The Stranger’s Book

by Mark M. Mattison

The following translation has been committed to the public domain and may be freely copied and used, changed or unchanged, for any purpose. It is based on the Coptic text of Codex Tchacos 4. For information about the surviving manuscript of the Stranger’s Book, see the Manuscript Information page. For additional information about the translation, see the introduction to the PDF version.

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59 Page Number
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59 The [Stranger’s Book]

Introduction

“My [son, let’s pray to God …] to the Father of all the ages, to send us a spirit of knowledge to reveal the mysteries, so that we may know ourselves; specifically, where [we’ve] come from, where we’re going, and what we need to do to live.”

And they left and went up on a mountain called ‘Tabor.’ And they knelt down and prayed, “O Lord God, the One above all the great realms, the One who has no beginning and no end, give us a spirit of knowledge to reveal your mysteries, so that we may know ourselves; specifically, where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and what we need to do to live.”

 

The Temptation of Stranger

After Stranger had said these words, [Satan] appeared 60 [on] the earth […] he said, “[…] while you’re walking up on this mountain, because although you seek, you won’t find anything. But come to me, and [take for] yourself what’s in my [world]. Eat my good things. Take for yourself silver, gold, and clothes.”

In response Stranger said, “Depart from me, Satan, because I don’t seek you but my Father, who is above all the great realms; because I’ve been called ‘Stranger,’ since I’m from another race. I’m not from your race.”

Then the one who binds the [world] told him, “We 61 ourselves […] in my [world].”

[Then] Stranger said to him, “Depart from [me], Satan! Go away, because I don’t [belong to] you.”

Then Satan [departed] from him, after having angered him many times; and he wasn’t able to deceive [him]. And when he had been defeated, he went away to his place in great shame.

The Transfiguration of Stranger

Then Stranger cried out in a loud voice, “O God, you who are in the great realms, hear my voice, have mercy on me, and save me from every evil! Look on me and hear me in this deserted place. Now [let your] indescribable [light] shine on me 62 […] your light. Yes, Lord, help me, because [I] don’t know […] forever and ever.”

And while I said these things, look! A bright cloud surrounded me. Because of the way it was shining, I couldn’t gaze into the light around it. And I heard something from the cloud and the light. It shone on me and said, “O Stranger, the sound of your prayer has been heard, and I’ve been sent here to tell you the gospel before you leave [this place], so that 63 you may [know …] reveal [… body] dissolve […] the [spirit…]

The Ascent of Stranger

“[… above. But] when you go, [you’ll] come to the first Power, which is the power of Desire. And it will bind you and [ask] you, ‘Where are [you] going, O Stranger?’ But say, ‘What bound me has been killed, and I’ve been released. I’ll go up to my Father, the One above all the great realms.’ And it will release you.

“Then you’ll come to the second Power, which is the power of Darkness. [And it] will bind [you and] 64 [ask you], ‘Where [are you going, O Stranger?’ But say, ‘What bound me has been killed, and I’ve been released. I’ll go up to my Father, the One above all the great realms.’ Then it will release you.]

“[And you’ll] come to the [third] Power, which is called ‘Ignorance.’ It will bind you and say to you, ‘Where [are you going, O] Stranger?’ But say to it, ‘What bound me has been killed, and I’ve been released. I’ll go up to my Father, the One above all the great realms.’ Then it will release you.

“And you’ll come to the fourth Power, which [… Death. It will say to you, ‘Where are you going, O Stranger?’] 65 [But say, ‘What bound me has been killed, and I’ve been released. I’ll go up to my Father, the One above all the great realms.’ And it will release you.]

“[And you’ll come to the fifth] Power, [which is the] Kingdom [of the] Flesh. [And it will] say to you, ‘[Where are] you [going, O Stranger?’ But say, ‘What bound] me has been [killed], and I’ve [been] released. [Now] then, I’ll go up to my Father, [the One] above [all the great realms.’ And it will] release you.

“[And you’ll come to the sixth Power, which is the Foolish] ‘Wisdom’ [of Flesh. And] it will say to you, ‘Where [are you going,] O [Stranger]?’ But say to [it, ‘What] bound me [has been killed, and I’ve been released. I’ll go up to my Father], 66 [the One above all the great realms.’ And it will release you.]

“[…] in […] and you’ll [go up] over [these] angels […] myriads of [holy] angels [… myriads of] angels […] Don’t be faint of heart […] Be strong [... O Stranger], because you […] Don’t be afraid […] which was said […]”

An unknown number of pages are missing.

Conclusion

Last Page Stranger […] he sent […] so that they might [… the] judgment. [Peace to the one] who wrote them down [and to those who will] preserve them.