Introduction: This Gospel is actually a collection of works, running to some 384 pages in the Coptic edition. The title comes only from a small section of one of the works and was added at a date later than the book’s composition. The various parts of the collection should be assigned different dates: the third century A.D. appears to be a period encompassing the whole collection.
The manuscript of the Pistis Sophia is long; therefore, we can only present here a few excerpts. The form of the work is a series of discourses and speeches in which Jesus, after his resurrection, reveals sacred and saving knowledge to his disciples. There is a great variety of material, such as the recitation of myth, liturgies, prayers, exegeses of the Old Testament, and more. Therefore, this sampling is not representative of the whole.
Pistis Sophia presents a Jesus whose acts and teachings take place after the resurrection, not before. Jesus before the resurrection is of no interest to the document.
1. It so happened, however, that after Jesus had risen from the dead, he remained there eleven years, speaking with his disciples, and he taught them only up to the places (topoi) of the first laws and up to the places of the first mystery, that within the veil, which is inside the first law, which is the twentyfourth mystery outside, and below those which are found in the second space of the first mystery, which is before all mysteries—the Father in the form of a dove.
And Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come here from that first mystery, which is the last mystery, the twenty-fourth.” The disciples did not know and understand that mystery, that there was something inside that mystery. Rather they thought that that mystery was the Head of the All and the head of all being. And they thought it was the perfection of all perfections, because Jesus had said to them regarding that mystery, that it surrounds the first law and the five impressions and the great light, and the five defenders, and the whole treasure of light.
There is more that the disciples do not understand. The disciples are sitting on
the Mount of Olives, rejoicing in the knowledge that Jesus has given them in