Historical Who is Who
215 - 276
Mani or Manichaeus was from a Jewish-Christian family background, breaking away in his mid-twenties to form a new movement, inspired by prophetic teaching derived from his heavenly twin brother. This he shared throughout the region and as far away as India, until its suppression and his own execution (by crucifixion) within Persia in 276. Subsequently Manichaeism gained extensive following in N Africa, Western Europe, Turkey and China in centuries to come. His distinctive belief was in a radical cosmic split between good and evil, which led to an opposing duality between the inferior, polluted material world and that of the spirit. Physical activity, including meat-eating and the drinking of wine, and sexual relations, was renounced by the ‘righteous elect’ although acceptable for the ‘auditing’ followers.