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 Manichaeism

Manichaeism was a major religion that was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani in the Sasanian Empire.


Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian gnostic and religious movements.


Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions. It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. It was briefly the main rival to Christianity in the competition to replace classical paganism. Manichaeism survived longer in the east than in the west, and it appears to have finally faded away after the 14th century in southern China contemporary to the decline in China of the Church of the East during the Ming Dynasty. While most of Manichaeism's original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.


An adherent of Manichaeism is called, especially in older sources, a Manichee, or more recently Manichaean. By extension, the term "manichean" is widely applied (often used as a derogatory term) as an adjective to a philosophy of moral dualism, according to which a moral course of action involves a clear (or simplistic) choice between good and evil, or as a noun to people who hold such a view.

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updated Thu. May 3, 2018

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By evening the following day, Henrichs had transcribed the text. It was a sensation for the history of religion: a detailed tract about Manichaeism, a rival of Christianity founded in Mesopotamia in the third century by a young mystic called Mani, whose autobiographical account of his divine revelations is ...
Afterglow is Myles's dog book, a work of surpassing strangeness that takes the form of an elegy for a lost pet and converts it into a weird and agitated philosophical inquiry into – well, love, life, death, the bardo states in between, plaid, pathetic art, Manichaeism, lost parents, animal vision, alcoholism, Ireland ...

But the film also avoids being Manichaean, and it captures well how Lebanon's fundamental structural problems have barely changed: minorities' fear of the other and their existential anxiety, clientelism and corruption, the shameless manipulation of popular resentment by politicians. In 1991, soon after the ...
The aim of this invasion of political correctness in our lives is to begin remedying an ancestral situation, but it also brings with it the risk of creating a new Manichaeism – unjust and absurd like all others – where what is correct (difficult to define, as always, and of course from my point of view) is in ...
To Busch, the actual spaces in Japan physically manifest the cultural idea of “the way” at the same time European spaces emphasize one truth, a Manichaean separation of the world into light and darkness. “It's a fundamentally different way of conceiving things. Philosophically it's fascinating, and if you try ...
such Manichaean claims like “You're either with us or you're against us.” But so much of leftism makes sense when you realize it's a species of Christian heresy, gnostic millenarianism to be exact, that perverts so many of orthodox Christianity's fundamental teachings. In this case, it's Jesus' teaching, ...

Within the much later Sassanid empire(around 400CE) Judaism, Manichaeism and Christianity were tolerated alongside Zoroastrianism which was dominant in western Asia. During such times both the environment and people were able to prosper – free from the constant destructive onslaught of war.
Public discourse around artificial intelligence (AI) is often hijacked by themes that belong in fantasy rather than the real world. Iconic AI from pop culture such as HAL 9000 and Agent Smith epitomise a Manichaean obsession with the idea of 'superintelligence' ('the Singularity') that could prove to be good ...
“Race matters in Black Panther and it matters deeply, not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present and the uses and abuses of power,” states a New York Times review. “That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world ...
One of the errors of the Manichaeans, writes Overholt, is their conviction that democracy is always the best path, in the initial stages of development and for the future. He urges them to contrast Mumbai with Shanghai. In “democratic” India, he contends, “human conditions” are far inferior to those in China.
We are drawn to the Manichaean, perhaps because it frees us from the need to consider whether the opposition might have a point or two in its favor. Catherine Nichols, in an excellent recent piece at Aeon, points out that our passionate attachment to tales of good vs. absolute evil is a comparatively recent ...
“Race matters in 'Black Panther' and it matters deeply,” Ms. Dargis writes, “not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad, but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present, and the uses and abuses of power. That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world works than ...
So, Spadaro and Figueroa diagnose a Manichaean dualism that first occasioned, and now is driven by, an unlikely alliance of nominal Christians (they don't say it, but you can't be a Christian and a Manichaean dualist) who are political and social conservatives in thrall to a bizarre theory of history imbued ...
Public discourse around artificial intelligence (AI) is often hijacked by themes that belong in fantasy rather than the real world. Iconic AI from pop culture such as HAL 9000 and Agent Smith epitomise a Manichaean obsession with the idea of 'superintelligence' ('the Singularity') that could prove to be good ...
Within the much later Sassanid empire(around 400CE) Judaism, Manichaeism and Christianity were tolerated alongside Zoroastrianism which was dominant in western Asia. During such times both the environment and people were able to prosper – free from the constant destructive onslaught of war.
Even so, it took many years for the familiar New Testament canon to edge out rival Gnostic and Manichaean writings. Because of the expense of producing books, complete versions of the New Testament, such as in the Codex Sinaiticus, were rare, and Christian Coptic manuscripts often feature only ...
Critic Dargis says of the film, "Race matters in 'Black Panther' and it matters deeply, not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present and the uses and abuses of power. That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world ...

One of the errors of the Manichaeans, writes Overholt, is their conviction that democracy is always the best path, in the initial stages of development and for the future. He urges them to contrast Mumbai with Shanghai. In “democratic” India, he contends, “human conditions” are far inferior to those in China.
“Race matters in 'Black Panther' and it matters deeply,” Ms. Dargis writes, “not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad, but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present, and the uses and abuses of power. That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world works than ...
Race matters in Black Panther and it matters deeply, not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present and the uses and abuses of power. That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world works than a lot of mainstream ...
The rejection of the universal — the insistence on Polish exceptionalism — is at the heart of Poland's “historical policy,” which aims to control the narrative of the 20th century in such a way as to glorify and exonerate Poles. The underlying principles are simple: a trope of Christ-like martyrdom; a Manichaean ...
Even so, it took many years for the familiar New Testament canon to edge out rival Gnostic and Manichaean writings. Because of the expense of producing books, complete versions of the New Testament, such as in the Codex Sinaiticus, were rare, and Christian Coptic manuscripts often feature only ...
Other backers were put off by Assange's legal troubles and allegations of sexual assault in Sweden or his Manichaean view of the world. Still others alleged that the group allowed itself to be used as a tool by the Russians in their campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “Look, he has ...
Other backers were put off by Assange's legal troubles and allegations of sexual assault in Sweden or his Manichaean view of the world. Still others alleged that the group allowed itself to be used as a tool by the Russians in their campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “Look, he has ...
Other backers were put off by Assange's legal troubles and allegations of sexual assault in Sweden or his Manichaean view of the world. Still others alleged that the group allowed itself to be used as a tool by the Russians in their campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "Look, he has ...
Other backers were put off by Assange's legal troubles and allegations of sexual assault in Sweden or his Manichaean view of the world. Still others alleged that the group allowed itself to be used as a tool by the Russians in their campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "Look, he has ...
In Snoke's theology, darkness and light are fixed quantities in Rey and Kylo. But the film suggests a much less Manichaean universe: Kylo and Rey grow together, shaping each other's souls. The outcome of this mutual influence remains to be seen, but it's the most meaningful relationship in The Last Jedi.
Even so, it took many years for the familiar New Testament canon to edge out rival Gnostic and Manichaean writings. Because of the expense of producing books, complete versions of the New Testament, such as in the Codex Sinaiticus, were rare, and Christian Coptic manuscripts often feature only ...
The signatories could be repudiating a Manichaean reading of empire in terms of simple good and evil. But then they recognise that this moral theologian doesn't operate in such terms. So they must be saying that historians don't do ethics at all. Yet that is manifestly false. Historiography, like their open ...
In its own day, Manichaean teachings failed to infiltrate the Christian church. Christians rejected narratives of cosmic struggle, of metaphysical dependence on temporal events. Christian thinkers like St. Augustine and St. Athanasius had inoculated Christianity against this view with a very simple teaching: ...
His therapeutic, candid, incisive, evocative and transcendental poetry knows no sacred cows, as it questions the complex nature of co-existence in a Manichaean world, that believes in the dichotomy of either or. Knowledge of both the subject matter and the audience's standpoint, is the competent poet's ...
In this sense, it is comparable to the Chinese yin and yang, depicting the harmony of contrary forces, as well as the cosmic dichotomy of light and darkness in Manichaeism and the Zoroastrian philosophy of the farvahar, which first posited that each soul was composed of a pure, divine component, as well ...
So, Spadaro and Figueroa diagnose a Manichaean dualism that first occasioned, and now is driven by, an unlikely alliance of nominal Christians (they don't say it, but you can't be a Christian and a Manichaean dualist) who are political and social conservatives in thrall to a bizarre theory of history imbued ...
... conservator gradually unpeeled what turned out to be a sensation for the history of religion: a detailed tract about Manichaeism, a rival of Christianity, founded in Mesopotamia in the third century by a young mystic called Mani, whose autobiographical account of his divine revelations is quoted in the text.
Manichaeism is a multi-faceted religion that was founded by Iranian prophet Mani. After a revelation with the angel Eltaum, Mani prepared for twelve years to proclaim himself to the people. Manichaeism was developed in Mani's several writings, which depicted a battle between forces, and a creation of ...
“Race matters in Black Panther and it matters deeply, not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present and the uses and abuses of power,” states a New York Times review. “That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world ...
Howarth is skilled at taking the old forms of the Western – the thrill of the chase, the Manichaean nonsense of “civilized” and “savage” – and reshaping them to address contemporary concerns. That's only fitting. Ever since John Wayne died, we've been well trained on how to question those old John Wayne ...
We are drawn to the Manichaean, perhaps because it frees us from the need to consider whether the opposition might have a point or two in its favor. Catherine Nichols, in an excellent recent piece at Aeon, points out that our passionate attachment to tales of good vs. absolute evil is a comparatively recent ...
Melville leads us to the grave awaiting a Manichaean dispensation that will never materialize. Melville wrote in a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, “I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.” He seemed to grasp intuitively that the dissolution of New England Puritanism into transcendental ...
Until the 4th century there was an array of early Christian writings and gospels with the current 27 New Testament books competing against rival Gnostic and Manichaean writings. Gradually over the first three centuries of Christianity an established 'canon' of authoritative writings took shape until a council ...
There are two planets — or what seem more like “pocket universes” — Apokolips and New Genesis — that represent the Manichaean extremes of good and evil. Apokolips is a massive industrial factory of oppressed, miserable gargoylish monsters ruled over by the stone-faced Darkseid (Kirby was later ...
While at the beginning all this may seem very Manichaean and classic, the series goes, during the season 1, play with its basic concept until ...
Against such a backdrop, ancient Quanzhou saw a harmonious confluence of diverse religions, including Christianity, Islam and Manichaeism, ...
The opening words “Darwin was wrong” set the scene for a Manichaean epic, in which in a sort of Faustian compact a prominent place in the ...
Two of the most important elements of the Joker are his mystery and his Manichaean struggle with Batman; sometimes one has to be sacrificed ...
Belief in R'hllor appears to be a combination of Manichaeism, blood magic, and fire worship. It is the source of some of the most magical ...
They accuse this alliance of using “Manichaean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil”, and of defending all ...
"Christian theologians," Jenkins reports, call these WAEs' "climate denial" "petro-manichaeism (recoiling from the demonic earth, it takes ...
So when mother and son were reunited in Milan, Monica was joyful to know he was no longer a Manichaean and was awaiting baptism.
Ranging more broadly, the essay “The Attractions of Mani”, from 1990, is a striking evocation of the appeal of Manichaeism, and the personal ...


 

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