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Basic Ontological Patterning

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Chapter Summary

The foundation of Manichaeism is found in the doctrine of the Two Natures, since this concept served as the basis for Manichaean ontology, cosmology, and ethics. In this chapter, Mani is asked by his disciples to give an exegetical reading of Matthew 7:17-20/Luke 6:43-44, where Jesus explains to his disciples that the quality of every tree can be derived from an evaluation of its fruit (1Ke 17.2-20), while at the same time alluding to an alternate reading of the same text among "the Sects", the generic Manichaean designation for any number of rival religious communities. Mani is then made to explain how the "Good Tree" has "Five Limbs" (1Ke 20.12-14), which in turn are said to represent five key components of the Manichaean cosmos. The Five Limbs of the Evil Tree are made to parallel those of the Good Tree.

Keywords:Evil Tree; Five Limbs; Jesus; Kephalaia; Luke 6:43-44; Manichaean ontology; Matthew 7:17-20



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