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  Manichaeism, named after its founder Manes or Mani (c. 215 - 275 CE), is principally remembered today for the effect it had on Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who was a Manichee for nine years before he converted to Christianity. Although he rejected the excessive austerities and dualism of the Manichees, such was Augustine\'s hatred, after his conversion, of sexuality and women that it is sometimes questioned whether he was fully converted. He might have derived his doctrine of the utter depravity of humankind, which has had such a great influence on Western theology, from them. Like other adherents of Gnosticism, Manes taught that particles of light had been stolen by an evil spirit from the World of Light and trapped in the human brain, and that his teaching, a continuation of that of the Buddha and Christ, would liberate human beings from the realm of light. Despite persecution, the sect spread rapidly from Seleucia-Ctesiphon, capital of the Persian Empire, to Rome and Egypt in the 4th century—and from references in medieval Muslim historians, it seems to have persisted in Chinese Turkestan until the 13th century. EMJ

Further reading A. Jackson, Researches in Manichaeism (1932).



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