Epistle of Eugnostos

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The Epistle of Eugnostos is one of many Gnostic tractates from the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in Egypt in 1945. The Nag Hammadi codices contain two full copies of this tractate. The epistle was a familiar literary convention of Antiquity; it is not to be supposed that this essay is an actual letter written by a man named Eugnostos ("right thinking", sometimes Eugnostus).

The text is devoid of any specifically Christian themes or associations, and simply describes the esoteric cosmology of the gnostics. The similarity with the cosmology in Sophia of Jesus Christ led Douglas M. Parrott to conclude that that work was an adaption of this Epistle for a Christian audience. Parrott places the two side by side for comparison in his translation for The Nag Hammadi Library in English, edited by Robinson.[1]


Eugnostos the Blessed lists five different beings with their own realms (aeons), each with their own angels and deities. The text lists a chain of beings rather than emanations as in many of the other Sethian Gnostic texts in the Nag Hammadi library.[2]

  1. realm of the unbegotten or unconceived Father
  2. realm of the Human Father, by himself
  3. realm of immortal Humanity
  4. realm of the Child of Humanity, called the first one to conceive
  5. realm of the Savior (the offspring of the Child of Humanity)

The Savior came together with his companion Pistis Sophia to produce six androgynous spiritual beings that have both male and female names:[2]

male names female names
unconceived all-wise Sophia
self-conceived all-mother Sophia
one who conceives all-conceiving Sophia
first to conceive first-conceiving Sophia
all-conceiving love Sophia
chief creator Pistis Sophia


  1. ^ Parrott, Douglas, translation and introduction of "Eugnostos the Blessed" and "The Sophia of Jesus Christ" in The Nag Hammadi Library, James Robinson, editor. 1990:220-243
  2. ^ a b Meyer, Marvin (2007). The Nag Hammadi scriptures. New York: HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-162600-5. OCLC 124538398.

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