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A new religion? The emergence of Manichaeism in Late Antiquity

Baker-Brian, Nicholas J. ORCID: 2018. A new religion? The emergence of Manichaeism in Late Antiquity. Lossl, Josef and Baker-Brian, Nicholas J., eds. A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity, Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World, Chichester: Wiley, pp. 319-343. (10.1002/9781118968130.ch15)

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This chapter investigates the close relationship between Mani, Manichaeism, and empire in Late Antiquity; in particular it examines the dialogue between the legitimizing language of empire, and the scope and character of Mani's teachings as a form of theological rhetoric. The theological narrativizing of Mani's loss of patronage and subsequent imprisonment and death into a passion story akin to the Gospel's depiction of Jesus’ last days became a pillar of Manichaean liturgy. The evolution of legendary material for Mani's birth and upbringing offers a portrayal of Mani's emergence as an iconoclast. Mani relativized his own contribution by identifying prior exponents of “wisdom and deeds” from previous eras. Key features of Mani's religion actively rejected the prevailing norms and values of local society in a spirit that chimed with earlier Gnostic attempts to formulate a countercultural response to the ills afflicting the human soul.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 9781118968109
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 14 June 2017
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 09:26

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