Thursday, March 5, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 3-5-09

The Father reveals his bosom. His bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals through it what is hidden. What is hidden through it is his Son. So through the mercies of the Father, the aeons may know him and cease laboring in search of the Father, resting there in him, knowing that this is rest.

Gospel of Truth 24.10-20 (early Valentinian sermon)

Commentary: This passage is commenting on John 1:18 : "No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father has brought forth that one." Irenaeus says in Adv. Haer. 3.11.9 that the Gospel of Truth was written by the Valentinians who had more gospels than Irenaeus' church did, and at his time was a "comparatively recent" composition. Since he is writing between 180 and 190 CE, this would place the text's composition early to mid-second century at a time when Valentinus was still alive and teaching and writing. Pseudo-Tertullian reports that Valentinus had "a gospel of his own" (Adv. Haer. 4). Since the style of the Gospel of Truth reflects the style of the fragments of writing attributed to Valentinus, I am of the opinion that this Gospel was likely written by him as well and used as part of their catechism.

In the case of exegesis, note how the Prologue of John is understood to refer to the creation of the Godhead itself - the Pleroma - that the Son is hidden in God's bosom, the Holy Spirit, and is revealed to the aeons by the Holy Spirit. The revelation of the Son is the revelation of the Father, so the aeons can rest peacefully rather than continuing to be disturbed by Sophia's aborted attempt to know the unknown God.

And so our thinking about the Gospel of John continues.


Frank McCoy said...

In The Gospel of Truth (pp. 92-95), Kendrick Grobel argues that there are two interpolations in 24.10-16, which he thusly translates (with the postulated interpolations within parentheses), "The Father unbosoms Himself (now his 'bosom' is the Holy Spirit); He reveals His secret ((His secret is His Son))in order that the Eons by the mercies of the Father may know Him..." He thinks that the postulated interpolations introduce a Trinitarian theme absent from the postulated original text.
There might be something to his argument. For example, see 27.3b-8, which he thusly translates, "...he receives the Holy Spirit, this (the Spirit) being the revelation of the Father and the manifestation of Himself to His Eons. He has revealed His secret, He has released it." Here "His secret" appears to be the Holy Spirit rather than the Son. So, if 27.3b-8 is original, then the phrase, in 24.13-14 of "His secret is His Son" would appear to be a later (and incorrect) interpolation.
Again, in Ode 19 of the Odes of Solomon, we find, "The Son is the cup and he who was milked is the Father and he who milked him is the Holy Spirit." Here, the Spirit is differentiated from the bosom of the Father (which, it is presumed, has "breasts"). This perhaps increases the likelihood that the phrase "now his 'bosom' is the Holy Spirit" in 24.10-16 is a late interpolation.

April DeConick said...

No this is original doctrine of Valentinus, that the Holy Spirit reveals the Son to the other Aeons. There are no interpolations. This is a sermon where mythos is being explicated.