Manichaean Women in a Pseudo-Augustinian Testimony: An Analysis of the North African Testimonium de Manichaeis sectatoribus

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Johannes van Oort University of Pretoria

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The article analyses the rather unknown and understudied Testimonium de Manichaeis sectatoribus. This Pseudo-Augustinian text has come down to us in two Latin manuscripts (one from Saint Gervais, Paris; the other from a Vatican codex) and interestingly elucidates the place and role of women among the Manichaeans of Roman Africa. Differences between the mss lead to the conclusion that, in all likelihood, the text underwent some ‘masculinisation’ in the course of its tradition. In its (in all probability) most original form, i.e., in the ms from Saint Gervais, Manichaean women appear to have played a major role. On the basis of the Testimonium, furthermore, it may be suggested that—at least in Roman Africa—female Manichaeans were (re)named with names that were highly symbolic to the ‘Religion of Light’.

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