Dinner discussions are an informal time to meet and get to know each other, to discuss what we’re reading, ask questions, and share ideas and experiences.
This month, we will continue our in-depth study of the Secret Book of John. We are slowly exploring the text over several sessions, during which we discuss what to do with it, what it means for the spiritual journey and how it might ask you to respond.
The Secret Book of John, also referred to as the Secret Revelation to John or the Apocryphon of John or simply Secret John, is perhaps the most significant gnostic text discovered thus far. Less well-known than the Gospel of Thomas, Secret John is one of the earliest renderings of a gnostic cosmology and one of the most intriguing guides to the spiritual journey of the human soul.
Before The Meeting
The most important thing before you come is that you have read the text up to the end of the emanation of the aeons, before Sophia gives birth. In both the long and short versions, the section is numbered “9” and it ends like this:
And the Invisible one gave him an unconquerable intellectual power. And he spoke and glorified and praised the invisible Spirit, saying, Because of you the All came into being and it is to you that the All will return. And I will praise and glorify you and Autogenes with the three Aeons: the Father, the Mother, the Child, the perfect power.’
And It set up his Child Seth over the second Aeon beside the second Light Oroiel.
And in the third Aeon were set up the seed of Seth over the third Light, Daveithai. And the holy souls were set up.
In the fourth Aeon were set up the souls of those who were ignorant of the Fullness and did not repent immediately but they persisted a while. And afterward they repented. They dwelled beside the fourth Light Eleleth.
These are the creatures who glorify the invisible Spirit.
This section is long and confusing and you shouldn’t expect it to make sense the first time you read it. It may help to read over it once without getting bogged down, read the notes and then try the text again.
If you don’t have a copy of the text already, I’d recommend the Waldstein & Wisse translation which is available at the Gnostic Society Library. Their translations of the short version and the long version are both available there.
Please RSVP by email or Facebook if you’re planning to come.