In my previous post discussing Valentinian Gnosticism I mentioned an intriguing Valentinian text, the Gospel of Philip. Now I’d like to explain what it is and give you a bit of the opening section in translation so you can get a taste of it yourself. I’ve taken all this from the second edition of my book After the New Testament; the introduction is mine but the translation comes from Marvin Meyer, referenced below
Even though the Gospel of Philip, also discovered at Nag Hammadi, is easily recognized as Valentinian, the book is notoriously difficult to understand in its details. In part this is due to the form of its composition. It is not a narrative Gospel of the type found in the New Testament or a group of self-contained sayings like the Gospel of Thomas (see Chapter 8). It is instead a collection of mystical reflections that have evidently been excerpted from previously existing sermons, treatises, and theological meditations, brought together here under the name of Philip — presumably Jesus’ own disciple. Since they are given in relative isolation, without any real narrative context, the reflections are difficult to interpret. There are, at any rate, extensive uses of catchwords to organize some of the material, and several principal themes emerge upon a careful reading.
Among the clearest emphases is