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himselfwith evil. As a divine figure, he never truly suffered death on the cross; the Manichaeans believed instead that he feigned death. His suffering was a similitude, an exemplum for the deliverance of our souls; it was the Evil One (and not the real Christ, as other Gnostic teachers alleged) who at a distance stood and laughed at the crucified Christ. As the 'Jesus of Light', he is also a redeemer of the enslaved Light and alongside the Mother of Life and the Living Spirit helps to ferry the freed Light-Particles from the moon to the sun. Finally, as Jesus patibilis, he personifies the suffering of Light-Particles 'crucified' in Matter.23 A Manichaean preacher like Faustus, therefore, could speak in a similar but not identical theological language on such basic doctrinal issues as the Trinity:

We worship one deity, under the threefold title of the Almighty God the Father, and His Son Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. While these are one and the same, we believe also that the Father properly dwells in the highest or principal light, which Paul calls light inaccessible, and the Son is His second or visible light. And as the Son is Himself twofold, according to the Apostle, who speaks of Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God, we believe that His power dwells in the sun, and His wisdom in the moon. We also believe that the Holy Spirit, the third Majesty, has set His seat and His home in the whole circle of the atmosphere. By His influence and spiritual infusion, the earth conceives and brings forth the suffering Jesus, who, as hanging from every tree, is the life and salvation of men. Though you oppose these doctrines so violently, your religion resembles ours in attaching the same sacredness to the bread and wine that we do to everything, this is our belief, which you will have an opportunity of hearing more of, if you wish to do so.24

The sect's rejection of substantial parts of the Old Testament as essential for salvation would have given it an obvious edge in debates given the ambivalent attitude of most Christians towards the Old Covenant in late antiquity. Moreover, the Manichaeans claimed to be true Christians who did not rely on a revision of basic Christian tenets, but who instead maintained that the essence of Christianity was conduct rather than doctrine. Faustus claimed that he accepted the gospel, but by gospel he meant the preaching of Christ -and by the preaching of Christ, he meant exclusively the moral commands. The essence of Christianity therefore was morality, not theology, and Faustus was not slow to insist that professing a doctrine is incomparably easier than submitting to a set of strict moral commands:

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