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A Religion Of Deeds: Scepticism In The Doctrinally Liberal Manichaeism Of Faustus And Augustine

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Chapter Summary

The story from Augustine's Confessions is well known. The young Augustine, enthralled by Manichaeism but having difficulty with some of its apparent contradictions with the science of the time, is told to await Faustus, who will solve everything for him. When Faustus finally does arrive, Augustine finds that he does not measure up to expectations. Finally disabused by this experience from his trust in Manichaeism, Augustine starts down the path that will bring him to Catholicism, with Faustus playing an unwitting role in helping to bring about his ultimate salvation. The term scepticism may only be used with qualification in connection with Manichaeism generally, or even North African Manichaeism specifically. The Manichaean religion fails to motivate Augustine to reach his ascetic aspirations; only by embracing the Catholic faith does he find the inner strength of commitment to forego wife and wealth and fame.

Keywords: Augustine; Faustus; Manichaean religion; scepticism



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