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What Did Augustine Know About Manichaeism When He Wrote His Two Treatises De Moribus?

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Chapter Summary

Augustine of Hippo is one of the few Latin sources for our knowledge of Manichaeism in late antiquity, and of all non-Manichaean authorities he is surely the most prolific. The author considers that van Oort is the only present-day scholar to have seriously taken up Beausobre's question-how much did Augustine actually know about Manichaeism, and when did he know it?-, but without really distinguishing between knowledge gained in his Manichaean period and knowledge obtained after it. He curtails the range of texts examined to his early writings, especially the two treatises De moribus. The issue of what knowledge about Manichaeism Augustine might have gained from his early contact with it must, it therefore seems to me, be couched in subtler terms having less to do with Manichaeism's writings than with its methods and practices.

Keywords: Augustine; De moribus; Manichaeism

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