(Above image of the Gospel of Thomas courtesy of the
Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate University)
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The Nag Hammadi Library
The Thunder, Perfect Mind
Translated by George W. MacRae
- I was sent forth from the power,
- and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
- and I have been found among those who seek after me.
- Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
- and you hearers, hear me.
- You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
- And do not banish me from your sight.
- And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
- Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
- Do not be ignorant of me.
For I am the first and the last.
- I am the honored one and the scorned one.
- I am the whore and the holy one.
- I am the wife and the virgin.
- I am <the mother> and the daughter.
- I am the members of my mother.
- I am the barren one
- and many are her sons.
- I am she whose wedding is great,
- and I have not taken a husband.
- I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
- I am the solace of my labor pains.
- I am the bride and the bridegroom,
- and it is my husband who begot me.
- I am the mother of my father
- and the sister of my husband
- and he is my offspring.
- I am the slave of him who prepared me.
- I am the ruler of my offspring.
- But he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday.
- And he is my offspring in (due) time,
- and my power is from him.
- I am the staff of his power in his youth,
- and he is the rod of my old age.
- And whatever he wills happens to me.
- I am the silence that is incomprehensible
- and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
- I am the voice whose sound is manifold
- and the word whose appearance is multiple.
- I am the utterance of my name.
Why, you who hate me, do you love me,
- and hate those who love me?
- You who deny me, confess me,
- and you who confess me, deny me.
- You who tell the truth about me, lie about me,
- and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me.
- You who know me, be ignorant of me,
- and those who have not known me, let them know me.
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
- I am shame and boldness.
- I am shameless; I am ashamed.
- I am strength and I am fear.
- I am war and peace.
- Give heed to me.
I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.
- Give heed to my poverty and my wealth.
- Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the earth,
- and you will find me in those that are to come.
- And do not look upon me on the dung-heap
- nor go and leave me cast out,
- and you will find me in the kingdoms.
- And do not look upon me when I am cast out among those who
- are disgraced and in the least places,
- nor laugh at me.
- And do not cast me out among those who are slain in violence.
But I, I am compassionate and I am cruel.
- Be on your guard!
Do not hate my obedience
- and do not love my self-control.
- In my weakness, do not forsake me,
- and do not be afraid of my power.
For why do you despise my fear
- and curse my pride?
- But I am she who exists in all fears
- and strength in trembling.
- I am she who is weak,
- and I am well in a pleasant place.
- I am senseless and I am wise.
Why have you hated me in your counsels?
- For I shall be silent among those who are silent,
- and I shall appear and speak,
Why then have you hated me, you Greeks?
- Because I am a barbarian among the barbarians?
- For I am the wisdom of the Greeks
- and the knowledge of the barbarians.
- I am the judgement of the Greeks and of the barbarians.
- I am the one whose image is great in Egypt
- and the one who has no image among the barbarians.
- I am the one who has been hated everywhere
- and who has been loved everywhere.
- I am the one whom they call Life,
- and you have called Death.
- I am the one whom they call Law,
- and you have called Lawlessness.
- I am the one whom you have pursued,
- and I am the one whom you have seized.
- I am the one whom you have scattered,
- and you have gathered me together.
- I am the one before whom you have been ashamed,
- and you have been shameless to me.
- I am she who does not keep festival,
- and I am she whose festivals are many.
I, I am godless,
- and I am the one whose God is great.
- I am the one whom you have reflected upon,
- and you have scorned me.
- I am unlearned,
- and they learn from me.
- I am the one that you have despised,
- and you reflect upon me.
- I am the one whom you have hidden from,
- and you appear to me.
- But whenever you hide yourselves,
- I myself will appear.
- For whenever you appear,
- I myself will hide from you.
Those who have [...] to it [...] senselessly [...].
- Take me [... understanding] from grief.
- and take me to yourselves from understanding and grief.
- And take me to yourselves from places that are ugly and in ruin,
- and rob from those which are good even though in ugliness.
- Out of shame, take me to yourselves shamelessly;
- and out of shamelessness and shame,
- upbraid my members in yourselves.
- And come forward to me, you who know me
- and you who know my members,
- and establish the great ones among the small first creatures.
- Come forward to childhood,
- and do not despise it because it is small and it is little.
- And do not turn away greatnesses in some parts from the smallnesses,
- for the smallnesses are known from the greatnesses.
Why do you curse me and honor me?
- You have wounded and you have had mercy.
- Do not separate me from the first ones whom you have known.
- And do not cast anyone out nor turn anyone away
- [...] turn you away and [... know] him not.
- What is mine [...].
- I know the first ones and those after them know me.
- But I am the mind of [...] and the rest of [...].
- I am the knowledge of my inquiry,
- and the finding of those who seek after me,
- and the command of those who ask of me,
- and the power of the powers in my knowledge
- of the angels, who have been sent at my word,
- and of gods in their seasons by my counsel,
- and of spirits of every man who exists with me,
- and of women who dwell within me.
- I am the one who is honored, and who is praised,
- and who is despised scornfully.
- I am peace,
- and war has come because of me.
- And I am an alien and a citizen.
I am the substance and the one who has no substance.
- Those who are without association with me are ignorant of me,
- and those who are in my substance are the ones who know me.
- Those who are close to me have been ignorant of me,
- and those who are far away from me are the ones who have known me.
- On the day when I am close to you, you are far away from me,
- and on the day when I am far away from you, I am close to you.
[I am ...] within.
- [I am ...] of the natures.
- I am [...] of the creation of the spirits.
- [...] request of the souls.
- I am control and the uncontrollable.
- I am the union and the dissolution.
- I am the abiding and I am the dissolution.
- I am the one below,
- and they come up to me.
- I am the judgment and the acquittal.
- I, I am sinless,
- and the root of sin derives from me.
- I am lust in (outward) appearance,
- and interior self-control exists within me.
- I am the hearing which is attainable to everyone
- and the speech which cannot be grasped.
- I am a mute who does not speak,
- and great is my multitude of words.
- Hear me in gentleness, and learn of me in roughness.
- I am she who cries out,
- and I am cast forth upon the face of the earth.
- I prepare the bread and my mind within.
- I am the knowledge of my name.
- I am the one who cries out,
- and I listen.
- I appear and [...] walk in [...] seal of my [...].
- I am [...] the defense [...].
- I am the one who is called Truth
- and iniquity [...].
You honor me [...] and you whisper against me.
- You who are vanquished, judge them (who vanquish you)
- before they give judgment against you,
- because the judge and partiality exist in you.
- If you are condemned by this one, who will acquit you?
- Or, if you are acquitted by him, who will be able to detain you?
- For what is inside of you is what is outside of you,
- and the one who fashions you on the outside
- is the one who shaped the inside of you.
- And what you see outside of you, you see inside of you;
- it is visible and it is your garment.
- Hear me, you hearers
- and learn of my words, you who know me.
- I am the hearing that is attainable to everything;
- I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
- I am the name of the sound
- and the sound of the name.
- I am the sign of the letter
- and the designation of the division.
- And I [...].
- (3 lines missing)
- [...] light [...].
- [...] hearers [...] to you
- [...] the great power.
- And [...] will not move the name.
- [...] to the one who created me.
- And I will speak his name.
Look then at his words
- and all the writings which have been completed.
- Give heed then, you hearers
- and you also, the angels and those who have been sent,
- and you spirits who have arisen from the dead.
- For I am the one who alone exists,
- and I have no one who will judge me.
- For many are the pleasant forms which exist in numerous sins,
- and incontinencies,
- and disgraceful passions,
- and fleeting pleasures,
- which (men) embrace until they become sober
- and go up to their resting place.
- And they will find me there,
- and they will live,
- and they will not die again.
Selection made from
James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins,
San Francisco, 1990.