Manichaeism by Michel Tardieu

By Michel Tardieu

Manichaeism, as soon as the country faith of Persia and lengthy a energetic contender for converts through the old close to East, is better remembered for the simplicity of its teachings approximately divine strength. For Manicheans, the universe was once governed via a Lord of sunshine and a Lord of Darkness, who fought regularly for supremacy. All that used to be stable used to be a present from the Lord of sunshine, and all that used to be evil used to be an disorder visited by way of the Lord of Darkness. This dualism prolonged to cosmogony and ethics, splitting the universe right into a religious realm that acted at the goodness of the human soul and a fabric realm that abetted the evil of the human physique. those stark oppositions masks a awesome measure of doctrinal and liturgical complexity, the main points of that have been obscured by means of centuries of suppression and persecution, first by way of the Christian church, then by means of Islam.One of the world's greatest specialists on historical religions, Michel Tardieu examines the fragmentary resources that experience come right down to us, items jointly the lifestyles and teachings of the prophet Mani (the itinerant Persian preacher and founding father of this lengthy misplaced faith), illuminates Manichaeism's ecclesiastical hierarchy and special ethical code, and investigates its principles in regards to the pre-life and afterlife. Manichaeism offers a brilliantly compact survey of what was one of many world's nice faiths, after which turned certainly one of its nice heresies, surviving now in simple terms as a shadowy presence haunting the religions that outdated it.

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A minor prince ofKholas­ sar by the name of Bat was one of his recent converts. It was there that the order reached Mani to go to Beth-Lapat (also Belapat or Gundeshabuhr) in Susiana to appear before the king. W B. Henning plausibly sees the conversion of Bat, one of Bahram's vassals, as the direct cause of the king's anger and of the decision to summon Mani. Bat accompanied Mani at least until Gaukhai (also Jukhi or Jukha), home to an important Manichaean community, in Beth-Deraye. A lo­ cal popular tradition, recorded by Ibn al-Nadim, later made Gaukhai the prophet's birthplace, no doubt in memory of his farewell visit made there.

C=> c=> Shabuhragan The earliest of Mani's works is a text composed directly in Pahlavi and dedicated to Shapur I. Substantial pieces of the original work have sur­ vived thanks to the manuscripts found at Turfan and have been rear­ ranged (with the addition of a good number of new pieces), transliter­ ated, translated, and annotated by D. N. MacKenzie ("Mani's Sabuhraga;' I and II, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 42 [1979]: 500-534; 43 [1980] : 288-310). In writing the Shabuhragan Mani's purpose was to formulate some of the fundamental intuitions of the new religion and to help his royal dedicatee understand its main aspects.

Three fragments of this Gospel are conserved in the CMC. The first, a preamble, is found on page 66 (4-68, 5): "I, Mani, apostle ofJesus Christ by the will of God the Father of Truth. . :' In the second, on page 68 (6-69, 8), Mani declares that his mission consists in revealing to the world­ that is, declaring before the false religions and pagan nations-the secrets 35 36 MANICHAEISM [aporreta 1 that were confided to him by means of revelations. In the third, these revelations are said to have taken place at the moment when Mani was still an adherent of the law, that is, a baptist, and received the visit of the angel, his "twin:' According to the succinct but invaluable summary of the Gospel sup­ plied by al-Biruni (who possessed a copy in his library) in al-Athar, Mani professed that he was "the paraclete heralded by Christ and the seal of the prophets:' It is highly probable that in this work the founder expanded upon the claims of the opening pages of the Shabuhragan through the systematic use of scriptural argument, that is, with the aid of an exegetical demonstration based on glossed citations drawn from the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, and the Pauline Epistles.

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