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The Gospel of Philip: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of Sacred Union [Paperback]

By Jean-Yves Leloup & Joseph Rowe (Translator)
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Item Number 390187  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   173
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 16, 2004
Publisher   Inner Traditions
ISBN  1594770220  
EAN  9781594770227  

Availability  3 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 09:34.
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Item Description...
A new translation and analysis of one of the most controversial of the apocryphal gospels
- Emphasizes an initiatic marriage between the male and female principles as the heart of the Christian mystery
- Bears witness to the physical relationship shared by Jesus and Mary Magdalene
- Translated from the Coptic and analyzed by the author of the bestselling "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene "(over 90,000 sold)
The mainstream position of the Christian church on sexuality was perhaps best summed up by Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) when he stated that "the sexual act is so shameful that it is intrinsically evil." Another Christian theologian maintained that the "Holy Ghost is absent from the room shared by a wedded couple." What Philip records in his gospel is that Christ said precisely the opposite: The nuptial chamber is in fact the holy of holies. For Philip the holy trinity includes the feminine presence. God is the Father, the Holy Ghost is the Mother, and Jesus is the Son. Neither man nor woman alone is created in the image of God. It is only in their relationship with one another--the sacred embrace in which they share the divine breath--that they resemble God.
The Gospel of Philip is best known for its portrayal of the physical relationship shared by Jesus and his most beloved disciple, Mary of Magdala. Because it ran counter to the direction of the Church, which condemned the "works of the flesh," Philip's gospel was suppressed and lost until rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1947. Orthodox theologian Jean-Yves Leloup's translation from the Coptic and his analysis of this gospel are presented here for the first time in English. What emerges from this important source text is a restoration of the sacred initiatic union between the male and female principles that was once at the heart of Christianity's sacred mystery.

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More About Jean-Yves Leloup & Joseph Rowe

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jean-Yves Leloup is the founder of the Institute of Other Civilization Studies and the International College of Therapists. His other books include the bestselling The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and The Gospel of Philip. He lives in France.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
a good primer to good gnosis  Nov 19, 2008
Phillip I feel has been Leloup's best Commentary to date.. full of gems and things to ruminate on.. Where Mary was well.. a bit embellished.. but had some nuggets.. and Thomas wasn't bad , but there have so many commentaries on Thomas.. and have to admit a couple way better than Leloup's.. though i do give it it's due.. In Phillip Leloups simplicity and insightfulness permeates.. I've had this book for at least a couple years now.. and find something else still, when I pick it up
Maybe for the French  May 4, 2008
This is an interesting book. It's primary value was that it was the first time that the Gospel of Philip was translated into French, but then the English translation of the French translation doesn't have the same value, especially since there are prior English versions and these translations do not match LeLoup's version. Hence, a more interesting book would have been a comparison of the translations, rather than simply the English version of the French version of the Coptic version of the Greek version which possibly came from an earlier Hebrew.

Another interesting aspect of this book is that LeLoup presents the material in its original form, on 87 pages. This has the benefit of showing how the original authors intended it to be read. It also has the benefit of turning what would be a short book into a longer book.

The book is subtitled "Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of Sacred Union", but before you get too excited, there is very little about Jesus, Mary, or their sacred union. There are a few pages devoted to the topic, but it certainly isn't as well presented as Margaret Starbird does in her various books.

The only real value this book has is to offer LeLoup's own translation, which is interesting. But this value is reduced seriously with no discussion of why he translated it the way he did, and without any comparison to the way in which others have translated it.

Those of you who read LeLoup's earlier book about Mary Magdalene will be disappointed if you expect that the Philip book lives up to the Mary book. It does not. But if you're interested in the Gospel of Philip, LeLoup's translation certainly warrants a look.
Turning Valentinian fragments into a Sex Gospel?  Feb 20, 2008
The Gospel According to Philip is not exactly a gospel, it is collection of fragments, that have been strung together. It is described as a Valentinian anthology containing some one hundred short excerpts taken from various other works. None of the sources of these excerpts have been indentified. To judge from their style and contents, they were sermons, treatises and philosophical epistles, as well as collected aphorisims or short dialogues with comments. The compiler, place of compilation and purpose of G-A-to-Ph are unknown and possibly Syriac/Coptic in origin. Philip is the only apostle mentioned in the fragments and it may be for this reason that his name is attached to the gospel as though he were the compiler, like that of like a patron saint. Because more than one Valentian theological perspective is represented in Gospel According to Philip, it would be misleading to reconstruct it as a single theological system atributed to Philip.

Perhaps Leloup should get Bentley Layton's translation of Gospel
According to Philip (the real name of the text, Gospel of Philip
is the name of another text that there is only a fragment of, about
Elijah and Lilith) and read the commentary at the beginning of the

Bentley Layton is Professor of Ancient Christian History at Yale
University. He is an internationally recognized authority on gnostic
literature, and has published numerous scholarly eiditions and
commentaries in gnostic scripture. He was a member of the team of
Cariro UNESCO project to publish the Coptic Gnostic Library into
English. He speaks and translates COPTIC Egyptian.

Leloup has a "PHD in transpersonal psychology" from who knows where? Don't bother with this ridiculous book, from a man that has made a sex gospel out of a series of fragments, buy the entire Nag Hammadi Texts from a reputable scholar like Layton or Robinson. This book is nothing but garbage and lies.

"Steamy Sex with Jesus and Mary"? Hardly, But a Fine Book.  Oct 17, 2004
Kudos to Mr. Leloup for a valuable contribution (if a somewhat free "translation") to our knowledge of this gem from the Nag Hammadi library, where it lay in jar in the same "volume" as the profoundly important "Gospel of Thomas" for nearly 2000 years. As to the publisher's misleading (and inadvertently hilarious) back-cover enticements, well, that's another story. "The Gospel of Philip," we are assured in the breathless copy, "is best known for its portrayal of the physical relationship shared by Jesus and his most beloved disciple, Mary Magdalene." Ahem - not quite. There is a line, in this translation anyway, in which Jesus kisses Mary "on the lips," eliciting what is apparently jealousy on the part of the other disciples (though this is not quite clear). And that's about it for the Jesus - Mary connection. It is true that, in this translation at least, the reunification of mankind required for the return to God is described twice in terms of an analogy to sexual union in the "bridal chamber," but there is nothing at all depicting Mary and Jesus in any such bridal chamber or union (the aforementioned lip-kissing excepted). Sorry to have to be the one to tell you.

As to the translation itself (following a scholarly Introduction, dating the Gospel of Philip to roughly 150 C.E.), Leloup concedes that his rendering of the opaque original text (largely incomprehensible gibberish in the earlier Nag Hammadi Library translation) is creative and speculative, and it is fairly obvious that he has been influenced by A Course in Miracles, for which he finds ample support in the Gospel. Indeed, the most moving (because most comprehensible) parts of the text are those which depict the re-gathering of mankind (all life, actually) into what the Course describes as the Sonship, as the last triumphant step before the return to God. If Leloup is correct, and these elements are in fact a key part of this ancient forgotten Gospel, then the Course itself also deserves a second (and third) reading. Or is Leloup only "finding" these themes in the strange Coptic text, the way one "finds" shapes in Rorshach inkblots? Without a working knowledge of Coptic, it's difficult to tell, of course. But Leloup certainly makes a strong case that the Gospel of Philip was shockingly different from any of the canonical Gospels, and even from the (much earlier, Leloup believes) Gospel of Thomas. What is really needed, but what we will likely never have, is a Gnostic Skeleton Key text, a Gnostic Rosetta, to provide the background theoretical framework (possibly Jesus' own, or a derivation of His teachings, it is true), without which the text is almost hopelessly strange and seemingly garbled. (Ancient Gnostics, no doubt, would be proud of the opacity of the Gospel, which only the Enlightened Ones would be able to make sense of).

This is not to say that, in Leloup's hands, the Gospel of Phiip does not have moments of numinous beauty and clarity as breathtaking as anything in the Gospel of Thomas. "God is a dyer;/ The good dyes, known as genuine,/ become one with the materials they permeate./ This is how God acts." (p. 73, ll. 43-46) (And even here, what is the gratitous "known as genuine" tag doing there?) And, "Humanity is the food of God" (p. 79, l. 50). What a strange notion. Again, "In the beginning, God created humans;/ then humans created god." (p. 115, ll. 94-95). And a masterful sermonette on the need for God's teachers to accord their message to their listeners: "There are many animals in the world who appear in human form;/ the wise one gives acorns to pigs, barley, hay, and grass to livestock, bones to dogs,/ to servants he gives basic lessons;/ and to his children, the teaching in its entirety." Where do the canonical Gospels fit in this hierarchy, one wonders.

Did Jesus really say these things? Hard to imagine this, but possible - though the Gospel text does not attribute these to Jesus (only once or twice is Jesus directly quoted). Presumably these are meant rather to be Philip's reflections on what he learned from Jesus. Whichever it is, this is essential reading!

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