Peter vs. Simon Magnus continued plus commentary
Home | JK;s faith | LETTERS OF HEROD AND PILATE | THE DEATH OF PILATE | SEPTUAGINT BIBLE--account of its commission | 1 ENOCH: apocalypse once canon | ADAM & EVE: as told by Seth, their 3rd son | THE ACTS OF THOMAS | PEDOPHILE CATHOLIC PRIESTS | Saint Bartholomew Day's Massacre | THE SOUL--LUCRETIUS (from De Rerum Natura) | Against Epicurus' blissful gods | Peter vs. Simon the Magician | Peter vs. Simon cont. | Pistis Sophia, commentary | Pista Sophia, Book One | Pistis Sophia: Book One, Chapters 34 to end

I wanted to publish it all on one page, but after Lycos locking up twice, I thought it a message that the contents were too large, so thus the second page.  I can add this to the list of  annoyances of using their site builder; such as, the loss of hyphens, quotes, apostites, arrange me of ends of line in poetry, and double spacing.  Thus I must learn to use HTML.  Hopefully there is a user friendly version.






     Then Simon: "It is not impious for the sake of greater profit and advantage to rice to him who is of richer glory." Then Peter: "If, as you say, it is not impious to flee to a stranger, it is at all events much more pious to remain with our own father, even if he be poor. But if you do not think it impious to leave our father, and flee to another, as being better than he; and you do not believe that our Creator will take this amiss; much more the good God will not be angry, because, when we were strangers to him, we have not fled to him, but have remained with our own Creator. Yea, I think he will rather commend us the more for this, that we have kept faith with God our Creator; for  he will consider that, if we had been his creatures, we should never have been seduced by the allurements of any other to forsake him. For if any one, allured by richer promises, shall leave his own father and betake himself to a stranger, it may be that he will leave him in his turn, and go to another who shall promise him greater things, and this the rather because he is not his son, since he could leave even him who by nature was his father." Then Simon said: "But what if souls are from him, and do not know him, and he is truly their father?" 






    Then Peter said: "You represent him as weak enough. For if, as you say, he is more powerful than all, it can never be believed the weaker wrenched the spoils from the stronger.[1] Or if God the Creator was able by violence to bring down souls into this world, how can it be that, when they are separated from the body and freed from the bonds of captivity, the good God shall call them to the sufferance of punishment, on the ground that they, either through his remissness or weakness, were dragged away to this place, and were involved in the body, as in the darkness of ignorance? You seem to me not to know what a father and a God is: but I could tell you both whence souls are, and when and how they were made; but it is not permitted to me now to disclose these things to you, who are in such error in respect of the knowledge of God." Then said Simon: "A time will come when you shah be sorry that you did not understand me speaking of the ineffable power." Then said Peter: "Give us then, as I have often said, as being yourself a new God, or as having .yourself come down from him, some new sense, by means of which we may know that new God of whom you speak; for those five senses, which God our Creator has given us, keep faith to their own Creator, and do not perceive that there is any other God, for so their nature necessitates them."








    To this Simon answered: "Apply your mind to those things which I am going to say, and cause it, walking in peaceable paths, to attain to those things which I shall demonstrate. Listen now, therefore. Did you never in thought reach forth your mind into regions or islands situated far away, and remain so fixed in them, that you could not even see the people that were before you, or know where yourself were sitting, by reason of the delightfulness of those things on which yon were gazing?" And Peter said: "It is true, Simon, this has often occurred to me." Then Simon said: "In this way now reach forth your sense into heaven, yea above the heaven, and behold that there must be some place beyond the world, or outside the world, in which there is neither heaven nor earth, and where no shadow of these things produces darkness; and consequently, since there are neither bodies in it, nor darkness occasioned by bodies, there must of necessity be immense light; and consider of what sort that light must be, which is never succeeded by darkness. For if the light of this sun  fills this whole world, how great do you suppose that bodiless and infinite light to be? So great, doubtless, that this light of the sun would seem to be darkness and not light, in comparison."






     When Simon thus spoke, Peter answered:[2] "Now listen patiently concerning both these matters, that is, concerning the example of stretching out the senses, and concerning the immensity of light. I know that I myself, O  Simon, have sometimes in thought extended my sense, as you say, into regions and islands situated afar off, and have seen them with my mind not less than if it had been with my eyes. When I was at Capernaum, occupied in the taking of fishes, and sat upon a rock, holding in my hand a hook attached to a line, and fitted for deceiving the fishes, I was so absorbed that I did not feel a fish adhering to it while my mind eagerly ran through my beloved Jerusalem, to which I had frequently gone up, waking, for the sake of offerings and prayers. But I was accustomed also to admire this Caesarea, hearing of it from others, and to long to see it; and I seemed to myself to see it, although I had never been in it; and I thought of it what was suitable to be thought of a great city, its gates, walls, baths, streets, lanes, markets, and the like, in accordance with what I had seen in other cities; and to such an extent was I delighted with the intentness of such inspection, that, as you said,  neither saw one who was present and standing by me, nor knew where myself was sitting." Then said Simon: "Now you say well."






     Then Peter: "In short, when I did not perceive, through the occupation of my mind, that I had caught a very large fish which was attached to the hook, and that although it was dragging the hook-line from my hand, my brother Andrew. who was sitting by me, seeing me in a reverie and almost ready to fall, thrusting his elbow into my side as if he would awaken me from sleep, said: 'Do you not see, Peter, what a large fish you have caught? Are you out of your senses, that you are thus in a stupor of astonishment? Tell me, What is the matter with you?' But i was angry with him for a little, because he had withdrawn me from the delight of those things which I was contemplating; then I answered that I was not suffering from any malady, but  that I was mentally gazing on the beloved Jerusalem, and at the same time on Caesarea; and that, while I was indeed with him in the body, in my mind I was wholly carried away thither. But he, I know not whence inspired, uttered a hidden and secret word of truth.






     "'Give over,' says he, 'O Peter. What is it that you are doing? For those who are beginning to be possessed with a demon, or to be disturbed in their minds, begin in this way. They are first carried away by butts to some pleasant and delightful things, then they are poured out in vain and fond motions towards things which have no existence. Now this happens from a certain disease of mind, by reason of which they see not the things which are, but long to bring to their sight those which are not. But thus it happens also to those who are suffering phrenzy, and seem to themselves to see many images, because their soul, being torn and withdrawn from its place by excess of cold or of heat, suffers a failure of its natural service. But those also who  are in distress through thirst, when they fall asleep, seem to themselves to see rivers and fountains, and to drink; but this befalls them through being distressed by the dryness of the unmoistened body. Wherefore it is certain that this occurs through some ailment either of the soul or body.'






     "In short, that you may receive the faith of the matter; concerning Jerusalem, which I had often seen, I told my brother what places and what gatherings of people I had seemed to myself to see. But also concerning Caesarea, which I had never seen, I nevertheless contended that it was such as I had conceived it in my mind and thought. But when I came hither, and saw nothing at all like to those things which I had seen in phantasy, I blamed myself, and observed distinctly, that I had assigned to it gates, and walls, and buildings from others which I had seen, taking the likeness in reality from others. Nor indeed can any one imagine anything new, and of which no form has ever existed. For even if any one should fashion from his imagination bulls with five heads, he only forms them with five heads out of those which he has seen with one head. And you therefore, now, if truly you seem to yourself to perceive anything with your thought, and to look above the heavens, there is no doubt but that you imagine them from those things which you see, placed as you are upon the earth. But if you think that there is easy access for your mind above the heavens, and that you are able to conceive the things that are there, and to apprehend knowledge of that immense light, I think that for him who can comprehend these things, it were easier to throw his sense, which knows how to ascend thither, into the heart and breast of some one of us who stand by, and to tell what thoughts he is cherishing in his breast. If therefore you can declare the thoughts of the heart of any one of us, who is not pre-engaged in your favour, we shall perhaps be able to believe you, that you are able to know those things that are above the heavens, although these are much loftier." 






    To this Simon replied:[1] "O thou who hast woven a web of many frivolities, listen now. It is impossible that anything which comes into a man's thoughts should not also subsist in truth  and reality. For things that do not subsist, have no appearances;[2] but things that have no appearances, cannot present themselves to our  thoughts." Then said Peter: "If everything that can come into our thoughts has a subsistence, then, with respect to that place of immensity which you say is outside the world, if one thinks in his heart that it is light, and another that it is darkness, how can one and the same place be both light and darkness, according to their different thoughts concerning it?" Then said Simon: "Let pass for the present what I have said; and tell us what you suppose to be above the heavens." 






    Then said Peter: "If you believed concerning the true fountain of light, I could instruct you what and of what sort is that which is immense, and should render, not a vain fancy, but a consistent and necessary account of the truth, and should make use, not of sophistical assertions, but testimonies of the law and nature, that you might know that the law especially contains what we ought to believe in regard to immensity. But if the doctrine of immensity is not unknown to the law, then assuredly, nought else can be unknown to it; and therefore it is a false supposition of yours, that there is anything of which the law  is not cognisant. Much more shall nothing be unknown to Him who gave the law. Yet I cannot speak anything to you of immensity and of  those things which are without limit, unless first you either accept our account of those heavens which are bounded by a certain limit, or else propound your own account of them. But if you cannot understand concerning those which are comprehended within fixed boundaries, much more can you neither know nor learn anything concerning those which are without limit."






    To this Simon answered: "It seems to me to be better to believe simply that God is, and that that heaven which we see is the only heaven in the whole universe." But Peter said: "No! so; but it is proper to confess one God who truly is; but that there are heavens, which were made by Him, as also the law says, of which one is the higher, in which also is contained the visible firmament; and that that higher heaven is perpetual and eternal, with those who dwell in it; but that this visible heaven is to be dissolved and  to pass away at the end of the world, in order  that that heaven which is older and higher may appear after the judgment to the holy and the worthy." To this Simon answered: "That these things are so, as you say, may appear to those who believe them; but to him who seeks for reasons of these things, it is impossible that they can be produced from the law, and especially concerning the immensity of light." 






    Then Peter: "Do not think that we say that these things are only to be received by faith, but also that they are to be asserted by reason. For indeed it is not safe to commit these things to bare faith without reason, since assuredly truth cannot be without reason. And therefore he who has received these things fortified by reason, call never lose them; whereas he who receives them without proofs, by an assent to a simple statement of them, can neither keep them safely, nor is certain if they are true; because he who easily believes, also easily yields. But he who has sought reason for those things which he has believed and received, as though bound by chains of reason itself, can never be torn away or separated from those things which he hath believed. And therefore, according as any one is more anxious in demanding a reason, by so much will he be the firmer in preserving his faith." 






    To this Simon replied: "It is a great thing which you promise, that the eternity of boundless light can be shown from the law." And when Peter said, "I shall show it whenever you please," Simon answered: "Since now it is a late hour, I shall stand by you and oppose you to-morrow; and if you can prove that this world was created, and that souls are immortal, you shall have me to assist you in your preaching." When he had said thus, he departed, and was followed by a third part of all the people who had conic with him, who were about one thousand men. But the rest with bended knees prostrated themselves before Peter; and he, invoking upon them the name of God, cured some who had demons, healed others who were sick, and so dismissed the people rejoicing, commanding them to come early the next day. But Peter, when the crowds had withdrawn, commanded the table to be spread on the ground, in the open air, in the court where the disputation had been held, and sat down together with those eleven; but I dined reclining with some others who also had made a beginning of hearing I the word of God, and were greatly beloved.






     But Peter, most benignantly regarding me, lest haply that separation might cause me sorrow, says to me: "It is not from pride, O Clement, that I do not eat with those who have not yet been purified; but I fear lest perhaps I should injure myself, and do no good to them.[1] For this I would have you know for certain, that every one who has at any time worshipped idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call gods, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his mind, either through fear or love.[2] And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification of baptism, that the unclean spirit may go out of him, which has made its abode in the inmost affections of his soul, and what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed and expelled.






     "For these unclean spirits love to dwell in the bodies of men, that they may fulfil their own desires by their service, and, inclining the motions of their souls to those things which they themselves desire, may compel them to obey their own lusts, that they may become wholly vessels of demons.[3] One of whom is this Simon, who is seized with such disease, and cannot now be healed, because he is sick in his will and purpose. Nor does the demon dwell in him against his will; and therefore, if any one would drive it out of him, since it is inseparable from himself, and, so to speak, has now become his very soul, he should seem rather to kill him, and to incur the guilt of manslaughter. Let no one of you therefore be saddened at being separated from eating with us, for every one ought to observe that it is for just so long a time as he pleases. For he who wishes soon to be baptized is separated but for a little time, but he for a longer who wishes to be baptized later. Every one therefore has it in his own power to demand a shorter or a longer time for his repentance; and therefore it lies with you, when you wish it, to come to our table; and not with us, who are not permitted to take food with any one who has not been baptized. It is rather you, therefore, who hinder us from eating with you, if you interpose delays in the way of your purification, and defer your baptism." Having said thus, and having blessed, he took food. And afterwards, when he had given thanks to God, he went into the house and went to bed; and we all did the like, for it was now night.








Simon's quasi-Trinitarian Gnostic teaching, wherein he, with the title the Great Power of God, appeared to the Jews as a mediating, suffering Son of God, to the Samaritans as Father, and to the pagan world as Holy Spirit, is contained in the early Christian writings known as the Clementine literature. The mythic form of these documents raises doubts as to whether the biblical Simon Magus and the Simon of later apocryphal sources are the same.


In the 2nd century a Simonian sect arose that viewed Simon Magus as the first God, or Father, and he was sometimes worshipped as the incarnation of the Greek god Zeus. His consort Helen was regarded by his followers as the earthly manifestation of Athena.


In the Simonian creation myth, the first thought (Ennoia) was produced from the Father's mind in order to create the angels, who in turn created the visible universe. These angels, however, imprisoned the first thought out of jealousy, placing her in a human body so that she could not return to the Father. She was thus doomed to pass from body to body, the most recent being that of Helen. In order to redeem his first thought, the Father descended in human shape as Simon and offered salvation to human beings if they would recognize him as the first God.


The Simonian doctrine of salvation differed from that of the other Gnostic groups, for it promised redemption within the temporal order, whereas other Gnostics could conceive of salvation as attainable only by escaping their earthly prison.




Copyright © 1994-2002 Encyclopędia Britannica, Inc.


Enter supporting content here

powered by lycos
SEARCH:Tripod The Web