Jump to content


Sign in to follow this  
Guest Pakobckuu

In Greek, did Hippolytus suggest that the Naassenes wrote the Gospel According to the Egyptians?

Recommended Posts

Guest Pakobckuu

Hippolytus of Rome in the 3rd century noted how the Gospel of the Egyptians, possessed by the Naassene sect, described changes of the soul. Hippolytus wrote about the Naassenes:


Ειναι δε φασι την ψυχην δυσευρετον πανυ και δυσκατανοητον· ου γαρ μενει επι σχηματος ουδε μορφης της αυτης παντοτε, ουδε παθους ενος, ινα τις αυτην η τυπω ειπη η ουσια καταληψεται.
Τας δε εξαλλαγας ταυτας τας ποικιλας εν τω επιγραφομενω κατ Αιγυπτιους ευαγγελιω κειμενας εχουσιν. απορουσιν ουν, καθαπερ οι αλλοι παντες των εθνων ανθρωποι, ποτερον ποτε εκ του προοντος εστιν, εκ του αυτογενους, η εκ του εκκεχυμενου χαους.

How would you literally translate the underlined sentence above?

Ben Smith, on his Text Excavations website, translates this so that it isn't clear if it means that the Naassenes wrote about the soul in the Gospel "According to the Egyptians", or just that the Naassenes have this book:



And they say that the soul is unfindable and unknowable; for it remains neither upon the same scheme or form always nor in one passive [state], that one might speak of it by a type or comprehend it in being.

But they have these various changes set down in the gospel inscribed according to the Egyptians. They are therefore in doubt, just as all the other men of the gentiles, whether it is at all from the pre-being, from the self-born, or from the poured-out chaos.

J.H. MacMahon, in "Ante-Nicene Fathers", Vol. 5., translates it similarly:


And they affirm that the soul is very difficult to discover, and hard to understand; for it does not remain in the same figure or the same form invariably, or in one passive condition, that either one could express it by a sign, or comprehend it substantially.
But they have these varied changes (of the soul) set down in the gospel inscribed "according to the Egyptians." They are, then, in doubt, as all the rest of men among the Gentiles, whether (the soul) is at all from something pre-existent, or whether from the self-produced (one), or from a widespread Chaos.

M.R. James in The Apocryphal New Testament translates it similarly:


(The Naassenes) say that the soul is very hard to find and to perceive; for it does not continue in the same fashion or shape or in one emotion so that one can either describe it or comprehend its essence. And they have these various changes of the soul, set forth in the Gospel entitled according to the Egyptians.

Otto Bardenhewer, in his book Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church takes it to mean that the Naassenes only used the book, as opposed to authoring it: "Hippolytus says that the Naassenes made use of expressions from the Gospel of the Egyptians in defence of their theories on the soul (and the transmigration of souls?)."

But G. R. Mead, in his book "Thrice Greatest Hermes", translates it to mean that the Naassenes themselves wrote this in the Gospel According to the Egyptians, meaning that they authored the book: "These variegated metamorphoses they have laid down in the Gospel superscribed 'According to the Egyptians.'"

G.R. Mead commented about the Gospel's origins: "We, however, here learn that it described the matamorphoses of the soul. It was a Gospel having its origin in Egypt and suited to Egyptian modes of thought. It follows, therefore, that the doctrine of the soul's transformation was Egyptian."


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Pakobckuu
On 9/14/2019 at 12:56 PM, admin said:

The original text seems to be saying that the Naasenes "have" the book (έχουσιν).

Thanks for explaining.

I agree. The text says that they have it, but it isn't clearly saying that they wrote it.

eg. "I have the days of the year set down in my calendar." But I wasn't the one who put the days in the calendar.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


Εάν σας ενδιαφέρει να γίνετε ενεργό μέλος του Hellenism.Net σαν moderator στο forum, ή αν σας ενδιαφέρει να γράφετε άρθρα/κείμενα στους λογαριασμούς Facebook, Twitter και Google+ του Hellenism.Net, ή αν ασχολείστε με προγραμματισμό ιστοσελίδων, τότε επικοινωνήστε μαζί μας!

Χρειαζόμαστε εθελοντές για να κρατησουμε το  Hellenism.Net ζωντανό!

Follow us

Hellenism.Net Facebook Feed