The Gospel of Mary

The Gospel of Mary



Dating Est. pre -1400-1500

Orig. Writer. unknown

Original text. Coptic

Translated by:

Notes: This gospel claims to be the account of the Mary we find in the bible known as Mary of Magdala.

This gospel is in the Berlin Gnostic Codex, also known as papyrus Berolinensis 8502. It is a well preserved codex that was

discovered late 19th century near Akhmim Egypt. It was brought to Berlin after being purchased by Dr. Carl Reinhardt in Cairo

1896. The book appears to have been copied in the late 15th century. It is still missing pages 1-6 and 11-14.

Two other fragments of this text where found in other archaeological sites such as the archaeological site at Oxyrhynchus,

Egypt. This seems to suggest a large distribution of the text in the past.


[The Coptic papyrus, from which the first six pages have been lost, begins in the middle of this gospel.]

"...will, then, matter be saved or not?"

The Savior said, "All natures, all formed things, all creatures exist in and with one another and will again

be resolved into their own roots, because the nature of matter is dissolved into the roots of its nature

alone. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." [cf. Matt. 11:15, etc.].

Peter said to him, "Since you have now explained all things to us, tell us this: what is the sin of the

world?" [cf. John 1:29]. The Savior said, "Sin as such does not exist, but you make sin when you do what

is of the nature of fornication, which is called 'sin.' For this reason the Good came into your midst, to the

essence of each nature, to restore it to its root." He went on to say, "For this reason you come into

existence and die [...] whoever knows may know [...] a suffering which has nothing like itself, which has

arisen out of what is contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in the whole body. For this

reason I said to you, Be of good courage [cf. Matt. 28:9], and if you are discouraged, still take courage

over against the various forms of nature. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." When the Blessed One

said this, he greeted all of them, saying "Peace be with you [cf. John 14:27]. Receive my peace for

yourselves. Take heed lest anyone lead you astray with the words, 'Lo, here!' or 'Lo, there!' [cf. Matt. 24:5,

23; Luke 17:21] for the Son of Man is within you [cf. Luke 17:21]. Follow him; those who seek him will find

him [cf. Matt. 7:7]. Go, therefore, and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom [cf. Matt. 4:23; 9:15; Mark 16:15].

I have left no commandment but what I have commanded you, and I have given you no law, as the

lawgiver did, lest you be bound by it."

They grieved and mourned greatly, saying, "How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the Gospel of the

Kingdom of the Son of Man? If even he was not spared, how shall we be spared?"

Then Mary stood up and greeted all of them and said to her brethren, "Do not mourn or grieve or be

irresolute, for his grace will be with you all and will defend you. Let us rather praise his greatness, for he

prepared us and made us into men." When Mary said this, their hearts changed for the better, and they

began to discuss the words of the [Savior].

Peter said to Mary, "Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than other women [cf. John 11:5,

Luke 10:38-42]. Tell us the words of the Savior which you have in mind since you know them; and we do

not, nor have we heard of them."

Mary answered and said, "What is hidden from you I will impart to you." And she began to say the

following words to them. "I," she said, "I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, 'Lord, I saw you today

in a vision.' He answered and said to me, 'Blessed are you, since you did not waver at the sight of me.


The Gospel of Mary

For where the mind is, there is your countenance' [cf. Matt. 6:21]. I said to him, 'Lord, the mind which sees

the vision, does it see it through the soul or through the spirit?' The Savior answered and said, 'It sees

neither through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind, which is between the two, which sees the

vision, and it is...'"

"...and Desire said, 'I did not see you descend; but now I see you rising. Why do you speak falsely, when

you belong to me?' The soul answered and said, 'I saw you, but you did not see me or recognize me; I

served you as a garment and you did not recognize me.' After it had said this, it went joyfully and gladly

away. Again it came to the third power, Ignorance. This power questioned the soul: 'Whither are you

going? You were bound in wickedness, you were bound indeed. Judge not' [cf. Matt. 7:1]. And the soul

said, 'Why do you judge me, when I judged not? I was bound, though I did not bind. I was not recognized,

but I recognized that all will go free, things both earthly and heavenly.' After the soul had left the third

power behind, it rose upward, and saw the fourth power, which had seven forms. The first form is

darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth the arousing of death, the fifth is the kingdom

of the flesh, the sixth is the wisdom of the folly of the flesh, the seventh is wrathful wisdom. These are the

seven participants in wrath. They ask the soul, 'Whence do you come, killer of men, or where are you

going, conqueror of space?' The soul answered and said, 'What seizes me is killed; what turns me about

is overcome; my desire has come to an end and ignorance is dead. In a world I was saved from a world,

and in a "type," from a higher "type" and from the fetter of the impotence of knowledge, the existence of

which is temporal. From this time I will reach rest in the time of the moment of the Aeon in silence.'"

When Mary had said this, she was silent, since the Savior had spoken thus far with her. But Andrew

answered and said to the brethren, 'Say what you think concerning what she said. For I do not believe

that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are of other ideas."

Peter also opposed her in regard to these matters and asked them about the Savior. "Did he then speak

secretly with a woman [cf. John 4:27], in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all

listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?" Then Mary grieved and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do

you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart or that I am lying concerning the Savior?"

Levi answered and said to Peter, "Peter, you are always irate. Now I see that you are contending against

the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the

Savior knew her very well [cf. Luke 10:38- 42]. For this reason he loved her more than us [cf. John 11:5].

And we should rather be ashamed and put on the Perfect Man, to form us [?] as he commanded us, and

proclaim the gospel, without publishing a further commandment or a further law than the one which the

Savior spoke." When Levi had said this, they began to go out in order to proclaim him and preach him.