In Search of “the Woman Within”: A Study of Manichaean Motherhood

Polly Hana Yorioka


Manichaeism is famous as a dualistic, "world-renouncing," anti-reproductive religion. However, recent excavations in Egypt have produced documents that suggest the reality of large Manichaean families. This paper seeks to flesh out the real lives of auditor women through analysis of cosmological, liturgical, historical, and private texts. The results of this study suggest that, while Manichaean cosmology is distinctly against sexual reproduction, the cosmology also made it possible for women to be respected and play important roles in the community, as celibate elect and mothers.

Full Text:


Copyright (c)

SYMPOSIA is a publication of the University of Toronto's
Department for the Study of Religion
Jackman Humanities Bldg
170 St. George St. Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2M8


ISSN 2368-9323


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.