Gnostikos, or

St. Antony and a Donor,  Jan-Mabuse Gossart, 1507

Translation by Luke Dysinger,O.S.B. (translation in public domain).  Greek fragments from: [1] Socrates’ Ecclesiastical History, [2] Guillaumont; [3] retroversion from Syriac by Frankenberg [1]  [corrected through 10 - correct also Greek]





THE GNOSTIKOS [Knower], or
One Who is Worthy of Knowledge










 1. THE ascetics (praktikoi) will understand the deep purposes of asceticism; the knowers (gnostikoi) will behold matters of knowledge.

α´ Πρακτικοὶ λόγους νοήσουσι πρακτικούς, γνωστικοὶ δὲ ὄψονται γνωστικά.



 2. THE ascetic is one who is concerned solely with the achievement of perfect freedom (apatheia) in the portion of the soul subject to compulsions.

β´ Πρακτικὸς μέν ἐστιν ὁ τὸ παθητικὸν μέρος τῆς ψυχῆς μόνον ἀπαθὲς κεκτημένος.



 3. BUT the Knower [gnostikos] has the significance [or: word=logos] of salt for the impure and light for the pure. (cf. Mt 5:13-14)

γ´ Γνοστικὸς δὲ ὁ ἁλὸς μὲν λόγον ἐπέχων τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις, φωτὸς δὲ τοῖς καθαροῖς.



 4. THE knowledge that reaches us from external [things] tries by means of the logoi to indirectly teach material [things]. However the [knowledge] which by God’s grace is innate [within us] directly presents matters to the mind; and in beholding them, the nous welcomes their logoi.

δ´ Η μεν ἔξωθεν ἡμιν συμβαίνουσα γνῶσις, διὰ τῶν λόγων ὑποδεικνύειν πειρᾶται τὰς ὕλας· ἡ δὲ ἐκ Θεοῦ χάριτος ἐγγινομένη, αὐτοψεὶ τῂ διανοίᾳ παρίστησι τὰ πράγματα, πρὸς ἃ βλέπων ὁ νοῦς, τοὺς αὐτῶν λόγους προσίεται·

And opposing the first is < error; against the second is> anger and indignation <and what flows from them>.

ἀντίκειται δὲ τῇ μὲν προτέρᾳ < ἡ πλάνη· τῃ δὲ δευτέρᾳ > ὀργὴ καὶ θυμός· < καὶ τὰ τούτοις παρακολουθοῦντα >.



 5. ALL virtues guide the Knower [on the way]; but superior to all other [virtues] is freedom from anger. Indeed, one who has touched knowledge yet is easily moved to anger is like a man who pierces himself in the eyes with a metal stylus.

ε  Πᾶσαι τῷ γνοστικῷ ὁδοποιοῦσιν αἱ ἀρεταί· ὑπὲρ δὲ πάσας ἡ ἀοργησία.̈Ὁ γὰρ γνώσεως ἐφαψάμενος καὶ πρὸς ὀργὴν ῥᾳδίως κινούμενος, ὅμοιός ἐστι τῷ σιδηρᾷ περόνῃ τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ ὀφθαλμους κατανύττοντι.



 6. THE Knower should take care when accomodating [his teaching to his audience], so as not make a habit[ual practice] of accomodating.

ς Ασφαλιζεσθω δε εν ταις συγκαταβασεσιν ὁ γνωστικος, μηποτε λαθη αυτον ἑεξις γινομενη ἡ συγκαταβασις,

Additionally, he strives to practice all the virtues, equally, continuously, and in proper order; for there is an order[ly sequence] among them and within himself, and the nous is naturally betrayed by that which is weakest.

και πειρασθω πασας επισης αει τας αρετασ κατορθουν, ἱνα αντακλολουθωσιν αλληλαις και εν αυτω δια το πεφυκεναι τον νουν ὑπο της ελαττουμενης προδιδοσθαι.



 7. THE Knower will at all times practice almsgiving and be ready to do good. And, if he lacks money, he will employ the instruments [shake the branches] of his soul. (cf. Skem 65)

< Frb 547> ρι. ο γνωστικος διαπαντος γυμναζετω αυτον προς ελεος και εις ευεργεσιαν ετοιμος εστω ει δε αργυριου χρηιζει το σκευος αγγειον της ψυχης σειετω.

Because in all things it is his nature to do good by means of money. This is what was not done by the five virgins whose lamps went out. (Mt 25.1,13)

Παν γαρ πεφυκε και ανευ αργυριου ευεργετειν. Α δη ουκ εποιησαν ἁι πεντε παρθενοι ων αι λαμπαδες κατεσβεσαν.



 8. IT is shameful for the knower to be involved in a dispute, whether as plaintiff or defendant: if as plaintiff, [it is shameful] because he will not have endured patiently; if as defendant, because he he will have acted unjustly.

η´ Αἰσχρὸν γνωστικῷ τὸ δικάζεσθαι καὶ ἀδικουμένῳ καὶ ἀδικοῦντι· ἀδικουμένῳ μὲν ὅτι οὐχ ὑπέμεινεν͵ ἀδικοῦντι δὲ ὅτι ἠδίκησε



 9. KNOWLEDGE, when it is preserved, teaches the one who possesses it how it may be safeguarded and progressively increased.

θ´ Ἡ γνῶσις συντηρουμένη διδάσκει τὸν μετέχοντα αὐτῆς ὅπως ἂν διαφυλαχθῇ καὶ ἐπὶ μείζονα προέλθοι.



10. IF only the Knower could, at the time when he interprets the Scriptures, be free from anger, hatred, sadness, bodily suffering and anxieties! (cf. KG 5.33)

<Frb 547> ριβ.̈ εννοειτω ο γνωστικος ει καιρωι οτε εξηγειται ελευθερος εστι οργης και κοτου και λυπης και παθων σωματικων και μεριμνης.



11. AVOID, before becoming perfected, meeting many people or frequenting them overmuch, lest your nous be filled with images.

<Frb 547> ριγ.̈ ου δει πολλοις συντυχειν εως αν εν τοις αγαθοις εμβαφθωμεν ουδε συνηθειαν προς πολλους κτασθαι του μη τον νουν φασματων πληρουσθαι.



12. WITH regard to things pertaining to praktiké, physiké, and theologiké that are useful for our salvation - concerning these  [we are] invited to speak and to act upon until death. But concerning things that are indifferent, it is not necessary to speak or act upon them, because of those who are easily scandalized.

<Frb 547> ριδ.¨εις την ημων συμφερον τι της πρακτικης η της φυσικης η της θεολογικης λεγειν τε και πραττειν εως θανατου πρεπει· ει δε εκεινων των μεσων εστιν ου λεγειν αναγκη ουδε πραττειν δια τους ραδιως σκανδαλιζομενους.



13. IT is appropriate [for the knower] to speak to monks and seculars concerning a proper way of life, as well as to explain something of doctrines concerning physike and theologike “without which no one will see the Lord.” (cf.Heb 12:14)

ιγ´ Δίκαιον τοῖς μοναχοῖς καὶ κοσμοκοῖς περὶ πολιτείας ὀρθης διαλέγεσθαι καὶ ὅσα τῆς φυσικῆς ἢ θεολογικῆς δόγματα σαφηνίζειν ἐκ μέρους, ὧν χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὸν Κύριον.



14. TO priests alone, [and only to those who are among the best, reply if they question you what [is symbolized by] the mysteries they perform and which purify the interior man: the vessels which they receive designate the passionate part of the soul and the rational part; concerning their inseparable mixture, the power of each, and the accomplishing of the activities of each in view of a single purpose.

<Frb 547> ρις.̈ τους ιερουσι μονον αποκρινου σε ερωτωσι και τοις εν τηι θεοσεβειαι σπευδουσι μονον τι εστι τα μυστηρια ͅ υπ’ αυτων αποτελουμενα τε και τον εντος ημων ανθρωπον καθαριζοντα και οτι το εν ημιν υποδεχομενον και το δοκιμαζον αποδειξις εστι του παθητου της ψυχης και του λογιστικου και τις η συμμιξις αυτων ου διακρινομενη και οποτε μερος μερους υπερισχυει και οτι εν εκαστον των πραγματων πληρωτικον εστιν ενος τυπου·

And tell them, too, who is the symbol of that which perfects them, and who they are who, with him, repel those that those who erect obstacle[s] to pure conduct; and, among living beings, which [of them] has memory and which do not.

ειπε δε αυτους παλιν τινος ο ταυτα ποιων συμβολον εστι και τινες οι μετ’ αυτου τους καθαρως ζην κωλυοντας αποδιωκοντες και οτι των θηριων τα μεν εχει μνημην τα δε ου.



15. LEARN to know the logoi and the laws of circumstances [“fitting times”], [ways of] life, and occupations, so that you can easily tell each what is useful for him.

ιεʹ Γνώριζε καιρῶν καὶ βίων καὶ ἐπιτηδευμάτων τοὺς λόγους καὶ τοὺς νόμους ἵνα ἔχῃς ἑκάστῳ τὰ συμφέροντα ῥᾳδίως λέγειν.

Gnost 16


16. IT is necessary that you have the matter for the interpretation of what is said, and that this is sufficient for you, even if some part escapes you. For it is [only] proper to an angel that nothing of what is upon the earth escapes it. (cf. 2Sam 14:20;  KG 1.23; 5.7; Sch 6. On Ps 4.7)

< Frb 547 > ριη.̈ δει σε εχειν ικανως εις εκδιηγησιν παντων των ειρημενων και αρκεισθω σοι παντα τα πραγματα {͂ τα οντα} ει κει τι των αυτων μερων ημας εχφευγει· ͅ13αα αγγελου γαρ εστι μηδεν των επι γης αυτον λανθανειν.

[Guil] την ὔλην ... τὸ λεγόμενον ... πάντα χωρεῖν



17. IT is necessary also to know the definitions of things, especially those of the virtues and vices: for these are the source [and the beginning] of knowledge and ignorance, of the kingdom of heaven and of torment.

< Frb 549 > ριθ.̈ αναγκαιον τους των πραγματων ορους γιγνωσκειν και περισσοτερον τους των αρετων και των κακιων· αυται γαρ πηγαι και αρχη της τε γνωσεως και της αγνωσιας και της βασιλειας του ουρανου και της κατακρισεως.

[Guil:] οἱ ὅροι



18. IT is therefore necessary to delve into  allegorical and literal passages [of the Scriptures, and understand] whether they pertain to praktiké, physiké, or theologiké.

<Frb 549> ρκ.̈ δει ημας συνιεναι και τας αλληγοριας των μυστηριων και τα αισθητα ει περι της πρακτικης εισιν η περι της φυσεως η της θεου γνωσεως·

[1] If it pertains to praktiké it is necessary to examine whether it treats

και ει περι της πρακτικης εννοωμεν

[1a] of thumos and what comes from it,

ει περι θυμου η περι των εξ αυτου συμφορων

[1b] or rather of epithumia and what follows it,

η περι επιθυμιων και των αυταις επακολουθουντων

[1c] or of the nous and its movements.

η περι του νοος και των αυτου κινησεων·

[2] If it is pertains to the physiké, it is necessary to note whether it makes known one of the doctrines concerning nature, and which one.

ει δε περι των φυσεως δει ημας βλεπειν ειποτε περι των ταξεων {αξιωματων} των φυσεων και περι των τοιουτων σημαινει·

[3] And if it is an allegorical passage concerning theologiké it is necessary to examine as far as possible whether it provides information on the Trinity and whether it is seen [in its] simplicity or as The Unity.

ει δε περι θεοτητος εστιν αλληγρουμενον ποσως κατα δυναμιν εραυναν· ει δε ͅ περι της αγιας τριαδος γνωριζει και τουτο απλως τροπικως {κατα μετανομασιαν}

But if it is none of these, then perhaps it is a simple contemplation or makes known a prophecy ει δε ουδεν τουτων οραμα εστι ψιλον η προφητειαν γνωριζον.



19. IT is good to know also the customary [terminology] of the sacred Scriptures, and to establish them as far as possible by means of proofs.

<Frb 549> ρκα. καλον την των αγιων γραφων συνηθειαν γιγνωσκειν και αυτο τουτο καθοσον δυναμεθα δια τεκμηριων παρισταναι.



20. IT is necessary to know this: that not all ethical [praktiké] texts represent a contemplation of an ethical character; nor does a text concerning nature [physiké] [necessarily] present a contemplation concerning nature; but [texts that describe] ethics [praktiké] [may] present a contemplation of nature [physiké]; and [those that describe] nature [physiké] [may] comprise a contemplation of ethics, or of theology [theologiké].

< Frb 549 > ρκβ. και τουτο παλιν γιγνωσκωμεν οτι ου παντος ρηματος παραινεσιν εχοντος και το νοητον παραινετικον ουδε παντος φυσικου και το νοητον φυσικον αλλα και το προτρεπτικον σημαινει περι φυσεως και το φυσικον εστι προτρεπτικον και τουτο παλιν λεγει περι της θεοτητος.

This for example, what is said of the fornication and the adultery of Jerusalem, (cf. Ez. 16:15-34) the animals of dry land and waters, and the birds, the clean and the unclean, (cf. Lev.11:2-19) the sun that “rises, sets, and returns to its place,” (cf. Eccl.1:5) relate :

in the first place to theology;

in the second place to ethics;

and in the third place to nature.

< Frb 549 > ρκγ. το λεγον περι της πορνειας και της μοιχειας Ιερουσαλημ και περι θηριων του τε ξηρου και της θαλασσης και των πετεινων και των καθαρων και των ακαθαρτων και της ανατολης του ηλιου και της δυσεως τουτων ͅ το αναγνωσμα δοκει δηλουν αλλο το δε νοητον αλλο τι εστι.̈ το γαρ περι της πορνειας Ιερους. γνωριζει περι της θεοτητος δοκουν προτρεπτικον ειναι και το των κααρων και ακαθαρτων θηριων δοκει εινα φυσικον, εστι δε ρημα παραινεσεως το δε του ηλιου εστι φυσικον {?}·

Now the first text relates to ethics and the two others to nature.

και εδοξε το πρωτον ρημα ειναι παραινετικον, τα δε δυο αλλα φυσικα.



21. DO not allegorize the words of blameworthy persons and do not seek anything spiritual in them, unless God has acted [through them] according to His divine plan, as in the case of Balaam (cf. Num 24: 17-19) and Caiaphas: (cf. Jn 11:49-51) for the former predicted the birth, and the second the death of the Savior.

κα´ Τοὺς τῶν ψεκτῶν προσώπων λόγους ἀλληγορήσεις, οὐδὲ ζητήσεις τι πνευματικὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς, πλὴν εἰ μὴ δι' οἰκονομίαν ὁ Θεὸς ἐνήργησεν, ὡς ἐν τῷ Βαλαὰμ καὶ Καϊάφᾳ, ἵνα ὁ μὲν περὶ γενέσεως, ὁ δὲ περὶ θανάτου τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμων προείπῃ.



22. IT is necessary that the Knower be neither gloomy nor intimidating. For the first [reflects] ignorance of the logoi of things that have come to be; the second [reflects] not desiring “that all men be saved and come to Knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2.4)

< Frb 549 > ρκε.¨ου πρεπει τον γνωστικον ειναι στυγνον και 13β3 αχαριστον προς τους αυτωι παραβαλλοντας· το γαρ ειναι λυπηρον ανδρος εστιν ουκ επισταμενου τους των οντων {̣} λογους και το ειναι ουχ ιλαρον προς τους αυτωι πλησιαζοντας ανδρος εστιν ου θελοντος παντας ανθρωπους σωθηναι και εις επιγνωσιν αληθειας ελθειν.



23. IT is necessary sometimes to feign ignorance because those who question are not worthy of an answer: and [in this] you will be truthful, since you are [still] joined to a body and do not yet possess complete knowledge.

< Frb 549 > ρκς. αναγκαιον ενιοτε ημας υποκρινεσθαι μηδεν ειδεναι δια τους ημας ερωτωντας ακροασθαι δε ουκ αξιους οντας· πιστευηι δε λεγων οτι σωματικος ων ουκ εχεις νυν γνωσιν ακριβη των πραγματων.

24.prosexh seauto do not reveal


24. TAKE care that you never, for the sake of profit, well-being, or fleeting glory, speak of those things that should not be revealed, and [thus] be cast out of the sacred precincts, like those selling the pigeon chicks in the temple. (cf. Mt 21.12-13).

κδ´ Πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ μήποτε κέρδους ἕνεκεν ἢ τοῦ εὐπαθεῖν, ἢ δόξης χάριν παρερχομένης, εἴπῃς τι τῶν ἀπορρήτων καὶ βληθῇς ἔξω τῶν ἱερῶν περιόλων, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ ναῳω τὰ τῆς περιστερᾶς τέκνα πιπράσκων.



25. [CONCERNING] those who dispute without having Knowledge: it is necessary to make them approach the truth by proceeding not from the end, but from the beginning; and it is not necessary for gnostikoi to tell the young anything, nor to let them touch books of this sort, for they are not able to resist the falls that this contemplation entails. That is why, to those who are still besieged by passions it is necessary to speak not words of peace, but how they will triumph over their adversaries: indeed, as Ecclesiastes says, “there is no discharge [from service] on the day of battle.“(Eccl. 8:8) Those, therefore, who are still afflicted with the passions and who peer into the logoi of bodies and incorporeal [beings] resemble invalids who [carry on] discuss[ions] concerning health. For it is when the soul is [only] with difficulty shaken by the passions that it is invited to taste these sweet rays of honey.

< Frb > ρκη. τους ανευ γνωσεως πολεμιζοντας ουκ απο της τελειοτητος αλλ' απο της αρχης δει προσαγειν ͅ τηι αληθειαι, τοις δε νηπιοις μη τα των γνωστικων υπομνυσαι μηδε τοιαυτα βιβλια αυτοις εγκειρισαι· ου γαρ εχουσιν αντιστηναι ολισθημασι ταυτης της θεωριας ακολουθοις· δια τουτο τοις υπο τουτων παθων κατεχομενοις ουκ δικαιον λογους της ειρηνης λεγειν αλλα πως αμυνουνται τους πολεμιους οτι ουκ εστιν αποστολη εν ημεραι πολεμου κατα τον εκκλησιαστην.̈ ρκθ.¨οι υπο τα παθη οντες και περι των λογων τε ενσωματων και των ασωματων εραυνωντες ομοιοι νοσηλευουσι περι της υγιειας ζητουσιν.̈ ρλ. γευεσθαι των υγιεινων της γνωσεως εγκριδων τοτε ημας προσηκει οταν υπο των ψυχικων παθων μη σαλευωμεθα. . .

[Γυιλ ρτρῃ. 152-153]¨. . . ἐρίζειν ? . . . προσεγγίζειν . . . θεωρία . . .



26. THESE [should] not be the same occasions: - [1] that of explication and [2] that of [investigative] discussion. And it is necessary to reprimand those who prematurely raise objections; for this is indeed the habit of heretics and those who [enjoy] controversy.

< Frb  > ρλ. . . . . ουχ ο αυτος καιρος ζητησεως και εξηγησεως, διο δει ημας επιτιμαν τοις ακαιρως ͅ μεταξυ υπολαβουσι κατα δε του λογον στρεφουσιν· η γαρ αιρετικων εστι τουτο η αντιλογιστικων.

[Guil rtrv. 131-133]¨. . . διήγησις {καὶ} ζήτησις . . . οἱ αντιλέγοντες? οἱ ἀντιστρέφοντες? . . .



27. DO not, without [careful] consideration, speak about God [in Himself]; nor should you ever define the Deity: for it is only of {things that are made or} are composite that there can be definitions.

κζ´ Μὴ ἀπερισκέπτως θεολογήσῃς, μηδέποτε ὁριζου τὸ θεῖον·̈ τῶν γὰρ {γεγονότων καὶ} συνθέτων εἰσὶν οἱ ὅροι.



28. HOLD in your mind the five causes of abandonment, so that you may perceive the [kinds of] faint-heartedness which are destroyed by affliction. < Frb 551 > ρλβ. μνημονευε τα πεντε της δοκιμασιας ειδη ινα εχηις ορθωσαι τους ολιγοψυχους και τους λυπηι εκλυομενους·

[1] Indeed, abandonment reveals virtue which is hidden.

[2] When the former has been neglected, it reestablishes it through punishment.

[3] And it becomes the cause of salvation for others.

[4] And when virtue has become preeminent, it teaches humility to those who posses it [only] in part.

[5] Indeed, he hates the evil which is the cause of the experience. Now experience is the offspring of abandonment, and this abandonment is the daughter of apatheia.

[1] η δε κρυπτη αρετη δια δοκιμασιας αποκαλυπτεται

[2] και η αμελουμενη δια καταδικης μετανερχεται

[3] και γιγνεται αιτια ζωης τοις αλλοις,

[4] και ει η πρακτικη μετα της γνωσεως συνυπαρχει τους αυτην κεκτημενους διδασκει ταπεινοφροσυνην.

 [5] μισει γαρ την κακιαν ο αυτης πειραν λαβων η δε πειρα εκγονος εστι δοκιμασιας, η δε δοκιμασια θυγατηρ της απαθειας {̣} [ισως· της δε δοκιμ. θυγατ. η απαθεια].

 [Guil rtrv. 136]¨{ γενικοὶ ἐγκαταλείψεων τρόποι . . . ὅτι μιδεῖ κακίαν ὁ πειραθεὶς κακίαν, πεῖρα δὲ τῆς ἐγκαταλείψεως ἔγγονος in Max Conf.;} but here prob; αἰτίαι - εἴδη [1 137] διὰ κεκρυμμένην ἀρετήν, ἵνα φανερωθῃ, . . .[2 138] πρὸς δοκιμήν . . .πρὸς κόλασιν;̈

[3, 139] πρὸς διόρθωσιν ἄλλου . . . πρὸς διόρθωσιν καὶ σωτηρίαν;̈  [4, 139] προηγουμένης τῆς ἀρετῆς;̈ [5, 139] θυγάτηρ δοκιμῆς . . . ἔγγονος . . . ἀπάθεια



29. THOSE you teach are saying to you always: “[Friend], go up higher!” (Lk.14:10). It would, indeed, be shameful (cf. Lk14:9) having [once] ascended, for you to be brought down again by your hearers.

κθ  Οἱ διδασκόμενοι λεγέτωσάν σοι ἀεὶ τό· προσανάβηθι [24] ἄνω· αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστιν ἀναβάντα σε πάλιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουόντων κατενεχθῆναι.[25]




30. AVARICE lies not in possessing money, but in longing for it. The steward is said to be a reasoning purse.

λ´ Φιλάργυρός ἐστιν οὐχ ὁ ἔχων χρήματα, ἀλλ' ὁ εφιέμενος τούτων· τὸν γὰρ οἰκονόμον εἶναί φασι βαλάντιον λογικόν.



31. EXHORT the elders to mastery of anger and the young to mastery of the stomach. For against the former strive the demons of the soul, and against the latter, for the most part, those of the body.

λα´ Γέροντας μὲν θυμοῦ, τοὺς δὲ νέους γαστρὸς κρατεῖν παρακάλει· τοὺς μὲν γὰρ οἱ ψυχικοί, τοὺς δὲ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον οἱ σωματικοὶ διαμάχονται δαίμονες.



32. CLOSE the mouths of those who slander in your hearing; and do not be amazed when you are accused by many, for this is a temptation from the demons. For it is necessary for the gnostikos to be free from hatred and memory of evil, even when this is not what they want.

λβ´Ἔμφραττε στόματα τῶν καταλαλούντων ἐν ἀκοαῖς σου· καὶ μὴ θαυμάσῃς ὑπὸ πλείστων κατηγορούμενος· οὗτος γὰρ ὁ πειρασμὸς ἐκ δαιμόνων· τὸν γὰρ γνωστικὸν ἐλεύθερον εἶναι δεῖ μίσους καὶ μνησικακίας, καὶ μὴ βουλομένων.



33. [ALTHOUGH] unaware of it, he is himself cured - the one healing others through the Lord. For the medicine the the gnostikos applies cures his neighbor insofar as it can, but [it cures] him even more.

λγ´ Λέληθεν ἴσως ἑαυτὸν θεραπεύων ὁ διὰ τὸν Κύριον τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἰώμενος· ὃ γὰρ προσάγει φάρμακον ὁ γνωστικός, τὸν μὲν πλησίον ἐνδεχομένως, ἑαυτὸν δὲ { ἀναγκαίως } ἰᾶται.



34. YOU must not interpret spiritually everything that lends itself to allegory, but rather only what is fitting to the subject; because if you do not act thus, you pass much time on Jonah’s boat, explaining every part of its fittings. And you will be humorous rather than helpful to to your listeners: all those sitting around will remind you of this or that fitting, and laughing, [they] will remind you of what you have forgotten.

[Guil retrv.152-153]¨...πάντα οἷα ἀλληγορίαν ἐπιδέχεσθαί ἐστι ... πρᾶγμα ...τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ

λδ´ < Frb. 551 > ρλξ  ου παντα ρηματα προς αλληγοριας πεφυκοτα πνευματικως εξηγησαι αλλα τα την υποθεσιν ωφελουντα· τουτο γαρ μη ποιων χρονον πολυν καταναλωσεις διεξηγουμενος περι του Ιωνα πλοιου· βιαζομενος εν τι των του πλοιου σκευων διεξιων προς αλληγοριαν εκλαβειν ου μονον ουκ ωφελεις τους ακροωμενους· αλλα και καταγαλαστος αυτοις γιγνηι, παντων των ακουοντων σοι περι των του πλοιου σκευων γνωριζοντων τε και το αν πλανωμενον δια πολλου γελωτος · προφεροντων.



35. INVITE the monks who come to you to speak concerning ethics, but not concerning doctrine, unless you find some to be competent to investigate these matters.

[Guil retrv..154-155] ... παρακάλει ... περὶ ἠθικῆς ... περὶ τῶν δογμάτων ... ὕλαι

< Frb 551 > ρλη.̈ αναπειθε τους μοναχους σοι παραβαλλοντας ενα εκαστον περι των ειδων της θεοσεβειας και της εναρετου πολιτειας σοι διαλεγεσθαι, περι δε διδαχης της θεου γνωσεως μη· πλην ει τις υπαρχει και περι τουτου ποσως λεγειν δυναμενος.



36. [YOU must] keep hidden from seculars and from the young the exalted logoi concerning judgement, for this easily engenders [their] contempt: for they do not understand the suffering of the reasoning soul condemned to ignorance.

Λς  Λανθανέτω τοὺς κοσμικοὺς καὶ τοὺς νέους ὁ περὶ κρίσεως ὑψηλότερος λόγος, γεννῶν ῥᾳδίως τὴν καταφρόνησιν· οὐ γὰρ ἴσασιν ὀδύνην ψυχῆς λογικῆς καταδικασθείσης τὴν ἄγνοιαν.



37. ST. Paul afflicted his body, reducing it to servitude (cf. ICor.9:27): you, therefore, must not neglect your diet throughout your life; and do not {insult} apatheia with a thickened body.

Λζ   ἅγιος Παῦλος ὑποπιάζων ἐδουλαγώγει τὸ σῶμα· μὴ ἀμελήσῃς οὖν τῆς διαίτης, ἐν τῇ ζωῃ σου καὶ μὴ καθυβρίσῃς τὴν ἀπάθειαν σώματι παχεῖ { ταπεινώσας } αὐτήν.



38. DO not worry about food or garments: (Mt 6.25) remember rather Abner the Levite, who after receiving the Ark of the Lord became rich out of poverty, and renowned out of [“after being held in”] contempt. (2Sam 6.10-11)

λη´ Μὴ μεριμνήσῃς περὶ βρωμάτων ἢ ἐνδυμάτων, ἀλλὰ μέμνησο τοῧ Ἀβενὴρ τοῦ λευίτου ὃς κιβωτὸν ὑποδεξάμενος τοῦ Κυρίου, πλούσιος ἐκ πενήτων καὶ ἔνδοξος ἐξ ἀτίμων γέγονε.



39. A BITTER accuser of the gnostikos is his own conscience, and he cannot hide anything from it because it knows the secrets of the heart.

< Frb 551 > ρμα.̈ κατηγορος πικρος του γνωστικου η συνειδησις και ουδεν αυτην λαθειν δυναται τα της καρδιας κρυπτα ειδυιαν.    [Guil.retrov. 162-163]¨πικρὸς κατήγορος τοῦ γνωστικοῦ ἡ συνείδησις αὐτοῦ . . . καρδιογνώστης



40. BE on your guard with regard to the fact that for each created thing there is not only one single logos, but a large number, according to the measure of each one. For the holy powers attain to the true logoi of the objects, but not unto the first, [logoi] that are known solely by Christ .

< Frb 551 > ρμβ. εννοει μηποτε οιηι οτι μια παντων των γεγονοτων αιτια αλλα πολλαι και κατα μετρον της αναστροφης τινος και αυται αυτωι αποκαλυπτονται· και γαρ αι αγιαι δυναμεις πολλας επιστανται αιτιας αλλ' ου τας αρχικας μονωι τωι Χ. γνωστας.

[Guil rtr.164-165] ... λογοι



41. EVERY proposition has a predicate or a genus, or a distinction, or a species, or a property, or an accident, or that which is composed of these things. But on the subject of the Blessed Trinity, nothing of what has been said [here] is admissible. In silence let the ineffable be adored!

μα´ Πᾶσα πρότασις ἢ γένος ἔχει κατηγορούμενον, ἢ διαφοράν, ἢ εἶδος, ἢ ἴδιον, ἢ συμβεβηκός, ἢ τὸ ἐκ τούτων συγκείμενον· οὐδὲν δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς ἁγίας Τριάδος τῶν εἰρημένων ἔστι λαβεῖν.̈ Σιωπῇ προσκυνείσθω τὸ ἄρρητον.



42. THE temptation of the Knower is a spurious conjecture that presents itself to the intellect either as [really] existing { when it does not exist, as not existing when it does exist, or as existing } in some manner which it is not.

̈μβ´ Πειρασμὸς γνωστοκοῦ ἐστιν ὑπόληψις ψευδὴς περὶ τὸν νοῦν ἱσταμένη τοῦ ὑπάρχοντος μὲν { ὡς μὴ ὑπάρχοντος, τοῦ δὲ μὴ ὑπάρχοντος ὡς ὑπάρχοντος μὲν } μὴ οὕτως δὲ ὑπάρχοντος ὥσπερ γέγονε.



43. THE sin of the gnostikos is false knowledge concerning matters themselves or their contemplations, which is caused by some passion or because this is not being [investigatively] discussed with regard to the Good.

< Frb 551-553 > ρμε. αμαρτια του γνωστικου εστι γνωσις ψευδης των πραγματων̈ η των αυτων̈ νοηματων γεννωμενη υπο παθους ουτινοσουν η δια το μη δι' αυτο το καλον ημας εραυναν περι των οντων [͂πραγματων].

[Guil retrv..170-171]̈  ἁμαρτία γνωστικοῦ . . . γνῶσις ψευδὴς αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων ἢ τῆς̈ θεωρίας αὐτῶν . .̈ . τὴν ζήτησιν[29] ποιεῖσθα




44. THERE are four virtues necessary for contemplation, according to the teaching of the just Gregory: prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.

̈μδ´ Τέσαρας ἀρετας καὶ τῆς θεωρίας αυτῆς, παρὰ τοῦ δικαίου Γρεγορίου μεμαθήκαμεν εἶναι, φρόνησιν καὶ ἀνδρείαν, σοφροσύνην καὶ δικαιοσύνην·

(1) The work of prudence, it is said, is the contemplation of the holy and intelligent powers apart from their logoi; for this latter belongs to wisdom alone, according to the tradition we have received.

καὶ φρονήσεως μὲν ἔργον ἔλεγεν εἶναι τὸ θεωρεῖν τὰς νοερὰς καὶ ἁγίας δυνάμεις δίχα τῶν λόγων· τούτους γὰρ ὑπὸ τῆς σοφίας μόνης δηλοῦσθαι παραδέδωκεν·

(2) Courage is steadfast perseverance in the truth, even to the point of combat, as well as refraining from entry into that which does not exist.

ἀνδρείας δὲ τὸ ἐγκαρτερεῖν τοῖς ἀληθέσι καὶ πολεμούμενον͵ καὶ μὴ ἐμβατεύειν εἰς τὰ μὴ ὄντα·

(3) The reception of the first sower’s seed and the rejection of what is sown later (cf. Mt 13.24) this is the proper work of continence according to [Gregory’s] explanation. (cf. KG 1,24)

τὸ δὲ παρὰ τοῦ πρώτου γεωργοῦ δέχεσθαι τὰ σπέρματα καὶ ἀπωθεῖσθαι τὸν ἐπισπορέα͵ τῆς σωφροσύνης ἴδιον ἀπεκρίνατο εἶναι·

(4) Justice’s task is to give to each, according to his worth, a word: that is, proclaiming some things darkly; using parables to make other things known; and clearly explaining still others for the benefit of the simple.

δικαιοσύνης δὲ πάλιν, τὸ κατ' ἀξίαν ἑκάστῳ τοὺς λόγους ἀποδιδόναι, τὰ μὲν σκοτεινῶς ἀπαγγέλλουσαν, τὰ δὲ δι'αινιγμάτων σημαίνουσαν, τινὰ δὲ καὶ φανεροῦσαν πρὸς ὠφέλειαν τῶν ἀπλουστέρων.



45. THAT column of truth, the Cappadocian Basil has said: the Knowledge which comes from men is strengthened by careful meditation and diligent exercise;

̈με´ Τῆς ἀλαθείας ὁ στύλος ὁ καππαδόκης Βασίλειος· τὴν μὲν ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπων φησίν, ἐπισυμβαίνουσαν γνῶσιν, προσεχὴς μελέτη καὶ γυμνασία κρατύνει·

however the [knowledge] that by God’s grace has come to be within us [is strengthened] by justice, by the refusal to indulge anger, and by compassion.

τὴν δὲ ἐκ Θεοῦ χάριτος ἐγγινομένην, δικαιοσύνη καὶ ἀοργησία καὶ ἔλεος·

The first [Knowledge] can be received by those still subject to passion;

καὶ τὴν μὲν προτέραν, δυνατὸν καὶ τοὺς ἐμπαθεῖς ὑποδέξασθαι·

the second [Knowledge] is received only by those [who have attained] apatheia - those who are also able at the time of prayer to contemplate the illuminating gentle radiance proper to their nous.

τῆς δὲ δευτέρας οἱ ἀπαθεῖς μόνοι εἰσὶ δεκτικοί· οἳ καὶ παρὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς τὸ οἰκεῖον φέγγος τοῦ νοῦ περιλάμπον αὐτοὺς θεωροῦσιν

On the light of the nous and its possible origins: cf. KG 1.35, 1.74; 1.81, 2.29; 3.44, 3.52, 5.15; Sch.258 on Prov. 23.22 ; Prak. 64; Prayer 75; Thoughts/Peri.Log. 17, 39, 40, 42; Skem. 2, 42325, 27; Letter 39.5; Antiret. 6.16.




46. THE holy luminary of Egypt, Athanasius, said: “Moses received the command to place the table standing towards the North. (cf. Ex 26.35)

̈μςʹ Τῶν Αἰγυπτίων ὁ ἅγιος φωστὴρ Ἀθανάσιος· τὴν τράπεζαν͵ φησί͵ Μωϋσῆς εἰς τὸ βόρειον μέρος στῆσαι προστάσσεται·

The Knowers must know which [temptation] blows against them: and they are to stand firm against every species of temptation, and with eager zeal feed those who appear.”

γινωσκέτωσαν οἱ γνωστικοὶ τίς ὁ πνέων ἐστὶ κατ΄ αὐτῶν͵ καὶ πάντα πειρασμὸν γενναίως ὑπομενέτωσαν͵ καὶ μετὰ προθυμίας τοὺς προσιόντας τρεφέτωσαν.



47. IT was said by the angel of the church of Thumis, Serapion, that the nous is perfectly purified by drinking spiritual knowledge.

μζʹ  Ἔλεγεν ὁ τῆς Θμουϊτῶν ἐκκλησίας ἄγγελος Σαραπίων ὅτι ὁ νοῦς μὲν πεπωκὼς πνευματικὴν γνῶσιν τελείως καθαίρεται͵

Charity heals the burning parts of the irascible self [thumos]

ἀγάπη δὲ τὰ φλεγμαίνοντα μόρια τοῦ θυμοῦ θεραπεύει·

The flux of evil desires [epithumia] is stanched by self-control.

πονηρὰς δὲ ἐπιθυμίας ἐπιρρεούσας ἵστησιν ἐγκράτεια.



48. EXERCISE yourself continuously in the logoi of providence and judgment,” said the great Knower and teacher Didymus, “and strive to remember their material [expressions]: for nearly all are brought to stumbling through this.

μη´ Τοὺς περὶ προνοίας καὶ κρίσεως κατὰ σαυτὸν ἀεὶ γύμναζε λόγους, φησὶν ὁ μέγας καὶ γκωστικὸς διδάσκαλος Δίδυμος, καὶ τούτων τὰς ὕλας διὰ μνήμης φέρειν πειράθητι· ἅπαντες γὰρ σχεδὸν ἐν τούτοις προσπταίουσι.

And you will discover the logoi of judgment in the diversity of bodies and worlds, and those of providence in the means by which we return from vice and ignorance to virtue and knowledge.”

Καὶ τοὺς μὲν περὶ κρίσεως λόγους ἐν τῇ διαφορᾷ τῶν σωμάτων καὶ τῶν κόσμων εὑρήσεις·̈ τοὺς δὲ περὶ προνοίας ἐν τοῖς τρόποις τοῖς ἀπὸ κακίας καὶ ἀγνωσίας ἐπὶ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἢ ἐπὶ τὴν γνῶσιν ἡμᾶς ἐπανάγουσι.



 49. THE goal of the praktiké is to purify the intellect and to render it free of passions; that of the gnostiké is to reveal the truth hidden in all beings; but to distance the intellect from matter and to turn it towards the First Cause - this is a gift of theology [theologiké] .

[Guil rtrv.190-191]̈ ... τὴν ἀλήθειαν κεκρυμμένην ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς γεγονόσιν . . . τὸ ἀφίστασθαι τὸν νοῦν ἀπὸ τῶν ὑλῶν καὶ τρέπεσθαι πρὸς . . .πρὸς τὴν πρώτην αἰτίαν . . . θεολογική [θεολογία]

< Frb 553 > σκοπος της μεν πρακτικης τον νουν αποκαθαριζειν και των ͅ παθων ου δεκτικον καθισταναι, της δε φυσιολογιας την αληθειαν αποφηναι την εν τοις πραγμασιν κρυπτην· το δε αποστησαι τινα τον νουν παντων των γηινων και προς την κεφαλαιωδη απαντων επαναγειν γνωσιν χαρισμα εστι της θεου οψεως.



50. GAZING fixedly upon the archetype, strive to engrave the images without neglecting anything that may effect the gaining [back] of the fallen-away.

νʹ Πρὸς τὸ ἀρχέτυπον βλέπων ἀεὶ πειρῶ γράφειν τὰς εἰκόνας μηδὲν παρεὶς τῶν συντελούντων πρὸς τὸ κερδᾶναι τὴν ἐκπεσοῦσαν.



[1] Evagrius’ Gnostikos does not survive as a complete text in the original Greek.  Fragments have been gleaned from a variety of sources, chiefly Socrates’ Ecclesiastical History.  The following is based on these, as well as Frankenberg’s Greek retroversion  from a Syriac MS: “Frb.”: Evagrius Ponticus, Abhandlungen der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, Neue Folge, vol. 13, no. 2 (Berlin, 1912). Frankenberg's MS is designated S1 in. A. & C. Guillaumont, Évagre le Pontique, Le Gnostique ou A celui qui est devenu digne de la science, Sources Chrétiennes nş 356, (Paris, 1989) 88-193. 

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