Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text discovered in 1773, possibly written between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The remaining manuscript, which scholars place in the late 4th century relates the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples (including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha), when the risen Christ had accomplished eleven years speaking with his disciples. In it, the complex structures and hierarchies of heaven familiar in Gnostic teachings are revealed.
The text proclaims that Jesus remained on earth after the resurrection for 11 years, and was able in this time to teach his disciples up to the first (i. e. beginner) level of the mystery. It starts with an allegory paralleling the death and resurrection of Jesus, and describing the descent and ascent of the soul. It then proceeds to describe important figures within the Gnostic cosmology, and then finally lists 32 carnal desires to overcome before salvation is possible.
The female divinity of Gnosticism is Sophia, a being with many aspects and names. She is sometimes identified with the Holy Spirit itself but, according to her various capacities, is also the Universal Mother, the Mother of the Living or Resplendent Mother, the Power on High, She-of-the-left-hand (as opposed to Christ, understood as her husband and he of the Right Hand), as the Luxurious One, the Womb, the Virgin, the Wife of the Male, the Revealer of Perfect Mysteries, the Holy Dove of the Spirit, the Heavenly Mother, the Wandering One, or Elena (that is, Selene, the Moon). She was envisaged as the Psyche of the world and the female aspect of Logos. [ — Wikipedia ]
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Jacob & Esau – My Birthright for some Red Lentil Porridge
by Keith M. Hunter
Without doubt many stories within the Bible appear on their surface to be quite bizarre if interpreted literally. The truth seems only to be had from first recognising their allegorical nature, followed by a decisive decoding of the story.
Now this is not to say that all such stories within the Bible are totally disconnected from ‘real history’ or events. However, important concepts pertaining to morality or law – even universal law – can be conveyed by fashioning a story and ‘transplanting it’ onto either a specific person or group of people. Consider the Bible story of the two sons of Isaac: Jacob and Esau. Born as twins with Esau being the first born, upon entering young adulthood, a very strange event led to Jacob ‘purchasing’ the birthright of his older brother:
Genesis 25: 24 – 34
And when her [Rebekah – Isaac’s Wife] days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
On the face of it, this is indeed quite a strange story. Consider the critical elements. Firstly, that Esau was born red, and secondly, that he sells his birthright for some red lentile stew. The very word Edom = red. And indeed Esau did go on to establish the Edomite nation. But what does one make of the story?
It does not appear to make that much sense if it is taken literally or in a ‘common sense’ way. That is to say, one is not just talking about somebody being exhausted from working in the field and wanting something to eat. Indeed, nobody would sell their birthright as first born for a common pot of stew unless it was absolutely necessary. But then again, this is what seems to be implied, for Esau says “I am at the point to die:” so why would I care for my birthright.
This suggests that he feels almost blackmailed into the deal. The Red Lentile Pottage almost takes on the character of a medicine that Esau must take or he will die, in which case his birthright would certainly be of no use to him.
Now one may note that in the Talmudic tradition it is thought that the whole episode of the sale of Esau’s birthright occurred immediately after the death of Abraham. At such time both Jacob and Esau were both held to be 15 years old. In this tradition it is suggested that Jacob was originally preparing the Red Pottage for his father Isaac, as indeed lentiles are the mourners meal for Jews.
This solution does seem somewhat doubtful though, as in recalling Esau’s birth, he is described as being born red, and thus the specific description of a Red Pottage implies that the stew was made specifically for Esau, and not Isaac.
The Special Nature of the Red Pottage
There is the strong hint in the story that there is something very special about the stew. It is no ordinary food. But just what is it? Quite remarkably a solution does appear to present itself when one considers a very important Gnostic manuscript commonly referred to as the Pistis Sophia.
The title Pistis-Sophia = Faith-Wisdom. It is a Coptic manuscript that surfaced in the late 18th century, being purchased from a London book seller by one Dr. A. Askew. Further to this it was then sold to the British Museum in 1785, and then variously translated into other languages. Up to the present date the most widely regarded English translation is that of G.R.S. Mead in 1921. Now upon careful evaluation, the manuscript itself has been dated close to the 3rd century AD. And thus its whereabouts for almost 15 centuries remains a mystery.
Now the Pistis Sophia is an apocryphal work being a discussion between Jesus and his disciples 11 years after rising from the dead. It goes without saying then that it is controversial and definitely not within the bounds of orthodoxy. Be that as it may, it does appear to contain some very interesting information about certain obscene practices that were regarded by Jesus as great sins, as would condemn a man’s soul. Moreover, a certain question put to Jesus by Thomas concerning such matters would appear to directly relate to the Genesis story of Jacob and Esau:
Thomas said: “We have heard that there are some on the earth who take the male seed and the female monthly blood, and make it into a lentil porridge and eat it, saying: ‘We have faith in Esau and Jacob.’ Is this then seemly or not?”
Jesus was wroth with the world in that hour and said unto Thomas: “Amen, I say: This sin is more heinous than all sins and iniquities. Such men will straightway be taken into the outer darkness and not be cast back anew into the sphere, but they shall perish, be destroyed in the outer darkness in a region where there is neither pity nor light, but howling and grinding of teeth. And all the souls which shall be brought into the outer darkness, will not be cast back anew, but will be destroyed and dissolved.”
pp. 322-323 (G.R.S. Mead Translation 1921)
If this story is correct, then herein is the solution to the nature of the Red Lentile Pottage prepared by Jacob and eaten by Esau. It is a mixture of female monthly blood and male sperm. A crime of great magnitude, it would seem that it began with Esau, who fathered the Edomite nation, and that the tradition in some form was sustained by small religious sects even up to the time of Jesus.
Copyright 2014 by Keith M. Hunter