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The Faces of the Father: "Pentadization" in the Manichaean Kephalaia (Chapter 21)

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One of the most striking characteristics of the first volume of Manichaean Kephalaia is the occurrence of five-part patterns in a wide variety of contexts. Even though the importance of pentads in Manichaeism has long been recognized, few attempts have been made to study what implications they might have for tracing the development of early Manichaean tradition. By examining the attribution of five qualities to the Father of Greatness in Kephalaia Chapter 21, this article suggests that a deliberate attempt was made to revise the Manichaean concept of divinity from one based on tetrads to one based on pentads.


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Affiliations: 1: Université Laval, 139 rue de la Citadelle Gatineau, Québec Canada J8Z 3L8


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