Seduction of the Archons
"The Third Messenger sailed in his vessel of light, the moon, across the vault of heaven and showed himself to the fettered demonic powers. To the male Archons he displayed the radiant, naked beauty of his femininity in the shape of the virgin of light . . . , whilst to the female Archons he came in the sun's form as a naked, shining youth. This godhead is therefore introduced as hermaphroditic."
"The Messenger's activity achieved the desired end. In their violent sexual excitement the male Archons discharged the particules of light as sperms which fell upon the earth . . . The female demons, already pregnant, bore their offspring prematurely [i.e., abortions] at the sight of the Messenger's loveliness. Thrown to earth, these monsters . . . assimilated the particles of light present therein."
--Widengren, Mani and Manichaeism
That a man who, at one time, actually believed this -- i.e., that the cosmos was created from the cumulative effect of supracosmic masturbation and botched daemonic abortions -- possessed a mind which would later produce an edifice of speculative and practical wisdom which would serve as the foundation for all of Western civilization, will never cease to blow my mind.
N.b. "The so-called 'Seduction of the Archons' was a further mythical element which could not fail to appear particularly repulsive to the Christian fathers of the Church.' Yeah, no kidding.
I wonder if my old mentor, Bart Ehrman, considers Manichaeism one of the 'lost Christianities' which he so wistfully pines away for; or if the 'Seduction of the Archons' is one of the 'lost Scriptures' so brutally suppressed by the mean old Catholic Church.
# posted by Jamie : 6:54 PM