Pistis Sophia, by G.R.S. Mead, , at sacred-texts.com
1. 1770. Art. in Brittische theol. Magazin (?); see Köstlin below, 13.
2. 1773. Woide (C. G.). Art. in Journal des Savants (Paris).
3. 1778. Woide (C. G.). Art. in J. A. Cramer's Beyträge zur Beförderung theologischer und andrer wichtigen Kenntnisse (Kiel u. Hamburg), iii. 82 ff.
It was by W. that the New Testament, according to the text of the famous Codex Alexandrinus, was edited, in uncial types cast to imitate those of the MS., in 1786. In an Appendix to this great undertaking, in 1799 (see below, 5), he added certain fragments of the New Testament in the Thebaico-Coptic dialect, together with a dissertation on the Coptic version of the New Testament. The date of the C.A. is generally assigned to the 5th cent., and, with the exception of the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus, which are sometimes assigned to the 4th cent., is the oldest extant MS. of the New Testament. This being the case, it is of interest to quote from the Beiträge W.'s opinion on the date of the MS. of P.S., which was lent to this careful scholar by Dr. Askew and which he copied from the first word to the last:
"It [P.S.] is a very old MS. in 4to on parchment in Greek uncial characters, which are not so round as those in the Alexandrine MS. in London, and in the Claromontain MS. in Paris [Codex Regius Parisiensis, also an Alexandrine text]. The characters of the MS. [P.S.] are somewhat longer and more angular, so that I take them to be older than both the latter MSS., in which the letters eta, theta, omicron, rho and sigma are much rounder."
Thus W. would date the MS. towards the end of the 4th cent.
4. 1794. Buhle (J. G.). Literarischer Briefwechsel von Johann David Michaelis (Leipzig), 3 vols., 1794-96, iii. 69.
Under date 1773 there is a letter from Woide to Michaelis, in which the former says in reference to the P.S. Codex that Askew had picked it up by chance in a book-shop. There follows a description of the MS.
5. 1799. Woide (C. G.). Appendix ad Editionem Novi Testamenti Græci e Codice MS. Alexandrino . . . cum Dissertatione de Versione Bibliorum Ægyptiaca quibus subjictur Codicis Vaticani Collatio (Oxford), p. 137.
W. gives the date of the P.S. Codex as about the 4th cent., and considers the writer of the Greek original to have been Valentinus.
6. 1812. Münter (F.). Odæ Gnosticæ Salomoni Tributæ, Thebaice et Latine, Prefatione et Adnotationibus philologicis illustratæ; (Hafniæ).
Bishop Münter, a learned Dane, probably got his text from Woide's copy. His brief pamphlet is of no particular importance; nevertheless it was solely upon these few selections, the five Odes of Solomon, that, with the exception of Dulaurier, scholars formed their opinion of the P.S. up to the time of the publication of Schwartze's translation in 1851. Münter believed that the original treatise belonged to the 2nd cent. For Odes of Solomon see below, 49, 53 and 60.
7. 1838. Dulaurier (É.). Art. in Le Moniteur (sept. 27).
8. 1843. Matter (J.). Histoire Critique du Gnosticisme et de son Influence sur les Sectes religieuses et philosophiques des six premiers Siècles de l’Ère chrétienne (Paris), 2nd ed., ii. 41 ff., 350 ff. The first edition appeared in 1828 and contains no reference to P.S. In Dörner's German translation the references are ii. 69 ff. and 163 ff.
M. rejects the authorship of Valentinus, though he bases himself otherwise entirely on Woide. He vaguely places the date of the original treatise between the end of the 2nd and the end of the 5th cent., but gives no opinion as to the school to which it belongs (p. 352).
9. 1847. Dulaurier (É.). Art. in the Journal Asiatique, 4e série, tom. ix., juin, pp. 534-548, 'Notice sur le Manuscript copte-thébain, intitulé La Fidèle Sagesse; et sur la Publication projetée du Texte et de la Traduction française de ce Manuscript.'
D. had prepared a translation of the P.S. He writes: "The translation of the Pistis Sophia and the glossary which forms a complement to it are finished, and will be sent to the printers, when I have convinced myself that I have fulfilled the requirements that this task imposes, taking into consideration the present state of science and my own capabilities. The MS. from which I have made my translation is a copy which I have taken from the original, during my stay in England in 1838-1840, when I was charged by MM. de
[paragraph continues] Salvandy and Villemain, successive ministers of public instruction, with the commission of proceeding to London to study this curious monument." (p. 542). D., however, did not publish his labours, nor have I as yet come across any record of the fate of his MS. He ascribes the treatise to Valentinus.
10. 1851. Schwartze (M. G.). Pistis Sophia, Opus Gnosticum Valentino adjudicatum, e Codice Manuscripto Coptico Londinensi descriptum. Latine vertit M. G. Schwartze, edidit J. H. Petermann (Berlin).
In 1848 Schwartze made a copy of the Codex in London, but unfortunately died before the completion of his labours on the P.S., and the MS. translation he left behind contained a number of blanks and passages which he intended to fill up and correct. His friend Petermann confined himself in his notes strictly to verbal corrections and suggestions as to variæ lectiones. The consequence is that we have a translation without the notes of the translator and without a word of introduction. P. says the task of editing was so severe that he frequently suffered from fits of giddiness. In spite of numerous blemishes this first edition is said to be 'an outstanding achievement.' S. considers the original treatise, as we see from the title of his work, to have been written by Valentinus; but P. is of the opinion that it is the work of an Ophite, and promises to set forth his reasons at length in a treatise, which has unfortunately never seen the light. A review of S.'s work appeared in the Journal des Savants of 1852 (p. 333).
11. 1852. Bunsen (C. C. J.). Hippolytus and seine Zeit, Anfänge and Aussichten des Christenthums and der Menschheit (Leipzig), i. 47, 48. Hippolytus and his Age (London, 1852), i. 61, 62.
"Great, therefore, were my hopes in 1842, that the ancient Coptic manuscript of the British Museum, inscribed Sophia, might be a translation, or at least an extract, from that lost text-book of Gnosticism [the work quoted by Hippolytus, sub Valent.]: but unfortunately the accurate and trustworthy labours of that patient and conscientious Coptic scholar, Dr. Schwartze, so early taken away from us, have proved to me (for I have seen and perused his manuscript, which I hope will soon appear), that this Coptic treatise is a most worthless (I trust, purely Coptic) offshoot of the Marcosian heresy, of the latest and stupidest mysticism about letters, sounds and words."
B.'s Marcosian theory has been partially revived by Legge (below, 57), but is supported by no one else, and we doubt whether B. could have read Schwartze's MS. with any great care.
12. 1853. Baur (F. C.). Das Christenthum and die christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte (Tübingen), notes on pp. 185, 186, and 205, 206.
B. evidently added these notes at the last moment before publication. On page 206 he leans to the idea of an Ophite origin.
13. 1854. Köstlin (K. R.). Two arts. in Baur and Zeller's Theologische Jahrbücher (Tübingen), xiii. 1--104 and 137--196, 'Das gnostische System des Ruches Pistis Sophia.'
K. was the first to make an exhaustive analysis of the contents of the treatise, with the special object of setting forth the system of P.S., and his labours were used later by Lipsius in his art, in Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography (below, 20). He assigns its date to the first half of the 3rd cent., and thinks that it is of Ophite origin. In a note to page 1, K. writes:
"The MS. from which the work is published belongs to the collection of MSS. collected by Dr. Askew of London during his travels in Italy and Greece, of which The British Theological Magazine (Das Brittische theol. Magazin) for the year 1770 (vol. i. part 4, p. 223) gives more particulars."
We know nothing of these travels, and there is no such magazine in the catalogue of the British Museum. The Theological Repository for 1770 contains no information on the subject; and no permutation of names solves the mystery. There were very few magazines published at that early date, so that the choice is limited.
14. 1856. An Anonymous Translation in Migne's Dictionnaire des Apocryphes, tom. i. app. part. ii. coll. 1181--1286; this tome forms vol. xxiii. of his third Encyclopédie Théologique.
The translation is a sorry piece of work, more frequently a mere paraphrase from Schwartze's version than translation; there are also frequent omissions, sometimes as many as 40 pages of Schwartze's text; e.g. pp. 18, 19, 36 ff., 50, 51, 72, 73, 86-90, 108-135, 139, 157-160, 162, 171, 179, 180, 184-186, 221-243, 245-255, 281-320, 324-342. These are some of the omissions; but there are many more. It is, therefore, entirely useless to the student. The anonymous
writer vaguely suggests a late date for the treatise because of the complicated nature of the system.
15. 1860. Lipsius (R. A.). Art. 'Gnosticismus,' in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie, separately published at Leipzig, 1860, pp. 95 ff. and 157 ff.
L. considers P.S. an Egypto-Ophite treatise, and with Köstlin assigns its date to the first half of the 3rd cent. See his Art. in Dict. of Christ. Biog. (1887).
16. 1875-1883. The Palæographical Society, Facsimiles of MSS. and Inscriptions, Oriental Series, ed. by William Wright (London).
Plate xlii. The editor says that the original is later than Valentinus, and places the MS. in the 7th cent. There is a careful analysis of the text from the technical standpoint, and the facsimile is of f. 11 a.
17. 1877. Jacobi (H.). Art. 'Gnosis,' in Herzog's Theolog. Real Encyclopädie (Leipzig), 2nd ed., 1888; Translation (New York), 1882, 1883.
J. believes in an Ophite origin.
18. 1887. King (C. W.). The Gnostics and their Remains, Ancient and Mediæval (London), 2nd ed. The first ed. appeared in 1864, but contains no reference to P.S.
K. regards the P.S. as the most precious relic of Gnosticism. Besides many references scattered throughout the volume, there are translations from Schwartze of pages 227-239, 242-244, 247-248, 255-259, 261-263, 282-292, 298-308, 341, 342, 358, 375. K. does not venture an opinion on either the date or author.
19. 1887. Amélineau (E.). Essai sur le Gnosticisme égyptien, ses Développements et son Origine égyptienne, in Annales du Musée Guimet (Paris), xiv.
See the third part for system of Valentinus and of P.S., pp. 166-322.
20. 1887. Lipsius (R. A.). Art. 'Pistil Sophia,' in Smith and Wace's Dict. of Christ. Biog. (London), iv. 405-415.
A still valuable study. "We may regard ourselves as justified in assigning (with Petermann and Köstlin) the book Pistis Sophia to one of the large groups of Ophite sects, though nevertheless the system it contains is not identical with any one of the other Ophite systems known to us." Of importance is L.'s suggestion that P.S. may be indirectly one of the sources of the Manichæan religion. In any case,
[paragraph continues] "it may be assumed as probable that the book Pistis Sophia was written before the time of the Manichæan system, and therefore before A.D. 270. Moreover, as the system contained in it is evidently more recent than the other Ophitic systems known to us, we shall have, with Köstlin, to assign its composition to the first half of the 3rd cent." (p. 414b).
21. 1888. Hyvernat (H.). Album de Paléographie Copte (Paris-Rome).
Pl. ii. is a reproduction of a page of our Codex, showing the work of the second scribe. H. dates it "about the end of the 6th cent.," but without a word of justification for this ascription.
22. 1889. Harnack (A.). Crit. of Amélineau's Essai (above, 19), in Theolog. Literaturzeitung (Leipzig), viii. 199-211.
23. 1890. Amélineau (E.). Art. 'Les Traités gnostiques d’Oxford; Étude critique,' in the Revue de l’Histoire des Religions (Paris), xxi. no. 2. 178-260.
Practically the Introduction to his publication of the Text and Translation of the Bruce Codex (24, below). In it A. sets forth the results of "the researches and studies, the hypotheses and convictions of seven years" of labour (p. 4 offprint).
24. 1891. Amélineau (E.). Notice sur le Papyrus gnostique Bruce, Texte et Traduction, in Notices et Extraits des Manuscripts de la Bibliothèque Nationale et Autres Bibliothèques (Paris), xxix. pt. i. 65-305.
These views have been severely criticized, especially by Schmidt (below, 28; also 25-27).
24a. 1891. Harnack (A.). Über das gnostische Buch Pistis-Sophia (Leipzig). (Texte u. Untersuch. vii. 2.)
A study (144 pp.) of the first importance, in which this high authority on the history and chronology of early Christian literature and the history of the development of dogma submits the contents of the Latin version of Schwartze to a careful analysis, and gives 8/9 reasons for placing the P.S. in the second half of the 3rd cent. H. is mainly valuable in his analysis of the Biblical references in the P.S., especially the uses it makes of the N.T., and in his estimate of the stage of development of the general Christian and Catholic elements in P.S. H. thinks that Div. iii. should be called 'Questions of Mary' (pp. 94, 108). Unknown to H., Renan (Marc Aurèle, p. 120) had already hazarded the suggestion that the whole P.S. might be identical with the Little Questions
of Mary, mentioned by Epiphanius. But R. shows (p. 145) that he has no direct acquaintance with the subject. H. assigns the P.S. to an 'Ophitic' sect, but not the 'Ophites' in the narrower meaning, for here, as elsewhere often in the use of the name, no sign of the worship of the serpent is found (p. 110). He brings the P.S. sect into close connection with the Syrian Ophitic group, which had offshoots in Egypt, and opens up those investigations into the statements of Epiphanius which Schmidt has surveyed in greater detail in his edition of the Codex Brucianus (below, 28). In fact these two scholars have been in close touch with one another in their work on the P.S. as to its origin, date and place. The concluding remark of H. on the general religious status of the P.S.--that is to say, its bearing on Early Christian and Catholic religion, in other words its place within the general history of Christianity--is noteworthy. He writes (p. 114): "In this respect the P.S. is a document of first rank, for we possess no second work which brings before our eyes so clearly the previous history of Catholic sacramentism. What we meet with here more sharply brought out and at one stroke among the Gnostics of the end of the third century, was accomplished by the Catholic Church toilsomely and gradually in the following century. This Gnosticism is not the father of Catholicism, but rather an elder brother who gained by assault what the younger brother attained subsequently amid a thousand exigencies."
25. 1891. Schmidt (C.). Götting. Gelehrte Anzeigen (Göttingen), Nr. xvii. 640-675.
A very damaging review of Amélineau's edition of the Bruce Codex (above, 23).
26. 1891. Amélineau (E.). Art. 'Le Papyrus Bruce: Réponse aux Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen,' in Revue de l’Histoire des Religions (Paris), xxiv. no. 3. 376-380.
A.'s reply to Schmidt's criticisms.
27. 1892. Schmidt (C.). Götting. Gelehrte Anzeigen (Göttingen), Nr. 6. 201-202.
S.'s further rejoinder to A.
28. 1892. Schmidt (C.). Gnostische Schriften in koptischer Sprache aus dem Codex Brucianus (Leipzig), 692 pp. (T. u. U. viii.)
S.'s masterly edition entirely supersedes that of Amélineau, who worked on Woide's copy of the confused heap of leaves preserved in the Bodleian. His minute examination of the
original discovered that the chaos could first of all be sorted out into two totally different MSS. The larger work is entitled The Book of the Great Logos according to the Mystery. The contents fall naturally into two divisions, which S. calls respectively 'The First' and 'The Second Book of Jeû.' The system is closely related to that of the P.S. miscellany. S. devotes pp. 334-538 to a penetrating study of this relation-ship, in which he makes a most valuable contribution to the analysis of the contents of the P.S. His labours here are practically an Introduction to his subsequent translation of the P.S. in 1905 (below, 45). Among much else of the greatest value he gives us a minutely detailed investigation of the system of the P.S., which supersedes Köstlin's pains-taking pioneer effort (1854). S. is rightly of opinion that P.S. is a more or less happy compilation from other works (p. 318), as Köstlin had already pointed out (p. 344). He seems to think little of the possible objection that, whereas the 'Two Books of Yew,' mentioned twice in the P.S., are said to have been dictated to Enoch by Jesus before the Flood and hidden away, the contents of the first document of the C.B. are revealed by Jesus himself to the disciples (p. 343). The statement in the P.S. is in keeping with common apocalyptic claims, and in any case the sect as a matter of fact did possess two Yew Books, and the contents of C.B. I. are what we should expect from the references in the P.S., while the intimate relationship between P.S. Div. iv. and C.B. I.b is patent to the most casual reader. He agrees with Harnack as to the date of the P.S.--namely, the latter half of the 3rd cent. for Divv. i.-iii., and a few decades earlier for Div. iv. C.B. I. is thus to be placed in the first half of the 3rd cent. (pp. 540, 598). C.B. II. is a work without a title, the contents of which have roused S. to enthusiasm (pp. 34, 35). It is plainly of an earlier date, and so S. here conjectures for it about 160-200 A.D. (p. 542); but he has subsequently changed his view as to date (see 47, below).
After a close methodical investigation, in which in particular he submits the statements of Epiphanius to a searching criticism, S. thinks that everything points to the Severians as being most probably the sect to which the writings contained in P.S. and C.B. I. can be attributed (p. 596). C.B. II., he concludes, may be assigned to Sethian-Archontics (p. 659). But the whole question bristles with difficulties when precise names are in question. It is to be noted that in his researches
S. lays under contribution as very pertinent to the inquiry his prior labours on the puzzling problem of the Gnostics of Plotinus, in his treatise Plotin's Stellung zum Gnosticismus und kirchlichen Christentum (Leipzig), 1900, 168 pp. (T. u. U. N.F. v. 4.). There is much criticism of Amélineau's work and views scattered throughout this C.B. volume.
29. 1892. Schmidt (C.). De Codice Bruciano seu de Libris gnosticis qui in Lingua coptica extant Commentatio (Leipzig), Pars i., 30 pp.
No other part has been published, and there is nothing in it, as far as I am aware, which has not appeared in C.'s larger works.
30. 1893. Crum (W. E.). Coptic Manuscripts brought from the Fayyum by W. M. Flinders Petrie (London).
C. seems almost to allow that the copy of P.S. might have been made in the 4th cent. (p. 24).
31. 1893. Legge (G. F.). Art. 'Some Heretic Gospels' in The Scottish Review (London), xxii. 133-162.
Pp. 134-157 are devoted to P.S., the rest to the documents of the Bruce Codex. L.'s Forerunners (1915) gives his maturer views (see below, 57).
32. 1893. Harnack (A.). Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius (Leipzig), I. i. 171 f.
A summary description of the contents of the P.S. and Cod. Bruc. from his important study, Über d. gnost. Buch P.S. (above, 24a), based on Schwartze's Latin version.
33. 1894. Preuschen (E.). Rev. of Schmidt's Gnostische Schriften in k. S. aus d. Cod. Bruc. (1892), in Theolog. Literaturzeitung (Leipzig), Nr. vii. 183-187.
P.'s main criticism is that S.'s identification of the two parts of the first treatise of the Bruce Codex with 'The Books of Yew' mentioned in P.S. is mistaken.
34. 1894. Schmidt (C.). 'Die in dem koptisch-gnostischen Codex Brucianus enthaltenen "Beide Bücher Jeû" in ihrem Verhältnis zu der Pistis Sophia,' in Zeitschr. f. wissenschaft. Theolog. (Leipzig), xxxvii. 555-585.
S.'s reply to P.'s criticism.
35. 1895. Amélineau (E.) Pistis-Sophia, Ouvrage gnostique de Valentin, traduit du copte en français, avec une Introduction (Paris), xxxii +204 pp.
A. advocates strongly the Valentinian origin of the treatise,
and leans almost exclusively to an Egyptian origin of the ideas. These views have been severely criticized, especially by Schmidt. The MS. itself, however, A. places very late, writing on page xi of his Introduction as follows:--"After an examination of the enormous faults which the scribe has committed, I cannot attribute to the MS. which has preserved the Pistis-Sophia to us, a date later than the ninth or tenth century, and that too the minimum. For this I have several reasons. Firstly, the MS. is written on parchment, and parchment was hardly ever commonly used in Egypt before the sixth or seventh century. Secondly, the writing, which is uncial, though passable in the first pages of the MS., becomes bastard in a large number of leaves, when the scribe's hand is fatigued; no longer is it the beautiful writing of the Egyptian scribes of the great periods, but slack, inconsistent, almost round and hurried. Thirdly, the faults of orthography in the use of Greek words evidently show that the scribe belonged to a period when Greek was almost no longer known."
In a footnote Amélineau says that he is perfectly aware that this opinion of his will 'raise a tempest,' and begs for a suspension of judgment till he has published his reasons, especially as to the late use of parchment, at greater length. The storm broke, and no one has accepted A.'s arguments. Among other things he failed to notice that in the first place the Askew Codex is the work of two scribes, and not of one, and that the various portions of their common task can be unquestionably assigned to each. The parchment argument has never seen the light, as far as I am aware.
36. 1896. Mead (G. R. S.). Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Gospel (with Extracts from the Books of the Saviour appended), originally translated from Greek into Coptic and now for the first time Englished from Schwartze's Latin Version of the only known Coptic MS. and checked by Amélineau's French Version (London).
The first edition of the present work.
37. 1898. Schmidt (C.). Götting. Gelehrte Anzeigen (Göttingen), Nr. vi. 436-444.
A severely critical review of Amélineau's Introduction to his Translation of P.S. (above, 35).
38. 1899. Crum (W. E.). Egyptian Exploration Fund, Archæological Reports, 1897/1898 (London), p. 62.
Description of MS. of P.S., which is, however, improved upon below (46).
39. 1900. Mead (G. R. S.). Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: Some Short Sketches among the Gnostics (London), 1st ed. (2nd ed. 1906), 'The Gnosis according to its Friends.' pp. 451-602.
'The Askew and Bruce Codices' (pp. 453-458); 'Summary of the Contents of the So-called Pistis Sophia Treatise' (pp. 459-506); 'Summary of the Extracts from the Books of the Saviour' (pp. 507-517); 'Selections from the Untitled Apocalypse of the Codex Brucianus' (pp. 547-566); 'Notes on the Contents of the Bruce and Askew Codices' (pp. 567-578); 'The Akhmīm Codex' [now called the Berlin Codex] (pp. 579-592).
40. 1901. Rahlfs (A.). Die Berliner Handschrift des sahidischen Psalters (Berlin). Abhandl. d. königl. Gesellschaft d. Wissenschaft zu Göttingen. Philol. hist. Kl. N.F. Bd. iv. Nr. 4.
On p. 7 R. calls attention to a remarkable difference in the versions of the Psalms quoted in the P.S. While the citations in pp. 53-82 and 111-181 (Schw.-Pet. ed.) vary relatively only slightly from the usual Sahidic version, those in pp. 86-110 are so totally different that they must be an independent translation from the Greek. If this is so, we are confronted by the high probability that Repentances 8-13 are a later addition, and that there were thus originally only 7 Repentances. If this hypothesis stands, it is of great importance for the internal analysis of the literature. R.'s view is criticized by Rendel Harris (below, 60).
41. 1901. Liechtenhan (R.). 'Untersuchungen zur koptisch-gnostischen Literatur,' in Zeitschr. f. wissenschaft. Theologie, Bd. xliv. H. ii. 236-253.
In his analysis of the composition of the P.S., L. introduces a novelty. He thinks that pp. 128 (ch. 64)-175 (end of ch. 80), subsequent to the thirteen Repentances, are a later insertion in the Sophia-episode, and regards the opening lines of ch. 81 ("It came to pass after all this") as a redactor's connecting paragraph.
With regard to the appropriateness of the suggested title, 'The Questions of Mary,' for Div. iii., and of 'The Gospel of Philip' (P.S. ch. 42) as a possible title for Divv. i. and ii.,--he tries to get over the difficulty that those two titles are mentioned by Epiphanius among the books of a group of sects to which the Church Father ascribes the most filthy, blasphemous and obscene rites, in the following conjecture (p. 242):--" A Gnostic sect in Egypt possessed a rich, apocalyptic
literature, among which was to be found a Gospel of Philip and Questions of Mary. This sect was divided into an ascetic and a libertinist branch, and each group worked over the sacred literature which had come down to them." Epiphanius (Hær. xxvi.) got hold of the libertinist redaction; the ascetic is preserved for us in P.S., Divv. i.-iii. Div. iv. is an earlier stratum. 'The Books of Yew' mentioned in P.S. are said to have been revealed to Enoch; accordingly, like Preuschen, he thinks that these cannot be the treatise of the Bruce Codex to which Schmidt has assigned this title, for the latter is revealed to the Disciples (p. 251).
42. 1904. Harnack (A.). Die Chronologie der altchristlichen Literatur (Leipzig), II. ii. 193-195, 'Die Pistis Sophia and die in Papyrus Brucianus Sæc. V. eel. VI. enthaltenen gnostischen Schriften.'
H. repeats, from his detailed study (above, 24a), his reasons for assigning the contents of P.S. Divv. i.-iii. to the latter half of 3rd cent. He says that Liechtenhan's final opinion (above, 41) on 'The Questions of Mary' problem is not far from his own view. Why H. assigns the treatises of the Bruce Codex to the 5th or 6th cent. (!) is not set forth.
43. 1904. Liechtenhan (R.). Art. 'Ophiten,' in Schaff-Herzog's Real-encycl. f. protest. Theologie, 3rd ed., vol. xiv.
L. (p. 405) includes the P.S. among a score of sects which he brings together under this too general heading of 'Ophites.'
(A shortened form of the above appears in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopædia of Religious Knowledge (New York), 1910, vol. viii.)
44. 1904. Granger (F.). Art. 'The Poemandres of Hermes Trismegistus,' in The Journal of Theological Studies (London), v. 395-412.
G. (p. 401) questions whether the P.S. is a translation from the Greek; but the only reason he advances is the hazardous statement that: "The Egyptian Gnostic writings of the third century exhibit the same qualities of style as the Coptic biographies and apocalypses of the fourth and following centuries."
45. 1905. Schmidt (C.). Koptisch-gnostische Schriften. Bd. I. Die Pistis Sophia. Die beiden Bücher des Jeû. Unbekanntes altgnostisches Werk (Leipzig), xxvii + 410 pp.
Bd. II. is to contain the three unpublished works of the Berlin Codex entitled: (1) The Gospel of Mary; (2) The Apocryphon of John; (3) The Wisdom of Jesus Christ. (See
my Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, 2nd ed., London, 1906, pp. 579-592, for a summary of Schmidt's notice of the Codex, published in Sitzungsber. der Königl. Preuss. Akademie d. Wissensch., Berlin, 1896 pp. 839 ff., entitled 'Bin vorirenaeisches gnostisches Original-werk in koptischer Sprache.') This long-expected second volume has not yet seen the light. The contents are of great value, for The Apocryphon of John, in its original Greek form, lay before Irenæus, and in an appendix to Schmidt's notice Harnack ventures the query: Can The Wisdom (Sophia) of Jesus Christ possibly be the lost famous writing of Valentinus so entitled?
In the Introduction (pp. ix-xviii) S. sums up the results of his prior studies. The Translation of the P.S. occupies pp. 1-254, and is deserving of the highest praise.
46. 1905. Crum (W. E.). Catalogue of the Coptic MSS. in the British Museum (London), p. 173.
The B.M. official description of the Askew Codex.
47. 1907. Schmidt (C.). Art. 'Irenäus and seine Quelle in Adv. Hær. I. 29,' in Philotesia. Paul Kleinert zum LXX. Geburtstag dargebracht von Adolf Harnack, u.s.w., pp. 317-336.
This is a very important study, in which S. again treats of The Apocryphon of John in the unpublished Coptic Gnostic Berlin Codex, on which he had already specially dwelt in reporting for the first time the contents of the Codex to the Prussian Academy in 1896. The Greek original is early, and a copy of it lay before Irenæus. We are thus in a position to estimate the nature of the Church Father's method of quotation and summarizing, and it is clearly proved to be unreliable. S. definitely assigns this special document to a Sethian circle in Egypt, and brings its æon-lore into close touch with Valentinian ideas. He says nothing, unfortunately, of how this document and the other two of the Codex--namely, The Gospel of Mary and The Wisdom of Jesus Christ--bear on the line of descent of the doctrines of the P.S. Doubtless he is reserving his treatment of the subject for his long-expected edition of the whole Berlin Codex, which for the first time will give us first-hand knowledge of second-century Gnosticism, and, judging by what little S. has already disclosed to us, throw a brilliant light on some of the most puzzling obscurities in the history of the development of Gnostic doctrine.
48. 1907. Bousset (W.). Hauptprobleme der Gnosis (Göttingen), 398 pp.
This is a study of the greatest value from the comparative
standpoint. Though Lipsius (above, 20) had already drawn attention to the point, B. goes further by showing in detail the close connection between some main notions of the Manichæan religion and some features of the P.S., whereas Schmidt (1892, pp. 375, 404, 417, 564) had previously drawn attention to isolated parallels only. In dealing with the system of the P.S. (pp. 346-350) B. writes: "There can be no doubt at all on the affinity between the two systems. The only possible question which remains is whether in the P.S. and II. Jeû direct dependence on the Manichæan system comes up for discussion, or whether a common source underlies both systems. The latter appears to me provisionally to be the more probable hypothesis. Many of the kindred ideas appear in the P.S. in their more original and purer form, the figure of the Virgin of Light has in the P.S. meaning and great importance, whereas in the Manichæan system she is a shadowy form by the side of the Third Envoy. If the latter supposition proves correct, Mani would have far less right of claim to originality for his system than has hitherto seemed to be the case."
49. 1909. Rendel Harris (J.). The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, now first published from the Syriac Version (Cambridge). The editio princeps of the now recovered 42 Odes; previously only the five in the P.S. were known.
R. H. devotes pp. 16-35 to treating of the use of the Odes in the P.S. On p. 35 he writes: "The Pistis Sophia, in which the Odes are imbedded, dates from the third century, and the author of the Pistis had, as we have shown, the Odes bound up with his Canonical Psalter; at the time intimated there was no Coptic [Thebaic] Bible from which the extracts could have been made; so we may be sure the Odes were taken from a Greek Bible, and, with almost equal certainty, that the Pistis Sophia itself was a Greek book."
For R. H.'s change of opinion see below, 60.
50. 1909. Arendzen (J. P.). Art. 'Gnosticism,' in The Catholic Encyclopædia (New York), vol. vi.
P. S. is summarily and inadequately dealt with on p. 600.
51. 1910. Bousset (W.). Art. 'Gnosticism,' in Encyclopædia Britannica (London), 11th ed.
B., following the prevailing German view, assigns P.S. to the 2nd half of 3rd cent.; he, however, thinks that both treatises of the Bruce Codex are later than P.S., but does not argue this important question.
52. 1912. Bousset (W.). Arts. 'Gnosis' and 'Gnostiker,' in Paulys Real-Encyklopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (ed. Wissowa-Kroll, Berlin).
B. here, in § 10, treats of the P.S. and the C.B. as belonging to the period when Gnosticism had got out of hand or was running wild ('Die Verwilderung der Gnosis'). He does not, however, repeat his view of the later date of C.B., and says that the eschatology of the P.S. is strongly reminiscent of Valentinian speculations.
53. 1912. Worrell (W. H.). Art. 'The Odes of Solomon and the Pistis Sophia,' in The Journal of Theological Studies (London), xiii. 29-46.
An interesting study. Gives translations of the five Odes from the Coptic and Syriac and seems to blame R. Harris for using Schwartze's Latin version instead of Schmidt's more modern rendering in his quotations from the P.S.
54. 1913. Scott (E. F.). Art. 'Gnosticism,' in Hastings' Encycl. of Relig. and Ethics (Edinburgh), vi. 231-242.
"There can be little doubt that the Coptic writings (Pistis Sophia, etc.) present a variety of the Barbelo-Gnosis" (p. 239a). P.S. was written in Egypt at close of 3rd cent. (p. 241b). This is by no means certain; we must wait for Schmidt's full translation and commentary on The Apocryphon of John before any definite conclusion can be reached.
55. 1913. De Faye (E.). Gnostiques et Gnosticisme: Etude critique des Documents du Gnosticisme chrétien aux IIe et IIIe Siècles (Paris). Pt. iii. 'Écrits gnostiques en Langue copte,' pp. 247-311.
D. F. agrees with Harnack and Schmidt as to the most probable date being the 2nd half of the 3rd cent. (p. 254). He thinks that Div. iii. is the lost Little Questions of Mary, favouring Harnack against Schmidt, whom he blames (p. 266) for abandoning this view in the Introduction (p. xviii) to his Translation (above, 45), after first adopting it in his earlier work. He thinks that Schmidt has made out his case for the two Jell Books against the reservations of Preuschen and Liechtenhan (p. 291). D. F. is strongly opposed to the hypothesis of a Valentinian origin (p. 251); he is also very critical of the general Ophite theory (p. 327) and of the special Severian theory of Schmidt (p. 355). He has no precise view of his own as to origin; but, in keeping with his general thesis, which would make most, if not all, of the anonymous and pseudonymous systems later and degenerate
forms of the more metaphysical views of a Basilides, a Valentinus and a Marcion, he is content to leave the P.S. to a later, period of degeneration. His general metaphysical test can hardly be said to be a criterion for history. Metaphysic does not come first; philosophizing is a secondary stage, and this is certainly the case in the general development of the Gnosis which starts in a strongly mythological and apocalyptic circle of ideas.
56. 1913. Scott-Moncrieff (P. D.). Paganism and Christianity in Egypt (Cambridge), pp. 148-182, ch. vii., 'Some Aspects of Gnosticism: Pistis Sophia.'
After a review of contents and literature, with regard to place of origin the author writes (p. 175): "But if of Syrian origin the scheme betrays here and there marked signs of Egyptian influence, and the fact that the work was sufficiently important to be translated into the native tongue shows without doubt that the sect which inspired it was an Egyptian branch who dwelt in Egypt." This is of course generally evident. S.-M. thinks, however, that the question of translation may be pressed too much. Without attempting any justification of his opinion, he asserts that "the Coptic text is at the earliest a fifth-century work when Gnosticism was fast dying out and could only be practised furtively." Surely the author is here confusing the probable date of the Askew Codex copy with the question of date of the original?
57. 1915. Legge (G. F.). Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity: Being Studies in Religious History from 330 B.C. to 330 A.D. (Cambridge), 2 vols., ii. 134-202, ch. x., 'The System of the Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts.'
Divv. i. and ii. presuppose belief in a system resembling those of the Ophites and of Valentinus (p. 135). Divv. iii. and iv. are probably Marcosian in origin (p. 173), in any case later (!) than Divv. i. and ii. (p. 184). In this L. partially revives Bunsen's rejected theory (above, 11). He accepts translation from a Greek original, and continues (p. 177): "We must . . . look for an author who, though an Egyptian and acquainted with the native Egyptian religion, would naturally have written in Greek; and on the whole there is no one who fulfils these requirements so well as Valentinus himself. The fact that the author never quotes from the Gospel according to St. John indicates that it had not come to his knowledge." L.'s criticism (pp. 161 f.) of Harnack's parallels from this Gospel (above, 24a), however, does not seem
to me satisfactory. The first commentary on the Fourth Gospel was made by a Valentinian. L.'s view of authorship of the P.S. revives the Valentinian hypothesis in its most radical form. The two books of the Bruce Codex, which Schmidt calls 'The Books of Jeû,' are not the books referred to in the P.S. "which therefore remains the parent document" (p. 194).
58. 1918. Moffat (J.). Art. 'Pistis Sophia,' in Hastings' Encycl. of Relig. and Ethics (Edinburgh), x. 45-48.
This is a useful, if brief, summary of contents and prior opinions. M. takes up a moderate position when he says that, though the P.S. is to be assigned to some Gnostic circles in Egypt, its particular type of Gnosticism cannot be identified. He thinks, however, on the whole that the occurrence of the name Barbelo assigns our miscellany "to some circle more or less allied to the pious theosophists of the 2nd cent. whom we know as the Ophites collectively, and as the Nicolaitans, Simonians and Barbelo-Gnostics specifically." H. thinks the Yew Books mentioned in the P.S. can hardly be the books of C.B. I.
59. 1919. Schmidt (C.). Gespräche Jesu mit seinen Jüngern nach der Auferstehung. Ein katholisch-apostolisches Sendschreiben des 2. Jahrhunderts nach einem koptischen Papyrus des Institut de la Mission Archéolog. Française au Caire, enter Mitarbeit von Herrn Pierre Lacau . . . General Director d. Ägpt. Mus. Übersetzung des äthiopischen Texts von Dr Isaak Wajnberg (Leipzig). (T. u. U. Bd. xliii.)
The external form of this interesting and important document is an Epistle, resembling that of the Catholic Epistles of the N.T. But within, it passes into the form of an apocalypse, and that too of Discourses between Jesus and his Disciples after the Resurrection. This latter characteristic is otherwise not found in Catholic documents; it is a Gnostic peculiarity, of which the P.S. is a classical example, the other instances being what Schmidt calls the 'Two Books of Jeû' of the Bruce Codex and of The Gospel of Mary and of The Wisdom of Jesus Christ of the Berlin Codex. The Questions of Mary, The Great and The Little, of Epiphanius' 'Gnostici' were also of this post-resurrectional type of discourses (p. 206).
S. does not re-discuss the question of date of the P.S. by the light of this new find, but it is clearly of importance, seeing that with regard to the new document he concludes
[paragraph continues] (p. 402): "The Epistola Apostolorum is written by a representative of the Catholic Church with the intention of attacking the Gnostic heresies, especially Docetism. The country of origin is Asia Minor, and the date is the second half of the second century, more precisely 160-170 A.D."
60. 1920. Rendel Harris (J.) and Mingana (A.). The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, re-edited for the Governors of the John Rylands Library (Manchester), 2 vols. Text, 1912; Tr. and Notes, 1920.
Here R. H. entirely changes his view of P.S. being a translation from the Greek. He now thinks that (p. 117): "Unless . . . the P.S. has substituted the Sahidic [Bible] version for some other version which lay before the author, of which he has avoided the trouble of making a fresh translation, there is a strong presumption that the P.S. is a genuine Coptic book, and not a rendering of some other work (Greek or Syriac) into Coptic." He rejects (p. 183) Worrell's theory (above, 53) of a Gnostic Hymn- and Psalm-book, and criticizes (pp. 186 f.) Rahlfs' discovery of two versions of the Psalms (above, 40). He is accordingly opposed to the general view of translation from the Greek, and suggests (p. 186) that the matter needs some further elucidation. It cannot, however, be said that his argument is in any way convincing.
As to the Odes of Solomon themselves, which have produced so large and instructive a literature since the first edition was published, their lucky discoverer and able editor, in reviewing the whole question, thinks we cannot go far wrong if we conclude that they were written at Antioch in the 1st century (p. 69).