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The Enthymesis of Life is the counterpart of the Enthymesis of Death, the eternal, powerful principle of greed that inspires the whole demonic world as “disorderly motion” according to Alexander of Lykopolis. 54), could only arise under the impact of the loss the World of Light had suffered at the hands of the dark powers; and it never played such a predominant role as the Enthymesis of Death. Therefore Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity, let alone Judaism, can no longer claim to teach the eternal verities. In spite of the active redemptive role of the Light-, it is also true that man himself is responsible for his own salvation and that of the World Soul (Polotsky called it “kosmisches Verantwortungsgefühl,” a sense of cosmic responsibility, Polotsky, 1935, col. It could only be the voluntary decision in favor of the World of Light, the ultimate origin and home of any soul and the natural aim of its (subconscious) nostalgia. The acceptance of the Manichaean doctrine was the first step to salvation. 89), and if those hearers belonged to the ruling or upper class “helpers” giving them protection. The 87th Coptic 46, in Böhlig and Asmussen, 1980, p. The community of the elect was hierarchically structured. Mani’s successors at the head of the community were called (Greek) ) are mentioned in the text M 1 (cf. It is hard to tell to what degree it proved possible to preserve the original structure of the church and to uphold its universal unity and cooperation. Bardesanes and Marcion are, however, at best marginal figures in the Gnostic world, and the Gnostic nature of their teaching is disputed by some scholars. But it is no more than an unproven hypothesis that Mani knew and made use of a Gnostic pseudepigraphical work ascribed to Nikotheos (Puech, 1979, p. There is, however, an unacknowledged dependence on at least one Valentinian doctrine, and Valentinianism may have essentially molded Mani’s Gnosticism. In Manicheism the demiurge is also a god, but he forms the world from the bodies of slain demons.The divine “greed” as it were (Alexander of Lycopolis, ed. (For further details see Sundermann, “God and his adversary in Manichaeism. And it is only Mani, the prophet at the end of time (“in this last generation,” ed. The faculty or failure of a soul to act according to its “free will” depended only on the degree of contamination with corporeal matter. But it necessarily entailed a submission to the rules of Manichean ethics (on this subject see in general and in detail Be Duhn, 2000). 575) followed from the assumption that animals were the abortions of celestial she-demons and therefore rich in greed-arousing substance (Baur, 1831 = 1973, pp. Their main obligation, however, reflected in the commandment not to be miserly (Ebn al-Nadim, ed. 299-302) and frequently enjoined in sermons and parables, was to give alms, but only to the elect people (Augustine, 140, 12, in Adam, 1969, pp. Nevertheless it could not be overlooked that neither the elect nor the hearers were in a position to completely fulfill their respective religious duties, and so both communities had to undergo regularly repeated atonement ceremonies, the lay people on Sunday, the elect also on Monday, and all of them on such high feast days as the Bema festival. There were ideally 12 teachers, 72 bishops, 360 presbyters (not always mentioned) and the simple elect people (Puech, 1949, pp. Was the head of the church, who resided in Ctesiphon, later in Baghdad and then in Samarqand (Samarkand), able to keep in touch with all the wide-spread Manichean communities, let alone supervise and control their activities? 533-35), we know that it regarded itself as Mani’s most promising legacy (Sundermann, 1981, pp. This led to an accumulation of somewhat similar motifs, structured as the alternating sequence of dark periods on the one hand and periods of relief on the other. It is less easy to describe how the Manicheans imagined the final state of the divine world of light. The beginning-less dualism will be overcome, even if it is not possible to annihilate the immortal demons. Rose, 1979 and now Franzmann, 2003, passim, where the essential unity of the complex Jesus figure, even of its active and passive aspects, is stressed). Mentioned in a positive sense is the shadowy Gnostic figure of Nikotheos (nktyʾwys) as one of the patriarchs of mankind (Henning, 1934, p. Judging by the bulk of Iranian Manichean texts and other East Manichean texts as well, which largely draw on the Iranian tradition, the Zoroastrian influence on Manicheism must have been overwhelming. The Manichean accommodation to Zoroastrian terms and concepts went so far as to induce the designation of the Manichean church as the (Reitzenstein, 1921, p. The Zoroastrian assessment of the material world is entirely positive, for the Manicheans the substance of the world is bad but its function is salutary.Mani identified the Biblical creator god with the arch-demon Ašaqlūn of his myth, the procreator of the first human couple (Andreas and Henning, 1932, pp. At the first clash of good and evil the divine world in its self-sufficient, peaceful harmony was helplessly exposed to the attack of the powers of darkness.The danger could be temporarily averted through god’s subsequent self-sacrifice – in the person of the First Man, his son, and his sons’s sons—as a stupefying bait for the demons.
The continuation of Père Ries’ study is an urgent desideratum, particularly if it is borne in mind that probably there have been greater advances in the study of Manicheism in the last century than in any other similar branch of religious studies.
13-21), in the Islamic Near East in the 11th century, in Central Asia probably in the 12th or 13th century, and finally in China in the 16th century (Lieu, 1992, p. A Manichean temple in Buddhist disguise still exists in Quanzhou in the South Chinese Fujian province (Bryder, 1988, pp. It is true that European scholars recently discovered traces of Buddha-Mani worship still being practiced in the same Fujian province, but this is, according to S. The same may be true of a modern “Manichaean Church” presented on the internet (accessed 20 July 2009). It was only in the 20th century that genuine Manichean texts and documents came to light in different parts of the world (cf. As a universal religion Manicheism was, in the words of Henri-Charles Puech, a “religion de charactère essentiellement missionnaire,” and more so than any other religion, Islam included, “une religion . It implied a strictly ascetic lifestyle of the elect and the support for the elect by the auditors through almsgiving and a general confession and atonement of sins. A simplified description of its main issues will be given here (for details see COSMOGONY AND COSMOLOGY IN MANICHEISM). Their whole aggressive force is turned against the completely unprotected World of Light. The First Man advances towards the enemy, suffers defeat, looses consciousness, and his five sons, the Light Elements, are swallowed up by the greedy demons. The devoured Light Elements have a poisonous effect on the demons. The elect will then be given the insignia of victory, and they will be triumphantly led to Paradise, commonly specified as the “New Paradise” of the First Man (Boyce, 1954, pp. The souls of the hearers and the worldly sinners have to undergo as their appropriate punishment a process of painful transmigration. On the complexity of the Manichean doctrine of the afterlife cf. 22-23), Middle Persian wardišn “turning,” Parthian zādmurd, Sogdian , both “birth – death”. They were admittedly written down five centuries after Mani’s lifetime and even later, but they contain older traditions. Below the time and fate level, however, the antagonism of good and evil remained at full power. Both worlds are limitless and at the same time limit each other.
Wherever it was present, Manicheism appeared as the religion of an often persecuted minority, with the exception of the Uighur steppe empire and the Uighur kingdom of Qocho, where it gained the status of a state religion from about 762 to the 11th century. entries: Christ in Manicheism, Cosmogony and Cosmology in Manicheism, Dīnāvarīya, Manichean Eschatology, Mani the founder of Manicheism, Festivals (Manichean), (The Book of) Giants, Manichean Pandemonium, Manichean Pantheon, Iran ix. But beside the conceptual pair of “wisdom and work(s),” Andreas and Henning, 1933, p. The heart and core of the Manichean doctrine is the cosmogony. The cosmogony starts with a description of the primeval existence of the two worlds of divine Light and demonic Darkness limiting each other directly without any void space in between (Ebn al-Nadim, ed. The attack of the demonic hosts is averted only by the self-sacrifice of the highest god, the Father of Greatness, in the person of his son, the First Man (Polotsky, 1935, p. But this apparent triumph of the demons turns out to be a hollow victory. They paralyze their aggressive force and give the World of Light time to develop militant protective counter-measures against the demonic attack. There is also the myth of a post-mortal judgment before the “righteous judge” (Parth. 115) and who weighs the works of the deceased (Jackson, 1923, pp. This may mean that transmigration in the Manichean sense does not necessarily presuppose being born as a new personality or creature but rather being restricted to a kind of guest-status in another living being, a plant, an animal, a man and preferably an elect. There is, however, evidence for an overwhelming impact of the Zoroastrian on the Manichean cosmogony and its radical ethical and ontological dualism (cf. They display a strictly dualistic world-view already in existence before the third century CE according to the testimonies of Plutarch (de Jong, 1997, pp. It was this second level dualism that agreed with Mani’s own preconceived dualism, and this he accepted, placing the Zoroastrian Zurvan uncompromisingly on the side of the good beings. The attack of the demons plunges both worlds into turmoil and conflict.
This is described in great detail in the (Sundermann, 1992, esp. The evildoers are the sinful elect and next to them the multitude of the worldly-minded infidels (Mac Kenzie, 1979, pp. The building of the world breaks down and is devoured in a final conflagration, the “great fire” (Mac Kenzie, 1979, pp. 158-59), follows unmistakably from the which states that Mani grew up in the Jewish-Christian South Mesopotamian sect of the Elkhasaites (Koenen and Römer, 1988; Cameron and Dewey, 1979). Mani adopted the non-orthodox early-Christian doctrine of Christ’s docetic nature, i.e. The question whether Christ was submitted to suffering and death was admittedly disputed, but even this controversy reflected arguments in the early Christian church (Sundermann, 2002, pp. to regard the Manichean doctrine as a late formation of Gnostic ideas, according to Hans Jonas as the typical representative of what he called the “Iranian type” (1991, pp. Some examples may suffice: The pre-cosmic history of the divine (and, for Manicheism, the demonic) world that explains and determines the events of cosmic history (a teaching shared, however, more precisely with the Zoroastrian cosmogony of the Sasanian period); the seduction of the Archonts (cf. 62-65); the demons (the Gnostic archons) imitate the divine image when they create the first human couple (Stroumsa, 1984, p. The passion and desire of the Lower Sophia materialize as the substance of this world in such a way that from her “blind passions” the four elements of the world originate, and from her rueful “turning back” to the Giver of her Life, the psychical parts of the world (Jonas, 1964, pp. Specific Gnostic terms or definitions reappear in Manicheism, such as the Manichean designation of the macrocosm as the “Big Corpse” (Middle Persian 56: “Jesus said: Who recognized the world, found a corpse.” In other cases Gnostic traditions mediated philosophical terms. 291, but the opposite evaluation does also exist, cf. He did mention Marcion and Bardesanes, but only in order to criticize them or their followers (M 28, ed. Manicheism was twice exposed to the impact of Buddhist ideas and ways of life. In modern studies on Manicheism the Buddhist origin of the Manichean doctrine of transmigration (Puech, 1949, p. There are better arguments for a Buddhist pattern of Manichean monastic life and especially the monastic institution ( in the Iranian languages). Albert Henrichs assumed Indian sources for the Manichean legends about speaking and lamenting trees (Henrichs, 1979).
One is led therefore to assume an already existing Christian influence on the formation of the Manichean dogma, i.e. This has most clearly been seen by Böhlig who explained the central Manichean dogma of the self-sacrifice of the First Man (and the ensuing suffering of his sons) for the sake of the whole World of Light and its protection against the onslaughts of the powers of darkness (cf. 206, 236-37), according to Henri-Charles Puech the most radical form of Gnosticism (1949, p. It is possibly only Michel Tardieu who strictly separated Manicheism from Gnosticism because of its positive evaluation of the demiurge and of the creation of the world (Tardieu, 1988, pp. Most recently Jason Be Duhn accepts the Gnostic affiliation of Manicheism only in a very restricted, qualified sense: as Gnosis of the purification of the material body through separation of its opposing forces of material spirituality and the spirituality of the Light Soul (see Be Duhn, 2000, pp. In any case, the overwhelming impact of Gnostic myths, terms, and concepts on Manicheism cannot be denied (see in general Rudolph, 1977, pp. 84); the mixture of psychical with material parts in the Microcosm; the imprisonment of the human soul in the body; the five parts of the divine and the human soul (as Tardieu was able to prove); a positive evaluation of Eve (the heavenly Eve in Gnosticism) as the illuminator of Adam which goes against her common reputation as the sinful seducer of Adam (Sundermann, 1994, pp. There are, on the other hand, some specific traits of the Manichean doctrine that distinguish it from the characteristic Gnostic systems. The first encounter may have been the more effective one, even if it took no more than a couple of months: Mani’s early missionary journey to India in the period between 240 and 242. On Buddhist terms of Indian origin in Manichean Parthian and Sogdian cf. 69), as well as of the Manichean monastic life (Jonas, 1991, p. As for the first point, the Manichean term Even if Biruni himself regarded it as an argument for the Indian origin of the Manichean doctrine of transmigration, it rather speaks in favor of a Christian-Gnostic source (cf. The Manichean monasteries were initially (or only in the Buddhist environment? 144, 147; also mentioned in the Coptic Synaxeis Codex, cf. That might confirm the Indian contribution to the Manichean doctrine about the suffering World Soul.