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Title: More Zoroastrian than Zoroaster?
Subtitle: The Problem of Zoroastrian Influence on Manichaeism Illustrated by a Version of the Manichaean Myth Preserved in Severus of Antioch, Titus of Bostra and Theodoret of Cyrus
Author(s): GLEEDE, Benjamin
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 96    Issue: 2   Date: 2020   
Pages: 261-289
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.96.2.3288274

Abstract :
The extent and modalities of Zoroastrian influence on Manichaeism is examined here on the basis of a version of the Manichaean myth attested in the heresiographical testimony of three late ancient Christian polemicists, Titus of Bostra, Theodoret of Cyrus and Severus of Antioch. A comparison of these three versions yields a stable picture of the narrative structure of myth, as it was presented by Mani probably in his Living Gospel. The story about the two principles interacting in the creation of the world and man and the battle between good and evil finally leading to salvation is told here in eight clearly discernible steps, the first three of which resemble the Zoroastrian creation story, as we know if form the Great Bundahishn and the Zadspram, very closely. Especially here, however, we detect some conscious remodeling from the Manichaean side aiming at eliminating any kind of dependence of the principles on a primordial spatio-temporal medium. In doing so, Mani and his followers probably intended to be more Zoroastrian than the Zoroastrians in consequently bringing to bear the dualism of the Gathas also in the context of the cosmological myth.

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