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Ancient Gnostic Scripture: Welcome

Organised by tradition

This quick reference list contains all extant Gnostic texts, and is organised with respect to which tradition they may have come from, or what textual affiliations they may have.

We have only included texts that are considered explicitly Gnostic by scholars or contain strong Gnostic elements. The Nag Hammadi Library includes texts of general Christian Apocrypha, Hermeticism, and Platonism that as such are not included here. Likewise texts which also survive only in quotation by hostile heresiological sources have not been included.Scholars whose views have been taken into account for the below list include Birger Pearson, John Turner, Mervin Meyer, April DeConick, Madeleine Scopello, and others.

  • Sethian Corpus:

The Apocryphon of John - Mervin Meyer translation (also see Stevan Davies' wonderful simplified translation)

The Trimorphic Protennoia (The Three Forms of The First Thought)

The Hypostasis of The Archons (The Nature of The Rulers)

The Holy Book of The Great Invisible Spirit (also known as the 'Gospel of The Egyptians')

The Apocalypse of Adam


The Three Steles of Seth

Allogenes The Stranger


The Thought of Norea


The Gospel of Judas

The 'Untitled Text' of the Bruce Codex (also known as the 'Gnosis of The Light')

  • Valentinian Corpus:

The Gospel of Philip

The Gospel of Truth

The Valentinian Exposition

The Tripartate Tractate

Ptolemy's 'Letter To Flora'

The Treatise on The Resurrection (also known as the 'Epistle to Rheginos')

The Interpretation of Knowledge

The Apocryphon of James

The Prayer of The Messenger Paul

The First Apocalypse of James

  • Eclectic Texts: (texts that include elements from more than one strand of Gnosticism)

On The Origin of the World (This text is partially dependent of the earlier Hypostasis of The Archons and so has Sethian features, alongside Valentinian, and Hellenic influences)

The Sophia of Jesus Christ (This appears to be a successor-text to the slightly older Eugnostos, from which it inherits much, but has been updated to include Christian Gnostic elements with with some Valentinian characteristics and a heavy Sethian influence, to the extent that some scholars classify the text as Sethian or even proto-Sethian)

The Second Treatise of The Great Seth (Sethian features are present in this text, however parts also clash with typical Sethian thinking enough that many scholars refrain from placing it in the Sethian category)

  • 'Jeuian' Texts: (it should be noted that the 'Jeuians' were a late and little-known Gnostic sect who were themselves fairly eclectic, taking influences from Sethianism, Valentinianisn, Manichaeism, orthodox Christianity, and classical Egyptian mysticism)

The Pistis Sophia (The Pistis Sophia is divided into four 'books' by scholars, and it should be noted that books 1 & 2 comprise the original core text while books 3 & 4 were both added at successively later dates by additional authors)

The Books of Jeu

  • Texts With Unknown Affiliation:

The Paraphrase of Shem (It has been suggested by scholars that this text may be of Bardaisanite origin)

Eugnostos The Blessed (Usually judged as an Alexandrian Jewish Gnostic text, scholars speculate that it may be pre-Christian, or at least pre-Christianisation)

Thunder, Perfect Mind (The most mysterious and perhaps evocative text in the entire Nag Hammadi Library, Thunder's origins are completely unknown)

The Gospel of Mary (a Gnostic text that uses no terminology specific to Sethianism, Valentinianism or any other tradition, it is antinomian and shows the influence of both Stoic and Platonic philosophy)

The Exegesis On The Soul (Some scholars cite this as a possible example of a surviving Simonian text)

The Apocalypse of Paul (Some scholars see Valentinian influence in this text)

The Second Apocalypse of James (The text contains a mixture of proto-orthodox and Gnostic Christian influences. It is not directly related to the 'First Apocalypse' of the same name)

The Concept of Our Great Power (Some scholars cite this as another possible example of a surviving Simonian text)

The Authoritative Discourse (This text of unknown origin seems to contain a mixture of Gnostic and Platonic influences while having similarities with the Exegesis on The Soul)

The Apocalypse of Peter (Shows some parallels with the Second Treatise of The Great Seth but is of unknown affiliation)

The Letter of Peter To Philip (Framed as a brief Peterine Apostolic letter followed by a revelation dialogue with the Saviour that shows a strong Sethian Gnostic influence)

The Testimony of Truth (there is a strong Valentinian influence in parts of this text, even as the author heavily criticises Valentinians and other Gnostics who he deems to be incorrect. This is likely the work of a disgruntled ex-Valentinian who has broken with his former sect and adopted an extreme ascetic position)

The Dialogue of The Saviour (this text seems to show some Valentinian influence and Gnostic features alongside more conventional orthodox Christian thought)

Hypsiphrone (A fragment of text almost as mysterious as Thunder, its origins are likewise completely unknown)

  • Manichaean Texts:

The Manichaean Psalms of Thomas

Let Us Worship the Spirit of the Paraclete (Psalm)

  • Mandaean Texts:

The Ginza Rba

The Haran Gawaita

The Mandaean Book of John

The Diwan Abatur

As with the rest of Thomasine litterature, and despite its mystical nature, the influencial Gospel of Thomas was not written as a Gnostic text, coming instead from early Syrian Thomasine Christianity and as such is not properly included in the above list. However it does bear an honourable mention as despite this it does seem to have been both loved and used by some Gnostics (among others) of the ancient world, just as it is for some today.

Ancient Gnostic Scripture: About
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