Nag Hammadi: (Naj Hammadi) Name of the Egyptian town where the Gnostic texts and
scriptures were unearthed in 1947. Also refers to the Nag Hammadi Library. (NHL)

Norea: Fourth child of Adam and Eve. Again Eve became pregnant, and she bore Norea. And she said, “He has begotten on me a her, “Your mother Eve came to us.” But Norea turned to them and said to them, also your mother Eve; for I have been given […].” But Norea turned, with the might Norea said, “Who are you?” The rulers of unrighteousness had withdrawn from her.” ”The Hypostasis of the Archons,” See aslo; ”The Thought of Norea,” NHL.

Nous: “Mind”, The soul, not the same as ‘pneuma’ or spirit. It is the part of
the anima that gives us consciousness. The anima as a whole gives life (or
literally movement.. “animates”) to our bodies. Tatian declares the soul as a
special kind of spirit. (See; Tatian’s “Letter to the Greeks’)

: The study of numbers, and their use in divination, revelation, or prediction. The I Ching is based upon the trigrams, or Ba Gua, as divinations based upon astrology and numerology. Trigrams that represent ”variations,”
instead of divinations can make the Tai Chi, and the Sethian Monadology a measurement instrument of enlightenment. (See; ”The History of Chinese
,” Vol. 2., by Fun Yu-Lan, Princeton, 1953.)

Odes: (Odes of Solomon) is a book of the Bible found in the Septuagint manuscript.

: Regarded in some texts as the “eighth kingdom above the hebdomas.” It is the realm of the Demiurgos (or sometimes that is the 7th, with the eighth being that of Sabaoth), as well as usually being the realm of the zodiac
(dodecon). Sometimes it is also seen as the beginning of freedom from the
Archons, and the beginning of connection to the Aeons. Pythagoris says…
“The ogdoad–8–was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which
form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10
(1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4’s, each 4 is divided into two
2’s, and each 2 is divided into two 1’s, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among
the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience.
Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele,
Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).” (Thomas
Taylor’s Theoretic Arithmetic, Thought by one source to be the rarest and most
important compilation of Pythagorean mathematical fragments extant.)

”… the Ogdoad, which is the eighth, and that we might receive that place of
salvation.” (”The Testimony of Truth.” See also; ”A Valentinian
Exposition.”) ) The Sacred ogdoad according to some sources is: Barbelo (deep), Sige (silence), Nous (mind), Veritus (truth), Sermo (word), Vita (life), Homo (man), Ecclesia (church). The last member of the group acts to syncretize the group.

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Ophites: Also called Naassenes. (Sethians) A 2nd century Greek Gnostic sect who
are associated with their reverence toward ‘ohis’ the serpent. They contended
that the serpent represented the introduction of good and evil in the Garden of
Edan. Known to have divided into other sects, like Borborites with diverse
beliefs. Used a symbol of an equilateral cross in the center of a circle, called
the Ophite Cross, and other symbolistic icons using circles, leviathans. (See;
Gaffney, Hippolytus, Ref. of All Her. Bk 5, See also; ”The Brother of Jesus,”
Butz, Inner Traditions, 2005.)

Oracle: A shrine consecrated to the worship and consultation of a prophetic
deity, as that of Apollo at Delphi. A person, such as a priestess, through whom
a deity is held to respond when consulted. The response given through such a
medium, often in the form of an enigmatic statement or allegory. A person
considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinions. An
authoritative or wise statement or prediction. A command or revelation from God.
In the Bible, the sanctuary of the Temple. (American Heritage Dictionary.) (See;
”Oracles of Zoroaster.”)

Origen: (185- 254 C.E.) Born in Alexandria. He studied Greek philosophy with Ammonius, and others. He became a Christian under Clement. Some of his surviving work is considered somewhat Gnostic in its nature according to later western Christian leaders. Origen was declared heretical on the basis of his beliefs in the pre-existence of souls and his beliefs about apokatastasis. In 553 A.D the Chalcedonians anathematized him.

Orosius, Paulus: (385-420 c.) Latin writer that opposed Origenists, and
Gnostics, especially the Pricilliannists, who advocated that Jesus was ascetic
in his nature. He sided with Augastine in declaring heretical works, and
identified a book called ”Memoria of the Apostles,” in which he identifies the
parable of the ‘’sower.” “A sower went forth to sow his seed, the sower was not
good: asserting that had he been good he would not have been careless, nor cast
his seed by the wayside or on stony places or unfilled ground: willing it to be
understood that that this (the ruler of the world?) was the sower, who scattered
the souls he had caught into various bodies as he pleased. In the same book
much is said about moist things, and the principle of fire: he would have it
understood that all good things happen in this world, not by the power of God,
but by contrivance.” ( “The New Testament Apocrypha,” James, Apocryphile
Press, page, 21.)

Ouroboros: This is an image of the serpent biting it’s own tail, and is meant to
imply infinity. Or, possibly, eternally being stuck in the material cycle.


Oxyrynchus: Place in Egypt, and adopted name for Greek fragmented copies (3, Oxy
654, 655, et sec), and of the Gospel of Thomas and other works. (See also; The
Five Gospels,” p. 546.)

Oxyrhynchos map

Oxyrhynchos map

A private letter on papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, written in a Greek hand of the second century A

A private letter on papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, written in a Greek hand of the second century A


Pachomius: (290-346) Founded the Christian monastery around Nag Hammadi Egypt. Thought by some to have held Gnostic beliefs. He is known as the most probable person to have had the Nag Hammadi texts. He is known to have met Basil of Caesaria, who studied Origen’s work. He is known to have met Basil. He opposed Athanasius who took over as the Orthodox authority in Alexandria around 297, ending the reign of Origen there. Athanasius, is said to have organized the books of Bible before the Nicean influence of Eusebius. He opposed the Gnostics, and is known to have posted himself in front of the Nag Hammadi mountains, where the texts were eventually found. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Saint Pachomius (ca. 292-348), also known as Abba Pachomius and Pakhom, is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism.

Saint Pachomius (ca. 292-348), also known as Abba Pachomius and Pakhom, is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism.


Panentheism: is the theological position that God is immanent within the universe, but also trancends it. It is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal morality. The term is closely associated with the Logos of Greek philosophy in the works of Herakleitos, which pervades the cosmos and whereby all things were made.

This term seems to describe the basis for Sethian Gnosticism. Consider the Thomas saying, 77. ”I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”

Consider the following passage from ”Eugonostos the Blessed.”

”The Lord of the Universe is not rightly called ‘Father’ but ‘Forefather’. For the Father is the beginning (or principle) of what is visible. For he (the Lord) is the beginningless Forefather. He sees himself within himself, like a mirror, having appeared in his likeness as Self-Father, that is, Self-Begetter, and as Confronter, since he confronted Unbegotten First Existent. He is indeed of equal age with the one who is before him, but he is not equal to him in power.”


Pantaenus: (b.?- 212) Appointed to head the Christian Catechise School of Alexandria by Peter. Originally, the Alexandrian church was thought to be founded by Mark, Peter, Barnabus, and Glaucius. Known to have been a Stoic, and teacher of Clement. Pantaenus is known to have done missionary work as far east as India. Claims to have discovered Eastern Christians in possession of the
”Gospel of Matthew,” written in Hebrew and presented by Bartholomew.


Papias: (70-155 A.D.) Papias had associations with Polycarp and with St. John himself, and known to have talked with Philip’s daughters, and of “others who had seen the Lord.” (Irenaeus, ”Against Heresies,” v.33.3) He is said to have been Bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia. Only fragments of his work have survived and they are called, “Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord.” Papias is said to have claimed that the ”Gospel of Matthew.” was written first, and Mark served as a scribe for Peter’s work. Three fragments from Clement of Alexandria’s work confirm this idea. (See; Clement’s Fragments- Online. See also; Works of Henry Barchlay Swete, 1835-1917. See also; ”New Testament Apochrapha” James, Apochrypile Press, 2004.)

”The Gospel of John was made public and given to the churches by John when he was still alive; as Papias by name, of Hierapolis, dear disciple of John, recalled in the “exoteric”, that is the outside, five books; he in fact wrote down the gospel correctly as John was dictating.” (Carlson)


Parable: Stories with a point that Jesus is believed to have spoken to the
multitudes around Galilee. (See the ”Gospel of Thomas;” Sayings 8, 9, 20, 57,
63, 64, 65, 76, 96, 97, 98, 107,109. According the “Apochryphon of James” and
Pistis Sophia” the parables are passages which relate or are intentional
mysteries. In Greek (parabole), meaning comparison, or similitude, placing
beside or together. Can also refer to the interior dimensions of a cone.
Clement of Alexandria writes:

“Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables –
preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith;
for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was
not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed
with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world,
up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge,
from one world to another.
Wherefore also He employed metaphorical description; for such is the parable, –
a narration based on some subject which is not the principal subject, but
similar to the principal subject, and leading him who understands to what is the
true and principal thing; or, as some say, a mode of speech presenting with
vigor, by means of other circumstances, what is the principal subject.”
(”Stromata,” Bk. VI, et sec.)


Paraclete; Parakleiton: (puraclete) “Comforter” or one who pleads a case for
another. This word is sometimes used for the Holy Spirit or for the Logos. (See
“1st Book of Jeu”) ”The followers of Valentinus say that Jesus is the
Paraclete, because he has come full of the Aeons, having come forth from the
whole. For Christ left behind Sophia, who had put him forth, and going into the
Pleroma, asked for help for Sophia, who was left outside; and Jesus was put
forth by the good will of the Aeons as a Paraclete for the Aeon which had
passed. In the type of the Paraclete, Paul became the Apostle of the
Resur­rection.” (Theodotus, source, Dr. Andrew Criddle.)


Some people including Montanus in the mid 2nd century and Mani (210-276) claimed to be the promised paraclete of John 14:16.The leading authority on classical Greek ( Liddell, which is of course slightly different than biblical Koine Greek ) portrays the word Paraclete as an antonym for Diabolos, characterizing the former as a defender and the latter as an accuser. The ‘clete’ syllable derives from the same etymological origin as ‘ecclesia’ – the infinitive of which means “to call”. By the ‘ecclesia’, the church is called to assemble. Similarly, the Paraclete is “called” to the side of the one on trial.

Let us worship the spirit of the Paraclete (comforter).
Let us bless our Lord Jesus who has sent us the Spirit of Truth.
He came and separated us from the Error of the World.
He brought us a mirror. We looked into it, and saw in it the Universe.

When the Holy Spirit came,
he revealed to us the way of truth and taught us that there are two Natures,
that of the Light and that of the Darkness,
separated from each other since the beginning.

The Kingdom of Light consisted of five Greatnesses,
these are the Father and his twelve Aeons,
the Aeon of Aeons, the Living Air, and the Land of Light,
the Great Spirit blows in them and feeds them with its Light.

The Kingdom of Darkness, however, consisted in five Chambers,
these are Smoke, Fire, Wind and Water and Darkness.
Their resolution crawls in them,
moves them and spurs them on to make war with one another.

Now as they were warring with each other,
they made bold to attack the Land of Light,
considering themselves capable of conquering it.
Yet they know not that what they thought will recoil upon their own heads.

But there was a host of angels in the Land of Light
which possessed the power to issue forth and overcome the enemy of the Father,
whom it pleased that through the Word that he would send,
he would subdue the rebels
who desired to raise themselves above what was more exalted than they.

Like a shepherd who sees a lion approaching to destroy his sheepfold,
he uses guile, takes a lamb and sets it as a snare that he may catch it with it,
for with a single lamb he saves his sheepfold.
Afterwards he heals the lamb that has been wounded by the lion.

In this way too the Father acted,
who sent his stout Son.
He produced out of himself his Maiden, furnished with the five Powers
that she might fight against the five Abysses of the Dark.

When the Watchman stood fast within the frontiers of Light
he showed the powers of the Darkness his Maiden, who is his Soul.
They became agitated in the Abyss and wanted to possess her,
they opened their mouths and tried to swallow her.

He seized the Maidens power and spread it over the Powers of the Darkness,
like nets over fish, he rained her down on them.
Like purified clouds of water, she penetrated into them like a piercing lightning stroke.
She crept inside their insides and bound them all without their ever knowing.

When the First Man had ended his struggle the Father sent forth his Second Son.
He came and helped his brother out of the Abyss.
He built this whole world up out of the mixture
that had come into existence out of Light and Darkness.

All the Powers of the Abyss he spread out to the ten Heavens and to eight Earths,
he shut them up into this World and made it a dungeon for all the Powers of Darkness.
This World is also, however, a place of purification of the soul
which had been swallowed up in the Powers of Darkness.

The Sun and the Moon where set up and fixed in the heights, to purify the Soul.
They take the refined part daily upward to the heights but they destroy the deposit.
They convey it up and down.

This whole World stands firm for a Season,
since there is a great Building being erected outside the World.
At the Hour when the Architect shall complete it, the entire World shall be dissolved.
It shall be set afire, that the fire may melt it away.

All Life, the Remnants of Light in every Place
he shall gather to himself and form of it a Statue (Eidolon — image, likeness).
Even the Resolution of Death also, the whole of Darkness,
he shall gather in and make an image of itself along with the Archon.

In a moment the Living Spirit shall come.
It will succor to the Light,
but the Resolution of Death and the Darkness
lock away in the chamber that was built for it that it may lie in chains forever.

There is no other means save this means to bind the Enemy,
for he shall not be received into the Light because he is a stranger to it,
but he shall also not be left in his Land of darkness,
lest he may wage a greater war than the first.

A New Aeon shall be built in the place of this World, which shall be dissolved,
so that in it the Powers of Light may reign
since they have preformed and fulfilled the whole of the Father’s will.
They have overthrown the hateful one, they have defeated him forever.

This is the knowledge of Mani,
let us worship him and bless him.
Blessed is every man that may trust in him
for he shall live with the Righteous.

Honor and Victory to our Lord Mani, the Spirit of Truth,
that cometh from the Father and has revealed to us
the Beginning, the Middle, and the End.
Victory to the Soul of the Blessed Mary. Theona, Pshai, Jemnoute.

(Let us Worship the Spirit of the Paraclete–Manichean Writing)

Mani’s mystical teachings have profoundly enriched the Nazorean Way. His name means the “Vessel of Life” and he came to be regarded by his Christian disciples as the Paraclete, by his Persian followers as the Zoroastrian redeemer Saoshyant, and by his Buddhist adherents as the Avatar Maitreya. He was a gifted writer, teacher, artist, physician, astrologer, musician and a miracle-worker. He personally illuminated and illustrated many of his original scriptures, and could draw a fine line on silk and then erase it by removing one thin thread.

The term Paraclete is another term Gnostics have a special meaning for because he (Jesus) has come full of the Aeons, having come forth from the whole. This makes Jesus the carrier of the Word from the Pleroma. Because this is what Gnostics mean by Paraclete it doesn’t matter what the Church thinks it is, as far as to Gnostic content.

Mani and other Gnostics could have adopted the term to mean a number of things distorted by the Heresiologists, and anti-Gnostics. Some have meant paraclete to mean comforter. What the term conotes and denotes is largely gleaned from the context the term is placed. Both Comforter, or Paraclete imply a form of companionship between entities, and imply helping the other in the union. This is not that far from the concept of union with the Word.

Tom Saunders

Parallel: The ”Five Gospels,” by Funk, Harper, 1993, pg. 544, states that a
gospel parallel, is one where, ”In a gospel parallel or synopsis the gospels
are arranged in parallel columns with matching materials opposite each other.”

In the case of literary dependence referencing a parallel, Karen King suggests
the following criteria in determining the characteristic of viable literary
dependence. (parallel) The reference to this work is… (”The Gospel of Mary
,” King, Polebridge, 2003. pg. 110.)

1. Extensive word-for-word similarity, (citation).
2. Similar arrangement or ordering of materials.
3. Similar narrative context or meaning.
4. The use of a citation formula. (For instance each saying in the ”Gospel of
Thomas,” starts with ‘Jesus said,’ or someone talking to him, in an obvious
schema. {My insertion} King uses, ”as it is written,” and ….)
5. Use of language specific to the source work.


Parousia: To be present, pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ in
Apocalyptic works. (See; “Apocalypse of Peter,” Nag Hammadi Lib.)


Paul: ”In the type of the Paraclete, Paul became the Apostle of the
Resur­rection. Immediately after the Lord’s Passion he also was sent to
preach.” (Theodotus) Paul was originally Saul of Tarsus, who persecuted
Gnostics. He is thought to have been present during the execution of Stephan the
first Martyr.


Pharisatha: Name given to Jesus in Syriac, according to the “Gospel of Phillip.”


Pharisees: The name means ‘the separated ones.’ Pharisees were a lay movement
of the Jewish Temple noted for their adherence to Jewish law. (See; Saducee. See
also; ”The Five Gospels.”)


Pharmakeia: Is roughly equivalent to witchcraft. Contrary to the accusations of the heresiologists, Gnostic writers seemed to be against any form of sympathetic magic or divination. The reason for this is not that it doesn’t necessarily work, but that it’s focus is still within the hylic and psychic spheres of
thought. ESP, astrology etc. are only applicable to the realm of Heimarene.
(See; Heimarene.)


Philo Judaeus: (25 BCE- 50 CE) A Jewish philosopher of Alexandria who synthesized the Old Testament with Greek and Pythagorean philosophies. Was considered by most as a Jewish Gnostic. (See; ”Stromata.”)


Pistis: “Faith.” Usually in regard to having faith in Jesus for salvation.

Plane: Means “error,” to denote the same concept and can be used for both the
cosmic mistake, and a personal, or earthly lack of understanding. (Hoeller p.
88) May also be a synonym for level, as cosmic level or plane of attainment.

Plato: (429-348 BCE) Athenian philosopher, student of Socrates, associated with
the mysticism of Pythagoras. Known for his philosophy on the concept of forms,
which may have influenced Gnostic thought in regard to the concept of forms, and
the nature of the soul. A partial copy of ”Plato’s Republic,” is contained in
the Nag Hammadi Library.

Pleroma: The word means “fullness,” and the ‘All.’ It refers to ”all existence
beyond matter. Refers to the world of the Aeons, the heavens or spiritual
universe, which represents being out of the state of matter. According to the
“Gospel of Truth” “….all the emanations from the Father are Pleromas.” see
Tractates 3, 2, Codices, I, and XII, Nag Hammadi Lib. Pleroma can have other
connotations according to the Gnostic school of thought, some differences in
Sethian and Valentinian (other) schools can be noted. Pleroma, is different than
Logos. (See; Logos, See aslo; Gaffney, p. 246.) :

One idea that characterises most Gnostic texts are their complex accounts of the unfolding of the various Divine emanations, the Aeons, the “Eternities” or “Worlds”, which become the transcendental Pleroma or realm of Light. The Pleroma is distinguished from the lower or manifest creation, so the Gnostic Cosmology is based on the idea of a duality between the transcendent Spiritual Reality (which includes the manifest and unmanifest) Absolute) and the imperfect psychic and physical reality, the “Cosmos”. The psycho-physical cosmos in fact is considered a lower or imperfect reflection or copy of the higher perfect order of the Pleroma

The exact representations of the Pleroma differ according to different Gnostic sects, but if we take the Sethian and Valentinian schools there is the division into four grades of divine existence, as follows

the Supreme Principle;
Spirit, Abyss, Fore-Father etc
(and associated Aeons)
The Self-Begotten – Autogenes
(and associated Aeons)
the Archetypal Man
(and associated Aeons)
the Cosmos
psyche and matter
To continue the discussion started in the last few posts, 
I thought I would discuss briefly another word you will 
probably encounter in
the Gnostic scriptures: the "Pleroma." 
This can be a bit confusing since it seems sometimes 
to be used almost interchangeably with Aeon. 
My understanding of what the Pleroma represents is the
spiritual realm as a whole, in which the spiritual beings 
of Gnostic cosmogony move and have their being. 
In this sense, it is a bit more inclusive and can 
include the modes of existence of the archon
entities as well as the aeonic entities.
Pleroma may also be seen as a kind of 
communion of spirit, linking
all spirit together in a basic unity. 
The implication of this, of
course, is that insofar as we are 
spiritual beings, we are linked to
the Pleroma in that spirit; 
however, as we are simultaneously
limited by physicality, 
we are unable to fully and immediately
actualize that Pleromic existence in the 
way that we will be able to
once we acheive gnosis.
What is perhaps more interesting, 
however, is this theology of the
Pleroma with regard to how it affects 
the Gnostic perception of
Christ and Sophia. 
When we say Christ was the full incarnation of
the divine spirit into the world, 
what we are really saying is that
he was unique among all human beings 
in being able to really
actualize his Pleromic identity 
even while he was physically
contained within his human nature. 
We see this idea reflected in
Gnostic writings, for example the so-called 
"Second Apocalypse of
James," where Jesus remarks that he 
himself has received "revelation
from the Pleroma of Imperishability." 
In the Apocalypse of Peter,
Jesus actually declares that the Pleroma 
was like a being "coming to
me" who provided him with the divine 
revelation that makes him the
great mediator between God and human beings, 
and the power that even
conquered death, as, again in the words of 
the Apocalypse of Peter,
Christ is seen 
"on the tree, glad and laughing." Or, as the Apoc.
Pet. continues, the nature of Jesus 
"into whose hands and feet they
drive nails is his fleshly part," 
but it is Christ's spiritual
connection with the Pleroma that ensures 
that mere physical death
will not prevent his continued life and 
his continuing revelation of
the divine spirit. 
In this light, we can better understand the
event of the Ascension, which 
represented Christ more or less
shifting back from the physical 
existence begun by his incarnation,
drawing this physical phase to a close 
and reentering the realm of
the Pleroma fully. In this way, the ascent of 
the combined physical-
spiritual Christ to the Pleromic Christ 
means indeed that Christ is
the "firstfruits of those who believe" 
-- in other words, he has
laid out the same path that we will follow in 
the process of gnosis,
as beings who now are a kind of 
amalgamation of physicality,
intellect, and spirit, but will eventually 
find the true fulfillment
of our human identity in the end 
state of the Pleroma.
Similarly with Sophia, who, 
although she is not made incarnate in
the same sense as Christ, 
does in a different way "descend" as the
manifestation of the "holy spirit" 
that Christ promised to send to
his disciples after his Ascension 
back into the Pleroma -- the
descent of Sophia that we will soon 
be celebrating with the Feast of
Pentecost. Just as Christ manifested 
in the world a fully realized
Pleromic identity, so Sophia, who 
descends into the world (though
not physically) but retains her full 
Pleromic identity. We can see
this theological orientation in the 
Nag Hammadi "Authoritative
Teaching," where Sophia's nature is 
described: "Whether she is in
the descent or is in the Pleroma, 
she is not separated from them,
but they see her and she looks at 
them in the invisible world." In
other words, Sophia, who is simultaneously 
in descent and in the
Pleroma, remains the eternal bridge 
(along with Christ) between our
identity in the visible physical world 
and our identity in the
invisible spiritual world. 
Where we cannot immediately "see" the
Pleroma in its true spiritual manifestation, 
we can however directly
see as it were the bridges to the Pleroma, 
Christ and Sophia, who
both more or less bring the Pleroma 
down into the world in which we
inhabit in order to raise us up through 
the progress of gnosis in
our own lives.
One last thing I would like to emphasize, 
particularly because some
of these posts have emphasized the 
individual's process of gnosis,
is that the theology of the Pleroma 
and the Aeon is profoundly
communitarian and collective. 
Gnosis is indeed a deeply individual
process, but Gnosticism is not an 
egotistical and individualistic
movement in the sense of 
mainstream Christianity, where the whole
religion is directed toward MY salvation, 
MY relationship with
Christ, MY experience of conversion 
or being saved. As beings who
participate in part in the Pleroma now 
and who eventually will
participate fully in the Pleromic life, 
we are intimately and
inextricably linked to all other 
human beings, indeed to the rest of
the natural cosmos, due to the suffusion 
of Pleromic identity --
i.e. the spirit -- in the midst of the 
physical world, as it were.
Therefore, while the process of gnosis 
is extremely personal in one
sense, the direction in which it moves us is 
deeply communitarian
and brings us toward a connectedness 
with the spiritual brothers and
sisters that surround us. 
I will be discussing some major themes of
a modern Gnostic morality in the next few weeks, 
but for now, let us
suffice it to say that this profound 
connection must inform our
moral judgements, our actions, 
and our thoughts, because to hurt or
damage another spiritual being 
(either a person or the natural world
and the environment, for example) 
is to diminish our own spirit
because of its mutuality and 
interdependence with all other spirit
in the cosmos.
This is what forms the basis for one 
of the three major principles I
propose in articulating a modern Gnostic morality 
-- the doctrine of non-harm, which is reflected as 
well in many types of modern
paganism and in Eastern religions as well. 
As the poet John Donne
wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself; 
all are a part of the
Contninent, a part of the Main." 
The process of gnosis is
inevitably a process that fulfills both our 
identities as
individuals and at one and the same time 
our identities as beings in
the community of the spirit. 
I think that this is part of why
Gnosticism is so attractive, 
because it at least attempts to answer
the whole breadth of the so-called 
"existential problem," the
communitarian question as well 
as the egoic one.
I hope this will help you consider 
the previous posts on "What is
an 'Aeon'" and "What is an 'Archon,'" 
and also provide you with some
of the theoretical theological basis 
for the more practical
discussions of how we construct a 
Gnostic morality or ethical
framework that is meaningful to modern life 
at the same time it
reflects the profundity of our 
Gnostic traditions that reach back
almost 2000 years.
Again, I would like to invite you all 
to begin posting your
questions, reactions, or thoughts about 
Gnosticism or the process of
gnosis, since this group is meant to be a 
forum for your discussions
and not simply a means of 
propagating my own opinions; I hope that
what I write will spark you to think 
about linkages, practical
meanings, and indeed even 
points on which you disagree 
with me and
think I have missed the boat, so to speak.
In Christ and Sophia,

Pneumatic: One who identifies with the spirit (pneuma), beyond that of the
physical (hylic) world and the intellect alone (psychic). The pneuma, described
in the ”Gospel of Phillip,” as ‘breath,’ refers to bonding with the internal
spark (spinther) that came from and is drawn to reunite with the Father in some
Gnostic schema. One who awakens it (the spinther) within the self does it
through the process of gnosis. (See; Gregory of Nicea (Basil), who used the term
in his mystical teachings, and is a later term which connotes Gnostic. See;
Early Christian Mystics,” McGinn, Crossroads, 2003.)

the “Pneumatics”, correspond with “Pneuma”, the spiritual
“breath”, the spiritual order.  These are the Gnostic Initiates,
those who go beyond mentality/consciousness, and all modes related to
the individuality.  That which concerns Pneumatics, is as different
from the psychics, and the psychics from the hylics.

Pneumatophoroi: One who has united his soul with the ‘light’ (Sophia, Wisdom)
achieving Gnosis which is thought in Christian Gnosticism to be a union with the
Holy Spirit. A common name for those who have reached this state are ’spirit
bearers.’ Those having reached this state are mentioned in “Acts” and Pauline
works. Thought to wear the Holy spirit like a garment. (See; ”1,000 Things You
Always Wanted to Know About the Holy Spirit,
by Lang, Thomas Nelson Pub. 1999.)

Poimandres: “Shepherd of Men” This is a reference to the first androgynous
emanation which guides us back to the light in the process of Gnosis. A Hermetic
(rather than Gnostic) term that is basically an allegory of transcendence
through a Sophia and a Logos.

Polycarp: (69-155 A.D.) Thought to have been appointed Bishop of Smyrna by
Peter. He wrote the “Epistle of St. Polycarp,” or “Epistle to the Philippians,”
and was known to be in contact with Ignatius, and other noted early Christians.
Is thought to have rejected the teachings of Marcion, but stated that, “For
every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is
antichrist; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is a
devil, and whosoever perverteth the oracles of the Lord (to serve) his own
lusts, and saith there is neither resurrection nor judgment, this man is a
first-born of Satan.” (New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia. See also; Irenaeus.
See also; ”Epistle of St. Polycarp,” “The Lost Books of the Bible,” Eden, LB
Press. 1926-01.)

Praxis: Practice. Can mean an act; by extension, a function: also can mean
deed, office, work.

Preterest: A person who believes that the prophecies of the Apocalypse have
already been fulfilled.

Procatarctic: Word to describe a type of thought process used by Clement of
Alexandria. “Procatarctic causes being removed, the effect remains. But a
Synectic cause is that, which being present, the effect remains, and being
removed, the effect is removed….The Synectic is also called by the synonymous
expression “perfect in itself.” Since it is of itself sufficient to produce the
effect.” ( See; Synectic.)+

Proselyte: A new convert to a belief system of religion. (American Heritage Dictionary) ”A Hebrew makes another Hebrew, and such a person is called “proselyte”. But a proselyte does not make another proselyte. […] just as they […] and make others like themselves, while others simply exist.” (”Gospel of Philip.”)

Protennoia: (pronoia), “Providence.” Defined as the female voice found in the
Gnostic light. (See the Trimorphic Protennoia, Nag Hammadi Library, also the
long version of the ”Apocryphon of John) ”Now, first among all those passions
[…] nor […] him, since, after all, Pronoia caused the correction to project
shadows and images of those who exist from the first and those who are and those
who shall be. This, then, is the dispensation of believing in Jesus for the sake
of him who inscribed the All with likenesses and images and shadows.” (” A
Valentinian Exposition.”)

Protophanes: The perfect male mind, as defined in the Nag Hammadi text,
”Zostrianos.” ”The great male invisible Mind, the perfect Protophanes has his
own water as you [will see] when you arrive at his place.”

Prunikus: “Whore” Sophia is sometimes referred to as “Pistis Sophia Prunikus”.
The fallen Sophia. In some Gnostic works Sophia is considered fallen because
outside her perfect self in the pleroma, she has ‘fallen’ to the earthly, hylic
state as an entity.

Ptolemaeus: {Ptolemy} (160 A.D.) A student of Valentinus. He admitted there was a psychic nature to the body. See his “Letter to Flora,” (”The Other Bible,” Barnstone, Harper, 1984, p. 621.) (Hoeller, p. 90.)He was the most important of Valentinus’ early disciples at Rome. He was the one who developed Valentinus’ ideas into a consistent theological system. Ptolemy may be identical with the martyr of the same name. After Ptolemy converted a wealthy Roman woman to Christianity, her husband denounced him to the authorities. He was imprisoned about 160 AD and eventually executed. A description of his systematic theology is preserved by Irenaeus.

Psalms: Part of the Hebrew Bible known in the first century. ”Pistis Sophia,”
using the numbering system of the Hebrew Bible, compares Psalms with the
teaching of Jesus. The ‘Pistis’ text, contains, ”Psalms,” 68, 70, 69, 101,
87, 129, 81, 24., 30., 34., 51., 108., 50, and 84, appear or are mentioned in
the text. There are corresponding, Repentence passages to the mentioned Psalms.
The ”Manaecheaen Psalms of Thomas,” correspond in literary style and context
to the accompanying passages that are presented with the Psalms, and
”Repentance” verses in ”Pistis Sophia.”

Psychic: This level of thinking is the one right above “hylic,” and below
‘Pneumatophoroi’ It’s drive is the intellect, or normal understanding of the
mind. While alive in the earthly state, the psychic remains as a hylic. (See
also Hoeller, p. 110) ”Mankind came to be in three essential types, the
spiritual, the psychic, and the material, conforming to the triple disposition
of the Logos, from which were brought forth the material ones and the psychic
ones and the spiritual ones.” (”Tripartite Tractate”) ”…even Valentine
{Valentinus} teaches that Christ’s body was Psychic.” (”Stromata,” Book 3.)

The “Psychic”, corresponds to the mental order, and constitutes in
man, individuals who see little or nothing beyond subtle
manifestation, and consider discurisve reasoning alone as the key
to spiritual knowledge.  Unlike the “Hylic”, they are at least aware
of something beyond form, but usually do not possess the
qualifications needed to actually experience it–which usually ends
up in a denial that anything experiencial (while in corporeal mode),
can be realized.  This use of “psychic” here, does not mean how
popular culture uses the term “a psychic”…although, psychism, IS a
prolongation of the mentality, which should serve as food for

Pythagoras: (582 B.C.- 496 B.C.) Greek mathematician and philosopher, known
best for the Pythagorean Theorem. Known to have had a profound effect on Gnostic
students of philosophy. Specified the monad as the first thing in existence.
Pythagorean theories of the Monad, compared by Fung Yu-Lan author of ”The
History of Chinese Philosophy,” Vol. 2, Princeton, 1953, show the use of the
Pythagorean tetraktys of the decad, and the Tai Chi are similar. The sequence of
the Tai Chi, the Pythagorean tetraktys, and the Sethian Monadology seem to be
based upon the sequence of the creation myth in the Pleroma, and the application
of the sequence to human action in the Logos, or kenoma. (See; Craftsman. See
also; ”The Table of Ten Numbers.)


We are also told that Pythagoras:

“distributed his pupils into two orders, and called the one esoteric, but the other exoteric. And to the former he confided more advanced doctrines…. Whenever anyone repaired to him with a view of becoming his follower, the candidate-disciple was compelled to sell his possessions, and lodge the money with Pythagoras, and he continued in silence to undergo instruction, sometimes for three, but sometimes for five years. And on being accepted, he was permitted to associate with the rest; and remained as a disciple, and took his meals along with them [this is identical with the corporate structure of the Essene community and brotherhood]. If otherwise, however, he received back his property, and was rejected. These persons, then, were styled Esoteric Pythagoristae (Hippolytus, Refutation, I, ii).

Origen tells us that “the Pythagoreans used to erect a cenotaph to those who had apostatized from their system of philosophy, treating them as dead” (Contra Celsum, III, ii). Diogenes Laertius declares that the Pythagoreans practiced baptismal purification constantly to renew and maintain their sanctity, a ceremonial which the Jewish Essenes adopted from them (Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pythagoras).

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