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Manichaeism was a major religion that was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani in the Sasanian Empire.
Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian gnostic and religious movements.
Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions. It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. It was briefly the main rival to Christianity in the competition to replace classical paganism. Manichaeism survived longer in the east than in the west, and it appears to have finally faded away after the 14th century in southern China contemporary to the decline in China of the Church of the East during the Ming Dynasty. While most of Manichaeism's original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.
An adherent of Manichaeism is called, especially in older sources, a Manichee, or more recently Manichaean. By extension, the term "manichean" is widely applied (often used as a derogatory term) as an adjective to a philosophy of moral dualism, according to which a moral course of action involves a clear (or simplistic) choice between good and evil, or as a noun to people who hold such a view.
updated Sat. September 16, 2023
March 8, 2018
By evening the following day, Henrichs had transcribed the text. It was a sensation for the history of religion: a detailed tract about Manichaeism, a rival of Christianity founded in Mesopotamia in the third century by a young mystic called Mani, whose autobiographical account of his divine revelations isÃâÃÂ ...
March 8, 2018
Afterglow is Myles's dog book, a work of surpassing strangeness that takes the form of an elegy for a lost pet and converts it into a weird and agitated philosophical inquiry into – well, love, life, death, the bardo states in between, plaid, pathetic art, Manichaeism, lost parents, animal vision, alcoholism, IrelandÃâÃÂ ...
New York Times
March 3, 2018
But the film also avoids being Manichaean, and it captures well how Lebanon's fundamental structural problems have barely changed: minorities' fear of the other and their existential anxiety, clientelism and corruption, the shameless manipulation of popular resentment by politicians. In 1991, soon after theÃâÃÂ ...
IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters
March 3, 2018
The aim of this invasion of political correctness in our lives is to begin remedying an ancestral situation, but it also brings with it the risk of creating a new Manichaeism – unjust and absurd like all others – where what is correct (difficult to define, as always, and of course from my point of view) is inÃâÃÂ ...
The Japan Times
February 28, 2018
To Busch, the actual spaces in Japan physically manifest the cultural idea of “the way” at the same time European spaces emphasize one truth, a Manichaean separation of the world into light and darkness. “It's a fundamentally different way of conceiving things. Philosophically it's fascinating, and if you tryÃâÃÂ ...
February 23, 2018
such Manichaean claims like “You're either with us or you're against us.” But so much of leftism makes sense when you realize it's a species of Christian heresy, gnostic millenarianism to be exact, that perverts so many of orthodox Christianity's fundamental teachings. In this case, it's Jesus' teaching,ÃâÃÂ ...
Center for Research on Globalization
February 20, 2018
Within the much later Sassanid empire(around 400CE) Judaism, Manichaeism and Christianity were tolerated alongside Zoroastrianism which was dominant in western Asia. During such times both the environment and people were able to prosper – free from the constant destructive onslaught of war.
February 20, 2018
Public discourse around artificial intelligence (AI) is often hijacked by themes that belong in fantasy rather than the real world. Iconic AI from pop culture such as HAL 9000 and Agent Smith epitomise a Manichaean obsession with the idea of 'superintelligence' ('the Singularity') that could prove to be goodÃâÃÂ ...
The Augusta Chronicle
February 15, 2018
“Race matters in Black Panther and it matters deeply, not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present and the uses and abuses of power,” states a New York Times review. “That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the worldÃâÃÂ ...
Times Higher Education (THE)
February 14, 2018
One of the errors of the Manichaeans, writes Overholt, is their conviction that democracy is always the best path, in the initial stages of development and for the future. He urges them to contrast Mumbai with Shanghai. In “democratic” India, he contends, “human conditions” are far inferior to those in China.
February 9, 2018
We are drawn to the Manichaean, perhaps because it frees us from the need to consider whether the opposition might have a point or two in its favor. Catherine Nichols, in an excellent recent piece at Aeon, points out that our passionate attachment to tales of good vs. absolute evil is a comparatively recentÃâÃÂ ...
New York Times
February 8, 2018
“Race matters in 'Black Panther' and it matters deeply,” Ms. Dargis writes, “not in terms of Manichaean good guys and bad, but as a means to explore larger human concerns about the past, the present, and the uses and abuses of power. That alone makes it more thoughtful about how the world works thanÃâÃÂ ...
July 18, 2017
So, Spadaro and Figueroa diagnose a Manichaean dualism that first occasioned, and now is driven by, an unlikely alliance of nominal Christians (they don't say it, but you can't be a Christian and a Manichaean dualist) who are political and social conservatives in thrall to a bizarre theory of history imbuedÃâÃÂ ...
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