The Gospel of the Egyptians

The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Prologue

Est. Date. 80-150 AD

Orig. Language. Greek & Coptic

This text is only known by a few fragmentary pieces. There are two translations that have been found,

the Greek and the Coptic, both of which are different from one another. From the fragments alone it is

impossible to tell exactly what the saying on them are. We really only have ancient Church leaders or

Historians that referenced the book at all, two of them being Origen and Clement of Alexandria. This

gospel is also believed by many scholars to have been a Gnostic text.

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The following are the mentions of the book from Clement of Alexandria:

Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 9. 64.

Whence it is with reason that after the Word had told about the End, Salome saith: Until when shall men

continue to die? (Now, the Scripture speaks of man in two senses, the one that is seen, and the soul: and

again, of him that is in a state of salvation, and him that is not: and sin is called the death of the soul)

and it is advisedly that the Lord makes an answer: So long as women bear children.

66. And why do not they who walk by anything rather than the true rule of the Gospel go on to quote

the rest of that which was said to Salome: for when she had said, 'I have done well, then, in not bearing

children?' (as if childbearing were not the right thing to accept) the Lord answers and says: Every plant

eat thou, but that which hath bitterness eat not.

iii. 13. 92. When Salome inquired when the things concerning which she asked should be known, the

Lord said: When ye have trampled on the garment of shame, and when the two become one and the

male with the female is neither male nor female. In the first place, then, we have not this saying in the

four Gospels that have been delivered to us, but in that according to the Egyptians.

(The so-called Second Epistle of Clement has this, in a slightly different form, c. xii. 2: For the Lord

himself being asked by some one when his kingdom should come, said: When the two shall be one, and

the outside (that which is without) as the inside (that which is within), and themale with the female

neither male nor female.)

There are allusions to the saying in the Apocryphal Acts, see pp. 335, 429, 450.

iii. 6. 45. The Lord said to Salome when she inquired: How long shall death prevail? 'As long as ye women

bera children', not because life is an ill, and the creation evil: but as showing the sequence of nature: for

in all cases birth is followed by decay.


Excerpts from Theodotus, 67. And when the Saviour says to Salome that there shall be death as long as

women bear children, he did not say it as abusing birth, for that is necessary for the salvation of

believers.

Strom. iii. 9. 63. But those who set themselves against God's creation because of continence, which has

a fair-sounding name, quote also those words which were spoken to Salome, of which I made mention

before. They are contained, I think (or I take it) in the Gospel according to the Egyptians. For they say


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that 'the Savior himself said: I came to destroy the works of the female'. By female he means lust: by

works, birth and decay.

Hippolytus against Heresies, v. 7. (The Naassenes) say that the soul is very hard to find and to perceive;

for it does not continue in the same fashion or shape or in one emotion so that one can either describe

it or comprehend its essence. And they have these various changes of the soul, set forth in the Gospel

entitled according to the Egyptians.

Epiphanius, Heresy lxii. 2 (Sabellians). Their whole deceit (error) and the strength of it they draw from

some apocryphal books, especially from what is called the Egyptian Gospel, to which some have given

that name. For in it many suchlike things are recorded (or attributed) as from the person of the Saviour,

said in a corner, purporting that he showed his disciples that the same person was Father, Son, and Holy

Spirit.


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