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What Was The Manichaeism Augustine Knew?

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Chapter Summary

The issue of what sort of Manichaeism Augustine might have known only appears problematic if one realize that, organized as it was, like all widespread and long-standing religions Manichaeism took on different forms in diverse places and at various times. Manichaeism's claim to be the most authentic form of Christianity must doubtless account to some degree for Augustine's attraction to it. The scope and reliability of Augustine's knowledge of Manichaeism became an issue in the wake of the Reformation, when Catholic polemics accused Protestantism of being essentially the reincarnation of Manichaeism, and Protestants replied that the Church Fathers, Augustine in particular, had created a false picture of Manichaeism, furnishing a convenient resemblance to what Catholics found wrong with Protestantism. Manichaeans felt a special affinity for Paul,65 and probably share responsibility for the renewed interest in Pauline literature underway during the fourth century.

Keywords:Catholic polemics; Manichaeism Augustine; Pauline literature; Protestantism



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