Teachings of Silvanus

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The Teachings of Silvanus is one of the books found in the Nag Hammadi library. It is generally dated around 150.[citation needed] Two of the more interesting verses are 99.13, which states Christ has a single hypostasis (hidden spiritual reality) and 102.3, which states Christ is incomprehensible with respect to his hypostasis.

The word hypostasis was later adopted as part of the doctrine of the Trinity of Nicene Christianity.

It is not a Gnostic text, but has some anti-gnostic warnings, along with orthodox Christian teachings in including verses 110,14-19:[1]

"Know who Christ is, and acquire him as a friend, for this is the friend who is faithful. He is God and teacher. This one, being God became man for your sake."

There is also a large focus on multiple subjects. First, God is seen as the one true Creator, and Christ is the “incarnate Wisdom of God” (Robinson 346). Christ is the savior of the world who made great sacrifices so that everyone might have a chance to be saved from the clutches of Satan. Additionally, there is an emphasis on ethics and earning God's favor through moderation, as well as prayers, proverbs, and hymns.[2]

The author is unknown, but it is pseudonymously attributed to a companion of Paul and Peter – "Silas" of chapters 15-18 of the book of Acts, known in New Testament epistles by the name "Silvanus".[3] It is a rare find because its content relates to early Christian Wisdom, and it is believed to have been popular in monastic circles.[2]


  1. ^ Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity, Fortress Pr, 2006, p. 178, ISBN 0-8006-3741-0
  2. ^ a b director, James M. Robinson (1977). The Nag Hammadi Library : Chenoposkion Manuscripts English (1st U.S. ed.). New York: Harper & Row. p. 346. ISBN 0-06-066929-2.
  3. ^ Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity, Fortress Pr, 2006, p. 177, ISBN 0-8006-3741-0