The Manichaeans of the Roman East

Manichaeism in Greek anti-Manichaica & Roman Imperial Legislation


The Manichaeans of the Roman East is the first monograph that synthesizes an enormous body of primary material to reconstruct the history of East-Roman Manichaeans, from the time their first missionaries arrived in the territory of the Roman East until the disappearance of Manichaeism from the Eastern Roman Empire. Through her systematically comparative and intertextual investigation of the sources, Matsangou provides a number of original approaches to issues such as the classification of Manichaeism, the socio-religious profile and lifestyle of East Roman Manichaeans, the triggers of the severe anti-Manichaean persecutions. She thoroughly analyses the relationship between Manichaean and Christian ascetics for the first time, suggesting a possible Manichaean impact on the rise of ascetic manifestations among Christian ascetics, monks, and individuals in society. By considering the dimensions of the phenomenon of crypto-Manichaeism and using the concept of “entryism”—borrowed from politics—as a theoretical model, Matsangou makes intriguing hypotheses suggesting an alternative explanation for the disappearance of Manichaeism from the Roman East.

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Rea Matsangou, Ph.D. (2021), Leiden University, is a member of the academic staff at the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly. Her recent publications include 'The ‘Children’ of the Manichaeans: Wandering extreme Ascetics in the Roman East compared' in Manichaeism and Early Christianity (J. van Oort, ed.) (Brill, 2021).
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations and Translations
 Primary Sources (Ancient Texts)
 Secondary Sources (Journals, Encyclopedias, Series, etc.)
 A Note on Translations and Editions of Primary Sources and Referencing System

 1 Introduction
 2 The History of the Study of Manichaeism
 3 Greek Anti-Manichaica (Christian and Pagan) in Manichaean Studies
 4 Significance, Purpose, Aim, Focus of the Study
 5 Methodological Considerations
 6 Outline of the Structure and Research Questions

1 An Introductory Presentation of Selected Sources of Greek Anti-Manichaica
 1 Introduction
 2 Acta Archelai (AA) and its Echoes in Subsequent Literature
 3 Abjuration Formulas (AFs): The Seven Chapters (SC)
 4 Later Echoes of the Acta Archelai and the Abjuration Formulas
 5 Alexander of Lycopolis’ Contra Manichaei opiniones disputatio
 6 Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos

2 The Arrival and Spread of Manichaeism in the Roman East
 1 Introduction
 2 The First Reports about Mani and Manichaean Missionaries
 3 The Manichaean Books in Greek Anti-Manichaica
 4 The Manichaean Hierarchy
 5 First Manichaean Missionaries in Greek Anti-Manichaica
 6 The Ways of Diffusion
 7 Manichaean Missionary Methods and Strategies
 8 Conclusions

3 The Manichaeans in Roman Imperial Legislation
 1 Introduction
 2 Time-Space Mapping of the Manichaean ‘Sect’ in Roman Territory
 3 The Profile (Crime) of Manichaeans in the Eyes of the Law
 4 Effects of the Implementation – or Not – of the Law on the Everyday Life of the Manichaeans
 5 Conclusions

4 Classifying Manichaeism
 1 Introduction
 2 Manichaean Religious Profile According to the Christian Authors
 3 Manichaean Religious Profile According to the Pagan Authors
 4 Conclusions

5 Manichaean Beliefs and Practices
 1 Introduction
 2 Manichaean Beliefs and their Implications in Religious Everyday Life
 3 Manichaean Beliefs and Their Implication in Everyday Social Life
 4 Conclusions

6 Manichaeism in Society
 1 Introduction
 2 Manichaeism as an Appealing Model: To Whom and Why
 3 Appeal to and Relationship with Other (Extreme) Ascetic Groups
 4 Socially Alarming Dimensions of Manichaean Attractiveness and Ways to Deal with Them
 5 Political Reflections on the Anti-Manichaean Discourse
 6 Conclusions

7 Manichaean Communities, Churches, and Individuals
 1 Introduction
 2 Manichaean Communities and Churches in Named Cities
 3 ‘Manichaean’ Individuals: Real or Imagined?
 4 Conclusions

8 The Dissolution of Manichaeism in the Roman East
 1 Introduction
 2 Persecutions, Executions, and Conversions
 3 Manichaean Views on Martyrdom (According to Anti-Manichaean Authors)
 4 Manichaean Views on Martyrdom (According to Manichaean Sources)
 5 On the Converted Manichaeans: Sincere and False Conversions
 6 Crypto-Manichaeism Was an Old Story
 7 The Hypothesis of Entryism
 8 Manichaean Features Supporting the Hypothesis of Entryism
 9 Comparative Evidence Supporting the Hypothesis of Entryism
 10 Conclusions
 1 Introduction
 2 Real and Imagined Manichaeans
 3 The Question of the Silence of the Sources
 4 Why Were Manichaeans Persecuted to Such an Intense Degree?
 5 Manichaean Group Identity and Its Transformation Over Time

Index of Ancient Authors and Sources
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Names and Subjects
Scholars interested in the history of Eastern Roman Manichaeism, in the interreligious contact, relation and interaction between Christianity and Manichaeism, in religious diversity in Late Antiquity and its treatment by the official Church and state.
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