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The Gospel of Perfection

At a Glance
Treatise
Genre:
(5/5) *****
Reliability of Dating:
(5/5) *****
Length of Text:
Greek
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 120-180 A.D.

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Information on The Gospel of Perfection

Henri-Charles Puech and Beate Blatz say of the attestation for this text: "The Gospel of Perfection is mentioned by Epiphanius in his Panarion (26.2.5; I, p. 277. 13-17 Holl; tr. Williams, NHS 35, p. 84). The document is also mentioned in Filastrius of Brescia (Haer. 33.7, p. 18. 18 Marx), but this is dependent on Epiphanius, as the immediate context shows. The two heresiologues are content to adduce the title of the work (euaggelion teleiwsews, evangelium consummationis), and both condemn it. Epiphanius gives as its authors the 'Gnostics', Filastrius the Nicolatians (discussed in Epiph. Pan. 25) - whom he confuses with the Gnostici." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, p. 357)

They also comment on the hypothetical content of this lost text: "Harnack (Litg. I, 167f.) and Hennecke (NT Apocrypha, p. 69) propose (not without reservations) to explain title and content with the aid of a Naassene saying quoted by Hippolytus (Ref. V 6.6; V 8.38, cf. X 9): 'The beginning of perfection (arxh teleiwsews) is the knowledge of man, the knowledge of God is complete perfection (aphrtismenh teleiwsis).' This proposal is debatable. One might also appeal to Irenaeus (adv. Haer. I 30.14) and conjecture that the gospel related to the 'future consummation' (consummationem futuram), which is to take place when all the spiritual 'seed of light' dispersed in the world is finally gathered together (quando tota humectatio spiritus luminis colligatur)." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, p. 357)

Harnack's opinion is that this is a gospel of the second century.


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Kirby, Peter. "The Gospel of Perfection." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/perfection.html>.