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Fragments From Lost Writings of Valentinus

These fragments are selected from: Bentley Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures (Doubleday, 1987), pp. 223-49.

Fragment 1: Adam's Faculty of Speech

Something like fear overcame the angels in the presence of that modeled form (i.e. Adam) because he uttered things that were superior to what his origins justified, owing to the agent who had invisibly deposited a seed of higher essence and who spoke freely. So too in the races of worldly people, human artifacts become objects of fear for their creators - for example statues and images and everything that is made by human hands as representing a god. For Adam, modeled as representing humanity, made them stand in fear of the preexistant Humanity; for precisely the latter stood in him. And they were stricken with terror and quickly concealed the work.

Fragment 2: From the 'Epistle on Attachments'

"There is only one who is good (Matthew 19:17)!" His free expression is the manifestation of the Son. And through him alone can a heart become pure, when every evil spirit has been expelled from the heart. For the many spirits dwelling in the heart do not allow it to become pure: rather each of them performs its own acts, polluting it in various ways with improper desires. And in my opinion the heart experiences something like what happens in an inn. For the latter is full of holes and dug up and often filled with dung by indecent guests who have no consideration for the place, since it does not belong to them. Just so, a heart too is impure by being the habitation of many demons, until it is cared for. But when the Father, who alone is good, visits the heart, he makes it holy and fills it with light. And so a person who has such a heart is called blessed, for that person will see God (cf. Matthew 5:8).

Fragment 3: From the 'Epistle to Agathopous'

He was continent, enduring all things. (The risen) Jesus digested divinity: he ate and drank in a special way without excreting his solids. He had such a great capacity for continence that the nourishment within him was not corrupted, for he did not experience corruption.

Fragment 4: Annihilation of the Realm of Death

From the beginning you are immortal and children of eternal life. You wished to distribute death amongst yourselves so as to consume it and annihilate it, and so that death might die in and through you. For when you dissolve the world and are not yourselves dissolved, you rule over creation and over the whole of corruption.

Fragment 5: Images and Names

However much a portrait is inferior to an actual face, just so is the world inferior to the living realm (i.e. the Fullness). Now what is the cause of the effectiveness of the portrait? It is the majesty of the face that has furnished to the painter a prototype so that the portrait might be honored by his name. For the form was not reproduced with perfect fidelity, yet the name completed the deficiency in the act of modeling. And so also God invisibly cooperates with what has been modeled (i.e. the material world) to lend it credence.

Fragment 6: From the Sermon 'On Friends'

Many of the things written in publicly available books are found in the writings of God's church. For this shared matter is the utterances that come from the heart, the law that is written in the heart. This is the people of the beloved , which is beloved and which loves him.

Fragment 7: Valentinus' Vision of the Word

I saw a newborn child, and questioned it to find out who it was. And the child answered me saying, "I am the Word"

Summer Harvest: A Psalm By Valentinus

This hymn was written by Valentinus during his time in Rome (139-160AD). In it Valentinus offers a brief summary of his vision of the universe, beginning from below and ending with the Aeons being produced by Depth and Silence in the Fullness. The title of the hymn uses the type of agricultural metaphor typical of Valentinian thought. A commentary by a later Roman Valentinian is appended to the hymn.

In the spirit I see all suspended,
In the spirit I know everything held:
The flesh hanging from the soul
The soul held aloft by the air
The air suspended from the ether
Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
A child emerges from the womb

Explanation By a Later Teacher

He means this: "flesh" is matter which is "hanging" from the "soul" of the Craftsman. "The soul held aloft by the air" means the Craftsman held aloft by the Spirit that comes from the Fullness (i.e. Achamoth). And "the air suspended from the ether" means that the exterior Wisdom (Achamoth) is suspended from the inner Limit and the entire Fullness. "Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth" having become the complete emanation of the Aeons from the Father.