Gospel of James the Grieving


This ancient lost Gospel manuscript is part of the Nag Hammadi library (Codex V) found in the Egyptian desert. The manuscript is thought to have been originally written in the first or early second century. Other translations of this manuscript have titled it, "First Apocalypse of James." Due to there being no apocalypse contemplated in the text, this translation is aptly named.

1. The Master said to me, “You can see now my deliverance will be fulfilled. I gave you an indication these things would happen, my brother James. Although I call you my brother, you are not actually my brother. Also I have not been ignoring you. So when I give you an instruction, understand it and hear it.

2. “Nothing existed before Yahweh. He is indescribable and unparalleled. I am also indescribable because I am from Yahweh. I have been described differently, but from Yahweh I have received two names. As for myself, I became manifest before you.

3. “Since you have asked concerning the subordinate: The subordinate was created, but the subordinate wasn’t first. Yet from her came demigods and authorities. But she didn’t exist when I became manifest, for I was made in the image of Yahweh.

4. “Yet I have delivered His likeness in order that the followers of Yahweh would know those things that are foreign. Look, I will reveal all these confidential things to you. Because they will be arresting me the day after tomorrow. But my deliverance is almost here.”

5. James said, “Rabbi, you said, ‘they will capture me.’ But what can I do?”

6. He said to me, “Don’t be afraid, James. They will also capture you. But you should depart from Jerusalem. Because she always serves a cup of bitterness to the followers of illumination. Within her lives many authorities. But your deliverance will be protected from them.

7. “In order that you may know who and what types they are, you’ll [missing text]. Then listen. They aren’t [missing text] only authorities [missing text]. The twelve [missing text] below [missing text] authorities [missing text] upon His sage."

8. James asked, “Rabbi, then are there twelve sages and not seven as the scriptures say?”

9. The Master replied, “James, those who interpreted this scripture understood little. Nevertheless, I will disclose to you what manifested from the Boundless One. I will indicate to you their number and what has manifested from the Immeasurable One.”

10. James replied, “Look, Rabbi. I received the number: Seventy-two portions.”

11. The Master said, “These are the seventy-two universes. They are secondary. They were manifested by the great authorities. They are spread throughout, manifested under the authority of the twelve magistrates. Their lesser strength was manifested for the angels and uncountable keepers.

12. “However, Yahweh received [missing text] on the basis of [missing text] Yahweh [missing text] are numerous. If you seek to count them you will be unable unless you depart from the blindness of the shackles of the flesh that bind you. Then you will reach Yahweh. Then you’ll no longer be James. Instead, you will be Yahweh’s, and the uncountable will praise His Name.”

13. “Rabbi, how will I reach Yahweh since all those authorities and keepers oppose me?”

14. He replied, “The authorities are not opposed to you. Rather, they are opposed to each other. They are opposed to me. And they are opposed to other authorities. Yet their opinions oppose me. They give not [missing text] for me that [missing text] from them [missing text].

15. “In this place [missing text] suffering, I will [missing text]. He will [missing text] and I won’t blame them. But there will remain inside of me a silent mystery. But as to their hostility, I am humbled.”

16. James said, “Rabbi, if they are opposed to you, is there no guilt? You have appeared with knowledge so that you can remove their forgetfulness. You have appeared with remembrance, so that might remove their ignorance. Yet I am concerned for you, because you descended into a vast ignorance. Yet you have not been polluted by it, because you descended into a vast oblivion and your remembrance was maintained.

17. “You walked in dirt and your clothing was not dirtied. You weren’t covered by their filth. You were not snagged. And I wasn’t like them, yet I became clothed by them. Within me there is forgetfulness. But I recall things they do not. Within me there is [missing text] and I am within their [missing text].

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18. “Yet I fear them, because they are in charge. Because how can I even speak to them? What can I say to escape them?”

19. The Master replied, “James, I commend your insights and fear. While you may be troubled, be concerned only for your deliverance. Because look, I will complete my duty within this world as foretold from the spiritual realm. And to you will I reveal your deliverance.”

20. James said, “Rabbi, how will you once again appear again? Once they arrest you and you are met with this fate, you will return to Yahweh.”

21. The Master replied, “James, once these things take place, I shall disclose all this to you – not just on your behalf, but on behalf of those untrusting people. So they may have trust. For many will gain trust and will have more [missing text]. Yet afterward I will appear to rebuke the institutions.

22. “And I will show them that the self cannot be arrested. Should they try to arrest the self, they will be overpowered. But for now I depart. Remember what I taught you and allow them to precede you.”

23. James replied, “Master, I will proceed as you have instructed.”

24. The Master said goodbye to him and completed what was appropriate.

25. Once James heard of his suffering, he was grieving. Then they waited for an indication of his appearance. After a few days, he appeared. James was walking up the hill called Gaugelan with his disciples. They listened to him, for they were also grieving. And he [missing text] comforted them, and said, “Here is [missing text] second [missing text].”

26. Then the people left, but James stayed [missing text] prayer [missing text] as he often did. Then the Master appeared to him. And he stopped praying and embraced him.

27. He kissed him and said, “Rabbi, I found you! I heard about the suffering you endured and I have been grieving greatly. You know that I was grieving. Due to this, I wish to never see those people again. They should be judged for what they did. For what they did was uncalled for.”

28. The Master replied, “James, don’t worry about me or these people. I am the self within the body. I didn’t suffer at all, nor was I in distress. So these people have not harmed me.

29. “But they were present to underscore the institutions that are worthy of destruction. Yet [missing text] the institutions, [missing text] which [missing text] yet once [missing text] by anger [missing text]. The devoted [missing text] becomes His follower. This is why your name is “James the Devoted.

30. “You understand why you became serious once you saw me. Then you stopped praying. Because you are a devoted man of God, you have embraced me and kissed me. Truly I tell you, you have provoked anger and hostility about you. Yet this is so that others may be revealed.”

31. Yet James was ashamed. He wept, and was extremely sad. Then the two of them sat down on a rock.

32. The Master told him, “James – you must be subjected to persecution. But don’t be saddened. Because the flesh is weak. It must receive whatever has been determined for it. Yet as far as you are concerned, don’t be ashamed or fearful.”

33. The Master stopped. Once James heard this, he wiped away the tears from his eyes and very grievously [missing text] that is [missing text].

34. The Master told him, “Look, James, I will impart your deliverance to you. When you are arrested, and you undergo persecution, many will attack you and they will take you. More specifically, three tax collectors will take you. They not only demand tax, but they also steal souls.

35. “When you have come under their control, one of their guards will ask you, ‘Who are you and where do you come from?’ You should tell him, ‘I am a son and I come from the Father.’ He will ask you, ‘What kind of son are you, and to which father do you belong?' You are to tell him, ‘I am from the Eternal Creator – I follow the Eternal One.’

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36. ‘[missing text] by foreign things?' You should tell him they are not foreign, but they are from the subordinate Achamoth. And she created these as she descended in genealogy from the Eternal One. Thus they are not foreign – they belong to us.

37. “They certainly belong to us. For she who is their partner comes from the Eternal One. Once they were foreign because the Eternal One did not support her when they were produced.

38. “When they also ask you, ‘Where will you go?’ You should tell them, ‘I will return to the place I came from.’ And if you tell them these things you shall escape their assaults.

39. “But once you come upon the three obstacles that steal souls away in that place [missing text] this. You [missing text] a vessel [missing text] greater than [missing text] by the one you [missing text] for [missing text] her foundation.

40. “You will also be serious, yet I invoke the eternal knowledge from Sophia – who is with the Father – who is the mother of Achamoth. Achamoth has neither a father or husband. Rather, she is a subordinate manifested from a subordinate. She manifested you without a husband, as she was alone. Because she considered herself alone, she ignored that which comes through her mother.

41. “Yet I call upon her mother, and when they fall into confusion, they will blame their foundation and the nature of their mother. Yet you will rise up to your destiny [missing text] you shall [missing text] the Immortal One.

42. “A reflection of the twelve messengers and twelve pairs [missing text] Achamoth. This is transmuted as ‘Sophia.’ Then I am who I am – the eternal Sophia will provide redemption for all who are followers of Yahweh. These are things they knew but were concealed inside them. You should conceal them inside you and keep quiet.

43. “But you shall disclose them to Addai. As soon as you depart, a war will break out within this region. Mourn for those who dwell in Jerusalem then. But allow Addai to understand these things. When he is ten, instruct Addai to sit and write these down. Once he writes these down [missing text] then they are to be given [missing text] he should have [missing text] he is named Levi.

44. “Then he shall deliver [missing text] teachings [missing text] about what I spoke before [missing text] a woman [missing text] Jerusalem with her [missing text] then with her he fathers two sons. They shall receive these, and the knowledge of he who [missing text] praises.

45. “Then they shall receive [missing text] through him from his mind. The greater one of them will be the youngest, and these things will stay concealed inside him until he becomes seventeen years of age [missing text] starting [missing text] with them. They will surely follow him because they come from his [missing text] associates. He shall be glorified by them and they shall profess his teachings. Then he shall become a source of [missing text].”

46. James said, “I am pleased [missing text] and these will [missing text] my soul. But I ask of you one more thing: Who are your seven women disciples? Through these, all women glorify you. I am just surprised that subordinate vessels became strengthened from the vision within them.”

47. The Master replied, “You [missing text] good [missing text] the spirit of [missing text], the spirit of intelligence, the spirit of guidance of [missing text], the spirit [missing text] the spirit of understanding [missing text] by their fear.

48. “[missing text] once we came forth through the breathing of God, named Adonai. [missing text] he and [missing text] he was unaware [missing text] when I manifested from Him he understood that I was His follower. He was kind to me, as I was His follower. But before appearing here, these were placed among this generation. And the Prophets [missing text] from the region of heaven.”

49. James said, “Rabbi, [missing text] I [missing text] everything [missing text] within them notably [missing text].”

50. The Master replied, “James, I am honoring you [missing text] travel the world [missing text] the teachings as He [missing text] upon [missing text]. Now discard the vessel of suffering. Because there will be some from [missing text] will stand against you. Because you have started to understand what is the beginning and the end of their foundation.

51. “Step away from disobedience. And be careful, as they are jealous of you. When you teach the doctrine of awareness, entrust the four – Salome, Mary, Martha and Arsinoe [missing text] since he draws some [missing text] to me he is [missing text] devotional offerings and [missing text]. Yet I [missing text] not of this manner, but [missing text] first fruits from the [missing text] on high [missing text] in order that the omniscience of God may be revealed. The mortal as risen to the eternal and the inferior element has accomplished the superior element.”

52. James said, “Rabbi, then within these three, into these three have their [missing text] been discarded? Because they were repulsed and persecuted [missing text]. Look, [missing text] everything [missing text] from everyone [missing text]. Because you were given [missing text] knowledge. And [missing text] that what is the [missing text] go [missing text] you will discover [missing text]. But I will go out and reveal their trust in you, so they become fulfilled with their praising and deliverance. Thus, this revelation may occur.”

53. Then he immediately departed and chastised the twelve and discarded their contentment with regards to the path of knowledge [missing text].

54. [missing text]. Then most of them [missing text] once they understood, the messenger brought in [missing text]. Some others [missing text] said, “[missing text] him from this world. For he is unworthy of living.” Then they became fearful. They got up and said, “We don’t have responsibility for this blood, for an honorable man can die because of dishonor. “

55. James left in order to [missing text] understand [missing text] because we [missing text] him.


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