Apocalypse of Adam

Apocalypse of Adam

The Apocalypse of Adam discovered in 1946 as part of the Nag Hammadi library (codex V.5) is a Gnostic work surviving in Coptic translation. It proclaims one form of Sethian Gnosticism. It is in the context of Jewish Apocalyptic literature. Whether there are further elements of Christian influence is a matter of debate. The Coptic manuscript dates to the 4th century, but the Greek original may have originated anywhere between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD.

Adam in his 700th year tells Seth how he learned a word of knowledge of the eternal God from Eve and that he and Eve were indeed more powerful than their supposed creator. But that knowledge was lost in the fall when the subcreator - the demiurge - separated Adam and Eve. Adam relates how three mysterious strangers brought about Seth's begetting and so a preservation of this knowledge. Adam then prophecies at length attempts of the subcreator god to destroy mankind, including the prophecy of the great Deluge and of attempted destruction by fire but an Illuminator will come in the end. When the Illuminator comes, thirteen kingdoms proclaim thirteen different standard but conflicting birth legends about the Illuminator, but only the "generation without a king" proclaims the truth.

Non-Gnostic last words of Adam to Seth are found in Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, the Life of Adam and Eve and the Testament of Adam.

Further reading

  • Translation by George W. McRae and Douglas M. Parrott from The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990 (ISBN 0-06-066935-7)

External links

  • Gnostic Society: Nag Hammadi Library
  • Pseudepigrapha
  • Metareligion
  • Free Books: Apocrypha (PDF version)