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The Manichaean Church Between Earth And Paradise

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Chapter Summary

The Manichaean Church and its structure have always represented a major concern for both antagonists in ancient times and modern scholars. Both the subdivision of the Manichaean community into two sections, Elect and Auditors, and the organization of the highest clerical degrees - twelve Teachers, seventy-two 'Bishops', and three hundred and sixty Presbyters - have attracted the attention and the interest of many over the centuries. Below the Realm of Light, ten Firmaments were organized during the second phase of creation by the Lord of the Seven Climes and the Mother of the Living. The ten Firmaments, as they are known from the description in two Sogdian texts, are provided with twelve Gates plus four, one for each cardinal point, and each of the twelve Gates comprises six Thresholds, which makes seventy-two Thresholds altogether: an evident analogy with the numbers characterizing the two highest degrees of the Manichaean Church.

Keywords: auditors; elect; Firmaments; Manichaean Church



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