“Against Mani’s Dark Opinion”: Anti-Manichaean Polemics in the Syriac Tradition

Foredrag v. postdoc, ph.d. Flavia Ruani, Ghent University, Department of Literary Studies, arrangeret af forskningsenheden Den Kristne Orient

20.08.2015 | Mikkel Pade

Dato fre 27 nov
Tid 13:15 16:00
Sted Nobelparken, Bygning 1453, lok. 513, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 3

This lecture deals with the Syriac authors who polemicized against Mani and the religion he founded in the middle of the 3rd century AD. These Syriac authors considered Manichaeism one of the most threatening Christian heresies. The lecture will provide a chronological overview of the anti-Manichaean polemical texts throughout Syriac literary history: from the first heresiographer, Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373 AD), to thirteenth-century authors, like Jacob bar Šakko and Gregory Barhebraeus. It will also present some unedited materials found in Syriac manuscripts, and influential Greek polemical texts translated into Syriac will be taken into account as well. Special focus will be placed on the literary genres used in the polemic; the themes which prompted the controversies each time: doctrinal elements, rituals, behavioral codes, etc.; and the kinds of arguments and sources Syriac Christian authors used to refute Manichaeism. Studying how Syriac authors in particular criticized Manichaeism over the centuries can prove revealing both for the recovery of Mani’s ipsissima verba that they may unwillingly transmit, since Mani himself composed several works, now lost, in a Semitic language very similar to Syriac; and for the understanding of how non-Greek Eastern Christians, although perhaps less famous than their Greek counterparts, participated in the same polemical struggle. This lecture is likely to interest scholars of Oriental Christianity, the History of Manichaeism, and the polemical literature of other Christian traditions.


Forelæsning / foredrag