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Headword: Μάνης
Adler number: mu,147
Translated headword: Manes, Mani
Vetting Status: high
This man, thrice-cursed, appeared under emperor Aurelian,[1] fantasizing that he was Christ and the Holy Spirit. With 12 disciples, as if Christ, he borrowed from every heresy any evil thing he could, and introduced into the Roman territory from Persia a private contract[2] against God. This man, called both Manes and the Scythian,[3] was Brahman by race. He had as his teacher a "Buddha", the one previously called Terebinthos,[4] who had been educated in the things of the Greeks and loved the school of Empedocles,[5] who had declared that there are two first principles opposed to each other. This Terebinthos, when he arrived, said that he had been born in Persia of a virgin and had been reared on the mountains. He also wrote four books, one The Book of Mysteries,[6] another The Gospel, another The Treasure, another The Book of the Recapitulation. And this "Buddha", the one also called Terebinthos, being crushed by an unclean spirit,[7] died. A woman with whom he lodged,[8] inheriting his money and impure books, bought[9] a little boy of seven years, Cubricus by name, whom she taught writing and set free, making him her sole heir. Taking the books and money of "Buddha" he travelled through Persia, calling himself Manes. Becoming expert in the wanderings of "Buddha", he said that the books were his own labours. The Emperor of Persia[10] flayed him alive as responsible for the death of his son. For, when the son was ill and receiving much treatment from the physicians, Cubricus promised to heal him without the physicians; but in dismissing the physicians he caused his death. So this Manes rejected the Old Testament and said blasphemously that the whole of creation and the condition of the human race belonged to a certain evil god, subject to mortality and change, but accepted the New Testament as indeed from a good God, and used to talk in portents,[11] that Christ had appeared in his visions and imagination, also teaching certain accursed descents[12] and nighttime[13] and lawless sexual intercourse and filthy lewdness and destiny and transmigration of the soul and certain other Greek things. About him Theodore the elder of Raithou[14] said, "Manes, who fantasized and dreamed that the Lord had appeared in some mere figment of the imagination and insubstantial shape of a human body, so that,[15] on the one hand, he seemed to suffer and perform those things that [the Lord] suffered and performed among us, but, in truth and actuality, none of them happened, and with appearance and deceit he misled the people with whom he was thought to associate." Because of this he also refused to speak of two natures for Christ, but of one only, that of the divine nature.[16] But Paul, a contemporary, Bishop of Antioch the Great, declared that the Lord was a mere man, as one of the prophets.
Paul, from whom also the Paulicians.[17]
Greek Original:
Μάνης: οὗτος ὁ τρισκατάρατος ἐπὶ Αὐρηλιανοῦ βασιλέως ἐφάνη, Χριστὸν ἑαυτὸν καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον φανταζόμενος: μαθητὰς ιβ# ὡς ἂν ὁ Χριστὸς ἐπαγόμενος καὶ ἐκ πάσης αἱρέσεως εἴ τι κακὸν ἐρανισάμενος ἐκ Περσίδος εἰς τὴν Ῥωμαίων γῆν κατὰ θεοῦ συγχώρησιν εἰσέφρησεν. οὗτος ὁ καὶ Μάνης καὶ Σκυθιανὸς λεγόμενος Βραχμὰν ἦν τὸ γένος, διδάσκαλον δὲ ἔσχε Βουδδᾶν τὸν πρῴην καλούμενον Τερέβινθον: ὃς παιδευθεὶς τὰ Ἑλλήνων τὴν Ἐμπεδοκλέους ἠγάπησεν αἵρεσιν, δύο ἀρχὰς λέγοντος ἀντικειμένας ἀλλήλαις. εἰσελθὼν δὲ ἐν Περσίδι ἐκ παρθένου ἑαυτὸν ἔφασκε γεγεννῆσθαι καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἀνατραφῆναι. καὶ συγγραψάμενος καὶ βιβλία δ# τὸ μὲν ἐπωνόμασε τῶν Μυστρηρίων, τὸ δὲ τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον, τὸ δὲ τὸν Θησαυρόν, τὸ δὲ τῶν Κεφαλαίων. καὶ ὁ μὲν Βουδδᾶς οὗτος, ὁ καὶ Τερέβινθος, ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἀκαθάρτου συντριβεὶς ἀπώλετο: γυνὴ δέ τις, παρ' ᾗ κατέλυσε, τὰ χρήματα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰς βεβήλους βίβλους κληρονομήσασα ὠνεῖται παιδάριον ἐτῶν ζ# τοὔνομα Κούβρικον, ὃν καὶ διδάξασα γράμματα καὶ ἐλευθερώσασα κληρονόμον ἑαυτῆς πάντων καθίστησιν. ὁ δὲ λαβὼν τὰ βιβλία τοῦ Βουδδᾶ καὶ τὰ χρήματα διήρχετο τὴν Περσίδα, Μάνην ἑαυτὸν ὀνομάζων καὶ τῆς πλάνης τοῦ Βουδδᾶ συνίστωρ γενόμενος τὰ βιβλία πονήματα ἴδια ἔλεγεν. ὃν ὁ βασιλεὺς Περσῶν ἐξέδειρε ζῶντα, ὡς αἴτιον τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ γενόμενον. νοσοῦντος γὰρ καὶ θεραπείας πολλῆς παρὰ τῶν ἰατρῶν τυγχάνοντος, ὁ Κούβρικος ὑπέσχετο χωρὶς ἰατρῶν ἀναστῆσαι αὐτόν: καὶ ἀποστήσας τοὺς ἰατροὺς ἐθανάτωσεν αὐτόν. ὁ οὖν Μάνης οὗτος ἀποβαλόμενος τὴν παλαιὰν διαθήκην καὶ τὴν κτίσιν πᾶσαν καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου κατασκευὴν οὐκ ἀγαθοῦ τινος εἶναι θεοῦ βλασφημῶν, ὑπὸ φθορὰν καὶ ἀλλοίωσιν οὖσαν, τὴν νέαν ὡς ἀγαθοῦ δῆθεν προσίεται θεοῦ καὶ κατὰ φαντασίαν καὶ δόκησιν τὸν Χριστὸν πεφηνέναι ἐτερατεύετο. καὶ καταδύσεις τινὰς ἐναγεῖς καὶ νυκτερινὰς καὶ παρανόμους μίξεις καὶ ἀρρητοποιί̈ας καὶ εἱμαρμένην καὶ μετενσωματώσεις καὶ ἄλλα τινὰ Ἑλληνικὰ διδάσκων. περὶ οὗ καὶ Θεόδωρος ὁ τῆς Ῥαϊθοῦ πρεσβύτερός φησι: Μάνης, ὃς φαντασίᾳ τινὶ ψιλῇ καὶ σχήματι διακένῳ σώματος ἀνθρωπείου πεφανερῶσθαι τὸν κύριον ἐφαντάσθη καὶ ὠνείρωξεν, ὡς πάσχειν μὲν δοκεῖν αὐτὸν καὶ πράττειν, ἅπερ ἔδρα καὶ ἔπασχε καθ' ἡμᾶς, μηδὲν δὲ τούτων ἀληθείᾳ καὶ πράγματι ὑπάρξαι, ἀλλὰ δοκήσει μόνον καὶ ἀπάτῃ ἀποβουκολεῖν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, οἷς καὶ συνανεστράφθαι νενόμισται. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ φύσεις δύο παραιτεῖται ἐπὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγειν, ἀλλὰ μίαν τῆς θεότητος. Παῦλος δέ τις σύγχρονος, ἐπίσκοπος Ἀντιοχείας τῆς μεγάλης, ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κύριον ἔφη, ὡς ἕνα τῶν προφητῶν. Παῦλος, ὅθεν καὶ Παυλικιανοί.
This entry follows (in general) George the Monk, Chronicon 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 (216-77 CE) and the Manichaean religion by Christian writers. See fuller notes and bibliography at kappa 2174 (cf. mu 149). Their bias is exposed by publication of a Manichaean life of Mani and of Manichaean documents translated from many languages. See generally OCD(4) p.892.
[1] L. Domitius Aurelianus, reigned 270-275 CE (web address 1), is too late. Alexander of Lycopolis (4.20) has Valerian (emperor 253-60, cf. mu 149).
[2] The concept of an agreement or private contract (web address 2) is set in contrast to the proper contract with God.
[3] The Acts of Archelaus (cf. kappa 2174) gives this name or nationality to the father of Terebinthus. It perhaps represents a derogatory name of the Persians and Greeks for the Arsacid royal family from Parthia, to which Mani belonged, as uncivilised nomads. The Persian cities were under the Arsacids home to many nationalities and religions, incl. the Buddhists and Hindus.
[4] Presumably one of the Buddhist missionaries known to be in Persia at the time -- or a fraud! His name evokes the turpentine tree, Pistacia terebinthus (tau 334).
[5] epsilon 1002, epsilon 1003.
[6] Μυστρηρίων for μυστηρίων .
[7] This phrase could refer to a pulmonary disease.
[8] George has the more interesting phrase κατέλυσε καὶ κατελύθη , "lodged and was killed" (forms from the same verb).
[9] The Acts of Archelaus are more explicit: "as a slave".
[10] The Sassanids supported the Zoroastrian Magi, who saw the Manichaeans as their enemy. Manichaean sources agree only that Mani was imprisoned through their animosity and died in chains.
[11] This verb also means 'talk rubbish', implied here.
[12] This word hints at various dark deeds (cf. web address 3), possibly strange descents to baptism, or to converse with the dead, possibly strange lurking places such as those of snakes. More probably it evokes the strange use of the word at 1 Kings (3 Kingdoms LXX] 15:13, where it translates Hebrew מפלצת (miphletseth, 'a thing to be shuddered at') but is replaced in the same story at 2 Chronicles 15.16 by εἴδωλον ('idol').
[13] George adds a noun to this adjective, τελετὰς ('rites').
[14] This man seems to be unknown, and the citation in our sources may be by word of mouth. Rhaithou (sic) is present-day Tor, in SW Sinai (Ptolemy 5.16.3): rho 25.
[15] The rest of the sentence is a result clause in the accusative and infinitive after ὥς, ὥστε (Smyth, Greek Grammar §2250ff.). George and Constantine Porphyrogenitus use ὥστε φησί . No verb is expressed with Mani as its subject.
[16] The issue of the consubstantiality of Jesus and God fragmented the early Christian church. Mani apparently believed, as appears from this entry, that Jesus had only one substance, that of God as spirit or mind, and no body. He was thus a Monophysite. He saw the physical body as an expression of the power of darkness at war with God and in need of destruction.
[17] cf. pi 813. The Paulicians (apparently not connected with Paul of Samosata) followed the opposite monophysite heresy, that Jesus was in no regard superhuman. They appear for this reason.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; law; medicine; mythology; philosophy; religion; women
Translated by: Alina Kelman on 9 December 2002@10:17:22.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 10 December 2002@04:26:06.
David Whitehead (augmented headword and notes; cosmetics) on 27 May 2003@07:14:59.
David Whitehead (restored lost keywords) on 23 June 2003@05:26:37.
Robert Dyer (systematic clarification and cosmetics of translation, first of 2 vettings) on 26 June 2003@03:37:41.
Robert Dyer (additions and improvements to intro. note, ns 1,2,4,12; new ns 15,16) on 26 June 2003@07:47:48.
Robert Dyer (added notes 3, 7-11,13,14; status) on 26 June 2003@08:09:56.
Robert Dyer (added ref. to Rhaithou supplied by D.W.) on 27 June 2003@04:22:56.
Raphael Finkel (Added Hebrew.) on 27 June 2003@14:46:25.
David Whitehead (x-ref in n.14) on 22 February 2004@04:33:39.
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added cross-reference) on 19 April 2005@13:25:17.
Catharine Roth (modified note) on 18 May 2005@00:33:33.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 3 October 2005@07:40:10.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 1 May 2013@05:31:04.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 9 August 2014@07:13:03.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 8 November 2014@11:30:58.
Catharine Roth (tweaks and cosmetics) on 9 November 2014@00:37:03.
Catharine Roth (re-ordered links) on 9 November 2014@22:51:34.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 17 December 2014@23:27:56.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 17 May 2016@06:42:24.


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