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The Idea Of The 'Good' In Manichaeism

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Chapter Summary

The First Moment of the Manichaean cosmogonical drama posits the existence of two eternally co-existing principles, one good, of Light, the other evil, of Darkness. The issue of the nature of evil is the keystone of the anti-Manichaean polemic of Augustine, even if he titled one of his last formally anti-Manichaean works The Nature of the Good. Beginning with his first work, De pulchro et apto, Kam-lun Edwin Lee concluded that Augustine understood Manichaeism to equate 'goodness' with 'beauty' or 'tranquil pleasure,' an equivalence which would primarily engage sensory perception. This chapter enquires whether the equivalence was actually made by Manichaeans themselves. It focuses on what Manichaeism itself seemed to say, and its significance. It then queries what, in the eyes of Manichaeans, enabled them to label some persons, objects, actions, and events as 'good' and others as 'bad'..

Keywords: Augustine; De pulchro et apto; equivalence; Kam-lun Edwin Lee; label; Manichaeism; The Nature of the Good



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