Wednesday, 15 June 2011

hillegonda van den berg-0nstwedder: Missionary activities Women in Egyptian manichaeisme, Did it exist and can we recognize it?

Although there is an example of two women, Lydia from Antiochia and Bassa from Lydia whose tombstone was found in Salona, that probably had a missionary function, there is not much more textual evidence for any role of women in the spread of Manichaeism.
The letter from Theonas shows that he thought it necessary to give a warning about Manichaeans entering houses to disseminate their beliefs, and he warns especially against Manichaean women.

In the Coptic texts from Medinet Madi women are mentioned but not much is said about their activities, this seems to be different from the documentary texts that were found in Kellis.  Here in the letters, which are mostly formulated as letters from family members, women seem to have a rather active role.  If they are really letters between family members then women occupy themselves with domestic work .My question is however whether this is the right interpretation. If the community in Kellis were refugees that tried to keep away from the authorities then the letters could well be read in a different sense and then the women in Kellis were really active in the Manichaean community. Perhaps they were not active in the  spreading of  their religion, but at least to keep it alive.

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