Laws in the Apocryphon of James

No one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven at Christ's bidding, but (only) because you yourself are full [of Light]. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Become full, and leave no space within you empty [of Light]. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Become full, that you may not be in want. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

He who has been filled, in turn attains due perfection. Therefore, you must be in want while it is possible to fill you, and be full while it is possible for you to be in want, so that you may be able to fill yourselves the more. Hence, become full of the Spirit, but be in want of reason, for reason belongs to the soul; in turn, it is (of the nature of) soul. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

If you are oppressed and persecuted, and you do His (i.e., the Father's) will, He will love you . . . and reckon you to have become beloved through His providence by your own choice. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Cease loving the flesh and being afraid of sufferings; you have yet to be abused and accused unjustly, to be shut up in prison, condemned unlawfully, crucified without reason, and buried by the evil one. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

If you consider how long the world existed before you, and how long it will exist after you, you will find that your life is one single day, and your sufferings one single hour. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

None will be saved unless they believe in the Crucifixion, [Resurrection and Ascension]. When you examine death, it will teach you election. None of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom belongs to those who put themselves [their self] to death. Make yourself like the son of the Holy Spirit! – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Come to hate hypocrisy and the evil thought; for it is the thought that gives birth to hypocrisy; hypocrisy is far from truth. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Do not allow the kingdom of heaven to wither; for it is like a palm shoot whose fruit has dropped down around it. They (i.e., the fallen fruit) put forth leaves, and after they sprout, they cause their womb to dry up. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Become earnest about the Word! For as to the Word, its first part is faith; the second, love; the third, works; for from these comes life. For the Word is like a grain of wheat; when someone had sown it, he had faith in it; and when it had sprouted, he loved it, because he had seen many grains in place of one. And when he had worked, he was saved, because he had prepared it for food, (and) again he left (some) to sow. So also can you yourselves receive the kingdom of heaven; unless you receive this through knowledge, you will not be able to find it. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Christ descends to dwell with us, so that we in turn might dwell with Christ; finding our houses unceiled, Christ makes his abode in the houses that could receive him. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Understand what the great Light is: The Father has no need of us, for a father does not need a son, but it is the son who needs the father. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Hearken to the Word, understand knowledge, love life, and no one will persecute you, nor will anyone oppress you, other than you yourselves. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

The Father is not won over without prayers. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

The Father does not grant remission to one on another's behalf. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Without the soul, the body does not sin, just as the soul is not saved without the spirit. But if the soul without evil is saved, and the spirit is also saved, then the body becomes free from sin. For it is the spirit that raises the soul, but the body that kills it; that is, it is the soul which kills itself. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Blessed will they be who ascend to the Father. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Do not make the kingdom of heaven a desert within you. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Do not be proud because of the Light that illumines, but be to yourselves as Christ is to you. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

He who will receive life and believe in the kingdom will never leave it, not even if the Father wishes to banish him. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Blessed are they who have proclaimed the Son before his descent, that when he have come, he might ascend (again). – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

Thrice blessed are they who were proclaimed by the Son before they came to be, that you might have a portion among them. – The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2.

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The Apocryphon of James is the text of Nag Hammadi Codex I, 2. The Nag Hammadi Codices, a set of fifty-two religious and philosophical texts, are so named because a peasant found them near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Unfortunately, his family burned an unknown number of them as fuel before discovering they were valuable. They languished in the Coptic Museum at Cairo for years until a scholar came searching. See the full history at: Nag Hammadi

The Apocryphon of James (also titled the Secret Book of James) is the second text in Codex I of the Nag Hammadi Library. We have used the Williams translation for this list. Translator Francis E. Williams writes: "The emphasis upon knowledge, and the use of such typically Gnostic themes as sleep, drunkenness, and sickness, suggest that the tractate would be at home within Christian Gnosticism. The Apocryphon of James may have been written in Egypt in the third century C.E., though some would place it later." The Nag Hammadi Library, page 29.


References

Williams, Francis E., Trans. "The Apocryphon of James." The Nag Hammadi Library. Ed. James M. Robinson. San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1981, p. 29-36.

Peter Kirby has formulated an impressive collection of early Christian documents and links available at: Early Christian Writings

The text of The Apocryphon of James is available online at: Gnosis


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