Nag Hammadi Codex VII By Birger Albert Pearson, Frederik Wisse review studies to date and suggest date of composition between 254 (Origen's death) and 325 (Council of Nicaea)



97:3-98:2 has been shown to have been used in a sermon of Antony

Discussion of section of text (with transliteration of Coptic) in New Testament and Gnosis  By A. H. B. Logan, A. J. M. Wedderburn (pp. 82-83)


But before everything (else), know yoυr birth (souōn pekjpo). Know yourself (souonğ), that is, from what substance (ousia) you are, or from what race (genos), or from what species (phulē). Understand that you have come into being from three races (šomet ňgenos): from the earth, from the formed (ebol hm peplasma), and from the created (ebol hm pteno). The body has come into being from the earth with an earthly substance, but the formed, for the sake of the soul, has come into being from the thought of the Divine (hm pmeeue mptheion). The created, however, is the mind (nous), which has come into being in conformity with the image of Gπd (kata thikōn mpnoute). The divine mind has substance (ousia) from the Divine, but the soul is that which he (God) has formed (pentafřpasse) for their own hearts. (92:10-29)

 The main point of this passage is that man has the innate capacity in him either to ‘live according to the mind’ (93:3-4) or to live on a lower level of existence. If one cuts off the ‘male part’ (i.e. the mind) 66 one becomes ‘psychic’ (psuchίkos, 93:13- 14), or worse yet ‘fleshly’ (sarkikos), taking on ‘animal nature’ (phusis ňtbnē, 93:20-21). ‘God is the spiritual one (pneumatikos). Man has taken shape (morphē) from the substance of God’ (93:25-27). In sum, ‘you will take on the likeness of the part toward which you will turn yourself’ (94:3-5). Therefore ‘turn toward the rational nature and cast off from yourself the earth-begotten ňjpo ňkah=gēgenēs, cf. Philo, Op. Mund. 136; Leg. All. I, 31) nature’ (94:16-19).


The key section of this passage reads as follows:







BIRGER A. PEARSON (ed.), Nag Hammadi Codex VII (NHS and Manichaean Studies 30; Leiden/New York/Cologne: Brill, 1996). Pp. xxvi + 479. N.P)


The teachings of Silvanus" and Clement of Alexandria : a new document of Alexandrian theology Author: Zandee, Jan, 1914-Leiden : Brill, 1977


The Teachings of Silvanus as a Gnostic Work Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 1992, Vol. 21(2), pp: 191-206 Broek, R. van den

The Theology of the Teachings of Silvanus Vigiliae Christianae 1986, Vol. 40(1), pp: 1-23 Van Den Broek, R.   [rpr. Studies in Gnosticism and Alexandrian Christianity  By R. van den Broek Google Books partial access]

THE AUTHENTIKOS LOGOS: A NEW DOCUMENT OF CHRISTIAN PLATONISM Vigiliae Christianae 1979, Vol. 33(3), pp: 260-286 Peel, Malcolm L.

THE `DECENSUS AD INFEROS' IN `THE TEACHINGS OF SILVANUS' (CG VII, 4)  Numen 1979, Vol. 26(1), pp: 23-49 Peel, Malcolm L. Zandee, Jan

"THE TEACHINGS OF SILVANUS" FROM THE LIBRARY OF NAG HAMMADI Novum Testamentum 1972, Vol. 14(4), pp: 294-311








Mithra, Dura Europas

Mithraeum, Ostia Antica

Over 100 Mithraic caves, as the temples were called, have been found in the W. Roman Empire, esp. near the frontiers, where they were frequented by soldiers, but also at Rome (e.g. under the churches of San Clemente and Santa Prisca), Ostia, and elsewhere.

    There were seven ascending grades of initiation, corresponding to the seven planetary spheres; neophytes passed through tests of endurance and took an oath before admission to each level. Modern knowledge of the significance of the rites is heavily dependent upon the philosopher Porphyry and on the hostile accounts of Christians. Tertullian (de praescriptione haereticorum, 40) denounced the mysteries as a parody, of the Christian sacraments, but generally the Fathers directed less polemic against the private cult of Mithras than against the traditional public cults of the pagan world.

    Mithraism appears to have died out in the 4th cent.; some Mithraea, e.g. at Rome (Jerome, ep. 107. 2) and three on Hadrian’s Wall seem to have been closed by Christian action. Earlier scholarship emphasized the affinities of Mithraism with Zoroastrianism; some recent work (R. L. Gordon) has presented it as a product of its Roman context.

F. Cumont, Textes et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystéres de Mithra (2 vols., Brussels, 1896–9); M. J. Vermaseren (ed.), Corpus Inscriptionum et Mounumentorum Religionis Mithriacae (2 vols., The Hague, 1956–60). F. Cumont, Les Mystères de Mithra (Brussels, 1900; 3rd edn., 1913; Eng. tr., 1903); an abridgement of Cumont’s earlier work with additional bibl. A. Dieterich, Eine Mithraliturgie (1903; 2nd edn., 1910). R.[-A.] Turcan, Mithras Platonicus: Recherches sur l’Hellénisation Philiosophique de Mithra (Études Préliminaires aux Religions Orientales dans l’Empire Romain, 47; Leiden, 1975); id., Mithra et le Mithriacisme (1981); R. Merkelbach, Mithras (Königstein i. Ts., 1984). D. Ulansey, The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries (New York and Oxford, 1989). M. Clauss, Mithras: Kult und Mysterien (Munich [1990]; Eng. tr., Edinburgh, 2000). A. D. Nock, ‘The Genius of Mithraism’ Journal of Roman Studies, 27 (1937), pp. 108–13, repr. in Nock’s Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, ed. Z. Stewart, I (Oxford, 1972), pp. 452–8; R. L. Gordon, ‘Mithraism and Roman Society’, Religion, 2 (1972), pp. 92–121, repr. in his Image and Value in the Graeco-Roman World (Aldershot, 1996), No. 3; see also Nos. 4–9. M. J. Vermaseren and C. C. van Essen, The Excauations in the Mithraeum of the Church of Santa Prisca in Rome (Leiden, 1965). J. R. Hinnells (ed.), Studies in Mithraism: papers associated with the Mithraic Panel organized on the occasion of the XVIth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, Rome, 1990 (Storia delle Religioni, 9; Rome, 1994), with details of earlier conferences on Mithraic Studies. E. Wüst in PW 15 (pt. 2; 1932), cols. 2131–55; K. Prümm, SJ, in Dict. Bibl., Suppl. 6 (1960), cols. 136–51, s.v. ‘Mystères, VIII. Le Culte de Mithra’.

Adapted from E.A. Livingstone, Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford, 2000


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