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Tolerance of Manichaeism by Islam[edit]

In reality, Manichaeians were persecuted by Islam, in particularly in the 8th century. The term zindiq in Islam was originally a term applied specifically to Manichaeians, and has come to mean any kind of heretic. There were many executions of Manichaeians or those suspected of it during this time, in particular under the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur (754-775). Considering being even suspected of holding dualist beliefs was enough to get you executed, the claims of tolerance should be eliminated from the article. Some examples of those accused of holding Manichaeian dualist beliefs who were executed (most of them being poets) were: Djad ibn Dirham in 742, Ibn Al-Muqaffa in 760, Ibn Abi-l-Awja in 772, Bashshar ibn Burd in 784, Salih B. Abd Al-Quddus in 783, Hammad Ajrad, Aban b. Abd Al humayd B. Lahiq Al Raqqasi and others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:37, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Can you provide references or more details? Was there any connection between the spread of Islam and the defeat of the Uighur Manichaean kingdoms in Turkestan?Jimhoward72 (talk) 12:23, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

old comments[edit]

"This followed from the Christian tenet that there can be a Satan that is not of the totality of God, the duality that there can be a God the Creator and that which is not of God the Creator."

To me, this doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure what aspect of orthodox Christian theology it refers to. God created everything; there is nothing that is "not of God". Creation though is not God (cf. pantheism, panentheism etc.). Is it supposed to refer to God being completely 'other', existing completely independently of His creation?

Manichaeism held, in my understanding, that the universe did have a God-created Good component and a non-God-created Evil (satanic) component. The universe warred therefore. All we humans partake of that "warring", in our dual natures. 20:49, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Mani declared that Jesus, Zoroaster and Budda were all prophets from the Lord of all things therefore it's easy to understand Zoroaster's dualism of good vs. evil in Mani's religion? thanks for all contributions, I think there is some better info out there on the web?

Italic textI made a number of changes. The page I saw confused the Mandaians and the Manichees. Since there was no talk I assumed nobody much cares. -- Kleinecke

I cannot seem to locate an article for the religious figure, and founder of Manichaeism, known as Mani. I assume the disambiguation page has discouraged the creation of an article for this influential individual. Usedbook 22:12, 3 May 2004 (UTC)

"The religion was founded by Mani, who reportedly was born in western Persia and lived approximately 210-275 AD." "The date of his death is fixed at 276-277 AD." So which is true?

"Mani lived approximately AD 216–276 and resided in Babylon..." How is it possible to live in Babylon when the link provided in the article for Babylon (at the "Babylon" article in Wikipedia) indicates that "By 141 BC, when the Parthian Empire took over the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity."? So which is true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:39, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Mani's Death[edit]

"After failing to win the favor of the next generation (of rulers? of the population?), and having the disapproval of the Zoroastrian clergy, Mani is reported to have died in prison awaiting execution by the Persian Emperor Bahram I, who, soon after his accession, caused Mani to be crucified. He then had the corpse flayed and the skin stuffed and hung up at the city gate as a terrifying spectacle to his followers, whom the new emperor persecuted with relentless severity. Other accounts say he was beheaded."

Confusing, huh? Does this account show three accounts of Mani's death or two (with editing needed)? Anyone know? WBardwin 01:02, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The discussion of paraclete needs to be consolidated from two separate places. Hooray for whoever can do this! - dd

Mani (216-267/7) and his 'biography'[edit]

The Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis (CMC) by Theodoor Harmsen -in Dutch!- : 'About the life and work of Mani, the founder of Manichean religion very little was known for a long time...however, now we know a lot more... ' This author, among others, Prof. G. Quispel, Francois Favre, Hans van Oort) gave a lecture about the man Mani at a Symposium last May/2005 held in Bilthoven, the Netherlands : Mani, the Gift of Light. I'll try in the coming months to start a new page on Mani. However, due to a busy research project it might take some time, since a lot of new material has emerged with the discovery of the 'Cologne Mani-Codex'(only published in German and Dutch at this moment). You might want to check the internet site of Cologne University.
I have added some info. and references.
CHITRANI 9 SEP/05 15.26 (GMT +1)

Iffy stuff[edit]

  1. Arguably, Manichaeism is strictly a Christian heresy, and not a religion in its own right. It develops in a Christian area of eastern Persia, among Gnostics, and was opposed by Zoroastrians. Presenting it as an alternative religion is...iffy.
  2. According to the Ox. Dict. Christian Church, there are several archeological sources, but they're contradictory, so to make a surmise from any one of them is...iffy.
    1. Ephraem Syrus, Titus of Bostra, Serapion of Thmuis, and St. Augustine give details as they wrote against the sect.
    2. A "dialogue" of Manes and a "bishop Archelaus," Acta Archelai.
    3. Medieval Islamic historians came across Manicheans in modern Iraq and described it, esp. Al-Biruni.
    4. A collection of M. documents was found in Turfan in Chinese Turkestan in 1904-5.
    5. Another collection, from the 3rd and 4th centuries, found in Egypt in 1930, which appear to be by his earliest disciples. Published by C. Schmidt and H. J. Polotsky.
    6. A biography of Manes found in Egypt.
  3. The revival of the sect today means that we're going to have books out there that are...iffy.
  4. Thus, the presentation of the sect without a discussion of Gnosticism in general, as well as Zoroastrianism, leads readers with something of a wrong idea...maybe.

Geogre 00:41, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

"Arguably, Manichaeism is strictly a Christian heresy, and not a religion in its own right."
Maybe it was both a religion in its own right and a Christian heresy. And a Zoroastrian heresy too. And a Taoist heresy. And a Buddhist heresy. Mani took what he deemed right from other churches and religions, and built his religion by integrating all that according to his own revelation from God - this revelation sometimes summarized as the teaching of the two natures and the three times.
Don't forget that not only did he referred to himself as a Apostle of Christ, but also as the Buddha of Light, a reincarnation of Laotze.
-- 10:12, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Oh? What's your source for that claim made by him? Where is the document that you derive that from? Is it one of those listed above, or is it a contemporary author trying to create a new cult? The sources contradict each other. Contemporaries try to make a very harsh group seem terribly Californian. Geogre 10:45, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

My source for what claim? Be specific. Like for example: where is your source for your claim that they were a very harsh group?
-- 10:55, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

What's your source that Mane "took what he deemed right from other churches and religions." That sure seems like a post hoc opinion, and not one supported by any documentation I've encountered. I hope that you can cite a source for that view and that the citation is based on something contemporary with the actual Manichaeans, and not something brought in later as an apologetic. I would like to see documentation of the claims throughout this article that Manichaeism developed de novo or anything except as a variation on Gnosticism that patched in some of the Zoroastrian cosmology. Gnosticism was always ready for a Zoroastrian implant. Manes made the grafting. As for their being a group most intolerant of "servants of Satan," which would be everyone not them, as the Satanic demiurge had blinded them with the world, you can look to the Gnostic gospels that they included, to the record of Augustine, and, in a pinch, the few records we have of the Albigensians. Sweet folks, those. However, the point here is that there is no documentation for a claim that disagrees with other, specified, sources. To paint these folks as proto-Deists is ... very, very, very strange. To make them into proto-hippies is weirder still. The plausibility is so low as to be almost not worth challenging (e.g. how did they "find" all these world religions? it would require an incredibly literate and well organized theology to do that, and it would require an amazingly omniscient group to have encountered all the religions you speak of; instead, you get a group that goes to India and experiences syncretism with Buddhism, a group that goes to Turkestan and gets syncretic with the local beliefs, a group that goes west and encounters a well-defined anti-Gnostic which they fail to be syncretic; the result is that some mountebank of the 20th century can assemble the disparate hints of the long-extinct groups and make a grandiose claim that this was some rational, Deistic, universalism; and that claim works so long as you don't understand Dualism, or the Gnostics, in antiquity). Geogre 14:06, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

  1. Okay, here is my source. In Kephalaion 154 Mani himself said (cited in The Manichaean Body by Jason BeDuhn):
"The writings, wisdoms, apocalypses, parables and psalms of the earlier churches are from all parts reunited in my church to the wisdom which I have revealed to you. As a river is joined to another river to form a powerful current, just so are the ancient books joined in my writings; and they form one great wisdom, such as has not existed in preceding generations."
  1. Manichaeism as "a variation on Gnosticism that patched in some of the Zoroastrian cosmology" is certainly not the default interpretation. Nor is it the opinion of any of the authors of books on Manichaeism I've ever read. It's like calling orthodox Christianity "a variation of Judaism that patched in some of the Hellenistic mythology".
  2. The manichaean demiurge was not satanic. The world was created by an emanation of the Father of Light, called the Second Son (sometimes also called the Living Spirit). Source: Manichaean creation hymn:
  3. Please cite a source for your claim that the Manichaeans considered everyone but themselves als servants of Satan.
  4. Was Augustine an enemy of the Manichaeans? Would you trust an enemy of Augustine as a judge of his character?
  5. Who cares for the Albigensians? Were they Manichaeans? Did they call themselves that? Did they mention Mani anywhere in their writings?
  6. I never called the Manichaeans deist. They were certainly not deists. They worshipped a God who revealed himself to people. Nor do I consider them proto-hippies or anything of that sort. Manichaeans had a very strong sense of truth and error.
  7. Yes, they took from different religions as they encountered them in different parts of the world. But that was part of the plan (see the quote from Mani from above).
  8. I'm quite sure that I understand Dualism and the Gnostics better than you.

-- 15:04, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

So, you have a translation of something by Mani saying that he takes in all previous truths. Ok. Now, is that Mani combining the best of all religions, or is it a claim that he has collected the particles of light? Is it a conscious plan, or is it a statement that he regarded himself as gnosis? Is it a plan or just a boast? Matthew says that Christ is the fulfillment of all Scripture, and his Gospel is at pains to show the fulfillment of prophecy: does that mean that it is a part of the "plan" of Christianity to fulfill all prophecies everywhere, to go out and glean from Hinduism? Jesus says, "I am the light." Does that mean that he was a gnostic? Such a tendentious interpretation is scarely to be credited.

So, if you have books by Manicheans, I doubt you will find them being at all reductive of their religion. However, it is the archeological view to say that it is primarily a Gnostic religion that shows contact with and absorption of Zoroastrians. How did the Christians react to it when they met it the first time? Was it shock and surprise at this "new religion?" No. They knew exactly what it was: a Gnostic form of Christianity. N.b. one of the early sources on their theology is a supposed dialogue of Mani with a bishop (of the Christian Church). The first bishops to actually counter its effects in the west saw it as Paulicanism. Were they just not intimates, or did they know something, with Manichaeans all around them, that we, with none, do not? They were responding within 100 years of Mani's death, after all, and would presumably know what they were talking about. This is, in fact, why I do trust Augustine. He knew his sources from contemporary life. You have to rely upon documentary evidence that is largely scattered to the wind. What is extant might represent outlying churches, might be offshoots, might be heretical within Manichaeism, might be coded, might be caballistic, and upon such slender reeds you would build a global interpretation? I would rather trust the literate churchmen who encountered the Manichaeans directly, whether they were adversarial or not. (Do we doubt what Pelagianism believed because we have virtually nothing by Pelagus and only oppositional literature?)

Nice dodge behind the "Second Son." What does "Lucifer" mean? What does "Satan" mean? What is the cosmology of the fall of the angels? Perhaps you'd like to reconsider that "not servants of Satan." Indeed, those blinded by the world had dissipated their light.

If they weren't deists, then why this "gathering the true bits from other religions?" The POV involved in such an assertion is breath taking. You can say that they took from other religions, or you can call it what most people would, if feeling generous: syncretism. You regard it as a plan. I regard it as simple adaptation to local pressures. You believe that a single claim of being the omega equates to a plan to gather up from all religions. You can, if you wish, but that's not proof of the claim.

As for who knows dualism better, it's irrelevant, and I'll gladly cede that title to you. Geogre 18:28, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I think what Mani said is quite obvious and easy to understand. But if you want to think about it some more, maybe it will give you good insight. That's what the writing of the greats often do.
  • I don't have books by Manichaeans, I have books by religious scholars about Manichaeism. There are no contemporary writings of Manichaeans that I know of.
  • What's a gnostic religion? The Manichaeans had a personal God who created the world, and who revealed himself to mankind. They prayed to him, worshipped him, gave alms and did all the religious stuff. That's not a gnostic religion, that's just - religion.
  • Islamic apologist believed that the Baha'i-faith was just another heresy, now it's a world faith. Who's right, who's wrong here?
  • There are millions of people in the world, writing millions of books, and millions of webpages about their former faiths - do you think they all know what they talk about and can therefore be trusted?
  • We have original writings of the Manichaeans. We don't have to rely on religious apologists who wrote inane things like that the Manichaeans believed in two opposite gods.
  • What's with the "nice dodge"? The Father send his Son to build the world. That's it. Nothing about Lucifer, Satan or any fallen angel.
  • A Deist is someone who believes that God created the world and can only be known through reason. The Manichaeans believed in a God who revealed himself at several times to mankind.
  • Doesn't matter if it was a plan to gather the wisdom from other churches or not - it happened, Mani already talked about, deal with it.
-- 21:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Dear anonymous coward, please be aware that Wikipedia is not a place to proselytize nor to right the wrongs of the world or history. You are clearly a believer in this "religion." It is good that you have strong beliefs, and I would not tell you not to have them. However, Wikipedia is a tertiary source of information, and not a primary outlet for original research, nor a place for second hand reporting. It is sufficient, for me, that this article not be passed as a Featured Article while it contains statements that cannot be supported by historians or which rely solely upon a single, alternative history. You have the right to believe in an "original" from Mani, although no works directly by him survive and the reports and accounts of both his life and sayings contradict each other, and priviledging one above the others is the prorogative of any believer. However, it does not exemplify the best of Wikipedia. A Request for Content on the subject matter of the article would be an excellent method of determining community judgment on whether the article's claim that Manichaeism set out to "take the best" from all other religions is supportable or not and whether, with contradictory documents by 3rd and 4th century believers, such whoppers can remain in the article or not. However, I have no interest in either converting you to orthodoxy, nor dissuading you from your point of view. I do hope, though, as I hope for everyone, that you show extra skepticism when the preacher has a cart of books to sell. Geogre 02:14, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm not talking about original research. I base my views on the writings of the Manichaeans and the scholary work of people like Samuel Lieu and Jason BeDuhn. That's not the stuff believers are made of. You rely on the writings of Christian apologists.
For example your position that Manichaeism is strictly a Christian heresy and not a religion in its own right is very much a minority position. Actually, I know of no scholar of Manichaeism who would agree with that. They all say that it's a religion.
If you would read any work of a scholar of Manichaeism, then you would see that I'm safely in the mainstream of research.
--Norbert Sima 06:20, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Please cite your sources as they are called upon. For example, I find that Lieu has written about Manichaean church organization, and BeDuhn has written about art. More to the point, BeDuhn has written about art concerning the Manichees at the Turkestan site. I can't imagine that he's making grand claims about all Manichaeism everywhere based on a single archeological find; scholars don't, generally. Specifically, these claims on origins (when there aren't documents) and the deistic claims (incidentally, deism is two separate historical and theological movements; one is rationalist; the other, that of Edward of Cherbury, is that you take all the common bits to world religions, and you'll have the Natural Religion) need references. I began asking for references, and I remain asking for references. Geogre 09:53, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

I think you are just trolling here, but anyway. BeDuhn has wrote a book called The Manichaean Body: In Discipline and Ritual. It's cited in the references of this article. In it he quoted aforementioned Kephalaion 154 and wrote after that:
"A Manichaean parable preserved in Sogdian confirms this sentiment, likening other religions to small bodies of water and the Manichaean faith to a vast ocean that receives and assimilates all other waters to its own particular flavor."
Now where are your sources that contradict that? You haven't shown any sources for your claims yet. And no, dropping the names of Augustine and the Albigensians is not enough.
I said it before and I say it again: Manichaeism is not a deistic religion. It's a revealed religion. The source for that is the Introduction to the Kepahlaia, cited in Mani, the Angel and the Column of Glory by Andrew Welburn:
"The living Paraclete came down and spoke to me. It was he who revealed to me the secret Mystery that was hidden from the worlds and the generations: the Mystery of the Depth and the Height. He revealed to me the Mystery of the Light and the Darkness, the Mystery of their conflict and the great war which the Darkness stirred up [...]
Thus was revealed to me by the Paraclete all that has been and that shall be, all that the eyes sees and the ear hears and the thought thinks."
--Norbert Sima 10:35, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Geogre. Could you explain the difference between "Christian heresy" and "alternative religion"? It could defuse the perception that you are giving a biased reading. I see no clear distinction. Durandir 03:53, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

POV issues[edit]

Actually, re-reading, I'd have to say that about half the article seems to be derived from a proponent of neo-Manichaeism who is, frankly, spinning quite a lot of bull fluff. He taught the Zoroastrians the meaning of their scriptures? He explained Christianity to Christians? <cough> I'm sorry, but that's on the level of Holy Blood, Holy Grail or DaVinci Code. Never trust the soothsayer with a caravan of books to unload on you.

The books that are mentioned that got included are...surprise!...the Gnostic sources. Now, is this because Manes was trying to be a good, tolerant, universalist (when his dualism was amazingly strict and proscribed very, very extreme punishments for servants of error?), or was he a Gnostic Christian who developed a specific cosmology? Well, we've got all the contemporaries from orthodoxy saying the latter. We have contemporary followers not saying "boo" about it. We've got a modern tale spinner saying so.

Sorry, but I can't support while the theology is so ... wacky. Geogre 00:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Along the lines of NPOV issues, I have made two very minor changes. First, the quotation from "the lecturer" is very odd. It sticks out. (I looked up the history and it was inserted by one editor into a long stretch of historical text from another editor.) It is not written from the normal historical view point, and there is no attempt to buttress this guy as an authority on the history of Manicheaism. In addition, I believe it is historically very contentious, and most reasonable people would conclude it is false. What I deleted: "In 2005, the lecturer Francois Favre said of Mani: 'He taught the Christians the profound, esoteric aspect of Universal Christianity, revealed the true meaning of the message of Zoroaster to the Persian Magis and explained the liberating Path to the Buddhist. The religion whom he founded revealed the mysteries of "divine man" and enlightened millions of souls for more than a thousand years.'" Now, if I claim I taught the true meaning of the theory of relativity to Einstein, no one would believe me unless Einstein verified. Does any objective person really think that Christians, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists think Mani taught them anything? Give me a break. It doesn't belong. To make it belong would take a bit of fancy footwork in buffer-text from the person who wants it there (e.g., From the Manichaean point of view Mani was finding the ture meaning of all the religions from which he borrowed, etc. etc.). Why do you want it there, unless you want to present something that is not historical fact as historical fact? Second, "heretics" is put in scare-quotes at the very end of the article, which is non-NPOV. The word 'heretic' means something, and that thing exists in any religion-- a dissenter or doctrinal maverick. It comes from the Greek word to choose or pluck: the heretic takes what he likes and leaves the rest from the set of beliefs that the larger established community affirms. Whether you like them or not (NPOV!), the Manichees were certainly heretics, not only for Christians, but for any other group from which Mani took what he liked and left the rest. Now we may not like the fact that religions don't like their heretics and are often mean to them, but that is irrelevant. I think the nonNPOV would be clear to all if we were to put 'dissenter' in scare-quotes rather than 'heretic,' yet they mean basically the same thing. Besides, scare-quotes should not be used in neutral writing as a rule because they express disdain for the people who use the word and usually imply that you don't think it should be a word at all. Now, if you are tempted to use scare-quotes, it is usually better to find a neutral word or description that you can use with a straight face. --skeptic 16:39, 20 November 2005 (UTC)


Why is it I find the word "myth" used categorically throughout this article, however there is not one similar incidence of the term used in the article relating to christianity, for example? I'm not proposing there is inherent truth (or untruth) in Manichaeism, i'm questioning the NPOV stance on referring to any religion or philosophy as "myth". This is an assertion of falsehood.

Myth = a term to describe an elaborate story or worldview. For example, you will hear of people discussing the "creation myth" when talking about the story of creation in the book of Genesis. That's another term for "story of creation", except that people who study these subjects a lot like to use the word "myth" in the sense of an elaborate description, instead of the word "story". So if you read the literature about Manichaeism, you will find the word "myth" used a lot.Jimhoward72 03:21, 20 August 2007 (UTC)


who is "we"? "we found"? is this a direct quote? Nice work. 13:48, 19 August 2007 (UTC).

Sentence removal[edit]

So, 80.XXX.XX, why did you remove:

"The Paulicians, Bogomils, and Cathars were certainly dualists and felt that the world was the work of a demiurge of Satanic origin, but whether this was due to influence from Manichaeism or Gnosticism is impossible to determine?"

The sentence was sourced to the Ox. Dict. of the Christian Church and, in fact, says that the Bogomils, Paulicians, and Cathars' belief in a wicked world may or may not be due to an influence from Manichaeism and that we simply don't know (as we don't know very much about Manichaeism after its suppression in the west or its form in Central Europe). I.e. it supported your denunciation, above, that the Cathars aren't Manicheans. Strange to remove it, especially in favor of a no source. I assume this was an error and so have re-inserted it as true and as lessening the indictment of Manicheism made by 13th c. bishops. Geogre 21:34, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

The Manichaeans didn't believe that the world was the work of a demiurge of Satanic origin, so the sentence makes no sense here. And please don't tell me that maybe some Manichaeans somewhere believed in something like that.
-- 21:41, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Why did you reverse my edits anyway, Goegre? I thought you didn't like the lines about explaining to Zoroastrians and Christians the true meaning of their religions? I don't think that they add anything of substance to the article, they just add a POV. -- 22:02, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

I reverted the removal of that sentence, and none of "your edits." I did this because the sentence, if you read it, is documented, true, and, in fact, says that we cannot say if the Albigensian view that the world is the work of Satan is due to Manichaeism or not. The only reason to cut that sentence is if you know how the Bogomils got their dualism. If you know that, you need to be publishing in the history journals right away, and not on Wikipedia, which has a no original research provision. Nothing else of yours was reverted. Geogre 02:05, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

But we can know if this view is due to Manichaeism or not, because there is clear evidence from their original writings that they didn't believe that the world is the work of Satan. Doesn't matter what the Christian apologists said. That's irrelevant. This sentence should stay out because it's associating the Manichaeans with an extreme and strange view. And I guess you like this sentence to stay because it does exactly that.
And I also deleted two other lines, and you put them pack in. And you even said that one of them reminds you of the quality of the DaVinci Code. And I agree with you. And I think you put them pack in so that you can continue to oppose the proposal to make this a featured article.
-- 05:56, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Added content[edit]

I added some information on their core beliefs and a reference. There seems to be a lot of other key information missing. Uriah923 16:05, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Muhammed Ref.[edit]

I saw there was a reference to Muhammed claiming the title of "Paraclete." What's the source for that?

Manichaeism, a mixed religion/philosophy.[edit]

As i read about Manichaeism I begin to see that it seemed to be a mix of may philosophies from different religions. It apears that this philosophy drew its Metaphysics from the old Parsism, its morals from Buddhism, and its over all structure and dislike of mainline Christians it got from the gnostics, of which Manichaeism would be grouped with. Manichaeism seemed to rely on knowledge and experience more than truth (Gnostic). Its asceticism would rivel any Buddist. It even seems to draw its idea of Dark and Light, Good and Bad from some of the things that Aristotle taught. God is one and the the thing that is farthest from him is matter. That is really how the Manichaeists looked at it. All physical was Bad and dark but knowledge and spirits were light and good. Was Manichaeism just a mix of many religions or was it the true way of thinking? sources:The Oxford Companion to Phylosophy. Encyclopaedis of Religion Knowledge.


"Mahometan writers claimed it is a prophecy of Jesus regarding Mahomet." Is this supposed to read Muslim writers claimed it is a prophecy of Jesus regarding Muhammad or is it a different Mahomet? Ackie00 09:54, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Augustine of Hippo[edit]

" Saint Augustine of Hippo, who converted to Christianity from Manichaeism, which he passionately denounced in his writings, and whose writing continues to be enormously influential among Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox theologians." This is incorrect. Bl. Augustine's writings have barely hard any influence on Orthodox theology at all and much of what he wrote is vehemently opposed. It's only been in recent years that there has been a trend in the Orthodox Church to try and rehabilitate Bl. Augustine, and then only as a figure of piety rather than the great theologian he is seen as in the west. It would be more correct to state that the general Orthodox perspective of the saint is that whilst he was a good Christian his theological writings were often outside of the Tradition of the Church and that it was the western church's over-reliance on Augustine (due to his writing in Latin as opposed to Greek) that lead to the theological issues behind the Great Schism (the filioque) and many of the later developments in Roman Catholicism opposed by the Orthodox Church.

This claim could not be further from the truth! Augustine is well known to be the FATHER of Western Theology, and what is considered Western orthodox Christian faith. Whether theologians like it or not, most of our foundational theology is dependant on Augustine (as I have said, at least in the West). We may disagree with him on some points, but that is far from what you are suggesting. Further, this pays no respect to the prevalent argument in Augustinian scholarship that Augustine, to some degree, converts orthodox Christianity to HIS way of thinking.


Of course, there are about a bazillion different spellings/formations of the name of the religion founded by Mani: Manicheanism and Manichaeanism spring immediately to mind, not to mention the versions with diphthongs, and more archaic forms like Manicheeism. I recognise that the Google test gives the present spelling as the majority one, nevertheless, the article moves freely between different versions without having noted the different names; would it be worth, somehow, sticking an "also known as" at the beginning of the article? The problem is, with so many different versions, it could get tedious. So what to do? Wooster (talk) 11:36, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

We should look it up in current encyclopedias and dictionaries, and stick with the spelling they have there.--Jimhoward72 20:30, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

According to my knowledge and several dictionaries (such as Random House Unabridged, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary or Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionaries), Man‧i‧che‧ism or Manichaeism or the archaic form referred to above pertain to the doctrine, while Manichaean, Manichean or Manichee refer to the particpants. If I have the chance I will go through the article and look for any of the inconsistencies you are referencing. Stevenmitchell 07:46, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

This is ideally supposed to be a scholarly Wikipedia article, so you should look at how current scholars researching Manichaeism spell it. For example, how did they spell it at the last international conference on Manichaeism? How is it spelled in current research articles and books on Manichaeism? It might be helpful if you looked at some of those articles so you would implement the correct changes.Jimhoward72 15:48, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

While you are checking names and spellings, could the conflict between the third sentence in the first paragraph under Origins

Mani is a Persian name and fairly common name among the Aramaic speakers, being found in all three Aramaic dialects.

and the first sentence of the third paragraph under Origins

The name Mani is mainly a title and term of respect rather than a personal name. This title was assumed by the founder himself and so completely replaced his personal name that the precise form of the latter is not known.

The inconsistancy would be easy to miss were the two sentences further apart or if nobody cared about such things. However, since this is supposed to be a scholarly article, based upon reliable sources, someone should reconcile the difference. JimCubb 16:17, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

There are a number of inconsistencies in the article (besides the one you mention). It looks like some of the early writers of the article were using very outdated material, and basing their writing on already inaccurate information from other internet sites. I did a few searches on some of the earlier material, and found that some seemed to be copied and pasted from other (inaccurate/biased) sites, which in turn, copied some of it straight from Runciman's (outdated) "The Medieval Manichee". Another example - the person who quotes the "Gnostic Bible" as if it were some kind of primary source (instead of a collection of English translations) may have good intentions in trying to show that Buddhism had a connection with Manichaeism, but their scholarship is unsound - they must give a date and language for their primary source if they want to show that Buddhism influenced Manichaeism's formation (3rd century CE). Just because Buddha is mentioned many times in later, eastern Manichaean works means nothing about its origins - to tack on Buddhist terms and the word "Buddha" during translation was common in more eastern locations (such as Turkistan or China).

Current Influence[edit]

Ok, I'm no expert on Manichaeism, in fact, I know very little about it, but I do know classical history, and the thing about Manichaeism influencing Western thought through Augustine sounds pretty far out there to me, especially since the same sentence goes on to note how strongly Augustine opposed Manichaeism. This sentence needs to be deleted or heavily modified.

    • But, nevertheless Augustine of Hippo was deeply influenced by his exposure to Manichaeism, whether he felt threatened by its existence and competition or not. But, you are probably right to point out that the sentence requires modification... Stevenmitchell 07:22, 26 September 2006 (UTC)


The third paragraph of "criticism" section makes little or no sense at all.

Is the section Criticisms even needed? A quote from a theologian debating a theological issue ("...knowledge was the key to salvation...") seems completly unnecessary. I think the entire Criticisms section should be removed. Somaticvibe 10 December 2006

And the presence of "Ironically, the terms 'Manichaean' and 'dualist' are often used to disparage Christians and others..." seems to lack NPOV, as well as miss the point inherent to criticizing a viewpoint as being Manichaean, particularly if that viewpoint seems to be fruit from the same tree. Artsygeek 00:02, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


This "debate" is a farce being conducted by fourth-rate wannabes. If you aren't scholars with graduate-level training in the primary source languages (Koine Greek, Latin, Syriac, Middle Persian, etc.) kindly shut your foolish pie-holes. This is why the scholarly community doesn't take Wikipedia's project seriously: it's fine for entries on Britney Spears, but when you delve into ancient and medieval religious history, you halfwits are all entirely out of your depth.

I'll second that.

Yeah, no argument: unqualified people ought not to share their ignorance. And qualified people ought to sign their posts, lest they be taken for snobs. -Turi

Ok, I'm frankly tired of hearing this kind of insult to injury. You don't need a Ph.d to debate, have say in a topic, or have an opinion, much less point out facts. There are inumerable instances when a layperson with no college credentials, possibly not even high school equivelence has proven someone with a Ph.d wrong before. A Ph.d is not a license to infallibility, much less a license to permit only you to speak on a subject. 22:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Joshua
Here here... and even if someone were to make some kind of rule stating you need a degree in such and such to edit anything than just how in the hell can it be verified. I can tell everyone I am a Rhodes scholar, but would I be telling the truth? How can you know?
This guy who posted this initially sounds like some elitist. Truth be know, Wikipedia is a mostly self policing service. And maybe its not really a place for serious research, but it does provide sources for those seeking information on topics to start. Piercetp (talk) 03:31, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Cathars & Manicheanism[edit]

The article draws a link between the Cathars & Manicheans but descibes it as tenuous. However, the similarities between what is here and the beliefs and structures of Cathar Christianity are extraordinarily similar. They are also close to Gnostic beliefs of the early years of Christianity. And of course everything traces back to the Zoroastrians. Since these regions were the seedbed of Manicheanism and the Bogomils had a bridge to the region through Byzantium isn´t it legitimate to draw links? ThePeg 18:32, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Your analysis might be classified as "original research" and wouldn't be appropriate in a Wikipedia article. Scholars have been debating just the question you raise for decades, and the article currently reflects their best conclusions (that the link is "tenuous"). The article on Catharism should come to almost the same conclusions.Jimhoward72 02:09, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

George W. Bush's supposed Manicheanism[edit]

President Bush's "If you are not with us, then you are against us" approach to the "war on terror" has often been described as 'Manichean'. A google search for - George Bush Manichean - just returned in excess of 85,000 results. This does not seem to be a reasonable description of a religion that supposedly draws upon Buddhism for its Morality. Could someone who knows the difference care to clarify this? Stagyar 20:42, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Stagyar

Calling George Bush by this term does not mean that it is "a reasonable description of a religion .... ". What it means is that today's media is using a modern catch-word to describe the President. It probably shouldn't make any more sense than the average high-school teenager claiming that Adolf Hitler was a "communist".Jimhoward72 00:11, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Jimhoward72 - Yes, present media usage seems to be grossly inaccurate and that's my point exactly. I think this article should explicitly work to correct that error, perhaps by including a section with the title I've used above. I bet that many of the people who find their way here come to learn what the word 'Manicheanism' means after having encountered it for the first time in a sentence following 'George Bush's'. I certainly did. At a minimum, a useful clarification would be that "eternal conflict between the forces of good and evil" does not translate into "If you aren't with us, then you are against us" for a Manichean follower. --Stagyar 23:19, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
I've noticed from time to time that people come to this article because they found the word "manichean" used in modern media, and are trying to figure out what it means. I'm not sure if this article should address that use of the word in detail, since this article is in the realm of a religious phenomenon, like the articles on Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Maybe there should be some kind of re-direct page or something? In the past, people have put the modern definition in from time to time, but then it gets removed by someone else who wants to maintain the integrity of the article. Not sure what the solution is - maybe a separate wikipedia entry for the modern term? That way, someone could go into detail about its modern use in politics - something that would be inappropriate in this article on the religion.Jimhoward72 08:55, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Manichaeism and Other Religions[edit]

What about the influence of Manichaeism on Islam? Shouldn't this be addressed? Is there any information about Judaism and it's relationship with these principles? Seems odd that Christianity is mentioned, while the other Abrahamic faiths are ignored. —The preceding signed but undated comment was added at 14:10, August 24, 2007 (UTC).

There is plenty of information on the subjects you mentioned - buried in various research works on Manichaeism. Whoever wants to can dig up the information, properly sourced, and put it in the article. Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism are mentioned, because they had prominent and known inter-relations with Manichaeism. There are no actual references to Manichaeism in Jewish literature, and Jewish influence on Manichaeism is more round-about. For example, you can say that the Manichaean myth is in parts, somewhat of an elaboration of the Jewish creation myth, or that the Manichaeans used Enochic literature, also found in Jewish writings. As for the influence on Islam, can you mention an author that discusses that topic?Jimhoward72 15:47, 24 August 2007 (UTC)


Just out of intrest, who goes around resizing images to make them so small that nobody can see them properly or see any of the details in them? I've noticed it on other wikipedia articles & would really like to know if there is any purpose to it. <Fennessy/talk> 14:55, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


Could someone please add the IPA spelling of the title at the beginning of the article? I'm not sure how to pronounce it, and my Persian isn't so good at the moment. (talk) 18:04, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Hermes and Plato?[edit]

The article on Manichaeism says that, 'He [Mani] claimed to be the 'Paraclete of the Truth', as promised in the New Testament: the Last Prophet and Seal of the Prophets that finalized a succession of men guided by God and included figures such as Zoroaster, Hermes, Plato, Buddha, and Jesus.' I have a question about the last part of this: is it true that Mani regarded Hermes and Plato as prophets or divinely guided men? I ask because numerous sources on Gnosticism generally and Manichaeism specifically(including A. A. Bevan's article on Manichaeism in James Hastings's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Geo Widengren's book on Manichaeism, Hans Jonas's The Gnostic Religion, and Kurt Rudolph's Gnosis, along with online sources such as the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Manichaeism) do not make this claim. If the claim that Mani saw Hermes and Plato as prophets, or thought of himself as their sucessor, is in fact correct, however, it would be extremely helpful to add a footnote giving a source supporting this, especially since it apparently contradicts several other sources. Skoojal (talk) 19:57, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The source you are asking about was probably one of the old original public domain works that was borrowed from to create the original article (I know that Runciman's old book "The Religion of the Manichees" was one much-used source). Since you have more accurate information and are not simply copying from a book, you may as well update the article.Jimhoward72 (talk) 04:28, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Manichaean Theology[edit]

Part of the article currently reads, 'A key belief in Manichaeism is that there is no omnipotent good power. This claim addresses a theoretical part of the problem of evil by denying the infinite perfection of God and postulating the two equal and opposite powers mentioned previously.' To me this characterisation of Manichaean belief seems questionable. Manichees were just as confident as Christians that good would eventually triumph over evil (albeit they had a different idea of how this would happen), so how accurate is it to say that they saw the powers of good and evil as equal? Perhaps an expanded coverage of Manichaean eschatology would allow a better treatment of this issue.

But how are you going to re-word it, unless you are quoting from a Manichaean scholar, or are one yourself? I think the point is something like - that a key feature of Manichaeism is that they believe that evil and good were not mixed in the beginning, but instead were two eternally separate realms with their own eternal and separate rulers, which only later became mixed. (In contrast to an omnipotent and all-powerful god which created the entire universe, both good and evil). If you are going to rework the article, you still have to somehow capture that evil and good were ruled by two separate "gods", and that one attacked the other one. I'm just worried about rewording some of these parts, unless you are basing it on reliable Manichaean sources. (If you are going to base it on reliable sources, then go ahead). "The Manichaean theology" section is still probably the worst part of the article - maybe you could re-do the Theology section, and talk about eschatology there? Jimhoward72 (talk) 18:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it's just a matter of definition that if good is bound to triumph over evil, they can't really be equal. Only minor changes to the article would be required to make this point. Skoojal (talk) 10:46, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Another claim that seems questionable is, 'The Manichaeans made every effort to include all known religious traditions in their faith.' While it is true that Manichaeism synthesised numerous different religious traditions, the claim that they wanted to include all religions they were aware of in their faith looks like speculation. This needs to be re-phrased at least. Skoojal (talk) 03:09, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

That quote was also in the original article - it is probably from some old public domain source such as Runciman's book. There is quite a bit of modern scholarship available on Manichaeism - ideally the article would be updated based on the newer material. It is true, though, that wherever Manichaeans went, they attempted to incorporate local traditions into their religion - thus giving the impression that the local traditions actually sprang from the Manichaean story. (See for example, "The Book of Giants", where the names of the giants are incorporated with local myths in the Persian translations of the book).Jimhoward72 (talk) 18:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
What seems to me basically wrong about the claim about the Manichaeans including all known religious traditions is that it is much too vague and broadly expressed. The expression 'religious traditions' need not mean the same thing as 'religions', since it could include specific traditions within a religion as well as different religions, and thus understood it would be wrong. Geo Widengren observes that Mani didn't synthesise simply 'Zoroastrianism', 'Buddhism', and 'Christianity', but a specific form of each of them, that is, Zurvanite Zoroastrianism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Marcionite Christianity. In any case, since the history of Manichaeism is incompletely known, I don't know how anyone could be sure that the Manichaeans attempted to synthesise absolutely all religions they ever encountered, without exception. Who is in a position to say that the Manichaeans could not have encountered Jainism, say, yet drawn nothing from it? The Manichaeans certainly encountered Islam, and as far as I know no one is suggesting they ever wanted to 'include it in their faith' (some strains of Islam apparently were influenced by Manichaeism, but that is a different issue).Skoojal (talk) 03:01, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, go ahead and change the article - it needs work anyway, and is missing internal references, for example. My only point was, that I believe the original article was just a conglomeration of quotes from older, public-domain works of Manichaean scholars (whose work is in some cases outdated). If some of that old material is removed, at least it should be replaced with more updated views from equally competent (albeit more recent) Manichaean scholars.Jimhoward72 (talk) 18:53, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Manichaean creation myth[edit]

There is a very good description of the Manichaean creation myth in Mircea Eliade's A History of Religious Ideas. I think it would be a good idea to suggest it as further reading in the Cosmogony section, giving a footnote to help properly reference the article. Skoojal (talk) 22:15, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

In the Cosmogony section, it's not clear how much is quoted from Eliade - one paragraph is in block quote, the following three aren't. Are they all straight from the same book? Looks like the quotes aren't formatted correctly.Jimhoward72 (talk) 06:58, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
The entire thing is from Eliade. As I recall, it wasn't me who placed the first part of that in block quotes. Skoojal (talk) 07:56, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
If all those paragraphs are from Eliade, it probably should be in block quotes. (Unless it is a paraphrase of Eliade, it is impossible to tell). Also, it's probably not a good idea to quote entire paragraphs from one work (especially one that's not considered public domain). In my opinion, the Cosmogony section should be redone so that it is a general outline, where details can be filled in as new editors see fit. In this way, the cosmogony section can continue to grow, drawing details of the Manicheaan myth from a vast number of sources, instead of relying merely on Eliade's brief, generalized summary.
Also, I added some references for Runciman. I think most of the original article was from his book.
Additionally, I think the Theological section should be done away with - the beginning was a quote from Runciman, but the rest is simply someone trying to prove (very ineffectively), that Manichaeism is a form of Buddhism. Maybe the first paragraph could be salvaged and put in another section.Jimhoward72 (talk) 04:45, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Criticising and missing basic statements[edit]

I am opposing the root statement, thay Manicheism is "dualistic". Light and Darkness were never regarded as of equal importance, as the Darkness always proved inferior to those of the Light. I do not believe the theory was "rolled together" from other previous beliefs and sects, as there is no clear evidence on this.

I am also missing a clear statement that Manicheism was persecuted as was seen as "against Christinaism". I have not seen any idea why this religion was so abundant in so short period (why was it so "successful"?).

Finally, I am missing the derivation of this religion to arts, such as symbolism of Light Column, Light Wheel, Grape and Watermelon (the two fruits which most absorbs light). Abdulka (talk) 20:35, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Manichaeism may have regarded light as more powerful, but yes, it was dualistic. Skoojal (talk) 03:29, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Skoojal. What is dualism is a matter of taste, but believing in Satan as a force opposed to God is certainly dualistic. Believing all matter is created by a force opposed to the God is so dualistic that it pours out the ears. Irrespective if the good vs. evil is equal or not. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 21:55, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

'Unlike the other Gnostic faiths'[edit]

The article reads, 'Unlike the other Gnostic faiths, Manichaeism was a revealed religion.' Should the article say this? It implies that no other Gnostic faiths were revealed religions, but I'm uncertain whether this is true and there is no source. Skoojal (talk) 03:28, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I have removed that part; it seems very dubious and problematic. Skoojal (talk) 05:48, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to simplify the article[edit]

I think the first three sections of this article should be consolidated into a single section: history. I also think that some of the material in these sections should be shifted into the sources section, where it might be more appropriate. Skoojal (talk) 08:56, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

What I have done instead is to re-arrange those three sections into only two sections; a single section would probably be too long. Skoojal (talk) 10:58, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Notice of a major change I'm going to make[edit]

This article includes something that looks like a bibliography. Unfortunately, none of the items in that bibliography are used as references for claims in the article. Thus, as helpful as that list of books may be, its presence suggests that the article is far more scholarly and properly supported than it actually is, and so makes matters worse, not better. I am therefore going to remove it totally. In my opinion, items in that bibliography should be restored only if they are actually used to provide citations for claims in the article. Skoojal (talk) 22:34, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I have had second thoughts about whether this was a good idea. It may be taking too harsh an approach to say that a book shouldn't be in the bibliography if they aren't used to source claims in the article (the list of books may be helpful to people who want to research the subject, and if they are there in the bibliography, then it might encourage someone to use them to properly source the article). I'm considering restoring the bibliography. Skoojal (talk) 22:37, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

"First person" cleanup tag[edit]

I added the tag; I think that some of the "we"s used in the article aren't in the historical context that the Wikipedia style guide talks about. If I'm wrong then say your piece here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Reinderien (talkcontribs) 03:41, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

You're quite right of course, the "we"s should be written out of the article. I may do that myself, though I've become rather side-tracked on other matters. Skoojal (talk) 07:06, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I think you've done a great job, thanks for that. I took out the tag too. Reinderien 03:21, 12 July 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Reinderien (talkcontribs)
In retrospect, {inappropriate person} would have been better, had I known it existed... Oh well. Reinderien 05:47, 12 July 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Reinderien (talkcontribs)

Needs a scholarly reference[edit]

The term "Manichean" has sometimes been used in recent years to mean a simplistic good vs. evil worldview, but this has been argued by scholars to be a historically inaccurate description of Manichaesim.

This paragraph, which may be true needs a stronger reference that isn't merely a link to an editorial page article discussing a current event which is why I removed the external link.Awotter (talk) 19:47, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion to Update Cosmogony Section, Improve Article[edit]

I think any relevant details from the Theology section should be moved to the Cosmogony section, and then the Theology section should be deleted (as it is a fairly useless jumble of unrelated paragraphs which aren't demonstrating anything).

As for the Cosmogony section, I propose it be turned into an outline of the Manichaean myth (for example, broken up according to "Two Principles", "Three Times", or something similar). If the Cosmogony is presented as an outline, then future editors can continue indefinitely to eleborate from the multiple sources of the Manichaean myth, in multiple languages. As a start, I was thinking of giving an outline of the myth from the original Syriac source, and providing all the Syriac names for the deities. Later editors can come along and add the names in other languages, whether they are Persian, Latin, Chinese, or whatever. This will also make possible a discussion on how the manichaean deities evolved and developed from place to place in history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimhoward72 (talkcontribs) 16:25, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Additionally, the quote from Eliade in the Cosmogony section, is almost a direct paraphrase of the Syriac description of Manichaeism by Theodor bar-Konai. The article would be improved if the Eliade paraphrase were replaced with an outline of the events and original names of the deities mentioned in bar-Konai - perhaps organized according to the "3 creations".Jimhoward72 (talk) 11:08, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


Before anyone decides to delete this section I ask that they understand Neo-Manichaeism. The very fact that there is a movement claiming to be a revival of the ancient religion should be reason enough to include it in this article. I myself created an article under that title. At a later time another user merged this article with an article specific to Sons Aumen Israel, a specific religious group, a merger I was not in favor of.

With all these mergers and what not, it may be a major task to seperate and recreate the various articles. So here is my proposal. First, we separate the articles. Have one describing Neo-Manichaeism and its various modern revival attempts, one describing Sons Aumen Israel which is a specific religious community. Finally I would like to retain the paragraph in this article describing this movement. Piercetp (talk) 19:49, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

A discussion on "Neo-Manichaeism" (whatever that is) has no business in an article on Manichaeism. New age neo-anything does not belong in the context of a historical, well-attested movement that is the subject of academic literature.
Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collector of information. If there are extra-topical references to "Neo-Manicheanism", then by all means create a new article; in doing so, you merely need to ensure that it meets notability guidelines, which also implies that that there are secondary sources about it, and that there are means to verify that it is not the product of some self-appointed guru's wishful thinking.
"claiming to be a revival of the ancient religion" IS NOT "reason enough to include it in this article". Wikipedia is not a soapbox for "claims", and not a publisher of original thought. -- 17:33, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
To which I would submit that my research is not original research. I most certainly am not partisan to this belief system. But I do believe that if there is a genuine movement describing itself as Neo Manichean than it deserves mention here. This is NOT a soapbox claim. If you wish, we can enlist a neutral third party to settle this. But I say that the section stays. 16:36, 31 October 2008 (UTC)~
I didn't mean to suggest that your writing was OR. I meant to indicate that ...
  • WP can't be used as a platform to advertise/soapbox/whatever someone else's claims,
  • coatrack such stuff into a discussion of historical entity (beyond perhaps simply linking to another article on it).
Think of it this way: If some fellow started a website claiming to be the second coming, then..
a) we can't even mention this fellow's claim unless it has been discussed by independent sources, and
b) it will not do to stuff the fellow's claim into a discussion of the first coming.
I am the "neutral third party" you are referring to, and I say the section goes, per Wikipedia policy WP:NOT, WP:NN and WP:RS. You also got your fourth, fifth, sixth opinions in the talk/edit history for Neo-Manichaeism. You may ask for a seventh, eighth,... zillionth opinion at the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. -- Fullstop (talk) 17:22, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree completely with Fullstop. There is no reason for a section on Neo-Manichaeism in this article, for several reasons: it is unsourced, it is not properly relevant to the subject of the article (as the claim of "Neo-Manichaeism" to have anything to do with real, historical Manichaeism is very suspect), and it gives this phenomenon undue importance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

What you said is untrue. The term Neo-Manichaeism originaslly referred to several mideval groups such as the Cathar and Bogomils religions. Today there is are groups doing the same. And this IS researched. Not only was the source previously cited but a seperate article was created under the title Neo-Manichaeism, which was later merged (against my own wishes) with Sons Aumen Israel, a very specific religious group. Right now, someone had merged the article on Neo-Manichaeism with this one, which, of course is ridiculous. The very fact that there is a group here in Wikipedia with its own article, should be reason enough to mention it in this article.
Regarding the "New Age" or novel aspect of this religious movement all I can say is that it is not my place to judge. The truth is that I found a number a very trivial phenomena mentioned in Wikipedia.
For more information on the Neo-Manichaean movement see...
So this section is not valdalized again I will take this with the mediation cabal. Piercetp (talk) 21:00, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  1. If the term 'Neo-Manichaeism' originally/again refers to Cathar/Bogomil gnosticism, then that is where you need to discuss your Neo-Manichaeism. I'll redirect in a moment.
  2. The recognition of an existence of a Neo-Manichaean movement needs to be substantiated by an independent source; for more details see WP:NN and WP:FRINGE.
  3. Unless there is an direct connection to historical Manicheanism, a discussion of Neo-Manichaeism does not belong here. This connection will again need to have been made by an independent source; you cannot do it yourself (see WP:OR).
  4. As for the section being "vandalized", I suggest you read up on WP:VANDAL and WP:BRD. So far I have seen neither any evidence of vandalism, nor any effort to attempt to legitimize the addition. The burden of evidence is on the editor who adds. It is not necessary for the person who removes unsourced content (see also WP:V and WP:RS policies) to provide negative evidence.
  5. As I already said, I am already a third opinion here, and as the talk/edit history of the 'Neo-Manichaeism' article makes plain, you've had several other opinions already. Thus, it would seem that you can take it wherever you want and still get the same reaction.
-- Fullstop (talk) 14:19, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
ps: I had previously suggested you apply to the WP:Fringe theories/Noticeboard or WP:Reliable sources/Noticeboard, but you seem to not want to do that. So, given the fact that you don't really have anyone with whom to reach a compromise, I suggest you file a WP:RFC to at least try to receive community support for a policy exception.
ps: the essenes page linked above as having "more information on the Neo-Manichaean movement" does not even refer to the Neo-Manichaean movement.
I would contend that there are at least two definitions of Neo-Manichaenism. The first being a mideval groups such as the above mentioned Cathar and Bogomil groups as well as Paulicianism and Albigensians . These groups are collectively described and Neo-Manicheaen. There is some controversy whether some Cathar groups still exist today. There is a little known and shaddowy group who maintains a website. In the article regarding Catharism, it was decided that this group could not claim legitimacy because all inquiries regarding their existance could not be verified.
Now regarding modern revival movements, perhaps the only legimately sourced movement is the Order of Nazorean Essenes. Regarding this group, I would state that the very fact that an article exists here on Wikipedia is enough reason to allow a section within this article. In their own website they claim to follow the teachings of the prophet Mani. I think the real question would be if a group claiming to be "Neo" or a "revival" of something deserves inclusion within an article.
Before escalating this to an WP:RFC I would prefer using the services of the Mediation Cabal. I think that, at the very least a compromise solution may be sought.
Peace Piercetp (talk) 18:07, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, thanks for the introduction - I'm an informal mediator from the Mediation Cabal. My initial suggested compromise is to include Sons Aumen Israel (which is the more usual name of the Order of Nazorean Essenes) in the See Also section. Any takers? PhilKnight (talk) 20:07, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Alternatively (and more encyclopedic), write a proper "Post-Manichean syncretism" (or whatever**) section in which the medieval groups are briefly described, and in which the claim of the Sons Aumen Israel is also noted. In each case, a brief summary of the borrowings should be provided for encyclopedic value.
The Sons Aumen Israel should moreover be explicitly stated to be "claim[ing] to be modern versions of the ancient Essenes and Manichaean sects of Gnostic Christianity etc" (so the Sons Aumen Israel article). It should not unequivocally state "the Neo-Manichaean movement is a modern attempt to revive the ancient faith of Manichaeism".
** Since the term "Neo-Manichean" has been used in the past for the medieval gnostic movements, the article shouldn't recycle the term for Sons Aumen Israel unless an RS has also done so. -- Fullstop (talk) 21:28, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I do not have a problem with that proposal. I say lets do it. If you wish to make the edits go ahead and do so. Otherwise I can do it.
Peace Piercetp (talk) 18:40, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I can't help with that. As I said, I'm just a third opinion; my sphere of competence ends with the 5th century. I briefly tried to figure out what caused Paulicanism and Catharism to be identified with Manicheanism and ran into a wall. The apparently defining reason to associate those with Manicheanism is good-spirit/bad-matter dualism. But that is generally Gnostic, and not specifically Manichean. I am obviously missing some crucial bit of background knowledge. ps: could you perhaps address this in the new section? Thanks. -- Fullstop (talk) 22:35, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
OK. But if it gets revised again my hands are tied because of the three revert rule. Piercetp (talk) 02:18, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
(I reduced the indent - seems like we were running out of space). There is no such thing as "neo-Manichaeism". This term has been discredited by scholars of Manichaeism. If you look on the Catharism entry, they do not refer to it as neo-Manichaeism; they even cast doubt if it was related to Manichaeism, and classify it instead as an internal development within the Latin, european Church. There is no reference at all to Manichaean mythology in the writings of the Cathars. Likewise with the Paulicians. This Manichaeism article uses too much outdated and biased material - why does it still reference a century-old Catholic encyclopedia, (which uses the Catholic term "neo-Manichaeism to describe what it sees as a heresy attacking the church) when there are current Manichaean studies which clearly categorize and define Manichaeism. As for the "neo-Manichaean" "revival" - doesn't a "revival" have to have some kind of historical connectivity to what it is "reviving"? There is zero historical connectivity with any modern "neo-Manichaeism" and the original Manichaean religion.Jimhoward72 (talk) 12:45, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Not only that, but the Cathars and Bogomils are already discussed in the article (in the section above the "neo-Manichaean" section). So why is it being repeated? The neo-Manichaean section is superfluous and irrelevant to the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimhoward72 (talkcontribs) 13:42, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
As I said before... I cannot discern why Paulicanism and Catharism should be identified with Manichaeism. But Piercep indicated that there are (were?) some people who suppose that at least some of the Gnostic Christian movements were identified with Manichaeism, and it would thus be encyclopedic to state that they were previously somehow identified as '(neo-)Manichean' but are no longer identified as such. The cause for the (mis-)identification should be properly explained, e.g. (if that is the case) the propensity to equate Gnosticism with Manichaeism.
As I also noted previously, there is no harm done by iterating the Sons Aumen Israel "claim to be modern versions of the ancient Essenes and Manichean sects of Gnostic Christianity" (as the Sons Aumen Israel article has it) IFF this too is dealt with in an encyclopedic fashion, i.e. sourcing such a claim to a reliable source who has studied the validity of the claim, and in some way acknowledges (either discredit or support) that claim. An encyclopedia should publish discussion of such claims, and not itself forward such claims.
Jim, since (it seems) that you know quite a bit about Manichaeism, why don't you simply fix the article? It quite obviously could do with a firm hand. -- Fullstop (talk) 15:33, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you are right, "neo-Manichaeism" and what it was intended to mean, could be somehow referred to in the article. I believe it was in the most part derived from how the Catholic church viewed the heretical movements in the middle ages that it saw as resembling Manichaeism.Jimhoward72 (talk) 20:29, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
So... what do you suggest be done? -- Fullstop (talk) 19:42, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not such movements are actually revivals of the ancient Manichean faith, the term Neo-Manichean is a frequently used term. This term was used by many Christian scholars to describe medieval hearsays. I also believe that the so-called Manichean Orthodox Church can be described as such because it seeks to revive this religion, though it cannot claim continuity with the ancient religion. I believe the article should stay as is. Piercetp (talk) 07:57, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
That needs to be added to the article as an explanatory note. -- Fullstop (talk) 14:13, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I added an example of its usage in 20th century scholarship. (Although, I doubt if the term is still used today).Jimhoward72 (talk) 13:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I came to this article completely ignorant of what Manachaeists believed. I have read the entire article and still don't know. I'd like to see a one- or two-line summary of their beliefs, not just their history, in the first paragraph of the article.

Evangeline (talk) 22:29, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I added a brief summary of beliefs to intro.Jimhoward72 (talk) 07:44, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Manichaean ethics[edit]

Severely needed, from f.ex. here:

Even though I, as a former Gnostic, reject all dualistic theologies as dysfunctional and nondevelopmental, Manichaeism cannot be said to be anything else than strictly ethical in a positive sense. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:53, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

AfD: Manichaean paranoia[edit]

Please partake in the discussion whether Manichaean paranoia should be deleted or not on this page (WP:AfD/Manichaean paranoia (2nd nomination)! ... said: Rursus (bork²) 13:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


In the section theology Manichaeism is described as dualist, which sorry to say is a very sweeping and very ambiguous characterisation (please follow the dualism link to see). The text first has to explain what kind of dualism: Mind/Matter dualism or Mind/Body dualism or Consciousness/Matter dualism, thereafter this statement should be reconnected to the mythology and theology by referring to the relevant mythos part. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 07:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Merging Acuas[edit]

Acuas is a small article related to Manichaeism. I was only able to find a few references of him and I don't believe the page can grow any more than what it is at now. I thus propose it be merged into the Manichaeism article, perhaps in a reduced form in the Origins section. --Odie5533 (talk) 15:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Can you integrate it into the article? Since this is such a little known figure, I imagine he's only mentioned in a couple of source texts (like the Church Fathers or something). Anyway, maybe someone can bring references to the original sources where he is mentioned (and not just that he is mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics).Jimhoward72 (talk) 14:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm strongly opposed to the proposed merging. Manichaeism was a major world religion and Akouas is one of its earliest known preachers. The details of his life and related scholarly issues are too complex to be included on the Manichaeism page.
You're probably finding very few sources because you're using a less-common spelling: the most common one is Akouas, not Acuas. This would not even be a topic of discussion if this were a Christian saint. I heavily improved the article and moved it to Akouas. Algabal (talk) 09:56, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Since Akouas is really Mar Zaku, can we please change the name in the article here to Mar Zaku? I thinks it's preferrable to stick to the original names instead of (perhaps more well-known) later appearances. It will also help to give a clearer picture, as "Mar-Zakku" will stand out as being realated to "Mar-Ammo", whereas "Akouas" is tenuous.Jimhoward72 (talk) 21:09, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I think it is more complex than that. Lieu suggests that he and Mar Zaku are identical, but this a scholarly assertion, not gospel. The solution might be to create a main Mar Zaku article that incorporates the content of the Akouas article and describes the connection. I will do it sooner or later. Algabal (talk) 23:17, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Assyrian Church of the East[edit]

Hi, just as an FYI, there seems to have been a rather concerted effort to (incorrectly) swap the term "Assyrian Church of the East" in, anywhere that it said "Nestorian". So please don't use other Wikipedia articles as sources on whether or not to use the term "Assyrian Church of the East". We're trying to get things cleaned up, for example with a major rewrite of the Nestorianism article, (re)-establishing the Nestorianism in China article, etc. But some of the errors have been around for a long time, so it's proving difficult to get things straightened out. Bottom line though: It's probably best not to refer to the Assyrian Church of the East in this article, unless you have a modern reliable source which specifically uses that term. --Elonka 05:44, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

The Assyrian Church of the East article and the Nestorianism article are both attempting to describe the Eastern version of Christianity in the Persian empire. However, they clearly have different "agendas", and they are describing the phenomenon from to different points of view. The "Nestorian" article is clearly choosing the Western, non-"Nestorian" point of view to describe the Persian empire version of Christianity as a non-Roman Catholic heresy. This is the starting point of the "Nestorian" article, and it's main focus. The "Assyrian Church" article, on the other hand, immediately begins by describing historically relevant points of early Persian/Babylonian Christianity, which are of interest to someone reading the current article on Manichaeism. For example:
It traces its origins to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia, which tradition holds was founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle (Tooma Shlikha) as well as Saint Mari and Saint Addai in 33 A.D. as asserted in the Doctrine of Addai.
The normative Christology of the Assyrian church was written by Babai the Great (551–628) and is clearly distinct from the accusations directed toward Nestorius: his main christological work is called the 'Book of the Union', and in it Babai teaches that the two qnome (essences, or hypostases) are unmingled but everlastingly united in the one parsopa (personality) of Christ.
The Assyrian Christian article is clearly a better link for these reasons alone. Also, no reference is necessary, as the Assyrian Christian article is both self-explanatory and historically accurate. The question is whether or not to term the 3rd century Babylonian Christian contemporaries of Mani as "Nestorian" or not, and the answer is clearly no. The Assyrian Christian article more accurately reflects this.Jimhoward72 (talk) 06:22, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but per WP:V, when statements are challenged, references are required. If references are not provided, the information can be removed, by any editor. --Elonka 07:05, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Since your intention is to change the article to say that Mani (c. 216–276 AD) was a contemporary of Christian followers of Nestorius (c. 386–451 AD), perhaps you should explain why you are trying to edit the article to portray something that is clearly an historical fallacy? Mani may have been a contemporary of Syriac speaking Christians (Assyrian Christians or whatever you want to call them), but he certainly wasn't a contemporary of "Nestorian" Christians.Jimhoward72 (talk) 07:35, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough, but he couldn't have been a contemporary of the "Assyrian Church of the East", since it didn't exist yet either. I've reworded the sentence to say Syriac Christians. Will that work? --Elonka 10:27, 7 February 2010 (UTC)


The article says virtually nothing about how and why Manichaeism declined and vanished. This would be a helpful addition.Sylvain1972 (talk) 01:00, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

New stuff goes at the bottom. It would be a helpful, but I've got some other stuff in other articles I need to get around to, and I'm a bit busy with school and a really awesome friend to go to the library. Sorry. Anyone else got time? Ian.thomson (talk) 01:31, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
The truth is, Manichaeism was often severely persecuted, and it was sometimes forced to go underground or disguise itself in attempts to survive. Aside from factors such as this, there may be no reasons to explain why Manichaeism vanished. The best we can do is say when the last known appearances of Manichaeism were in certain areas. The article mentions some of these, such as the persecution of Manichaeism under Christian Rome, and the destruction of the Uighur Manichaean kingdom in the 1300s. Actually, perhaps there could be a section on persecution of Manichaeism? There are a lot of specific examples that have been published, like the "abschwoerungsformeln" in Greek (where Manichaeans were forced to deny principle tenets of Manichaeism), and the list of persecutions of Manichaeism under Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, in China, and so on. It would be something of a task to gather all the examples together, maybe.Jimhoward72 (talk) 04:50, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Reliable source?[edit]

I'm not quite sure if this is a reliable source, but I can't see why it wouldn't be. It's extensively researched and cites all of its sources, but it is an online book available for free download in PDF format, not to mention it does contain noticable bias. The book can be found here.
Xhaoz Talk Contribs 06:26, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Mani and Manicheanism are Arabians Semites not Persians.[edit]

Since Mani originated in Iraq from a semitic/arab family and had an arabian/semitic mother tongue and his sacred book was written in arabian aramaic and he had an arabian semitic name (mani=who, him, progeniture)in Arabian Semitic Arabic.

So please correct this article.

Thanks for your attention

Humanbyrace (talk) 12:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:CITE is your friend. Your hand-made etymology is meant as a joke I hope. --dab (𒁳) 13:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Mani was not Arabic, he spoke an Aramaic toung closely related to Syriac. His Mother Maryam it is repoted claimed decent from the Parthian Royal family of Kamsargan. The Fivefold Manichean Cannon (The Book of Giants, The Book of Mysteries, The Treasury of Life, The Living Gospel and the Treastise) are from numerous sources. It is very possable that much of the Book of Giants was drawn directly from the Book of Enoch. Nevertheless Manichean texts overtime with the spread of Manicheanism became very varried in linguistic composition. The etymology of the name of Mani is quite varried in interpretation. Some have drawn attention to the fact that the name Mani was a name given to any serving manpower in Anatolia. Another Etymology draws atention to one of his titles meaning the living vessel. Although Mani was semetic in speach by no means was he Arabic. --Zaharous (talk) 11:49, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, even though Aramaic is a Semitic language, wasn't it very influenced by non-Semitic Iranian languages thanks to the Achaemenids? It's evidence that Mani speaking Aramaic is no indication of a Semitic background. Ian.thomson (talk) 12:41, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

It's the contrary; Iranian languages were very influenced by different Semitic languages such as Akkadian and Aramaic because early Iranians were a warrior illitrate horde and they took much from the culture and languages of Semites (Akkadian then Aramaic then Arabic were lingua francas of the Iranians and Iranians used succesivily Akkadian , Aramean and Arabic script as an alphabet) besides the cultural elements (winged bull, kuribu, architecture, santur, manicheanism...) and thousands of Semitic loanwords into various Iranian languages (such as sitare, heft, den...) but most of Arabic terms in Persian are rather recent due to genetic and cultural contact between Khorassani Arabs and Khorassani Persians that gave birth to a new language that substituted middle Persian

Humanbyrace (talk) 07:47, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Too many false dichotomies. It is "and" such as in "Mani and Manicheanism are Arabians Aramaic Semites and Persians" and it is "akkadian and aramaic influenced persian, and the other way around". Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 11:45, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

contradiction with article on Zoroastrianism[edit]

There seems to be a contradiction between the articles on Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism.

Manichaeism says: "neither the Earth nor the flesh were seen as intrinsically evil, but rather possessed portions of both light and dark"

Zoroastrianism says: "Manichaeism equated evil with matter and good with spirit" and describes this an essential difference between the two.

I don't know much about either. What I found on the Net seems to favor the second position:

[1]: "To set the light-substance free from the pollution of matter was the ultimate aim of all Manichæan life."

[2]: "Mani [...] taught that human beings are, in essence, rational and spiritual beings created by a supreme God, but this essential nature is unhappily bonded to a material body created by an evil demiurge."

Does anyone know more? Joriki (talk) 10:58, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

I just came across another relevant sentence in demiurge: "In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil while the non-material world is good." (though I don't know whether Manichaeism qualifies as one of "the various Gnostic systems") Joriki (talk) 12:50, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Weather Manicheism qualifies as Gnosticism has been up to some debate. Some have called in Gnosticism based on its Dualism, Esoteric knowledge leading to salvation and the belief in the world being of an evil substance and partially constructed by the world of darkness, as Askalun and Neborel are creators of Adam and Eve and they have some power over the material universe, even after they are imprisoned. However others point to the fact that the "Demiurge" has positive qualities, this being the living spirit whom creates the world from the corpses of Demons, or according to Mardun Farukh. In Manicheism, the Soul is intrinsically good when it is apart from the body, however when it became imprisoned in the Body, it became defiled, hence although the soul can overcome the body and make it do good, so can the body overcome the soul and make it do evil. In Manicheism the body is intrinsically evil, despite the fact it can be controlled by the soul. It may be too simplistic to say that "neither the Earth nor the flesh were seen as intrinsically evil, but rather possessed portions of both light and dark" as just as the good soul is imprisoned in the evil body good divine elements are imprisoned in the earth that in itself is from the corpses of demons, one of these elements especially mentioned is water a light element, and in a way a living being. --Zaharous (talk) 16:42, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
The reason Manichaeism can say "neither the Earth nor the flesh were seen as intrinsically evil, but rather possessed portions of both light and dark", is because the sparks of spiritual light are described as mixed with the evil material world (ie. Earth and flesh are a mixture of of evil matter and good spirit). That doesn't contradict the Zoroastrian article which says "Manichaeism equated evil with matter and good with spirit".Jimhoward72 (talk) 05:10, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Because I am a nefarious bad ass let me bring up a source mentioned in what I would like to say is the Kephalia (to sound uber smart and hence bring up my uber low self esteem) that mentions the following Schema in how the five limbs of the soul are bound by the five parts of the body and what happens

Sin attaches a corporal limb to a divine limb:
Bone is bound to Nous this makes Sin Nous
Sinew is bound to Thinking this makes Sin Thinking
Vein is bound to Thought this makes Sin Thought
Flesh is bound to Imagination this makes Sin Imagination
Skin is bound to Council this makes Sin Council

Despite the fact that the Light Soul is imprisoned in Dark Matter, this does not change the fact that in Manicheism the Body is intrinsically evil. The Mixture of light and Darkness is not endemic to Manicheism, Mani's concept of the mixture of light and darkness, is almost inherently descendant from Zoroastrian thought in which after Ahriman attacks Ahura-Mazda's good creation and spreads Khrafstra's (malevolent animals) over it. Although the Zoroastrian world view holds that the world is in a mixed state as in Manichiesm, by no means would a Zoroastrian say that an owl, lizard or wolf is in a state of mixture, in although in Manicheism the body incorporates the soul, by no means it it in itself good, rather it is corruptive. Although it is true that the universe is in a mixture and possesses light and darkness, this does not take away the fact that the flesh is intrinsically negative and demonic in essence. Although the Spirit and the Body are in a state of mixture by no means is the flesh composed of the world of light, in Manicheism after the forces of darkness defeated the primal man and his five sons they lost the knowledge of their divine origin and through the copulation of the demons Ashaklun and Neborel the essence of his five son (the world soul) became imprisoned in Adam and Eve the progenitors of Mankind. --Zaharous (talk) 00:25, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Manichean Theology[edit]

I would like to make a proposal that Manicheism be incorporated with Zoroastrianism, into a Persian Religions Wikiproject, which I think would bring more awareness about it. I also believe that a Wikiproject Gnosticism, would be helpful too. The Theology section of Manicheism is greatly in error. Manicheans would never call the antithesis of "God", Satan. This is not to mention Manicheism is an emanationalistic faith like Zoroastrianism, in which one primordial god creates other gods, which are in a way itself too, however still are their own being in their own right. In Manicheism the Living Spirit (associated with Mithra), is the creator of the physical Universe, despite the fact it is demonic in essence. Hence in a way The Father of Greatness is responsible for the creation of the physical universe, despite it being demonic in substance. Although I plan to rewrite the Theology section and add citations, I would like to know if any one is interested in sugesting additional information to put under it. --Zaharous (talk) 01:03, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm not that experienced with Wikiprojects, but I would be interested in it. There are a handful of other religious trends that would fall under "Persian religion", and you could include some that were also perhaps influenced by their being produced within the Persian empire (Mandaeanism, some trends in Judaism? - they interacted with the Zoroastrian leaders in Cetesiphon). As for the theology section, it always seemed too vague and even unnecessary. It seemed like it could have been deleted and anything important expressed in the other sections. However, if you are going to re-write it with good sources, it perhaps could add to the article. Something else I was thinking of changing was that long quotation by Mircea Eliade (about the myth). Seems like it could be described better (and maybe shorter), by an editor.Jimhoward72 (talk) 02:06, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I think a Wikiproject is a good idea. I believe Manicheism is far too complex to fall under only one Wikiproject. The Only thing that I think that could cover Manicheism, Mandaeism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism is Ancient Near Eastern Religion. If we want to add Islam it should be called Wikiproject:Near Eastern Religions. I think many of the Editors from Wikiproject:Zoroastrianism may be interested in this subject, I will contact them. I am personally not that active on Wikipedia and I am a bad organizer, however I believe if we can focus our efforts, every bit adds up. However I don't even know how to form a Wikiproject (or use well the new system of Wikipedia. --Zaharous (talk) 13:12, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Maybe your original suggestion would be better. What about doing the Persian Religions project, and then specify that it would deal with Zoroastrianism and the two "Persian Gnostic" religions, Manichaeism and Mandaeanism? I think the inclusion of Mandaeanism would kind of help give a more balanced perspective, as Mandaeanism is more purely Babylonian gnostic (i.e. it didn't spread throughout Persia, as Manichaeism did)Jimhoward72 (talk) 20:29, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I apologize Jim Howard, I did not see your post, I think that is a good Idea.--Zaharous (talk) 20:18, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I have mentioned the need for a wikiproject gnosticism here: --Zaharous (talk) 13:43, 12 June 2010 (UTC)If any one is interested in adding anything I am rewriting the theology section here --Zaharous (talk) 13:47, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

there is a proposal for the creation of Wikiproject:Gnosticism. Its scope will include all gnostic faiths and will serve as a nexus for the improvement of Gnosticism related articles on Wikipedia, If any one would like to join or comment it is located here --Zaharous (talk) 01:45, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


Probably more should be mentioned about Manichaeism in China, see for instance [3] We also have the idea that the name Ming dynasty has Manichaen roots, because Ming means brightness. But I am sceptical about that. Reko (talk) 10:56, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Can't make head or tail of that lead...[edit]

What does "Manicheans/Manichees never adopted the name for themselves (in the same way that "pagans" were so called by others)" mean? I find that totally unclear, and maybe not very well written. Can someone explain it or clarify it please?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Learned Ignoramus (talkcontribs) 02:11, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I think whoever added that isolated sentence was trying to say the "Manichaeans" didn't use the term "Manichaean" to describe themselves - that the term "Manichaean" was only used by non-Manichaeans, implying that Manichaeans called themselves something else (like "Religion of Light" or something - what it was, is a good question). But it needs to be either clarified, or removed.Jimhoward72 (talk) 09:42, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Weird Chronology[edit]

The first sentence of the little history blurb at the beginning says Manichaeism thrived from the third to the seventh century. The very next sentence says it faded out in China in the 14th century. That's a 7-century jump, and no rationale is apparent for why only China is mentioned. GeneCallahan (talk) 18:59, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

It's explained throughout the article, but basically what happened is that it spread widely for those first few centuries, from the Middle East all the way to Egypt and China. While it died out earlier in the West, it survived for longer in the East, and its last place of survival was China, where it finally faded. In order to explain all that at the beginning, you would have to add a number of sentences, instead of just a one-sentence summary.Jimhoward72 (talk) 19:04, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
I have attempted to re-word the sentence so it makes more sense.Jimhoward72 (talk) 19:12, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
So when DID it finally go extinct?Ericl (talk) 18:03, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

colloquial/media usage circa 2011[edit]

It would be nice to have something about what people mean when they use 'Manichean' casually for an audience of people who are not scholars of the religion, let's say, talking about politics, in the press. Do they mean "un-nuanced?", "overly black and white?", "reductionist?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:15, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

A few improvements needed[edit]

I saw the following:

  • section Theology seems inaccurate or outright wrong, that's not a gnostic theology, a gnostic theology claims that the Invisible God is the ultimate origin of many Aeons, but that a morally defect being created universe - the current section instead sketches a Zoroaster theology,
  • section Cosmogony contains a citation from Mircea Eliade that is too long: it's somehow incorrect to let our encyclopedia rely mostly on long long citations, rather than explain the matter ourselves and use citations to strengthen our text,
  • section Outline of the Beings and Events in the Manichaean Mythos contains lists that not quite makes sense, mentioning all those "beings" is OK, but there's some context missing:
    • why are there three creations, and one world of light and one of darkness?
    • what meaning does those creations have, and what role does that give the beings in them,

and I'm still somewhat bewildered: is this gnosticism really, and what was the attraction and psychological implications of being Manichaean? Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 15:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I have said this before, I will delete the Theology section if no-one minds. I don't think it is relevant for the article, I think it was a throw-back from the very early days of the article. Also, the Mircea Eliade citation is too long, there was a shorter summary there before, I can try to fix this. As for the outline of the beings and creations - it is in fact an outline, I can try to address some of it during replacement of the Eliade quote. The problem is that you would have to go into a little bit of detail to summarize the entire Manichaean myth.Jimhoward72 (talk) 16:06, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Mani of Babylonian Origin[edit]

Here are three quotes from three well-known scholars of Manichaeism (Sundermann writing just two years ago), showing clearly that Mani clearly can be thought of as having Babylonian (i.e. Persian province of Asuristan) background. Whoever keeps changing this to say he was solely Persian, is clearly not correct, and the article needs to be changed to say so:

Sundermann, Werner, "Mani, the founder of the religion of Manicheism in the 3rd century CE", Encyclopaeia Iranica, 2009. Sundermann summarizes the available sources thus: "According to the Fehrest, Mani was of Arsacid stock on both his father’s and his mother’s sides, at least if the readings al-ḥaskāniya (Mani’s father) and al-asʿāniya (Mani’s mother) are corrected to al-aškāniya and al-ašḡāniya (ed. Flügel, 1862, p. 49, ll. 2 and 3) respectively. The forefathers of Mani’s father are said to have been from Hamadan and so perhaps of Iranian origin (ed. Flügel, 1862, p. 49, 5-6). The Chinese Compendium, which makes the father a local king, maintains that his mother was from the house Jinsajian, explained by Henning as the Armenian Arsacid family of Kamsarakan (Henning, 1943, p. 52, n. 4 = 1977, II, p. 115). Is that fact, or fiction, or both? The historicity of this tradition is assumed by most, but the possibility that Mani’s noble Arsacid background is legendary cannot be ruled out (cf. Scheftelowitz, 1933, pp. 403-4). In any case, it is characteristic that Mani took pride in his origin from time-honored Babel, but never claimed affiliation to the Iranian upper class."
Henning, W.B., The Book of Giants, BSOAS,Vol. XI, Part 1, 1943, pp. 52-74: "It is noteworthy that Mani, who was brought up and spent most of his life in a province of the Persian empire, and whose mother belonged to a famous Parthian family, did not make any use of the Iranian mythological tradition. There can no longer be any doubt that the Iranian names of Sām, Narīmān, etc., that appear in the Persian and Sogdian versions of the Book of the Giants, did not figure in the original edition, written by Mani in the Syriac language."
(from Al-Briruni's Chronology, quoted in Hans Jonas, "The Gnostic Religion", 1958) "From aeon to aeon the apostles of God did not cease to bring here the Wisdom and the Works. Thus in one age their coming was into the countries of India through the apostle that was the Buddha; in another age, into the land of Persia through Zoroaster; in another, into the land of the West through Jesus. After that, in this last age, this revelation came down and this prophethood arrived through myself, Mani, the apostle of the true God, into the land of Babel (Babylon - then a province of the Persian Empire)."Jimhoward72 (talk) 00:08, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Here is a copy from my reply to your comment in talk page of Mani...I appreciate your effort but you are confusing the matters. He was without doubt Iranian in the sense of Iranian people. He was a native of Mesopotamia this is also clear in the sense of residency. You are making "strange" original research in bringing the second source (Henning) and telling us that the quote shows a dual Babylonian/Persian origin out of Mani! Now 1. Please do not confuse Persian with Iranian (which you did) 2. Please do not make wp:synth (which you did) as the source does not say "he was of Asyrian origin". What you want to say is: He was born, raised in ancient Iraq? I am not disputing it. Are you saying his parents were not of Iranian Arsacid noble family? I dispute that per all sources by Encyclopaedia Iranica (which yourself mentioned), The Cambridge History of Iran (which is cited in my previous comment here in the talk page of Mani), and Boyce's book (which is in the footnote of this article). To solve the problem without edit warring please tell us what you want to write? Thanks. Xashaiar (talk) 00:18, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Did you read the Sundermann quote closely? He is saying that he is casting doubt on the Persian origin, and giving credence to the Babylonian origin:
The Chinese Compendium, which makes the father a local king, maintains that his mother was from the house Jinsajian, explained by Henning as the Armenian Arsacid family of Kamsarakan (Henning, 1943, p. 52, n. 4 = 1977, II, p. 115). Is that fact, or fiction, or both? The historicity of this tradition is assumed by most, but the possibility that Mani’s noble Arsacid background is legendary cannot be ruled out ****i.e. Iranian origin is in doubt**** In any case, it is characteristic that Mani took pride in his origin from time-honored Babel, but never claimed affiliation to the Iranian upper class. ****i.e. Mani always said he was proud he was from Babylon, and never mentioned any Iranian origins****"Jimhoward72 (talk) 00:43, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
You seem completely lost in understanding the sources: Boyce says "He was Iranian by blood! (that is parents)", Iranica says "mani did not say I am proud of being Iranian upper class", henning says Mani "whose mother belonged to a famous Parthian family...did not make any use of the Iranian mythological tradition" so what??? They all say He was Iranic but did not make any noise about that. Also please use either this talk page or the talk page of Mani. Also please read wp:or and wp:synth. Xashaiar (talk) 00:54, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Sundermann is saying the obvious, that his mother being Parthian may be a later legend (yes, that means that what Henning/Boyce are mentioning may be only conjecture), that Mani never mentioned (implying it might not be true). Even if it was true, his father was in the Jewish-Christian Babylonian Elchasaite sect, giving every reason to believe that he was from Babylonian (Assyrian-Assuristan, Aramaic, non-Persian, whatever you want to call it) origins. There is no reason to leave out mention of the Babylonian origins, as you keep insisting on doing.Jimhoward72 (talk) 00:56, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I do not know why I am discussing with you: you do not even understand difference of Iranian and Persian. Anyways: 1. you are violating wp:3rr 2. you are violating wp:synth. 3. If you want here is my solution: we make a section on family background and quote completely, directly, and without commentariest the quotes from Boyce, Nenning, Iranica agree? Xashaiar (talk) 01:01, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

No, I don't agree. Here is my solution - we use Sundermann, the most recent most respected scholar of Manichaeism, and the statement he made in Iranica, which says that Mani's Parthian mother origins may be a legend (i.e. not true), and that the remaining evidence says Mani was of Babylonian (non-Iranian) origin. Or, to include both views, mention both, just like I already did in the article, so there is no need to change my edits. Agreed?Jimhoward72 (talk) 01:07, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Could you stop reverting? If yes here is what we do: we quote the primary sources, through secondary ones, that he is in classical sources considered of Iranic origin. Then we say what the author of Iranica's article, boyce, .. say. If you give time to me I will write my version and we can discuss the matter. I can not contribute when you are "reverting 10 times". Xashaiar (talk) 01:23, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
As xashaiar said you are doing original research. The sources may give a probability that he was not Iranian. But majority of academic sources agree that Mani was from parthian background. --Wayiran (talk) 01:12, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
That's not accurate - the sources say only that his mother was from Parthian background, and according to recent scholarship, that is possible legend, not fact. It's interesting that your only interest in editing this article is to insist Mani was Parthian, nothing more, and no other contributions to the actual substance of the article itself. That is tantamount to vandalism.Jimhoward72 (talk) 01:30, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Well I started to edit the article and started from first section and after 1 minute you started the reverts. That is how you welcome other editors? Also have in mind that wikipedia has this POV: what majority of academic sources say is the pov wikipedia articles have. No comment is needed. And most sources say Mani was Iranic Arsacid. And yes he was from Mesopotamia. But you are misunderstanding this. One can be of Chinese parents but very well Indian. Boyce is top scholar, the Cambridge history of Iran is also very reputable and E Iranica is also very specialized. We can not write according to how we understand the sources (wp:synth). Xashaiar (talk) 02:04, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Okay I did some google books search: Mani "Assyrian Prophet" gives zero hits. Mani "Iranian Prophet" and Mani "Persian Prophet" gives hundreds of hits. Also traditional sources discuss both his father and mother as being Iranian (Arsacid/Parthian). Cambridge History of Iran states: "Mani, a Parthian of noble birth, was born under the rule of the last of the ...". Do a google books search "Mani" "Patek".. Patek in the classical sources is his father and a Parthian. "Mani was born to a family distantly related to the Parthian Arsacid royal lineage. "[4]. Overall, the findings of one scholar is important, but even he admits: "The historicity of this tradition is assumed by most, but the possibility that Mani’s noble Arsacid background is legendary cannot be ruled out (cf. Scheftelowitz, 1933, pp. 403-4". Of course anything is possible, but if most sources agree he is Parthian, then that is good enough for Wikipedia. I think the general google books search clearly shows Mani being stated as a Parthian from both his mother and his father's side. At least the article should mention Patek, the Parthian father of Mani. Also taking possible pride in Babylon cannot be used for WP:synthesis since Babylon itself had a large Iranian population (still modern Iraq is 20%+ Kurd who speak languages related to Parthian) and at one time, had a large Persian speaking population (names of Baghdad, Anbar, Fellujah.. are all Persian). Large number of Persians existed at Iraq at one time, and even up to the 20th century [5]. As a 3rd opinion, I believe the fact that Mani's Ardascid background (his father too as shown in google books) is accepted by most sources, is sufficient for Wikipedia and should be given primacy (and other opinions should be attributed to the authors who disagree, but even these authors don't say he is not Iranian they just say he might not be of Parthian descent). I did not see where Iranica states he was of "Babylonian origin" but Babylon at that time was a geography, as there was no ethnic group called "Babylonian" during the Sassanid era. So Sundermann is not saying anything about non-Iranian origin, rather he is suggesting that it is possible (not ) Mani might not have been from the high class Iranians (does not exclude others). Either way, most sources agree he was Parthian according to that article and there might not be a contradiction, sine he was a Parthian from Babylon (hence a Babylonian too. --Khodabandeh14 (talk) 04:46, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Mani was an Arab/Aramaic speaking Turk Judeo-Persian[edit]

Mani means me in Turkic Chay means alive in arabic/aramaic (actually hebrew, ammorite, aramaic, arabic are versions of the same name, with metathesis and the labial sound shift m<=>b please see below)

On this subject and on the transformation of some nomad tribes from Amorite to Aramean and from Aramean to Arab, see n. 165 above. 370

Since we cannot go back in time and ask Mani with wich folk he identified I propose to opt for the identity below that would reconciliate arabocentrists, judeocentrits, aramaiocentrists, iranocentrists and turkocentrists.

As if Mani was X or Y would give you some gain in your own short life


Mani was a prophet and it really does not matter the ethnicity of such great personalities who cares about Jesus being arabic/aramaic/ebri/amuri!?

Thanks for your works

Humanbyrace (talk) 00:04, 31 May 2011 (UTC)


Editors I've altered the way the headings were set to reduce the number of main sections to 4:

  • 1. History
  • 2. Beliefs
  • 3. Practices
  • 4. Primary sources

And moved some chunks of primary sources to primary sources. I hope this makes the article easier to navigate. There appears to be some duplication/disorder in 4.In ictu oculi (talk) 07:39, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Estimate of survival rate of Mani's writings[edit]

I have looked around the article for awhile, and I am having trouble determining what fraction of texts by Mani have survived as translations. I think that just about any critical reader would want to know that right away. Can somebody add near the top of the article some range of estimates of that? If available, it should also include some general indication of the fidelity of the translations. Thanks.CountMacula (talk) 00:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes. The problem is that no complete "book" of Mani's 7 books has survived. In many cases, even though we may have long quotes or numerous fragmentary pages, they are missing the "book" title, so we don't know to which work they belong. Two prominent exceptions are the fragments of "The Book of Giants", which can be identified because it has material in it from "The Book of Enoch", on which it was based, and the "Shaburagan", of which numerous pages have been identified. But no book at all of Mani has survived in complete form, from beginning to end, with title attached.Jimhoward72 (talk) 23:17, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. It seems you have just written something worthwhile on the topic. How about converting it into text for the article, as a start that might lead to say a few hundred words on the topic. It seems like a fundamental issue in any attempts to define Manichaeism itself.CountMacula (talk) 08:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

apostle Psattiq[edit]

The article states "It reached Rome through the apostle Psattiq by AD 280".

However, if you click Psattiq you're redirected to Mani the Prophet. Examining the redirect page's history reveals it was a page for Mani's father.

This doesn't make sense. How can Psattiq the apostle be Mani's father? Not only must the years be wrong, the (little) info there is on him doesn't mention ever traveling that far west (as Rome).

I think the names have been mixed up. I'm removing the link (that leads back to Mani anyway). (talk) 08:53, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

The simplest answer for me would be to assume that Psattiq the apostle and Mani's father Pātik are different individuals, and that the link was either a mistake, or that material about Psattiq was in the Mani article but later removed. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:47, 2 March 2012 (UTC)