Thought Of Norea

THOUGHT OF NOREA

The second tractate from Codex IX of the NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY, the Thought of Norea (27.11-29.5), is untitled in the and has been given its present title on the basis of the phrase “the thought of Norea” found near the end of the document at 29.3. The protagonist in this short text is Norea herself, a character depicted in several Gnostic sources as the daughter of Adam and Eve, and the wife of Seth, Noah, or Shem. In the Hypostasis of the Archons (NHC II, 4) for instance, Norea daughter of Eve, is refused passage aboard Noah’s and destroys it with her fiery breath.

The object of the lust of the archons, Norea calls out for help and is saved by the great angel Eleleth, who reveals true gnosis to her. Birger Pearson has demonstrated that the name and role of Norea are derived from Jewish legends about the daughter of Lamech and sister of Tubal- cain, Na‘amah (lovely; Gn. 4:22) and that the original form of Norea’s name must have been Horaia (cf. also On the Origin of the World [NHC II, 5] 102.24-25; Epiphanius Panarion 39.5.2; Hegemonius Acta Archelai 9).

The Thought of Norea opens with an invocation of the “Father of the All” and his glorious comrades (cf. the familiar “trinity” of the Father, the Mother, and the Son). Norea, it is said, cries out to them for aid. Like Sophia (wisdom) in other Gnostic sources, Norea must be restored to her heavenly place. Through the intercession of “the four holy helpers” (unnamed here, but probably Harmozel, Oroiael, Daveithe, and Eleleth), she is brought from deficiency to fullness (the pleroma), and thus she is saved together with the Gnostics, that is, “all the Adams who possess the thought of Norea” (29.1-3).

  • Facsimile Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices: IX and X. Leiden, 1977.
  • Pearson, B. A. “The Figure of Norea in Gnostic Literature.” In Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Gnosticism, ed. G. Widengren. Stockholm, 1977.
  • , ed. “IX, 2: The Thought of Norea.” In Nag Hammadi IX and X, ed. B. A. Pearson. Nag Hammadi Studies 15. Leiden, 1980.
  • Pearson, B. A., and S. Giversen. “The Thought of Norea (IX, 2).” In The Nag Hammadi Library in English, ed. J. M. Robinson. Leiden and San Francisco, 1977.
  • Roberge, M. Noréa (NH IX, 2). copte de Nag Hammadi, Section “Textes” 5, pp. 149-71. Quebec, 1980. Bound with Barc, L’Hypostase des Archontes, NH II, 4, pp. 1-147.

MARVIN W. MEYER