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Manichaeism in the Early Sasanian Empire

Manfred Hutter
Numen
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1993), pp. 2-15
Published by: Brill
DOI: 10.2307/3270395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3270395
Page Count: 14
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Manichaeism in the Early Sasanian Empire
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Abstract

It is well-known that Mani knew Christian Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and also a little of Buddhism and used different items from these religions. As we can see from the Šābuhragān, the central themes of Mani's teachings at the Sasanian court were the "two principles" and the "three times", but he reworked them and brought them close to Zurwanism, because King Šābuhr did not favour 'orthodox' Zoroastrianism but 'heretical' Zurwanism. Thus Manichaeism could flourish for thirty years within the Sasanian empire. After Šābuhr's death the Zoroastrian priest Kirdīr gained influence at the court, thus Manichaeism -and Zurwanism-met restrictions which finally led to Mani's death. In consequence Manichaeism and Zurwanism, which always favoured universalism, were put aside in order to establish Zoroastrianism as a nationalistic religion in Iran.

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