Peter's Science and Religion Pages
Science & Religion
I am not a Manichean scholar but picked this info up from various sources over a long time.
Mani lived 216 to 276 ACE in Mesopotamia.
According to the Cologne Codex (discovered 1970) he was raised in a Jewish-Christian baptist group.
Mani taught that there was a (good) God of Light and an (evil) God of Darkness.
In the Dark Lord's fight against the Light he created the world in which we live as a way of entrapping particles of light. With the Light being dispersed inside physical forms, it was prevented from being an effective force. Thus, anything that promoted or prolonged physical life really continued to entrap the light and help fulfil the Dark Lord's purposes. Working, having houses, even eating and especially procreation were to be minimised or avoided.
The Manichaeans were divided into the "chosen" and the "hearers" depending on their ability to fulfill these requirements.
The "hearers" led ordinary though frugal lives. However, as a "hearer", if you fed the wandering homeless non-working "chosen", then your sins in prolonging the Dark Lord's rule were mitigated because the "chosen" were like "light-sponges". They accumulated particles of light to release them when they died. Cucumbers and melons were said to have a lot of light so they were often offered as gifts to the "chosen".
Mani said that Christ came to liberate the particles of entrapped light by imparting secret knowledge and Mani was the Paraclete promised by Christ.
Mani was patronised by Shapur I, but his son Bahram I, had him imprisoned and flayed alive. His skin was then hung on the city wall.
Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430 ) was a Manichaean "hearer" (which may explain why he wrote "it is still Eve the temptress that we must be aware of in any woman").