A Glossary of Technical Terms in

The Hypostasis of the Archons

(Nag Hammadi Codex II.97.22-23)

Anne McGuire

Haverford College

Central to the mythic world of the Hypostasis of the Archons is the threefold distinction of spirit, soul, flesh: pneuma, psyche, and sarx, and the related adjectives: pneumatikos, psychikos, and sarkikos. Each of these relates to a different realm or reality, and, at the same time, to a distinct part of the human being.

In the Hypostasis of the Archons, these terms appear frequently, often in the form of adjectives and of substantive nouns formed from the adjectives. The gender of these terms is indicated by their endings and/or by the definite articles. These often provide the reader with an important clue to the gendered identity of the characters.

m-pneumatikos - of spirit; the spiritual one (masc.)

ti-pneumatike - the spiritual one [Layton: the female spiritual principle] (fem.)

m-psychikos - of soul (with masc. article)

sarkike - of flesh, carnal (fem. ending)

t-shime - woman (fem.)

t-shime m-pneumatike - the spiritual woman (fem.)

shime esonh - the living woman (f.)

t-shime m-sarkike - the fleshly/carnal woman (f.)

sperma - seed, generation (n.)

parthenos - virgin, young woman (f.)

p-pneuma m-parthenikon - the Virginal Spirit (with masc. article)

p-hoyt - man, male human being (masc.; equivalent to Greek aner)

t-shime - woman, female human being (f.; equivalent to Greek gyne)

oy-hoyt-chime - androgynous//male-female, or man-woman

p-rome - human being (equivalent to Greek anthropos) (m., generic sense)

p-teleios n-rome - the perfect human being (m., generic sense)


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