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Placing The Acts Of Archelaus

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Chapter Summary

The Acts of Archelaus (AA), attributed to an otherwise unknown writer named Hegemonius, purports to give an account of an early missionary contact between Manichaeism and the Hellenized orthodox Christianity of the West. The AA can be dated to the first half of the fourth century, since some of its content is made use of by Cyril of Jerusalem (Catecheses 6.20-35) writing around 350 CE. Hegemonius makes the telling blunder of having Archelaus refer to "more than three hundred years" between Christ and Mani (AA 31.7), inadvertently placing his characters in his own temporal locale in the second quarter of the fourth century. Researchers have long considered the account of Manichaeism supplied by Turbo, the anti-hagiography of Mani attributed to Sisinnios, and the comparative discussion of other heresies at the end of the AA, to reflect independent materials that Hegemonius has fitted into his main narrative.

Keywords: Acts of Archelaus (AA); Hegemonius; Hellenized orthodox Christianity; heresies; Manichaeism



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