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Hands And Imposition Of Hands In Manichaeism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to carry consideration of the gesture in Manichaeism a little further. Little firsthand information is available regarding Manichaean rituals, and still less on the place and meaning Manichaeism ascribed to specific ritual gestures. The early Christian view of external rites (including imposition of hands) is, as Tertullian expressed it, that they take place over the body because of its close attachment to the soul. The primary context for the imposition of the hand, as the essential act whereby Hearers become Elect, or Elect advance in the hierarchy, is therefore eschatological: the gesture is a pledge that the Primal Human's destiny awaits the faithful Elect. When Augustine speaks of the laying on of hands, he is obviously referring to the gesture first and foremost as he knows it in the Catholic tradition he represents.

Keywords: Augustine; Christianity; external rites; faithful Elect; Manichaeism; Primal Human



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