This presentation offers a brief overview of Manichaeism, introducing newly edited Coptic texts that help to provide a clearer perspective on its position within the religions of Late Antiquity. It will then apply this perspective to the Manichaean account of Adam and Eve and its antecedent traditions, including novel interpretations of Genesis deployed within the Apocryphon of John and related texts, as well as Zoroastrian teachings related to the first humans.
Paul Dilley is Associate Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions at the University of Iowa, in the Department of Religious Studies and Classics; and a 2019-2020 Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies. His research is on the religions of Late Antiquity, with a focus on early Christianity. His first book, Monasteries and the Care of Souls in Late Antiquity: Cognition and Discipline (Cambridge University Press, 2017), engages with cognitive anthropology to better understand the training of monastic disciples. He is a co-editor of the Coptic Manichaean Kephalaia manuscript, including a set of preliminary studies, Mani at the Court of the Persian Kings (Brill, 2014), and the first of four fascicles of the critical edition and translation (Brill, 2018); and co-curator of the “The Mystery of Mani” exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.