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Healing And The 'Physician' In Manichaeism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the significance of the related motifs of sickness and healing in Mani's religion, and then its use of the title of 'physician'. It deals with the well-known Manichaean pessimism regarding the physical body, and with BeDuhn's claim that "the engagement with medical concerns found in Manichaean asceticism totally belies its traditional interpretation in terms of spirit/matter duality or a disdain for all things bodily". If the body is never completely pure, the 'wounded' condition of the soul, and therefore its need for 'medical' attention, is also unceasing, even for one who attempts to live by the law of Mani. The chapter summarizes what is known about the image of the 'physician,' popular in Manichaean circles. It briefly reviews the scholarly debate on the attribution of this title to Mani and suggests a modified interpretation of the attribution.

Keywords: BeDuhn; human soul; Mani; Manichaeism; physical healing; physician



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