Approaching the Study of Gender in Late Antique Manichaean Cosmological Narrative: The Case of the Manichaean First Man



The application of recent models of sex and gender to late antique Jewish and Christian literature has yielded considerable knowledge of constructions of gender in these fields. This progress is hitherto unmatched in Manichaean studies, in which research has been limited to the role of women within the Manichaean movement. This paper explores models and methodology in research concerning gender construction in late antique Manichaean cosmological narrative. This will be exemplified by an analysis of the emergence of the construction of masculinity as endurance in the literary characterization of the mythological Manichaean First Man, which will be interpreted in the context of the changing socio-political circumstances of the Manichaean community. The adoption of endurance as a masculinized trait signifies the absorption of constructions of masculinity from Jewish and early Christian martyrological literature, in which the Greek philosophical virtue of endurance (ὑπομονῇ) is presented as a valorized masculine response to oppression and a form of resistance to Roman power. However, the Manichaean concept of endurance of persecution has a distinct interpretation which reflects the Manichaean ethos of the suffering of life in the body.


ManichaeismMasculinityAncient CosmologyAncient JudaismAncient Christianity
  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 12
  • Page/Article: 1-14
  • DOI: 10.18573/jlarc.107
  • Published on 7 Dec 2018
  • Peer Reviewed