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Open Access Genesis as a Hidden Source of Manichaeism


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Genesis as a Hidden Source of Manichaeism


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There exists an entrenched notion, supported by both Christian and Manichaean texts, that Manicheans rejected the Old Testament as a product of Satan. However, scholars have noted the presence of loans from the Old Testament in Manichaean works. The Manichaean priest, Felix, in his dispute with St Augustine, documented in Augustine’s Contra Felicem Manicheum, cites Genesis 1:1-2 to demonstrate its agreement with Mani’s teachings. This and other examples show that the Manichaean attitude towards the Old Testament was more complicated than that of simple rejection. In this report, I review textual evidence from multiple Manichaean sources indicating that Jewish texts in general, and Genesis in particular, should be counted among the sources of Manichaeism. Furthermore, I address the question how this evidence could be reconciled with the long-standing view of the Manichaean rejection of the Old Testament.


Affiliations: 1: Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
 evgeniamoisseeva@gmail.com


10.1163/18177565-00131p16
/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-00131p16
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There exists an entrenched notion, supported by both Christian and Manichaean texts, that Manicheans rejected the Old Testament as a product of Satan. However, scholars have noted the presence of loans from the Old Testament in Manichaean works. The Manichaean priest, Felix, in his dispute with St Augustine, documented in Augustine’s Contra Felicem Manicheum, cites Genesis 1:1-2 to demonstrate its agreement with Mani’s teachings. This and other examples show that the Manichaean attitude towards the Old Testament was more complicated than that of simple rejection. In this report, I review textual evidence from multiple Manichaean sources indicating that Jewish texts in general, and Genesis in particular, should be counted among the sources of Manichaeism. Furthermore, I address the question how this evidence could be reconciled with the long-standing view of the Manichaean rejection of the Old Testament.


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/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-00131p16
2017-11-28
2018-06-21

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