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Mani’s Letter To Marcellus: Fact And Fiction In The Acta Archelai Revisite

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the structure, purpose, conventions and terminology, scriptural quotations, and finally the doctrine of the 'letter to Marcellus', in the light of what the reader knows about Mani's authentic letters. It is worth noting that Mani's letter is a marked contrast to the reply recorded for Marcellus. The chapter distinguishes, in principle, the purpose of the letter for the author of the AA from the purpose of Mani as supposed author. The 'letter to Marcellus' elaborates on the dualistic theme with the familiar reference to the simile of the two trees; and, in particular, the denial that God can be the creator of Satan and his evil deeds. It is actually a very valuable text for understanding of Manichaean Christology. The 'letter to Marcellus' is not an entirely fictional creation of the author of the AA, utilised purely as a narrative device.

Keywords: Acta Archelai; letter to Marcellus; Mani; Manichaean Christology; scriptural quotations

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