Mani the Anchorite, Mani the Apostle: The Cologne Mani Codex and Syrian Asceticism

In: Vigiliae Christianae
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  • 1 Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies, Brown University6752, Providence, RI, USA
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The Apostle of Jesus Christ, Mani, declares himself to be a “solitary one” (monērēs) no less than three times in the Cologne Mani Codex (CMC). Through a literary analysis that contextualizes the CMC both with contemporary Syrian depictions of anchoritic ascetics, on the one hand, and the hairy mountaineering anchorite (CMC 126.4-129.17) with Mani, on the other hand, this article argues that the redactor of the CMC sought to portray Mani as an anchoritic ascetic. Mani’s declaration to be a monērēs is therefore not incidental, but an essential marker of his identity, even as he sets out into the world as the Apostle of Jesus Christ.

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