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A passage from the Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis (CMC 66,4) has led to a series of reflections and opinions from scholars on the dualistic or monotheistic nature of the original form of Manichaeism. This essay outlines the status quaestionis and then goes on to examine, on the basis of texts and using the historico-comparative method, the analogies and differences between the historical "types" of monotheism and dualism (Judaeo-Christianity, Mazdaism, gnosticism), and Manichaeism, which is related to them in different ways and in varying degrees. Taking position in this debate between minimalist and maximalist points of view, the author attempts to identify the parameters of this original religious creation, and argues that theological monotheism and ontological dualism were, from its birth, coherent elements in its peculiar gnostic conception of reality.


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