The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity

Exploring the Gnostic Mysteries of the Ineffable


Despite the surge of interest in Gnostic texts following the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, the Coptic Books of Jeu and Pistis Sophia remain understudied. Often dismissed as convoluted, confused, and repetitious, Erin Evans convincingly shows that these texts represent the writings of a distinct religious group with a consistent system of theology, cosmology, and ritual practice. This book offers an in-depth examination of these texts, their relationship to other contemporary Gnostic ideas, and their use in the context of a practicing religious group. Three thematic sections demonstrate how the collection of texts functions as a whole, covering baptisms and mystical ascent procedures, guides to moral living, and introductory texts and myths.

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Front Matter
Pages: i–x
Pages: 1–11
4 Pistis Sophia (a)
Pages: 95–134
Part 1: Summary
Pages: 135–137
4 Pistis Sophia (b)
Pages: 141–153
3 Pistis Sophia
Pages: 154–184
Part 2: Summary
Pages: 185–187
1/2 Pistis Sophia
Pages: 191–232
The Pistis Sophia Myth
Pages: 233–256
Part 3: Summary
Pages: 257–259
Pages: 260–266
Pages: 271–281
Pages: 282–284
Erin Evans, Ph.D. (2012), University of Edinburgh, is currently an ACLS Public Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. She has published articles on Gnosticism in both historical and modern pop cultural contexts.
'die Erläuterungen von E. zum Verständnis der Texte anregend und müssen in eine quellenvergleichende, philologische und religions- und ideengeschichtliche Arbeit an den Schriften einbezogen werden. E. ist zu danken, daß sie die Aufmerksamkeit der Forschung wieder auf diese Texte gelenkt hat. '

Clemens Scholten, Universität zu Köln, Vigiliae Christianae 71 (2017)

'This book fills a significant gap, and attempts to reconstruct the groups behind the 'Jeuian' texts. [...] Evans' presentation is extremely acccessible, with essential concepts summed up clearly, and will be an asset to scholars of Gnosticism, early Christianity, and late-antique religion more broadly.'

Kimberley Fowler, University of Manchester, The Expository Times 128 (9) 2017
Part I Baptism and Ascent Guides
1. The First Book of Jeu
2. The Second Book of Jeu
3. Diagrams in the Books of Jeu

4. 4 Pistis Sophia (A)
Part I Summary
Part II Punishments and Moral Living
5. 4 Pistis Sophia (B)
6. 3 Pistis Sophia
Part II Summary
Part III Introductory Texts and Myths
7. 1/2 Pistis Sophia
8. The Pistis Sophia Myth
Part III: Summary
All interested in early Gnostic texts, the myth of Sophia’s fall, religion in antiquity, baptismal practices, and mystical ascent prayers and rituals.

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