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This collection of essays, published on the occasion of Gerard Lut-
tikhuizen’s retirement, highlights the Egyptian subject-matter,
background or provenance of many Jewish, Early Christian, and
Gnostic texts. It covers a broad spectrum of themes, genres, and
traditions. It shows that Egypt was a vibrant point of reference,
sometimes even a focal point and cradle for Jews, Christians, and
Gnostics and their thought. The first part of this book examines
various aspects of the relation between Judaism and Egypt, mainly
in the Graeco-Roman period. The second part deals with several
connections between early Christianity and Egypt, whereas the
third part considers Egypt as the place where many Gnostic texts
were found. This collection pays homage to Gerard Luttikhuizen’s
life-long interest in Egypt and Gnosticism.
anthony hilhorst, Ph.D. (Nijmegen 1976) in Classics, is Lecturer
Emeritus in New Testament and Early Christian Studies at the University
of Groningen. He acted as Secretary to the Journal for the Study of Judaism
and has published on early Christian texts and culture.
george h. van kooten, Ph.D. (Leiden 2001) in Theology, is Lec-
turer in New Testament and Early Christian Studies at the University of
Groningen. He has published on the Graeco-Roman background of Juda-
ism and Christianity.
This book is volume 59 in the series «ancient judaism
and early christianity». A list of publications in this
series can be found at the back of this volume.
www.brill.nl
issn 0169 734x
isbn 90 04 14425 0
The Wisdom
of Egypt
Jewish, Early Christian,
and Gnostic Essays in Honour
of Gerard P. Luttikhuizen
Edited by
anthony hi lhorst
and george h. van kooten
anci ent j udai sm
and early chri sti ani ty
brill
AJEC 59.indd 1 10-03-2005 12:08:52
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 433
DEVOLUTION AND RECOLLECTION, DEFICIENCY
AND PERFECTION: HUMAN DEGRADATION AND THE
RECOVERY OF THE PRIMAL CONDITION
ACCORDING TO SOME EARLY CHRISTIAN TEXTS
F. Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta
Siglos y siglos de idealismo no han dejado de influir
en la realidad
(J.L. Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius).
Introduction
Can any of us, unhappy about the current situation, truly say that
they have never felt that they are no longer what they used to be;
that youth, strength, beauty or intelligence have abandoned them
for ever? Or, pondering on an ideal past time, have never felt that
ancient times were better and that the times we live in are a sort
of second-class version of more magnificent periods, when women
were more beautiful or more refined, men braver, gentler, or more
educated? This morbid malice against ourselves, which in the words
of D. Hume a person may extend even to ‘his present fortune, and
carry it so far as designedly to seek affliction, and increase his pains
and sorrows’ is the theme I have chosen to honour Professor G.P.
Luttikhuizen on the occasion of his retirement.
It goes without saying that the view that present times are a deg-
radation of glorious past times is a topos of Western literature. Hes-
iod immortalised it in his Works and Days by graphically comparing
momentous past generations to noble metals such as gold, silver or
bronze and his own to iron.
1
Interesting though it might be, however, I
shall not focus on the myth of the ages of man but on a more radical
variation on the theme: the view in which man’s environment, body
and life in the sublunary world is a pale reflection of ‘real life’ in the
supramundane.
1
Hesiod, Op. 11-285, on which see the excellent paper by J.P. Vernant, ‘Le
mythe hésiodique des races: Essai d’analyse structurale’, Revue de l’Histoire des Religions
157 (1960) 21-54.
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 434
It is well known that in the first centuries of the Christian era this
impression became almost an obsession and was to a certain extent
radicalised.
2
Combined with the Orphic view that regarded the human
body as a prison and the old Pythagorean idea that it was a tomb,
3

devolution was no longer seen as a historical but as an ontological
matter. If the intellect or the soul was the real being, the material body
could be nothing but a degraded accretion, the result of a devolutionary
process at the end of which man had become what he currently was: a
prisoner in the world of nature, an alien in the tangible reality.
People of that period were not as pessimist as they are sometimes
supposed to be, however. In spite of depicting their current condition
in such dark hues, they did not resignedly accept their sad destiny.
This is why, in order to recover their lost condition, and alongside the
complicated explanations of how and why man fell from the heights
of transcendence to the lowest abode, they also developed equally
complicated ways that were intended to overcome a degraded state
which, in their view, was alien to their true nature.
Early Christianity was not immune to these developments. Several
early Christian texts explain the appearance of the physical world,
or at any rate the appearance of humans, by means of the myth of
devolution. At the same time, they encourage people to distance them-
selves from their false existence and attempt to recover their original
transcendent condition. The Acts of Andrew (AA)
4
includes interesting
versions both of the process of devolution and of that of recollection,
2
E.R. Dodds, Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety: From Marcus Aurelius to Con-
stantine, Cambridge 1965.
3
For the Orphic view, see frg. D-K 1 B 3 and J. Mansfeld, ‘Bad World and
Demiurge: A “Gnostic” Motif from Parmenides and Empedocles to Lucretius and
Philo’, in: R. van den Broek and M.J. Vermaseren (eds), Studies in Gnosticism and Hel-
lenistic Religions presented to G. Quispel on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, Leiden 1981,
261-314 at 292. Plato, Phd 62b-e; for the Pythagorean conception, see Philolaus,
D-K 44 B 14, on which C.A. Huffman, Philolaus of Croton, Pythagorean and Presocratic:
A Commentary on the Fragments and Testimonia with Interpretive Essays, Cambridge 1993,
402-6, who includes it among the spurious or doubtful fragments. For the difference
between the Orphic and Pythagorean views see Mansfeld, ‘Bad World’, 292-3.
4
On the basis of the conclusions of our exhaustive study of the Acts of Andrew
(The Apocryphal Acts of Andrew: A New Approach to the Character, Thought and Meaning of the
Primitive Text, Diss. University of Groningen, 2004), we exclusively focus on the text
provided by AA’s fragment in codex Vaticanus graecus 808, ff. 507
r
-512
v
. We quote
our edition of the text (V
r
), ibid., 139-59, but we will also provide the numbering in
Bonnet’s edition (V
b
). For the peculiarities of this fragment and its material framework,
see our ‘Vaticanus Graecus 808 Revisited: A Re-evaluation of the Oldest Fragment
of Acta Andreae’, Scriptorium 56 (2001) 126-40.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 435
which show interesting similarities with the Valentinian myth as
presented by the Tripartite Tractate, the Gospel of Truth and the report
by Irenaeus.
5
The purpose of the present article is to examine this
version and its numerous Gnostic parallels in order to show that the
Gnostic affiliation of AA is more important than scholars are normally
inclined to accept. Within this scope, the first section will analyse the
anthropological views underlying AA’s conception and the second will
focus on the myth of devolution proper. The third section will examine
the counterpart to the devolution, namely the recollection that must
achieve the reunion of what was dispersed through degradation.
1. The anthropological background
The anthropology current in the first centuries of the Christian era is
mainly dualistic, since within the same individual it tends to distinguish
between a visible and physical being engaged in sense-perception and
an invisible, incorporeal one that just glances at the intelligible world.
Most of the texts documenting this view appear to contain Plato’s
conception that identifies the true and essential being with the soul
or its higher part endowed with reason.
6
The Corpus Hermeticum, for
instance, widely echoes this view: according to The Secret Sermon on the
Mountain, man’s nature is clearly dual as it distinguishes between the
physical body, which can be dissolved and is mortal, and the ‘essential
generation’, which is indissoluble and immortal.
7
This is also the case
in the Asclepius, which explicitly states that only man has a double
nature, namely a simple and divine nature, which is called essential
(euc.æeµ,), and another material one (uì.se,), which is formed out of
the four elements.
8
The same can be said of certain Nag Hammadi
5
Irenaeus, 1.2.3 and 1.2.4.
6
For Plato’s conception, see Phdr. 247b 7, where in spite of the apparent trichotomy
intellect, soul, body, the |eu, is the guiding principle of the soul. On the issue, A.P.
Bos, ‘The Distinction between “Platonic” and “Aristotelian” Dualism Illustrated from
Plutarch’s Myth in de facie in orbe lunae’, in: A. Pérez Jiménez and F. Casadesús (eds),
Estudios sobre Plutarco: Misticismo y religiones mistéricas en la obra de Plutarco, Madrid and
Málaga 2001, 57-70 at 61.
7
C.H. 13.14 (206.12-14 N-F), :e a. còµ:e | :µ , |u c:æ, cæ ,a ve µµæò: | : c:.
:µ, euc.æeeu, ,:|:c:æ,· :e ,:| ,aµ :c:. e.aìu:e|, :e e: ae.aìu:e|, sa. :e ,:|
ò|µ:e|, :e e: aòa|a:e|.
8
Man’s duality in Asclep. 7 (304.2-6 N-F); 8 (305.15-306.2 N-F); 11 (309.5-6 N-F);
22 (323.25 N-F; 324.18 N-F); see Asclep. 10 (309.3 N-F); 22 (324.18 N-F); see also
C.H. 9.5 (98.13-17 N-F).
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 436
texts, which explicitly preserve the opposition exterior-interior or vis-
ible-not visible and contrast the inner and true man with the external
and material, sensible being. Thus, for instance, The Interpretation of
Gnosis, where the body is associated with the rulers and authorities
and described as a prison for the ‘man within’.
9
This is also the case
of The Letter of Peter to Philip, in which, however, the interest focuses
on the ‘inner man’ who ascends to heaven where the archons fight
with him.
10

However, there are several important texts in which the basic
dichotomy that opposes a true to an untrue nature is combined with
a trichotomic conception of man. These texts tend to apply the Aris-
totelian scheme that elevated the status of the intellect above that of
the soul and the body
11
and which we already find in some Middle
Platonists.
12
As we have already shown elsewhere, AA belongs to this
group of texts, for it combines a dualistic anthropology with a clear
triadic conception of man consisting of body, soul and intellect.
13
Even
9
InterprKnow (NHC XI.1) 6.30-35. For a similar but more general opposition see
SentSextus (NHC XII.1) 34.16-20; GosPhil (NHC II.3) 123, 82.30-83.9.
10
EpPetPhil (NHC VIII.2) 137.20-23. For the trichotomic conception of man
and for the ‘inner man’ as man’s spiritual part, see M.W. Meyer, The Letter of Peter
to Philip, Michigan 1981, 142. See also H.G. Bethge, Der Brief des Petrus an Philippus,
Berlin 1997, 110-11.
11
E. Barbotin, La théorie aristotélicienne de l’intellect d’après Théophraste, Louvain 1954,
220; A.H. Armstrong, ‘Aristotle in Plotinus: The Continuity and Discontinuity of
Psyche and Nous’, in: H. Blumenthal and H. Robinson (eds), Aristotle and the
Later Tradition, Oxford 1991, 117-27 at 117-18. This differentiation is also stressed
by Atticus, frg. 7 Des Places (apud Eusebius, PE XV.9.14). See P. Merlan, ‘Greek
Philosophy from Plato to Plotinus’, in: A.H. Armstrong (ed.), The Cambridge History of
Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge 1967, 11-132 at 73-74; A.P. Bos,
‘“Aristotelian” and “Platonic” Dualism in Hellenistic and Early Christian Philosophy
and in Gnosticism’, VChr 56 (2002) 273-91 at 277 note 16 and Id., The Soul and Its
Instrumental Body: A Reinterpretation of Aristotle’s Philosophy of Living Nature, Leiden/Boston
2003, 216-29; G.P. Luttikhuizen, ‘Traces of Aristotelian Thought in the Apocryphon
of John’, in: H.G. Bethge et al. (eds), For the Children, Perfect Instruction, Leiden/Boston
2002, 181-202 at 190.
12
So, for example, Plutarch, De facie 28, 943a: |eu , ,a µ ¢u¿µ ,, e cæ ¢u¿µ
cæ,a:e,, a,:.|e| :c:. sa. ò:.e::µe| See H. Dörrie, ‘Zum Ursprung der neupla-
tonischen Hypostasenlehre’, Hermes 82 (1954) 331-342 (=Platonica Minora, 286-96),
passim; in particular Bos, ‘Distinction’, 57-70; see also Alcinous, Didask. 164.18-19: : v:.
e: ¢u¿µ, |eu, a,:.|æ|; in general our ‘Bridging the Gulf between Transcendence
and Immanence in Late Antiquity’, in: A.A. MacDonald, M.W. Twomey and G.J.
Reinink (eds), Learned Antiquity: Scholarship and Society in the Near-East, the Greco-Roman
World and the Early Medieval West, Louvain 2003, 37-51 at 40-44 and Roig Lanzillotta,
Apocryphal Acts, 285-91.
13
See Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, 279-91.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 437
though continuously opposing the external and material being to the
immaterial and true nature, AA significantly refrains from using the
metaphor of the ‘inner man’, either in its Platonic (e :|:e, a|òµæve,)
14

or in its Pauline variant (e :cæ a|òµæve,).
15
Instead, it speaks of the
‘own’ or ‘true nature’ (. e. a, a ìµòµ , |u c.,),
16
of ‘essence’ (eu c. a)
17
or,
on occasion, simply uses the term ‘man’ (a |òµæve,).
18
This is more
than a simple terminological difference. As we will immediately see,
in line with certain Hermetic tractates,
19
with Middle Platonic
20
and
Gnostic sources, AA equates the essential man not with the soul but
with the ‘intellect’.
21
This same tripartition and the same equation of the essential man
with man’s intellect can be found in The Thought of Norea. According
to this text, the essential man called Adamas allows Norea to see the
pleroma and not to be deficient,
22
and it is through him that she is
14
Plato, Rep. 588-589, on which C. Markschies, ‘Die platonische Metapher vom
“Inneren Menschen”: Eine Brücke zwischen antiker Philosophie und altchristlicher
Theologie’, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 105 (1994) 1-17 and Id., ‘Innerer Mensch’,
Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum (1997) 266-312.
15
2 Cor 4.16; Eph 3.16. See also Origen, C. Cels. 6.63. On the Pauline use, see,
in general, T.K. Heckel, Der innere Mensch: Die paulinische Verarbeitung eines platonischen
Motivs, Tübingen 1993, and, more recently, W. Burkert, ‘Verso Platone e Paolo: l’essere
umano “interno”’, in his Antichità classica e cristianesimo antico, Cosenza 2000, 117-50;
see also H.D. Betz, ‘The Concept of the “Inner Human Being” (e :cæ a|òµæve,)
in the Anthropology of Paul’, NTS 46 (2000) 315-41.
16
V
r
134-35, 217 (V
b
42.3-4, 44.16).
17
V
r
96-97 (V
b
41.3-4).
18
V
r
85-90 (V
b
40.26-31).
19
See C.H. 1.15 (11.18-22, 11.20-12.1 N-F); 10.6 (115.14-19 N-F).
20
See above, note 12.
21
Plato’s conception of an internal dichotomy in man opposing his soul to his
body is redefined by Aristotle when he opposes the |eu , or ‘intellect’ to the ¢u¿µ
or ‘soul’; see above, note 11. Aristotle not only denies immortality to the human
soul, but repeatedly states that the intellect is man’s most divine and only eternal
element. See Aristotle, EN 1177b 26-1178a 2: the intellect as divine element in man
by which he achieves complete happiness and partakes in the divine. See his con-
clusion in EN 1178a 2-7, that the intellect is man’s true self; EN 1179a 22-32, the
man who lives according to his intellect—that is, the man who pursues intellectual
activity—cultivates his intellect and keeps it in the best condition is the most beloved
of the Gods; EE 1248a 24-29, where the intellect is said to be man’s highest element
and to be connected with God; De an. 430a 23-25; Metaph. A, 1072b 23-26; PA 656a
8; 10; 686a 27-28; GA 736b 28; 737a 8-11; Protr. frg. 108 Düring. See P. Moraux,
Der Aristotelismus bei den Griechen, Berlin/New York 1973, i, 230 and additional bibli-
ography in note 24.
22
Norea (NHC IX.2) 28.24-29.5. On the |eu , in the present passage, which
characterises both the Gnostic soul and God, see B.A. Pearson and S. Giversen,
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 438
able to ‘inherit the first mind which <she> had received’.
23
As for the
Treatise on Resurrection, its conception of the intellect also shows clear
Aristotelian traces.
24
This triadic conception of man further appears in
the Paraphrasis of Shem, in the Gospel of Mary, and the Teaching of Silvanus
(see below). In line with AA, not only do all these texts consider the
intellect to be man’s highest aspect and clearly differentiated from the
soul and the body, they also assert that the intellect or ‘essential man’
is a portion of the divine intellect that dwells in man.
1.1. The intellect: Divine element in man
It is interesting that AA does not seem to place special importance on
the human soul, which although certainly of higher rank than the
physical body can nevertheless be considered part of man’s inferior
being. Admittedly, AA repeatedly mentions the human soul and the
term ¢u¿µ may refer either to this intermediary part between intel-
lect and body or to the whole person.
25
However, when AA describes
or refers to the divine element in humans that transcends physical
existence and can be liberated from the constrictions of the realm of
movement, our text exclusively refers to the intellect and considers
both soul and body as obstacles to this liberation.
26
The emphasis on the intellect as the only divine and immortal ele-
ment in man also appears in the Treatise on Resurrection, which states
that neither the minds of those who have known the Son of Man nor
their thoughts shall perish.
27
The same holds true for the Paraphrasis
of Shem, where the pneumatic race is exalted by their partaking in the
mind of the light
28
and in which salvation is achieved by those ‘who
possess the mind and the mind of the light of the spirit’.
29

The Gospel of Mary is even more explicit in describing the role and
‘The Thought of Norea’, in: B.A. Pearson (ed), Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X, Leiden
1981, ad 28.18-19 and 28.30-29.2.
23
Norea (NHC IX.2) 28.3-5.
24
TreatRes (NHC I.4) 46.22-24, on which, see above, note 23.
25
V
r
85, 128-29, respectively (V
b
40.25, 41.34-35).
26
V
r
83-101 (V
b
40.23-41.7).
27
TreatRes (NHC I.4) 46.22-24. On the issue M.L. Peel, The Epistle to Rheginos: A
Valentinian Letter of the Resurrection: Introduction, Translation, Analysis and Exposition, Phila-
delphia 1969, 114 note 25 and ‘Treatise on Resurrection’, 173; Layton, Treatise, 71-2.
Both scholars suggest conspicuous similarities between the conception of the intellect
in our treatise and in Aristotle.
28
ParaphShem (NHC VII.1) 24.15-30.
29
ParaphShem (NHC VII.1) 35.1-5.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 439
character of man’s intellect. Mary relates to the Saviour that she has
seen a vision of him and he says to her ‘Blessed are you, that you
did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is
the treasure’.
30
Mary does not seem to understand, because she asks
whether he who sees a vision sees it through the soul or through
the spirit. Jesus’ answer, however, clears up her doubts: ‘he does not
see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind which [is]
between the two—that is [what] sees the vision’.
31
The same ideas
pervade the Teaching of Silvanus, which presents a triadic conception of
man formed out of a physical body, a soul and a ‘divine mind which
has come into being in conformity with the image of God. The divine
mind has the substance of God’.
32

The resolute assertions of the previous testimonies contrast with
other sources of the period, which, though affirming that the divine
dwells in man, significantly hesitate concerning the precise nature of
this divine element. This hesitation is stressed (ridiculed?) by Celsus
when in his Alethes logos he mentions
those who hope that they will posses their soul or mind eternally with
God, whether they wish to call this mind spiritual, or holy and blessed
intellectual spirit, or a living soul, or a supercelestial and indestructible
offspring of a divine and incorporeal nature, or whatever nature they
care to give it.
33

This hesitation is also evident in the heresiologists’ interpretation of
the nature of the Gnostic ¢u¿a.e, cv.|òµµ or ‘scintilla animae’, namely
the ‘divine spark’ or portion of the intelligible light in man.
34
Whereas
according to some testimonies this Gnostic metaphor referred either
to the soul or to the v|:u,a or ‘spirit’,
35
according to others this spark
is clearly identified with the |eu, or ‘intellect’.
36
30
GosMary (BG I) 10.14-16, which, incidentally, appears to be an echo of Matt
6.21 and Luke 12.34.
31
GosMary (BG I) 10.20-23.
32
TeachSilv (NHC VII.4) 92.23-26, the trichotomic conception in 92.10-32.
33
Celsus, ap. Origen, C. Cels. 8.49, translation H. Chadwick (my italics).
34
On the issue, M. Tardieu, ‘TYXAl02 2ElN0HP: Histoire d’une métaphore
dans la tradition platonicienne jusqu’à Eckhart’, Revue des études Augustiniennes (1975)
225-55.
35
See Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.13.3; Satornil apud Epiphanius, Pan. 37.4.1-3; Clem-
ent of Alexandria, Exc. Theod. 1.3; 3.1 generally refers to the spark and identifies it
in 53.5 as µ ìe,.sµ euµa|.a ¢u¿µ or ‘rational soul’.
36
Hippolytus, Ref. 5.19.13-17; 10.11.7-10 at 10.11.10, where the cv.|òµ µ is
explicitly explained with |eu,.
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 440
2. Man’s devolution and the appearance of the lower aspects of his being
It is obvious that if we assert that there is something divine in man,
we also have to explain how and why the divine intellect has been
degraded to its present condition and how the allegedly inferior
parts of his being have developed. Devolution is indeed a possible
explanation.
The idea of a devolution that brings the intellect (or the soul) to the
lower abode of physical reality was so widespread in Late Antiquity
that Iamblichus, the pupil of Porphyry, drew up a list including the
numerous variants of this view. Festugière, who collected and systema-
tised these examples,
37
has distinguished two main groups. On the one
hand, we have the so-called ‘optimistic’ explanation, which is based on
Plato’s Timaeus and considers the fall of the soul or intellect as due to
the will of God.
38
On the other hand, there is the so-called ‘pessimistic’
view, which includes two subcategories. According to the first one (‘fault
before the fall’), degradation is the result of the punishment inflicted
for the soul’s curiosity, audacity, or disobedience.
39
According to the
second subcategory (‘fault due to the fall’), devolution arises from the
urge to create,
40
or from the contact with the demiurgical sphere, or,
finally, from the union with physis.
41
According to AA, however, things went differently. To begin with,
our text significantly explains the intellect’s degradation without
recurring to external factors such as the influence of affections or of
matter. The devolution that affects the intellect and that will finally
cause it to be constrained by externals arises from its own deficiency,
which is conceived of as a dispersal or division. The motif of dispersal
of the primal unity is rather widespread in Gnosticism
42
and, as the
37
Festugière, La Révélation, iii, 73-77; J. Dillon, The Middle Platonists, London
1977, 245-6.
38
Alcinous, Didask. 178.30; Plotinus, Enn. 4.8.1.41; Iamblichus, 378.25 Wachsm.;
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 76.23-77.11. On the latter passage see L. Painchaud and E. Thom-
assen, Le Traité Tripartite (NHC I.5), Québec 1989, 333-4; see also AuthTeach (NHC
VI.3) 26.6-20 and on the issue R. van den Broek, ‘The Authentikos Logos’, VChr
33 (1979) 260-86.
39
For example in Kore Kosmou 21-24 (IV, 7.6-8.6 N-F), see Festugière, La Révéla-
tion, iii, 83-85.
40
C.H. 1.11-13 (10.5-11.5 N-F); Gnostics of Plotinus (Enn. 2.9.11.21).
41
Numenius, frg. 11.16-20 Des Places, on which Festugière, La Révélation, iii,
91-2; Gnostics of Plotinus (Enn. 2.9.10.19ff.).
42
In general, H. Jonas, Gnosis und spätantiker Geist, i: Von der Mythologie zur mystischen
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 441
heresiologists more precisely affirm, played an important role in the
Valentinian system.
43
As a matter of fact, it appears in the Gospel of
Truth, where the return to the primal unity intends to restore the value
lost in the dispersal, and in the Tripartite Tractate (see below).
Although AA is silent about the cause of this primal dispersion,
it does explicitly refer to the intellect’s split (sa:a¿ò:. ,)
44
and to its
alienation (aveì.còµca,)
45
as the reason for its suffering. The intellect’s
dispersion results in ignorance and ignorance is the cause of a second
stage of degradation because it initiates a series of affections: first of
all insecurity and doubt, then fear and, finally, a desire to know, since
knowledge can remove all previous affections. AA describes these affec-
tions by referring to the ‘suffering’ of both the intellect and of Eve.
46
It
is noteworthy that the aforementioned Gospel of Truth presents a very
similar exposition, since it puts the main focus on the appearance and
development of affections and on how they generate the psychic and
hylic levels of reality. Anguish and fear appear as direct consequences
of ignorance, and as anguish grows solid like a fog, it provides the
suitable context for error to appear, which ‘became powerful’ and
‘worked on its own matter foolishly [or, in a void]’.
47

The question of whether AA conceived matter as a substantialisation
of the very affections, as the Gospel of Truth implies and Irenaeus reports
of the Valentinian system,
48
is difficult to answer conclusively, given the
Philosophie, Göttingen 1954, 104-5; 139-40; A. Orbe, Cristología Gnóstica: Introducción
a la soteriología de los siglos II y III, Madrid 1976, 293-8; G.P. Luttikhuizen, ‘Gnostic
Hermeneutics’, in: R. Kessler and P. Vandermeersch (eds), God, Biblical Stories and
Psychoanalytic Understanding, Frankfurt am Main 2001, 171-85 at 173-4.
43
Heracleon, frg. 18 (apud Origen, In Joh. 13.11); Irenaeus, Adv. haer 1.14.5;
2.12.3; Clement of Alexandria, Exc. Theod. 36.2.
44
We understand sa:a¿ò:. , as passive aorist participle of sa:a ,|u,. ‘break in
pieces, shatter’ or ‘weaken, enervate’ (LSJM, s.v.) and not as proceeding from sa:a,æ
‘bring down’ (act.). See Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, 147 note 58.
45
V
r
75-77 (V
b
40.15-17). This dispersion seems also to be implied by Andrew’s
statement that he corrects Adam’s (and the intellect’s) imperfection by taking refuge
in God (V
r
78-79 [V
b
40.18-19]) and by his description of the transcendent intellect
as ‘having recollected yourself (scil. the a|òµæve,) in your true condition’ (V
r
95-97
[V
b
41.2-3]).
46
See V
r
74-77 (V
b
40.14-17) and Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, chap. 4,
§3.2.4.
47
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 17.10-17.
48
Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.2.3; see also Pseudo-Tertullian, Adversus omnes haereses 4.4
(CCSL 2, 1406.24-1407.4), on which C. Markschies, Valentinus Gnosticus?, Tübingen
1992, 408-9. H. Jonas, Gnostic Religion, Boston 1970 (1958), 183-4.
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 442
fragmentary condition of our text. The hypothesis, however, is plau-
sible. Be that as it may, the final stage of devolution is the alienation
of the intellect and of the soul in the realm of physis.
49
The original
ignorance remains unaltered and is perpetuated by oblivion and by
the deficiency of the body’s cognitive means. Sensorial perception not
only does not help man to achieve knowledge, it also prolongs his
ignorance since it delivers him to the delusion of externals.
50

How and why this devolution takes place and which are its imme-
diate consequences is the subject matter of the two following subsec-
tions.
2.1. The dispersion of the intellect
As far as the dispersion of the intellect in AA is concerned, its alien-
ation must be explained as a result of the appearance of a discrepancy
between subject and object in the intellect’s act of knowing.
51
As soon
as the object of the intellect’s acts of knowing is not the intellect
itself, it loses its self-centred activity and, consequently, its unity. As
a result, knowledge is no longer a direct and immediate matter and
ignorance appears.
However, AA is not explicit about the first cause of this discrepancy
within the intellect. This silence might simply be due to the fragmentary
nature of our text, but it is also plausible that AA was more interested
in the effects than in the cause of this primal dispersal. As a matter of
fact, this is also the case in the Gospel of Truth. This text, which as we
have seen presents many similarities with AA’s conceptual background,
begins its narration about the fall of the Totality
52
simply by referring
to the appearance of ignorance, without explaining how this ignorance
originated.
53
According to this text ‘oblivion did not come into existence
49
V
r
213-14 (V
b
44.12-14), on which Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, chap. 4,
§3.4.2.1.
50
V
r
208-09 (V
b
44.7-8) with Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, chap. 4, §3.4
passim.
51
See above, note 44 and Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, chap. 4, §5.1.1.
52
On the question of whether we should see a reference to the totality of spiritual
beings in the term ‘Totality’ as in other Valentinian texts, such as Irenaeus, Adv. haer.
1.14.1 or Clement of Alexandria, Exc. Theod. 30.2, or a reference to the totality of all
creatures, see H.W. Attridge and G.W. MacRae, ‘The Gospel of Truth’, in: H.W.
Attridge, Nag Hammadi codices I. Notes, 39-135 at 42-43.
53
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 17.10ff. See on the issue H.W. Attridge and G.W. MacRae,
‘The Gospel of Truth’, in: Attridge, Nag Hammadi Codices I. Texts, Leiden 1985, 55-
122 at 77.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 443
from the Father, although it did come into existence because of him’.
It might be that in AA, as the Gospel of Truth and the Tripartite Tractate
also seem to imply, ignorance, even though not directly produced by
God, is necessarily implied by his transcendence.
54

Despite the fact that the Tripartite Tractate is as silent about the
primary cause of the intellect’s dispersal as AA and the Gospel of Truth,
this text may help us in understanding at least its implications. The
Tripartite Tractate includes a particular version of the Valentinian process
of devolution, since unlike the versions of Irenaeus
55
and the Gospel of
Truth where the suffering is experienced by Sophia and by the Totality,
respectively, in the Tripartite Tractate it is the Logos that experiences
affections. Obviating now the fact that according to its writer the
fall of the Logos has been planned by God,
56
it is interesting to note
that, due to the Logos’ inability to grasp the ungraspable and to bear
the intensity of the light, it ‘doubts’ and ‘looks down to the abyss’.
57

As a result, a ‘division’ and a ‘turning away’ take place and these in
turn produce the appearance of ignorance and oblivion.
58
Similarly,
the Gospel of Truth hints at the same wandering when it asserts that
when the Totality ‘went about searching for the one from whom they
had come forth (…), ignorance of the Father brought about anguish
and terror’.
59
2.2. Man’s ignorance and deficiency as a result of dispersion
In any case, AA clearly refers not only to the division and alienation
of the intellect, but also to its imperfection (:e a::ì:,).
60
Since Andrew
states that he restores the imperfection of the intellect/Adam by taking
refuge in God, it seems obvious that the intellect’s original imperfection
54
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 18.1-3; 18.35-36, on which see Attridge & MacRae, ‘Gospel
of Truth. Notes’, 47. They follow J.É. Ménard, L’Évangile selon Thomas, Leiden 1975,
86 in relating our section to Irenaeus, Adv. haer 2.17.10 (magnitudinem enim et virtutem
Patris causas ignorantiae dicitis) and link it with TriTrac (NHC I.5) 62.12ff., 71.7ff., 121.7-
8, where ignorance of the Father arises indirectly from his withholding his essence
in virtue of his transcendence.
55
Irenaeus, Adv. haer 1.2.3; 1.4.1.
56
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 76.23-77.11. See R. Kasser et al., Tractatus Tripartitus Pars I:
De supernis, Bern 1973, 340 and Painchaud & Thomassen, Traité Tripartite, 333ff..
57
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 77.15-20.
58
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 77.21-25.
59
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 17.4-11.
60
V
r
77-78 (V
b
40.17), :e· :.|e::,; 78-79 (V
b
40.18), :e· a.::ì:,.
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 444
was its inability to focus its activity on God, as a result of which it
was distracted or deviated from its source and origin.
61
This internal
discrepancy of the intellect corresponds to the duality between the
subject who thinks and the objects of thought and therefore presents
a clear parallel to Plotinus’ first hypostasis, which, as it presents the
duality :| veììa, occupies a lower rank of perfection than the One or
absolute unity beyond thought.
62
Consequently, the imperfection and
deficiency of the first couple, which Andrew and Maximilla restore
through their behaviour, consists in their ignorance of the Father.
As we have already seen, this also appears to be the case in the Tri-
partite Tractate.
63
Division or dispersion is also a clear sign of deficiency
in the Gospel of Truth: ‘for the place where there is envy and strife is
deficient, but the place where (there is) unity is perfect’.
64
According
to this text, too, the first consequence of the dispersion is ignorance:
‘since deficiency came into being because the Father was not known,
therefore, when the Father is known, from that moment on the defi-
ciency will no longer exist’. The Gospel of Truth repeatedly affirms that
dispersion implies ignorance and ignorance deficiency: ‘For he who
is ignorant is in need, and what he lacks is great, since he lacks that
which will make him perfect’.
65
In contrast, the unity of the Father is
his perfection, which he ‘retains within himself (…) granting it to them
as a return to him and a perfect and unitary knowledge’.
66
Consequently, as in Valentinianism, ignorance in AA is the cause of
all steps of devolution: first, it is the origin of the degradation of the
intellect to the level of the soul, and then that of the soul to the level
of physical reality. We can therefore affirm that in AA the fall does
not result from the punishment of sins such as curiosity, audacity or
disobedience,
67
nor from the intellect’s will to create
68
nor from its
61
So already Orbe, Cristología, 162.
62
Plotinus, Enn. 5.1.5; 2.4.5; 5.3.11; 6.7.15; see Dörrie, ‘Zum Ursprung’, 286-87
and notes 7 and 8.
63
See above, note 56.
64
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 24.25-29. Compare Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.16.2, 1.21.4. For
the underlying Valentinian technical use of s:|æ,a or uc::µµ,a, see R. Haardt, ‘Zur
Struktur des Plane-Mythos im Ev. Veritatis des Cod. Jung’, WZKM 58 (1962) 33. See
also Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 4.13.90.1 (=Valentinus, frg. 5). Further, Ménard,
L’Évangile, 120 and Attridge & MacRae, ‘Gospel of Truth. Notes’, ad 24.21.
65
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 21.14-18; cf. 18.35, 19.9; see also Clement of Alexandria,
Exc. Theod. 78.2.
66
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 19.4-7.
67
See above, note 39.
68
See above, note 40.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 445
union with the realm of |u c.,.
69
AA’s conception of ignorance not only
as the first motor of the process of devolution but also as the cause
of each of the successive steps in degradation clearly exonerates the
intellect of responsibility in its current degraded condition.
3. Recollection as a return to unity and perfection through knowledge
Obviating now the effects of the intellect’s devolution,
70
man’s current
degraded condition can be thus explained from a purely epistemo-
logical perspective. The downward movement, which is equated with
deficiency and imperfection, actually depicts the progressive dispersion
of discursive thinking in its search to supersede lack of knowledge.
As this movement begins in ignorance it is unavoidably conducive
to error, then to wandering in the realm of phenomena and finally
ends up in oblivion.
71

But if dispersion was the origin of ignorance and ignorance in its
turn the origin of deficiency, knowledge should be the starting point
of the recovery of unity and perfection. Thus, it seems obvious that
the upward movement, which is equated with perfection and comple-
tion, can also be seen from an epistemological perspective. In point
of fact, AA does describe the inversion of the (discursive) cognitive
process, by means of which what was dispersed is gradually recol-
lected in order to recover the primal unity preceding ignorance.
72

However, things are not that simple. Before the intellect can engage
itself in the liberation of its present constrictions, it must be woken
from its state of lethargy.
Even though lacking the spark metaphor, AA conceives of man’s
intellect as a portion of divine light.
73
However, as is frequently the
case in Gnostic texts, this godly spark appears to be powerless under
69
See above, note 41.
70
For which see above, §2.2, and Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, 233-35.
71
AA’s fragment in V and its abundant vocabulary regarding ignorance and
knowledge allow us to reconstruct the following sequence: ignorance (a,|e:æ) j dis-
persion (sa:a,|u,., aveì.còa|æ) j error (c|aììæ, v:a.c,a) j wandering (vìa|µ)
j oblivion (ìµòµ). See Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, 317.
72
As in the case of the devolution, recollection and its epistemological steps can
be reconstructed as follows: remembrance (uve,.,|µcsæ, eµaæ) j return (,::a|e:æ,
: v.c:µ: |æ) j correction (e.eµòe æ, sa:eµòe æ, : va|eµòe æ) j recollection (cuììa,¡a |æ,
aveìa,¡a|æ) j knowledge (:v.c:a,a., e.ea, sa:a,a|òa|æ).
73
V
r
91-93 (V
b
40.31-41.1) and above, §1.1.
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 446
the influence of the body and externals on the one hand and, on the
other, of the soul and its affections.
74
This conception of the intellect
as a potentiality explains why the a|òµæve, or essential man is simul-
taneously the highest part of immanent man as well as the intellect
transcending all the constrictions of its physical imprisonment. As
God is conceived of as light, by means of the light of logos he sets
the human intellect aflame,
75
which until this moment existed in man
as a simple potentiality. By exercising his intellective potential, man
can gradually develop his intellect until in a last moment he achieves
its full immanent actuality.
However, the essential man only regains his original condition by
superseding all bodily hampering and recovering his true separated
nature.
76
The starting point for this inversion of his current situation
is the external, divine intervention that facilitates the remembrance
and subsequent understanding that allows the change of mind (,::a
|e.a), which in turn generates the :v.c:µe|µ, i.e. the ‘turn around’ of
the intellect toward its proper objects.
77
At this point the first error is
corrected and this provides direct knowledge and understanding. Once
so far, the next step is intelligising, and this direct and immediate act
of knowledge is no longer described in cognitive terms but simply as
‘to see, to look at’.
78
Consequently, by recollecting what was dispersed
in the world of nature, man supersedes his deficient condition and
regains his original perfection.
Like the motif of a dispersal of the primal unity, that of gathering
or recollection is also frequent in Gnostic texts. If the Gospel of Truth
affirms that deficiency originates in ignorance, it also maintains that it
will vanish with the knowledge of the Father. At that moment every-
thing will be restored to its original unity:
So from that moment on the form is not apparent, but it will vanish in
the fusion of Unity, for now their works lie scattered. In time Unity will
perfect the spaces. It is within Unity that each one will attain himself;
within knowledge he will purify himself from multiplicity into Unity,
74
See Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, chap. 4, §§3.4.2, 3.3.2 and 3.3.3, respec-
tively.
75
V
r
253-54 (45.14-16).
76
V
r
83-101 (V
b
40.23-41.7) For a similar Aristotelian influence on the sote-
riology of the Gnostic Apocryphon of John, see Luttikhuizen, ‘Traces of Aristotelian
Thought’, 194-5.
77
V
r
130-38 (V
b
41.36-42.6).
78
V
r
91-101 (V
b
40.31-41.7).
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 447
consuming matter within himself like fire, and darkness by light, death
by life.
79

Also, the Tripartite Tractate is clear about the need to restore ‘that which
used to be a unity’.
80
Those who live among the multiplicity of forms,
inequality and change are restored to this unity when they confess ‘the
kingdom which is in Christ’.
81
The restoration of what is dispersed is
also due to the knowledge received by the perfect man ‘so as to return
in haste to his unitary state’.
82

The motif of dispersal and gathering also appears in a fragment
of the Gnostic Gospel of Eve preserved by Epiphanius: ‘I am thou and
thou art I, and wheresoever thou art, there am I; and I am sown in
all things. And from wheresoever thou wilt gatherest thou me, but in
gathering me, thou gatherest thyself’.
83
According to H.M. Schenke,
this fragment transmits the Gnostic idea that the ‘Urmensch’ is scat-
tered among humans. Whereas the revealer is the ‘Urmensch’ in its
original state, he who receives the revelation is the scattered anthropos.
By recollecting the anthropos, man recollects himself, that is, he knows
himself and restores the dispersal originated by ignorance.
84
A fragment of the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, also preserved by Epipha-
nius, stresses both the notion of dispersal and its counterpart, viz. the
recollection achieved by means of self-knowledge:
‘I have recognized myself’, it saith, ‘and gathered myself from every
quarter, and have sown no children for the archon. But I have pulled
up his roots, and gathered my scattered members, and I know who thou
art. For I’, it saith, ‘am of those on high’.
85

The same notions also appear in Porphyry’s Letter to Marcella, where
79
GosTruth (NHC I.3) 25.3-19, transl. H.W. Attridge and G.W. MacRae.
80
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 133.7.
81
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 132.17-18.
82
TriTrac (NHC I.5) 123.6f. For the motif of dispersal and gathering in other
Nag Hammadi texts, see StelesSeth (NHC VII.5) 121.9-11; TrimProt (NHC XIII.1)
49.36ff.; Thunder (NHC VI.2) 16.19-20; 19.11-14.
83
Epiphanius, Pan. 26.3.1, transl. F. Williams. See also TriTrac (NHC I.5) 66.24-
25; ManichKeph. 228.1-13; ManPs. 175.19.
84
H.M. Schenke, Der Gott ‘Mensch’ in der Gnosis: Ein religionsgeschichtlicher Beitrag zur
Diskussion über die paulinische Anschauung von der Kirche als Leib Christi, Göttingen 1962,
102-3.
85
Epiphanius, Pan 26.13.2, transl. F. Williams. On this passage, see M. Tardieu,
Trois mythes gnostiques: Adam, Éros et Les animaux d’Égypte dans un écrit de Nag Hammadi
(II,5), Paris 1974, 111 and note 176; Orbe, Cristología, 295-6. Note the parallelism
with AA’s passage in V
r
75-77 (V
b
40.15-16).
f. lautaro roig lanzillotta 448
he presents the Neoplatonic inner ascent from multiplicity to unity as
the reunion of what was dispersed and scattered.
86
This ascent has an
ethical character in a first stage, but afterwards becomes theoretical
and finally contemplative.
87
We should not forget that Porphyry was
Plotinus’ pupil and that the motif of dispersal and gathering plays a
central and mystical role in the system of the latter.
88
Conclusions
The above survey has clearly show that AA presents a peculiar combina-
tion of elements, which appear dispersed through various philosophical
and religious milieus, so as to provide a purely cognitive explanation
of the devolution as well as of the way to restore the value lost in the
downward movement. At a general level, the closest parallels to AA’s
conception are to be found both in Hermetic and Gnostic sources,
where ignorance is indeed the origin of disgrace and degradation,
and knowledge that of redemption.
89
At a particular level, however,
it is in the Gnostic milieu that we find the best parallels for AA’s
views. As we have already seen, the discrepancy between subject and
object in the act of knowledge as the origin of primal ignorance can
be found in different Nag Hammadi texts.
90
These very same texts
tend to consider that the result of this ignorance is dispersion, but
that knowledge restores the unity of what was dispersed.
The heresiologists indeed reported that these notions were current
among Gnostics. As stated above, the ideas of dispersal and ignorance
and that of the restoration of unity through knowledge appear in the
fragments of the Gnostic Gospel of Eve and Gospel of Philip preserved
86
Porphyry, Ad Marc. 10; See Jonas, Gnosis, i, 140; Orbe, Cristología, 296-7.
87
Jonas, Gnostic Religion, 61.
88
For the relevance of the motif in Augustine (plausibly through the mediation
of Porphyry’s writings, see Jonas, Gnostic Religion, 61-2), see Confes. 10.29.40: ‘By
continency verily are we bound up and brought back into One, whence we were
dissipated into many’; De trinit. 4.11; cf. Ord. 1.3.
89
The seventh Hermetic tractate (C.H. 7.2 [81.18-19 N-F]), for instance, states
that lack of knowledge is the origin of evil and urges people to take off the ‘cloth of
ignorance’ (:e :µ , a ,|æc. a, u |ac,a) and similar instances can also be found both
in The Key and in the eleventh tractate (C.H. 10.8 [117.4 N-F]; 11.21 [156.9-10]).
See also C.H. 13.8 [204.3-6 N-F]. At the same time, knowledge is the only means to
put an end to evil and to restore man’s true nature to where it belongs (C.H. 10.15
[120.7-12 N-F]; 13.8 [204.3-6 N-F]; 13.18 [208.3-13 N-F]).
90
See above, note 53.
devolution and recollection, deficiency and perfection 449
by Epiphanius. Most interesting is that, according to the testimony
of Irenaeus, these notions played a central role in the Valentinian
system. If ignorance is the origin of deficiency, knowledge resolves
lack of knowledge and imperfection.
91
Also, the notions of sleep or
slumber that originate in ignorance as well as that of awakening seem
to have played an important role in this system.
92
Most significant,
however, is that we also see exactly the same combination of ideas
among Valentinians: ,::a|e.a and :v.c:µe|µ.
93
correction
94
and recol-
lection of dispersal follow one another on the way to the recovery of
the primal knowledge and the unity of perfection.
95
Both the parallel between AA’s views and the ideas preserved by
the heresiologist reports on the Valentinian system and the frequent
contacts with Nag Hammadi texts with a Valentinian background sug-
gest a close proximity between AA’s thought and this Gnostic group.
91
For ignorance as deficiency, see Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.21.4; cf. 1.16.2; 1.186.10;
Epiphanius, Pan. 34.20.9-12. See Valentinus, frg. 5 (=Clement of Alexandria, Strom.
4.13.90.1). For knowledge as restoration, see Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.16.2; 1.161.11-
13.
92
For the former, see Jonas, Gnosis, i, 113ff.; Painchaud & Thomassen, Traité,
342. GosTruth (NHC I.3) 17.10ff.; TriTrac (NHC I.5) 77.22-25 and Clement of Alex-
andria, Exc. Theod. 3.1-2
93
See Roig Lanzillotta, Apocryphal Acts, 332-7.
94
See Plotinus, Enn. 2.9.15.21ff., on which Orbe, Cristología, 163.
95
See the version of this provided by the Gospel of Truth; Roig Lanzillotta, Apoc-
ryphal Acts, chap. 5, §5.3.2 and note 792.

Vernant. have never felt that ancient times were better and that the times we live in are a sort of second-class version of more magnificent periods. Introduction Can any of us. which in the words of D. Uqbar. I shall not focus on the myth of the ages of man but on a more radical variation on the theme: the view in which man’s environment. truly say that they have never felt that they are no longer what they used to be. Op. that youth. Luttikhuizen on the occasion of his retirement.P. body and life in the sublunary world is a pale reflection of ‘real life’ in the supramundane. and increase his pains and sorrows’ is the theme I have chosen to honour Professor G. strength. on which see the excellent paper by J. 1 . Borges. Tlön. It goes without saying that the view that present times are a degradation of glorious past times is a topos of Western literature. and carry it so far as designedly to seek affliction. 11-285.devolution and recollection. DEFICIENCY AND PERFECTION: HUMAN DEGRADATION AND THE RECOVERY OF THE PRIMAL CONDITION ACCORDING TO SOME EARLY CHRISTIAN TEXTS F. or more educated? This morbid malice against ourselves. Hume a person may extend even to ‘his present fortune. however.1 Interesting though it might be. Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta Siglos y siglos de idealismo no han dejado de influir en la realidad (J. Hesiod.P. unhappy about the current situation.L. gentler. Orbis Tertius). when women were more beautiful or more refined. ‘Le mythe hésiodique des races: Essai d’analyse structurale’. Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 157 (1960) 21-54. beauty or intelligence have abandoned them for ever? Or. deficiency and perfection 433 DEVOLUTION AND RECOLLECTION. Hesiod immortalised it in his Works and Days by graphically comparing momentous past generations to noble metals such as gold. pondering on an ideal past time. silver or bronze and his own to iron. men braver.

however. Plato. we exclusively focus on the text provided by AA’s fragment in codex Vaticanus graecus 808. In spite of depicting their current condition in such dark hues. 292-3. Leiden 1981. they encourage people to distance themselves from their false existence and attempt to recover their original transcendent condition. D-K 1 B 3 and J. who includes it among the spurious or doubtful fragments. This is why. Quispel on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday. Early Christianity was not immune to these developments. . 3 For the Orphic view. 2 E.J.A. see Philolaus. University of Groningen. they did not resignedly accept their sad destiny. in: R. People of that period were not as pessimist as they are sometimes supposed to be. an alien in the tangible reality.434 f. Mansfeld. was alien to their true nature. 261-314 at 292. Studies in Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions presented to G. Pythagorean and Presocratic: A Commentary on the Fragments and Testimonia with Interpretive Essays. 402-6. 139-59. but we will also provide the numbering in Bonnet’s edition (Vb). ‘Bad World’. lautaro roig lanzillotta It is well known that in the first centuries of the Christian era this impression became almost an obsession and was to a certain extent radicalised. ff. ‘Bad World and Demiurge: A “Gnostic” Motif from Parmenides and Empedocles to Lucretius and Philo’. Vermaseren (eds). see our ‘Vaticanus Graecus 808 Revisited: A Re-evaluation of the Oldest Fragment of Acta Andreae’. Diss. ibid. 507r-512v. the material body could be nothing but a degraded accretion. Phd 62b-e. For the peculiarities of this fragment and its material framework. they also developed equally complicated ways that were intended to overcome a degraded state which. Cambridge 1993.. We quote our edition of the text (Vr). D-K 44 B 14. Cambridge 1965. The Acts of Andrew (AA)4 includes interesting versions both of the process of devolution and of that of recollection. Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety: From Marcus Aurelius to Constantine. in order to recover their lost condition. or at any rate the appearance of humans. Dodds. At the same time. Huffman. on which C. Philolaus of Croton. If the intellect or the soul was the real being. and alongside the complicated explanations of how and why man fell from the heights of transcendence to the lowest abode. for the Pythagorean conception. Several early Christian texts explain the appearance of the physical world. van den Broek and M. by means of the myth of devolution.2 Combined with the Orphic view that regarded the human body as a prison and the old Pythagorean idea that it was a tomb.R. the result of a devolutionary process at the end of which man had become what he currently was: a prisoner in the world of nature. 2004). see frg. For the difference between the Orphic and Pythagorean views see Mansfeld. in their view. 4 On the basis of the conclusions of our exhaustive study of the Acts of Andrew (The Apocryphal Acts of Andrew: A New Approach to the Character.3 devolution was no longer seen as a historical but as an ontological matter. Thought and Meaning of the Primitive Text. Scriptorium 56 (2001) 126-40.

n th/j fu. avdia. to. in: A. which explicitly states that only man has a double nature. Pérez Jiménez and F. 22 (324. 13. 7 (304.3 and 1. de. Most of the texts documenting this view appear to contain Plato’s conception that identifies the true and essential being with the soul or its higher part endowed with reason.4. me. see Asclep. 57-70 at 61. man’s nature is clearly dual as it distinguishes between the physical body. 10 (309. 7 C. namely the recollection that must achieve the reunion of what was dispersed through degradation. incorporeal one that just glances at the intelligible world. and the ‘essential generation’. namely a simple and divine nature.devolution and recollection.2-6 N-F).luton( kai. The anthropological background The anthropology current in the first centuries of the Christian era is mainly dualistic.n( to.H. avqavnaton) 8 Man’s duality in Asclep. the first section will analyse the anthropological views underlying AA’s conception and the second will focus on the myth of devolution proper. 8 (305. 6 5 .rrwqe. aivsqhto. Madrid and Málaga 2001.12-14 N-F). For Plato’s conception. Estudios sobre Plutarco: Misticismo y religiones mistéricas en la obra de Plutarco. The third section will examine the counterpart to the devolution.2 N-F).18 N-F). 22 (323. Within this scope.H. 247b 7.n qnhto.P.14 (206. see Phdr.8 The same can be said of certain Nag Hammadi Irenaeus.6 The Corpus Hermeticum. widely echoes this view: according to The Secret Sermon on the Mountain. deficiency and perfection 435 which show interesting similarities with the Valentinian myth as presented by the Tripartite Tractate. soul. 1.r evsti dialuto.7 This is also the case in the Asclepius. for instance.5-6 N-F).sewj sw/ma po.25 N-F. ‘The Distinction between “Platonic” and “Aristotelian” Dualism Illustrated from Plutarch’s Myth in de facie in orbe lunae’. Bos.15-306. to. which is called essential (ouvsiw/dhj). 1. the Gospel of Truth and the report by Irenaeus. 324.2.5 (98.3 N-F). see also C. which is indissoluble and immortal.13-17 N-F).n ga. where in spite of the apparent trichotomy intellect. me. which is formed out of the four elements.n( to. since within the same individual it tends to distinguish between a visible and physical being engaged in sense-perception and an invisible.n evsti th/j ouvsiwdou/j gene. 11 (309. On the issue. body. 9. de. the nou=j is the guiding principle of the soul. which can be dissolved and is mortal. Casadesús (eds).sewj\ to.5 The purpose of the present article is to examine this version and its numerous Gnostic parallels in order to show that the Gnostic affiliation of AA is more important than scholars are normally inclined to accept. A.18 N-F).2. and another material one (u`liko/j).

164. in particular Bos. Leiden/Boston 2002. Armstrong. These texts tend to apply the Aristotelian scheme that elevated the status of the intellect above that of the soul and the body11 and which we already find in some Middle Platonists. in: A. Berlin 1997. Reinink (eds). Cambridge 1967. in: H. Oxford 1991. PE XV.10 However. The Letter of Peter to Philip. Learned Antiquity: Scholarship and Society in the Near-East.H. 11-132 at 73-74. de. Armstrong (ed. Blumenthal and H. in general our ‘Bridging the Gulf between Transcendence and Immanence in Late Antiquity’. Bethge. in: A. (eds).20-23.30-35.meino. MacDonald.n evsti kai. ‘Zum Ursprung der neuplatonischen Hypostasenlehre’.2) 137.9. the interest focuses on the ‘inner man’ who ascends to heaven where the archons fight with him. See also H. 13 See Roig Lanzillotta.14).).1) 34. Meyer. sensible being. See H. see M.436 f.13 Even 9 InterprKnow (NHC XI. 181-202 at 190. VChr 56 (2002) 273-91 at 277 note 16 and Id. ‘Aristotle in Plotinus: The Continuity and Discontinuity of Psyche and Nous’.1) 6.G.H. Apocryphal Acts. ‘Greek Philosophy from Plato to Plotinus’. The Interpretation of Gnosis. AA belongs to this group of texts. Plutarch. Robinson (eds).W.16-20. 11 E. 7 Des Places (apud Eusebius. for it combines a dualistic anthropology with a clear triadic conception of man consisting of body. Apocryphal Acts. For the trichotomic conception of man and for the ‘inner man’ as man’s spiritual part. Aristotle and the Later Tradition.A. M. Bethge et al. Hermes 82 (1954) 331-342 (=Platonica Minora.9.W.30-83. Dörrie. G. Michigan 1981. The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy. A. frg.J. for example. Perfect Instruction. ‘Distinction’. yuch/j nou/j a.. 279-91. lautaro roig lanzillotta texts.r yuch/j( o[sw| yuch. Thus. See P.9 This is also the case of The Letter of Peter to Philip. 943a: nou/j ga. ‘Traces of Aristotelian Thought in the Apocryphon of John’.meinwn. ‘“Aristotelian” and “Platonic” Dualism in Hellenistic and Early Christian Philosophy and in Gnosticism’. 37-51 at 40-44 and Roig Lanzillotta. Louvain 2003. soul and intellect.P.matoj( a. 110-11.P. For a similar but more general opposition see SentSextus (NHC XII. Merlan. in: H. 117-27 at 117-18. Der Brief des Petrus an Philippus. sw. where the body is associated with the rulers and authorities and described as a prison for the ‘man within’. Luttikhuizen. A. La théorie aristotélicienne de l’intellect d’après Théophraste.12 As we have already shown elsewhere. Didask. Bos. 216-29. This differentiation is also stressed by Atticus. 82.teron. passim. the Greco-Roman World and the Early Medieval West. 12 So. which explicitly preserve the opposition exterior-interior or visible-not visible and contrast the inner and true man with the external and material. GosPhil (NHC II. For the Children. 10 EpPetPhil (NHC VIII. see also Alcinous.18-19: evpei. Louvain 1954. Twomey and G. in which. for instance. however.G. . De facie 28. 285-91. 57-70. there are several important texts in which the basic dichotomy that opposes a true to an untrue nature is combined with a trichotomic conception of man. 220.3) 123. The Soul and Its Instrumental Body: A Reinterpretation of Aristotle’s Philosophy of Living Nature. 142. 286-96). qeio. Leiden/Boston 2003. Barbotin.

note 11.nqrwpoj).19 with Middle Platonic20 and Gnostic sources. ‘Innerer Mensch’.16. GA 736b 28.16 of ‘essence’ (ouvsi. the man who pursues intellectual activity—cultivates his intellect and keeps it in the best condition is the most beloved of the Gods. 737a 8-11. the man who lives according to his intellect—that is. 21 Plato’s conception of an internal dichotomy in man opposing his soul to his body is redefined by Aristotle when he opposes the nou/j or ‘intellect’ to the yuch.H.6 (115. Giversen. simply uses the term ‘man’ (a.3-4). note 12. See P. 22 Norea (NHC IX. Heckel.21 This same tripartition and the same equation of the essential man with man’s intellect can be found in The Thought of Norea.ntoj a.18 This is more than a simple terminological difference. 20 See above. that the intellect is man’s true self. NTS 46 (2000) 315-41.a)17 or.sw a. 217 (Vb 42. more recently.nqrwpoj)14 or in its Pauline variant (o` e. EN 1179a 22-32. i. see B. .1 N-F).sij). which characterises both the Gnostic soul and God. 1. Markschies. Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 105 (1994) 1-17 and Id. 10.A. Der innere Mensch: Die paulinische Verarbeitung eines platonischen Motivs. L.devolution and recollection.5. Protr. T. AA significantly refrains from using the metaphor of the ‘inner man’. Betz. 1072b 23-26.16. on which C. frg. 15 2 Cor 4. or ‘soul’. AA equates the essential man not with the soul but with the ‘intellect’. Tübingen 1993. in line with certain Hermetic tractates. and. where the intellect is said to be man’s highest element and to be connected with God. EE 1248a 24-29.24-29. either in its Platonic (o` e. On the Pauline use. See Aristotle. See also Origen.a( avlhqh. Rep. Burkert. 686a 27-28. Eph 3.26-31).nqrwpoj). Der Aristotelismus bei den Griechen. 18 Vr 85-90 (Vb 40. PA 656a 8.22 and it is through him that she is 14 Plato.nqrwpoj) in the Anthropology of Paul’. 11. 6. 588-589. it speaks of the ‘own’ or ‘true nature’ (ivdi. On the nou/ j in the present passage.15 Instead.15 (11.14-19 N-F). Pearson and S. See his conclusion in EN 1178a 2-7. 108 Düring. Moraux. in general.. Cosenza 2000. deficiency and perfection 437 though continuously opposing the external and material being to the immaterial and true nature. 230 and additional bibliography in note 24. De an. in his Antichità classica e cristianesimo antico. As we will immediately see.18-22. 16 Vr 134-35. EN 1177b 26-1178a 2: the intellect as divine element in man by which he achieves complete happiness and partakes in the divine. see. the essential man called Adamas allows Norea to see the pleroma and not to be deficient. ‘Die platonische Metapher vom “Inneren Menschen”: Eine Brücke zwischen antiker Philosophie und altchristlicher Theologie’. 19 See C. Cels. Berlin/New York 1973.3-4. see above. Metaph. ‘The Concept of the “Inner Human Being” (o` e.D.j fu.63. 10. C.2) 28. 44.sw a. 17 Vr 96-97 (Vb 41.20-12. 117-50. ‘Verso Platone e Paolo: l’essere umano “interno”’. 430a 23-25. but repeatedly states that the intellect is man’s most divine and only eternal element. on occasion. According to this text.16).K. W. Aristotle not only denies immortality to the human soul. see also H. Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum (1997) 266-312.

2) 28. 1. 128-29. 27 TreatRes (NHC I. Both scholars suggest conspicuous similarities between the conception of the intellect in our treatise and in Aristotle.2. they also assert that the intellect or ‘essential man’ is a portion of the divine intellect that dwells in man. Admittedly.1.15-30. 71-2.1) 35. and the Teaching of Silvanus (see below).18-19 and 28.L. ad 28.1-5. note 23.22-24. On the issue M. Peel. Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X.4) 46. our text exclusively refers to the intellect and considers both soul and body as obstacles to this liberation. its conception of the intellect also shows clear Aristotelian traces.3-5. The Epistle to Rheginos: A Valentinian Letter of the Resurrection: Introduction. which states that neither the minds of those who have known the Son of Man nor their thoughts shall perish. Philadelphia 1969. see above. which although certainly of higher rank than the physical body can nevertheless be considered part of man’s inferior being. 28 ParaphShem (NHC VII. Layton. 173. In line with AA.23 As for the Treatise on Resurrection. 25 Vr 85. where the pneumatic race is exalted by their partaking in the mind of the light28 and in which salvation is achieved by those ‘who possess the mind and the mind of the light of the spirit’.29 The Gospel of Mary is even more explicit in describing the role and ‘The Thought of Norea’. on which. 23 Norea (NHC IX.26 The emphasis on the intellect as the only divine and immortal element in man also appears in the Treatise on Resurrection.25 However.25.34-35). respectively (Vb 40. . The intellect: Divine element in man It is interesting that AA does not seem to place special importance on the human soul. in: B.27 The same holds true for the Paraphrasis of Shem.1) 24. Treatise.438 f.4) 46. 29 ParaphShem (NHC VII. not only do all these texts consider the intellect to be man’s highest aspect and clearly differentiated from the soul and the body. when AA describes or refers to the divine element in humans that transcends physical existence and can be liberated from the constrictions of the realm of movement. Leiden 1981. 41. lautaro roig lanzillotta able to ‘inherit the first mind which <she> had received’.24 This triadic conception of man further appears in the Paraphrasis of Shem. 24 TreatRes (NHC I. Translation. Pearson (ed).A.23-41. in the Gospel of Mary.7). AA repeatedly mentions the human soul and the term yuch/ may refer either to this intermediary part between intellect and body or to the whole person.22-24.30-29. Analysis and Exposition. 114 note 25 and ‘Treatise on Resurrection’. 26 Vr 83-101 (Vb 40.

deficiency and perfection 439 character of man’s intellect. 35 See Irenaeus.20-23.1-3. 1.4) 92.11.10. Theod.r or ‘scintilla animae’. or holy and blessed intellectual spirit.13. 32 TeachSilv (NHC VII.13-17.4. 37. This hesitation is stressed (ridiculed?) by Celsus when in his Alethes logos he mentions those who hope that they will posses their soul or mind eternally with God.19.33 This hesitation is also evident in the heresiologists’ interpretation of the nature of the Gnostic yucai/oj spinqh. which.21 and Luke 12.3.34 Whereas according to some testimonies this Gnostic metaphor referred either to the soul or to the pneu/ma or ‘spirit’.23-26. significantly hesitate concerning the precise nature of this divine element.30 Mary does not seem to understand.35 according to others this spark is clearly identified with the nou/j or ‘intellect’. Pan. where the spinqh. . ouvra. Jesus’ answer. appears to be an echo of Matt 6. Ref. 8. M.11. namely the ‘divine spark’ or portion of the intelligible light in man. or whatever nature they care to give it. C. The divine mind has the substance of God’.31 The same ideas pervade the Teaching of Silvanus. Chadwick (my italics). Cels.5 as h` logikh. 10. translation H. though affirming that the divine dwells in man.34. haer. the trichotomic conception in 92. For where the mind is. or a supercelestial and indestructible offspring of a divine and incorporeal nature. because she asks whether he who sees a vision sees it through the soul or through the spirit.14-16.32 The resolute assertions of the previous testimonies contrast with other sources of the period. Satornil apud Epiphanius.10-32. 5. ap. there is the treasure’. Tardieu. r is explicitly explained with nou/j. a soul and a ‘divine mind which has come into being in conformity with the image of God. Adv. incidentally. ‘YUCAIOS SPINQHR: Histoire d’une métaphore dans la tradition platonicienne jusqu’à Eckhart’. clears up her doubts: ‘he does not see through the soul nor through the spirit. Clement of Alexandria. whether they wish to call this mind spiritual. 33 Celsus.3. that you did not waver at the sight of me. Revue des études Augustiniennes (1975) 225-55.7-10 at 10. but the mind which [is] between the two—that is [what] sees the vision’. 1. which. Origen. which presents a triadic conception of man formed out of a physical body. 3. Exc. 36 Hippolytus.1 generally refers to the spark and identifies it in 53. or a living soul. 31 GosMary (BG I) 10. Mary relates to the Saviour that she has seen a vision of him and he says to her ‘Blessed are you.nia yuch. however.49.devolution and recollection. or ‘rational soul’. 34 On the issue.36 30 GosMary (BG I) 10.

The motif of dispersal of the primal unity is rather widespread in Gnosticism42 and.11-13 (10. 2. 4.41. or.1. Plotinus. 41 Numenius. 42 In general. Dillon. iii. Thomassen. as the 37 Festugière. On the latter passage see L.41 According to AA. Québec 1989. 11. see Festugière.39 According to the second subcategory (‘fault due to the fall’). we also have to explain how and why the divine intellect has been degraded to its present condition and how the allegedly inferior parts of his being have developed. Devolution is indeed a possible explanation.11. According to the first one (‘fault before the fall’).25 Wachsm.9. frg. 83-85. Le Traité Tripartite (NHC I. the pupil of Porphyry. iii. however. our text significantly explains the intellect’s degradation without recurring to external factors such as the influence of affections or of matter.19ff.6 N-F). finally. 39 For example in Kore Kosmou 21-24 (IV.11. which is based on Plato’s Timaeus and considers the fall of the soul or intellect as due to the will of God.).38 On the other hand.5). or disobedience. La Révélation.37 has distinguished two main groups. 1. from the union with physis. 73-77. 378. Jonas. audacity. iii.440 f. La Révélation. see also AuthTeach (NHC VI. Man’s devolution and the appearance of the lower aspects of his being It is obvious that if we assert that there is something divine in man.6-20 and on the issue R. Gnostics of Plotinus (Enn.21). on which Festugière.5-11.23-77. devolution arises from the urge to create. drew up a list including the numerous variants of this view. The devolution that affects the intellect and that will finally cause it to be constrained by externals arises from its own deficiency. Didask. ‘The Authentikos Logos’. London 1977.10.30. which includes two subcategories.5 N-F).16-20 Des Places. Enn. 2. 333-4. degradation is the result of the punishment inflicted for the soul’s curiosity. J. H.. who collected and systematised these examples. On the one hand. i: Von der Mythologie zur mystischen . 38 Alcinous.3) 26. Painchaud and E. 178. The idea of a devolution that brings the intellect (or the soul) to the lower abode of physical reality was so widespread in Late Antiquity that Iamblichus. Gnosis und spätantiker Geist.8.9. The Middle Platonists. Iamblichus.40 or from the contact with the demiurgical sphere. 7. 245-6. TriTrac (NHC I. van den Broek. La Révélation. things went differently. To begin with. VChr 33 (1979) 260-86. Gnostics of Plotinus (Enn. lautaro roig lanzillotta 2. 40 C. 91-2.6-8. we have the so-called ‘optimistic’ explanation. there is the so-called ‘pessimistic’ view.5) 76. which is conceived of as a dispersal or division.H. Festugière.

. Markschies.P. 147 note 58.14-17) and Roig Lanzillotta. in: R. Theod. Anguish and fear appear as direct consequences of ignorance. See Roig Lanzillotta.3.48 is difficult to answer conclusively.v. it appears in the Gospel of Truth. Jonas. Adversus omnes haereses 4. Clement of Alexandria.) and not as proceeding from kata.47 The question of whether AA conceived matter as a substantialisation of the very affections.15-17). 408-9. 18 (apud Origen.12. A. 46 See Vr 74-77 (Vb 40.46 It is noteworthy that the aforementioned Gospel of Truth presents a very similar exposition.saj)45 as the reason for its suffering. 45 Vr 75-77 (Vb 40. Biblical Stories and Psychoanalytic Understanding. 293-8. 43 Heracleon. on which C. enervate’ (LSJM. which ‘became powerful’ and ‘worked on its own matter foolishly [or.). Luttikhuizen. 13. 44 We understand katacqei/j as passive aorist participle of kata. Tübingen 1992. Exc.2. Although AA is silent about the cause of this primal dispersion. Madrid 1976.4 (CCSL 2. then fear and. The intellect’s dispersion results in ignorance and ignorance is the cause of a second stage of degradation because it initiates a series of affections: first of all insecurity and doubt. in a void]’. 139-40. it provides the suitable context for error to appear.18-19]) and by his description of the transcendent intellect as ‘having recollected yourself (scil. 36. 47 GosTruth (NHC I. shatter’ or ‘weaken.gw ‘bring down’ (act. H.nqrwpoj) in your true condition’ (Vr 95-97 [Vb 41. and in the Tripartite Tractate (see below). Gnostic Religion. ‘Gnostic Hermeneutics’. chap. see also Pseudo-Tertullian. 48 Irenaeus. This dispersion seems also to be implied by Andrew’s statement that he corrects Adam’s (and the intellect’s) imperfection by taking refuge in God (Vr 78-79 [Vb 40. deficiency and perfection 441 heresiologists more precisely affirm.3.5. Adv. §3. Frankfurt am Main 2001.4). since knowledge can remove all previous affections. as the Gospel of Truth implies and Irenaeus reports of the Valentinian system. Apocryphal Acts.14. Kessler and P.2.2-3]). finally. Valentinus Gnosticus?. God.4.2. since it puts the main focus on the appearance and development of affections and on how they generate the psychic and hylic levels of reality.devolution and recollection.3) 17. Orbe. Apocryphal Acts. where the return to the primal unity intends to restore the value lost in the dispersal.11). played an important role in the Valentinian system. 2.10-17. AA describes these affections by referring to the ‘suffering’ of both the intellect and of Eve. 1406. the a. In Joh. Vandermeersch (eds). and as anguish grows solid like a fog. haer 1. 183-4. Adv. a desire to know.gnumi ‘break in pieces. Cristología Gnóstica: Introducción a la soteriología de los siglos II y III. 104-5. Boston 1970 (1958). Göttingen 1954.43 As a matter of fact. G. s. Irenaeus. 171-85 at 173-4. frg. haer.24-1407. given the Philosophie. 1. 4. it does explicitly refer to the intellect’s split (katacqei/j)44 and to its alienation (avpolisqh.

in: Attridge. chap.W. 50 Vr 208-09 (Vb 44. begins its narration about the fall of the Totality52 simply by referring to the appearance of ignorance. 30.4 passim. Apocryphal Acts. ‘The Gospel of Truth’. this is also the case in the Gospel of Truth. in: H.1. 55122 at 77. The hypothesis. however. is plausible. 53 GosTruth (NHC I. Leiden 1985. 1. As a matter of fact. This silence might simply be due to the fragmentary nature of our text. 4. knowledge is no longer a direct and immediate matter and ignorance appears. Attridge. §3. Sensorial perception not only does not help man to achieve knowledge. ‘The Gospel of Truth’. such as Irenaeus. or a reference to the totality of all creatures. consequently. chap. See on the issue H.442 f. haer.3) 17. MacRae. AA is not explicit about the first cause of this discrepancy within the intellect. Exc. Attridge and G. see H. §3. its unity.1 or Clement of Alexandria. Theod. Texts.1. As a result. Nag Hammadi Codices I. §5.W.4. 4.12-14).51 As soon as the object of the intellect’s acts of knowing is not the intellect itself.53 According to this text ‘oblivion did not come into existence 49 Vr 213-14 (Vb 44. MacRae.2. without explaining how this ignorance originated. 52 On the question of whether we should see a reference to the totality of spiritual beings in the term ‘Totality’ as in other Valentinian texts. Adv.7-8) with Roig Lanzillotta. 4.50 How and why this devolution takes place and which are its immediate consequences is the subject matter of the two following subsections.14.2. 39-135 at 42-43. 51 See above. Attridge and G.W.1. note 44 and Roig Lanzillotta.49 The original ignorance remains unaltered and is perpetuated by oblivion and by the deficiency of the body’s cognitive means. This text. 2.1. Nag Hammadi codices I. The dispersion of the intellect As far as the dispersion of the intellect in AA is concerned. but it is also plausible that AA was more interested in the effects than in the cause of this primal dispersal. . Notes. the final stage of devolution is the alienation of the intellect and of the soul in the realm of physis.W. it also prolongs his ignorance since it delivers him to the delusion of externals. Apocryphal Acts. it loses its self-centred activity and.W. Be that as it may. chap. lautaro roig lanzillotta fragmentary condition of our text. Apocryphal Acts. on which Roig Lanzillotta. which as we have seen presents many similarities with AA’s conceptual background.10ff. its alienation must be explained as a result of the appearance of a discrepancy between subject and object in the intellect’s act of knowing. However.

They follow J. haer 1.1.5) 62..É. Adv.2.18). but also to its imperfection (to. to\ a)tele/j.15-20. Obviating now the fact that according to its writer the fall of the Logos has been planned by God. 18. AA clearly refers not only to the division and alienation of the intellect. ignorance. It might be that in AA.3) 18. 60 Vr 77-78 (Vb 40. it ‘doubts’ and ‘looks down to the abyss’.58 Similarly.5) 77. 121. 78-79 (Vb 40. even though not directly produced by God. Man’s ignorance and deficiency as a result of dispersion In any case.59 2.78. as the Gospel of Truth and the Tripartite Tractate also seem to imply. 47.devolution and recollection.5) 76.4-11. Notes’. ignorance of the Father brought about anguish and terror’.57 As a result. L’Évangile selon Thomas...60 Since Andrew states that he restores the imperfection of the intellect/Adam by taking refuge in God. since unlike the versions of Irenaeus55 and the Gospel of Truth where the suffering is experienced by Sophia and by the Totality. 333ff.7ff. where ignorance of the Father arises indirectly from his withholding his essence in virtue of his transcendence.54 Despite the fact that the Tripartite Tractate is as silent about the primary cause of the intellect’s dispersal as AA and the Gospel of Truth. 71.j). this text may help us in understanding at least its implications. Tractatus Tripartitus Pars I: De supernis. it seems obvious that the intellect’s original imperfection 54 GosTruth (NHC I.21-25. 340 and Painchaud & Thomassen.10 (magnitudinem enim et virtutem Patris causas ignorantiae dicitis) and link it with TriTrac (NHC I. Traité Tripartite. Ménard. respectively.. See R. is necessarily implied by his transcendence.56 it is interesting to note that. 1. Bern 1973. The Tripartite Tractate includes a particular version of the Valentinian process of devolution. Kasser et al. 59 GosTruth (NHC I. 57 TriTrac (NHC I. on which see Attridge & MacRae.12ff.35-36.2. to\ e)ndee/j.17. . in the Tripartite Tractate it is the Logos that experiences affections. Leiden 1975. avtele.5) 77.11. the Gospel of Truth hints at the same wandering when it asserts that when the Totality ‘went about searching for the one from whom they had come forth (…). deficiency and perfection 443 from the Father.1-3.17). a ‘division’ and a ‘turning away’ take place and these in turn produce the appearance of ignorance and oblivion.23-77. 86 in relating our section to Irenaeus. ‘Gospel of Truth. 56 TriTrac (NHC I. 55 Irenaeus. 58 TriTrac (NHC I. Adv. due to the Logos’ inability to grasp the ungraspable and to bear the intensity of the light. although it did come into existence because of him’. haer 2.3) 17.3.4.

61 This internal discrepancy of the intellect corresponds to the duality between the subject who thinks and the objects of thought and therefore presents a clear parallel to Plotinus’ first hypostasis. Veritatis des Cod.65 In contrast.4.3. Cristología. the unity of the Father is his perfection. too. 63 See above. ‘Zur Struktur des Plane-Mythos im Ev. note 40. and what he lacks is great. which he ‘retains within himself (…) granting it to them as a return to him and a perfect and unitary knowledge’.63 Division or dispersion is also a clear sign of deficiency in the Gospel of Truth: ‘for the place where there is envy and strife is deficient.67 nor from the intellect’s will to create68 nor from its So already Orbe.nwma or u`ste. Further.2. occupies a lower rank of perfection than the One or absolute unity beyond thought. See also Clement of Alexandria. L’Évangile. which Andrew and Maximilla restore through their behaviour. therefore. as a result of which it was distracted or deviated from its source and origin. which. 5.3) 21.64 According to this text.rhma. Ménard. ‘Zum Ursprung’. Enn.90. 120 and Attridge & MacRae.444 f. 66 GosTruth (NHC I. haer.15.4. lautaro roig lanzillotta was its inability to focus its activity on God. Haardt. 67 See above.21. the imperfection and deficiency of the first couple. this also appears to be the case in the Tripartite Tractate. the first consequence of the dispersion is ignorance: ‘since deficiency came into being because the Father was not known. ignorance in AA is the cause of all steps of devolution: first. see R.4-7. WZKM 58 (1962) 33. Jung’. as in Valentinianism. 64 GosTruth (NHC I.11. 162. as it presents the duality e]n polla.5. 1. 19. cf. when the Father is known.62 Consequently. 5.66 Consequently.16. and then that of the soul to the level of physical reality. it is the origin of the degradation of the intellect to the level of the soul.5. from that moment on the deficiency will no longer exist’. Notes’.7..2. Adv. frg. audacity or disobedience. ad 24. see Dörrie.35. but the place where (there is) unity is perfect’. 65 GosTruth (NHC I. Compare Irenaeus. see also Clement of Alexandria. 78. 5). ‘Gospel of Truth. Strom. consists in their ignorance of the Father. Theod.1. As we have already seen. 18.14-18. For the underlying Valentinian technical use of ke.3) 19. 68 See above.21. note 39.9. 1.1 (=Valentinus. note 56.25-29. 62 61 . Plotinus. 286-87 and notes 7 and 8. 4. We can therefore affirm that in AA the fall does not result from the punishment of sins such as curiosity. 6.3) 24. The Gospel of Truth repeatedly affirms that dispersion implies ignorance and ignorance deficiency: ‘For he who is ignorant is in need.13. Exc. since he lacks that which will make him perfect’. 2.

Apocryphal Acts.sij. AA conceives of man’s intellect as a portion of divine light. and Roig Lanzillotta. as is frequently the case in Gnostic texts. things are not that simple. §1. which is equated with deficiency and imperfection. In point of fact.w) j recollection (sullamba. 72 As in the case of the devolution.devolution and recollection.qh).nh) j oblivion (lh.73 However. 317. by means of which what was dispersed is gradually recollected in order to recover the primal unity preceding ignorance.w( katorqo. As this movement begins in ignorance it is unavoidably conducive to error.1.gnumi( avpolisqa. note 41.72 However.2. §2. recollection and its epistemological steps can be reconstructed as follows: remembrance (u`pomimnh. Recollection as a return to unity and perfection through knowledge Obviating now the effects of the intellect’s devolution.nw). which is equated with perfection and completion.nw) j knowledge (evpi. AA does describe the inversion of the (discursive) cognitive process.skw( o`ra.70 man’s current degraded condition can be thus explained from a purely epistemological perspective. 73 Vr 91-93 (Vb 40. For which see above. 71 AA’s fragment in V and its abundant vocabulary regarding ignorance and knowledge allow us to reconstruct the following sequence: ignorance (avgnoe. 233-35. Thus.llw( ptai/sma) j wandering (pla.stamai( oi==da( katamanqa.nw( avpolamba.w) j dispersion (kata. it seems obvious that the upward movement.1) and above. Before the intellect can engage itself in the liberation of its present constrictions. knowledge should be the starting point of the recovery of unity and perfection. it must be woken from its state of lethargy.69 AA’s conception of ignorance not only as the first motor of the process of devolution but also as the cause of each of the successive steps in degradation clearly exonerates the intellect of responsibility in its current degraded condition. See Roig Lanzillotta. deficiency and perfection 445 union with the realm of fu. Even though lacking the spark metaphor. this godly spark appears to be powerless under See above. actually depicts the progressive dispersion of discursive thinking in its search to supersede lack of knowledge.w( evpistre. Apocryphal Acts.nw) j error (sfa. 70 69 .71 But if dispersion was the origin of ignorance and ignorance in its turn the origin of deficiency. can also be seen from an epistemological perspective.w( evpanorqo. then to wandering in the realm of phenomena and finally ends up in oblivion.fw) j correction (diorqo.31-41. The downward movement. 3.w) j return (metanoe.

In time Unity will perfect the spaces. that of gathering or recollection is also frequent in Gnostic texts. ‘Traces of Aristotelian Thought’.nqrwpoj or essential man is simultaneously the highest part of immanent man as well as the intellect transcending all the constrictions of its physical imprisonment. 76 75 . Once so far. by recollecting what was dispersed in the world of nature. man can gradually develop his intellect until in a last moment he achieves its full immanent actuality. At that moment everything will be restored to its original unity: So from that moment on the form is not apparent.78 Consequently. Vr 83-101 (Vb 40. §§3.446 f. 4. 77 Vr 130-38 (Vb 41.7) For a similar Aristotelian influence on the soteriology of the Gnostic Apocryphon of John. man supersedes his deficient condition and regains his original perfection.7).6)..2 and 3. on the other. As God is conceived of as light.74 This conception of the intellect as a potentiality explains why the a. to look at’. of the soul and its affections.e. 78 Vr 91-101 (Vb 40. 3. i. respec- tively. It is within Unity that each one will attain himself.4. Apocryphal Acts.3. 194-5. the essential man only regains his original condition by superseding all bodily hampering and recovering his true separated nature.75 which until this moment existed in man as a simple potentiality. it also maintains that it will vanish with the knowledge of the Father. However. the ‘turn around’ of the intellect toward its proper objects.36-42.23-41.3. the next step is intelligising.2. and this direct and immediate act of knowledge is no longer described in cognitive terms but simply as ‘to see. but it will vanish in the fusion of Unity.3.76 The starting point for this inversion of his current situation is the external. Vr 253-54 (45. lautaro roig lanzillotta the influence of the body and externals on the one hand and. chap. divine intervention that facilitates the remembrance and subsequent understanding that allows the change of mind (meta/ noia). within knowledge he will purify himself from multiplicity into Unity. 74 See Roig Lanzillotta.77 At this point the first error is corrected and this provides direct knowledge and understanding.31-41. for now their works lie scattered. Like the motif of a dispersal of the primal unity. By exercising his intellective potential. by means of the light of logos he sets the human intellect aflame.14-16). see Luttikhuizen. which in turn generates the evpistrofh. If the Gospel of Truth affirms that deficiency originates in ignorance.

deficiency and perfection 447 consuming matter within himself like fire. thou gatherest thyself’. the Tripartite Tractate is clear about the need to restore ‘that which used to be a unity’. 111 and note 176.5) 123.7. 26. TrimProt (NHC XIII. Williams.3) 25.M.. man recollects himself. and I know who thou art. ‘and gathered myself from every quarter. stresses both the notion of dispersal and its counterpart.W. For I’. 85 Epiphanius. and I am sown in all things.9-11. and have sown no children for the archon. TriTrac (NHC I. Williams.85 The same notions also appear in Porphyry’s Letter to Marcella. ManPs. inequality and change are restored to this unity when they confess ‘the kingdom which is in Christ’. 295-6. transl. ‘am of those on high’. F. Cristología. Der Gott ‘Mensch’ in der Gnosis: Ein religionsgeschichtlicher Beitrag zur Diskussion über die paulinische Anschauung von der Kirche als Leib Christi.11-14. death by life. MacRae. Éros et Les animaux d’Égypte dans un écrit de Nag Hammadi (II. Pan 26.13. 19. and darkness by light.6f. Schenke. see StelesSeth (NHC VII.79 Also.84 A fragment of the Gnostic Gospel of Philip. 102-3.2425. 175.2.1) 49. Attridge and G. that is.5) 133. Schenke. But I have pulled up his roots. also preserved by Epiphanius.17-18. he who receives the revelation is the scattered anthropos. 82 TriTrac (NHC I. this fragment transmits the Gnostic idea that the ‘Urmensch’ is scattered among humans. Orbe. and gathered my scattered members. see M. viz. 84 H.36ff. but in gathering me.5) 66. F.19-20. Note the parallelism with AA’s passage in Vr 75-77 (Vb 40.5) 132.1-13.19. H. transl. See also TriTrac (NHC I. Whereas the revealer is the ‘Urmensch’ in its original state. By recollecting the anthropos. the recollection achieved by means of self-knowledge: ‘I have recognized myself’.M.80 Those who live among the multiplicity of forms. 80 79 . 81 TriTrac (NHC I. ManichKeph.15-16). it saith. Pan.82 The motif of dispersal and gathering also appears in a fragment of the Gnostic Gospel of Eve preserved by Epiphanius: ‘I am thou and thou art I. On this passage.5).81 The restoration of what is dispersed is also due to the knowledge received by the perfect man ‘so as to return in haste to his unitary state’. transl.1.W. Thunder (NHC VI. and wheresoever thou art. For the motif of dispersal and gathering in other Nag Hammadi texts.83 According to H.3. 228. Paris 1974. it saith. 83 Epiphanius. Trois mythes gnostiques: Adam. where GosTruth (NHC I. there am I.3-19. Tardieu. he knows himself and restores the dispersal originated by ignorance. Göttingen 1962.2) 16.5) 121.devolution and recollection. And from wheresoever thou wilt gatherest thou me.

note 53.87 We should not forget that Porphyry was Plotinus’ pupil and that the motif of dispersal and gathering plays a central and mystical role in the system of the latter.9-10]).H. At the same time. th/j avgnwsi.15 [120. i.H.H.88 Conclusions The above survey has clearly show that AA presents a peculiar combination of elements.aj u.86 This ascent has an ethical character in a first stage. whence we were dissipated into many’. it is in the Gnostic milieu that we find the best parallels for AA’s views.3-13 N-F]). so as to provide a purely cognitive explanation of the devolution as well as of the way to restore the value lost in the downward movement. Gnostic Religion. 87 86 .18-19 N-F]). At a general level. 4. but that knowledge restores the unity of what was dispersed.40: ‘By continency verily are we bound up and brought back into One. 11. lautaro roig lanzillotta he presents the Neoplatonic inner ascent from multiplicity to unity as the reunion of what was dispersed and scattered. 10. 13. Gnosis.8 [204. De trinit. 90 See above.3-6 N-F]. 10. however. see Jonas. The heresiologists indeed reported that these notions were current among Gnostics.29. 89 The seventh Hermetic tractate (C. 296-7. See Jonas. 61. Orbe. Ord.11.8 [117. the closest parallels to AA’s conception are to be found both in Hermetic and Gnostic sources. 7.2 [81. Jonas.3.fasma) and similar instances can also be found both in The Key and in the eleventh tractate (C. 10. the discrepancy between subject and object in the act of knowledge as the origin of primal ignorance can be found in different Nag Hammadi texts. 13. Cristología. As stated above.H.4 N-F]. see Confes. states that lack of knowledge is the origin of evil and urges people to take off the ‘cloth of ignorance’ (to.89 At a particular level. 140.21 [156. Ad Marc. Gnostic Religion.18 [208.90 These very same texts tend to consider that the result of this ignorance is dispersion.7-12 N-F]. and knowledge that of redemption. which appear dispersed through various philosophical and religious milieus. where ignorance is indeed the origin of disgrace and degradation. 10. 88 For the relevance of the motif in Augustine (plausibly through the mediation of Porphyry’s writings.448 f. knowledge is the only means to put an end to evil and to restore man’s true nature to where it belongs (C. As we have already seen.3-6 N-F].8 [204. cf. 1. See also C. for instance. 13. but afterwards becomes theoretical and finally contemplative. 61-2). the ideas of dispersal and ignorance and that of the restoration of unity through knowledge appear in the fragments of the Gnostic Gospel of Eve and Gospel of Philip preserved Porphyry.

5.16. Roig Lanzillotta. GosTruth (NHC I. Traité. Adv. i. Gnosis. 91 For ignorance as deficiency. 1.21. If ignorance is the origin of deficiency. see Irenaeus.noia and evpistrofh.3) 17. haer. §5. 163. . 1. 5 (=Clement of Alexandria. haer. Theod. 332-7. 342. 4. 1. For knowledge as restoration. Pan.9.. Apocryphal Acts.1).3. 2. chap. Adv.2. cf. these notions played a central role in the Valentinian system.21ff. 95 See the version of this provided by the Gospel of Truth. deficiency and perfection 449 by Epiphanius.16. Enn.92 Most significant. Cristología. Painchaud & Thomassen.4.. frg. Most interesting is that.1-2 93 See Roig Lanzillotta.devolution and recollection.91 Also. according to the testimony of Irenaeus.2 and note 792. 1. 1.10ff.2.. 3.20.95 Both the parallel between AA’s views and the ideas preserved by the heresiologist reports on the Valentinian system and the frequent contacts with Nag Hammadi texts with a Valentinian background suggest a close proximity between AA’s thought and this Gnostic group. Exc.186. 94 See Plotinus. knowledge resolves lack of knowledge and imperfection. see Jonas.161.1113.13. see Irenaeus.22-25 and Clement of Alexandria. 34. is that we also see exactly the same combination of ideas among Valentinians: meta. 113ff. TriTrac (NHC I.5) 77. See Valentinus.10. however. Epiphanius.)93 correction94 and recollection of dispersal follow one another on the way to the recovery of the primal knowledge and the unity of perfection. the notions of sleep or slumber that originate in ignorance as well as that of awakening seem to have played an important role in this system. on which Orbe.90. 92 For the former. Strom. Apocryphal Acts.15.9-12.

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