Talk:Sophia (wisdom)

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Sophia is also highly revered in gnostic Luciferianism. Lucifer is often see as the image of GMH{God most High}- or Sophia. Some strains of Luciferianism see Sophia as the female of Lucifer{along with Lillith for those of Luciferian Satanist inclination, not most other Luciferian sects though}. I think it is important that this get mentioned in the wiki article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:05, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

The above is sick, backwards twisted logic. And I know by me saying this, you'll probably do the opposite, but don't fall into the trap.

Stop reading Morals and Dogma, start living your life and you'll be better off. You're digging a deeper hole for yourself otherwise. Ddfffe (talk) 14:42, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

I have added the original research tag to the article as there are some problematic sections.

The section "the fall of Sophia" seems to pick and choose elements of various gnostic systems without distinguishing between them. For instance, the "four elements" hypothesis is clearly not an essential part of gnostic speculation and does not appear universally in their cosmology. In particular the "echoes" of Sophia portion is rather problematic. First, this seems to be opinion. Second, this is synthesis of information (comparison/contrast with other religious myths). Third, it suffers from cum hoc ergo propter hoc, post hoc ergo propter hoc and anachronism.

The paragraph comparing Sophia/Mary has similar problems. First, there is the factual error that no branch of Christianity sees Mary as "outside Creation" or "not fallen or in need of redemption" or that she may not be "mentioned at all." These errors are all verifiable. The remaining similarities between Sophia/Mary (in this paragraph) are: gender (female), need of redemption and they are both prominant figures in their religious systems. These factors alone are not a worthy comparison. Secondly, this is clearly original research. I should note that I am in support of a Sophia/Mary section, however it needs to feature the reliable research done in this area, not simply the editor's opinion.

I have two suggestions for this article. The first is that this entire article be merged into Gnosticism with a small section on Gnostic themes in other religions. The second, if the first is not desireable, is that this article should give a short summary (shorter than the current one) hitting the key points shared by most gnostic systems as an introduction, followed by the brief features of each system as represented in each text (Pistis Sophia, etc). It should conclude with a brief synopsis of Sophia in other religions.

Preceding unsigned comment added by Npmccallum (talk) 01:54, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Agree with suggestions above[edit]

Agree with above, article should be a part of Gnosticism. The Westerb Esoteric expression of Christianity is highly dependent on the gnostic one, if not more or less, for our culture, the same. Keep this article in gnosticism. Christianity is still defined by the Council of Nicea of 325 AD, as you will find more than 95% of Christians and churches accepting the Nicean creed and the canon of old and new testaments as decided there. Gnostic "Christianity" makes reference to the figure of Christ but is not thereby Christianity, as it rejects whole-cloth essential Christian doctrines - otherwise it would also make sense to speak of Muslim Christianity since the Muslim faith also refers to a figure of Jesus as an important prophet and one who will partake in future judgement of mankind. For the purposes of Wikipedia, Gnostic "Christianity" would need to be accepted by a significant portion of Christianity, and simply having a mythical figure of Christ as an element of this religion is not sufficent. Christianity is largely defined by a centrality of Christ to doctrine, and Gnosticism reduces Christ to but a low level of emanations - a position shared with Sofia. Furthermore, the claim that Sofia is a central term in Orthodox Christianity does not seem to be backed up by the text of this article - it would seem that Sofia is rather a central term to some authors who have been rejected by Orthodox Christianity.

The article at times is confused between Wisdom personified as a literary device, with the aim of illustrating a human (and or divine) characteristic, and an figure to which a significant group of people would attribute actual existince - a divine being.

E.g., Proverbs and Hildegaard van Bingen both clearly use Wisdom as a literary device, without imputing actual existence to the literary figure.

The confusion here is exacerbated by continually using the word Sophia, and capitalizing it as well - for example, in connecting Mary.

Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

>E.g., Proverbs and Hildegaard van Bingen both clearly use Wisdom as a literary device, without imputing actual existence to the literary figure.

This is completely untrue. See Father Sergei Bulgakov's 'SOPHIA: THE WISDOM OF GOD' for a Russian Orthodox exposition on Sophia as a hypostasis of the Trinity. PROVERBS is the key text which reveals the Sophia to the world as an aspect of God. She speaks with her own voice in Chapters 8 & 9.

The belief is that the Sophia spoken of in PROVERBS, THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON and ECCLESIASTICUS is a left-over of Asherah Worship in pre-Josian Israel. Solomon is the King attached to all these books, along with the SONG OF SONGS. Asherah was a feminine Goddess symbolised by a Tree. In ECCLESIASTICUS and PROVERBS Sophia is associated with Tree imagery.

Josiah disapproved of Solomon and David as not having followed 'real' Judaism after he discovered the Deuteronomy Scroll in the Ark (see Book of Kings). He then instigated a purge in which Asherah was banished from the Temple and Israel, her sacred groves torn down and her name banned. All this is corroborated by the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls which also maintain that David never read the Ark Scroll (see THE COMMUNITY RULE). This accounts for why the post-Josian/Deuteronomist Books of Kings have a much sparser description of the Temple and describe Solomon as straying after false Gods while the pre-Josian Books of Samuel and Chronicles praise the Temple elaborately and hold Solomon up as an exemplar. For more, read Margaret Barker's TEMPLE THEOLOGY and Raphael Patai's THE HEBREW GODDESS...

As for Hildegard von Bingen - well she created illuminations of the Sophia based on her visions and wrote what she was told by her, so I hardly think she used the Sophia as 'a literary device'.

Re Sophia & the Maries. What I ACTUALLY meant was that in some Gnostic Churches Mary Magdelene and the Virgin are regarded as aspects of the Sophia. While no Catholic, Protestant of Orthodox Churches take this view, modern Gnostic ones DO. I didn't mean that the Maries were 'outside creation' or 'in need of Redemption', I meant the Sophia was...

Hope this clears things up... (talk) 00:14, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Disagree with suggestions above[edit]

Although I see many of the points you are trying to make, the idea of the Sophia as a spirit of wisdom is one aspect of Christianity, whereas some mystical aspects of Esoteric Christianity not only seem to treat Sophia as a spirit of wisdom, but also as a Goddess or deity-emanated type of entity in her own right (or even perhaps as a sort of female equivalent to Jesus.) They may believe that Sophia emanates from God, as many Christians seem to believe that Jesus also emanates from God (though some believe that Jesus is one and the same with God.) Some of those who believe that Jesus and God are connected through a Holy Spirit, also believe in the possibility of other Spirits of God. To some Esoteric Christians, one of those Holy Spirits is embodied in the concept of Sophia, or the wisdom of God. To some, Jesus is the light of the world, and Sophia is the wisdom of God. That's not too different from the idea of Jesus currently existing as a spirit either. The spirit of the light of the world (Jesus) emanating from God, and the spirit of the wisdom of God (Sophia) emanating from God.

There are different forms of Christianity, as I'm sure you are aware, and many different interpretations thereof. The writings of Jakob Böhme were influential to many different types of Christians. This might be referred to as "Christian Mysticism", or "Esoteric Christianity", and there are some similarities with what is called "Gnostic Christianity". Though not generally considered "Mainstream Christianity", these differing types do exist (and many other differing types as well.) The representation of Sophia in these different forms and interpretations is therefore important to this article on the theological concept(s) of Sophia.

Don't throw out the article (or what is in the article) just because you don't like other views and interpretations on different types of Christianity. Certain aspects in Orthodox Christianity believe in the concept of Sophia, both inside and what is considered "outside" accepted church doctrine. There are different types of Christianity, and not always, as you say, "defined by the Council of Nicea of 325 AD". Don't suppress the Sophia! The Harmony Society believed that Sophia was an important religious concept in their interpretation of Christianity. Not only that, but Sophia was depicted as being a winged virgin spirit or Goddess.[1]

Geneisner (talk) 21:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Sophia, Shekhinah, Shakti[edit]

Someone should do a study unifying the mysticism of these three concepts which are clearly derived from the same idea. The Shekhinah of the Kabbalah is the female aspect of God who helped create the universe and is simultaneously beside God and confined to the Malkuth, the Kingdom of Matter where we reside. The aim of Kabbalists is to reunite the Shekhinah, which is simultaneously the Soul of God and of Man with God's highest aspect. This cosmological doctrine is surely identical to that of the Sophia of Christian Gnosticism (indeed both ideas stem from the same sections of the Bible - Proverbs and the story of Solomon)? The Divine Marriage (Hieros Gamos) of the Sophia/Shekhinah with God is dramatised in the Song Of Solomon and is again parallel with the Hindu concept of the marriage of Shakti and Shiva which Kundalini Yoga aims to bring about. The great Gnostic theologian Valentinus believed in the androgyny of the Soul and Godhead (as do the Kabbalists cf Bashevis Singer's story Yentl) and also believed that the Divine Marriage was the ultimate goal of the Christian mystic. What's fascinating is that all these Eastern and Western spiritual/mystical traditions connect in this way but the existence of female spirituality in mainstream Judaism/Christianity is suppressed in a way in which it isn't in the East. The best the Christians tend to get is the Virgin Mary, who embodies the spirituality of motherhood but not female sexuality, as the concept of the Divine Marriage does. Perhaps this goes hand in hand with the Western view that sexuality is inherently unclean and the means by which Original Sin came into the world. With this in mind Valentinus' idea of the Hieros Gamos and the reclaiming of sexual union into a spirituality is perhaps a liberating one. To Valentinus the Divine Feminine is both Mother and Bride, rather than just Mother as in mainstream Christianity, perhaps expanding our understanding of the female journey. In the same way Masculine Spirituality is both Father and Groom. In fact such imagery is in the Bible - Christ is described as the Groom to the Church - but not enough is made of it. What's interesting is that Western spirituality has tended to desexualise men and women, women in particular. The concept of Sophia tends to be seen as Gnostic and/or heretical, as were early attempts to view the Holy Spirit as the Female nature of God. In Hinduism the female Gods - Kali, Shakti et al - remain intensely potent, alive and equal to the male. It is interesting that the Greek pantheon also recognised the power of female spirituality in the form of figures such as Artemis, Athena and Aphrodite but where imagery of Apollo works its way into Christianity through its encounter with Hellenism none of these energies continue into the new religion unless one equates Artemis with the Virgin Mary. Any thoughts?ThePeg 22:36, 1 October 2006 (UTC) 12.8.2006

You are seeing the same universal truths being shown by different cultures at different times but the understanding of them is esoteric. According to the teachings given at Gnosticweb these aspects you mention above represent various parts of our higher selves which reside in higher dimensions, our Being is made up of male and female aspects. Shakti and Shiva are akin to The Divine Mother(Mary) and the Holy Spirit(a male aspect) respectively. Kali is another aspect of the Divine Mother. Sophia can be representative of our true divine consciousness which is immersed and trapped in the darkness of our egos (psychological adjuncts). Using various techniques it is said we can gradually free the trapped consciousness and so gradually re-unite (re-ligion) with the parts of our Being and so totally transform our psyche. One of these techniques involves using the sexual energies in a spiritual way to purify them as opposed to the usual unclean lustful way. Bride and Groom, wedding garments of the soul etc are esoteric references to the parts of the Being and to incarnating them within, one of those parts is the Christ, the highest is the Father but ultimately the Being is beyond sex or gender. Percevalles 12:25, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Percevalles. We are clearly talking about the same thing. As you say, the Hieros Gamos is an internal as well as external process by which we are transformed and partake of the Unity. Good to know there are other people out there who are interested in this - something which has been surpressed by too many expressions of organised religion in the world, just locking out the Feminine from our understanding of the Universe, the Godhead and ourselves. How much suffering would have been saved women down the centuries if the true energy of the Feminine had been embraced by our exoteric spiritual traditions. If you want to see an extraordinary expression of the Divine Feminine smuggled through the gates of exoteric Christianity go to Zaragoza and visit the Basilica of the Pillar there. The imagery of the Virgin is extraordinary and far more potent than anywhere else I have been to in the Christian world.ThePeg 22:36, 1 October 2006 (UTC) 9 September 2006

Sophia in the Bible[edit]

It might be worth adding something to the effect that Sophia is not an invention of the Gnostics but is a figure in the Bible. She appears most powerfully in the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament where she speaks with her own voice in Chapter 8. Other movements in mainstream Christianity have also tried to champion the Sophia as an expression of the Divine Feminine. Within the Catholic Church Dame Hildegard of Bingen gave visual and verbal expression to her in her vision-images and writings and in the Russian Orthodox Church Sergei Bulgakov developed Sophiology to its apotheosis in his work SOPHIA: The Wisdom Of God. THe Gnostics didn't just pluck the Sophia out of the air but developed rather than supressed her as an expression of the Divine Feminine. If the mainstream churches had kept her in perhaps we would not have had the history of supression of women in Christianity we have had for so long.

HAving written what I did above I have discovered that the Shekinah is not the same thing as the Sophia. The Sophia is 'the Wisdom of God' while the Shekinah is 'the Glory of God'. The Christian Gnostics seem to conflate the Sophia with the Kabbalistic drama of the Shekinah in their cosmology though as the Shekinah is both next to God and exiled in the realm of matter in the same way as the Gnostic Sophia is.

In the end the Gnostic drama of the Sophia is presumably an expression of the search to reunite the Masculine and Feminine aspects of God again - an idea which feeds into esoteric Christian movements such as Alchemy and Rosicrucianism much later. ThePeg 22:35, 1 October 2006 (UTC) 2006

Homer & The Sophia/Shekinah[edit]

In his Oration On The Dignity Of Man Pico de Mirandola talks about Homer concealing in his work the Eternal Wisdom and of course if one looks at the Odyssey one can see enacted in the relationship between Odysseus and Athena exactly the drama of the Sophia/Shekinah with the Spiritual Wayfarer. It is no coincidence, surely, that Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom - the Goddess of Sophia. Just as the genesis of Christianity was in many ways Greek so, presumably, Christianity evolved the idea that the Feminine Spirit of Wisdom could walk alongside men out of the insights of the Greeks coupled with those of the Jews with their vision of the Shekinah. The interesting thing is how often Wisdom is embodied by a Female figure - Sophia in Christianity, Athena in Hellenism, Ma'at in Egyptian mythology. Worth exploring I think. ThePeg 22:43, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

In addition to this, if Athena is the Higher, or Divine Sophia who sits with God, Penelope is the Lower, or Created Sophia, who is here with us in this realm. One of the most beautiful passages in the Odyssey is when Odysseus returns home and, having defeated the suitors, is reunited with Penelope and together they make love. Surely this is, once again, the psychic return to the Self, the Hieros Gamos which is reflected also in the drama of Christ's redemption of the Sophia? With customary genius, Homer makes it a real human event as well, with the simple truth of the husband's return to his wife and the restoration of their love and union in the bedroom. As above, so below. ThePeg 23:35, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Continuing this line of thinking - eg the evolution of Christianity out of Greek ideas - perhaps as Athena became Sophia, Artemis became the Virgin Mary and Aphrodite Mary Magdelene. Interesting that Christianity has fundamentally concentrated upon the Virgin image of womanhood, thus supressing woman as an image of Wisdom and woman as a sexual creature. ThePeg 15:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Have you read "The Jesus Mysteries?" The basic argument there is that Chist developed from Orpheus, as well as from other god-men like Osiris and Dionysus. In fact, the authors contend that there was no historical Jesus (or Peter or Paul, or any of the other disciples) and that the entire story of the origins of Christianity is a myth, based on older and (at the time) more widely accepted myths. I tend to believe that there was a historical Jesus, but the theory is certainly a startling one, and one that is not easy to entirely discredit. By the way, I'd never heard that thing about Homer before. That's beautiful. GirlFawkes 08:31, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Jung has an interesting theory on this. He says that whether there was a real historical figure called Christ is not the point. The point is what we have made of Christ. If we stay neutral on which religion is best and see Christ as the highest ideal mankind has before him/her of what humanity can be - ie a God-Man or God and Man partaking of each others' nature then that is all we need to know about what Jesus represents. We know that Christianity was hugely influenced by the Greek mind of the Byzantine Empire and we can see today how Christianity is adopted by different cultures in subtly different ways. We shouldn't feel uncomfortable about the idea that Christ might have grown out of ideas of Orisis, Orpheus, Apollo etc any more than the idea that Christianity itself grew out of Judaism. Perhaps as humanity grows spiritually its idea of what men and Gods can be grows. In this sense we can say that Christ grows out of but transcends those earlier expressions of spirituality. Jung saw Christ and Buddha as the highest expressions of what humanity can be in human culture so far. You would proabably want to add Krishna if you were a Hindu (Krishna being the most human avatar of Brahman and in many ways parallel to Christ in his message. A lot of what he says in the Bagavad Gita is very similar to the Gospels. Also his name is clearly etymologically linked to Christ, surely? Christ wasn't purply-blue though) and Mohammed if you were a Muslim. In a similar way the Virgin Mary can be seen to have grown out of figures such as Hathor, Isis, Astarte, Artemis etc. I find the idea of a continuity in the development of human spirituality hugely moving and reassuring. It shows we are evolving in our knowledge of the divine. I wonder what the next phase is going to be? ThePeg 17:14, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Wisdom, personified or otherwise, has some interesting things to say about herself in Proverbs 8:30. she was "brought up with God", and was His delight (pleasure). In Proverbs 8:23 wisdom says she was anointed for eternity before the heavens and earth were created. In Luke 7:11 Jesus Christ speaks of Wisdom saying" Wisdom is justified of her children"; and again in Luke 11:49-51. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Pandora & The Sophia[edit]

One more mytholigical link with the Sophia is the story of Pandora, the Greek figure whose curiosity opens up misfortune and suffering on the world but also allows Hope into it to counter those destructive forces. Pandora, like the Sophia of the Gnostics, is therefore responsible for the Fall but also, potentially, key to the Redemption. Given that the image of the Sophia in Christianity is probably strongest among the Greek/Russian Orthodox Church it isn't surprising that the Pandora legend has worked its way into Byzantine Christianity. Pandora also presumably has some connection with Eve and her 'First Disobedience' which bring suffering and death into the world but also the means by which the Saviour can be incarnated and therefore all can be redeemed. ThePeg 23:30, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

More Beefing Up (if that's the right word)[edit]

I've beefed up this article with a few extra details and a clearer introduction to what the Sophia meant to the Gnostics. I hope this enlarges the debate, clarifies the article a little etc. I added the Star Wars reference. Some people will think this silly but in fact Star Wars follows the classical archetypal pattern of the imprisoned Anima being rescued by the Animus figures of Luke Sywalker and Han Solo. The reason why the Star Wars Trilogy worked so well was because it plugged into the archetypal world of myth. This was fully conscious - Lucas based his story on the Joseph Campbell book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. I look forward to someone deciding to take it off. Mind you, since I'm the only one who seems interested in this topic I imagine it won't change. :-) ThePeg 22:09, 3 November 2006 (UTC)


Presumably the parallels between Christ and the Sophia and Siva and Shakti would be more easily understandable to us if instead of talking about the Sophia as the Bride of Christ or even his Syzygy we spoke of her as being Christ (which, after all, is what a Syzygy is). If we see Christ as a fully developed human being then in esoteric terms he is Man/Woman. Thus Sophia is not only the Female Aspect of God/Christ but actually IS God/Christ. In Kaballistic terms this is the fulfilment of the name Elohim which translates as He/She/Gods. If we were able to conceive of a religion which truly understood this then can you imagine how things would be transformed? Try to imagine a Divinity in which Christ and the Sophia are one and the same as opposed to separate. A Sophianic Christianity as opposed to the Christianity we have had to make do with which, for all its splendour and achievements, has excluded the Feminine for generations. ThePeg 15:16, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

This comment has been the cause of deep thought for me, although unfortunately the thought process has been essentially circular, at least in the following respect: I understand why you want to identify Sophia as Christ. It makes sense insofar as a syzygy is a pair of beings which are united as one. However, the way I understand it, the two members of a syzygy still retain their individuality. It's one of those paradoxes so rife in "mystical" systems, one of those things you eventually come to think you understand but that still makes your brain hurt when you really think about it. Anyway, I suppose it wouldn't be wrong to identify Sophia and Christ as the same being, but I still balk at it. Having said all that, I can't agree with you more, as a woman and a Christian, that everyone got the short end of the stick when the exoteric church rejected Gnostic/Kabalistic views on divinity and the feminine. I've always resented the fact that I can't be a priest in the church I grew up in due to my lack of external genitalia. GirlFawkes 00:50, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Girlfawkes, nice to hear from you again! Perhaps this will help: according to the Russian Orthodox Sophiologist Sergei Bulgakov the Sophia is co-substantive with all three aspects of the Trinity. If the Sophia is 'the Wisdom of God' then the Father, Son and Holy Ghost must have her as part of themselves. In this sense she IS the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. An aspect of a Divinity is still part of the Divinity and so the Sophia is as much God as the Son or the Holy Ghost.

Alternatively, maybe its easier to see the Sophia/Christ idea I am positing as similar to the Kaballistic idea of Chokmah (Wisdom-Male) and Binah (Understanding - Female) being the two sides of God. I don't know how familiar you are with Kaballah but the central idea is that the highest manifestation of the Limitless God (Ain Sof) is Kether (Crown). As God creates the world his emanations divide between male and female energies which together bring Creation into being, Chokmah and Binah being the First Father and Mother energies in this way. They are thus, although separate, united as part of Kether. In this sense, Christ and the Sophia are united but separate. Blindingly simple I am sure you agree... NOT! Even I am a bit confused!

As a point of interest, Christian Kaballists have compared the Kether, Chokmah, Binah trinity with the Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Early Church theologians identified the Holy Ghost as the Feminine aspect of God but after a while this became a heretical idea. The Godhead had to be exclusively male for some reason.

I suppose what I am suggesting is quite a radical idea. Until now we have always seen our Gods as either male or female or neuter. The Monad, the Ain Sof, the Absolute, the Nous, Atum - all are gender-less but contain within them the spectrum, or possibility of both male and female energies. Even when we have tried to be monotheistic the One God (Jehovah, the Father, Allah or whoever) has tended to end up being male. What if we were able to conceive of a God who was simultaneously male AND female, depending on the attributes needed at a given time? Thus the Christ-Sophia syzygy becomes both male and female, equal and co-existent, able to express the Christian Mystery in a way which encompasses the experiences of men AND women? The Divine Marriage/Hieros Gamos made real? Traditionally Christian women have had to work out their spirituality in terms of a male God. The Virgin Mary has been co-opted in to play the role of the Goddess at the very best but has never been EQUAL to Christ. A Christ-Sophia syzygy would unite the male and female principles into the Godhead. Perhaps it sounds a little crazy and I don't know if anyone has had this idea before but imagine what a spiritual shift it would mean if the Christian Godhead was able to embrace its full female nature?

Food for thought... :-)ThePeg 16:34, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I've just discovered that this Christ/Sophia unity is in one of the Gnostic Gospels themselves. In the Sophia of Jesus Christ these words appear:

"The perfect Saviour (ie Christ) said: 'Son of Man consented with Sophia, his consort, and revealed an androgynous light. His male name is designated: Saviour, Begetter of all things. His female name is designated: All-Begetress Sophia. Some call her Pistis." (trans Douglas M Parrott)

So there we go. The Gnostics were way ahead of me! :-) ThePeg 18:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Sophia and the Wisdom of Solomon[edit]

In the Apocryphal Biblical book the Wisdom of Solomon (I say Apocryphal, it was obviously in use in the first millenia of Christianity as Meister Eckhardt wrote a commentary on it) the personification of the Sophia goes even further than it does in the Book of Proverbs (also attributed to Solomon). In the first part of the book (which is unutterably beautiful, by the way) the Sophia is overtly the Bride and the means by which God operates in the world and helps humanity. There is a wonderful description of how she helped with the progress of Man through the stories of the Old Testament and several sections in which the writer enacts how Solomon wooed and won the Sophia, making Her his Bride. Its quite beautiful and embraces all the elements discussed above of the Sophia as the Bride of the (male) Soul, just as Christ is the Groom of the (female) soul and the Sophia as an aspect of God. It is regarded as being part of the Jewish Chokmah or Wisdom Tradition and dating back to the Golden Age of Alexandria. There are many similarities to it and works of St Paul, suggesting that it was in circulation in his time and an influence on his thinking. It is also echoed in Matthew's Gospel. You can get it in the OUP Edition of the Bible with added Apocryphal Texts and the Kessinger Books edition. If you're interested in this subject I cannot recommend it highly enough. ThePeg 18:26, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Enlarging Article[edit]

Should anyone else be interested in this site I am looking to build a consensus for changing it to encompass the idea of the Sophia above and beyond its purely Gnostic aspect. The subject is huge and I would like to enlarge the article's scope. This would mean renaming it along the lines of something like Sophia (Wisdom of God) or Sophia (Christianity and Gnosticism) or somesuch other idea and including Eastern Orthodox, Western Esoteric Christian and Judaic expressions of the Sophia as well as the hugely important Gnostic Christian one. What do people think? ThePeg 16:56, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Problems with article enlargement in present form[edit]

I would say no - the Westerb Esoteric expression is highly dependent on the gnostic one, if not more or less, for our culture, the same. Keep this article in gnosticism. Christianity is still defined by the Council of Nicea of 325 AD, as you will find more than 90% of Christians and churches accepting the Nicean creed and the canon of old and new testaments as decided there. Gnostic "Christianity" makes reference to the figure of Christ but is not thereby Christianity, as it rejects whole-cloth essential Christian doctrines - otherwise it would also make sense to speak of Muslim Christianity since the Muslim faith also refers to a figure of Jesus as an important prophet and one who will partake in future judgement of mankind. For the purposes of Wikipedia, Gnostic "Christianity" would need to be accepted by a significant portion of Christianity, and simply having a mythical figure of Christ as an element of this religion is not sufficent. Christianity is largely defined by a centrality of Christ to doctrine, and Gnosticism reduces Christ to but a low level of emanations - a position shared with Sofia. Furthermore, the claim that Sofia is a central term in Orthodox Christianity does not seem to be backed up by the text of this article - it would seem that Sofia is rather a central term to some authors who have been rejected by Orthodox Christianity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with some fundamental statements here. You couldn't talk of Muslim Christianity as Christ, although revered by Muslims, is not the central figure. Gnostic Christianity is Christianity, just a branch of it. Post-Nicean Christianity is just the one that won out in the Darwinian struggle within the movement at the time. Christ remains the Redeemer and Saviour, the Logos, but there are no concepts of Original Sin or anything like that.

Only some Gnostic systems 'reduce Christ to but a low level of emanations'. The main one - the Valentinian - sees him as central. Besides which you would have to take into account the enlarged Cosmology of the Gnostics.

In the end one can't speak of 'Christianity' but 'Christianities'. Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Nestorian, Coptic, Gnostic, Syrian and so on and so on... (talk) 00:19, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Biblical Evidence of the nature of the Holy Spirit?[edit]

I am not associated with any so-called "church", or other group of any kind. I am merely providing this information in that it may be of some help, and only to say that per 1 Corinthians 2:13, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.", is the only way truth in God's word the Bible is found.... There are numerous infallible proofs per say in the Bible which show who the Holy Spirit is, and the nature of this Spirit of God, which are unfortunately and vastly lost to doctrines of men in most circles, and additionally disguised by Bible translations which paraphrase doctrines of men, failing to see the Word for what it says. One of a vast number of examples, the connections in these passages are widely overlooked:

2Jn1:1 The elder unto the elect *lady* AND *her children*, whom I *love in the truth*; and not I only, but also all they that have *known the truth*; 2Jn1:5 And now I beseech thee, *lady*, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that *which we had from the beginning*, that we *love* one another.

John15:26 But when the *Comforter* is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even *the Spirit of truth*, which proceedeth from the Father, [he/(she)] shall testify of me: John14:26 But the *Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost*, whom the Father will send in my name, [he/(she)] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Prv8:22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. Prv8:23 I was set up from everlasting, *from the beginning*, or ever the earth was. Prv8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Prv8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: Prv8:26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. Prv8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: Prv8:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: Prv8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Prv8:30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Prv8:31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Prv3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

It is also overlooked what the Promise spoken of in the Bible actually is:

Deu6:3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath *promised thee*, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Luke3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: *he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost* and with fire: Acts2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father *the promise of the Holy Ghost*, [he/(she)] hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Prv1:20 *Wisdom* crieth without; [she] uttereth [her] voice in the streets: Prv8:11 For *wisdom* is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are *not to be compared to [it\(her)]*.

The above is just one example, not even the tip of the iceburg. Additionally, a vast wealth of information is gleaned by going back to the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek of the Bible. Those languages are so colorful in word meaning, that looking to the original words, and word roots in conjunction with realizing the Word of God is a book of parables, only then do we begin to see light.

Psa78:2 I will *open my mouth in a parable*: I will utter dark sayings of old: Prv1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will *pour out my spirit unto you*, I will make known my words unto you.

Jer31:15 Thus saith the LORD; A *voice was heard in Ramah*, lamentation, and bitter weeping; *Rahel weeping for her children* refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Jer31:16 Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for *thy work shall be rewarded*, saith the LORD; and *they shall come* again from the land of the enemy. Jer31:17 And there is *hope in thine end*, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

Rom5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because *the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost* which is given unto us.

Isa44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and [he/(she/that One)] that *formed thee from the womb*, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

John3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is *born of the Spirit*.

Rev12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; *a woman* clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: -

Ge1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the *image of God* created he him; *male and female* created he them. 2Cor4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious *gospel of Christ, who is the image of God*, should shine unto them. 1Cor11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and *the head of the woman is the man*; and the head of Christ is God. 1Cor6:19 What? know ye not that *your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost* which is in you, which ye have of God, and *ye are not your own*?

Titus3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and *renewing of the Holy Ghost*; Rev19:8 And to her was granted that *she should be arrayed in fine linen*, clean and white: for the fine linen is *the righteousness of saints*. 2Pet1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be *partakers of the divine nature*, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Ge21:6 And *Sarah* said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that *hear* will laugh with me. Luke1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth *heard the salutation* of Mary, the *babe leaped in her womb*; and Elisabeth was *filled with the Holy Ghost*:

Prv1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

But there is a little more complexity to the "woman", namely a mother figure and two daughters. One which remains true, and the other which departs, but both from the same mother:

Eze23:2 Son of man, there were *two women*, *the daughters of one mother*.

Ruth1:8 And *Naomi said unto her two daughters in law*, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. Ruth1:15 And she said, Behold, *thy sister in law is gone back* unto her people, and *unto her gods*: return thou after thy sister in law. Ruth1:16 And *Ruth said*, *Intreat me not to leave thee*, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: *thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God*:

Gal4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by *a bondmaid*, the other by *a freewoman*. Gal4:23 But he who was of the *bondwoman was born after the flesh*; but he of the *freewoman was by promise*. Gal4:24 Which things are an *allegory*: for these are the *two covenants*; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. Gal4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. Gal4:26 But *Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all*.

SSol4:9 Thou hast ravished my heart, *my sister, my spouse*; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. Isa62:5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall *thy sons marry thee*: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

Perhaps one statement which indicates the quietness regarding the "woman" is related to this verse:

Ruth3:14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, *Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor*. Jer51:33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is *like a threshingfloor*, *it is time to thresh her*: yet a little while, and *the time of her harvest shall come*.

This complexity might be best understood in light such verses as these:

John10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be *one fold, and one shepherd*. John17:23 *I in them, and thou in me*, that they may be *made perfect in one*; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 1Cor15:23 But *every man in his own order*: *Christ the firstfruits*; *afterward they that are Christ's at [his/(her/that one's)] coming*.

John6:63 It is the *Spirit that quickeneth*; the flesh profiteth nothing: *the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life*. Titus3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and *renewing of the Holy Ghost*; Rev21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, *Write: for these words are true and faithful*. 2Cor2:17 For *we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God*: but as of sincerity, but as of God, *in the sight of God speak we in Christ*

John14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you *another* Comforter, that [he/(she/that one)] *may abide with you for ever*; 1Jn5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. Gal6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

1Cor15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that *God may be all in all*. Eph1:23 Which is *[his/(her)] body*, the fulness of him *that filleth all in all*. 1Cor15:44 It is *sown a natural body*; it is *raised a spiritual body*. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

To actually declare all the Biblical evidence would take vast books and time, so it has been spoken in a parable, that those who hear, will understand!

John21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even *the world itself could not contain the books that should be written*. Amen.

Preceding unsigned comment added by Baitzph (talk) 18:05, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

1Jn4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because *greater is [he/(she,that one)] that is in you, than [he/(she)] that is in the world*. Luke17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, *the kingdom of God is within you*.

Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:49, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Picture Edit[edit]

Thank God someone took off that kitsch picture! It was totally inappropriate! Thank you! The other one is great. :-) Here's another image that might work. I don't know how to put it on. I know it says St Mary Magdelene but its actually the Sophia:

ThePeg 12:40, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Further notes on Sophia - Shakti[edit]

There is an enormous parallel between the Gnostic story of the Sophia and the Tantric idea of the Siva/Shakti. In fact they are almost identical. In Tantra, before the creation of the Universe the Male Prinicpal (Shiva) and the Female (Shakti) are locked in a loving, sexual embrace of such intensity that neither is aware of the other, so complete is their Unity. The Universe comes into being as the Shakti becomes aware and moves away from Siva. Gradually the Male and Female principle separate. Shakti then begins her dance before Siva. So hypnotic is the dance that Siva begins to be drawn into the Illusion of Time and Matter, believing that he is Many rather than One. At the end of this process humanity appears, each individual a part of Siva caught in the Dance of Shakti. In this state the individual believes that he/she exists in Time and Space, separated from the Divine Unity. The aim of Tantra is to reunite the Male/Female energy and thus restore the Unity of all Things, thus liberating us from Time and Space.

This is pretty much identical to the idea of the Sophia breaking off from the Pleroma and her syzygy with Christ as a consequence of which all Creation comes into being until the Christ-Sophia disunity can be restored. It also, extraordinarily, explains the meaning of the Biblical Genesis story and why it is Eve (Shakti) who eats the Fruit of Knowledge first, thus causing Adam (Siva) to fall into a world of Matter and Time having been in the state of perfect Unity in Eden.

Fascinating. The indication is that the roots of Gnosticism, indeed all religions which have a similar vision of Union with the Godhead (cf Song of Songs in the Old Testament & the Kaballistic idea of the marriage of Tiphareth with the Shekinah/Malkuth) lie in some of the most ancient mystical systems known to Man. ThePeg 17:29, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

To add... The more one studies Hindu Tantra the more one realises how the Sophia/Christ Syzygy is the same as that of Shakti/Siva, the reunification of which symbolises the return to Wholeness (Soteria) of the Soul. Perhaps the Magdelene/Christ myth of them as Lovers is a reflection of this. Perhaps the Christian Mystery simply can't be understood without an understanding of the Sophia and her relationhsip with Christ. She is the one who can heal him, he is the one who can save her. Mary Magdelene at the foot of the Cross, Shakti at the base of the spine.... ThePeg 19:24, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

May I also take exception that no one has mentioned that, because lots of my buddies have told me I'm smart, that the article nowhere mentions that in fact I am Sophia?—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

May I suggest that this article should be wholly integrated into the article "Wisdom" under philosophical or religious views respectively? This seems to be even more urgent as Greek "sophia" is merged here (and can surely be connected) with terms of other languages as above mentioned, be they of Jewish or Hindu origin. --Malcolm77 (talk) 09:51, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Sofya or Sofiya in Platonism?[edit]

It seems that Editor2020 and I have some differing views on whether it is spelled "Sofya" in relation to Platonism or "Sofiya". The reason I think it should be "Sofya" is because most of the sources that I've seen in relation to Plato and Platonism spell it that way. For example, on page 235 in the book Dostoevsky and the Christian Tradition by George Pattison and Diane Oenning Thompson (2001) it says, "Sofya/Sophia... which translates, of course, as Plato's Wisdom." On page 216 of Platonica by Alice Swift Riginos (1976) there's reference to "an Arabic translation in Codex Aya Sofya, Istanbul, 4833..." There is reference in Plato's "Symposion" in the Arabic Tradition by Dimitri Gutas (1988), "this treatise on the basis of the famous Aya Sofya 4832 manuscript..." If you Google search "Aya Sofya" or "Ayasofya", you get many more results than if you spell it with the "i". I could also find more citations with the spelling "Sofya" instead of "Sofiya" in relation to Plato and Platonism too. So, that is why I think it should be spelled "Sofya" instead of "Sofiya" in the In Platonism section. Geneisner (talk) 07:04, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

This is a totally strange comment about the Greek word, which is surely spelled "Sophia" (as I have corrected once in the article). "Sofya" should be a Russian rendering of the Greek term. --Malcolm77 (talk) 09:47, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


The Richard Laurence translation of The Book of Enoch the Prophet, Chapter XLII, reports, Wisdom found not a place on earth where she could inhabit; her dwelling therefore is in heaven. Wisdom went forth to dwell among the sons of men, but she obtained not an habitation. Wisdom returned to her place, and seated herself in the midst of the angels. But iniquity went forth after her return, who unwillingly found an habitation, and resided among them, as rain in the desert and as a dew in a thirsty land.

Such seems to indicate a timeless descent, touch, failure and rise of Wisdom away from the earthly locale -- as well as the at-will abandonment of our pale shores for better climes amidst the angels -- a sort of opposite of the descent of the evil angels and admitting of their great acceptance and success during their earth residence. (talk) 23:39, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Do you have a reliable source to cite that shows this interpretation is notable? We're not a blog for your personal thoughts. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:46, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
If the material quoted from Laurence is not, does not offer you reliable source enough, I'm sure I really can't help you in your apparently personal quest for reliability. Historically the material seems to have stumped even Saint Jerome, who reportedly excluded some version, perhaps even The Book of Enoch the Prophet from the Vulgate, so it does not really surprise me to find another mind apparently misreading, misunderstanding or somewhat blindly rejecting it. (talk) 02:47, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
This part:
Such seems to indicate a timeless descent, touch, failure and rise of Wisdom away from the earthly locale -- as well as the at-will abandonment of our pale shores for better climes amidst the angels -- a sort of opposite of the descent of the evil angels and admitting of their great acceptance and success during their earth residence.
is not in the source, that part is your original research. We don't care about your personal exegesis. We don't care if you think you're some sort of enlightened mind, we want sources. If you can't handle that, go get a blog. Ian.thomson (talk) 03:11, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:naming conventions (use English)[edit]

Academic texts generally refer to wisdom as "wisdom" - when talking about Ancient Greece, the Hebrew Bible, Christianity, even Gnosticism. Why does this article title need to be in Greek? Is the subject Wisdom in Greek philosophy, Wisdom in Gnosticism? In ictu oculi (talk) 03:22, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

New Christology material[edit]

I had not even looked at this page, but noticed it as a result of the link to Jesus as Wisdom.

  • I do like the new material, and the substance looks good to me. The only issue is that the link format make it hard to read. We had a discussion about Wikisource bible links which are easier to read, and if those can be used will be nice.
  • I noticed that Bulgakov is mentioned in passing elsewhere, but not in Christology. That may need a small mention there - although rejected.

I am not working on this page, so I will just leave this as a suggestion. History2007 (talk) 19:22, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

That Huge Statue in Bulgaria[edit]

I am trying to stick a photo (from Wikimedia commons) of the monumental statue of Sophia in her namesake city, which is really cool. Unfortunately, they won't let me. I'll try again.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:55, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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