Teachings Of Silvanus (NHC VII, 4)


A collection of gnomic wisdom sayings addressed by an anonymous author to his “son.” The title is given at the beginning of the tractate. “Silvanus” is probably meant to be the disciple of and named in the New Testament. The text represents a typically Alexandrian synthesis of biblical, Hellenistic, Jewish, early Christian, and philosophical religious and ethical teachings.

It also contains some anti-Gnostic polemics. The tractate’s inclusion in a codex in which all the others are is therefore an anomaly. Extant only in Coptic, Teachings of Silvanus was originally composed in Greek, probably in late third-century , though it contains much older traditional material.