Pistis Sophia

Pistis Sophia (Greek πίστις: "Faith " and σοφία "wisdom " ) is one of the most important Coptic Gnostic texts. He is again teaching conversations that Jesus should not have kept after his resurrection with the disciples.

Tradition and dating

The tradition of the Pistis Sophia is limited to the Coptic translation of the original Greek work, which is preserved in a single manuscript, the Codex Askewianus, which is named after the British physician and book collector Anthony Askew. This manuscript acquired the British Museum in 1795. Pistis Sophia The got their name wrongly by Karl Gottfried Woide who could examine the Codex first. The later authors kept the name but habitually, if any, suggested Carl Schmidt before heading as better Τεύχη του Σωτῆρος, ie books or books of the Saviour of the Saviour. The emergence of the original work can be dated to a period from the second to third century. Of particular importance given the Scripture in that they, in addition to the much later discovered Nag Hammadi Library, one of the few direct testimonies of the ancient gnosticism is not derived from patristic apologetic writings against the damned as a heretic Gnostics.


Woide has this Scripture the Christian- Gnostic teacher Valentinus attributed, which was followed by the older scholars, as La Croze, Schwartze and Amélineau, and Mead. The later, especially the German research by Karl Reinhold Köstlin of this view is skeptical to hostile and brings the font rather with the Ophite Gnosticism in combination, including Adolf von Harnack.


The Pistis Sophia reported that Jesus Christ 've worked eleven years after the resurrection of the earth, and his disciples was able to teach the first stage of the Mysteries. The text begins with an allegory of death and resurrection of Christ, which describes both the ascent and descent of the soul. Later, the most important figures of the Gnostic cosmology are treated and enumerated 32 carnal desires that need to be overcome in order to attain salvation.


The first edition of the Coptic text and a Latin translation based on the Codex Askewianus done by Moritz God Help Schwartze and was built in 1851 in print posthumously published by Julius Heinrich Petermann, which it used the transcripts and records Schwartzes. The first German translation with numerous improvements to the text against Schwartzes issue was made in 1905 by Carl Schmidt.