An Ancient Text from Judea with a Tikkunish vision of the “I” Anochi that is the God of Sinai


Excerpts from The Thunder: Perfect Mind

(Translated by Rev. Hal Taussig and others from a text

in Coptic from the NaHammadi library,

1st 2 centuries of the Common Era.)

 

I [in Coptic, Anokh] am the first and the last

I am she who is honored and she who is mocked

I am the whore and the holy woman

I am the wife and the virgin

I am the mother and the daughter

I am the limbs of my mother

I am the sterile woman and she has many children

I am she whose wedding is extravagant and I didn’t have a husband

I am the midwife and she who hasn’t given birth

I am the comfort of labor pains

I am the bride and the bridegroom

And it is my husband who gave birth to me

I am my father’s mother,

My husband’s sister, and he is my child

I am the slave-woman of him who served me

I am she, the lord of my child

 

But it is he who gave birth to me at the wrong time

And he is my child born at the right time

And my power is from within him

I am the staff of his youthful power

And he is the baton of my old womanhood

 

Whatever he wants happens to me

I am the silence never found

And the idea infinitely recalled

I am the voice with countless sounds

And the thousand guises of the word      

I am the speaking of my name

 

You who loathe me, why do you love me and loathe the ones who love me?

You who deny me, confess me

You who confess me, deny me

You who speak the truth about me, lie about me

You who lie about me, speak the truth about me

You who know me, ignore me

You who ignore me, know me

 

I am both awareness and obliviousness

I am humiliation and pride

I am without shame

I am ashamed

I am security and I am fear

I am war and peace

 

Why do you despise my fear and curse my pride?

I am she who exists in all fears and in trembling boldness

I am she who is timid

And I am safe in a comfortable place

I am witless, and I am wise

Why did you hate me with your schemes?

I shall shut my mouth among those whose mouths are shut and then I will show up and speak

 

Why then did you hate me, you Greeks?

Because I am a barbarian among barbarians?

 

I am the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians

I am the deliberation of both the Greeks and barbarians

I am he whose image is multiple in Egypt

And she who is without an image among the barbarians

I am she who was hated in every place

And she who was loved in every place

 

I am she whom they call life

And you all called death

I am she whom they call law

And you all called lawlessness

 

I am she whom you chased and she whom you captured

I am she whom you scattered

And you have gathered me together

I am she before whom you were ashamed

And you have been shameless to me

I am she who does not celebrate festivals

And I am she whose festivals are spectacular

 

I, I am without God

And I am she whose God is magnificent

I am the one you thought about and you detested me

I am not learned, and they learn from me

I am she whom you detested and yet you think about me

I am he from whom you hid

And you appear to me

 

Whenever you hide yourselves, I myself will appear

 

Blame the part of me within yourselves

Come toward me, you who know me

and you who know the parts of me

Assemble the great among the small and earliest creatures

 

Advance toward childhood

Do not hate it because it is small and insignificant

Don’t reject the small parts of greatness because they are small

since smallness is recognized from within greatness

 

I am the learning from my search

And the discovery of those seeking me

The command of those who ask about me

And the power of powers

In my understanding of the angels

Who were sent on my word

And the Gods in God, according to my design?       …

 

I am being

I am she who is nothing

Those who do not participate in my presence, don’t know me

Those who share in my being know me

 

Those who are close to me, did not know me

Those who are far from me, knew me

I am the coming together and the falling apart

I am the enduring and the disintegration

I am down in the dirt and they come up to me

I am judgment and acquittal

 

I myself am without sin, and the root of sin is from within me

I appear to be lust but inside is self-control

I am what anyone can hear but no one can say

I am a mute that does not speak and my words are endless

Since what is your inside is your outside

And the one who shapes your outside is he who shaped your inside

And what you see on the outside, you see revealed on the inside

It is your clothing

 

Hear me, audience, and learn from my words, you who know me

I am what everyone can hear and no one can say

I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name

 
Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. He is the author of eleven books, including two national bestsellers—The Left Hand of God and Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation. His most recent book, Embracing Israel/Palestine, is available on Kindle from Amazon.com and in hard copy from tikkun.org/eip. He welcomes your responses and invites you to join with him by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives (membership comes with a subscription to Tikkun magazine). You can contact him at rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com.
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