Zostrianos (NHC VIII, 1)


A lengthy Sethian Gnostic apocalypse (132 pages of the manuscript) reported in the first person in the name of the prophet, Zostrianos, associated in with Zarathustra (Zoroaster). The title occurs at the end, to which is added: “Oracles of Truth of Zostrianos, of truth, Teachings of Zoroaster.” Unfortunately, VIII is very fragmentary, so much of the text is lost in lacunae. Zostrianos his ascent through the very levels of the universe and his encounter with various heavenly beings.

Lacking obvious Christian influences, the text is heavily influenced by second- and early third-century Platonism. Zostrianos was one of the read by members of Plotinus’ School in Rome in the mid-third century (VP 16). Extant only in Coptic, Zostrianos was originally composed in Greek, probably in the early third century, possibly in Egypt.