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The Nag Hammadi Library

The Allogenes

Translated by John D. Turner

This original translation is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by permission of Dr. John D. Turner, who retains all copyright. The headings shown in bold text are added to the text by Dr. Turner. Lines lost from the surviving manuscript are indicated by [...]. Dr. Turner's fully annotated version of this translation (NHC XI,3: 45,1-69,20 )including the complete line numbering referenced by his translation, is available here.


Youel: The generation of the Barbelo Aeon

[...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] since they are [perfect Individuals. And they are] all [unified, in harmony].
The [Mind], the guardian [I provided] [for you] taught you. And it is the power that [exists] in you that [extended] [itself], since [it (you?)] often [rejoiced] in the Triple Powered One who [belongs to] all [those] who [truly] exist with the [immeasurable] one.

O eternal [light of] the knowledge that has [appeared]!
O male virginal [glory]!
[O first] aeon from [a] unique threefold [aeon]!
[O] Triple-Powered One who [truly exists]!

For after it [contracted] [it expanded],
and [it spread out] and became complete,
[and] it was empowered [with] all of them,
by knowing [itself] [in addition to the perfect Invisible Spirit],
and it [became] [an] aeon.

By knowing [herself] she knew that one, [and] she became Kalyptos [because] she acts in those whom she knows.

She is Protophanes, a perfect, invisible Intellect, Harmedon.

Empowering the individuals, she is Triple Male, since she is individually
[...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [they are] [unified since she] is [their] [Existence],
and she [sees] them all [truly] existing.

[She] contains the divine Autogenes:

When she [knew] her Existence and
when she stood at rest [upon] this one (Autogenes),
he (<she>?) saw them [all] existing individually just as [they] are.

And when [they (he? she?)] become as he is,
[he (she? they?) shall] see the divine Triple Male,
the power that is [higher than] God.
[He is the thought] of all those who [are] unified.

When he (the Triple Male) [contemplates them (unified)],
he contemplates the great male, [perfect?], Intellect [Protophanes].
He is their [procession]; when [he] sees it,
[he also sees] [the truly existing ones],
[since it is the] procession [for those who] are unified.

And when [he has seen] these (truly existing), he has seen Kalyptos.

And when he sees the unity of the hidden ones,
[he] sees the Barbalo-Aeon, [the] unbegotten offspring of [that One].

When one should [see] how it [lives] (one sees the Triple Powered One)

[...] [...] [...] [...] [ ... you have heard about the] abundance of each one of them certainly. [Now] concerning the Triple-Powered Invisible Spirit One, hear!

The Triple Powered One

He [exists] as an invisible One, unattainable for them all.
He contains them all within [himself], for [they] all exist because [of] [him].
He is perfect and [greater] than perfect.
And he is blessed, since he [is] always one.
And [he] exists [in] them all,
being ineffable, unnamable,
being [one] who exists through them all

--he whom, [should] one intelligize him, one [would not desire] anything that
[exists] before him among those [that possess] existence--

for [he] is the [source] [from which they were all emitted].

[He is prior to Perfection];
[he was prior] [to every] Divinity, [and]
he is prior [to] every Blessedness,
since he provides for every power.

And he is an insubstantial substance,
a God over whom there is no Divinity,
the surpasser of his own greatness and <beauty>.
[...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [power.

The Triple Powered One provides Being by means of Existence

It is not impossible for them] to receive a revelation of these things if they unify (in Protophanes). Since it is impossible that the Individuals (in Autogenes) comprehend the totality [situated in the] realm that is higher than perfect, they at least share (in it) through a preconception, not as Being per se, [for on the contrary] it is with [the] hiddeness (cf. Kalyptos) of Existence that he provides Being, [providing] for [it in] every way, since it is this that [shall] come into being when he intelligizes himself.

For he is a Unity, subsisting as
a [true cause] and source of [Being],
even [an] immaterial [matter
and an] innumerable [number
and a] formless [form]
and a [shapeless] [shape]
and [a powerlessness with] [power
and an insubstantial substance]
[and a motionless] [motion
and an inactive] [activity,
except that he is] [a] provider of [provision]
[and] a divinity [of] divinity.

The Triple Powered One provides Being as Vitality

But if they share (this kind of Being), they share in the prime Vitality, even an indivisible activity, an hypostasis of the primary (activity) of the one that truly exists.

The Triple Powered One provides Being with Mentality/Blessedness

Now a secondary activity [...] [...] however, is that [...] [...] Male [...] [...] [...] he is endowed with [Blessedness] and Goodness, because

when he is intelligized as the Delimiter (D - the Delimiter) of the (indeterminate)
Boundlessness (B - Boundlessness) of the Invisible Spirit (IS - the Invisible Spirit)) [that subsists] in him (the Delimiter), it (Boundlessness) causes [him (the Delimiter)] to revert to [it (the Invisible Spirit)] in order that
it (Boundlessness) might know what it is that is within it (the Invisible Spirit)) and how it (the Invisible Spirit)) exists, and that he (the Delimiter) might guarantee the endurance of everything
by being a a (determining) cause of truly existing things.
For through him (the Delimiter) knowledge of it (the Invisible Spirit) became available,
since he (the Delimiter) is the one who knows what it (the Invisible Spirit) is.
But they brought forth nothing [beyond] themselves,
neither power nor rank nor glory nor aeon, for they are all eternal.

He is Vitality and Mentality and Essentiality. So then:
Essentiality constantly includes its Vitality and Mentality, and {Life has}
Vitality includes {non-} Substantiality and Mentality;
Mentality includes Life and Essentiality.
And the three are one, although individually they are three."

Allogenes' response:

Now after I heard these things, O my son [Messos, I was] afraid and [I turned toward the crowd ... ] [...] thought [...] [...] [...] ... [...] [empowers those who are able] to know these things [by a] greater revelation, but I was able--even though flesh was upon me--to hear from <you> about these things. And because of the wisdom that is in them, the thought within me distinguished things beyond measure from unknowable things. Therefore I fear that my wisdom has become excessive."

Youel: The Barbelo Aeon

And then again, O my son Messos, the all-glorious one, Youel spoke to me; she appeared [to] me and said:
"No one is able to hear these things except the great powers alone. O Allogenes, you have been vested with a great power, that with which the Father of the All vested you before you came to this place, so that

those things that are difficult to distinguish you might distinguish,
and those things that are unknown to the multitude you might know,
and that you might be restored to that which is yours,
which was already intact and so needs no restoration.

[...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [ ] ... [ ... to] you [a] form [and a revelation].
As for the Triple-[Powered] Invisible Spirit, outside of him [there is
situated] a non-discriminating, incorporeal, [timeless] knowledge.
Like all [the] aeons, the Barbelo-Aeon is
also endowed with the types and forms of the things that truly exist,
the image of Kalyptos;

and endowed with their intelligent rational principles,
it bears the male Intellect Protophanes as an image,
and acts within the Individuals
either with craft or with skill or with partial instinct;

endowed with the divine Autogenes as an image
and knowing each one of these (individuals),
it acts separately and individually,
continually rectifying defects arising from Nature;

endowed with the divine Triple Male
as an integration (or preservation) of them all with the Invisible Spirit,
it is a rational expression of deliberation, the perfect Child.
And this hypostasis is a [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...]

Allogenes' response:

[My soul went slack] and I fled and I was very disturbed. And [I] turned to myself and saw the light that [surrounded] me and the Good that was in me, and I became Divine. And the all-glorious one, Youel, contacted me again and empowered me. She said:

Youel: the Triple Powered One

"Since your wisdom has become complete and you have known the Good that is within you, hear concerning the Triple-Powered One things you shall guard in great silence and great mystery, because they are not to be spoken to anyone except those who are worthy and able to hear. Nor is it fitting to speak to an uninstructed generation concerning anything higher than perfect.
But you have <this capability to hear> concerning the Triple-Powered One, who exists in Blessedness and Goodness, the cause of everything by virtue of encompassing a vast magnitude even though he is <unitarily> One. [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] of [preconception], not as if [through things that exist] within comprehension [and knowledge] and [understanding.

And] that one moved motionlessly in his governance, lest he sink into the boundless by means of another act of Mentality. And he entered into himself and appeared all-encompassing.

Everything that is higher than perfect is anterior to knowledge. Just as there is no possibility for complete comprehension, so also he is not known by me. And that's the way it is.

On account of the third silence of Mentality and
the undivided secondary activity (i.e. Vitality) that appeared in
the First Thought-- that is, the Barbelo-Aeon-- and
the undivided semblance of division, even
the Triple-Powered One and the non-substantial Existence,

the power appeared by means of an activity that is stable and silent.
It uttered a sound in this fashion: `ZZA ZZA ZZA.' But when she heard
the power and she was filled [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ...

Praises of Barbelo according to [Existence?], Vitality, and Mentality

(In accord with the Existence that is thine ... from which derives Perfection:)
`[...] ... Thou art [great, Deiphan]eus! Solmis, [thou art great!]
In accord with the Vitality [that is thine,
even] the primary activity from which derives Divinity:
Thou art great, Armedon! Thou art perfect, Epiphaneus!

And in accord with that activity of thine,
the secondary power, even the Mentality from which derives Blessedness:
Autoer, Beritheus, Erigenaor, Orimenios, Aramen,
Alphleges, Elelioupheus, Lalameus, Yetheus, Noetheus!
Thou art great! He who knows thee knows the All!
Thou art one, thou art one, O Good one, Aphredon!
Thou art the Aeon of aeons, O perpetually existing one!'

Then she praised the entire One, saying:
`Lalameus, Noetheus, Senaon,
Asineus, Oriphanios, Mellephaneus,
Elemaon{}, <I>smoun, Optaon!
He who is! Thou art He who is, the Aeon of aeons!
O unbegotten one higher than the unbegotten ones, Yatomenos!,
It is thou alone for whom all the unborn ones were begotten, O unnamable one!'

[...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] [...] knowledge."

Allogenes' response

[Now after I] heard these things, I [too glorified]
the [perfect] individuals
[and] the all-perfect ones [who are unified],
even the [all-perfect ones who] are before the [perfect ones.

Youel: The Triple Powered One

Then the mother of] the glories Youel spoke to me again:
["O Allogenes], you [shall surely] know that

the [Triple-Powered] One exists before
[those that] do not exist,
[those that exist] (but) do not [truly] exist,
[and those that] truly exist.
[Rather all these] exist [in
Divinity and Blessedness] [and] Existence,
even as non-substantiality and non-being [Existence]."

Allogenes' response

[And then I] prayed that [the revelation] might happen to me.

Youel: The coming of the Powers of the Luminaries

[And then] [the] all-[glorious] One, Youel, said to me: "While the [Triple] Male is a self-begotten entity insofar as he is] substantial, the [(Triple Powered One) ...] is [an insubstantiality] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] those who dwell [in association] with the [generation of those] who [truly] exist. The self-begotten ones dwell with the [Triple Male.]
If you [seek with] [perfect] seeking, [then] you shall know the [Good that is] in you; then [you shall know yourself], as well, (as) one who [derives from] the God who truly [pre-exists].

[And after a hundred] years there shall [come to you] a revelation [of that One] by means of [Salamex] and Semen (Selmen?) [and Armê, the] Luminaries of [the] Barbelo-Aeon."

And [she said to me:] "It is appropriate [that you know him] at first, so as [not to forfeit your] kind. [And when you succeed], then <...>. When [you receive] a conception [of that One, then] you [are filled with] the Word [to completion]. And then [you become divine] and [you become perfect. You receive] them [ ] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] the seeking [...] [...] the Existence [...]
If it [apprehends] anything, it is [apprehended by] that One and by that which is comprehended, which amounts to the same thing.

And then that becomes greater which comprehends and knows
than that which is comprehended and known.
But if it descends to its nature it is less,
for the incorporeal natures have not associated with any magnitude;
thus endowed, they are everywhere and they are nowhere,
since they are greater than every magnitude and less than every exiguity."

Allogenes' response

Now after the all-glorious one, Youel, said these things, she separated from me and left me. But I did not despair of the words I heard. I prepared myself therein and I deliberated with myself for a hundred years. And I greatly rejoiced that I was in a great light and a blessed path because all those whom I was worthy to see as well as those whom I was worthy to hear (were) things fitting for the great powers alone (to see and hear). [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] [...] ... [of God].

Allogenes' initial vision of the Barbelo Aeon:

[When the] [completion of] the one hundred years [approached], there [came upon] me a Blessedness of the eternal hope full of auspiciousness. I saw:

the good divine Autogenes;
and the Savior who is the perfect Triple Male Child;
and his goodness, the perfect Intellect Protophanes-Harmedon;
and the Blessedness of the Kalyptos;
and the pre-principle of the Blessedness, the Barbelo-Aeon full of Divinity;
and the pre-principle of the unoriginate one, the Triple-Powered Invisible Spirit,
the totality that is more than perfect.

When I was seized by the eternal light, by the garment that was upon me, and was taken up to a pure place whose likeness cannot be revealed in the world, then by means of a great Blessedness I saw all those about whom I had heard. And I praised them all and I [stood at rest] upon my knowledge and [I] turned to the Knowledge [of] the Universal Ones, the Barbelo-Aeon.

The Powers of the Luminaries: A. Ascent through the Triple Powered One

And by means of the Luminaries of the male virginal Barbelo I saw [multiple] powers telling [me]:

"O great power! O name that has come to be in the world! O Allogenes, behold your Blessedness, how silently it abides, by which you know your proper self, and, seeking yourself, ascend to the Vitality that you will see moving.

And even if you cannot stand, fear not! But if you wish to stand, ascend to the Existence, and you will find it standing and still after the likeness of the One who is truly still and embraces all these silently and inactively.

And should you experience a revelation of that One by means of a primary revelation of the Unknowable One, should you know him, you must be incognizant! And if you become afraid in that place, retreat because of those activities (that disrupt tranquillity); And should you become complete in that place, stay still! And as in your own case, be further aware [that] it's like this with [everyone], just as in (your) case!

And [do not] further dissipate, [so that] you may be able to stand, and do not desire to be active, [lest] in any way you fall away [from] the inactivity [in] [you] of the Unknowable One. Do not know him, for it is impossible; but if by means of an enlightened thought you should know him, stay incognizant of him!"

Allogenes' response:

While I was listening to these things as as those there spoke them, there was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the Blessedness whereby I knew <my> proper self.
And I ascended to the Vitality as I sought it. And I mutually entered it and stood, not firmly but quietly. And I saw an eternal, intellectual, undivided motion, all-powerful, formless, unlimited by limitation.

And when I wanted to stand firmly, I ascended to the Existence, which I found standing and at rest, resembling and similar to (the standing and resting) covering me.

By means of a revelation of the Indivisible and the Stable I was filled with revelation; by means of a primary revelation of the Unknowable One, [as though] incognizant of him, I [knew] him and was empowered by him. Having been permanently strengthened, I knew that [which] exists in me, even the Triple-Powered One and the revelation of his unattainableness.

[And] by means of a primary revelation of the universally prime Unknowable One-- the God who is beyond perfection--I saw him and the Triple-Powered One that exists in them all. I was seeking the ineffable and unknowable God of whom--should one know him--one would be completely incognizant, the one who mediates the Triple-Powered One, the one who subsists in stillness and silence and is unknowable.

The Powers of the Luminaries: B. Negative Theology

And when I was confirmed in these matters, the powers of the Luminaries said to me: "Cease dissipating the inactivity that exists in you by (further) inquiry after incomprehensible matters; rather hear about him insofar as it is possible by means of a primary revelation and a revelation:

Without Mind, Life, or Existence

Now he is an entity insofar as he exists, in that
he either exists and becomes (is and exists?), or {acts} <lives> or knows,
although he {lives}<acts> without Mind or Life or Existence
--or Nonexistence-- incomprehensibly.
And although he is an entity along with its own attributes,
he is not left over in any way,
as if he yields something that is assayed or purified [or]
as if he receives or gives.

Nor is he diminished in any way,
[whether] by his own desire
or whether by giving or receiving through another.

Neither does he have any desire, whether his own
or that would have been added by something else.

But neither does he produce anything by himself
lest he become diminished in some other way.

Therefore, he requires neither Mind nor Life
nor indeed anything at all.


He is superior to the Totality in his privation and unknowability-- which is non-being Existence-- although he is endowed with silence and stillness lest he be inished by the undiminishables.

Parallel with the Apocryphon of John (BG ,6-25,7 = II ,17-33)

He is neither Divinity nor Blessedness nor Perfection.
Rather he is an unknowable entity, not an attribute.
Rather he is something else superior to Blessedness and Divinity and Perfection,
for he is not perfect, but he is another thing that is superior.
He is neither boundless
nor is he bounded by another.
Rather he is something superior.

He is neither corporeal nor incorporeal,
neither Great [nor] Small,
neither a quantity nor a [<quality>].

Nor is he something that exists that one can know;
rather he is something else that is superior that one cannot know.

Even if primary revelation and self-knowledge characterize him,
it is he alone who knows himself.

Since he is not among existing things,
he is something else superior to superlative,
even in comparison what does
and does not apply to him.

He neither participates in eternity
nor does he participate in time,
nor does he receive anything from anything else.

He is neither diminishable,
nor diminishing,
nor undiminishable.

But he is self-comprehension,
like something so unknowable,
that he exceeds those who excel in unknowability.

Even if he is endowed with blessedness and perfection and silence,
(he is) not the Blessed One, nor is he Perfection or Stillness.

But he is something existing that one cannot [know]--and which is at rest.
Rather they are completely unknowable aspects of him,
while he is much superior in beauty than all good things.
And in this way he is universally unknowable in every respect,
and it is through them all that he is in them all.

Not only is he the unknowable knowledge that is proper to him,
he is also united with the ignorance that sees him.

<Whether> a <one sees> in what way he is unknowable, or sees him as he is in every respect or would say that he is something like knowledge, he has acted impiously against him, being liable to judgment because he did not know God. He will not be judged by that One, who is neither concerned for anything nor has any desire, but he is (judged) through himself because he has not found the truly existing origin. He was blind apart from the quiescent source of revelation, the actualization deriving from the Triple-Power of the First Thought of the Invisible Spirit.

The Powers of the Luminaries: C. Positive Theology

This one thus exists from [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] ... [...] [...] something ... [...] [established on ...It was with ] beauty and [a dawning] of stillness and silence and tranquillity and unfathomable magnitude that he appeared.

He needed neither time nor <did he participate> in eternity.
Rather of himself he is unfathomably unfathomable.
He does not act --not even upon himself--so as to become still.
He is not an Existence lest he be in want.
Spatially he is corporeal, while properly he is incorporeal.
He has non-being Existence.
He exists for all of them unto himself without any desire.

Rather he is a maximum of greatness.
And he transcends his stillness in order that [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [ ] ... [ ] [ ... the In]visible [Spirit.

Although] he [empowered them all],
[they do not] concern themselves with that One at all,
nor if one should participate him, is he empowered.

In accordance with (his) immobile Unity, nothing acts on him.
For he is unknowable; he is a breathless place of the boundlessness.

Since he is boundless and powerless and nonexistent,
he was not providing Being.
Rather he contains all of these in himself,
being at rest, (and) standing.

From the One who constantly stands, there appeared an eternal Life, the Invisible and Triple Powered Spirit, the One that is in all existing things and surrounds them all while transcending them all. A shadow [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [ ] ... [ ] [ ] ... [ ] he [was filled with power. And] he stood before [them], empowering them all, and he filled them all.

And concerning all these matters, you have heard certainly. And do not seek anything more, but go. We do not know whether the Unknowable One has angels or gods, or whether the One who is at rest contains anything within himself except that very stillness. For he <...>, lest he be diminished. It is not appropriate to further dissipate through repeated seeking. It was appropriate that you <alone> know and that they speak with another. Instead, you will lead them [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...]

Instructions for writing the revelation from an unidentifiable masculine being

[...] [and he said to me: "Write down] [the things] that I shall [tell] you and of which I shall remind you for those who will be worthy after you. And you shall leave this book upon a mountain and you shall adjure the guardian: `Come, Dreadful One!'" And when he said these things, he separated from me.

Allogenes' response: record the revelation

But I was full of joy, and I wrote this book. I was commissioned, my son Messos, to disclose to you the matters that were proclaimed before me. And I initially received them in great silence and (then) I settled into preparing myself.
These are the things that were disclosed to me, O my [son] [Messos ... ] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [ ... proclaim] [them, O my] son Messos.

[The] seal of all [the] books [of] Allogenes.

The Allogenes


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