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he Book of Giants is one of the seven canonical books composed by the religious teacher Mani (lived 216 to 274 or 277 CE), whose faith drew on Christian and Gnostic traditions, presenting a world divided strictly through a dualism of good and evil. The Book of Giants, originally composed in Syriac, does not survive, but descriptions and excerpts translated into other languages do. From this, it is clear that Mani's book about Giants drew on Enochian literature surrounding Genesis 6:4 and used the story of the Watchers and the Giants, who, Mani considered demons, to illustrate principles of dualism. In the Manichaean texts, the giants Ohya and Hahya, the sons of Shemihaza (from the Book of Enoch) were translated by Mani's Persian translators into Sām and Narīmān, sons of Šahmīzād, reflecting adaptation into a Persian cultural context. The fragments and excerpts from Mani's Book of Giants were collected and translated by W. B. Henning in 1943, but because this collection remains under copyright, I present here discussion of the contents of the Book of Giants and a few representative excerpts from Henning's translations focusing on the life and times of the Giants. The majority of the book (and the discussion thereof) focused on Mani's concepts of dualism, represented by a Tree of Life with a root in heaven and a Tree of Death with a root in hell, and the battle between good and evil. -

The Book of Giants and Other Texts

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