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Headword: Koubrikos
Adler number: kappa,2174
Translated headword: Koubrikos, Cubricus, The Pious, Mani; Manichaean
Vetting Status: high
The man [who is] cu-cubric in his religious life.
So-called.[1] See under Manes.
Greek Original:
Koubrikos: ho en têi sunêtheiai koukoubrikos. legomenos. zêtei en tôi Manês.
The headword probably represents Persian qyrbkr as a title or name Qirbakkar, 'The Pious' (see Puech p.25 and n.73, citing its use for Mani in Parthian and other documents, as well as for Christ). It is turned more accurately into Greek as Corbicius in The Acts of Archelaus (ch. 53), attributed to one Hegemonius and known to Epiphanius. Mani is said to have changed this Persian birth-name to his later Syriac name before his travels. The form in the gloss is evidently ridiculous and disparaging, probably designed to pun on Latin cucurbita, 'gourd', used as a metaphor for an empty head at Apuleius 1.15, and cucurit, 'crows' (of a cock); it is here apparently used of someone who follows Mani’s teachings, i.e. a Manichaean. The Christian sources used such names to belittle Mani as a foreigner, to dismiss his claim to be the living "Comforter" (Paraclete) prophesied by Jesus in the Gospel of John (14:16, etc.). They used "Manes" as his name in Greek with a genitive *mane/ntos as if an aorist participle passive from the verb mai/nomai of being mad (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 7.31.1ff.; John Chrysostom, Against the Manichaeans 1.67.30, and other refs. at mu 149 note 2). A less hostile account of his doctrine, Alexander of Lycopolis, Tractatus de placitis Manichaeorum (cf. Villey’s edition), calls him *manixai=os, a version of his name using an honorific epithet "the Living".
This entry derives, as stated, from mu 147 (see also mu 149), a biography of Mani (216-277 CE), the discoverer of the Manichaean religion, that follows fairly closely those at George the Monk 467.20-470.13 and Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, De virtutibus et vitiis, Excerpta 1.141.1-142.24. These lives are based on 4th Century attacks on Mani and his religion by Christian writers (cf. Beck’s introduction in bibliography, v-vii), incl. Epiphanius, Panarion (=Adversus haereses) 3.14.3ff.; Socrates schol., Ecclesiastical History 1.22.7ff.; cf. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses ad Illum. 6.24.3-17, and the writings of Ephrem (Ephraem, Ephraim) the Syrian (see Beck’s edition in bibliography). They differ in certain significant respects from the fuller biography in The Acts of Archelaus (ch. 53, recounting a possibly true dialogue between Mani and the Christian Bishop), known to Epiphanius. These writers allege that he was bought as a slave at the age of 7 by the widow (or, rather, former companion) of a charlatan Buddhist teacher called Terebinthus, whose writings he inherited and stole as his own. Augustine was particularly savage in his attacks on the doctrine, from which he had been converted (see below and web address 1).
The reliability of their accounts has been brought into question by the ever-increasing publication of Manichaean texts, including an entirely different story of Mani’s origins (the "Cologne Mani Codex"), generally -– but not necessarily -– accepted today as the facts of the matter. See the the bibliography, together with the Gnostic Society Library site at web address 1 (which also contains translations of Augustine’s chief doctrinal treatises on Manichaeanism, but not de Haeresibus 1.46). Scholars have begun to edit the Christian attacks in the light of these discoveries (see Villey’s edition of Alexander of Lycopolis). In particular it now appears that Mani was brought up in the Judaeo-Christian sect that followed Elkasai (= Elchasai, Elxai). He came from the Persian dynasty of the Arsacids (from Parthia), wrote in Syriac and in Middle Persian, and died in prison under persecution by the Zoroastrian magi. His relation to Terebinthus and the 'widow' is now in question. It should not, however, be ignored; the Arsacids fell from power in 224, the year after he turned 7, and it cannot be ruled out that he was sold into slavery in the troubles of that significant year. See Gnoli 73-91 on the political dimensions of the rise of Manichaeism in Persia.
[1] It is likely that something is omitted, perhaps the phrase translated at mu 147 as "called both Manes and the Scythian."
Alexandre de Lycopolis, Contre la doctrine de Mani, ed. A. Villey (Paris, 1985) esp. 101-107
Augustine and Manichaeism in the Latin West, ed. J. Van Oort, O. Wermelinger, and G. Wurst (Leiden, 2001)
Beck, E., Ephräms Polemik gegen Mani und die Manichäer (Louvain, 1978)
BeDuhn, J.D., The Manichaean Body: in discipline and ritual (Baltimore, 2002)
Böhlig, A. & C. Markschies, Gnosis und Manichäismus (Berlin, 1994)
The Cologne Mani Codex (P. Colon. inv. nr. 4780): Concerning the origin of his body, ed. & trans. R. Cameron & A. Dewey (Missoula, Scholars Press, 1979)
Emerging from Darkness: studies in the recovery of Manichaean sources, ed. by P.A. Mirecki and J. BeDuhn (Leiden, 1997), esp. pp. 225, 266 note 2
Ephraem the Syrian, Refutationes of Mani, Marcion, Bardesanes, and the astrologers, trans. C.W. Mitchell et al. (London, 1912, 1921)
Gnoli, G., De Zoroastre à Mani (Paris, 1985)
Hegemonius, Acta Archelai, ed. C.H. Beeson (Leipzig, 1906)
Hegemonius, The Acts of Archelaus, trans. Mark Vermes, ed. S. N.C. Lieu (Brepols, 2001)
Irmscher, J. "The Book of Elchasai," in New Testament Apocrypha, ed. E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher (trans. A. Higgins, 2 vols., Philadelphia and London, 1963-65) 2.745-50
Koenen, L. & C. Römer, Der Kölner Mani-Kodex (1988)
Puech, H.-C., Le Manichéisme, son fondateur, sa doctrine (Paris, 1949)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; Christianity; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; religion
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 24 June 2003@11:35:48.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 25 June 2003@03:18:44.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 13 March 2013@10:28:28.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 4 December 2014@10:36:19.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 5 December 2014@02:49:37.


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