The Thunder, Perfect Mind
The Thunder, Perfect Mind (the title may alternately be translated The Thunder, Perfect Intellect) takes the form of an extended, riddling monologue, in which an immanent divine saviour speaks a series of paradoxical statements alternating between first-person assertions of identity and direct address to her audience. These paradoxical utterances echo Greek identity riddles, a common poetic form in the Mediterranean. Moreover it is an non-epistolic, non-narrative unmediated divine speech. There are some translations to the right from the same section of the poem. Line numbering is different in different translations.
As to dating, Anne McGuire writes: "Thunder, Perfect Mind exists only in the Coptic version found at Nag Hammadi (NHC VI,2:13,1-21,32). The author, date, and place of composition are unknown, but a cultural milieu like that of second- or third-century Alexandria is plausible. In any case, it is clear that the text was originally composed in Greek well before 350 C.E., the approximate date of the Coptic manuscript."
Structure and language
The work as a whole takes the form of a poem in parallel strophes, and the author, it may be surmised, has drawn on a tradition of such poems in both Egyptian and Jewish communities, in which a similarly female divinity (Isis or aspect of the divine Sophia respectively) expounds her virtues unto an attentive audience, and exhorts them to strive to attain her. Examples of the genre abound in Old Testament literature.
- MacRae, George W. (tr.) (1990). "The Thunder, Perfect Mind". In Robinson, James M. The Nag Hammadi Library. San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060669357.
- Layton, Bentley, ed. (1987). "The Thunder – Perfect Intellect". The Gnostic Scriptures. Doubleday. ISBN 0385174470.
- McGuire, Anne, ed. (2000). "The Thunder: Perfect Mind". Diotima.