. Which image? Resurrection. And image must arise by means of image. By means of this image, the bridal chamber and the image must embark upon the realm of Truth, that is, embark upon the return. . . .

GPhil 60

The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. [...] he said, "I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like those inside. I came to unite them in the place." [...] here through types [...]and images.

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GPhil 63

When Eve was still with Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his former self, death will be no more.


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GPhil 67

We are rborn by the Holy Spirit. And we are born by the anointed (Christ) through two things. We are anointed by the Spirit. When we were born we were joined. No one can see himself in the water or in a mirror without light. Nor again can you see by the light without water or a mirror. For this reason it is necessary to baptize with two things -- light and water. And light means chrism.

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GPhil 69

The Forces do not see those who put on the perfect light and cannot seize them. One will put on the light in a mystery, through the act of joining.

GPhil 70

If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him.

GPhil 71

The soul of Adam came into being by means of a breath. The partner of his soul is the spirit. His mother is the thing that was given to him. His soul was taken from him and replaced by a spirit. When he was united (to the spirit), he spoke words incomprehensible to the powers. They envied him [...] spiritual partner [...] hidden [...] opportunity [...] for themselves alone [...] bridal chamber, so that [...].

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GPhil 73

Indeed, one must utter a mystery. The Father of everything united with the virgin who came down, and a fire shone for him on that day. He appeared in the great bridal chamber. Therefore his body came into being on that very day. It left the bridal chamber as one who came into being from the bridegroom and the bride. So Jesus established everything in it through these. It is fitting for each of the disciples to enter into his rest.

GPhil 74

Adam came into being from two virgins, from the Spirit and from the virgin earth. Christ therefore, was born from a virgin to rectify the Fall which occurred in the beginning.

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GPhil 102

No one can know when the husband and the wife have intercourse with one another, except the two of them. Indeed, marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of defilement, how much more is the undefiled marriage a true mystery! It is not fleshly, but pure. It belongs not to desire, but to the will. It belongs not to the darkness or the night, but to the day and the light. If a marriage is open to the public, it has become prostitution, and the bride plays the harlot not only when she is impregnated by another man, but even if she slips out of her bedroom and is seen. Let her show herself only to her father and her mother, and to the friend of the bridegroom and the sons of the bridegroom. These are permitted to enter every day into the bridal chamber. But let the others yearn just to listen to her voice and to enjoy her ointment, and let them feed from the crumbs that fall from the table, like the dogs. Bridegrooms and brides belong to the bridal chamber. No one shall be able to see the bridegroom with the bride unless he become such a one.

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GPhil 107

Every one who will enter the bridal chamber will kindle the light, for [...] just as in the marriages which are [...] happen at night. That fire [...] only at night, and is put out. But the mysteries of that marriage are perfected rather in the day and the light. Neither that day nor its light ever sets. If anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light. If anyone does not receive it while he is here, he will not be able to receive it in the other place. He who will receive that light will not be seen, nor can he be detained. And none shall be able to torment a person like this, even while he dwells in the world. And again when he leaves the world, he has already received the truth in the images. The world has become the Aeon (eternal realm), for the Aeon is fullness for him. This is the way it is: it is revealed to him alone, not hidden in the darkness and the night, but hidden in a perfect day and a holy light.

The Gospel According to Philip
Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990.