The Apocalypse of Paul (nhc v,2) as a Valentinian Baptismal Liturgy of Ascent

In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

The Apocalypse of Paul (nhc v,2), a second-century Valentinian text, imagines Paul’s progression up to the tenth level of heaven. Not only is this a reference to the third-person account in 2 Corinthians, but also a clear indication of the baptismal liturgy in the Valentinian text as the audience joins Paul after the third heaven and ascends through the upper levels while reciting the visionary tale in the first person after their initiation. Ultimately, this paper shows how the second-century Valentinian memory of Paul is a coalescence of his mystical religiosity and authority and the imagistic ritual practices of the Valentinians. Methodologically, this paper follows a traditional historical and text critical approach, augmented with social memory theory and cognitive ritual studies. In this paper, it is argued that the Apocalypse of Paul integrates of the memory of Paul and his ascent according to 2 Corinthians with contemporary Valentinian ritual practices.

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    Le Donne 200968.

  • 17

    Le Donne 200970.

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    Kaler 200877.

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    Connerton 198937–38.

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    Whitehouse 2004.

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    Uro 2007130.

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    Clement of AlexandriaExc. 23.1–3 (Casey 1934 58–59).

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    Layton 1987303.

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    Scopello 200716.

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    DeConick 199647–48.

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    Clement of AlexandriaExc.78.2 (Casey 1934 88–89).

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    Crum 2005 80B. See also Van den Broek 198613. For a more detailed consideration of the use of the Coptic use of ⲉⲓⲛⲉ for ὁµοῖωσις see Roig Lanzillotta 2013 84n58.

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    Heracleon frag. 13 (Brooke 200468–69; Heine 1989 302). Heracleon’s position is detailed below.

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    Heracleon frag. 11 (Brooke 200466; Heine 1989 266). One should note the alternative reading of Roig Lanzillotta who considers Heracleon’s remarks in fragments 11 13 and 20 to indicate not a rereading of Luke 10:30 but rather a reference to the demonic and dark aspects of the Jerusalem imagery as it connects to the demigod whom the Jews worshipped. In either case we may recognize the decidedly negative depiction of the lower and earthly realms depicted in the Apoc. Paul nhc v2. Roig Lanzillotta 2016 114–16 esp. 115n38.

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    Pettipiece 200275.

  • 69

    Heracleon frag. 13 (Brooke 200468; Heine 1989 302).

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    However as Thomassen 2006112observes given its location within the psychic temple Heracleon “must mean the psychic level of the cosmos where souls in general are located including the souls of the spirituals.”

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    Pagels 197372.

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    IrenaeusHaer. 1.5.3 (Unger 1992 34; Rousseau and Doutreleau 1979 81–82).

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    Heracleon frag. 13 (Brooke 200468; Heine 1989 302).

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  • 78

    DeConick 1999308–41.

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