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Homily on the Book of Giants

The Intersection of Mani's Book of Giants and the Hebrew Book of Enoch



Dear brothers and sisters of the Light,

Today, we delve into the ancient depths of our universal conscience and embrace a tale of profound moral significance, that of the grand but sorrow-filled narrative, drawn from the annals of Manichaean scripture - 'The Book of Giants'.


The tale resounded with the cacophony of fallen angels and the progeny they bore, Giants who walked upon the Earth, their beings immense and their judgments skewed by pride. They inhabited our world not as benevolent stewards, but as unequivocal usurpers, a force that embodied the dualistic fight between light and darkness, good and evil, as echoed across cosmic time spans in Manichaean beliefs.


One of the profound linkages in ancient religious texts is that between the Gnostic Manichaean’s Book of Giants and the Jewish ancient apocalyptic literature, the Book of Enoch. Both establish a remarkable correlation in their narratives, intertwining history, theology, and myth in captivating and intriguing ways.


The Mani's Book of Giants, has many similarities with those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-20th century, which further reinforces the view that the Elchasaites were, in fact, an Essene community that had converted to Christianity. This, however, deserves an article in its own right.


The book of Giants introduces an account of the world's mythic prehistory, leading to humanity's present condition of entrapment within the material realm. The narrative revolves around the giant offspring of fallen angels, known as the Nephilim, who before the biblical Flood, sowed corruption, dooming both themselves and early humanity.


Similarly, the Book of Enoch, specifically its first section called the Book of the Watchers, narrates a parallel tale. The 'Watchers', two hundred superior angels, fell from grace, mated with human women, and spawned the Nephilim, in this context, giants who terrorized humankind with their hunger and power.


Cross-referencing both texts brings vivid similarities to light. Start with their character’s identities. Enoch stands as a central figure in both texts. In the Book of Enoch, Enoch is the righteous man chosen by God as an intermediary between Heaven and the fallen angels. Meanwhile, in the Book of Giants, Mani reiterates Enoch’s role but expands it dramatically.


He makes Enoch a scribe and a leader who serves to mediate the conflict arising between the giants.

Another staple for comparison can be the understanding of evil in both texts.


In the Manic's Book of Giants, evil is an accident, not a divine plan. It was bred out of the wrong decisions made by spiritual beings, thus leading to God’s decision to cleanse the world. Similarly, the Book of Enoch also avows that evil was not God’s doing but a consequence of the Watchers’ violation of divine laws.


There's a notable crossover regarding the dreams interpreted by Enoch in both writings. In the Book of Giants, Gilgamesh and other giants have foreboding dreams predicting their doom, which Enoch instantly recognizes as divine judgment. In the Book of Enoch (83-84), Enoch's own dreams prophesy the Flood, which he interprets as divine judgment on the Watchers and their monstrous progeny.


This homily is not an advocacy for the history of these giants, but rather, an exploration of the underlying principles of virtue, vice, and the ceaseless struggle between the two, corroborated through their narrative.


The Giants of old, in their delirium, believed power was amplified by size, by dominance, and by the subjugation of others; they wrought chaos and destruction, leveraging their extraordinary might, relentlessly searing their legacy into the DNA of our moral heritage. However, these Giants, despite their strength, failed to perceive the deeper, true nature of power.


Power, good people, is devoid of meaning when stripped of responsibility, humility, compassion, and wisdom. Like a ship without a rudder, power discarded from virtue is, but a vessel destined for catastrophe, for it is not guided by the profound guidelines of the Divine Light, which Manichaeism teaches us to cultivate.


The Giants stumbled upon their path, guided by their skewed perception of power, ignoring their inherent virtues, forsaking wisdom for brute strength, and compassion for tyranny. This tragic misuse of power ultimately led to their downfall, vanquished not by a greater force but by the manifestation of their destructive choices.


This, then, poses a vital question - Are we any different from the Giants, should we choose to flex our might recklessly in the world? Let us not forget, we too bear ‘giant’ characteristics within us: the potential for greed, for pride, for the abuse of our influence and power, just like these ancient beings that once roamed the Earth.


However, good friends, we are given the divine capacity to choose - to operate from the realm of beneficial power, the power that uplifts, nurtures and contributes to the betterment of all existence. It is through our daily deeds that we choose between becoming a channel of Light or descending into ominous darkness.


In the end, the Book of Giants leaves us with a profound moral allegory. It implores us to tread lightly with our might, to wield our power with wisdom and compassion. It warns us of the perils of arrogance and unbridled ambition and beckons us towards a path illuminated by humility and benevolence, a path guided by the spirit of Manichaean duality - the ceaseless yearning towards Light.


May we learn from the Book of Giants, embracing the lessons of light and darkness, good and evil, power and humility. May we accept our 'Giant' potentials and deliberately choose to manifest them for the greater collective good. For, in the grand tapestry of existence, we are the weavers of our own narratives, the authors of our destinies. Our actions will echo in eternity, resonating the choices we made - between Light and Darkness, between Virtue and Vice.



Amen.

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