Sunday, May 15, 2016

Manichaeism: A short Brief on Manichaean Doctrine and Practice.

Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, lived in the third century CE. His religion, once the state religion of Persia and long a vigorous contender for converts throughout the ancient Near East, is best remembered for the simplicity of its teachings about divine power. For Manicheans, the universe was ruled by a Lord of Light and a Lord of Darkness, who fought continuously for supremacy. All that was good was a gift from the Lord of Light, and all that was evil was an affliction visited by the Lord of Darkness. This dualism extended to cosmogony and ethics, splitting the universe into a spiritual realm that acted on the goodness of the human soul and a material realm that abetted the evil of the human body. These stark oppositions mask a remarkable degree of doctrinal and liturgical complexity, of which have been obscured by centuries of suppression and persecution, first by the Christian church, then by Islam.

Art of Mani [Sogdian]
At the end of the Parthian period, in the fourth year of King Ardawan (CE. 215-216) Manes or Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, was born. His religion notwithstanding the fierce persecutions to which it was exposed both in the East and the West, alike at the hands of Zoroastrians and Christians, from the very moment of its appearance until the extermination of the unfortunate Albigenses in the thirteenth century, continued for centuries to count numerous adherents, and to exercise an immense influence on religious thought both in Asia and Europe.

The system which Mani founded was essentially eclectic though he connects most of the world religions. His main endeavour was "to reconcile the doctrines of Zoroaster and Christ," which resulted Manichaeism and being pursued by the those religions with equal and unrelenting hatred. His system, however, is to be regarded rather as a Christianised Zoroastrianism than as a Zoroastrianised Christianity, since he was certainly a Persian subject, and probably at least half a Persian; wrote one of his books (the Shaburgan, characterised by al-Biruni as "of all Persian books one that may be relied upon," since "Mani in his law has forbidden telling lies, and he had no need whatever for falsifying history") in Persian for King Shapur, whose conversion he hoped to effect, and was finally put to a cruel death by one of Shapur's successors. 

Manichaeism itself claimed the universal validity of its truth. Mani regarded his doctrine not as the religion of a region, a state, or a chosen people, but as the completion of the preceding great religions of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism. It incorporated traditions of those and many other religions and doctrines [Henning, 1977, I, pp. 192-93]. A comprehensive but partially destroyed Coptic version of Mani’s speech on the ten superiorities of his religion is given in the Kephalaia [ed. Funk, pp. 370-75. Cf. Sundermann, 1985, pp. 22-23].

Manichaeism left its traces mainly in the works of anti-Manichaean polemicists or historians in the Occident and the Orient, in the Near East and China, where Manichaeism gained the status of a kind of arch-heresy. It was only in the 20th century that genuine Manichaean texts and documents came to light in different parts of the world.

Manichaeism according to Henri-Charles Puech, a “religion de charactère essentiellement missionnaire,” and Muslims identified and treat the religion as “une religion du livre,” a “religion of the Book” [Puech, 1949, pp. 61-68]

Manichaeism promised the redemption of the human soul from the bonds of its corporeal existence in the transcendent World of Light through wisdom and knowledge, [Henning, 1977, I, p. 193; pp. 203-5]. This renders the widespread Gnostic term of Gnosis, the revealed [not taught or excogitated] doctrine of Mani (cf. Mani Codex, ed. Koenen and Römer, 1988, pp. 44-45] that claimed to convince the human mind instead of demanding unquestioning acceptance [Puech, 1949, pp. 70-72; Hoffmann, 2001, pp. 67-112]. But beside the conceptual pair of wihīh/xradud dānišn there is also the pair of (Arabic) al-ḥikma wa’l-aʿmāl “wisdom and works” in Biruni’s translation of a passage of the Šābuhragān [Sachau, 1923, p. 207, ll. 14-15; Tardieu, 1981, pp. 477-81; Henning, 1977, I, p. 193]. This expresses with precision the Manichaean demand that from Gnosis good deeds should follow which would contribute to the redemption, not only of one’s own soul, but also of the World Soul. It implied a strictly ascetic lifestyle of the elect and the support for the elect by the auditors through alms giving and a general confession and atonement of sins.

The heart and core of the Manichaean doctrine is the cosmogony. It gives the answer to the questions “where have you come from, where do you go, what is your desire, for what purpose did you come, where have you been sent to?” etc. [Sundermann, 1997, pp. 74-75]. 

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 [al-Nadim, tr. Dodge, pp. 787-88]. The superiority of the World of Light lies in its blissful, self-sufficient harmony; its weakness is its peaceful nature, which makes it unprepared for any conflict. The World of Darkness is related, in contrast, to anarchic, chaotic strife and sexuality, and destructive concupiscence in every respect. The activities of the World of Darkness are neutralized so long as they are ignorantly directed against themselves. But the time comes when they discover by chance the existence of the World of Light, which now becomes their object of desire. Their whole aggressive force is turned against the completely unprotected World of Light. The attack of the demonic hosts is averted by the self-sacrifice the First Man. The First Man advances towards the enemy, suffers defeat, looses consciousness, and his five sons, the Light Elements, are swallowed up by the demons. But this apparent triumph of the demons turns out to be a hollow victory. It was in the end rather, as BeDuhn illustrates as the First Man’s “victory by self-sacrifice” [BeDuhn, 2005, p. 11, cf. p. 26]. The devoured Light Elements have a poisonous effect on the demons. They paralyze their aggressive force and give the World of Light time to develop militant protective counter-measures against the demonic attack.

Therefore, under the constraint of the demonic menace, the World of Light changes its character, and becomes a mighty warlike power. The warlike aspect of the World of Light is represented by its Second Evocation, the Spirit of Life liberates the First Man, but cannot immediately liberate his sons. He builds instead this world from the corpses of slain demons to serve as a prison for the still living demons and as a grandiose mechanism for the liberation of the swallowed and dismembered particles of the Light Elements which from now on, and as the subject of permanent liberation, appear as the suffering World Soul also called the Living Soul, the Living Self, etc.

It is a result of the encounter of the call of the Spirit of Life and the answer [or the hearing] of the First Man that a Divinely Guided soul comes into being, the Enthymesis of Life, the desire of the imprisoned divine entities to be redeemed [and of the redeeming gods to regain their lost relatives].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 ataktos kinēsis “disorderly motion” according to Alexander of Lykopolis. The divine “intention”, 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. [see Sundermann, “God and his adversary in Manichaeism.The case of the ‘Enthymesis of Death’ and the ‘Enthymesis of Life,’”].

The creation of the world marks the beginning of cosmogony in its proper sense. Although the world is made of demonic substance and is, as such, of an evil nature [plants and animals in particular, Puech, 1949, p. 80; animals are not given access to paradise, Henning 1977 II, p. 538; Asmussen, 1975, p. 82, verse 66], it is the work of a divine demiurge and it fulfills the functions of making the liberation of the World Soul possible and of keeping the still active demons imprisoned.The redemption of the World Soul is the main object of cosmic history [human world history included]. The result of the cosmic history, however, is predetermined by the pre-cosmic events, the sacrifice of the First Man and the defeat of the demons at the hands of the 'Spirit of Life' and the Mother of Life, even if the demons are not yet made powerless and even if the final divine victory will not be a perfect one.

The creation of the world—the Macrocosm [Middle Persian nsʾ (ẖ) wzrg “Big Corpse”]—provokes the demonic counter-creation of the first human couple and their descendents: the Microcosm [Middle Persian šhr ʿyg qwdg, Parthian zmbwdyg qšwdg “Small World,” Manichaean New Persian qwdqbwd (kwdkbwd) “Small Being.”]. The Enthymesis of Death herself, in the form of the demonic couple of Ašaqlūn and Nebrō’ēl, procreates Adam and Eve as the best possible prisons of the Light substance of the World Soul. Therefore, according to Mani’s doctrine it is humankind that is a demonic creation, rather than the world as such.

The cosmic work of the successive, step by step, liberation of the World Soul is the task of the deities of the Third Evocation who act under the guidance of the Third Messenger, mainly in the macro cosmic sphere, and under Jesus the Splendour who is mostly concerned with the liberation of the human souls. In fact, Jesus and his emanation, the Light-Nous, find the means to enlighten men through divine Gnosis, to deprive their demonic ruler, the Spirituality of the Body [Middle Persian mēnōgīh ī tan, explained as xišm ud āz ud āwarzōg “fury, greed and lust,” Henning, 1977, II, p. 197], of power and to imprison it in the corporeal limbs. This Spirituality, in Mani’s Pauline terminology, the Old Man, is then replaced by the New Man as the personality of the enlightened and righteously acting religious person. This is described in great detail in the Sermon on the Light-Nous [Sundermann, 1992, esp. pp. 22-24; Idem, 2001, pp. 27-34]. But not only were Jesus and his helpers successful in rescuing the souls of many men, they even managed to transform some persons—the elect— soul and body, to instruments of the material liberation of the light substance in plants through their digestive system [BeDuhn, 2000, esp. pp. 163-233]. It is the superior aptitude of the divine beings that He with His own Grace creates man as the most sophisticated creature of the demonic world so that they may work as the most effective instrument of the redemption of the World Soul.

God proclaims the divine truth- the salvation of mankind to Adam and makes him the first prophet. A chain of prophets and a series of messiah, inspired by the Light-Nous, follows one by one and at different places in different time, renewing the divine message that is exactly the same as what Mani espoused. The number and sequence of most prominent messiahs as Mani proclaim is Adam, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus and Mani. Unfortunately, none of the forerunners of Mani took sufficient care to preserved their messages in written form as an authorized texts. So their disciples misunderstood their masters in many ways and produced their own falsifications in the name of their master.[cf. Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, pp. 7-8, Gardner, 1995, p. 13; Henning, 1977, I, pp. 192-93; II, pp. 146-48]. Therefore Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity even Judaism, can no longer claim to teach the eternal truth. Now Mani, the prophet at the end of time (“in this last generation,” Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, p. 14.6, 146.9-10; Gardner, 1995, p. 20, 153; cf. also Polotsky, 1934, pp. 28.1-6, 32.21-23], who avoided the faults of his forerunners, and his message, composed in canonical books and the traditions of reliable disciples [Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, p. 6. 24-27; Gardner, 1995, p. 12], are thus contains the ultimate truth.

In the Manichaean view human history is essentially Heilsgeschichte, salvation history, in a double sense: the history of the salvation of human beings and the process of the salvation of other parts of the World Soul through human beings. In spite of the active redemptive role of the Light-Nous, it is also true that man himself is responsible for his own salvation and that of the World Soul [Widengren, 1977, p. 143]. This implies belief in a type of human free will [Birnbaums, 2005, pp. 33, 34]. But in the Manichaean understanding free will could not be the choice between (at least) two options. 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 faculty or failure of a soul to act according to its “free will” depended only on the degree of contamination with corporeal matter. Alexander of Lycopolis illustrate it as: “When it was mixed with matter, Soul became affected by matter. For just as a change of the contents of a defiled vessel is often due to the condition of the vessel itself, so something happens also to soul embedded in matter when, contrary to its real nature, it is debased so as to participate in evil” [van der Horst, 1974, pp. 54-55; text: Brinkmann, 1895, p. 6, ll. 2-6].

The acceptance of the Manichaean doctrine was the first step to salvation. But it necessarily entailed a submission to the rules of Manichaean ethics (see BeDuhn, 2000). Their raison d’être followed from the events of the cosmogony. For example, the commandment (in Coptic) “that we eat no flesh” (Allberry, Psalm-Book, 1938, p. 161, ll. 21-22, in Parthian more generally dēnčihrīft “chastity,” Sims-Williams, 1985, p. 575) followed from the assumption that animals were the abortions of celestial she-demons and therefore rich in greed-arousing substance [Baur, 1973, pp. 249-51, likewise forbidden was the consummation of alcoholic drinks, ibid, p. 251]. On the other hand, the commandment (in Coptic) “that we do not kill” [Allberry, 1938, p. 573, ll. 21-22, in Sogdian more generally pu-āzarmyā “not to hurt,” Sims-Williams, 1985, pp. 574-75] implied that any living being, but also the earth, the water and the stars in the skies contain particles of the vulnerable World Soul, so that to kill an animal, to cut a plant, to walk on the earth, to take a bath, etc. was a violation of the Living Soul [Baur, 1831 = 1973, pp. 253-54; 1977, I, pp. 446-47].

It is obvious that morals like these are impracticable. The dilemma was solved to a certain degree by the introduction of a double set of ethical demands: strict commandments [or rather prohibitions] for a small elite of “perfect” or “elect” people and ten less demanding commandments for the greater community of the devout lay-people [Puech, 1949, pp. 89-90]. The elect were submitted to five rigorous commandments which confined their lives to the duties of hearing and reading the instructive sermons and scriptures, singing hymns, offering prayers, attending the services and above all the sacramental communal meals, teaching and preaching 'the gospel of truth' to brethren and lay-people, doing missionary work, etc. They were submitted to a strict vegetarian regime and forbidden to drink alcoholic drinks and eat meat, to earn their own livelihood [except for acts of financial business], or practice any sexual activities [Baur, 1973, pp. 267-70; Puech, 1949, pp. 89-91].

But living a holy life affected more than the elect’s personal salvation. It made his body, and his digestive system in particular, a miraculous instrument for liberating the light particles of the World Soul that were imprisoned in melons, cucumbers, grapes, water, fruit juice, etc. By eating those fruits the elect set free the light particles from the material massa damnata and let them ascend to the New Paradise of Light in their hymns of praise, their prayers and, as Augustine derisively says, their belches [Baur, 1973, p. 287]. This happened in their sacramental meals, regularly held whenever fasting was not incumbent. If we call the communal meal of the elect a kind of Eucharist, it is just the opposite of the Christian ceremony. It does not mediate God’s redemption as that of Christian believes through Christ’s sacrifice, it affects the redemption of the suffering divine World Soul through the redeeming force of holy men [Tardieu, 1981, pp. 111-12]. In this way the elect gain a super-human rank, and it is doubtlessly in this function that they are addressed as “gods” [Copt. snout, Parth. yazdān, Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, pp. 219.34-220.3; Gardner, 1995, p. 227; Zieme, 1975, pp. 28, 29].

The lay-people were exempt from the rigorous obligations and restrictions of the elect. For them a catalogue of ten moderate commandments [al-Nadim, tr. Dodge, p. 789] was valid. Their main obligation, however, reflected in the commandment not to be miserly [al-Nadim, ed. Flügel, pp. 299-302] and frequently enjoined in sermons and parables, was to give alms, but only to the elect people [Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmos, 140, 12, in Adam, 1969, pp. 64-65; Henning, 1977 II, pp. 597-601]. To give alms meant feeding, clothing, and housing the elect, ordaining one of their children for the service of the elect [Puech, 1949, p. 89], and if those hearers belonged to the ruling or upper class “helpers” giving them protection.

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. In Central Asia the practice of confession was completed with the help of all-encompassing confessional forms, both for the elect and the hearers [Henning, 1977, I, pp. 417-557, II, pp. 64-68; Asmussen, 1965; Klimkeit, 1977, pp. 193-228; Sims-Williams, 1991, pp. 323-28]. The Parthian term xwāstwānīft “confession” was taken over in Sogdian and Old-Turkish texts.

The most effective incentive for the fulfillment of the commandments was certainly the conviction that human deeds, both good and evil, accompanied the souls of the deceased on their way to the world beyond [Sundermann, 1992(b), pp. 166-69]. The 90th Kephalaion quotes Mani’s words: “Every person shall follow after his deeds, whether to light or indeed to death” [Polotky and Böhlig, 1940, p. 224, ll. 8-9; Gardner, 1995, p. 232].

The deeds of man had their place in the complex system of Manichaean individual eschatology.The righteous person was promised [usually as the first step to the other world] a meeting with his (good) deeds [Sogd. xw xypδ ʾkrtyh] in the appearance of a beautiful young girl [Henning, 1977, II, pp. 180-81]. In a more developed form, the deceased meet a divine figure whom al-Nadim calls al-ḥakīm al-hādī “the wise guide” and who was probably the Light-Nous or one of his emanations. In his retinue appears inter alia the virgin who resembles the soul of the deceased [al-Nadim, tr. Dodge 1970, pp. 795-96, cf. Sundermann, 2001, pp. 66-70]. 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. 15-23]. The souls of the hearers and the worldly sinners have to undergo as their appropriate punishment a process of painful transmigration. 

There is a post-mortal judgement before the “righteous judge” [Parth. dādwar rāštīgar] whose throne is in the air [Sundermann, 1981, p. 115] and who weighs the works of the deceased [Jackson, 1923, pp. 20-22; Durkin-Meisterernst, 2006, pp. 30-31, ll. 303-307, with n. 126], and the metaphor of [at least three, but up to fifteen] ways which lead to paradise, transmigration and eternal death [Sundermann, 2001, p. 677], namely of the righteous elect people [and, on the same level, the “perfect” hearers], of their helpers, the hearers, and of the worldly-minded sinners.[On the complexity of the Manichaean doctrine of the afterlife see, Widengren, ed., 1977, pp. 128-29].

The Manichaean understanding of the transmigration is best characterized by its Gnostic term (Greek) metaggismos, i.e. “transvasement,” pouring from one vessel to another [Puech, 1979, pp. 22-23], Middle Persian wardišn “turning,” Parthian zādmurd, Sogdian zāδmurδ, both “birth – death”. This may mean that transmigration in the Manichaean 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. The Parthian term for this kind of light substance is widāragān mihmān “transient guest” [Sundermann, 1992, pp. 91-92].

It is the grim fate of the sinners to transmigrate to animal bodies, to fall into the hands of the merciless demons, and in the end to be imprisoned with them in the eternal Bōlos. The hearers will go the opposite way: transmigration to plants and liberation and ascension as the result of a process that in the end makes them the alimentation of the elects’ sacred meals. But this view may be too simplistic. Mani himself regarded the fate of the hearers after death as so intricate and complicated that he did not try to depict it in his Eikōn, the “Picture Book” [Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, pp. 235-36; Gardner, 1995, p. 242]. Through the transmigration of hearers and sinners the individual eschatology links up with the cosmic eschatology.

Not only was Mani the universal teacher and leader of his community, and not only was he a gifted artist who put painting, music, and the means of storytelling into the service of his message, he was also an able organizer who established a church which spread throughout the world. The core of his church was the elect [Baur 1973, p. 267]. The greater number of the hearers were not always regarded as members of the church. The 87th Coptic Kephalaion compares the church to a good tree and the hearers to good soil that receives the seed of the tree [Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, pp. 217.31 – 218.2; Gardner, 1995, p. 225]. The Latin Tebessa manuscript, however, speaks of electi and auditors as hos duos ecclesiae [gra]dus “these two ranks of the church” [Decret, 2005, p. 87, Böhlig and Asmussen, 1980, p. 139].

The community of the elect was hierarchically structured. There were ideally 12 teachers, 72 bishops, 360 presbyters [not always mentioned] and the simple elect people [Puech, 1949, pp. 86-87, p. 180, note 362]. Mani’s successors at the head of the community were called (Greek) Archēgoi [Henning, 1977, I, p. 491]. For the seemingly amorphous multitude of the lay-people, the hearers, a “chief auditor” (Sogdian niγōšak-pat) and a “chief auditrix” (Sogdian niγōšāk-patānč) are mentioned in the text M 1 [cf. Gershevitch, 1961, sec. 1040]. 

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. Was the head of the church, who resided in Ctesiphon, later in Baghdad and then in Samarkand, able to keep in touch with all the wide-spread Manichaean communities, let alone supervise and control their activities? Of the powerful “Church of the East” in Central Asia, also called the dēnāwarīft (Parthian), dīnāwarīya [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 533-35], we know that it regarded itself as Mani’s most promising legacy [Sundermann, 1981, pp. 133-34] and so must have played a rather independent role.

It is highly possible that the constant adherence to the common essentials of the doctrine was the mainstay of the Manichaean community. In any case, schisms of the Manichaean church such as that between the Mesopotamian (Arabic) Mihrīya and Miqlāīya [from the 8th to the 9th century] were provoked by disagreement on ritual matters, not on dogmatic questions. The only exception to the rule seems to be the separation of a sect called by al-Nadim al-Māsiya [by ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, however, Miqlāiya which is, according to de Blois, 2006, p. 77, the correct name of the sect, Sundermann, 2001, p. 564]. It maintained against the majority of its time the genuine Manichaean doctrine that the Light substance of the World Soul cannot be completely redeemed. 

A unique chance was given to the Manichaean church when in about 762 the ruler of the Uighur Steppe empire, Bögü (Bügü) Khan, adopted the Manichaean religion [Clark, 2000, pp. 83-123; Sundermann 2001a, pp. 159-61]. For at least 250 years Manichaeism remained the creed of the Uighur kings, after the breakdown of the steppe empire in 840 it was taken by the fleeing Uighurs to the Turfan oasis and was made the religion of the kingdom of Qocho. In the 11th century Manichaeism was superseded by Buddhism, which had long since been the religion of the majority of the inhabitants of the Turfan area [Moriyasu, 2004, esp. pp. 174-92]. It was only under the favorable conditions of a community enjoying the privileges of a state religion that Manichaeism could produce a wealth of spiritual literature, often written in fine calligraphy and accompanied by superb illuminations, of wall-paintings, textile art objects, etc., the relics of which were, and still are, being retrieved through numerous Turfan expeditions.

Manichaeism found its last refuge in the southern Chinese province of Fujian. At Quanzhou a Manichaean temple with a statue of the prophet has survived through the ages in Buddhist disguise.This and some more traces of a Manichaean presence attest to the “Religion of Light” there from the 10th to the 16th centuries [Lieu, 1992, pp. 264-304].

Manichaeism existed for more than a millennium. Mani himself did not anticipate such a long history for his church. He was convinced that he was the last prophet of truth on earth [Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, 1940, p. 14.6; Gardner, 1995, p. 20], he was sure that his mission would lead imminently to the eschatological events at the end of the world. More than any other part of the Manichaean myth its eschatology received inspirations from other religions, mainly from Zoroastrianism and Christianity [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 61-65]. 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. Our main sources on these events are Mani’s Middle Persian Šābuhragān and the Coptic Sermon on the Great War [on which in general see Pedersen, 1993]. After Mani’s death a great war was foretold, during which the Manichaean church would suffer severe persecution [Polotsky, 1934, pp. 8-11, 13-21]. Then a blissful time of peace and the accomplishment of justice would follow. Under the rule of the “great king” the Manichaean church would predominate and liberate much light from the bonds of the world [Polotsky, 1934, pp. 21-33]. Again evil will get the upper hand. The Antichrist [in an Old-Turkish text the false Maitreya, Le Coq, 1919, p. 5] comes into power and establishes a reign of terror. 

But he will be overcome by Jesus the Splendor who returns to earth, rules for 120 years [Sundermann, 2003, pp. 421-27], and will hold the Last Judgement upon mankind. He will do what the biblical parable on the Last Judgement, Matt. 25. 31-46, foretold: separate the righteous from the evildoers like the sheep from the goats. The first he will put on his right side, the second on the left. The Manichaean version, however, makes it clear what right and wrong mean: the righteous ones are the pious elect and next to them their faithful helpers, the hearers. The evildoers are the sinful elect and next to them the multitude of the worldly-minded infidels [MacKenzie, 1979, pp. 504-509; Polotsky, 1934, pp. 35-38].

After Jesus’ judgment has cleared the world from human life, it remains void for a hundred years [Sundermann, 2003, p. 424]. Then the functionless building of the world, so long a useful means of salvation and protection, will be given up by the divine powers, and a process set in motion which is a reversion of cosmogonic events. The five sons of the Living Spirit who upheld and watched over the cosmos, and the five sons of the First Man, the active part of the World Soul, leave their posts and, together with all the angels, retire to the heavenly sphere. The building of the world breaks down and is devoured in a final conflagration, the “great fire” [MacKenzie, 1999, pp. M I 93-96; Sundermann, 2001, pp. 60-61). The great fire will last for 1,468 years (Ogden, 1930, pp. 102-5; Koenen, 1986, pp. 314, 321-26]. The demons and the irredeemable sinners will find in it their last punishment [MacKenzie, 1999, pp. M I 99-104]. After the extinction of the fire the demons, and with them the irredeemable human souls, will be imprisoned in the Bōlos [Polotsky, 1934, p. 41; MacKenzie, 1999, pp. M I 103-4; Decret, 1974, pp. 487-92], male and female beings separated, so that they cannot multiply and inflict more damage [Kephalaia, ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, p. 105. 30-35; Gardner, 1995, p. 110].

It is less easy to describe how the Manichaeans imagined the final state of the divine world of light. The most likely possibility is that their ideas were contradictory. The end of the Coptic Sermon on the Great War allows Koenen’s interpretation that both the Eternal Paradise of the Father of Greatness and the New Paradise of the First Man will continue to exist forever [Koenen, 1986, pp. 306-307]. On the other hand the 39th Kephalaion and its Middle Persian equivalent, “He teaches the three great days” (M 5750) warrant the conclusion that the New Paradise will ultimately merge with the Eternal Paradise [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 675-76, cf. also Kephalaia, Gardner, 1995, p. 11].

But however that may be, the post-cosmic finitum will not be a re-establishment of the pre-cosmic initium. The beginning-less dualism will be overcome, even if it is not possible to annihilate the immortal demons. The conflict between the worlds of light and darkness ends with the victory of light, but the divine powers are not able to retrieve the whole of the lost light substance. A small part of it [the Manichaean literature tends to minimize or even to ignore the loss, Henning, 1977, I, p. 278] proves to be so irredeemably corrupted by the matter of darkness that it cannot be regained. This meant, since the World Soul is a part of the Father of Greatness himself, that the deity emerges injured and, as it were, imperfect from the cosmic battle, as Augustine and others did not fail to stress (Baur, 1973, pp. 100-11).

It was a remarkable intellectual achievement to develop and present the exceedingly complex and intricate Manichaean doctrine in a more or less understandable way. Mani succeeded in doing so, in spite of serious shortcomings concerning precision of terms, clearness of style, and consistency of description. As far as one can follow the arrangement of Manichaean works one may state that they are systematically grouped subject-wise, however manifold their contents may have been.That is perceptible even in such voluminous works as the collections of the Kephalaia.

More than any other world religion, Manichaeism may be called a syncretistic religion in so far as it adopted manifold motives, terms, ritual and hierarchical institutions from other communities. Mani himself admitted this dependence, and it seems not to have clashed with his claim to have received his wisdom from divine revelation. In his famous speech about the superiority of his religion in ten points he mentions “the scriptures, the wisdom and the parables” of the former religions that came to “this” [religion]. But in that selfsame speech he also underlines the superiority of his universal religion [Henning 1977, I, pp. 192-93; Kephalaia, ed. Funk, pp. 370-75]. So the adoption of alien matters must have been a critical one, the criteria being compatibility with Mani’s own convictions.

The impact of Manichaeism on Christianity is attested in many Manichaean and counter-Manichaean documents such as Mani’s declaration that he himself as the “Paraclete,” of the New Testament passages quoted from canonical and apocryphal Christian Holy books and the fact that even in texts used in a non-Christian environment Jesus is praised.

That this impact was not simply an outward accommodation to a Christian ambiance, as has been assumed [Widengren, 1961, pp. 158-59], follows unmistakably from the Cologne Mani Codex which states that Mani grew up in the Jewish-Christian South Mesopotamian sect of the Elkhasaites [Koenen and Römer, 1988; Cameron and Dewey, 1979]. One is led therefore to assume an already existing Christian influence on the formation of the Manichaean dogma, i.e. on Mani’s own world-view from the outset.

This has most clearly been seen by Böhlig who explained the central Manichaean 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 [Sundermann 2001, pp. 15-16] as a transposition of the central Christian doctrine of Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of mankind beyond all earthly events to the divine, pre-cosmic sphere (Böhlig, 1983, pp. 91-93; 1986, p. 36. Cf. also Skjærvø 1995(a), p. 271, and Sundermann, 2001, p. 49).

Jesus himself plays a perplexingly multifarious role that makes him almost omnipresent in the Manichaean system (Sundermann, 2001, pp. 5-12; cf. 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). He has both become a transcendent and earthly active, redeeming, and a passive, redeemed person of the Manichaean pantheon. He is indeed what Richard Reitzenstein called the salvator salvandus (Colpe, 1956, pp. 200-1) in order to characterize the essence of the Gnostic idea of salvation. But in all his capacities Jesus can be replaced by other, less ubiquitous deities, and in such cases, the Manichaean system lost nothing of its essentials. So Manichaeism can be characterized as a de-Christianized religion of Christian origin.

Even as a human prophet Jesus preserved his divine, spiritual nature. Mani adopted the non-orthodox early-Christian doctrine of Christ’s docetic nature, i.e. of his un-born, non-corporeal nature. 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. 209-17).

Manichaeism shares so many motives and concepts and even the structure of its doctrine with Gnostic teachings that it is almost communis opinio to regard the Manichaean 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. 206, 236-37], according to Henri-Charles Puech the most radical form of Gnosticism (1949, p. 72). It is possibly only Michel Tardieu who strictly separated Manichaeism from Gnosticism because of its positive evaluation of the demiurge and of the creation of the world (Tardieu, 1988, pp. 148-49). Most recently Jason BeDuhn accepts the Gnostic affiliation of Manichaeism 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 BeDuhn, 2000, pp. 120-23), not as sheer “intellectual” Gnosis, but as knowledge of how to practice the soul-saving rituals (BeDuhn, 2000, pp. 214-18).

Judging by the bulk of Iranian Manichaean texts and other East Manichaean texts as well, which largely draw on the Iranian tradition, the Zoroastrian influence on Manichaeism must have been overwhelming. Almost all deities, demons, and mythological persons bear names familiar from the religion of Zoroaster [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 127, 150-55]. The Manichaean accommodation to Zoroastrian terms and concepts went so far as to induce the designation of the Manichaean church as the dēn māzdēs “the Mazdayasnian Religion” [in Middle Persian, M 543, Müller, 1904, p. 79, etc]. 

There is, however, evidence for an overwhelming impact of the Zoroastrian on the Manichaean cosmogony and its radical ethical and ontological dualism [cf. Gnoli, 1985, p. 76; Gnoli, EIr. VII, p. 579; Rudolph, 1991, pp. 307-21]. The Zoroastrian cosmogony that can be used for comparison is mainly the teaching of the Zoroastrian Pahlavi books Bundahišn and Wizīdagīhā ī Zādsparam. They were admittedly written down few centuries after Mani’s lifetime, but they contain older traditions. They display a strictly dualistic world-view already in existence before the third century CE according to Plutarch [de Jong, 1997, pp. 163-204] and the Gnostic Basilides [Jonas 1991, p. 214, n. 10]. It is true that under the Sasanians, the dualistic system was grafted to a principle of time and fate, Zurvan, superimposed upon god and devil. Below the time and fate level, however, the antagonism of good and evil remained at full power. 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.

A systematic comparison of the Zoroastrian and the Manichaean cosmogonies displays accords and differences. It has been done in a most comprehensive and judicious way by Oktor Skjærvø who admits an Iranian, i.e. orthodox Zoroastrian influence on Manichaeism with the proviso that “wherever we detect Zoroastrian elements in Manichaeism we can be almost certain that their function in Zoroastrianism was different” [Skjærvø, 1995(a), esp. p. 281; cf. also Skjærvø, 1997, pp. 333-40; Sundermann, 1997a, pp. 351-58; Idem, 2001, pp. 47-54].

Both Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism postulate the existence of two independent, primeval worlds, the world of light and goodness and the world of darkness and evil. Both worlds are limitless and at the same time limit each other. The attack of the demons plunges both worlds into turmoil and conflict. The leaders in battle against the dark powers are the Zoroastrian god Ohrmazd and the Manichaean First Man who is called Ohrmazd too in the Iranian Manichaean tradition. But while the Zoroastrian god is always invincible, the Manichaean Ohrmazd has to save the world of light through his self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of his sons, even if this is stylized as a heroic achievement or a clever ruse. The struggle of the two worlds will be, in the Zoroastrian view, settled definitely at the end of the cosmos. For the Manichaeans the outcome of the fight had already been decided before the creation of the cosmos by the victory of the Living Spirit and the Mother of Life over the demons.

The material creation of this world is in the Zoroastrian view a divine act, and matter is a divine substance. In Manichaeism the demiurge is also a god, but he forms the world from the bodies of slain demons. The Zoroastrian assessment of the material world is entirely positive, for the Manichaeans the substance of the world is bad but its function is salutary.

In Zoroastrianism the creation of man is a necessary precondition for the final victory of the divine powers. It is the work of demons according to the Manichaean doctrine, designated to imprison the World Soul forever in generations of human bodies. In this point the views of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism are incompatible, even if the Manichaean gods find means to convert man into an instrument of salvation.

The world is, in the Zoroastrian as well as in the Manichaean view, the permanent battlefield of the divine powers and their demonic counterparts. In this battle humankind plays an important role. The world is the prison of the demons. This is also the opinion of the Manichaeans. But more than that, for them it is also a grandiose device to set free and purify the dismembered particles of the World Soul.

For the Zoroastrians the end of the world is its return to its original ideal state. For the Manichaeans it is its total destruction and the return of the last redeemable particles of the World Soul to their home and origin, the world of light. Both the Zoroastrian and the quite different Manichaean conception of these events are called in Middle Persian frašgird [Sundermann, 2001, p. 61].

These examples suffice to show that Manichaeism has the basic dualistic concept of its cosmogony (and cosmology) in common with the Zoroastrian doctrine. It comes close to Zoroastrianism in its evaluation of the material world. In other points it keeps a more Gnostic view: the nature of matter, of man, of the world as a prison of the World Soul, the final destruction of the world. Its idea of the sacrifice of the First Man imitated the Christian doctrine of the sacrificium Jesu Christi. Manichaeism, one may conclude, is a Gnostic religion with Christian roots and additional Zoroastrian components.

The Buddha whom Mani recognized as one of his forerunners and the importance of the inclusion of Buddha in the chain of Mani’s forerunners demonstrated that the Manichaean world-wide universality overstepped the limits of Mani’s Christian and Gnostic background.

Manichaeism was twice exposed to the impact of Buddhist ideas and ways of life. The Buddhist origin of the Manichaean doctrine of transmigration (Puech, 1949, p. 69), as well as of the Manichaean monastic life (Jonas, 1991, p. 232) has been taken for granted. As for the first point, the Manichaean term metaggismos denoting the transmigration, suggests a more likely Gnostic origin, and so does the important testimony in Biruni’s Taḥqiq mā li’l-Hind. Even if Biruni himself regarded it as an argument for the Indian origin of the Manichaean doctrine of transmigration, it rather speaks in favor of a Christian-Gnostic source [cf. Sundermann, 2001, pp. 208-9]. It is perhaps of minor importance that the somewhat materialistic Manichaean idea of transmigration is far from the Buddhist concept of rebirth.

There are better arguments for a Buddhist pattern of Manichaean monastic life and especially the monastic institution (mānistān in the Iranian languages). The Manichaean monasteries were initially meant to be places of communal worship and instruction, places for repose for electi who had fallen ill, and perhaps resting-places for religious wayfarers [Chavannes and Pelliot, 1913, pp. 108-14]. They were not initially meant to be the permanent abode of electi who had withdrawn from the world, let alone centers of commercial activity. This seems to agree well with the Buddhist vihāras as they may have been run in the third century CE (Lamotte, 1956, pp. 63-71, 342-43). 

There is a striking similarity between the Manichaean doctrine of the suffering World Soul and how it should be spared from maltreatment, and corresponding ideas in the Jain religion. Strangely enough, Mani does not mention the Mahāvīra as one of his prophetic forerunners, and the Jainas are ignored in Manichaean texts, unless they are to be understood in the Sogdian fragment So 18248 II (TM 393) as the “Brahmanic religion”; [Henning, 1977, II, pp. 144, 147; cf. Gardner, 2005, p. 124]..

Albert Henrichs assumed Indian sources for the Manichaean legends about speaking and lamenting trees (Henrichs, 1979). That might confirm the Indian contribution to the Manichaean doctrine about the suffering World Soul.

The Jewish religion, ancient Mesopotamian traditions left their traces in Manichaeism. But their influence was largely an indirect one, that it underwent a Gnostic –negative -evaluation (Judaism) or was more or less mediated by Gnosticism (philosophical traditions) or Judaism (Mesopotamian elements).

The contribution of Judaism to the Manichaeism dogma is smaller than might have been expected from a religion that originated in a Jewish-Christian community.The early formation of Mani’s world-view in a Jewish Christian environment left its traces in the further development of Mani’s doctrine. He made extensive use of those parts of the Old Testament and of Jewish apocryphal texts – in a critical or approving way – which treated of the pre-Jewish history of mankind, i.e. the time of the patriarchs before Abraham. 

This is most clearly expressed in the Manichaean re-interpretation of the creation myth of Genesis 1-3. Mani identified the Biblical creator god with the arch-demon Ašaqlūn of his myth, the procreator of the first human couple (Henning, 1977, I, pp. 25-26). The statement in Genesis 1.27 that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” is referred to in the context of the Manichaean Third Messenger whose male and female beauty had once aroused the desire of the demons in the skies and had seduced them [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 683-95). The snake, which according to Genesis 3.1-5 led Eve and Adam into temptation, actually opened Adam’s eyes to the divine truth. By eating the fruit of the "Tree of Knowledge" Adam gains Gnosis (Merkelbach, 1986, p. 29; Puech, 1949, p. 175, n. 337). It must not be overlooked, however, that anti-Jewish polemics in the Gnostic manner also attacked, and had perhaps as their main target those Christian communities that had accepted the tales and commands of the Old Testament unreservedly and at face value [Luttikhuizen, 2006, pp. 10, 28].

The most important topic beside the Genesis myth was the legend of the “sons of Elōhīm” who descended on earth, copulated with the daughters of men, and procreated a race of giants [Genesis 6.1-4]. The legend was elaborated in the apocryphal Jewish Book of the Giants and related works which were ascribed to Enoch, fragments of which were discovered among the Qumran texts [Milik, 1971, pp. 117-27; 1976, pp. 4-69, 298-317]. Parts of the Enoch literature found their way into the Christian tradition, and so it is likely that Mani became familiar with the Jewish Book of the Giants during his living in the Elkhasaite community environment. The ancient book may be inspired him to write the corrected form of the Book of the Giants, which became one of his canonical works. The Cologne Mani Codex quotes many more apocryphal works of Jews [Reeves, 1996, pp. 67-206].

The Manichaean religion claimed an all-embracing world-view describing the construction of the world with its eight earths and ten skies, listing the five kinds of animals and explaining such mysterious phenomena as earthquakes, the tides, the eclipses of sun and moon and the diversity of human languages. A claim to omniscience cannot be denied. In the course of its history it attracted the interest of outstanding personalities of spirituality and scholarship - and at the same time disappointed their expectations [for St. Augustine cf. his Confessions V.-3, for Biruni cf. Ruska, 1922, pp. 30-33]. In any case, the main concern of the Manichaean doctrine was its theodicy. The solution offered by Mani is indeed a unique one. More than any other religion, even more than Zoroastrianism, his doctrine drew radical consequences from its dualistic premises. Not only did it deny god’s omnipotence, it even proclaimed a deity inferior to the demonic world in the beginning and imperfect in the end, a suffering god, and a god in need of human help. These concessions to the constantly experienced evil under the sun made this world meaningful for the case of afterlife Judgement, but provoked the question of whether god was able to render man help and protection against earthly and spiritual mischief or at least to lighten and compensate his suffering.

This dilemma, to uncompromisingly uphold the dualistic dogma of god’s exoneration from evil and at the same time to encourage trust and hope in god’s helpfulness, was to a certain degree solved by the grandiose myth of a god developing in history, of a historical god.

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 effect of the sacrifice and the delay of the demonic attack gave god the chance to prepare his world for battle. He evoked the militant force of the Second Evocation that gained a peril-averting victory over the demons. The sons of the First Man, the World Soul, however, remained under the sway of the demons. The fate of the First Man and the imprisonment of his sons led to the development of a divine counterpart of the eternal demonic concupiscentia, the victims’ desire to be saved and the divine desire to save its lost part.

Thus perfected, god puts his superior wisdom to good use. With the clever means developed by the deities of the Third Evocation, the work of the progressive liberation of the World Soul is being undertaken and continued up to the end of the cosmos, though it could not be completely accomplished. A small remainder of irredeemable particles of the World Soul remains with the demons and shares their eternal imprisonment in the Bōlos. God emerges from the cosmic battle as a somewhat injured winner, an incomplete god, an idea that went, as Augustine and others stated [Baur, 1973, pp. 29-40], against the classical definition of god as a perfect being. But this was not the Manichaean concern. Their concern was the ultimate return of the divine world to the aboriginal state of self-sufficient, peaceful harmony. In later times the majority of Mani’s followers came to minimize as far as possible the consequences of Mani’s theodicy. They either denied the irredeemable fate of any part of the World Soul [al-Nadim, tr. Dodge 1970, p. 783], or they maintained that the divine world resigned itself to its loss and would no longer miss its lost parts [Henning, 1977, I, p. 278].

A deity like this could be expected to do his best to redeem human souls from the prison of their bodies for a happy life in the hereafter. But success could not be guaranteed. It was not the main concern of the redeeming gods to ensure a blessed human life on earth. It is the sublunar gods of the five Light Elements, the active aspect of the World Soul, as it were, who alleviated the conditions of everyday life as much as possible (Sundermann, 1997, pp. 15-16). Besides, the Manicheans did what all the world practiced against any kind of mischief: they administered magic spells [Henning, 1977, II, pp. 273-300] or interpreted omina [Sundermann, 2001, pp. 761-78].

The suffering god is the World Soul, it is not the translunar and the soul-redeeming pantheon, even if they may miss their relatives imprisoned on earth. But as the sons of the First Man, the “soul” of the “Father of Greatness,” the World Soul is not only a part of the world of light, but also a part of its highest god. So one could argue that the suffering World Soul is the suffering god himself, and whatever evil befalls the World Soul happens to god himself. Not only is god not the one who produces evil or he who does not prevent it, he is even the victim of evil himself.

The god in need of human help is again the World Soul. How this dependency is to be understood and how the human help worked was described under “Ethics.” It should be added here that the god in need of human help is one of the main topics of Manichaean mythology and poetry and perhaps the core of Manichaean practiced piety. A substantial part of Iranian Manichaean poetry consists of hymns in praise of the World Soul or expressing the complaint of the World Soul. A long hymn cycle, Gōwišn ī grīw zīndag “The Sermon on the Living Self”, thematized the honorable and the disgraceful treatment of the World Soul by mankind [Henning, 1977, I, pp. 215-18; Sims-Williams, 1981, pp. 239-40].

Much more could be said about Manichaean Theology. It had a polytheistic, an emanistic and a pantheistic, and even, for the very first and last times, a monotheistic aspect. It was mythical, but the myth was known to be no more than an image, presenting a temporal diversification of the divine unity [Biruni’s India, in Adam, 1969, pp. 4-5, cf. also EIr. entry “Manichean Pantheon”; Widengren, ed., 1977, p. 110]. All these aspects are not necessarily contradictory. They rather represent the rich variety of Manichaean theological concepts as applied to the ideas of divine formation and development, the sublunar and the translunar spheres of divine reality, and perhaps even the mythical and the abstract view of divine nature. But Manichaeism shared one or the other of these features with other religions and doctrines. It seems as if Mani wanted to convince the world that all possible types of theological speculation had their place in the harmonious system of his doctrine. The unique property of Manichaean theology is its theodicy. It justifies the assessment that Manichaeism is more than the sum of its syncretistic components.

The sources of our information about the life, doctrines, and writings of Manes are both Eastern and Western, and since the former (notably the Fihrist, al-Biruni, Ibn Wadih al-Ya'qubi and Shahristani) have been made accessible, it has been generally recognized that the information which they yield us is of a more reliable than that of Christian sources [collected mainly from the writings of St. Augustine, the Acts of Archelaus, etc.] of European accounts of this remarkable man.   

al-Ya'qubi's account of the life and doctrines of Manes, outlines as: "And in the days of Shapur the son of Ardashir appeared Mani the Zindiq, the son of Hammad, who invited Shapur to Dualism and cast censure upon his religion (i.e., Zoroastrianism). And Shapur inclined to him. And Mani said that the Controller of the Universe was twofold, and that there were two Eternal Principles, Light and Darkness, two Creators, the Creator of Good and the Creator of Evil. The Darkness and the Light, each one of them, connects in itself five ideas, Colour, Taste, Smell, Touch, and Sound, whereby these two do hear, see, and know; and what is good and beneficial is from the Light, while what is hurtful and calamitous is from the Darkness.

"Now these two [principles] were [at first] unmixed, then they became mixed ; and the proof of this is that there was [at first] no phenomenon, then afterwards phenomena were produced. And the Darkness anticipated the Light in this admixture, for they were [at first] in mutual contact like the shadow and the sun; and the proof of this is the impossibility of the production of anything save from something else. And the Darkness anticipated the Light in admixture, because, since the admixture of the Darkness with the Light was injurious to the latter, it is impossible that the Light should have made the first beginning [therein]; for the Light is by its nature the Good. And the proof that these two, Good and Evil, were eternal, is that if one substance be posited, two opposite actions will not proceed from it Thus, for example, Fire [which is], hot and burning, cannot refrigerate, while that which refrigerates cannot heat ; and that where from good results cannot produce evil, while from that which produces evil good cannot result. And the proof that these two principles are living and active is that good results from the action of this, and evil from the action of that.

"So Shapur accepted this doctrine from him, and urged his subjects to do the same. And this thing was grievous unto them, and the wise men from amongst the people of his kingdom united in dissuading him from this, but he did not do [what they demanded].

And Mani composed books wherein he affirmed the Two Principles; and of his writings was the book which he entitled Kanzyu'l Ihyd ('the Treasure of Vivification) wherein he describes what of salvation wrought by the Light and of corruption wrought by the Darkness exists in the soul, and refers reprehensible actions to the Darkness; and a book which he named Shdburgan, wherein he describes the delivered soul and that which is mingled with the devils and with defects, and makes out heaven to be a flat surface, and asserts that the world is on a sloping mountain on which the high heaven revolves; and a book which he named Kudbu'l-Hudd wat-Tadbir ('the Book of Guidance and Administration'), and the 'Twelve Gospels,' whereof he named each after one of the letters of the alphabet, and described Prayer, and what must be done for the deliverance of the soul; and the Sifru'l- Asrdr (' Book of Secrets'),

wherein he finds fault with the miracles of the prophets ; and the Sifni'l-Jabdbira ('Book of the Giants'); besides which he has many other books and epistles. "So Shapur continued in this doctrine for some ten years. Then the Mubadh (Fire-priest) came to him and said, 'This man hath corrupted thy religion; confront me with him, that I may dispute with him.' 

So he confronted them, and the Mubadh bested him in argument, and Shapur returned from Dualism to the Magian religion, and resolved to put Mani to death, but he fled away and came to the lands of India, where he abode until Shapur died.

"Then Shapur was succeeded by his son Hurmuz, a valiant man; and he it was who built the city of Ram- Hurmuz, but his days were not prolonged. He reigned one year.

"Then reigned Bahram the son of Hurmuz, who concerned himself [only] with his minions and amusements. And Mani's disciples wrote to him, saying, 'There hath succeeded to the throne a King young in years, greatly preoccupied [with his amusements].' So he returned to the land of Persia, and his doings became noised abroad, and his place [of abode] became known. Then Bahram summoned him and questioned him concerning his doctrine, and he related to him his circumstances. Then [Bahram] confronted him with the Mubadh, who disputed with him, and said, 'Let molten lead be poured on my belly and on thine, and whichever of us shall be unhurt thereby, he will be in the right.'

But [Mani] replied, 'This is a deed of the Darkness.' So Bahram ordered him to be imprisoned, and said to him, 'When morning comes I will send for thee and will slay thee in such wise as none hath been slain before thee.'

"So all that night Mani was being flayed, until his spirit departed [from his body]. And when it was morning, Bahram sent for him, and they found him [already] dead. So he ordered his head to be cut off, and his body to be stuffed with straw; and he persecuted his followers and slew of them a great multitude. And Bahram the son of Hurmuzd reigned three years."

The account of Mani given in the Fihrist is much fuller, but here only a few important points will be mentioned. His father's name is given as Futtaq (the arabicised form of a Persian name, probably Pataka, represented by Western writers as Patecius, Phatecius, and Patricius), and he was a native of Hamadan, but migrated thence to Babylonia (Badaraya and Bakusaya) and joined himself to the Mughtasila, a sect closely akin to the Mandaeans, from whom Mani probably derived his hatred both of the Jewish religion and also of idolatry. 

Mani's mother's name is variously given as Mar Maryam, Utakhim and Mays, and it is at least possible that she was of the race of the Ashghanis, or Parthian royal family, which, if true, would afford another ground for the mistrust entertained towards him by the Sasanian kings. He was born, according to his own statement in the book called Shaburgan, cited by al-Biruni, in CE. 215 or 216, and was deformed by a limp in one leg. Before his birth the Angel Tawm made known to his mother his high mission in dreams, but he only began to receive revelations at the age of twelve (or thirteen, CE. 227-8, according to al-Biruni), and not till he reached the age of twenty-four was he commissioned to make known his doctrine. His public announcement of his claims is said to have been solemnly made before King Shapur on the day of his coronation, March 20, CE. 242, and it was probably through the King's brother Firuz, whom he had converted to
his doctrines, that he succeeded in obtaining admission on so great an occasion of state. His long journey in India and the East probably followed his loss of the King's favour. That his ultimate return to Persia and barbarous execution took place during the short reign of Bahrain I (CE. 273-6), is asserted by al-Biruni, al-Ya'qubi, and Tabari."

According to Sachau (Sachau's tr. p. 191)- Manichaeanism, increased by degrees under Ardashir, his son Shapur, and Hurmuzd son of Shapur, until the time when Bahram the son of Hurmuzd ascended the throne. He gave orders to search for Mani', and when he had found him, he said: 'This man has come forward calling people to destroy the world. It will be necessary to begin by destroying him, before anything of his plans should be realized.'

It is well known that he killed Mani, stripped off his skin, filled it with grass, and hung it up at the gate of Uinde-Shapur, which is still known as the Gate of Manes. Hurmuzd also killed a "number of the Manichaeans. ... I have heard the Ispahbadh Marzuban the son of Rustam say that Shapur banished him out of his empire, faithful to the Law of Zoroaster which demands the expulsion of pseudo prophets from the country. He imposed on him the obligation never to return. So Mani went off to India, China, and Thibet, and there preached his gospel. Afterwards he returned, and was seized by Bahram and put to death for having broken the stipulation, whereby he had forfeited his life." 

The gospel of Mani, which so aroused the enmity of the Zoroastrian priesthood, and which was still so active in the latter part of the eighth century, that the 'Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi appointed a special inquisitor, called Sahibu (or al Arifuz]-Zandiqa to detect and punish those who, under the outward garb of Islam, held the doctrines of the Manichaeans or Zindiqs. [Zindiq, which, originally used to denote the Manichaeans, was gradually, and is still, applied to all atheists and heretics in Islamic countries. The ordinary explanation is that the term Zandiq is a Persian adjective meaning "one who follows the Zand" or traditional explanation in preference to the Sacred Text, and that the Manichaeans were so called because of their disposition to interpret and explain the scriptures of other religions in accordance with their own ideas, by a process akin to the yvwmg of the gnostics and the tawll of the later Isma'ilis. But Professor Eevan has proposed a much more probable explanation. We know from the Fihrist (Fliigel's Manly p. 64) and (transl. Sachau, p. 190) that while the term Sammir ("Listener," "Auditor") was applied to the lower grades of Manichaeans, who did not wish to take upon them all the obligations concerning poverty, celibacy, and mortification imposed by the religion, the "saints and ascetics" amongst them, who were commanded "to prefer poverty to riches, to suppress cupidity and lust, to abandon the world, to be abstinent in it, continually to fast, and to give alms as much as possible," were called Siddiq, "the Faithful" (pl. Siddiqur).

The Manichaeans, as we have seen, like the followers of Marcion and Bardesanes, were reckoned by Muslim writers amongst the "Dualists." Similarly, the Mazdhaeans the Zoroastrian religion also dualistic. In the former the Good and the Evil Creation, the realm of Ahura Mazda and that of Anra Mainyush (Ahriman), each comprised a spiritual and a material part. Not only the Amshaspands and Angels, but also the material elements and all animals and plants useful to man, and of mankind those who held "the Good Religion," fought on the side of Ahura Mazda against the dlvs and drujes, the khrafstars, or noxious animals, the witches and warlocks, the misbelievers and heretics, who constituted the hosts of Ahriman. In general the Zoroastrian religion, for all its elaborately systematized Spiritual Hierarchies, presents itself as an essentially material religion, in the sense that it encouraged its followers to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth," and to "sow the seed and reap the harvest with enduring toil." 

According to the Manichaean view, on the other hand, the admixture of the Light and the Darkness which gave rise to the material universe was essentially evil, and a result of the activity of the Powers of Evil; it was only good in so far as it afforded a means of escape and return to its proper sphere to that portion of the Light ("Jesus patibilis": see Spiegel, Eran. Alt., ii, p. 226), which had become entangled in the darkness; and when this deliverance was, so far as possible, effected, the angels who supported the heavens and upheld the earth would relax their hold, the whole material universe would collapse, and the Final Conflagration would mark the Redemption of the Light and its final dissociation from the irredeemable and indestructible Darkness. 

Meanwhile, by the "Column of Praise (consisting of the prayers, doxologies and good works of the faithful ascending up to Heaven, and visible as the Milky Way 2), the particles of Light, set free from their imprisonment in the Darkness, ascend upwards, and are ferried across by the Sun and Moon to the "Paradise of Light," which is their proper home. All that tends to the prolongation of this state of admixture of Light and Darkness, such as marriage and the begetting of children, is consequently regarded by Manes and his followers as evil and reprehensible, and thus we see what King Hurmuz meant by the words, "This man has come forward calling people to destroy the world." Zoroastrianism was national, militant, materialistic, imperialist; Manichaeism, cosmopolitan, quietist, ascetic, unworldly; the two systems stood in essential antagonism, and, for all their external resemblances (fully indicated by Spiegel in his Eranhche Alterihumskunde, vol. ii, pp. 195-232), were inevitably hostile and radically opposed.

In the case of Judaism, orthodox Christianity and Islam, the antagonism was equally great, and if the Manichaeans suffered less at the hands of the Jews than of the other three religions, it was the power rather than the will which these lacked, since, as we have seen, Judaism was held by Manes in particular abhorrence. 

Into the details of the Manichaean doctrine the causes which led to the admixture of the Darkness and the Light; their theories concerning the "King of the Paradises of Light," the Primal Man, the Devil, and the Mechaenism of the material universe as a means for liberating the Light from its captivity; and their grotesque beliefs concerning Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Hakimatud-Dahr ("the World-wise ") and Ibnatu'l-Hlrs ("the Daughter of Desire"), Rawfaryad, Barfaryad, and Shathil (Seth), and the like, it is not possible to enter in this place. As a set-off against their rejection of the Hebrew prophets the Manichaeans recognized not only Zoroaster and Buddha as divine messengers, but also Christ, who was, in their view, an apparition from the World of Light clad in a merely phantasmal body, and His counterpart and antagonist, "the Son of the Widow" who was crucified. 

As regards the history of the Manichaeans in the East, we have already mentioned that during the Caliphate of al-Mahdi (CE. 775-785), the father of Harunu'r-Rashid, they were so numerous that a special Inquisitor was appointed to detect and destroy them. 

The author of the Fihrist (CE. 988) knew 300 professed Manichaeans at Baghdad alone, and al-Birum (CE. 1000) was familiar with their books, especially the Shaburgan (the one book composed by Manes in Persian, i.e. Pahlawi; for the other six of his principal writings were in Syriac) which he cites in several places, including the opening words (Sachau's tr., p. 190), which run thus:

"Wisdom and deeds have always from time to time been brought to mankind by the messengers of God. So in one age they have been Citation from brought by the messenger of God called Buddha to India, one of the books in another by Zoroaster to Persia, in another by Jesus to the West. Thereafter this revelation has come do-van, this prophecy in this last age, through me, Mani, the Messenger of the God of Truth to Babylonia."

The migrations of the Manichaeans are thus described in the Fihrist: "The Manichaeans were the first religious community to enter the lands of Transoxiana beside the Shamanists. The reason of this was that when the Kisra (Bahrain) slew Mani and crucified him; and forbade the people in his Kingdom to dispute about religion, he took to killing the followers of Mani wherever he found them, wherefore they continued to flee before him until they crossed the river of Balkh and entered the dominions of the Khaqan (or Khan), with whom they abode. Now Khaqan (or Khan) in their tongue is a title conferred by them on the King of the Turks. 

So the Manichaeans settled in Transoxiaua until such time as the power of the Persians was broken and that of the Arabs waxed strong, whereupon they returned to these lands ('Iraq, or Babylonia), especially during the break up of the Persian Empire and the days of the Umayyad kings. Khalid b. 'Abdu'llah al-Qasri took them under his protection, but the leadership [of the sect] was not conferred save in Babylonia, in these lands, after which the leader would depart into whatever land would afford him most security. Their last migration took place in the days of al-Muqtadir (CE. 908-932), when they retired to Khurasan for fear of their lives, while such as remained of them concealed their religion, and wandered through these regions. About five hundred men of them collected at Samarkhand, and their doctrines became known. The governor of Khurasan would have slain them, but the King of China sent unto him saying, 'There are in my domains double the number of Muslims that there are in thine of my co-religionists,' and swearing to him that should he kill one of the latter, he would slay the whole of the former to avenge him, and would destroy the mosques, and would establish an inquisition against the Muslims in the rest of his dominions and slay them. So the Governor of Khurasan let them alone, only taking from them the jizya. So they diminished in numbers in the lands of Islam; but in the City of Peace (Baghdad).

The Manichaeans were divided into five grades the Mttallimun or Teachers, called "the Sons of Knowledge" the isshun or priests, called "the Sons of Under-i standing"; the Siddiqun or faithful, called "the Sons of the Unseen"; and the Sammd'un or hearers, called "the Sons of Intelligence." 

They were commanded to perform the four or the seven prayers, and to abandon idol-worship, falsehood, covetousness, murder, fornication, theft, the teaching and study of all arts of deception and magic, hypocrisy in religion and lukewarmness in daily life. To these ten commandments were added: belief in the four Supreme Essences: to wit, God ("the King of the Paradises of Light"), His Light, His Power, and His Wisdom; fasting for seven days in each month; and the acceptance of "the three seals," called by St. Augustine and other Christian writers the signacula oris, manuum et sinus, typifying the renunciation of evil words, evil deeds, and evil thoughts, and corresponding to the hukht, huvarsht, and humat (good words, good deeds, and good thoughts) of the Zoroastrian religion. Details of the fasts and prayers, and some of the formulas used in the latter, are also given in the Fihristy from which we also learn something of the schisms which arose after Mani's time as to the Spiritual Supremacy, the chief divisions being the Mihriyya and the Miqlasiyya. 

The seven books of Mani (of which, as has been already said, six were in Syriac and one the Shaburgan in Pahlavi) were written in a peculiar script invented by their author and invented by reproduced (in a form greatly corrupted and disfigured in the existing MSS.) by the Fihrist.

To this script, and to the art of writing in general, the Manichaeans (like the modern Babis, who, as is well known, have also invented a script peculiar to themselves called khatt-i-badl "the New Writing") would appear to have devoted much attention, for al-Jahidh (ninth century) cites Ibrahim as-Sindi as saying that "it would be well if they were to spend less on the whitest, finest paper and the blackest ink, and on the training of calligraphists." From this, as Professor Bevan conjectures, arose the idea of Mani as a skilful painter which is prevalent in Persia, where it is generally believed that he produced a picture-1 book called the Arzhang to which he appealed as a proof of his supernatural power and divine mission. [Shdhndma, ed. Macan, vol. iii, pp. 1453-1454]

The End.
Not Yet Revised

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