The Gnostic Society Library

Gnostic John the Baptizer:

by G. R. S. Mead

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p. 62



In the Name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   MIRYAI am I, of the Kings of Babel1 a daughter, a daughter of Jerasalem's mighty rulers. They have given me birth; the priests brought me up. In the fold of their robe they carried me up into the dark house, into the temple. Adonai laid a charge on my hands and on my two arms: I must scour and cleanse the house [that is] without firmness. There is naght therein for supporting the poor, naught to revive the tormented souls.

   My father went to the house of the people, my mother went to the temple. My father went out and said to me, and my mother went out and charged me: "Miryai, close thy inner doors and bolt the bar. See that thou goest not forth into the main streets and that the suns of my Lord2 fall not upon thee."

   But I, Miryai, listened not to what my mother did tell me, and hearkened not with the ear to what my father did charge me. I opened the inner doors, and the outer let I stand open. Out went I into the main streets and the suns of my Lord fell upon me. To the house of the people would I not go, but my way bore me unto the temple [sc. of the Mandæans]. I went and I found my brothers and sisters, how they stand and carry on proclamations. My brothers carry on proclamations and my sisters throw out explanations.3 With the voice of their proclamations and with the voice of their explanations I became drowsy and laid me down on the spot.4 My brothers went forth and did not wake me, and my sisters withdrew and roused me not. But thou, my sister in Truth,5 dost rouse me from sleep and dost say: "Arise, arise, Miryai, before the day breaks and the cock lets crow his morn-call, before the sun shines and his glory rises over the p. 63 worlds, before the priests and the priests' sons go forth and sit them down in the shade of the Ruins—Jerusalem, before thy father comes and brings upset upon thee such as thou never hast had."

   I, Miryai, keep secret my prayers and utterly secret keep my discourses.

   Early, day began to dawn, early the cock let crow his call, early the sun shone and his glory rose over the worlds. The priests and priests' sons went out and sat them down in the shade of the Ruins—Jerusalem. Then came my bodily father and brought on me upset such as I never have had. He spake:

   "Where hast come from, thou debauched trough, whom [? locks] and bars [cannot keep in]? Where hast thou come from? Woe [unto thee], thou bitch in heat, who [? mindest] not [door-] pins and lockings! Where hast thou come from? Woe, woe [unto thee], thou bit of coarse stuff that has been patched on my robe!"

   "If I am a debauched trough, I will burst thy [boltings] and bars. If I am a bitch in beat, I will draw back the pins and the lockings. If I am a bit of coarse stuff that has been patched on thy robe, then out of thy robe cut and rip me."

   Thereon he cried: "Come (pl.), look on Miryai, who has left Jewry and gone to make love with her lord. Come, look on Miryai, who has left off coloured raiment and gone to make love with her lord. She forsook gold and silver and went to make love with her lord. She forsook the phylacteries1 and went to make love with the man with the head-band."2

   Then Miryai makes answer unto him: "Far lies it from me to love him whom I have hated. Far lies it from me to hate him whom I have loved. Nay, far from me lies it to hate my Lord, the Life's Gnosis, who is for me in the world a support. A support is he in the world for me and a helper in the Light's region. Dust in the mouth of the Jews, ashes in the mouth of all of the priests! May the dung that is under the feet of the horses, come on the high ones and Jerusalem's mighty rulers."

Life is exalted and is victorious, and victorious is the Man who has come hither.

p. 64



In the name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   AT the door of the house of the people her mother came upon Miryai. Her mother came upon Miryai and put question to her: "Whence com'st thou, my daughter, Miryai, whose face gathers roses? Roses gathers thy face and of sleep are thy eyes full. Full of sleep are thy eyes, and upon thy forehead lies slumber."

   Thereon she made answer: "It is two,—three days to-day that my brothers sat down in the house of my Father. In my Father's house sat down my brothers and let wonderful proclamations be heard. Because of the voice and the ringing of the proclamation of the treasures, my brothers, there comes no sleep over my eyes. Sleep comes not over my eyes, nor slumber upon my forehead."

   "Hast thou not heard, Miryai, my daughter, what the Jews are saying about thee? The Jews are saying: Thy daughter has fallen in love with a man. She has gotten hate against Jewry and love for Nazōræanity. Hate has she gotten against the house of the people and love for the door of the temple (sc. of the MM.). Hate has she gotten against the phylacteries and love for the flaunting wreaths. Work does she on Sabbath; on Sunday she keeps her hands still. Miryai has cast aside straightway the Law that the Seven have laid [upon us]."

   As Miryai stands there, she puts dust on her feet, and speaks: "Dust in the mouth of the Jews and ashes in the mouth of all of the priests! May the dung that lies under the horses, come on the elders who are in Jerusalem! I cannot hate him whose love I have won, nor love him 'gainst whom I have gotten hate. Yea, I have won the love of my Lord the Life's Gnosis, [and hope] that in him a helper will for me arise, a helper and a support from the region of Darkness unto Light's region."

   Thou hast won the victory, Gnosis of Life, and helped all thy friends to victory.

And Life is victorious.

p. 65



In the Name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   MIRYAI am I, a vine, a tree, who stands at the mouth of Eu-phrates (Frash). The tree's leaves are precious stones, the tree's fruits pearls. The vine-tree's foliage is glory, its shoots precious light. Among the trees its scent it diffuses, and it spreads over all the worlds. The birds of the air scented it; a flock settled down on the tree. A flock on it down-settled, and they would build their nest there. They flutter about in it and settle not down in it firmly. Of its foliage they eat . . . from its inner part they drink wine. They eat what is not to be cast away, and drink what was not wine.1

   While the birds sat on the vine, winds and tempests broke loose. They shook the good birdlets awake, they smote 'gainst the tree; on all sides they scattered the leaves of the vine-tree and scared the birds out of their place. Many a bird there was who flew not away, but held on fast with claws and with wings, till the winds and the tempests were over. Many again held not on fast and were hurried away ... . Woe unto those who did not hold fast, but were dashed from the tree and flew off. How fair is the tree of Life and fair the birds who dwell on it!

   The winds and the tempests passed and rest came over the world.

   As the birds sit there and chirp and would be a-building their nest, as the birds sit on the vine, an eagle wheeled and flew hither. A white eagle-bird2 came, looked down and caught sight of the birds. Round wheeled he, sped down on them with his wings, and came and sat on the tree. In converse with him joined the birds, and said to him:

   "By thy Life, Eagle! On this tree were we birds without number.—But there broke loose against them the winds, and on the tree came raging tempests. They shook them off from the tree, so that they tore their wings from them [nearly]. Many a one held fast, whom the winds and tempests could not tear away; but many a one flew off at top speed.—We speak to thee, therefore, p. 66 O Eagle, we ask thee respecting the birds, because thou art sharp of sight and dost see all in this world: What have the winds and the tempests done with those birds, our brothers? What spyest thou out (?) over them?"

   Then made he answer unto them: "You had better not to have known, my brothers, what has become of those birds. Slingshots drove them far from me; their wings broke; torn off were they, broken off; they went hence and relied on the bird-catchers.1 The harrier and hawk wheeled round them, tore pieces out of their flesh and fed on those who were fat. Woe to those who fell prey to the water,2 if there was no portion for them at the crossing. Well for you, ye birds, who hold fast to this vine [here]; you became a companionship of Miryai, the vine, who stands at the mouth of Euphrates. See and satisfy yourselves, ye birds, that I have come to you. I have come to my brothers to be a support for them in this world. I have come to heal Miryai, [come] to bring water to the good, beloved plants, to the vines, who stand at the mouth of Euphrates. In a white3 pail I draw water and bring it to my plants. I bear and I hold [it] on the arms of glory which are my own. I bear and I hold [it] and give [them] to drink. Well for him who has drunk of my water. He drinks, finds healing and confirmation, and grows to double [his stature]. The vines who drank water, brought forth good fruit. Their leaves turned on high and made a brave show. The branches which drank no water, brought forth bitter herbs and worm-wood (?). Woe to those who have not gone forward upon the Way; woe to those who have not passed on by the way-stone! They hated Life's Treasure-House,4 Miryai, the dear Truth.

   "My brothers, hold fast, be a companionship of Miryai. I will look round in the world, let Life's call sound forth and rouse the sleeping and wake [them]."

   The eagle flew off from the tree; he wheeled round and instructed his friends. He speaks to them: "Give ear to me, my p. 67 brothers! Stay fast and endure persecution. Be a companionship to Miryai. Woe to the Jews, who were a persecution for Miryai! Woe to Elizar, the great house, the pillar that props the temple! Woe to Zatan, the pillar,1 who has witnessed lies against Miryai!"



   ALL the Jews gathered together, the teachers, the great and the little; they came [together] and spake of Miryai: "She ran away from the priests, fell in love with a man, and they took hold of each other's hands. Hold of each other's hands they took, went forth and settled at the mouth of Euphrates. We will slay them and make Miryai scorned in Jerusalem. A stake2 will we set up for the man who has ruined Miryai and led her away. There shall be no day in the world when a stranger3 enters Jerusalem."

   They split open their fellings and catch the doves in Jerusalem.4



   ALL the Jews gathered together and followed after Miryai. They went and found that a throne was set up for Miryai on the bank of Euphrates. A white stnndard was for her unfurled and a book stood upright on her lap. She reads in the Books of Truth and rouses all worlds from their sleep. She holds in her hand the staff of Life's water; the girdle is bound round her loins. Miryai in humbleness prays and proclaims with wondrous voice. The fishes gather out of the sea, the birds5 from the mouth of Euphrates. They come to hear Miryai's voice, and no more long to lie down to sleep. They breathe in the sweet scent around her and forget the world. p. 68 When the Jews saw this, they stood up before her. They felt shamed, doubled their fists, smote on the fore-court of their breast and lamented. The mother of Miryai spoke, and tears streamed into her bosom.

   "Look on me, Miryai, my daughter," says she unto her; "look on me who am thy mother! My daughter art thou and the daughter of all of the priests. Thy head is the great chief of the temple. Rememberest thou not, Miryai, that the Torah lay on thy lap? Thou didst open it, read therein and knewest what stands in it. The outer keys lay in thy hands, and the inner thou didst put in chains.1 All the priests and priests' sons came and kissed thy hand. For whom thou wouldst, thou didst open the door; whom thou wouldst not, must turn and go back to his seat. A thousand stand there and two thousand sit there. They submit themselves to thee, as a eunuch-made slave, and they give ear to thy word in Jerusalem. Why didst thou forget thy brothers and thy heart abandon the priests? Lo, the brides weep in Judæa, the women and men in Jerusalem. Their beloved gold have they cast from them, and they give themselves up to wailing and mourning for thee. They say: 'We will make away with our goods, until Miryai returns. Gold forge we [? no longer], and cast away fair raiments of silk and bracelets (?).' They stand on the roofs and look out, that they may see thee again in Jerusalem. For thee they make vows, if thou comest to me and we go hence. My daughter, arise, come back to thy dwelling-place, the city Jerusalem. Come, light up thy lamps, which have been put out from the day when thou withdrewest thyself.2 Have no longing after this man, who has prisoned thee and taken thee off. Leave p. 69 the man, who is not of thy dwelling-place,1 alone by himself in the world. Let him not say: I have gone and carried off Miryai from her place. Come, teach the children, so that they may learn. Lay the Torah in thy lap and let us hear thy voice as it used to be. From the moment and the day when thou didst detach the dough2 has it been covered up ... ...."

   When Miryai heard this from her mother, she laughed and rejoiced in her mind. "It surely could not be the Jews," says she unto her, "the infamous, worthless priests! It surely would not be the Jews who stand there and bow down to a brick-grave!3 They shall be buried in the Darkness.

   "Go, go," says she unto them, "ye fools, ye abortions,4 ye who were not of the world.5 I am no woman who is stripped for wantoning; and it is not that I have fallen in love with a man. Stripped am I not for returning to you and for again seeing you, doming of blasphemy. Go, go hence from me, ye who have witnessed falsehood and lying against me. Against me ye witnessed p. 70 wantonness and thieving, and held me up as ye are yourselves. Blessed be the Man who freed me from my fetters and planted my feet here. No wantonness have I committed with him and attempted no theft in the world. Instead of the witness ye have witnessed against me, there come to me prayer and praise-giving."

   As the priests stand there and speak with Miryai at the mouth of Euphrates, there came a pure eagle-bird, whose wings are the fulness of worlds.1 He flew down on the Jews, dashed at them with his wings, bound them and sank them down unto the water's bottom, deeper [down] than the foul-smelling mud. He sank them deeper down than the blazing [water], that is inside the dark water. He sank their ships down to the blazing water's bottom. He destroyed the temple and laid fire to Jerusalem.2

   He brought down all upon them and in Jerusalem slew the disciples.

   He descended unto her (Miryai), folded before her his wings, settled down by her, narrated and proclaimed to her; and they held out the loved hand of Truth to each other. He embraced her in potent embracing, forced her down and set her on the throne.

   "Miryai," he speaks to her, "with favour look upon me, remember me in the Life's presence. I am thy Good Messenger, the Man, who gives ear to thy discourse. I beseech thee for the high Truth, the Truth which the Jordans have chosen."

   "O Good Treasure," she makes answer unto him, "Treasure whom Life has sent! Thy glory and thy light has risen upon us, and thy honour is approved in Light's region. Everyone who gives ear to thy voice, will be in the pure region included. In Life's Treasury will he be included and thy rays will rise [over him] twofold. For everyone who gives not ear to thy voice, waking and sleep will be wiped out. Let him belong to the Jews, to the slaves and all of the priests, the sons of the Harlot. I and thou will circle aloft and victorious mount to Light's region."

May Life be our pledge, and Life is victorious.

Next: II. iii. Some Typical Examples


p. 62

1 A by-name for Jerusalem.

2 Presumably Adonai; M.'s Lord is (below) the King of Light and later on her Lord is Gnosis of Life.

3 Cp. the prophesyings and interpretations of Early Christendom and the 'glossolaly' of the earliest Pauline communities.

4 M. became entranced.

5 Presumably a heavenly visitant.

p. 63

1 Ṭuṭiftā = Heb. tefillīm.

2 Cp. § 22, 'the pure burzinqā,' and J. B., pp. 301 and 501.

p. 65

1 The whole description is intentionally symbolic or allegorical.

2 The White Eagle is manifestly Gnosis of Life.

p. 66

1 Presumably the Seven.

2 Presumably the End-Sea.

3 White for purity, the M. colour par excellence. The water is of course the Living Water or Water of Life.

4 Or Treasury, Sīmath-Haiyē, a feminine personification, called elsewhere the Mother of all the [Light] Kings'; she is par excellence the Treasure or Treasury of Light.

p. 67

1 Mentioned also in § 32 {p. 57}, but unexplained.

2 In the Lud (cp. note on R. Eliezar, founder of the Lud school in § 18, p. 34) Ben Stada Talmūd Jesus stories, Jeshu is stoned and hanged on a stake afterwards (see D. J. L. 100 B.C.?—pp. 176ff.). It was the custom for the dead body after the stoning (e.g. of an adulterer, or of a fornicator—i.e. heretic) to be exposed on a stake or post.

3 Gnosis of Life is called the Stranger (sc. to the world) par excellence.

4 The MM. were bitterly persecuted. The fellings or slaughterings of the 'trees' and the snaring or imprisonment of the 'doves' refer to the martyrdom of the faithful. Cp. the hewing-down of the 'trees' in the Synoptic John-sermon and also the John-Jonah (Dove) word-play.

5 'Fishes' and 'birds' are the new 'hearers' of the faith.

p. 68

1 Presumably kept hidden, or made conditions concerning their revelation.

2 Compare with the above eloquent invitation to return the similar motive in the Talmūd Jesus stories: (1) "When King Jannai directed the destruction of the Rabbis. R. Joshua ben Perachiah and Jeshu went to Alexandria. When security returned, R. Simeon ben Shetach sent him a letter to this effect: From me, Jerusalem the holy city, to thee, Alexandria in Egypt, my sister. My spouse tarries in thee, and I dwell desolate'" (Bab. Sandedrim, 107b, Sota, 47a). (2) "The inhabitants of Jerusalem intended to appoint Jehuda ben Tabbai as Nasi [Prince or President of the Sanhedrim] in Jerusalem. He fled and went away to Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem wrote: 'From Jerusalem the Great to Alexandria the Little: How long lives my betrothed with thee, whilst I am sitting grieving for him?'" (Pal. Chagiga, 77d). See my D. J. L. 100 B.C.?—pp. 137ff., 148ff.—for a discussion of these passages. Can Tabbai possibly in any way connect with the Ṭāb-Yōmīn of the Portents-piece § 18 {p. 35}?

p. 69

1 Clearly indicating that the Mandā was originally not Jewish.

2 Heb. ḥallah, the priests' share of the dough, Cp. Lev. 15:20, 21: "Of the first of your dough (marg. coarse meal) ye shall offer up a cake for a heave-offering."

3 Cp. L.'s note (p. 1142), referring to the above-quoted (p. 68, n. 2) Talmūd passage (1), where the same bowing down is recorded of Jeshu, namely: "he set up a brick-bat and worshipped it." L. again prefers to render the two words here as 'vault' simply. The Talmūd puzzle has never been solved; but the passage of the J. B. above (p. 55) connects it with a coffin, and strongly suggests an Egyptian atmosphere. Cp. now what Josephus (Antiqq. I. ii.; Cory's An. Fragg. pp. 171, 172), Hebraïzing the Egyptian tradition, says of the Sons of Sēth ( = Sōthis = Sirius), how "they made two [kinds of] monuments, one of brick and the other of stone, and on each engraved their discoveries." This passage is from Manetho's lost work Sothis, on the authenticity of which and its implications, I would refer the reader to my lengthy researches in Thrice-greatest Hermes, i. 99-127: the above passage will be found on p. 114. From this I would venture to suggest that the Talmūd charge against Jeshu of learning 'magic' in Egypt is reflected in the queer term 'brick-bat' or 'bricking.' According to Manetho's legend or tradition the most ancient lore of the priests, of the period of the First Thoth or Hermes, before the Flood, was preserved in the most primitive brick pyramids. The pyramids were originally tombs. That my suggested version is in the right direction is borne out by the following sentence of the text: "They shall be buried in the Darkness."

4 A common Gnostic figure, appearing frequently in Manichæism. In the Christianized Gnosis it is the technical term for the unripe birth from Achamōth, the Wisdom Without. For the most interesting echo in the N.T. cp. Paul's famous utterance: "And last of all he appeared unto me also, as unto 'the Abortion'"—sc. of whom you have all heard.

5 This is presumably ironical = "who thought that ye were not of this world."

p. 70

1 That is, presumably, fill the whole of the worlds in their span.

2 The MM. evidently believed that the destruction of Jerusalem was a retribution for the persecution of their community.