An alternative theory of
Mani and the Eusebian fiction postulate
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
XXX - XXX Mani and Manichaeanism Dateline ======================================================================================= 200 ===== Third Century 216 Birth 226 Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid dynasty, was ruler of Istakhr (since 206?), subsequently Persia (since 208?), and finally "King of Kings of Persia" (since 226) 240 - 241 Journey to India 240 Shapur I the second Sassanid King of Persia from 240/42 - 270/72 242 Joined the court of Shapur 244 apostle Psattiq in Egypt 251 apostle Psattiq in Egypt 272 - 273 Hormizd I was the third Sassanid King of Persia from 270/72 to 273. 273 - 276 Bahram I (also Varahran or Vahram) was the fourth Sassanid emperor 276/277 Death of Mani by execution ordered by Bahram I, perhaps via crucifixion. 277 Persecution of the followers and disciples of Mani by Bahram I 280 Manichaeanism reached Rome through the apostle Psattiq by 280 CE, 290 The faith was flourishing in the Fayum area of Egypt in 290 CE 291 Persecution, murder of the apostle Sisin by Bahram II, slaughtering of many Manichaeans. 296 Diocletian decreed against the Manichaeans, resulting in numerous martyrs in Egypt and North Africa. "We order that their organizers and leaders be subject to the final penalties and condemned to the fire with their abominable scriptures.", 300 ===== Fourth Century 312 Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 A.D. 312 - 324 Eusebius's "Historia Ecclesiastica" - and the account of Mani and the Manichaeans 354 Hilary of Poitiers wrote that the Manichaean faith was a significant force in southern France. Cyril of Jerusalem the knowledge acquired by Mani derived from the travels to India of a man named Scythianus in 50CE, Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306 – 373) was a deacon, prolific Syriac-language hymnographer (writer of hymns) 387 - 430 Augustine of Hippo 381 Christians requested Theodosius I to strip Manichaeans of their civil rights. 382 Theodosius I issued a decree of death for Manichaean monks. 400 ===== Fifth Century
Until the 20th century, no reliable information on Mani's biography was known. Such medieval accounts as were known, are either legendary or hagiographical, such as the account in Fihrist by Ibn al-Nadim, purportedly by al-Biruni, or anti-Manichaean polemics, such as the 4th century Acta Archelai. Among these medieval accounts, Ibn al-Nadim's account of Mani's life and teachings is generally speaking the most reliable and exhaustive. Notable in this account is the near-complete absence of the "Third Ambassador", who is merely mentioned with the name bašir "messenger of good news", and the absence of the topos of "Mani the Painter" (which in other Islamic accounts almost completely replaces that of "the founder of a religion").
In 1969 in Upper Egypt a Greek parchment codex of ca. 400 AD was discovered. It is now designated Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis because it is conserved at the University of Cologne. It combines a hagiographic account of Mani's career and spiritual development with information about Mani's religious teachings and contains fragments of his writings
After covering two Mohammedan accounts of Mani, of which the final account concludes "But he was certainly crucified." the author summarises ....
Images of the Pages of the CMC - from www.uni-koeln.de
The Cologne Mani Codex Reconsidered - Albert Heinrichs (1979)
The Gospel of Mani
The 8 sacred texts personally authored and claimed by Him in his Kephalaia, are: Great Gospel; Treasure of the Life; The Treatise; The One of the Mysteries; The Writing; Epistles; Psalms; and Prayers. None of these texts have so far surfaced in their entirity, although many fragments remain, especially of the Kephalaia.
The Bushel by Mani's disciple - a critique of the Bible.
The Acts found at Medinet Madi, by Mani's disciples.
The Synaxeis found at Medinet Madi, by Mani's disciples.
Although not often included in scholarly lists of Manichaean writings the Pistis Sophia is another Egyptian find of pronounced Manichaean character, as are the 8 Jesus Sutras in the Chinese JiangJio Manuscripts discovered in the first part of the 20th century in the Hidden Cave Library at the Magao Cave complex in Dunhuang, China.
Manichaean and (Nestorian) Christian Remains in Zayton (Quanzhou, South China)
Religions of Iran: Manichaeism by I.J.S. Taraporewala
Manichaeism - 1911 Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica - See extracts below.
From Narmouthis (Medinet Madi) to Kellis (Ismant El-Kharab): Manichaean Documents from Roman Egypt
I. M. F. Gardner and S. N. C. Lieu The Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 86, (1996), pp. 146-169 (article consists of 24 pages)
This paper aims to prove that the biography of Mani in the "Acta Archelae" of Hegemonius, which contains a great number of completely fictitious elements, was in fact drawn up on the file of Simon Magus, "pater omnium haereticorum," using the works of heresiologists and the apocryphal acts, especially the Pseudo-Clementine "Recognitiones," as a model and source. There are a great number of elements in this "Vita Manis" that bear a strong resemblance to the well known motives of Simon's life. Projecting Simon's life over that of Mani serves as tool to reinforce the image of Mani that Hegemonius tried to convey: that of just another 'run of the mill' heretic, one in the long line of the disciples of Simon, and a fraud and devoid of any originality.
The florilegium of revelations that Mani adduces as proof of his own authority in the Cologne Mani Codex has stimulated research into the circulation and influence of Jewish apocalypses among the various Jewish-Christian sects of late antiquity. But it has also proved frustrating, since not one of the apocalyptic "texts" that Mani quotes matches extant apocalypses in the name of Enoch, Adam, Seth, or Enosh. Considering the breadth of the Enoch literature now known from textual and patristic sources, including Manichaean literature, the absence of a parallel for Mani's Enoch-"quotation" may be reason to suspect that Mani invented this quotation as well as the others. This paper proposes an interpretation of Mani's apocalyptic florilegium that depends not on the historical existence of the putative texts but on Mani's own distinctive scheme of prophetic lineage and authority. It is argued that Mani's universalist view of mission and religion led him to revise existing schemes of Jewish revelatory heroes that were traditional to Jewish and Jewish-Christian sects and that invoked the patriarchs constitutive of Jewish identity, like Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. In contrast, Mani promotes his relevation's ecumenical appeal by casting himself in a line of biblical figures who in the late antique world had especially universalist significance: Adam, Seth, and Enoch (all antediluvian and therefore pre-covenantal) and Paul (Mani's model of an ecumenical missionary).
Notes: p.162 "The village appears to have been deserted c.400 CE and was then gradually covered with sand." "Coins span the period 301 to 390 CE". Manichaean and associated literary texts found: Canonical Works by Mani: about 100 fragments from a Coptic papyrus codex containing epistles by Mani. The well attested opening of epistle as follows ... "I Mani, the Apostle of [Je]su[s] Chrestos (xphctoc) and all the other brethren that are with me ...." The form "Chrestos", that is, "Jesus the Good" is found throughout the text. Alexander of Lycopolis notes this Other fragments in Coptic and Syriac and Greek. Greek fragments from a codex with Manichaean hymns and passages parallel to the Acts of John.
NOTES FOLLOW: Eusebius presents Mani as a Christian and finds a few Christian bishops to have been active in the Persian captical city. Later 4th and 5th century "Continuators of Eusebius" embellish Eusebius' assertions. The history of Mani is claimed in the name of the high technology codex manufacturing plant of the imperially state christian religion. Hippolytus and Epiphanius write about a Scythianus, who visited India around 50 AD from where he brought "the doctrine of the Two Principles". According to these writers, Scythianus' pupil Terebinthus presented himself as a "Buddha" ("He called himself a Buddas", writings of Cyril of Jerusalem). Terebinthus went to Palestine and Judaea where he met the Apostles "becoming known and condemned", and ultimately settled in Babylon, where he transmitted his teachings to Mani, thereby creating the foundation of Manicheism. By 354 A.D., Hilary of Poitiers wrote that the Manichaean faith was a significant force in southern France. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) converted to Christianity from Manichaeism, in the year 387 - long quotations in Latin According to Cyril of Jerusalem the knowledge acquired by Mani derived from the travels to India of a man named Scythianus in 50CE, Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306 – 373) was a deacon, prolific Syriac-language hymnographer (writer of hymns) and theologian of the 4th century. quotation in Syriac by Theodor bar-Khonai. 1969 in Upper Egypt a Greek parchment codex of ca 400 CE, was discovered, which is now designated Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis (because it is conserved at the University of Cologne). It combines a hagiographic account of Mani's career and spiritual development with information about Mani’s religious teachings and contains fragments of his Living (or Great) Gospel and his Letter to Edessa. Mani presented himself as a saviour and an apostle of Jesus Christ. In the 4th century Manichaean Coptic papyri, Mani was identified with the Paraclete-Holy Ghost and he was regarded as the new Jesus. Expansion The spread of Manichaeism (300– A.D. 500). Manichaeism spread with extraordinary rapidity throughout both the east and west. It reached Rome through the apostle Psattiq by AD 280, who was also in Egypt in 244 and 251. The faith was flourishing in the Fayum area of Egypt in 290 A.D.. Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 A.D. during the time of the Christian Pope Miltiades. By 354 A.D., Hilary of Poitiers wrote that the Manichaean faith was a significant force in southern France. The Manichaean faith was also widely persecuted. Mani was martyred by the Persian religious establishment in 277 A.D., which ironically helped to spread the sect widely. In 291, persecution arose in the Persian empire with the murder of the apostle Sisin by Bahram II, and the slaughtering of many Manichaeans. In 296 A.D., Diocletian decreed against the Manichaeans: "We order that their organizers and leaders be subject to the final penalties and condemned to the fire with their abominable scriptures.", resulting in numerous martyrs in Egypt and North Africa. In 381 A.D. Christians requested Theodosius I to strip Manichaeans of their civil rights. He issued a decree of death for Manichaean monks in 382 A.D. In the east it spread along trade routes as far as Chang'an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty in China. USUAL CLAIM IS AS FOLLOWS: The Manichaeans made every effort to include all known religious traditions in their faith. As a result, they preserved many apocryphal Christian works, such as the Acts of Thomas, that otherwise would have been lost. Mani was eager to describe himself as a "disciple of Jesus Christ", but the early Christian church rejected him as a heretic. Mani declared himself, and was also referred to as, the Paraclete: a Biblical title, meaning "comforter" or "helper", which the Orthodox Tradition understood as referring to God in the person of the Holy Spirit. Works Besides the Persian Shapuragan, Mani was the author of a number of Syriac works. While none of his books have survived in complete form, there are numerous fragments and quotations of them, including a long Syriac quotation from one of his works, as well as a large amount of material in Middle Persian, Coptic, and numerous other languages. Examples of surviving portions of his works include: the Shabuhragan (Middle Persian), the Book of Giants (numerous fragments in many languages), the Fundamental Epistle (quoted in length by Saint Augustine), a number of fragments of his Living Gospel (or Great Gospel), and his Letter to Edessa contained in the Cologne Mani-Codex.
(1) The Book of Secrets (see Acta Archel.), containing discussions bearing on the Christian sects spread throughout the East, especially the Marcionites and Bardesanites, and dealing also with their conception of the Old and New Testaments;
(2) The Book of the Giants (Demons ?);
(3) The Book of Precepts for Hearers (probably identical with the Epistola Fundanienti of Augustine and with the Book of Chapters of Epiphanius and the Acta Archelai; this was the most widely spread and most popular Manichaean work, having been translated into Greek and Latin; it contained a short summary of all the doctrines of fundamental authority);
(4) The Book Shahpurakan (Fliigel was unable to explain this name; according to Kessler it signifies "epistle to King Shapur"; the treatise was of an eschatological character);
(5) The Book of Quickening (Kessler identifies this work with the "Thesaurus [vitae]" of the Acta Archelai, Epiphanius, Photius and Augustine, and if this be correct it also must have been in use among the Latin Manichaeans);
(6) The Book (of unknown contents);
(7) a book in the Persian language, the title of which is not given in our present text of the Fihrist, but which is in all probability identical with the "holy gospel" of the Manichaeans (mentioned in the Acta Archel. and many other authorities). It was this work which the Manichaeans set up in opposition to the Gospels.
The Manichaean system is one of consistent, uncompromising dualism, in the form of a fantastic philosophy of nature. The physical and the ethical are not distinguished, and in this respect the character of the system is thoroughly materialistic; for when Mani co-ordinates good with light, and evil with darkness, this is no mere figure of speech, but light is actually good and darkness evil. From this it follows that religious knowledge involves the knowledge of nature and her elements, and that redemption consists in a physical process of freeing the element of light from the darkness. Under such circumstances ethics becomes a doctrine of abstinence in regard to all elements which have their source within the sphere of darkness.
When, however, we turn to the numerous fragments of authentic Manichaean liturgies and hymns lately discovered in Turfan in East Turkestan, Mani's direct indebtedness to the cycle of Magian legends rather than to Chaldaic sources (as Kessler argued) is clearly exhibited.
In fr. 472, taken from the Shapurakan, as part of a description of the sun-god in his ship or reservoir the sun, we have a mention of Az and Ahriman and the devas (demons), the Pairikas. Az in the Avestan mythology was the demon serpent who murders Gayomert in the old Persian legend, and an ally of Ahriman, as also are the Pairikas or Penis. In the same fragment we read of the ruin of Azidahaka Mazainya, which name Darmesteter interprets in the Persian sources as the demon serpent, the sorcerer (Ormazd et Ahriman, Paris, 18 77, p. 1 57). In fr. 470, descriptive of the conflagration of the world, we read of how, after Az and the demons have been struck down, the pious man is purified and led up to sun and moon and to the being of Ahura Mazda, the Divine.
In another fragment (388) of a hymn Mani describes himself as "the first stranger" (cf. Matt. xxv. 43), the son of the god Zarvan, the Ruler-Child. In the orthodox literature of fire-worship Zarvan was Time or Destiny. Later on Zarvan was elevated to the position of supreme principle, creator of Ormazd and Ahriman, and, long 1 Analogous to this is the veneration in which the Catholic monks and the Neoplatonic "` philosophers" were held; but the prestige of the Manichaean electi was greater than that of the monks and the philosophers.
before Mani, Zarvan accompanied Mithras in all his westward migrations.
In fr. 20, in an enumeration of angels, we hear of Narsus, who may be the Neryosang (Armenian Nerses or Narsai) of the Avesta. The other angels are Jacob, the mighty angel and leader of angels, the Lord Bar Simus, Qaftinus the mighty, Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, Sarael and Nastikus - a truly Catholic list.
In fr. 4 a rubric enjoins the recital of the hymn of the Frasegerd. Here we recognize a technical term of the Avesta - namely, the "Frasho-kereti," that is the reanimation of the world or resurrection of the dead (Darmesteter, op. cit., p. 239). In this hymn we read how the gods shall release us from this sinful time, from the oppression of this world. In fr. 4, under the rubric Bar Simus, we find the god Mihir (Mihryazd), the liberator, the compassionate, invoked along with Fredon, the good; and later on we read as follows: "with his mighty glance may the god of pure name, Predon, the king and Jacob Nareman, protect religion and us the sons." Mihr or Mithras and Feridoun or Thraetaona, the slayer of Ajis (or Azi) Dahaka, also Nariman, spelled Nairimanau, are familiar figures in the old Persian pantheon. In the same prayer the votary begs that "new blessing may come, new victory from the god Zarvan over the glories and angels, the spirits of this world, to the end that he accept our holy religion, become a watcher within and without, helper and protector," and the prayer ends thus: "I invoke the angels, the strong ones, the mighty, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, Sarael, who shall protect us from all adversity, and free us from the wicked Ahriman." In fr. 176 Jesus is invoked: "Jesus, of the gods first new moon, thou art God.... Jesus, 0 Lord, of waxing fame full moon, O Jesus. Lord ... light, our hearts' prayer. Jesus, God and Vahman. Sheen God! We will praise the God Naresaf. Mar Mani will we bless. 0 new moon and spring. Lord, we will bless. The angels, the gods ... New sun, Mihr." In the above Vahman is Vohu Maria, the good thought or inspiration of the Zoroastrian religion. Mihr is Mithras. The god Naresaf is also invoked in other fragments.
In fr. 74 is invoked, together with Jesus and Mani, the "strong mighty Zrosch, the redeemer of souls." In the Avesta Sraosha is the angel that guards the world at night from demons, and is styled "the righteous" or "the strong." Fr. 38 is as follows: "Mithras (MS. Mitra) great ... messenger of the gods, mediator (or interpreter) of religion, of the elect one Jesus - virgin of light. Mar Mani, Jesus - virgin of light, Mar Mani. Do thou in me make peace, 0 light-bringer, mayest thou redeem my soul from this born-dead (existence)." Fr. 543 runs thus:.. and ladder of the Mazdean faith. Thou, new teacher of Chorasan (of the East), and promoter of those that have the good faith. For thou wast born under a glittering star in the family of the rulers. Elect are these - Jesus and Vahman."The above examples bear out Mani's own declaration, as reported by the Fihrist, that his faith was a blend of the old Magian cult with Christianity. Whether the Hebrew names of angels came to him direct from the Jews or not we cannot tell, but they were, as the Greek magical papyri prove, widely diffused among the Gentiles long before his age. The Armenian writer Eznik (c. 425) also attests that Mani's teaching was merely that of the Magi, plus an ascetic morality, for which they hated and slew him.
Just as the background of Christianity was formed by the Hebrew scriptures, and just as the Hebrew legends of the creation became the basis of its scheme of human redemption from evil, so the Avesta, with its quaint cosmogony and myths, formed the background of Mani's new faith. He seems to have quarrelled with the later Magism because it was not dualistic enough, for in fr. 28 we have such a passage as the following:" They also that adore the fire, the burning, by this they themselves recognize that their end shall be in fire. And they say that Ormuzd and Ahriman are brothers, and in consequence of this saying they shall come to annihilation."In the same fragment the Christians are condemned as worshippers of idols, unless indeed the writer has genuine pagans in view. There is a mention of Marcion in the same context, but it is unintelligible. There can be no doubt that in the form in which Mani became acquainted with it Christianity had been disengaged and liberated from the womb of Judaism which gave it birth. This presentation of it as an ethical system of universal import was the joint work of Paul and Marcion.
It remains to add that in these newly found fragments Mani styles himself" the apostle (lit. the sent forth) of Jesus the friend in the love of the Father, of God."He uses the formula: Praise and laud to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." In fr. 4 he attests that he was sprung from. the land Babel; in fr. 566 that he was a physician from the land Babel. Fr. 3 recounts his interview with King Shapur I.
The Gospel of Peter seems to have been in use, for one lengthy citation is taken from it in fr. 18.
The Manichaeans of Chinese Turkestan also used a version of the Shepherd of Hermas. Several of the hymns (e.g. in fr. 7 and 32) reproduce the ideas and almost the phases of the Syriac "Hymn of the Soul," so confirming the hypothesis that Mani was influenced by Bardesanes.
With the exception of a few fragments written in a Pehlevi dialect, all this recovered Manichaean literature is in the Ouigour or Vigur dialect of Tatar. The alphabet used is the one adapted by Mani himself from the Syriac estrangelo. The fragments are Boo in number, both on paper and vellum, written and adorned with the pious care and good taste which the Manichaeans are known to have bestowed on their manuscripts. They were brought back by Professor Grunwedel and Dr Huth from Turfan in East Turkestan, and were partly translated by Dr F. W. K. Muller in the Abhandlungen der k. preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin, 1904). Much of this literature is still left in Turfan, where the natives use the sheets of Vigur and Chinese vellum MSS. as windowpanes in their huts. The Russian and German governments have sent out fresh expeditions to rescue what is left before it is too late. We may thus hope to recover some priceless monuments of early Christianity, hymns and treatises perhaps of Marcion and Bardesanes, the Gospel of Peter, and even the Diatessaron. Miller's translations includes a long extract of Mani's book called Schapurakan, parts of his Evangelium, and epistles, with liturgies, hymns and prayers, for Tatar Khans who espoused the faith in Khorasan.
NB: "AA" hereunder refers to "Acts of Achelaus" Page 9 "The AA can be dated to the first half of the fourth century since some of its content is made us of by Cyril of Jerusalem (Catecheses 6.20-35) writing around 350 CE. It was not known to Eusebius two decades earlier, although that does not rule out an earlier composition.  Hegemonius makes a telling blunder of having Archelaus refer to "MORE THAN 300 YEARS" between Christ and Mani (AA 31.7) inadvertently placing his characters in his own temorale locale in the second quarter of the fourth century. . We have no othe information on who Hegemonius was, or when or where he lived.  The argument that the appearance of "homoousios" in AA 36.8-9 marks the text as post-Nicaean (Lieu 1994) is unsound. The term was not invented at Nicaea, and the context of its use in AA shows that it has been introduced in Manichaean teaching as a designation for the shared divinity of all souls, not as part of Christological discussion. Arian theologians accused the Council of Nicaea of adopting Manichaean language in calling the Son "a consubstantial part of the Father" (Hilary of Poitiers, De trinitate, 4.12, 6.5, 6.10; Hilary's defence amounts to rejecting the language of "part" or "portion" while affirming "consubstantial", 6.10)..  Curiously the same anachronistic dating of Mani is repeated in Ephrem Syrus, Against Mani: "MANI, WHO THEY SAY IS THE PARACLETE THAT COMES AFTER 300 YEARS." Mitchell/Burkett, eds, vol. 2, xcv11 xcix). Ephrem otherwise shows no knowledge of the AA. Page 13 "In trying to locate the setting of the AA, we must contend not only with uncertainties of place, but also variables of time. There are clear anachronisms in the AA, and it is possible that Hegemonius's sense of the location of the border might have been similarly affected by changes between the time in which the narrative is set and his own. The border between the Roman and Persian empires shifted several times in the years intervening between the ostensible date of the story and the first external testimony to the AA." Page 14 Scholarly consensus now solidly takes the position that the events as described in the AA are fictitious. Page 22 "While caution should be observed in assuming distinct sources behind every change of direction within an ancient text, it remains true that many ancient texts were composed by a process comparable to building a new automobile out of parts scavenged from older models. The "Acts of Archelaus" (AA) bears the weld-marks of such a process. Hegemonius has pieced together an odd assortment of parts - at times skillfully, at time haphazardly - to yield an apparently effective polemical tool. By doing so, he attempted to sieze control of an historical encounter between two faiths, and rewrite it to the decisive advantage of his own. His work has been preserved as an indicator of the ultimate success of his venture, which at the same time has largely swept away the voice of his opponents. For much of subsequent history, the Manichaeans have only been able to speak as Hegemonius and other Christian polemicists like him have determined they are to be heard. ************** Hermetica Part 4: The Ancient Greek and Latin Writings Which Contain ... By Walter Scott Page 162 The author cites the reference to Mani in Ephrem's "Against Mani": "....he who they say is the Paraclete, that comes after three hundred years   Mani said he was the Paraclete whose coming had been foretold by Jesus (Augustine "c.Faustrum 13.17). But why "three hundred years"? Mani was born in 216 CE, and began his public teaching in 242 CE, i.e. not much more than 200 years after the death of Jesus. Perhaps Ephraim was thinking of his own time, and vaguely speaking as if Mani were almost contemporary." ****************************** The light and the darkness: studies in Manichaeism and its world By Paul Allan Mirecki, Jason BeDuhn Page 93. The Reconstruction of Mani's Epistles from three Coptic Codices (Ismant El-Kharab and Medinet Madi) --- by Iain Gardner "The fact that Mani wrote Epistles (somewhat in the style of Paul as an "Apostle of Jesus Christ") has long been known. The title occurs regularly in the canonical lists of Mani's scriptures, both in primary and secondary sources.  Augustine quotes at some length, and contraverts, the "Fundamental Epistle".  Letters also play an important role in the (at least partly) fictional narrative of the "Acts of Archelaus" , and indeed various perhaps spurious letters of Mani were utilised in the heresiological literature, both Latin and Greek.  ..... there is substantial evidence that the epistles were widely known throughout the Manichaean communities, from North Africa to Central Asia; and that they survived as a corpus in various languages and, it can be presumed, at least for the best part of a millenium. P.94 "... it is worth emphasising that contemporary scholarship does not have a clear knowledge of any part of the Manichaean canon (excepting perhaps the rather anomalous case of the "Shabuhragan"). This, despite all the advances made during this century right up to the Cologne Mani Codex. I believe this point deserves to be emphasised." Page 99. "I repeat, the great majority of Manichaean texts that survive are sub-canonical (e.g. the "Psalm Book"; and we cannot be certain how closely they represent the teaching of the founder himself. Various questions occur, such as: How exactly did Mani understand his role as "Apostle of Jesus Christ", and thus, how Christian are Manichaean origins? ...... For such questions, the evidence provided by the Epistles is compelling. For example from the Medinet Madi codex, "The Seventh Letter of Ktesiphon", we read (B.24): ".... on account of (?) our good saviour, our god (?) Christ Jesus, by whose name I chose you (pl.). I have gathered you in by his hope: I have caused you to be woven together by his sign and his good, I have perfected you by his understanding; I have made you strong by
faith; I have made his wisdom and his knowledge shine forth in your teachings like the sun. His is this blessed name and this strong power. He is the one who can bless you all, my children, my loved ones. He can set his love in your head (?), [which (?)] is the Light Mind....." Now the importance of this passage is not only the emphasis upon 'our good saviour ... Christ Jesus'; but also the fact that here we find clear canonical authority for the listing of the five virtues and five intellectual qualities. These products of the coming of the Light Mind are familiar from a good variety of sources ; with the same terminology, indeed with the same order. Now we can be certain that such are Mani's own formulation. The emphasis upon the authority of Jesus is a striking feature through the Epistles.... p.100 Epistles recovered from Ismant el-Kharab  [From P.93C et al] Mani writes: "I will proclaim to you, my beloved one: My good saviour, the witness who is my father, ... he is my redeemer ...'; and elsewhere: "Indeed, I pray for you in the goodness of our lord Jesus Chrestos". In one of our better preserved passages Mani quotes a logion in part familiar to us from John chapter 13:18.  [Quotes Psalms 41:9] P.101 It must be presumed that the allusion comes to Mani through the gospel tradition, especially as his own purpose is to align his experience with that of Jesus. The obvious question is as to the form in which he tradition was known by Mani. If it can be accepted that these are the canonical words of the apostle, then here we have a firm basis for discussing Mani's own knowledge of the gospels .... At this stage of research I do not propose an answer to this question, for there are other logia in the codices of the Epistles; but rather to highlight the possibilities opened up by these texts...... P.102 [In the epistles] .... little space is given to cosmogonical and cosmological speculations, or to multiple diviniites and so forth, that attract much attention elsewhere. ..... Mani's concerns are preeminently practical and pastoral.  From reading these texts it appears that the principal qualities stressed by Mani are those associated with the "Long-sufferingness"  of the righteous. From the leaves  of the Ismant el-Kharab: "I reveal to you, my child, my loved one: Whoever wills life, and to add life to his life, longsuffering is what awaits him: because without long-suffering he will not be able to live. For, long-suffereing has everything within it" p.102 Addendum Brief consideration of the "Fundamental Epistle". This text, as quoted and contraverted by Augustine  [Epist, Fund] was one of the primary sources for the knowledge of Mani's teaching prior to modern discoveries. Augsutine clearly chooses this document as a principle focus for his attack because i is a text he himself knows well and read when he was an auditor, because he believes it to have unimpeachable authority for the Manichaeans, and because it is a succinct and clear summary of Mani's teachings. Modern scholarship has generally not questioned its authenticity. However a question arises over the text's exact status for the Manichaean community ..... The question of status relates to the texts's position with reference to the canon and the collection of Epistles. None of the various canonical lists from other sources refer to a "Fundamental Epistle", nor does the title occur in an-Nadim.  p.104 In sum, the status of the "Fundamental Epistle" remains uncertain; i.e., whether it should be attributable to the Epistles as regards the canon. I am inclined, until further evidence comes to light, to treat it separately. Since the true authorship of other letters 'by Mani' quoted in the heresiological literature is even more problematic (or they are to be regarded as largely inauthentic fabrications and parodies), the detailed recovery of the canonical work must begin with the Coptic remnants from Medinet Madi and Ismant el-Kharab; then supplemented from an-Nadim's list, together with the fragments preserved in the Mani-Codex and from Turfan. ************** EPHRAEM The Thorn Among the Tares: Mani and Manichaeanism in the works of Ephraem the Syrian Papers presented at the Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 1999 Page 409, Footnote  FN 75 In one place Ephraem speaks of the abominable times in which he lives, "in which these tares have sprung up", who have not received their teachings from the apostles. He wrote, "And if they have received [anything] from the apostles, who of them has received [it]? Arius, who is of our own day? or Mani, who sprang up yesterday? or Qamsu, whom the earth vomited up"? (Beck, Hymnen contra Haereses, XXIV:19) P.2 "The entire history of the spread of Christianity eastward beyond the borders of the Roman empire is smothered in legend. The traditions about the missionary Addai are fabrications of the fourth century, and those of Mani are later imitations of those of Addai.  In fact, these two fictional heroes of Christianity's spread into Asia are little more than orthodox reflections of Mani and Adda, the principal figures in the Manichaean mission in the region. **** "The earliest historically verifiable references we have to Christian groups beyond the Roman frontier come from the late third century. The Syriac dialogue "The Laws of Nations" by a disciple of Bardaisan of Edessa (of unknown date presumably third century) makes sweeping claims of Christian presence in many eastern lands. But what does the text mean by "Christians"? ***** Aspects of Anti-Manichaean Polemics in Late Antiquity and under Early Islam ...by S Stroumsa - 1988 "For more than half a millennium, from its birth in the third century throughout late antiquity and beyond, his [Mani's] religion was despised and rejected with the utmost violence by rulers and thinkers belonging to all shades of the spiritual and religious spectrum. In this sense, Manichaeism, an insane system, a "mania"  appeared as the outsider par excellence.  So called by Greek Christian heresiographers using a word play on the founder's name. It appears already in the earliest polemics in Greek; see e.g. Titus of Bostra "Contra Manichaeos 1.1; and Epiphanius Pan 66.1
Mani, "The Apostle" may have authored a large number of other words. Despite the 4th century church historian Eusebius's assertions to the contrary, the argument here is that Mani had never heard of Christianity, or the figure of Jesus, or the books of the New Testament, because there things were yet to be fabricated in the 4th century. The argument will be to present the evidence of the manuscript tradition such that the boundary event of the Council of Nicaea is to be clearly established as a boundary point at which the process of "Christianization" occurs in the historical record. Fragments of Mani preserved from before the rise of Constantine's Christian state religion will differ from fragments of Mani preserved in any way by the Christian orthodox.
Constantine did not want a Persian Holy Man story, but may have used it to fabricate another figure who was inside the Roman Empire and under the control of The Lord God Caesar, perhaps in Judea. By the year 312 CE, Diocletian's severe persecution of the Manichaean cult in the east, and especially in Egypt, was almost a generation in the past. The persecution of religious heretics already had a precedent. Eusebius simply weaves over the obscure Manichaean sect a christian wool, and lo and behold, Mani the Persian Sage becomes a "Christian" of the heretic variety.
In the field of written literature further subsequent orthodox Christian writers, such as Augustine, embellish these Eusebian assertions while in the field of politics and social engagement, the writings of the Manichaeans are included in search and destroy missions, and are burned along with other "Forbidden Books", throughout the 4th and 5th centuries, against the sturdy doors of Christian basilicas.
Shall we not cast him off from us like a robber and a thief, and thrust him out of our number by all possible means? Yet this man is now in our presence, and falls to produce any of the credentials which we have summarized in what we have already said, and declares that he is the Paraclete whose mission was presignified by Jesus.
And by this assertion, in his ignorance perchance, he will make out Jesus Himself to be a liar; for thus He who once said that He would send the Paraclete no long time after, will be proved only to have sent this person, if we accept the testimony which he bears to himself, after an interval of three hundred years and more.
a) the phrase .... "well-nigh three hundred years after", and
b) the phrase ... "after an interval of three hundred years and more."
The authors, after outlining the first anachronism as follows:
At footnote : Curiously the same anachronistic dating of Mani is repeated in Ephrem Syrus, Against Mani:
"MANI, WHO THEY SAY IS THE PARACLETE THAT COMES AFTER 300 YEARS."
Ephrem otherwise shows no knowledge of the AA".
The two separate and independent anachronistic references indicate that the two separate christian authors were not at all aware that Mani made the claim to be the paraklete of Jesus in the 3rd century. According to what they write, they are presenting that the claim of Manichaeans regarding Mani being the paraklte of Jesus only appeared late - in the 4th century - after Nicaea.
The evidence indicates to me that these extremely orthodox christian authors are literally horrified and most skeptical of this very late claim made by the Manichaeans AFTER MORE THAN THREE CENTURIES since Jesus c.33 CE. That is, that the claim was made by the Manichaeans no earlier than after the all-important "Council" of Nicaea.
Did the Post-Nicaean Manichaeans insert "Jesus Chrestos" for survival?
Those Manicheans who remained in the Roman Empire after Nicaea (325 CE) may have had extremely little choice in the matter of how to maximise the preservation of their almost century old manuscript tradition of the "Canon of Mani" the Prophet. The plain and simple evidence of two anachronisms in the polemical christian anti-Manichaean writings of the early 4th century suggest to the reader that the claim that Mani made the claim of being the paraklete of Jesus came not with Mani in the 3rd century, but with the Manichaeans of the 4th century after Nicaea. They may have realised they had to either somehow conform or ADAPT to Constantine's "Holy Writ of Jesus" or be destroyed and perish.
Either that or flee. "Our generation is fleeing" says a text in the Nag Hammadi Codices.
The fact that the Manichaeans also preserved the "Gnostic Gospel of Peter" also suggests that there was some organisation between the various groups of christian heretics and pagan heretics who found themselves opposed to the Draconic religious laws of Constantine, and his insistence that the Bible was to be regarded as the "Holy Writ" for everyone, from the slaves to the pagan priesthood (which he effectively dismissed and made redundant), and to the members of the "Academy of Plato".
At some stage in the 5th century, many generations after Nicaea, many of
the Manichaeans gave up this attempted resistance against the oppressive
persecution and intolerance of the imperial state Roman church, and set
out on a one way treck down the Silk Road as far east as that road would
take them, along with their manuscripts.