The Gnostic Society Library

Gnostic John the Baptizer:

by G. R. S. Mead

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p. 35

I.—THE GNOSTIC JOHN THE BAPTIZER.

PORTENTS AT JOHN'S BIRTH (§ 18).1

In the Name of Great Life may hallowed Light be glorifed.

   A CHILD was planted out of the height, a mystery revealed in Jerusalem.2 The priests saw dreams; chill seized on their children, chill seized on Jerusalem.

   Early in the morning he3 went to the temple. He opened his mouth in blasphemy and his lips of lying. He opened his mouth in blasphemy and spake to all of the priests:

   "In my vision of the night I beheld, [I beheld] in my vision. When I lay there, I slept not and rested not, and sleep came not to me by night. I slept not and rested not, [and I beheld] that a star appeared and stood over Enishbai.4 Fire burned in Old Father (Abā Sābā) Zakhriā;5 three heaven-lights appeared.6 The p. 36 sun sank and the lights rose. Fire lit up the house of the people (synagogue), smoke rose over the temple. A quaking quaked in the Throne-chariot,1 so that Earth removed from her seat. A star flew down into Judća, a star flew down into Jerusalem. The sun appeared by night, and the moon rose by day."

   When the priests heard this, they cast dust on their head. Yaqif the priest weeps and Beni-Amin's tears flow.2 Shilai and Shalbai3 cast dust on their heads. Elizar4 [the chief priest] opened his mouth and spake unto all of the priests: "Yaqif interprets dreams, but as yet he has no understanding of these. Beni-Amin interprets dreams; is he not a man who discloses your p. 37 secrets? Ṭāb-Yōmīn1 gives us no revelation, though you deem he can give information on all that is and [that] is not.

   Earth groans out of season and is sent a-whirl through the heaven-spheres. Earth2 opens her mouth and speaks to Elizar: "Go to Lilyukh,3 that he may interpret the dreams you have seen," Thereon Elizar opened his mouth and spake unto all of the priests: "Who goes to Lilyukh, that he may interpret the dreams you have seen?" Then wrote they a letter and put it in the hand of Ṭāb-Yōmīn. Ṭāb-Yōmīn took the letter and betook himself to Lilyukh, Lilyukh lay on his bed; sleep had not yet flown from him. A quaking came into his heart, shivered his heart and brought it down from its stay, Ṭāb-Yōmīn drew near to Lilyukh, Ṭāb-Yōmīn stepped up to Lilyukh, shook him out of his sleep and spake to him: "The priests saw dreams, . . . [the above paragraph is repeated verbally down to] . . . and the moon rose by day."

   When Lilyukh heard this, he cast dust on his head. Naked, Lilyukh rose from his bed and fetched the dream-book. He opens it and reads in it and looks for what stands there written. He opens it and reads therein and interprets the dreams in silence without reading aloud. He writes them in a letter and expounds them on a leaf. In it he says to them: "Woe unto you, all of you priests, for Enishbai shall bear a child. Woe unto you, ye rabbis, for a child shall be born in Jerusalem. Woe unto you, ye teachers and pupils, for Enishbai shall bear a child, woe unto you, Mistress Torah (the Law), for Yōhānā shall be born in Jerusalem."

   Lilyukh writes unto them in the letter and says to them: "The star, that came and stood over Enishbai: A child will be planted out of the height from above; he comes and will be given unto Enishbai. The fire, that burned in Old Father Zakhriā: Yōhānā will be born in Jerusalem."

   Ṭāb-Yōmīn took the letter and in haste made off to Jerusalem. p. 38 He came and found all the priests sitting in sorrow. He took the letter and laid it in the hand of Elizar. He (E.) opens it and reads it and finds in it wondrous discourses. He opens it and reads it and sees what stands therein written. He reads it in silence and gives them no decision about it. Elizar then took it and laid it in the hand of Old Father Zakhriā. He (Z.) opens it and reads it and sees what stands therein written. He reads it in silence and gives no decision about it. Elizar now opened his mouth and spake to Old Father Zakhriā: "Old Father, get thee gone from Judća, lest thou stir up strife in Jerusalem." Old Father then raised his right hand and smote on the head Elizar: "Elizar, thou great house, thou head of all the priests! If thou in thy inner [part] knewest thy mother, thou wouldst not dare come into our synagogue. If thou in thy inner [part] knewest, thou wouldst not dare read the Torah. For thy mother was a wanton.1 A wanton was she, who did not match with the house of her husband's father. As thy father had not the hundred gold staters for writing her the bill of divorcement, he abandoned her straightway and enquired not for her. Is there a day when I come and look forth,2 and see not Mīshā bar Amrā?3 Yea, is there a day when I come without praying in your synagogue, that you (pl.) should be false and dishonest and say a word which you have ne'er heard about me? Where is there a dead man who becomes living again, that Enishbai should bear a child? Where is there a blind man who becomes seeing, where is there a lame man for whom his feet [walk again], and where is there a mute who learns [to read in] a book, that Enishbai should bear a child? It is two and twenty years4 to-day that I have seen no wife. Nay, neither through me nor through you will Enishbai bear a child."

   Then all of the priests arose and said to Old Father Zakhriā, [they said] in reproach: "Be at rest and keep thy seat, Old Father, and let the calm of the Good (pl.) rest upon thee. Old p. 39 Father, if there were no dreams in Judća, then would all that Mīshā has said, be lying. Rather shall thy word and our word be made good, and the dreams we have seen. Yōhānā will receive Jordan and be called prophet in Jerusalem."

   Thereon Old Father removed himself from their midst, and Elizar followed him. Then were seen three lights (lit. lamps) which companied with him (Z.). They (the priests) ran up, caught Old Father by the hem of his robe and said to him: "Old Father, what is 't that goes before thee, and what is 't that follows thee?" Then answered he them: "O Elizar, thou great house, thou head of all of the priests, I know not whom the lights guard which go before me. I know not with whom the fire goes which follows me. [But] neither through me nor through you will Enishbai bear a child."

   Then all the priests rose and said to Old Father Zakhriā, [they said] in reproach: "Old Father Zakhriā, be at peace, firm and decided, for the child will be planted from out of the most high height and be given to thee in thy old age. Yōhānā will be born, Yōhānā will receive Jordan and be called prophet in Jerusalem. We will be baptized with his baptizing and with his pure sign [will we] be signed. We will take his bread and drink his drink and with him ascend to Light's region."

   All the priests arose and said to Old Father Zakhriā, [they said] in reproach: "Old Father! We will enlighten thee as to thy race1 and thy fathers, from whom thou hast come forth. . . . [there follows a list of prophets and sages, beginning with Moses, which I omit, as it requires a lengthy commentary for which space here does not serve,—ending with]. . . Ṭāb-Yōmīn and the school-teachers have come forth from thy race. The blessed princes, who are thy forbears, Old Father, all of them have taken no wife and begotten no sons.2 Yet in their old age3 each of them p. 40 had a son.1 They had sons, and they were prophets in Jerusalem. If now out of thee as well a prophet comes forth, thou dost then revive this race again. Yea, Yōhānā will be born and will be called prophet in Jerusalem."

   Then Elizar opened his mouth and said to Old Father: "Old Father! If Yōhānā receives Jordan, then will I be his servant, be baptized with his baptizing and signed with his pure sign. We will take his bread and drink his drink and with him ascend to Light's region." Then Old Father opened his mouth and said unto all of the priests: "If the child comes out of the most high height, what then will you do in Jerusalem?"

   They2 have taken the child out of the basin of Jordan and laid him in the womb of Enishbai.

Life is victorious and victorious is the Man3 who has come hither.

 

JOHN'S PROCLAMATION CONCERNING HIMSELF AND HIS ASSUMPTION OF THE PROPHET'S MANTLE (§ 19).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.4

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and says: "Through my Father's discourses I give light and through the praise of the Man, my creator, I have freed my soul from the world and from the works that are hateful and wrong. The Seven5 put question to me, the Dead who have not seen Life, and they say: "In whose strength dost thou stand there, and with p. 41 whose praise dost thou make proclamation?" Thereon I gave to them answer: "I stand in the strength of my Father and with the praise of the Man, my creator. I have built no house in Judća, have set up no throne in Jerusalem. I have not loved the wreath of the roses, not commerce with lovely women. I have not loved the defective,1 not loved the cup of the drunkards. I have loved no food of the body, and envy has found no place in me. I have not forgotten my night-prayer, not forgotten wondrous Jordan. I have not forgotten my baptizing, not [forgotten] my pure sign. I have not forgotten Sun-day,2 and the Day's evening has not condemned me. I have not forgotten Shilmai and Nibdai,3 who dwell in the House of the Mighty.4 They clear me and let me ascend; they know no fault, no defect is in me."

   When Yahyā said this, Life rejoiced over him greatly. The Seven sent him their greeting and the Twelve5 made obeisance before him. They said to him: "Of all these words which thou hast spoken, thou hast not said a single one falsely. Delightful and fair is thy voice, and none is an equal to thee. Fair is thy discourse in thy mouth and precious thy speech, which has been bestowed upon thee. The vesture which First Life did give unto Adam, the Man,6 the vesture which First Life did give unto Rām,7 p. 42 the Man, the vesture which First Life did give unto Shurbai,1 the Man, the vesture which First Life did give unto Shum bar Nū,2—has He given now unto thee. He hath given it thee, O Yahyā, that thou mayest ascend, and with thee may those ascend *   *   *   *   *   *   The house of defect3 will be left behind in the desert.4 Everyone who shall be found sinless, will ascend to thee to the Light's region; he who is not found sinless, will be called to account in the guard-houses."5

And Life is victorious.

 

JOHN'S LIGHT-SHIP (§ 20).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and says: "In the name of Him who is wondrous and all-surpassing! The Sun sat in his Court (? Corona), and the Moon sat in the Dragon. The Four p. 43 Winds of the House get them gone on their wings and blow not."1

   The Sun opened his mouth and spake unto Yahyā:2 "Thou hast three [head-] bands [and] a crown which equals in worth the whole world. Thou hast a ship of mashklil,3 which sails about here on the Jordan. Thou hast a great vessel which sails about here 'twixt the waters.4 If thou goest to the House of the Great [One], remember us in the Great's presence." Thereon Yahyā, opened his mouth and spake to the Sun in Jerusalem: "Thou enquirest about the [head-] bands, may the Perfect (pl.) watch o'er thy crown. This mashklil-ship they have carpentered together5 with glorious splendour. On the vessel that sails 'twixt the waters, the seal of the King has been set. She6 who in thy house7 plays the wanton, goes hence and approaches the dung-house;8 she seeks to have children from her own proper spouse,9 and she does not find them. If she then10 has fulfilled her vow, and she departs,11 she is unworthy for the House of the Life and will not he alotted to the Light Dwelling.

And praisčd be Life.

p. 44

 

JOHN THE ASCETIC (§ 21).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and speaks: "Stand not I here alone? I go to and fro. Where is a prophet equal to me? Who makes proclamation equal to my proclamations, and who doth discourse with my wondrous voice?"

   When Yahyā thus spake, the two women weep. Miryai1 and Enishbai weep, and for both tears flow. They say: "We will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not bring us to stumble.—I (M.) will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not bring me to stumble.—I (E.) will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not fill me with sorrow."

   Then Yahyā opened his mouth and spake to Enishbai in Jerusalem: "Is there any who could take my place in the height? Is there any who could take my place in the height, so that thou mayest pay for me ransom? If thou canst pay for me ransom, then bring thy jewels and ransom me. If thou canst pay for me ransom, then bring thy pearls and ransom me. If thou canst pay for me ransom, then bring thy gold and ransom me."2

   Thereon Enishbai opened her mouth and spake to Yahyā in Jerusalem: "Who is thy equal in Judća, who is thy equal in Jerusalem, that I should look on him and forget thee?"—"Who is my equal, who is my equal, that thou shouldst look on him and forget me? Before my voice and the voice of my proclamations the Torah disappeared in Jerusalem. Before the voice of my discourse the readers read no more in Jerusalem. The wantons cease from their lewdness, and the women go not forth to the . . . . Hither [to me] come the brides in their wreaths, and their tears flow down to the earth. The child in the womb of his mother heard my voice and did weep. The merchants trade not in Judća, p. 45 and the fishers fish not in Jerusalem.1 The women of Israel dress not in dresses of colour,2 the brides wear no gold and the ladies no jewels. Women and men look no more at their face in a mirror. Before my voice and the voice of my proclamations the water rose up to the pillars.3 Because of my voice and the voice of my proclamations the fish brought to me their greetings. Before my voice and the voice of my proclamations the birds made obeisance and said: "Well for thee, and again well for thee, Yahyā, and well for the Man whom thou dost worship. Thou hast set thyself free and won thy release, O Yahyā, and left the world empty. The women have not led thee away with their lewdness, and their words have not made thee distracted. Through sweet savours and scents thou hast not forgotten thy Lord from thy mind. Thou has not made thyself drunken with wine and hast done no deeds of impiety. No backsliding has seized on thee in Jerusalem. Thou hast set thyself free and won thy release and set up thy throne for thee in Life's House."

And Life is victorious.

 

OF JUDGMENT-DAY (§ 25).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims and speaks: "Ye nobles, who lie there, ye ladies, who will not awaken,—ye who lie there, what will you do on the Day of the Judgment? When the soul strips off the body, on Judgment-Day what will you do? O thou distracted, jumbled-up world in ruin! Thy men die, and thy false scriptures are closed. Where is Adam, the First Man, who was here head of the p. 46 ćon? Where is Hawwā (Eve), his wife, out of whom the world was awakened to life? Where is Shit-il (Seth), son of Adam, out of whom worlds and ćons arose? Where is Rām and Rūd, who belonged to the Age of the Sword? Where are Shurbai and Shar-hab-ēl, who belonged to the Age of the Fire? Where is Shum bar Nū (Shem, son of Noah), who belonged to the Age of the Flood? All have departed and have not returned and taken their seats as Guardians in this world.1 [The Last Day] is like a feast-day, for which the worlds and the ćons are waiting. The Planets are [like] fatted oxen, who stand there for the Day of the Slaughter. The children of this world are [like] fat rams, who stand in the markets for sale.2 But as for my friends, who pay homage to Life, their sins and trangressions will be forgiven them."

And Life is victorious.

 

THE LETTER OF TRUTH (§ 26).

   [The introductory formula and beginning of this piece are missing from the MSS.]

*      *      *      *      *      *

[Yōhānā is apparently speaking.]

   I TAKE no delight in the ćons, I take no delight in all of the worlds, I take no delight in the ćons   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   by the Letter of Truth3 which has come hither.

   They4 took the Letter and put it in the hand of the Jews. p. 47 These open it, read in it and see that it does not contain what they would, that it does not contain what their soul wills. They took the letter and put it in the hand of Yōhānā. "Take, Rab Yōhānā," say they to him, "Truth's Letter, which has come here to thee from thy Father."1 Yōhānā opened it and read it and saw in it a wondrous writing. He opened it and read in it and became full of life.2 "This is," says he, "what I would, and this does my soul will."

   Yōhānā has left his body3; his brothers make proclamations, his brothers proclaim unto him on the Mount, on Mount Karmel.4 They5 took the Letter and brought it to the Mount, to Mount Karmel. They read out of the Letter to them6 and explain to them the writing,—to Yaqif and Beni-Amin and Shumēl.7 They assemble on Mount Karmel.

*      *      *      *      *      *

[What follows is presumably the beginning of the Letter.]

   Gnosis of Life8 who is far from the height [writes]:

   "I have come unto thee, O Soul, whom Life has sent into this world. In robes of the Eight9 went I into the world. I went in the vesture of Life and came into the world. The vesture I brought of the Seven, I went as far as the Eight. The vesture of the Seven I took and took hold of the Eight with my hand. [I have p. 48 taken them] and I take them, and I will take them and not let them go. I have taken them and hold them fast, and the wicked spirits shall change into good.

   "Wherefor do ye weep, generations, wherefor weep ye, O peoples? Wherefor fadeth your splendour? For you have I brought my Image, I betook myself into the world."

And Life is victorious.

 

JOHN'S INVULNERABILITY (§ 27).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and speaks: "Is there anyone greater than I? They measure my works; my wage is assayed and my crown, and my praise brings me on high in peace."   *   *   *

   Yaqif leaves the house of the people, Beni-Amin leaves the temple, Elizar, the great house, leaves the dome of the priests. The priests spake unto Yahyā in Jerusalem: "Yahyā, go forth from our city! Before thy voice quaked the house of the people, at the sound of thy proclamations the temple did quake, at the sound of thy discourse quaked the priests' dome." Thereon Yahyā answered the priests in Jerusalem: "Bring fire and burn me; bring sword and hew me in pieces." But the priests in Jerusalem answered to Yahyā: "Fire does not burn thee, O Yahyā, for Life's Name has been uttered o'er thee. A sword does not hew thee in pieces, O Yahyā, for Life's Son1 rests here upon thee."

And Life is victorious.

 

JOHN AND THE BAPTISM OF JESUS (§ 30).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights.—Glory rises over the worlds.

   Who told Yeshu (Eshu)? Who told Yeshu Messiah, son of Miryam, who told Yeshu, so that he went to the shore of the Jordan and said [unto Yahyā]: "Yahyā, baptize me with thy baptizing and utter o'er me also the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee then in my writing; p. 49 I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page,"

   Thereon Yahyā answered Yeshu Messiah in Jerusalem: "Thou hast lied to the Jews and deceived the priests. Thou hast cut off their seed from the men and from the women bearing and being pregnant. The sabbath, which Moses made binding, hast thou relaxed1 in Jerusalem. Thou hast lied unto them with horns2 and spread abroad disgrace with the shofar."

   Thereon Yeshu Messiah answered Yahyā in Jerusalem: "If I have lied to the Jews, may the blazing fire consume me. If I have deceived the priests, a double death will I die. If I have cut off their seed from the men, may I not cross o'er the End-Sea. If I have cut off from the women birth and being pregnant, then is in sooth a judge raised up before me. If I have relaxed the sabbath, may the blazing fire consume me. If I have lied to the Jews, I will tread on thorns and thistles. If I have spread disgrace abroad with horn-blowing, may my eyes then not light on Abathur.3 So baptize me then with thy baptizing, and utter o'er me the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee then in my writing; if I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page."

   Then spake Yahyā to Yeshu Messiah in Jerusalem: "A stammerer becomes not a scholar, a blind man writes no letter. A desolate house4 mounts not to the height, and a widow becomes not a virgin. Foul water becomes not tasty, and a stone does not with oil soften."

   Thereon Yeshu Messiah made answer to Yahyā in Jerusalem: "A stammerer a scholar becomes, a blind man writes a letter. A desolate house mounts unto the height, and a widow becomes a virgin. Foul water becomes tasty, and a stone with oil softens."

   Thereon spake Yahyā unto Yeshu Messiah in Jerusalem: "If p. 50 thou givest me illustration for this, thou art [really] a wise Messiah."

   Thereon Yeshu Messiah made answer to Yahyā in Jerusaem: "A stammerer a scholar becomes: a child who comes from the bearer, blooms and grows big. Through wages and alms he comes on high; he comes on high through wages and alms, and ascends and beholds the Light's region.

   "A blind man who writes a letter: a villain who has become virtuous. He abandoned wantonness and abandoned theft and reached unto faith in almighty Life.

   "A desolate house who ascends again to the height: one of position who has become humble. He quitted his palaces and quitted his pride and built a house on the sea [-shore]. A house he built on the sea [-shore], and into it opened two doors, so that he might bring in unto him whoever lay down there in misery,—to him he opened the door and took him within to himself. If he would eat, he laid for him a table with Truth, If he would drink, he mixed for him [wine-] cups [with Truth], If he would lie down, he spread a bed for him in Truth. If he would depart, he led him forth on the way of Truth. He led him forth on the way of Truth and of faith, and then he ascends and beholds the Light's region.

   "A widow who a virgin becomes: a woman who already in youth has been widowed. She kept her shame closed, and sat there till her children were grown.1 If she passes over, her face does not pale in her husband's2 presence.

   "Foul water that is made tasty: a girl wanton who has got back her honour: she went up a hamlet and she went down a hamlet without taking her veil from her face.

   "A stone with oil softens: a heretic who has come down from the mountain.3 He abandoned magic and sorcery and made p. 51 confession to almighty Life. He found a fatherless and filled him full and filled full the widow's pockets.

   "Therefor baptize me, O Yahyā, with thy baptizing and utter o'er me the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee in my writing; if I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page. Thou wilt for thy sins be haled to account, and I for my sins will be haled to account."

   When Yeshu Messiah said this, there came a Letter out of the House of Abathur: "Yahyā, baptize the deceiver in Jordan. Lead him down into the Jordan and baptize him, and lead him up again to the shore, find there set him."

   Then Rūhā1 made herself like to a dove and threw a cross2 over the Jordan. A cross she threw over the Jordan and made its water to change into various colours.3 "O Jordan," she says, "thou sanctifiest me and thou sanctifiest my seven sons."

 

   [Then follows what, from its animadversion on Christian institutions and especially on the use of the crucifix, is plainly a later addition. Rūhā is apparently still speaking; she is the Mother of all heresies.]

   "The Jordan in which Messiah Paulis4 was baptized, have I made into a 'trough.'5 The bread which Messiah Paulis receives, p. 52 have I made into a 'sacrament.' The drink which Messiah Paulis receives, have I made into a 'supper.' The head-band which Messiah Paulis receives, have I made into a 'priest-hood.'1 The staff which Messiah Paulis receives, have I made into a 'dung [-stick].'"2

[? Gnosis of Life speaks (cp. § 29):]

   "Let me warn you, my brothers, let me warn you, my beloved! Let me warn you, my brothers, against the . . . who are like unto the cross. They lay it on the walls; then stand there and bow down to the block. Let me warn you, my brothers, of the god which the carpenter has joinered together. If the carpenter has joinered together the god, who then has joinered together the carpenter?"

Praisčd be Life, and Life is victorious.

 

   (For those who are not familiar with the atmosphere of bitter inner and outer theological strife of the times, it is as well to note that the last two pieces are in the form of haggadic controversy between the followers of John and Jesus respectively.)

 

JOHN'S MARRIAGE (§ 31).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and speaks: "The [heavenly] wheels and chariots3 quaked. Sun and Moon weep and the eyes of Rūhā4 shed tears."

   He5 says: "Yahyā, thou art like to a scorched mountain, which brings forth no grapes in this world. Thou art like to a dried-up stream, on whose banks no plants are raised. Thou hast become a land without a lord, a house without worth. A false p. 53 prophet hast thou become, who hast left no one to remember thy name. Who will provide thee with provision, who with victuals, and who will follow to the grave after thee?"

   When Yahyā heard this, a tear gathered in his eye; a tear in his eye gathered, and he spake: "It would be pleasant to take a wife, and delightul for me to have children. But only if I take no woman,—and then comes sleep, desire for her seizes me and I neglect my night-prayer. If only desire does not wake in me, and I forget my Lord out of my mind. If only desire does not wake in me, and I neglect my prayer every time."

   When Yahyā said this, there came a Letter from the House of Abathur: "Yahyā, take a wife and found a family, and see that thou dost not let this world come to an end. On the night of Monday and on the night of Tuesday go to thy first1 bedding. On the night of Wednesday and on the night of Thursday devote thyself to thy hallowed praying. On the night of Friday and on the night of Saturday go to, thy first bedding. On the night of Sunday and (? yea) on the night of the Day devote thyself to thy hallowed praying. On Sunday, take three and leave three, take three and leave three.2 See that thou dost not let the world come to an end."

   Thereon they3 fashioned for Yahyā a wife out of thee, thou Region of the Faithful.4 From the first conception were Handan and Sharrath born. From the middle conception were Birhām and R'himath-Haiyē born. From the last conception were Nṣab, Sām, Anhar-Zīwā <and Sharrath> born.5 These three conceptions took place in thee, thou Ruins, Jerusalem.

   Yahyā opened his mouth and spake to Anhar in Jerusalem: p. 54 "Instruct thy daughter, that she may not perish; and I will enlighten my sons and teach [them], that they may not be hindered." Thereon Anhar opened her mouth and spoke to Yahyā in Jerusalem. "I have borne sons in this world," said she to him, "yet have I not given birth to [their] heart1 in the world. If they let themselves be instructed, then will they ascend to Light's region; if they let not themselves be instructed, then will the blazing fire consume them."

 

JOHN ON HIS OWN PASSING (§ 31 CONTD.).

   Yahyā opened his mouth and spake to Anhar in Jerusalem: "If I leave the world, tell me, what wilt thou do after me?"—"I will not eat and will not drink," she answered him, "until I see thee again."—"A lie hast thou spoken, Anhar, and thy word has come forth in deception. If a day comes and goes, thou eatest and drinkest and forgettest me out of thy mind. I asked thee rather, by Great Life and by the eve of the Day whose name is dear: If I leave the world, tell me, what wilt thou do after me?"—" I will not wash and I will not comb me," says she to him, "until I see thee again."—"Again hast thou spoken a lie and thy word has come forth in deception. If a month comes and a month goes, thou washest and combest thee and forgettest me out of thy mind. Again did I ask thee, Anhar, by the first bed in which we both lie: If I leave my body, tell me, what wilt thou do after me?"—"I will put on no new garments," she answers him, "until I see thee again."—"Again hast thou spoken p. 55 a lie, Anhar, and thy word has come forth in deception. If a year comes and a year goes, thou puttest new garments on thee and forgettest me out of thy mind."

   "Why dost thou not tell me all, Yahyā," says she to him; "and how sorely thou bruisest the whole of my body! If thou dost depart, when wilt thou return, that my eyes may fall upon thine?"—"If a woman in labour descends into Sheōl1 and a bell is hung up for her in the graveyard. If they paint a picture in Sheōl, and she then goes forth and they give a feast in the graveyard. If a bride parades round in Sheōl, and they celebrate marriage in the graveyard. If the wedding-companions borrow in Sheōl, and the paying-back takes place in the graveyard."2

   Then answered she him: "My lord, how shall it be that a woman in labour . . . "[and so on, repeating the above].

   "If thou knowest," he makes answer unto her, "that this does never happen, why dost thou press me with asking: When dost thou return? I go hence and return not. Happy the day when thou dost still see me. If there were a going-away and returning, then would no widow be found in this world. If there were a going-away and returning, then would no fatherless be found in the world. If there were a going-away and returning, then no Nazōrćans would be found in the world."

   Thereon Anhar opened her mouth and spake to Yahyā in Jerusalem: "I will buy thee for dear gold a brick grave3 and have a boxing of wood4 joinered together for thee in the graveyard." But Yahyā opened his mouth and spake to Anhar in Jerusalem: "Why wilt thou buy a brick grave for dear gold and have a boxing of wood joinered for me in the graveyard? Art sure that I am p. 56 returning, that thou dost say: No dust shall fall on him? Instead of buying a brick grave for dear gold, go rather and share out for me bread. Instead of getting a boxing joinered together, go rather and read for me masses for the departed."

   Thereon Anhar opened her mouth and spake to Yahyā in Jerusalem: "Thou dost go hence and forget me, and I shall be cut off in the Sinners' Dwelling."1

   [But Yahyā answered her:] "If I forget thee, may the Light Dwelling forget me. If I forget thee, may my eyes not fall on Abathur. If I ascend to Life's House, thy wailing will arise in the graveyard."

Praisčd be Life, and Life is victorious.

 

JOHN'S BIRTH, UPBRINGING AND FIRST APPEARANCE (§ 32).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights and speaks: "The [heavenly] wheels and chariots quaked. Earth and Heaven weep and the tears of the Clouds flow down."

   "My father," says Yahyā, "was ninety and nine and my mother eighty and eight years old. Out of the basin of Jordan they2 took me. They bore me up and laid me in the womb of Enishbai. 'Nine months,' said they, 'thou shalt stay in her womb, as do all other children.'3 No wise woman,"4 said he, "brought me into the world in Judća, and they have not cut my cord in Jerusalem. They made for me no picture of lies, and for me hung up no bell of deceit.5 I was born from Enishbai in the region of Jerusalem."

   The region of Jerusalem quakes and the wall of the priests rocks. Elizar, the great house, stands there and his body trembles. The Jews gather together, come unto Old Father Zakhriā and they speak to him: "O Old Father Zakhriā, thou art to have a son. Tell us now, what name shall we give him? Shall we give p. 57 him for name 'Yaqif of Wisdom,' that he may teach the Book in Jerusalem? Or shall we give him for name 'Zatan the Pillar.'1 so that the Jews may swear by him and commit no deceit?"

   When Enishbai heard this, she cried out and she said: "Of all these names which you name, will I not give him one; but the name Yahyā-Yōhānā will I give him, [the name] which Life's self has given unto him."

   When the Jews heard this, they were filled with wicked anger against her and said: "What weapon shall we make ready for [a certain] one2 and his mother, that he be slain by our hand?"

   When Anōsh,3 the treasure,4 heard this be took the child and brought it to Parwan, the white mountain, to Mount Parwan, on which sucklings and little ones on holy drink are reared up.5

   [There I remained] until I was two and twenty years old.6 I learned there the whole of my wisdom and made fully my own the p. 58 whole of my discourse. They clothed me with vestures of glory and veiled me with cloud-veils.1 They wound round me a girdle,2 of [living] water a girdle, which shone beyond measure and glistened. They set me within a cloud, a cloud of splendour, and in the seventh hour of a Sunday they brought me to the Jerusalem region. Then cried a voice in Judća, a crying proclaimed in Jerusalem. They call out: "What woman had a son, who then was stolen? What woman has made for him a vow3 and been heedless about it? What woman had a son, who was stolen? Let her come and see after her son."

   Who told Battai, who instructed Battai, who told Battai to go and say to Enishbai: "A youth has come to Judća, a prophet come to Jerusalem. A youth has come to Judća; his guardian angel stands by him. His mouth is like thee and his lips [like] his father, Old Father Zakhriā. His eyes are like thee and his brows [like] his father, Old Father Zakhriā. His nose is like thee and his hands [like] his father, Old Father Zakhriā."

   When Enishbai heard this, she hurried out veil-less. When Old Father Zakhriā saw her thus, he wrote her a bill of divorcement. The Sun down-murmured from heaven and the Moon from its place mid the stars. The Sun opened his mouth and spoke to Old Father Zakhriā in Jerusalem: "Old Father Zakhriā, thou great dotard (?), who has grown old and lost his wits, like an Arab whom his kismet has forsaken.4 A youth has come to Judća, a prophet come to Jerusalem. A youth has come to Judća; why dost thou send Enishbai away?"

 

   When the youth saw her alone, he set himself free and fell down from the cloud. He set himself free and fell down from the cloud and kissed the mouth of Enishbai. When Anōsh, the treasure, saw him [do this], he spake unto Yahyā in Jerusalem: "Stands it for thee written in thy book, is it declared unto thee p. 59 on thy page, to kiss her alone, on the mouth?"—Thereon answered Yahyā and spake unto Anōsh, the treasure, in Jerusalem: "Nine months I abode in her womb,1 so long as all other children abide there, without any reluctance on her part; therefore is it no charge against me now to kiss her alone, on the mouth. Nay, hail and again hail to the man who repays father and mother in full. A man who recompenses father and mother, has not his like in the world."

   When Yahyā said this, Anōsh, the treasure, knew that Yahyā is wise. Thereon Anōsh, the treasure, spake to the Sun in Jerusalem: "Take for me care of the youth, the Man, who is sent by the King. Take for me care of the youth, until we ask for him." Then Anōsh, the treasure, spake to the Moon in Jerusalem: "Take for me care of the youth, the Man, who is sent by the King. Take for me care of the youth, until we ask for him."

Life is exalted and is victorious, and victorious is the Man who has come hither.

 

JOHN'S ANSWER TO JESUS CONCERNING THE ANGEL OF DEATH (§ 33).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night's evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims and speaks: "Stand I not alone? Because of my voice the [heavenly] wheels quake and the chariots capsize. The tempest became silent and settled down in the world's deserts. Sun and Moon wail, and Earth and Heaven mourn."

   Messiah opened his mouth and spake to Yahyā in Jerusalem: p. 60 "I asked thee, Yahyā, by Great Life and by Sunday, whose name is dear. I asked thee Yahyā, by the Way, whereby the Men of piety put to the test go without hindrance. Tell me: To what is the shape of Ṣauriēl's1 knife like? Tell me: If the soul leaves the body, with what is it clothed, and to what is it like in the vain body? Surely the soul is not possibly like the blood, that it should become heated in the body and come to a stop in it? Surely the soul is not possibly like the wind, that it should fare to the mountains, be lost there and come to a stop? Surely the soul is not possibly like the dew, that it should fall on the fruit and be lost?"

   When Messiah said this, Yahyā cries aloud; tears come to him without ceasing, and he speaks: "[God] forbid that the high King of Light should look for lot in deceivers. The soul is not like the blood, that it should become heated in the body and come to a stop, The soul is not like the dew, that it should fall on the fruit and be lost. The soul is not like the wind, that it should fare to the mountains and come to a stop. Firmly developed has the soul been brought into the vain body. If the soul has kept herself perfect, she ascends in a garment of glory.

   "Ṣauriēl's knife consists of three flames.2 When he (Ṣ) drives her (the soul) to hasten, so as to bear her away, he lets loose the three flames against her. One he lets loose against her in the evening, the other at cock-crow; the third lets he loose 'gainst her at the coming-forth of the rays. If the fire begins to be fierce, the soul slips out of the feet and the knees. Out of the feet and the knees slips she, and draws nigh to the hips. Thereon leaves she the hips, reaches the heart, and seeks to keep there her ground. Then falls she into the breast, and it squeezes ... ... The eyes, the face and the lips of the man twitch, and the tongue twists hither and thither.

   "Then Ṣauriēl sits on the eyebrows; [he sits] and speaks to her: 'Go hence, O Soul! Why dost thou still watch over the body?'—Then says she to him: 'Thou wilt hale me, Ṣauriēl, out of the body. First show me my vesture [and clothe me therewith]; then hale me out and hence bring me.'—'First bring me p. 61 thy works and thy wage,' makes he answer to her; 'then will I show thee thy vesture and clothe thee.'—'I knew not, O Ṣauriēl,' says she to him, 'that my time is come, and they then send quickly for me, for doing good works, so that thou mayest bring me my vesture and clothe me therewith.'—Natheless he made answer unto her: 'Has no one yet died before thee and have they not yet carried forth anyone to the graveyard?'—Thereon she says to him: 'Through the power of him who has died before me, and through the power of him whom they have carried forth to the graveyard1 . . .   . . . .

   "[The women] who wept ran hither and thither and [the men] who wailed ran hither and thither, as long as the body lay there before them. When the soul leaves the body, four2 go forth to the graveyard. [The women] who wept ran hither and thither. the men who wailed ran hither and thither; and they ran hither and thither crying, until they lowered it into the pit. When they had lowered the vain body and covered it over [sc. with earth], then the women ceased fram their death-wail. They filled up the pit, and the men went away... ... . In haste left they the body and grave and went away; they took hold of cup and ate bread and forgot the vain body.—Now, an thou wilt, Ṣauriēl, let me stay here still two days. Then will I sell the whole of my goods and share out among my sons, and will take my vesture with me, the robe that ascends to Light's region.'

   "Natheless Ṣauriēl returned answer unto her: 'Is there a child that has left the womb of its mother, and that they shall have brought back again into its mother, that I should leave thee in the Wicked Ones'3 Dwelling, so that thou mayest see after a sharing among thy sons? I will lead thee hence and put the robe of darkness upon [thee], for that thou hast not let thyself be warned in this world, and hast not loved thy way to Light's region. Therefore shalt thou be put in ward in the House of the Wicked, till Heaven and Earth pass away.'"

And praisčd be Life.


Next: II. ii. The Story of the Breach with Judaism


Footnotes

p. 35

1 Because Yōhānā is mentioned only once in the Genzā, Brandt supposes that the John-Book pieces must be later in date. But surely this is not a scientific conjecture. It is rather to be supposed that the John-pieces were naturally gathered together from the general mass of material when the collection-process began. Though Yahyā is the Arabic form of the name, Yōhānā alternates with it; this shows a later redaction in the Mohammedan period, when the people vulgarly spoke Arabic, but says nothing as to the date of earlier writings from which the pieces were copied out.

2 Ur-ashlam, a mock-name or derisive caricature-permutation = 'Ur perfected' it. Ur is originally the Chaldćan Deus Lunus; he is the eldest son of Rūhā, the World-Mother, and corresponds in some respects with the Yaldabaōth of 'Ophite' gnosticism.

3 Who it was is not disclosed. The dreamer's report is at first utterly discredited.

4 The Elizabeth of Luke. The name may be some mystical echo of Elisheba, the wife of Aaron, the first priest, just as the Miriam of the Jesus birth-story reminds us of Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Moses, the first prophet. If the pre-Christian Palestinian Dorshē Reshumōth may be thought incapable of going so far, the Alexandrian Jewish allegorists, to whose school Philo belonged, would, and did, sublimate the sister or wife of a sage into a figure of his spiritual virtue or power. This will become clearer later on.

5 The Zacharias of Luke.

6 Cp. the more concrete three Magi motive. It should, however, be noted that Origen (1st half of 3rd cent.) is the first of the Fathers to state that the number of the Magi was 3; Chrysostom, 150 years later, gives their number as 12 (see Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science London, 1923, i. 472ff.).

p. 36

1 Merkabah; here presumably meaning heaven generally.

2 The narrative is largely in the familiar style of Danielic and Talmūdic chronological camouflage; the Daniel Book (c. 164 B.C.) throws back the religio-political conflict of the Jews with the kingdorn and Hellenistic religion of Antiochus Epiphanes to the days of Nebuchhadnezzar (c. 600 B.C.), and the Talmūd Jesus stories, for instance, throw back the setting to some 100 years B.C. or advance it to some 100 years A.D. See my Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?—An Enquiry into the Talmūd-Jesus Stories, the Toldoth Jushu and Some Curious Statements of Epiphanius—Being a Contribution to the Study of Christian Origins (London, 1903). It is to be noted that the Talmūd knows nothing of John; it evidently regards the John-Jesus movement as one and the same kind of heresy. Y. and B. may perhaps be personified types of members of certain contemporary communities or mystical groups. In §54 Y. and B. are called the 'Two Gold-sons.' This reminds us of alchemical symbolism; see my tracing of 'psychical' alchemy to Babylon in The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in Western Tradition (London, 1919), Proem, pp. 25ff. They may have belonged to the early 'Sons of the Sun' tradition—the later Sampsćans of Epiphanius, still later in wider distribution known to the Moslim historians as Shemsīyeh (Shamish = the Sun). This hypothesis is strengthened by the apparently cryptic gloss Beni-Amin, 'Sons of (the) Amēn' (cp. Rev. iii. 14: These things saith the Amēn, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."). I have no space here to follow up this conjecture; but L. seems to me to be, not only nodding, but fast asleep, when he assumes that the Mandćan writers were simply ignoramuses who mistook Ben-Yamin for Beni-Amin. The Heb. derivation of Benjamin is given very variously In the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the O.T. L. refers to Yaqif (clearly Jacob) as Joseph.

3 Of whom we have no further information.

4 Can this be camouflage for Rabbi Eliazer ben Hyrcanus, the founder of the famous Rabbinical school at Lud (Lydda) and teacher of Akiba? He flourished 70-100 A.D. R. Eliazer was imprisoned for heresy; the Talmūd account connects this accusation of heresy with an interview between him and a certain Jacob of Kephar Sechania, a city in lower Galilee, who is said to have been one of the disciples of Jeshu ha-Notzri, i.e. J. the Nāzōrćan (see D.J.L. 100 B.C.?—pp. 216 ff. for reference and discussion). But Eliazer is a name of great distinction in Pharisaic priestly tradition, especially that of the Maccabćan proto-martyr priest, the teacher of the martyred Seven Sons and the Mother in IV. Maccabees.

p. 37

1 Unidentified by L. Can it be camouflage for Tabbai, father of R. Jehuda, who was 'pair' to Simeon ben Shetach, in the Pal. Talmūd Jesus-story (Chag. 77d), see Mead, op. cit., pp. 148f.

2 The source of E.'s inspiration is the Earth; the source of John's is the Sun (see below §20—p. 43).

3 This is most probably Elijah (the Eliyahū of the O.T.); I owe this illuminating conjecture to Dr. M. Gaster. Is there here also a hidden reference to an existing 'School of the Prophets'?

p. 38

1 This is the same motive as that in the Talmūd Jesus-stories and Toldoth. It is the language of popular, Bazaar theological controversy, and is in keeping with Jewish figurative diction in which 'fornication' is the general term for all lapses from right religious beliefs and views.

2 ? in vision.

3 Moses, son of 'Amram.

4 Elsewhere we learn that Zakhriā was 99 and Enishbai 88 at John's birth and that John himself began his ministry at the age of 22. A mystic psephology is here clearly employed.

p. 39

1 Sc. the race of the righteous, of the spiritual or perfect. It has many names in mystical literature of the first centuries, as for instance in Philo, who distinguishes 'race' and 'kin' of God from 'people' of God. See for references and quotations my Thrice-greatest Hermes (London, 1906), Index s.v. 'Race.'

2 The same mystic idea underlies the words of Philo about the women Therapeuts (D.V.C.): "Their longing is not for mortal children, but for a deathless progeny which the soul that is in love with God can alone bring forth." See my translation in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (London, 2nd ed., 1906), p. 75. It is the Melchisedec motive also.

3 The Later Platonists glossed 'old age' as used by Plato to signify the age of wisdom.

p. 40

1 The prophets are god-sons of their god-parents; father and son are the usual terms for the relationship between master and pupil in sacred things.

2 That is, the heavenly messengers.

3 The Heavenly Man of Light. The Man-doctrine is an essential element of the Gnosis, as it was also with Jesus. ('Son of Man' is the Aramćan idiom for 'Man' simply.) See Reitzenstein's Poimandres (Leipzig, 1904), my Thrice-greatest Hermes (1906), and Bousset, op. cit. (1907), indexes.

4 This introductory formula, as is the case with other headings and conclusions, is due to the collectors and editors. It is unexplained, but seems to refer to the dark period before the dawn of the Day of Light which was expected. The days of this age are spiritual nights. N.B. (a prophet 'proclaims,' he does not 'preach.'

5 This-World-rulers or Archontes, the Planets or Planetary Spirits, which the MM. regarded as evil powers. They are the 'Dead' as having no spiritual Life.

p. 41

1 A technical term—the things that 'fall short' as compared with the 'fulness' of perfection; cp. the plērōma and hysterēma of numerous Greek Gnostic documents.

2 Brandt (Art. E.R.E.) apologetically conjectures that this observance of Sun-day (hab šabbā) was taken over from Syro-Christian usage. But reverence for Sun-day is fundamental with the MM., and it is one of their celestial personifications. The MM. loathed idolatry and sun-worship; they worshipped Life and Light, but may have venerated the light as the symbol of that Light. The same puzzle occurs with the prayer-custom of the Essenes, who turned to the rising sun in their morning orisons. The problem we have here to face is the existence of a pre-Christian Sun-day as rigidly observed as the Jews and others kept the Sabbath, and not a 'Pagan' holy-day.

3 The twin Jordan-Watchers.

4 Sc. Life.

5 The powers of the Cosmic Animal-life Circle or Zodiac, which were held by the MM. to be equally inimical with the Seven. Both orders were sons of the World-mother Namrūs, generally called Rūhā, i.e. Spirit, the World-spirit, spirit here being used in the wide-spread sense of the lower, animal spirit.

6 Sc. the Celestial Man or Adam of Light.

7 Rām the Great, coupled also with Bīhrām (presumably the Pahlavi or Later Persian form, also Bahrām = Avestan Verethragna).

p. 42

1 Not identified.

2 Shem, son of Noah. The first age or world-period was that of Adam; the second, of Rām and Rūd (fem.); the third, of Shurbai and Sharhab-ēl; the fourth, that of the Flood. The second generation perished by the sword and pestilence, the third by fire (cp. § 25 below). The Indian yugas came from the same source. As to the prophetica1 vesture in this special connection, apart from the more general wide-spread notion of the garment of light or robe of glory, cp. the Rabbinical tradition in the medićval Yaschar or Sepher Hai-yaschar (The Book of the Just, more commonly known as The Book of the Generations of Adam or The Book of the History of Man) which contains ancient material, translated into French by Chevalier P. L. B. Drach: "After the death of Adam and Eve the coats [sc. of skin—see R. Eisler's brilliant conjecture that J. the B. outwardly assumed his camel's hair robe in memory of the first garments of the fallen protoplasts, as a sign of repentance, in the preceding study] were given to Enoch, son of Jared. Enoch, at the time of his being taken to God, gave them to his son Methusaleh. After the death of Methusaleh, Noah took them and hid them in the Ark. Ham stole them, and hid them so successfully that his brethren were unable to find them. Ham gave them secretly to his eldest son, Chus, who made a mystery of it to his brothers and sons. When Nimrod [ = Zoroaster, see Bousset, op. cit., index] reached the age of 20 years, he (Chus) clothed him with the vesture, which gave him extraordinary strength" Migne, Dic. des Apocryphes, ii. 1102, 1150; and see my World-Mystery (London, 2nd ed., 1907), § 'The Soul-Vestures,' pp. 115ff.). It would not be difficult to penetrate under the camouflage of the Rabbinic tradition, but space does not serve.

3 Sc. the body.

4 Mystice 'this world'?

5 The prison-houses of the Seven and Twelve.

p. 43

1 All was at peace, the Sun shining brightly, the Moon sunk in the darkness beneath. Cp. 'The Mystic Hymnody' at the end of 'The Secret Sermon on the Mountain' (Corp. Herm. xiii-xiv., Mead ii. 230): "Ye Heavens open, and ye Winds stay still; [and] let God's Deathless Sphere receive my word!"

2 Note that it is the Earth that speaks to Elizar (§ 18—p. 37), signifying the lower source of his inspiration.

3 Meaning not yet determined; L. thinks it means some sort of wood, but this does not seem to be very appropriate.

4 Sc. the waters above and the waters below the firmament.

5 For the Carpenter-motive in connection with the John-Noah hewing of the timber for the salvation-ark-building see the previous study and especially the Samaritan Midrash concering the S. Ta'eb (Deliverer or Messiah) and the mystic ark of conversion (pp. 8 and 21f.).

6 A cryptic sentence referring to the 'fornicators' who are not true to the True Religion of MM.; 'she' = the soul.

7 That is the world-house illuminated by the Sun.

8 Sc. hell.

9 Sc. God, as in the thought-sphere of Philo's Therapeuts.

10 After renouncing heretical views.

11 That is from the body.

p. 44

1 Miryai is the personification of the first Mand. community among the Jews. She is presumably not to be confounded in any way with Miriam, the mother of Išū Mšīhā (Jesus Messiah), who is called Miryam (not Miryai) in § 30 {p. 48}; but this requires further investigation.

2 'Jewels,' 'pearls' and 'gold' are presumably the figures of spiritual riches.

p. 45

1 The 'merchants' and 'fishers' in all probability mean the Seven, as in the 'Fisher of Souls' piece.

2 The MM. wear white robes.

3 Sc. of the temple; cp. the miraculous spiritual outpouring of the Last Days expected by John, based on O.T. prophecies, as set forth in the previous introductory study; also one of the Odes of Solomon, quoted in the Pistis Sophia (ch. 65, pag. 131, Mead p. 110): "A stream came forth and became a great wide flood. It tore away all to itself and turned itself against the temple," etc. The whole Ode is most instructive in this connection, and the Odes in general move in a very similar atmosphere to the John-lore. (See for Trans. from Syriac, Rendel Harris and Mingana, The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, Manchester, 1920). The 'fish' and 'birds' of the next sentences are the faithful.

p. 46

1 Tibil; L. frequently retains this as a proper name—e.g. 'in the Tibil'—and alternates it with the common noun 'world.' Whether there is a distinction in the original I do not know, it seems to be simply the Heb. tebel ( = world, earth). Where L. has Tibil, I shall render it by 'this world.'

2 Cp. the Messianic Marriage Feast parable (Mt. 22:4): "My oxen and my fatlings are killed . . .: come to the mariage-feast."

3 Kushṭā is the general term for the religious ideal of the MM.; it is elastic in meaning and cannot be translated by a single rigid concept. The original sense seems to have been 'Truth,' 'Righteousness' and perhaps 'Order' (cp. the Avestan Asha and the Vedic Ṛita). It thus means the true religion, loyalty, trust and faith (see J.B. xvii.f.). Kushtā is fem. It is to be noted that in Avestan literature Ashi (fem.) is the heavenly impersonation of rectitude, fortune, chastity, riches (cp. ūthrā's), and Chisti (fem.) of religious wisdom (? = gnōsis)—see M. N. Dhalla, Zoroastrian Civilization. New York, 1922, pp. 45, 51f., 68, 77, 84. With the frequent recurrence of the letter-symbol in M. scripture, cp. the Syriac 'Hymn of the Soul,' or 'of the Pearl,' which belengs to the same main stream of the Gnosis (see my Hymn of the Robe of Glory, 'Echoes from the Gnosis' series, vol. x., London, 1908).

4 Presumably the heavenly messengers.

p. 47

1 Sc. Life or perhaps rather the Man.

2 This seems cryptically to refer to some Gnostic scripture prior to John.

3 Sc. in trance.

4 Ṣúfis would at once conclude that this refers to the Dīvān, the nightly Meeting of the Perfect in spirit presided over by the Quṭb (Pillar or Axis), the Head of the age. Mt. Karmel is identified with the story of Elijah and has always continued to be a sacred mount. Doubtless communities of 'Sons of the Prophets' and the rest had coutinuously there their retreats. Can it be that Ṭāb Yōmīn went to Mt. Karmel to find Lilyukh (Eli-yahu)? Karmel = the Garden or Garden-land. It had been a sacred spot long before the days of Elijah, who hid there from his pursuors in its numerous grottos. The Arabs still call it Jebal Mar Elyas (Mount Lord Elijah). Yamblichus in his Life of the sage says that Pythagoras visited it.

5 Sc. the heavenly messengers.

6 Sc. the brethren who had equally 'left the body.'

7 Plainly Samuel.

8 Mandā d'Haiyē, the M. Saviour; he is 'far from the height' because he is the Exile, the Stranger, in this world.

9 The higher Ogdoad; I conjucture, therefore, that this is a more ancient piece. The John-gnosis had depressed the Eight and the Seven and Twelve to the infernals, yet retained memory of a Great Eight and the rest.

p. 48

1 Clearly Gnosis of Life, the Son of God and Father of John.

p. 49

1 This makes it clear that the strict observance of a sabbath (Sunday) by the MM. was not taken over from the Christians, as Brandt supposes.

2 Cp. the Joshua ben Perachiah Jesus story in the Talmūd (B. Sanhedrin 107b, Sota 47a): Joshua replied [to Jeshu]: "Thou godless one, dost thou occupy thyself with such things?—directed that 400 horns should be brought and put him under strict excommunication." (Mead, D.J.L. 100 B.C.? pp. 137 and 146f.).

3 The Man 'with the Scales'—the Avestan Rashnu {?}—who weighs the good and bad deeds of the departed (J.B. xxix. f.).

4 Generally meaning an unmarried man.

p. 50

1 Presumably her spiritual children.

2 Meaning God.

3 L. thinks that by zanḍīq (heretic) is meant a Zoroastrian or Manichćan who comes down from the mountains to join the Mandćans who live in the plains. This seems to me entirely mistaken. The Z.'s and M.'s lived as well on plains as on mountains. In every probability it means the Mount of Darkness on which the Seven assemble to plot against the righteous. The Seven are the lords of all the false religions. For the Mount of Hades, the Prison Mount of the Underworld in Bab. tradition, see my paper 'New-found Fragments of a Babylonian Mystery-play and the Passion-story,' Quest, Jan. 1922, p. 173.

p. 51

1 The Lower Spirit, the This-World-Mother.

2 Sc. of light; cp. the great light that shone on Jordan at the baptizing of Jesus in 'The Gospel according to the Hebrews,' Tatian's Diatessaron (Syriac, 2nd half of 2nd cent.) also preserves this feature. Bar Ṣalibi ({d.} 1171) glosses this as follows: "And immediately, as the Gospel of the Diatessaron testifies, a mighty light flashed upon Jordan and the river was girdled with white clouds, and there appeared his many hosts that were uttering praise in the air; and Jordan stood still from its flowing, though its waters were not troubled, and a pleasant odour therefrom was wafted." There is a strong Mandćan flavour about this gloss, which doubtless rested on early tradition. See F. C. Burkitt, Evangelion da-Mepharreshe (Cambridge, 1904), ii. 115. This is the Christian and not the M. 'cross,' as e.g. used in the baptismal ceremony, which is made of a number of long sticks or wands, the ends of which are stuck in the ground and the tops crossed one over the other to represent rays of light.

3 The Jordan is white for the MM.; the various colours signify heresies.

4 L. thinks that this stands for Paul, and this is very probably so. But at the same time he informs us that 'Paulus,' as Lorsback has shewn, is the equivalent of a Persian word meaning 'Deceiver.' It therefore may mean simply the Messiah Deceiver.

5 Evidently a 'font.'

p. 52

1 The original suggests a head-covering.

2 We should have expected 'crosier.' Is there word-play in all these terms?

3 The celestial spheres.

4 The World-Mother-Spirit.

5 Who, is not clear; perhaps Gnosis of Life, the M. Saviour.

p. 53

1 That is, after the marriage-ceremony.

2 This is unexplained, Lidzbarski thinks it means three births; but more probably it means three hours for sleep and three hours for prayer, and three again repeated.

3 Presumably the Divine Powers.

4 That is, those faithful to Truth. It refers to the M. Abode of the Blessed, Mshunē Kushṭā. She is thus the personified Mother of the wife of Yahyā.

5 These are elsewhere mostly names of heavenly beings and are in part to be paralleled with the children of Eve (Hawwā) in the Genzā (R. 108). Handan is otherwise unknown. Shar-rath may be Shar. who is elsewhere called "the great, hidden First Vine, who bears a thousand times a thousand fruits and ten thousand times ten thousand shoots." Bihrām is a later form of the Avestan Verethragna; he is generally called 'the Great.' R'himath-Haiyē = the Living or Life's R. In the Qolastā or Liturgies there is a R'hum-Hai twice mentioned; he is 'Life's Beloved,' one of the four Sons of Light, or alternately of Salvation. Nṣab is elsewhere (§ 4, 8) called N. Zīwā, that is Radiant N.; he is regarded as the Great Watcher (§ 9), and his name means 'Planter,' 'Fashioner.' Sām is also called S.-Haiyē. S. the Living; he too is 'Watcher of the ćons' (G. R. 313, 12ff.), and his name means 'Stablisher.' Anhar-Zīwā or the Radiant A. is feminine (cp. § 69, 7); Anhar is elsewhere called the 'Hidden Light,' and her name means 'Lightener.' Can she then have any connection with the Iexai or Yechai, the complement of Elxai (the 'Hidden Power'), mentioned by Epiphanius? The muddled-up account of the Eschasćans in the heresiological Fathers seems to me to have a close connection with the Mandćan notions (see my D. J. L. 100 B.C.?—ch. xviii, 'Concerning the Book of Elxai,' pp. 365-387 (London, 1903), and Brandt's study, Elchasai: ein Religionsstifter und sein Werk (Leipzig, 1912). The second Sherrath is evidently a doublet.

p. 54

1 That is, spiritual sense.

p. 55

1 That is, dies.

2 It was the popular custom apparently, which, however, the Mandćans did not follow, when a woman was in labour, to ring a bell to ward off evil influences (cp. the Egyptian sistrum); and a picture (or pantacle) also, with a similar apotropaic purpose, was painted. If the birth was successful, a birth-feast was given. It was also the custom, when bride and groom were poor, for their friends to borrow money or to bail for the expenses of the wedding-festivities.

3 L. prefers to translate this as 'vault,' but he seems to me to miss the meaning and that too in face of his own note, where he admits that the first word simply means 'brick.'

4 Both references seem to refer to Egyptian motives in burial customs. For the extraordinarily interesting deduction to be made from this hint in connection with a striking phrase in one of the following Miryai-pieces (§ 35) see the note appended there (p. 69, n. 3).

p. 56

1 That is the Dwelling of the Seven Rulers, and therefore this world.

2 Sc. the heavenly messengers.

3 This is perhaps to guard against docetism.

4 Presumably = midwife.

5 See above § 31,—p. 55, n. 2.

p. 57

1 Zatan-Eṣṭūnā, a name found also in § 35—p. 67.

2 Jesus is sometimes in the Talmūd referred to simply as 'a certain one' or 'that one.'

3 Enoch.

4 Uthra (ūtrā) is a frequently occurring general term in Mandćan, of which the precise meaning has not yet been determined; L. leaves it untranslated. Uthra means literally 'Riches,' 'Wealth'; and may very well then stand for the notion of Treasure. It might even convey the idea of Fulness (Gk. Plērōma), but this is hazardous. The difficulty with Treasure is that there are also two technical M. terms for Treasure, Treasury or Treasure-house (sc. of Life, cp. § 57, forewords). Uthra seems sometimes to equate with Angel; but again this has a term for itself (malaka). In any case it means a heavenly or spiritual being, excarnate or incarnate, and therefore the phrase signifies the Heavenly or Spiritual Enoch. See L.'s dissertation. 'Uthra und Malaka,' in Orientalische Studien Theodor Nöldtke zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (12 Marz, 1906) gewidmet (Giesgen, 1906), pp. 537-545.

5 Cp. with the above threat of killing and the removal of the child the 'Slaughter of the Innocents' and the 'Flight into Egypt' motives of the parallel Chriatian stories. The 'little ones' is elsewhere found frequently in Mandćan as a technicnl term for the initiates of the community. The sacred drink, the mambūhā of the M. 'eucharist,' doubtless throws back to the Mazda-yasnian haōma. Parwan is mentioned only in this passage. It may, however, be a clerical error; for occasionally mention is made of a land called the 'pure Tarwan.' Or is it Mt. Karmel?

6 The numbers 99, 88, and 22 seem to belong to some system of mystic psephology, Or gematria as the Kabbalists afterwards called it. Cp. the 888 value of the name of Christ in the second-century system of the Gnostic Markos and the 666 of the Beast in the Apacalypse. I would suggest, though with hesitation, that 10's, l00's and 1000's represent 'powers,' i.e. so-called higher or wider planes of activity or development, and digits certain fundamental characteristics. In this connection it is of interest to note that such numbers as 1111, 2222, occur in classical Pythagorean psephology.

p. 58

1 This is a reference to the heavenly cloud or surround; e.g. Enoch dwells in a cloud and from its matter fashions the body in which he appears upon earth or elsewhere in man-form.

2 This spiritual girdle is symbolized by the M. sacred cord of 60 threads; cp. the Parsī cord or kusti, composed of 72 strands and wound three times round the body, and also the Brāhmanical sacred thread.

3 Presumably before his birth, and perhaps dedicating him to God as a Nazīr.

4 This phrase is most probably a late interpolation.

p. 59

1 Cp. Pistis Sophia (p. 115; Mead2, p. 97), where Jesus is made to say to his mother: "Thou, also, Mary, hast received form which is in Barbēlō [the Great Mother], according to matter, and hast received likeness which is in the Virgin of Light, according to light . . . ; and on thy account the darkness hath arisen, and moreover out of thee did come forth the material body in which I am, which I have purified and refined." Again (p. 120; M. p. 100): "Mary, my mother according to matter, thou in whom I have sojourned." And again, Mary speaking (p. 120; M. p. 103): "'Grace and Truth met together,'—it is I, Mary, thy mother, and Elizabeth, mother of John, whom I have met. 'Grace' then is the power of Sabaōth in me, which went forth out of me, which thou art. . . . . 'Truth' on the other hand is the power in Elizabeth, which is John, who did come and hath made proclamation concerning the way of Truth [the M. Kushṭā] which thou art,—who hath made proclamation before thee."

p. 60

1 The Angel of Death, as with the Jews. Cp, the knife, sword or scymytar of the Ophite Diagram in Origen's reply to Celsus.

2 Cp. the flaming sword of the Hebrew form of the Paradise-myth.

p. 61

1 Here something seems to have fallen out. The following recital of the soul describes a burial which has taken place.

2 Unexplained; it may possibly mean two female and two male professional mourners.

3 Sc. the Seven Rulers.