Gnostic Doctrine

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Pleroma in the Odes of Solomon

The Use of Pleroma in The Odes of Solomon



The Father of knowledge (gnosis) is the Word (logos) of knowledge (gnosis).
He who created wisdom is wiser than His works.
And He who created me when yet I was not knew what I would do when I came into being.
On account of this He was gracious to me in His abundant grace, and allowed me to ask from Him and to benefit from His sacrifice.
For He it is who is incorrupt, the perfection (Pleroma) of the worlds and their Father.


A few places where the the equivalent of Pleroma occurs (in Syriac) in a somewhat theological sense.


Ode 1 Your fruits are full and complete; they are full of Your salvation....
Ode 6:10 For it spread over the surface of all the earth, and it filled everything.
Ode 7:7 The Father of knowledge is the Word of knowledge.
For He it is who is incorrupt, the perfection of the worlds and their Father.
13 Because He it is that is incorrupt, the fullness of the ages and the Father of them. 
Ode 7:13 For towards knowledge He has set His way, he has widened it and lengthened it and brought it to complete perfection.
Ode 9:4 For in the will of the Lord is your life, and His purpose is eternal life, and your perfection is incorruptible.
Ode 11:23 Indeed, there is much room in Your Paradise. And there is nothing in it which is barren, but everything is filled with fruit.
Ode 17:7 And He who knew and exalted me, is the Most High in all His perfection.
18 You are my God, falsehood and death are not in Your mouth; only perfection is Your will.
Ode 19:3 Because His breasts were full, and it was undesirable that His milk should be ineffectually released.
19:5 Then She gave the mixture to the generation without their knowing, and those who have received it are in the perfection of the right hand.
Ode 23:4 Walk in the knowledge of the Lord, and you will know the grace of the Lord generously; both for His exultation and for the perfection of His knowledge.
Ode 23:21 And the letter became a large volume, which was entirely written by the finger of God.

Ode 26:7 Even from the crest of the summits and unto their extremity is His perfection.
Ode 36:2 And made me stand on my feet in the height of the Lord, before His perfection and His glory, while I was praising Him by the composition of His songs. 
Ode 36:6 And He anointed me with His perfection; and I became one of those who are near Him.

Ode 3 speaks of the “members of the Lord” as if referring to something like the gnostic Pleroma


The Pleroma has consecration and redemtion

Ode 9:4 For in the will of the Lord is your life, and His purpose is eternal life, and your perfection is incorruptible.

For in the good-pleasure of the Lord your life exists, and His thought is the life that is for ever; and incorruptible is-verily your fullness-of-perfection. 


imperishable is your Pleroma/fullness  here perfection is parallel to etenal life 

Your fullness-of-perfection: The Odes of Solomon sometimes uses the words 
Perfection, fullness, complete with the idea of consecration.Hence the Syr. here rendered "fullness-of-perfection" (which is a form of Heb. "full") means (Thes. 2128, and comp. 4210) (i) "complete," (2) "perfection," (3) "consecration."


The thought of a full and perfect redemption of mankind in the course of which humanity is developed "to a full-grown Man" (comp. Eph. 4:13) while still remaining a babe. This full-grown humanity, or "fullness of perfection," he cannot attain except by receiving it from the "fullness of perfection" of Him who (Eph 1:23) "filleth all in all." 

the totality the completion the perfection and fulfilment of the whole body the total number of persons in connection with the angels and the church of divine perfection the totality of aeons whole of the divine sphere or Pleroma   

In the second of these senses it represents (Deut. 33:8 (Syr.)) "Thummim," or " Perfection." 

Ode 6:10 For it spread over the surface of all the earth, and it filled everything.

In Hebrew thought, God filled all things by His Presence, His Spirit, His glory and His Wisdom*^ philo, who bridges the gap between Hebraic and Hellenistic thought, speaks frequently of the omnipresence of God, or His filling all things by means of His Spirit, or the Logos, or Wisdom, or His Providence, or His Powers 3. Philo, Legum Allegoria, III, ii, 4; De Gigantibus, vi. 27-28; De Specialibus Legibus, I, iii, 18; De Vita Mo'sTs, II, xliii, "S38; and many other places*



Ode 36:6 And He anointed me with His perfection; and I became one of those who are near Him.

Here the Messiah is given the fullness of the Most High 


Ode 19:3 Because His breasts were full, and it was undesirable that His milk should be ineffectually released.

Ode 19 Then She gave the mixture to the generation without their knowing, and those who have received it are in the perfection of the right hand.

The metaphor may seem crude to our occidental minds, but such language as "the Divine Word, the milk of the Father,"  

in their choice of the word to convey the thought of "the fullness of God," "the fullness in Christ," and the fullness imparted to believers.

again notice the link  perfection,  consecration.and redemption



Ode 1 Your fruits are full and complete; they are full of Your salvation....

Ode 11:23 Indeed, there is much room in Your Paradise. And there is nothing in it which is barren, but everything is filled with fruit.

your fruits full of your salvation

"the joint fruit of the Pleroma," and "Sophia, mother of all living creatures," and " the Jerusalem that is... Sophia whose spouse is the joint fruit of the Pleroma



The Pleroma and Gnosis

7:7 The Father of knowledge is the Word of knowledge.
For He it is who is incorrupt, the perfection of the worlds and their Father.

13 Because He it is that is incorrupt, the fullness of the ages and the of them.

7:13 For towards knowledge He has set His way, he has widened it and lengthened it and brought it to complete perfection.


Ode 23:4 Walk in the knowledge of the Lord, and you will know the grace of the Lord generously; both for His exultation and for the perfection of His knowledge.

Ode 23:21 And the letter became a large volume, which was entirely written by the finger of God.


The Pleroma as a place

the father of knowlage is called the pleroma of the aeons and their father 
towards gnosis he laid out his way and brought it over the whole pleroma


Ode 7:13 For towards knowledge He has set His way, he has widened it and lengthened it and brought it to complete perfection.


towards gnosis he laid out his way and brought it over the whole pleroma this brings out the spatial character of this fullness

Ode 23:4 Walk in the knowledge of the Lord, and you will know the grace of the Lord generously; both for His exultation and for the perfection of His knowledge.

The walk of life of a person's inner life. the terms way walk and complete perfection perfection of His knowledge or pleroma  are connetied 

The expression the perfection of His knowledge or the pleroma of his gnosis means Yahweh's own knowledge and also the pleroma of the Most High 

Ode 26:7 Even from the crest of the summits and unto their extremity is His perfection. 

Ode 26:7 And from the top of the hills to their utmost bound is His perfection. 

Compare Ps 112:5 LXX 5  (112:5) Who is as the Lord our God? who dwells in the high places,

the summits or hills literally the heights of the Most High define the space of his pleroma 


Ode 36:2 And made me stand on my feet in the height of the Lord, before His perfection and His glory, while I was praising Him by the composition of His songs. 

the pleroma in its divine fullness of being and fullness of essence with spatial dimension

we often find in Philo's writings some form of that familiar phrase, "containing all things but not contained

"There is a third signification (of place), in keeping with which God Himself is called a place, by reason of His containing all things and being contained by nothing whatever, and being a place for all to flee into, and because He is Himself the space which holds Him; for He is that which He Himself has occupied, and nought encloses Him but Himself. I, mark you, am not a place but in a place and each thing likewise that exists; for that which is contained is different from that which contains it, and the Deity, being contained by nothing, is of necessity Itself Its own place.  Philo, De Somniis, I, xi, 63-64. Likewise, see De Migrations AbraEami, xxxii, 181-182; xxxv, 192>; De ConTusione Lingu'arum, xxvii, 136; and Legum Allegoria, I, xiv, 44.



The Pleroma as the nature of God


Ode 16:17 And by their portion one from another they complete the beauty of God.

Ode 17:7 And He who knew and exalted me, is the Most High in all His perfection.



18 You are my God, falsehood and death are not in Your mouth; only perfection is Your will.

the basic idea behind Pleroma, as used of God, was doubtless the concept of a Deity who was all-perfect, who was limited by nothing, "who contained all things but was not contained,"'












Ode 11:2 For the Most High circumcised me by His Holy Spirit, then He uncovered my inward being towards Him, and filled me with His love.


Ode 12:1 He has filled me with words of truth, that I may proclaim Him.

To fill of a person's inner life















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