The Tomb Inscription of Flavia Sophe

Kurt Rudolph includes a Gnostic tomb inscription from third-century Rome in his Gnosis: The Nature & History of Gnosticism. Flavia Sophe (long E) is a female Gnostic. It’s a beautiful poem, and one of the most personal pieces of Gnostic writing that we possess. I decided to rework Rudolph’s translation in combination with the Ludemannn/Janssen translation included in Suppressed Prayers to produce something that has more poetry in it. Ludemann and Jansssen also include another inscription found alongside it in the Via Latina. Ludemann and Janssen believe the inscriptions to be second century, not third. There must be many more fascinating literal fragments like these two, but I don’t know of any volume which collects them all.

You were filled with longing for the father’s light,
My sister, my spouse, my Sophe.
Now, anointed with holy immortal chrism in the baths of Christ,
Be quick to view the divine faces of the aeons,
The great angel of the great council, the true Son.
You made your way into the bridal chamber and made an undying ascent
Into the breast of the Father.

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