Manichean mythology

Manichaeism was created by Mani, during the IIIe century.

Through the protection of the Persian king Shapur Ier, Mani was able to preach Manichaeism throughout the Middle East. His religion later spread across North Africa and Europe to Gaul and across Asia to China, where he was called the "Buddha of Light." Mani is nevertheless executed in 276, and other persecutions against the Manicheans take place in the Persian Empire which saw him be born from 287.

Manichaeism entered the Roman Empire, particularly in Egypt and Roman Africa, and was the subject of a decree of persecution in 297, because of its novelty, opposed to traditional Roman worship, and its Persian origin, therefore coming from the enemies of the Romans. The religious tolerance decrees of 311 and 313 (edict of Milan), mainly enacted to stop the persecution against Christians, put an end to this period of persecution.

One of the foundations of Manichaeism is to separate the world in two:

  • the kingdom of Light, the kingdom of divine Life, where that which is of eternity is expressed;
  • the realm of Darkness, the realm of matter, the realm of the "dead", where what is space / time is expressed.
  • According to Manichaeism, Light and Darkness coexisted without ever mingling. But following a catastrophic event, Darkness invaded the Light. From this conflict was born the (natural) man, his spirit belongs to the realm of Light and his body belongs to the realm of Darkness - which can transform death no longer into a destructive process but into a process of supreme elevation, of liberation of the spirit.

According to Manichaeism, the natural man is therefore double. He owns :

  • a spirit belonging to the kingdom of Light - this is the immortal part of man;
  • a body belonging to the kingdom of darkness - this is the mortal part of man.

Mani wrote (in a way about) nine works: Shâbuhragân, Living Gospel, Treasure of life, Mysteries, Legends (Pragmateia), Image, Giants, Letters, Book of psalms and prayers.

Manichean mythology manichaeism mani

Manichean mythology (texts)