Text of the Gospel of Mary of Magdala from the Papyrus Berolinensis
Note: Square brackets in the translation indicate a gap in the manuscript where writing once existed; the text within the brackets has been restored by scholars.
Pages 1-6 are missing.
“… Will m[a]tter then be utterly [destr]oyed or not?”
The Savior replied, “Every nature, every modeled form, every creature, exists in and with each other. They will dissolve again into their own proper root. For the nature of matter is dissolved into what belongs to its nature. Anyone with two ears able to hear should listen!”
Then Peter said to him, “You have been explaining every topic to us; tell us one other thing. What is the sin of the world?”
The Savior replied, “There is no such thing as sin; rather you yourselves are what produces sin when you act in accordance with the nature of adultery, which is called ‘sin.’ For this reason, the Good came among you, pursuing (the good) which belongs to every nature. It will set it within its root.”
Then he continued. He said, “This is why you get si[c]k and die: because [you love] what de[c]ei[ve]s [you]. [Anyone who] thinks should consider (these matters)!
“[Ma]tter gav[e bi]rth to a passion which has no Image because it derives from what is contrary to nature. A disturbing confusion then occurred in the whole body. That is why I told you, ‘Become content at heart, while also remaining discontent and disobedient; indeed become contented and agreeable (only) in the presence of that other Image of nature.’ Anyone with two ears capable of hearing should listen!”
When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all. “Peace be with you!” he said. “Acquire my peace within yourselves!
“Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, ‘Look over here!’ or ‘Look over there!’ For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it! Those who search for it will find it.
“Go then, preac[h] the good news about the Realm. [Do] not lay down any rule beyond what I determined for you, nor promulgate law like the lawgiver, or else you might be dominated by it.”
After he had said these things, he departed from them.
But they were distressed and wept greatly. “How are we going to go out to the rest of the world to announce the good news about the Realm of the child of true Humanity?” they said. “If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?”
Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, addressing her brothers and sisters, “Do not weep and be distressed nor let your hearts be irresolute. For his grace will be with you all and will shelter you. Rather we should praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us true Human beings.”
When Mary had said these things, she turned their heart [to]ward the Good, and they began to deba[t]e about the wor[d]s of [the Savior].
Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than all other women. Tell us the words of the Savior that you remember, the things which you know that we don’t because we haven’t heard them.”
Mary responded, “I will teach you about what is hidden from you.” And she began to speak these words to them.
She said, “I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, ‘Lord, I saw you today in a vision.’
He answered me, ‘How wonderful you are for not wavering at seeing me! For where the mind is, there is the treasure.’
I said to him, ‘So now, Lord, does a person who sees a vision see it <with> the soul <or> with the spirit?’
The Savior answered, ‘A person does not see with the soul or with the spirit. ‘Rather the mind, which exists between these two, sees the vision an[d] that is w[hat … ]’
(Pages 11-14 are missing.)
” ‘… it.’
“And Desire said, ‘I did not see you go down, yet now I see you go up. So why do you lie since you belong to me?’
“The soul answered, ‘I saw you. You did not see me nor did you know me. You (mis)took the garment (I wore) for my (true) self. And you did not recognize me.’
“After it had said these things, it left rejoicing greatly.
“Again, it came to the third Power, which is called ‘Ignorance.’ [It] examined the soul closely, saying, ‘Where are you going? You are bound by wickedness. Indeed you are bound! Do not judge!’
“And the soul said, ‘Why do you judge me, since I have not passed judgement? I have been bound, but I have not bound (anything). They did not recognize me, but I have recognized that the universe is to be dissolved, both the things of earth and those of heaven.’
“When the soul had brought the third Power to naught, it went upward and saw the fourth Power. It had seven forms. The first form is darkness; the second is desire; the third is ignorance; the fourth is zeal for death; the fifth is the realm of the flesh; the sixth is the foolish wisdom of the flesh; the seventh is the wisdom of the wrathful person. These are the seven Powers of Wrath.
“They interrogated the soul, ‘Where are you coming from, human-killer, and where are you going, space-conqueror?’
“The soul replied, saying, ‘What binds me has been slain, and what surrounds me has been destroyed, and my desire has been brought to an end, and ignorance has died. In a [wor]ld, I was set loose from a world [an]d in a type, from a type which is above, and (from) the chain of forgetfulness which exists in time. From this hour on, for the time of the due season of the aeon, I will receive rest i[n] silence.’ ”
After Mary had said these things, she was silent, since it was up to this point that the Savior had spoken to her.
Andrew responded, addressing the brothers and sisters, “Say what you will about the things she has said, but I do not believe that the S[a]vior said these things, f[or] indeed these teachings are strange ideas.”
Peter responded, bringing up similar concerns. He questioned them about the Savior: “Did he, then, speak with a woman in private without our knowing about it? Are we to turn around and listen to her? Did he choose her over us?”
Then [M]ary wept and said to Peter, “My brother Peter, what are you imagining? Do you think that I have thought up these things by myself in my heart or that I am telling lies about the Savior?”
Levi answered, speaking to Peter, “Peter, you have always been a wrathful person. Now I see you contending against the woman like the Adversaries. For if the Savior made her worthy, who are you then for your part to reject her? Assuredly the Savior’s knowledge of her is completely reliable. That is why he loved her more than us.
“Rather we should be ashamed. We should clothe ourselves with the perfect Human, acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and announce the good news, not laying down any other rule or law that differs from what the Savior said.”
After [he had said these] things, they started going out [to] teach and to preach.
[The Gos]pel according to Mary