Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Gospel of Philip and Judaism

Judaism and the The Gospel of Philip




The Gospel of Philip shows some close links with Judaism. Indeed the gospel begins with the introduction “A Hebrew makes another Hebrew” in 51.29-31. 5 There are several other references to Judaism as well. The next verses says, “A gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die."
He said on that day in the prayer of thanksgiving (Passover), You who have united perfect light with holy spirit, unite the angels also with us, as images.


30. He said on that day in the Eucharistº: Oh Thou who have matedº the Perfect Light with the Sacred Spirit,¹ mate also our angels with the imagesº! (¹NB in Hebrew/Aramaic the word ‘light’ [rw)] is masculine, while ‘spirit’ [xwr] is feminine; hyperlinear)

Eucharist: Greek ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΙΑ (well-joying, thanksgiving); the service of bread and wine or the last supper (Lk 22:14-20);

the Christian tradition of celebrating the Eucharist developed out of Passover traditions


This is a clear indication of some empathy toward Judaism. Also, there is reference to the Jewish Temple. In verses 69.14-24 there is discussion of the Temple and “the holy,” “the holy of the holy,” and the “holy of the holies." Each of these is compared with a Gnostic ritual service and so valued quite highly.

There is an association in The Gospel of Philip between Gnostic ritual service and the Temple in Jerusalem. It says in 69.14-25, “Baptism is ‘the holy’ building. Redemption is ‘the holy of the holy.’ ‘The holy of the holies’ is the bridal chamber."


The verses that follow these references to the Temple associate baptism with resurrection and redemption, redemption with bridal chamber, and makes note that bridal chamber is superior.

Lastly, in reference to the serpent from The Book of Genesis it says in 61.6-8, “First adultery came into being, afterward murder. And he was begotten in adultery, for he was the child of the serpent."


Many Gnostic works venerate the serpent figure of Genesis. The opinion of the serpent here may be an indication of the earliness of this gospel and of its close ties to Judaism. All of these elements combine to show that it is possible that this Gnostic sect may have grown out of a Judaic-Christian community. At any rate they show a deep respect for Judaism.

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