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Mani, Augustine and the Vision of God

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Chapter Summary

The chapter is based on the theme which is the saying of the saviour "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt. 5:8). It discusses the fertile new interest seen in the connections between Augustine and his (once) Manichaean heritage, and the topic of the 'vision of God' in many other writings. The chapter focuses on the required moral state of the subject, the one who prays; and on the object that is addressed, the sun by day or moon by night. The symbolism is ancient, of course, in that they traverse the sky. But for the Manichaean community there were layers of specific meaning. The sun and moon were vessels and palaces, but they were also gates and portals to the transcendent realm. For Augustine it is clear that any vision of God is an intellectual act and entirely different to bodily sight.

Keywords: Augustine; cosmology; eschatology; Manichaean heritage; vision of God



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