Dobbeltseminar: Miscellaneous Manichaica

1. Nils Arne Pedersen: First Man and the Third Messenger in Manichaean Systems. 2. René Falkenberg: Manichaean influence in the Nag Hammadi texts. v/ Forskningsenheden Den Kristne Orient, Afd. for Teologi

04.10.2016 | Mikkel Pade

Dato fre 02 dec
Tid 14:15 16:00
Sted AU Nobelparken, lokale 513, bygn. 1453, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 3

1: The importance of the heresiological reports about Manichaeism was downgraded in scholarship, when large numbers of original Manichaean manuscripts were unearthed during the 20th century. It was often assumed that the heresiological reports could be dismissed as misunderstandings or distortions whenever their testimony disagreed markedly with the original Manichaean texts. This is also the case with the Manichaean texts’ reinterpretation of Genesis 1:26-27 according to which Adam was created in the image of the Third Messenger – one of the many heavenly figures in Manichaeism. Only John C. Reeves have allowed some doubt, pointing to the antiquity of the variant tradition attested in heresiologists which indicates that Adam was formed after the image of another heavenly figure, the First Man. There are in facts good arguments for assuming that this variant tradition is as old as the dominant story about the Third Messenger. It has, however, significant consequences for our understanding of the history of Manichaeism if we assume that the preserved original Manichaean texts only represent a biased redaction of an originally more diverse Manichaean mythology. 

2: When scholars bring texts from Nag Hammadi and Medinet Madi together, the presumption is that the former set of writings influenced the latter. Such a conclusion rests on an early dating of the Nag Hammadi texts, whereas the Manichaean Medinet Madi texts are considerably later. Still, the dating of the extant codices of both corpora is nearly the same (4th–5th cent.), wherefore a new possibility emerges: Not only did the Nag Hammadi texts influence the Medinet Madi texts but also vice versa since Manichaeans were active in Egypt for almost a century before the Nag Hammadi Codices were produced. Literary contacts are clearly visible between the writings from Medinet Madi (the Kephalaia and the Psalm-Book) and Nag Hammadi (e.g. Eugnostos the Blessed, On the Origin of the World, and the Paraphrase of Shem). The paper discusses these connections and the possible role of monasticism in the exchange of theological ideas.