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Good Tree, Bad Tree: The Matthean/Lukan Paradigm In Manichaeism And Its Opponents

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the Synoptic Gospel image of the two trees. It looks at the related symbols of fruit, root, and branch only inasmuch as they enhance the basic Manichaean cosmogonical myth as mediated by 'the two trees'. It then focuses on the Roman Empire, whence our oldest Manichaean and anti-Manichaean sources derive, and concentrates on texts that-indisputably-allude to the Christian scriptural canon. It illustrates exegetical methods in Manichaeism and its opponents. Manichaeism employs 'the two trees' of Matthew/Luke primarily as a metaphor for the two eternal principles: 'The bad tree is Hyle', the Father of Greatness is therefore the good tree, and good and bad have nothing to do with each other. The chapter discusses the Manichaeans' approach to 'canon' before looking at their treatment of the New Testament image of 'the two trees'..

Keywords: bad tree; good tree; Manichaeism; Matthean/Lukan Paradigm; New Testament; Synoptic Gospel



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