JUNE 15, 7:30 – WORDS WORTH SINGING – GARY HEIDT & CASSANDRA WESTON
The Thirteen Repentances of the Pistis Sophia - Pistis Sophia was the first of the Coptic Gnostic texts now known to be brought to public notice. The volume containing it, the Askew Codex, is named after its purchaser, A. Askew, a London doctor, a collector of old manuscripts who bought the codex from a bookseller, probably in London, in 1772. Nothing further is known about the previous history of the manuscript, which is thought to have been written in the second or third century A.D. The Pistis Sophia relates the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples—including female disciples such as his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, Martha and Salome— on the Mountain of Olives, eleven years after the crucifixion. The narrative has a very peculiar structure in which the Pistis Sophia (trans. "Faith Wisdom") is swallowed up and oppressed by her own material emanations. (It is an allegory for the way the material world obscures humanity's good sense.) She cries out in a series of repentances for someone to come save her. Jesus, who is relating the tale, (and who is also in the tale) asks his disciples to interpret the repentances, which they do by quoting from various Psalms of David, whose texts exactly parallel the utterances of Sophia. For the Fist of Kindness concept album, songwriters Gary Heidt and Cassandra Victoria Chopourian took each of these repentances and transformed it into a song in a modern idiom. The entire thirteen-song suite will be performed with narration from the Pistis Sophia.