This chapter discusses a short work entitled The Proposition of a Manichaean (CPG 6998, 7011), which argues for the existence of two unoriginate first principles, one good and one evil. The Proposition has been transmitted in conjunction with three philosophical works written by Christian authors in the sixth to eleventh centuries (Zacharias of Mitylene’s Adversus Manichaeos, Paul the Persian’s Defensio, and John Italus’ Quaestiones quodlibetales). I provide a critical edition and English translation of the Proposition and show that the text was revised and adapted several times during the course of its transmission. Although a Manichaean origin cannot be securely established for the Proposition, the work was preserved and transmitted because it played a role in later Neoplatonic instruction in logic. The revisions made to the work arose from a need to simplify the text so that students could more easily follow the argument. The discussion and refutation of the Proposition by Christian authors can thus be seen as part of a broader trend toward expanding the study of paralogisms (fallacious arguments) in sixth-century teaching of logic.
La règle de vie et la loi sont des opposés, passés des antithèses d’Ænésidème à celles de Marcion. Ils se redéploient chez Mani (Adda, CMC) en annexant d’ autres figures d’ argumentation, comme le montrent en rapport avec Adda l’ allégorie des deux cités (Traité chinois) et en rapport avec Marcion les stances d’ hymnes abécédaires sur la rétribution des hypocrites (M28I).
This article explores the construction and function of the female body in four Gnostic texts: Pistis Sophia, On the Origin of the World, Hypostasis of the Archons, and Apocryphon of John. In these texts’ accounts of the mythological origin of the cosmos, the exposed bodies of Sophia and her daughters are consistently depicted as objects of excessive, often gratuitous sexual violence. Yet in the midst of this violence appears another, equally consistent motif: the Gnostic writers protected their female characters through a variety of narratival techniques, such as transforming the female body into a tree or a strenuous insistence on the violence’s ultimate failure. This article accounts for this curious pairing of violence and protection by evaluating the female body as a symbolic artifact embedded with the values of the patriarchal culture which constructed it, a culture which valued the female body as a reliable, untainted conduit of progeny.