The Laws in Asclepius 21-29

Wickedness remains among (the) many, since learning concerning the [mysteries] does not exist among them. For the knowledge of the [mysteries] is truly the healing of the passions of the matter. Therefore, learning is something derived from knowledge. – Asclepius 21-29, Codex VI, 8

If there is ignorance, and learning does not exist in the soul of man, (then) the incurable passions persist in it (the soul). And additional evil comes with them (the passions), in the form of an incurable sore. And the sore constantly gnaws at the soul, and through it the soul produces worms from the evil, and stinks. But God is not the cause of these things, since he sent to men knowledge and learning. – Asclepius 21-29, Codex VI, 8

Concerning these things (learning and knowledge) which we have mentioned from the beginning, he (God) perfected them in order that by means of these things he might restrain passions and evils, according to his will. He brought his (man's) mortal existence into immortality; he (man) became good (and) immortal, just as I have said. For he (God) created (a) two‑fold nature for him: the immortal and the mortal. – Asclepius 21-29, Codex VI, 8

Such is the senility of the world: atheism, dishonor, and the disregard of noble words. – Asclepius 21-29, Codex VI, 8

Asclepius 21-29 is the text of the Nag Hammadi Codex VI, 8. 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:

The Coptic Asclepius 21-29 (Codex VI, 8), is fragment of a Hermetic tractate known in a Latin version and from the original Greek. This Asclepius excerpt may have been used with the Hermetic Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (VI, 6). The "two-fold nature" mentioned suggests that it is Gnostic. We have used the Brashler-Dirkse-Parrott translation.


Brashler, James, Peter A. Dirkse, and Douglas M. Parrott, Trans. "Asclepius 21‑29." The Nag Hammadi Library. Ed. James M. Robinson. San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1981. 300-307.

This Asclepius 21-29 text is available online at:

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