Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

I.  Sources.

The following bibliography of Manichæism is taken from Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, vol. II. pp. 498–500 (new edition).  Additions are indicated by brackets.

1. Oriental Sources:  The most important, though of comparatively late date.

(a)  Mohammedan (Arabic):  Kitâb al Fihrist.  A history of Arabic literature to 987, by an Arab of Bagdad, usually called Ibn Abi Jakub An-Nadîm; brought to light by Flügel, and published after his death by Rödiger and Müller, in 2 vols. Leipz. 1871-’72.  Book IX. section first, treats of Manichæism.  Flügel’s translation, see below.  Kessler calls the Fihrist a "Fündstätte allerersten Ranges."  Next to it comes the relation of the Mohammedan philosopher, Al-Shahrastani (d. 1153), in his History of Religious Parties and Philosophical Sects, Ed. Cureton, Lond. 1842, 2 vols. (I. 188–192); German translation by Haarbrücker, Halle, 1851.  On other Mohammedan sources, see Kessler in Herzog, IX., 225 sq.

(b)  Persian Sources:  relating to the life of Mani, the Shâhnâmeh (the King’s Book) of Firdausi; ed. by Jul. Mohl, Paris, 1866 (V. 472–475).  See Kessler, ibid. 225.

[Albiruni’s Chronology of Ancient Nations, tr. by E. Sachau, and published by the Oriental Translation Fund, Lond. 1879.  Albîrunî lived 973–1048, and is said to have possessed vast literary resources no longer available to us.  His work seems to be based on early Manichæan sources, and strikingly confirms the narrative preserved by the Fihrist.  See also articles by West and Thomas in Journal of the Asiatic Society, 1868, 1870, 1871.]

(c)  Christian Sources:  In Arabic, the Alexandrian Patriarch Eutychius (d. 916). Annales, ed. Pococke, Oxon. 1628; Barhebræus (d. 1286), in his Historia Dynastiarum, ed. Pococke.  In Syriac:  Ephraem Syrus (d. 393), in various writings.  Esnig or Esnik, an Armenian bishop of the 5th Century, who wrote against Marcion and Mani (German translation from the Armenian by C. Fr. Neumann, in Illgen’s Zeitschrift für die Hist. Theologie, 1834, pp.77–78).

2.  Greek Sources:  [Alexander of LycopolisThe Tenets of the Manichæans (first published by Combefis, with a Latin version, in the Auctararium Novissimum, Bibl. S. S. Patrum; again by Gallandi, in his Bibl. Patrum, vol. IV. p. 73 sq.  An English translation by Rev. James B.H. Hawkins, M .A ., appeared in Clark’s Ante-Nicene Library, Vol. XIV. p. 236 sq.; Am. ed. vol. VI. p. 237 sq.  Alexander represents himself as a convert from Paganism to Manichæism, and from Manichæism to Orthodoxy.  He claims to have learned Manp. 6 ichæism from those who were intimately associated with Mani himself, and is, therefore, one of the earliest witnesses. 1 Eusebius (H. E. VII. 31, a brief account).  Epiphanius (Haer. 66).  Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. VI. 20 sq.).  Titus of Bostra (πρὸσ Μανιχαίουσ, ed P. de Lagarde, 1859).  Photius: Adv. Manichæos (Cod. 179, Biblioth.).  John of DamascusDe Haeres. and Dial.  [Petrus Siculus, Hist. Manichæorum.]

3.  Latin Sources:  Archelaus (Bishop of Cascar in Mesopotamia, d. about 278):  Acta Disputationis cum Manete Hæresiarcha; first written in Syriac, and so far belonging to the Oriental Christian Sources (Comp. Jerome, de Vir. Ill. 72), but extant only in a Latin translation, which seems to have been made from the Greek, edited by Zacagni (Rome, 1698), and Routh (in Reliquiæ Sacræ, vol. V. 3–206); Eng. transl. in Clark’s Ante-Nicene Library (vol. XX. 272–419).  [Am. ed. vol. VI. p. 173 sq.].  These Acts purport to contain the report of a disputation between Archelaus and Mani before a large assembly, which was in full sympathy with the orthodox bishop, but (as Beausobre first proved), they are in form a fiction from the first quarter of the fourth century (about 320), by a Syrian ecclesiastic (probably of Edessa), yet based upon Manichæan documents, and containing much information about Manichæan doctrines.  They consist of various pieces, and were the chief source of information to the West.  Mani is represented (ch. 12), as appearing in a many-colored cloak and trousers, with a sturdy staff of ebony, a Babylonian book under his left arm, and with a mien of an old Persian master.  In his defense he quotes freely from the N.T.  At the end, he makes his escape to Persia (ch. 55).  Comp. H. V. Zittwitz:  Die Acta Archelai et Manetis untersucht, in Kahnis’ Zeitschrift für d. Hist. Theol. 1873, No. IV.  OblasinskiActa Disput. Arch., etc. Lips. 1874 (inaugural dissert.).  Ad. HarnackDie Acta Archelai und das Diatessaron Tatians, in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchristl. Lit. vol. I. Heft 3 (1883), p. 137–153.  Harnack tries to prove that the Gospel variations of Archelaus are taken from Tatian’s Diatessaron.

St. Augustin (d. 430, the chief Latin authority next to the translation of Archelaus).  [Besides the treatises published in Clark’s series, Contra Fortunatum quendam Manichæorum Presbyterum Disput. I. et II., Contra Adimantum Manichæi discipulum, Contra Secundinum Manichæum, De Natura Boni, De duabus Animabus, De Utilitate Credendi, De Haeres. XLVI.  Of these, De duabus Animabus, Contra Fortunatum, and De Natura Boni are added in the present edition, and De Utilitate Credendi has been included among Augustin’s shorter theological treatises in vol. III. of the present series.  In the Confessions and the Letters, moreover, the Manichæans figure prominently.  The treatises included in the present series may be said to fairly represent Augustin’s manner of dealing with Manichæism.  The Anti-Manichæan writings are found chiefly in vol. VIII. of the Benedictine edition, and in volumes I. and XI. of the Migne reprint.  Augustin’s personal connection with the sect extending over a period of nine years, and his consummate ability in dealing with this form of error, together with the fact that he quotes largely from Manichæan literature, render his works the highest authority for Manichæism as it existed in the West at the close of the fifth century.]  Comp. also the Acts of Councils against the Manichæans from the fourth century onwards, in Mansi and Hefele [and Hardouin].



Baur discredits this claim on internal grounds (Das Manich. Religionssystem, p. 7).

Next: Section II