No specific requirements are needed for this course.
Manichaeism was the first religion that was designed by its founder as a religion destined to replace all others. It originated in third-century Mesopotamia but spread all over the ancient world at lightning speed. Wherever Manichaeans went, they took with them a narrative of the life of their prophet, Mani. Their Christian opponents also wrote lives of Mani, with a completely different message and content. Many scholars have been optimistic about the chances of learning something of the “real” life of Mani by a careful analysis of the oldest Manichaean version of his life, preserved in the Cologne Mani Codex. This claim will be tested by a close contextual study of the various lives of Mani.
- contextual reading of ancient religious texts – historiography of religion and of scholarship in religion – knowledge of Manichaeism, a hugely successful religion that did not make it – new avenues in the study of late antiquity
Mode of instruction
Seminar with readings and presentations.
Participation in class
I. Gardner & S.N.C. Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, Cambridge 2004
M. Vermes, Acta Archelai, Turnhout 2001
(Further readings will be discussed in class)