Further discussion of Trimorphic Protennoia

In The Legacy of John edited by Tuomas Rasimus, per University of Nebraska’s John Douglas Turner it is possible that “Protennoia is the Spirit of Light” as she enters Jesus at his baptism, “descending like a dove.” ApJohn & GosJohn allude to the fact that it is Christ’s Spirit that descends upon Jesus. Once again, we can see the Christ/Pronoia similarity/relation. In TriProt, “Protennoia merely ‘appeared’ as the Logos, and s/he did not actually become flesh.”

“Rather than Jesus preparing a place for believers, actually the Logos raised Jesus aloft and installed him into the Aeonic dwelling place of his Father, not the Demiurge, but the true Father, the invisible Spirit. Unlike GosJohn, rather than Jesus being the agent of Salvation, he is among its recipients [not that Christ is!] Indeed the Logos did come to confer a baptism, but not a baptism merely conferring the Spirit as in John 3:5—it was instead a baptism that resulted in immediate rapture into the Light. Salvation is imminent in the TriProt, and one does not need to ‘wait’ for GosJohn’s Paraclete (Advocate)  [though the Spirit could essentially take on this role.]”

Turner believes that GosJohn and ApJohn (and by extension TriProt) are nearly contemporaneously written works due to the Pronoia Monologue and the Johannine Prologue. Both GosJohn & TriProt clearly associate the Logos with the final, definitive stage of revelation. The “Living Water” seems to be identical with either the Spirit or Jesus’ Word—or both. This “Living Water” surrounds the invisible Spirit and Pronoia. In fact, according to Turner, the Fourth Gospel, “by way of silence [inferred in TriProt too] seems to polemicize against the tradition of Jesus’ (and perhaps believers’?) baptism in ordinary water. Of course this baptismal water is very different from that included in the Synoptics.”

Both ApJohn & GosJohn emphasize “the pre-existence of Christ before the creation of the world and before the mission of John.”  There are two groups of six in the Johannine Sect on “the left” according to Raymond Brown, Groups Five and Six; both had a very high Christology that called into question the relevancy (not necessarily the veracity) of Christ actually having to live “in the flesh,” whereas the former does explicitly affirm the Spirit’s existence “in the flesh” in Jesus. Each formally acknowledges Christ’s preexistence.

1 & 2 John reference the secessionists’ doceticism. As mentioned in The Gospel of John Section, I believe Christ’s Spirit entered Jesus “descending like a dove,” then to leave at the crucifixion, and this is a more moderate form.  Pure doceticism calls into question the notion of Christ even having been in a human body. I would not exclude those who hold this belief in my creed as the Spirit aspect is what’s important to me, thus Christ, and this connects with GosJohn’s PrologueApJohn, and TriProt.

GosJohn could be compared with TriProt to come to the conclusion that the latter shares a heterodox affinity with and preference for John. Harvard’s George MacRae, in Gnosticism and the Church of John’s Gospel (as appears in C.W. Hedrick’s and R Hodgson’s Nag Hammadi Gnosticism, and Early Christianity,) “The most clearly focused and concrete contribution to the discussion of a possible Gnostic background to the Fourth Gospel is the suggestion that the Johannine Prologue is related to the mythological scheme of the Nag Hammadi Trimorphic Protennoia NHC XIII.”

The University of Exeter’s Alastair Logan in John and the Gnostics sees Johannine influence not only in allusions, but in the “underlying structure which the myth is presupposed. Thus it is not simply a matter of direct literal influence from John’s Gospel, but rather of that Gospel as a source among others, working at various levels, offering fresh perspectives in a continuing process of remythologization.”

According to Turner, in relation to GosJohn, the Johannine understanding of those who reject Jesus’ teaching as children of the devil (or the children of the “father of the devil” per DeConick’s analysis) connects with ApJohn’s & TriProt’s “entire portrayal of the Powers of darkness who created and rule the lower world. This lower God is the father of the cosmos whose nature is shown by his acts of hostility and ignorance…as in the Fourth Gospel those who reject Jesus are the children of this lower God, not by nature, but because they have not yet received the true Spirit.”

Per Trimorphic Protennoia’s text, and these Verses portend three of the Direct Revelations found at the end of this work, namely the second, fourth, and seventh:

  • “Then I too revealed my Voice secretly, saying, “Cease! Desist, (you) who tread on matter; for behold, I am coming down to the world of mortals for the sake of my portion that was in that place from the time when the innocent Sophia was conquered, she who descended, so that I might thwart their aim which the one revealed by her appoints.” And all were disturbed, each one who dwells in the house of the ignorant light, and the abyss trembled. And the Archigenetor of ignorance reigned over Chaos and the underworld, and produced a man in my likeness. But he neither knew that that one would become for him a sentence of dissolution, nor does he recognize the power in him.”
  • For I shall tell you a mystery of this particular Aeon, and tell you about the forces that are in it. The birth beckons; hour begets hour, day begets day. The months made known the month. Time has gone round succeeding time. This particular aeon was completed in this fashion, and it was estimated, and it (was) short, for it was a finger that released a finger, and a joint that was separated from a joint. Then, when the great Authorities knew that the time of fulfillment had appeared — just as in the pangs of the parturient it (the time) has drawn near, so also had the destruction approached — all together the elements trembled, and the foundations of the underworld and the ceilings of Chaos shook, and a great fire shone within their midst, and the rocks and the earth were shaken like a reed shaken by the wind. And the lots of Fate and those who apportion the domiciles were greatly disturbed over a great thunder. And the thrones of the Powers were disturbed, since they were overturned, and their King was afraid. And those who pursue Fate paid their allotment of visits to the path, and they said to the Powers, “What is this disturbance and this shaking that has come upon us through a Voice <belonging> to the exalted Speech? And our entire habitation has been shaken, and the entire circuit of the path of ascent has met with destruction, and the path upon which we go, which takes us up to the Archgenitor of our birth, has ceased to be established for us.”
  • “Then the Powers answered, saying, ‘We too are at loss about it, since we did not know what was responsible for it. But arise, let us go up to the Archgenitor and ask him.’ And the powers all gathered and went up to the Archgenitor. They said to him, ‘Where is your boasting in which you boast? Did we not hear you say, ‘I am God, and I am your Father, and it is I who begot you, and there is none beside me?’ Now behold, there has appeared a Voice belonging to that invisible Speech of the Aeon which we know not. And we ourselves did not recognize to whom we belong, for that Voice which we listened to is foreign to us, and we did not recognize it; we did not know whence it was. It came and put fear in our midst and weakening in the members of our arms. So now let us weep and mourn most bitterly!’”