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A substantial quantity of Iranian (mainly Sogdian) and Old Turkish Manichean texts were discovered at Bezeklik. The superiority of the World of Light lies in its blissful, self-sufficient harmony; its weakness is its peaceful nature, which makes it unprepared for any conflict.In the absence of an up to date survey of the state of Manichean studies, the interested scholar can follow the current progress in the field in the . The World of Darkness is related, in contrast, to anarchic, chaotic strife and sexuality, and destructive concupiscence in every respect.Some common teachings seem to indicate an exclusive closeness to mythologoumena and terms of the Valentinian School (Böhlig, 1988, pp. The pains and sufferings of the World Soul are being relieved through the beneficial work of the five Gods of the Light Elements (Sundermann, 1997). Even Mani’s fleshly body could be described as an effective armor against the assaults of the dark powers (Andreas and Henning, 1934, p. 101-5), and according to a paper read by Wolf-Peter Funk at the International Congress of Manichaean Studies in Flagstaff (August 2005), the still unedited Coptic contain a reference to those Mesopotamian monasteries. 95-96; concise comparisons of belief and practice in Jainism and Manicheism have recently been made by Woschitz, 1989, pp. The contribution of Judaism to the formation of the Manicheism dogma is smaller than might have been expected from a religion that originated in a Jewish-Christian community. The It would be surprising if Mani, who took pride in calling himself the “doctor from Babel,” would have disregarded the time honored traditions of his Mesopotamian home country. Geo Widengren discovered more “Mesopotamian Elements in Manichaeism” (in Iranian interpretation, however, Widengren, 1946). That the essence of Mani’s doctrine was best rendered by Alexander of Lycopolis, that it presupposed familiarity with, and application of, “griechisches Denken” and “griechische Wissenschaft” was presupposed by Schaeder. Alexander of Lycopolis did give a brief description of the Manichean system in Platonic terms. Schaeder himself modified his theory thereafter and restricted himself to speaking about “eine vulgär-philosophische Tradition griechischen Ursprungs” (“a vulgar-philosophical tradition of Greek origin”) that became only indirectly accessible to Mani “durch christlich-gnostische Vermittlung” (“by Christian Gnostic mediation,” Schaeder 1936, p. Within these limits, however, his views can be maintained and given more precision as was shown by Alexander Böhlig in several articles (mainly Böhlig, 1986, 1994, 1995).The skies are no longer the watch-posts of the malicious planets that impede the ascension of the souls, but prisons for the celestial demons and the watch-posts of two of the sons of the Living Spirit (Sundermann, 1979, pp. There is a striking similarity between the Manichean doctrine of the suffering World Soul and how it should be spared from maltreatment, and corresponding ideas in the Jain religion. 449-51) may have been the first to make this observation. The main reason was certainly a strong Manichean anti-Jewish bias which Mani shared with the Christian communities in general who condemned the Jews as the instigators of the death of Christ, or even as his murderers themselves, but also as the target of a general Gnostic rejection of Jewish monotheism. An essential determination of Mani’s doctrine by ancient Mesopotamian religious myths was repeatedly postulated by Konrad Kessler (e.g. Even if some of those observations are exaggerated and not provable, the Mesopotamian presence in Manichean literature has recently been substantiated. Reeves the convincing observation that the name story (Reeves, 1993, pp. He especially referred to Plato’s (Schaeder, 1927, p. But the subsequently discovered Manichean Coptic texts confirmed that the Manichean doctrine was basically a mythical one and not the other way round (Widengren, 1977, esp. Böhlig pointed in particular to the Stoa in general and to the Stoic philosopher Poseidonios and the Platonist and neo-Pythagorean Numenios in particular as possible sources of Mani’s knowledge.
But even those traditions were often re-interpreted in Gnostic manner in a contrastive, contrary way (Kurt Rudolph called it the Gnostic “Protestexegese,” 1996, pp. The Manichean religion claimed to posses an all-embracing world-view describing the construction of the world with its eight earths and ten skies, mentioning diverse countries, listing the five kinds of animals and explaining such mysterious phenomena as earthquakes, the tides, the eclipses of sun and moon and the diversity of human languages. In the course of its history it attracted the interest of outstanding personalities of spirituality and scholarship - and at the same time disappointed their expectations (for St. Not only did it deny god’s omnipotence, it even proclaimed a deity inferior to the demonic world in the beginning and imperfect in the end, a suffering god, and a god in need of human help.
In our time Richard Nelson Frye made public this same observation made by his pupil V. On the other hand, the early formation of Mani’s world-view in a Jewish Christian environment left its traces in the further development of Mani’s doctrine. Terms of Greek philosophy reappear in Manicheism, such as etc., the divine revealer of Gnosis. In any case, the main concern of the Manichean doctrine was its theodicy.
He made (so far as we currently know) extensive use of those parts of the Old Testament and of Jewish apocryphal texts – in a critical or approving way – which treated of the pre-Jewish history of mankind, i.e. Parts of the Enoch literature found their way into the Christian tradition, and so it is likely that Mani became familiar with the Jewish , which became one of his canonical works (Henning, 1943, pp. Words like these, however, belong to the common inventory of Gnostic terminology and certainly reached Manicheism via Gnosticism. The solution offered by Mani is indeed a unique one.
The main additions to be made are the reports and the studies based on the ongoing (since the 1980s) archaeological activities in the Upper Egyptian ruin complex of the ancient Kellis (Ismant el-Kharab, Dakhleh oasis, cf. 18-26); and many more publications by Iain Gardner, Majella Franzmann, and Klaas Worp on Coptic, Greek, and Syriac texts from Kellis.
In Xinjiang Chinese archaeological work is continuing and supplementing earlier European and Japanese excavations.