The Hymn of the Pearl

From Academic Kids

The Hymn of the Pearl (also The Hymn of the Soul or The Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle) is a passage of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas. In that work, originally written in Syriac, the Apostle Thomas sings the hymn while praying for himself and fellow prisoners. Some scholars believe the hymn antedates the Acts, as it only appears in one Greek translation.

The hymn tells the story of a boy, "the son of the king of kings", who is sent to Egypt to retrieve a pearl from a serpent. During the quest, he is seduced by the people in Egypt and forgets his origin and family. However a letter is sent from the king of kings to remind him. When the boy receives this letter, he remembers his mission, snatches the pearl, and returns.

The hymn is commonly interpreted as a Gnostic view of the human condition: we are lost in a world of matter and do not remember our true origin, but God sends a message (by way of Jesus) to makes us remember through gnosis.

Although the Acts of Thomas are non-canonical text, the Hymn of the Pearl was long admired by orthodox Christian thinkers.

External links

Hymn of the Pearl PDF (http://www.geocities.com/avisolo/hymnpearl.pdf)

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