Secret Book of John

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The Secret Book of John (the Apocryphon of John) is:

  1. the teaching of the savior
  2. the revelation of the mysteries
  3. the things hidden in silence
  4. things he taught his student John

Genealogy summary:

  1. The One
  2. Barbelo
  3. Spark of light
  4. 4 luminaries [lights] and 12 eternal realms [aeons] (including Sophia)
  5. Yaldabaoth [Demiurge] (from Sophia)
  6. 12 authorities, 7 powers [archons], Adam

The One[edit | edit source]

The revealer appears to John the brother of James, who are the sons of Zebedee. The revealer says that he is:

  1. the father
  2. the mother
  3. the child
  4. the incorruptible
  5. the undefiled one

The One is:

  • a sovereign that has nothing over it
  • god and father of all
  • the invisible one that is over all
  • incorruptible
  • pure light at which no eye can gaze
  • the invisible spirit
  • greater than a god, because it has nothing over it and no lord above it
  • does not exist within anything inferior to it, since everything exists within it alone
  • eternal, since it does not need anything
  • absolutely complete
  • has never lacked anything in order to be completed by it
  • is always absolutely complete in light
  • illimitable
  • unfathomable
  • immeasurable
  • invisible
  • eternal
  • unutterable
  • unnamable
  • the immeasurable light, pure, holy, immaculate
  • unutterable
  • perfect in incorruptibility
  • not corporeal and is not incorporeal
  • not large and is not small
  • not among the things that exist, but it is much greater
  • not a part of the eternal realms or of time
  • majestic and has an immeasurable purity
  • a realm that gives a realm
  • life that gives life
  • a blessed one that gives blessedness
  • knowledge that gives knowledge
  • a good one that gives goodness
  • mercy that gives mercy and redemption
  • grace that gives grace
  • gives immeasurable and incomprehensible light

The eternal realm [of the One] is:

  • incorruptible
  • at peace
  • dwelling in silence
  • at rest
  • before everything
  • the head of all realms

Barbelo[edit | edit source]

Barbelo, the 1st emanation, is the first power who preceded everything and came forth from the father’s mind as the forethought of all. She is:

  • the perfect power
  • the image of the perfect and invisible virgin spirit
  • the 1st power
  • the glory of Barbelo
  • the perfect glory among the realms
  • the glory of revelation
  • the 1st thought
  • the image of the spirit
  • the universal womb, for she precedes everything
  • the mother-father
  • the 1st human
  • the holy spirit
  • the triple male
  • the triple power
  • the androgynous one with 3 names
  • the eternal realm among the invisible beings
  • the 1st to come forth

Barbelo asked the invisible virgin spirit [the father] to give her:

  1. foreknowledge
  2. incorruptibility
  3. life eternal
  4. truth

The father’s androgynous realm of 5 = realm of 10 = the father:

  1. the 1st human = the image of the invisible spirit = forethought = Barbelo = thought
  2. foreknowledge
  3. incorruptibility
  4. life eternal
  5. truth

Barbelo (Forethought) then conceives a spark of light from the father's gaze. It is similar to the blessed light but not as great. This was the only child of the mother-father that had come forth, its only offspring, the only child of the father, the pure light.

The spark of light asked to be given mind as a companion to work with, and the spirit consented. When the invisible spirit consented, mind appeared and stood by the anointed, and glorified the spirit and Barbelo.

The 4 Luminaries and 12 Eternal Realms[edit | edit source]

Now, from the (spark of) light, which is the anointed, and from incorruptibility, by the grace of the spirit, the 4 luminaries that derive from the self-conceived god (Barbelo) gazed out in order to stand before it.

The 3 beings are:

  1. will
  2. thought
  3. life

The 4 powers are:

  1. understanding
  2. grace
  3. perception
  4. thoughtfulness

The luminaries (angels) in order:

  1. Harmozel
  2. Oroiael
  3. Daveithai
  4. Eleleth

The 4 luminaries (angels) and the 12 eternal realms (aeons):

Realm number 1. Harmozel 2. Oroiael 3. Daveithai 4. Eleleth
1 grace afterthought understanding perfection
2 truth perception love peace
3 form memory idea Sophia

Appointees[edit | edit source]

The virgin spirit [father] appoints the following people to each eternal realm:

Realm number Appointee(s) Luminary
1 Geradamas Harmozel
2 Seth (son of Geradamas) Oroiael
3 the offspring of Seth Daveithai
4 the souls of those who were ignorant of the fullness Eleleth

Yaldabaoth's world order[edit | edit source]

Sophia (Wisdom, Afterthought; one of the 12 eternal realms or aeons) then conceived Yaldabaoth from within herself.

Yaldabaoth is the 1st ruler, who took great power from his mother. Then he left her and moved away from the place where he was born. He took control and created for himself other realms with luminous fire, which still exists. He mated with the mindlessness in him and produced authorities for himself.

This gloomy ruler (Yaldabaoth) has 3 names:

  1. Yaldabaoth
  2. Sakla
  3. Samael

12 authorities[edit | edit source]

The 12 authorities of Yaldabaoth:

  1. Athoth = the reaper
  2. Harmas = the jealous eye
  3. Kalila-Oumbri
  4. Yabel
  5. Adonaios = Sabaoth
  6. Cain = the sun
  7. Abel
  8. Abrisene
  9. Yobel
  10. Armoupieel
  11. Melcheir-Adonein
  12. Belias, who is over the depth of the underworld

Yaldabaoth stationed 7 kings, one for each sphere of heaven, to reign over the 7 heavens, and 5 to reign over the depth of the abyss. He shared his fire with them, but he did not give away any of the power of the light that he had taken from his mother. For he is ignorant darkness.

When light mixed with darkness, it made the darkness shine. When darkness mixed with light, it dimmed the light and became neither light nor darkness, but rather gloom.

He is wicked in his mindlessness that is in him. He said, "I am god and there is no other god but me," since he did not know where his own strength had come from.

7 powers[edit | edit source]

The rulers created 7 powers for themselves. These are the names and the corresponding appearances/faces (the 7-fold nature of the week):

Power Name Face
goodness Athoth sheep
forethought Eloaios donkey
divinity Astaphaios hyena
lordship Yao snake with 7 heads
kingdom Sabaoth snake
jealousy Adonin ape
understanding Sabbataios flaming fire

Each has a sphere in its own realm.

The powers created 6 angels apiece, until there were 365 angels.

Sophia then repents, and the human then appears.

Creation of Adam[edit | edit source]

The voice calls[edit | edit source]

A voice called from the exalted heavenly realm:

  • "The human exists
  • and the human child."

The 1st ruler, Yaldabaoth, heard the voice and thought it had come from his mother. He did not realize its source. The voice was:

  1. the holy perfect mother-father
  2. the complete forethought
  3. the image of the invisible one
  4. being the father of everything, through whom everything came into being
  5. the 1st human — this is the one who showed them, and appeared in human shape

Yaldabaoth then ordered the authorities to create Adam in the image of god.

7 powers create souls[edit | edit source]

Each of the 7 powers created the following:

Power Name Face Soul created by power
goodness Athoth sheep soul of bone
forethought Eloaios donkey soul of sinew
divinity Astaphaios hyena soul of flesh
lordship Yao snake with 7 heads soul of marrow
kingdom Sabaoth snake soul of blood
jealousy Adonin ape soul of skin
understanding Sabbataios flaming fire soul of hair

Angels create body parts[edit | edit source]

The throng of angels stood by and received these 7 psychical substances from the authorities in order to create a network of limbs and trunk, with all the parts properly arranged. There are 74 of them:

Name of angel Body part created by angel
Raphao head
Abron skull
Meniggesstroeth brain
Asterechme right eye
Thaspomocha left eye
Yeronumos right ear
Bissoum left ear
Akioreim nose
Banen-Ephroum lips
Amen teeth
Ibikan molars
Basiliademe tonsils
Achcha uvula
Adaban neck
Chaaman vertebrae
Dearcho throat
Tebar right shoulder
N—— the left shoulder
Mniarchon right elbow
——e left elbow
Abitrion right underarm
Euanthen left underarm
Krus right hand
Beluai left hand
Treneu fingers of the right hand
Balbel fingers of the left hand
Krima fingernails
Astrops right breast
Barroph left breast
Baoum right shoulder joint
Ararim left shoulder joint
Areche belly
Phthaue navel
Senaphim abdomen
Arachethopi right ribs
Zabedo left ribs
Barias right hip
Phnouth left hip
Abenlenarchei marrow
Chnoumeninorin bones
Gesole stomach
Agromauma heart
Bano lungs
Sostrapal liver
Anesimalar spleen
Thopithro intestines
Biblo kidneys
Roeror sinews
Taphreo backbone
Ipouspoboba veins
Bineborin arteries
Aatoimenpsephei breaths in all the limbs
Entholleia all the flesh
Bedouk right buttock
Arabeei left buttock
... penis
Eilo testicles
Sorma genitals
Gormakaiochlabar right thigh
Nebrith left thigh
Pserem muscles of the right leg
Asaklas muscles of the left leg
Ormaoth right leg
Emenun left leg
Knux right shin
Tupelon left shin
Achiel right ankle
Phneme left ankle
Phiouthrom right foot
Boabel toes of the right foot
Trachoun left foot
Phikna toes of the left foot
Miamai toenails
Labernioum ?

Those who are appointed over all these are 7 in number:

  1. Athoth
  2. Armas
  3. Kalila
  4. Yabel
  5. Sabaoth
  6. Cain
  7. Abel

Angels activate body parts[edit | edit source]

Those who activate the limbs are, part by part (30 total listed):

Name of angel Body part activated by angel
Diolimodraza head
Yammeax neck
Yakouib right shoulder
Ouerton left shoulder
Oudidi right hand
Arbao left one
Lampno fingers of right hand
Leekaphar fingers of left hand
Barbar right breast
Imae left breast
Pisandraptes chest
Koade right shoulder joint
Odeor left shoulder joint
Asphixix right ribs
Sunogchouta left ribs
Arouph abdomen
Sabalo womb
Charcharb right thigh
Chthaon left thigh
Bathinoth all genitals
Choux right leg
Charcha left leg
Aroer right shin
Toechtha left shin
Aol right ankle
Charaner left ankle
Bastan right foot
Archentechtha toes of the right foot
Marephnounth left foot
Abrana toes of the left foot

7 have been empowered over all these:

  1. Michael
  2. Uriel
  3. Asmenedas
  4. Saphasatoel
  5. Aarmouriam
  6. Richram
  7. Amiorps

Senses[edit | edit source]

Those who are over the senses are the Archendekta:

Archendekta Sense
Deitharbathas perception
Oummaa imagination
Aachiaram arrangement
Riaramnacho all impulse to action

Demons of the physical states[edit | edit source]

The source of the demons that are in the entire body:

Name of demon State
Phloxopha heat
Oroorrothos cold
Erimacho dryness
Athuro wetness

The mother of them all is matter (Onorthochras).

Demons of the mental states[edit | edit source]

The 4 principal demons of mental states are:

Name of demon Mental state Passions coming from mental state
Ephememphi pleasure evil, vain conceit, etc.
Yoko desire anger, wrath, bitterness, intense lust, greed, etc.
Nenentophni grief jealousy, envy, pain, trouble, distress, hardheartedness, anxiety, sorrow, etc.
Blaomen fear terror, servility, anguish, shame

The mother of them all is Esthesis-Ouch-Epi-Ptoe, who dwells with Anaro (head of the material soul).

There are 365 angels in total.

Fall of Adam[edit | edit source]

Adam then receives spirit and life.

In the middle of paradise, there is a tree of life. The parts of the tree of life and their representations are:

Part of tree Representation
root bitterness
branches death
shadow hatred
leaves trap
blossom bad ointment
fruit death
seed desire
  • The dwelling place of those who taste of it is the underworld.
  • Darkness is their resting place.


  • Humanity is imprisoned.

Eve and her sons[edit | edit source]

  • Eve is created.
  • Yaldabaoth defiles Eve.

Sons of Yaldabaoth and Eve:

  1. Elohim (face of a bear) = Cain
  2. Yahweh (face of a cat) = Abel

Son of Adam and Eve:

  • Seth

Comparisons with On the Origin of the World[edit | edit source]

In On the Origin of the World (Marvin Meyer, trans.):

The sons of Yaldabaoth:

  1. Yao
  2. Eloai
  3. Astaphaios

The Seven Powers of the Heavens of Chaos (which are feminine names):

  1. Sambathas (forethought) = Yaldabaoth
  2. mastery = Yao
  3. divinity = Sabaoth
  4. kingship = Adonaios
  5. envy = Eloaios
  6. wealth = Oraios
  7. Sophia = Astaphaios

Order of creation:

  1. Psyche loved Eros, and Psyche's blood poured upon the earth and turned into the first rose, which came out of a thorn bush
  2. Flowers, from the blood of the virgin daughters of Sambathas (forethought)
  3. Plants
  4. Animals, reptiles, birds
  5. Adam of Light

References[edit | edit source]

  • Meyer, Marvin (trans). The Apocryphon of John. The Gnostic Society Library. (This original translation by Marvin Meyer of The Secret Book of John is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by permission and under license from the copyright holder. It is reproduced in The Gnostic Bible, © 2003, Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer.)

External links[edit | edit source]