Berlin Codex

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The Berlin Codex (also known as the Akhmim Codex), given the accession number Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, is a Coptic manuscript from the 5th century AD, unearthed in Akhmim, Egypt. In Cairo, in January 1896, Carl Reinhardt bought the codex, which had been recently discovered, wrapped in feathers, in a niche in a wall at a Christian burial site. It was a papyrus bound book (a codex), dating to early 5th century (or possibly late 4th century) that was written in Sahidic dialect of Coptic, which was in common use in Egypt during that time.


Gospel of MaryEdit

Text online
  • Will matter then be destroyed or not?
    The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
    For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
  • He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ... He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
    • Mary, Chapter 4
  • What is the sin of the world?
    The Savior said: there is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
    That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
    Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.
    • Mary, Chapter 4
  • Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
    • Jesus, Chapter 4
  • Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
    • Jesus, Chapter 4
  • He greeted them all, saying, Peace be with you. Receive my peace unto yourselves.
    Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you.
    Follow after Him!
    Those who seek Him will find Him.
    Go then and preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
    • Mary, Chapter 4
  • Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.
    • Jesus, Chapter 4
  • Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
    But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.
    • Chapter 5
  • What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.
    • Mary, Chapter 5
  • I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?
    The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision.
    • Mary, Chapter 5
  • Desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?
    The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me.
    When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly.
    Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance.
    The power questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge!
    And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged?
    I was bound, though I have not bound.
    I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly.

    When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms.
    The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath.
    They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?
    The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome,
    and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.
    In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient.
    From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.
    • Chapter 8

Quotes about the codexEdit

  • An intriguing glimpse into a kind of Christianity lost for almost fifteen hundred years...[it] presents a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge; it rejects His suffering and death as the path to eternal life; it exposes the erroneous view that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute for what it is—a piece of theological fiction; it presents the most straightforward and convincing argument in any early Christian writing for the legitimacy of women's leadership; it offers a sharp critique of illegitimate power and a utopian vision of spiritual perfection; it challenges our rather romantic views about the harmony and unanimity of the first Christians; and it asks us to rethink the basis for church authority.
    • Karen King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the first woman apostle, p. 3.

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