Manichaeism

Samuel N C Lieu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Of all the heresies that threatened the unity of the early church, the followers of Mani occupied an exceptional position, as they were devotees not of Jesus but first and foremost of a prophet from Mesopotamia who claimed to be a latter-day 'Apostle of Jesus Christ' and possessor of 'the seal of the prophet'. Mani, the founder of the sect, gave a more gnostic interpretation to the rituals, but his views were held to be dangerous by the elders of the sect, who subsequently expelled him. It was probably in India that Mani encountered Buddhist asceticism and monasticism as well as the doctrine of metempsychosis. On his return to Mesopotamia, he converted the Shah of Mesene to his teaching, and through him Mani was able to have an audience with Shapur I, the second Shahanshah of the new Sasanian dynasty, which had replaced Parthian rule in the Near East.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies
EditorsSusan Ashbrook Harvey, David G. Hunter
Place of PublicationOxford; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages221-236
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577192
ISBN (Print)9780199271566
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2009

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