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Hypsiphrone

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Treatise
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Greek
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Estimated Range of Dating: 150-350 A.D.

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Information on Hypsiphrone

John D. Turner writes, "Hypsiphrone, which means 'high-minded one' or perhaps 'arrogant one,' is the fourth and last treatise of Nag Hammadi Codex XI (69,23-72,35). It presently consists of four large and two or three small fragments containing the lower portions of the inner and outer margins of two or three papyrus leaves, which must have originally contained the entirety of this short treatise. It is written in the same script as the much longer and better preserved treatise preceding it in the codex, Allogenes the Stranger, although there is no discernible further relationship between these two treatises. Unlike the other treatises of Codex XI, it is written in a standard Sahidic Coptic dialect. Its date can be fixed only at some point prior to a terminus ad quem of around 350 CE, the time of the burial of Codex XI along with the other Nag Hammadi codices, and its authorship is indeterminate. Although the conclusion of the treatise is not extant, it is possible that it bore the superscript title 'Hypsiph[rone],' the remainder of the title being restored form other occurences of this name within the treatise. Fragment 2 and probably fragment 1 of plates 81 and 82 of The Facsimile Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices: Codices XI, XII, and XIII also belong to the text of Hypsiphrone (and - assuming a final inserted leaf without conjugate at the beginning of the codex - perhaps even fragment 4), but cannot be placed accurately, given the present state of the text." (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 701)

Birger A. Pearson writes, "Hypsiphrone is a short tractate of less than four pages in length, or perhaps an excerpt from a larger tractate, that was inscribed into the last four pages of Codex XI. The title occurs at the beginning, marked with decorations: 'Hupsiph[rone].' The feminine name Hypsiphrone ('High-Minded') occurs in three other places in the tractate. Unfortunately, the codex is severely damaged, and only four large and two small fragments are preserved of the two leaves constituting those last four pages. The opening sentence has been reconstructed to read: 'The book [concerning the things] that were seen [by] Hypsiphrone [revealed] in the place of [her] virginity' (69,22-26)." (Ancient Gnosticism, p. 249)

John D. Turner writes, "The only other named figure in Hypsiphrone is Phainops (phainops, 'he of the bright eye, or visage, or appearance'), whose more common form phainops is found as an astral epithet in astrological texts form the fourth century onward, perhaps suggesting a similar affiliation for terms like staying in or moving out of one's 'house' of virginity. He is named by Hypsiphrone as one who apparently presides over a 'wellspring' or 'fount' (pege) of blood into which he breathes and that seems to produce a fiery effect, perhaps a metaphor for sexual passion. Since in Leviticus 20:18 the phrase 'fout of blood' refers to the genitalia of a menstruating woman and in Mark 5:29 to those of a hemorrhaging woman, the reference to breathing into her fount or wellspring of blood seems a bit unusual, perhaps referring to an act of cunnilingus. Nevertheless, in the end, Phainops is characterized as a benign figure who 'has not gone astray' or acted aggressively with Hypsiphrone." (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 702)


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