The Canon of the Pistis Sophia Books 1–3

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The first three books of the Pistis Sophia demonstrate an awareness of an emerging canon in a late third-century Egyptian textual community. The canonical boundary is revealed through the scriptural practices employed by the author: texts considered to be within the canon are cited and interpreted as authoritative literature, used to authenticate the teachings of Pist. Soph., whereas texts outside of the canon are open to substantial revision and woven into the narrative without a citation formula. This paper examines the author’s use of the Hebrew Bible, the Odes of Solomon, and the Gospels as canonical literature, and asks which other texts were in his literary repertoire, suggesting that the Apocryphon of John, the Gospel of Mary, and the Ascension of Isaiah were used as inspiration for composing the new narrative and dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-675
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Theological Studies
Issue number2
Early online date1 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022


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