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A Clash Of Portraits: Contrasts Between Archelaus And Mani In The Acta Archelai

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares the two main protagonists, Mani and Archelaus, with particular attention to the style and points of reference in their discourse. It helps the reader to understand the language of ancient heresiology, and it seems particularly appropriate that it be applied to a Christian polemical work that influenced so much of subsequent Christian anti-Manichaica. The Acts of Archelaus's (AA) influence extended only to the more 'biographical' and narrative elements; the same is true of modern studies of the text. The chapter examines both the content and the style of the arguments, and the discourse that mediates them, in the AA. The scope is limited to exchange of letters between Mani and Marcellus, and to the first of their two encounters. The key to the examination is the text's own technique of fault-finding comparison.

Keywords: Acts of Archelaus (AA); ancient heresiology; Christian polemical work; Mani; Marcellus



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