Exegesis on the Soul

The Exegesis on the Soul was likely written between 150 CE and 350 CE. It was discovered as part of the Nag Hammadi trove found in 1945 along with various other Gnostic gospels. Intriguingly, it speaks of a type of intercourse that eliminates the “annoyance of physical desire”.


Entire text


From heaven the Father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride….

Since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire….

[Once] they unite [with one another], they become a single life….

For they were originally joined to one another when they were with the Father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true love….

This is the resurrection that is from the dead, this is the ransom from captivity, this is the upward journey of ascent to heaven, this is the way of ascent to the Father…

Then when she becomes young again she will ascend, praising the Father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved….

Original translation of this text of the Exegesis on the Soul was prepared by members of the Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School.