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Kirchengeschichte: Allgemeines


Oort, Johannes van, Wermelinger, Otto, u. Gregor Wurst [Eds.]


Augustine and Manichaeism in the Latin West. Proceedings of the Fribourg-Utrecht Symposium of the International Association of Manichaean Studies (IAMS).


Leiden-Boston-Köln: Brill 2001. X, 337 S. gr.8 = Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 49. Geb. Euro 95,00. ISBN 90-04-11423-8.


Bronwen Neil

As the title indicates, this volume contains the proceedings of the Fribourg-Utrecht Symposium of the International Association of Manichaean Studies. Twenty-two papers presented by scholars from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland are edited here, including those of two of the editors, Johannes van Oort and Gregor Wurst.

The international symposium, held at Fribourg, Switzerland on 8-11 July 1998, was the fruit of a collaboration between the Seminar of Patristic Studies at the University of Fribourg, and the Faculty of Theology of the University of Utrecht. It represents the fourth symposium of the IAMS, the fifth being held in Sydney in 1999. The two-page preface by the editors of the volume rehearses these facts but does not attempt to draw out common themes or new findings of the Symposium. Obviously it will not be possible within the scope of this review to appraise every one of the contributions. Instead I shall attempt a brief survey of most of the topics covered.

The impact of Augustine of Hippo's more than nine years as a Hearer with the Manichean sect has provoked many questions among scholars of his work and thought. Several of the authors represented in this volume, and particularly Werner Sundermann, "Das Manichäerkapitel des Skand gumang wizar in der Darstellung und Deutung Jean de Menasces", acknowledge the debt of those in the field to the ground-breaking work of Pierre Jean de Menasce, professor of Missiology and History of Religions in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg (1938-1948), and author of the seminal article, "Augustin manichéen" in Freundesgabe für E. R Curtius (Bern 1956), 79-93.

The papers can be roughly divided (allowing for some overlap) into the following categories: 1. philosophy and theology (both Catholic and Manichaean); 2. textual analyses; 3. exegetical studies. These categories reveal the interdisciplinary nature of Manichaean studies, stretching as it does from "Latin patristics in the West to Chinese studies in the East" (Preface, ix). This range of content is both the strength and the weakness of any such collection.

One of the exceptional features of the volume is the linguistic range of sources under discussion. As noted in Samuel Lieu's comprehensive survey of the development of the Dictionary of Manichaean Texts project ("Lexicographica Manichaica", 140), Manichaean texts survive to us from the Roman Empire in Syriac, Greek, Coptic, and Latin; from Mesopotamia and Iran in East Syriac, Arabic, Pahlavi and New Persian, and from Central Asia in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Tocharian and Bactrian, Old Turkish and Chinese. The focus of a symposium on Augustine and Manicheanism in the Latin West is obviously on the sources of the western Roman empire. In this group we find discussions of the Coptic, Syriac, Greek, and Latin sources which naturally predominate.

Exceptions to this western focus are the articles of W. Sundermann, who discusses the Manichaean chapters of the Skand gumang wizar by Zoroastrian Mardan-farrox; and of J. Tubach and M. Zakeri, "Mani's name", which refers to Persian, Arabic, Zoroastrian, Sanskrit and Hebrew (as well as Latin, Greek, and Aramaic/Syriac) etymologies.

Augustine's fifteen anti-Manichean treatises have preserved many fragments of Manichaean texts - albeit recalled from a hostile perspective - that have not survived intact elsewhere. These texts, such as Faustus of Milevis' Capitula, Epistula fundamenti, and Epistola ad Menoch, are the focus of several of the textual studies included here (e. g. G. Wurst, "Bemerkungen zu Struktur und genus litterarium der Capitula des Faustus von Mileve"; E. Smagina, "Das manichäische Kreuz des Lichts und der Jesus patibilis"; M. Scopello, "L'Epistula fundamenti à la lumiere des sources manichéennes du Fayoum"; J. van Oort, "Secundini Manichaei Epistula: Roman Manichaean Biblical Argument in the Age of Augustine", which examines Secundinus' knowledge and use of biblical texts).

Others concentrate on the anti-Manichean texts themselves: De moribus ecclesiae catholicae, De moribus manichaeorum (J. Kevin Coyle, "What did Augustine know about Manichaeism when he wrote his two treatises De moribus?"), De Genesis contra Manichaeos (D. Weber, "Augustinus, De Genesis contra Manichaeos. Zu Augustins Darstellung und Widerlegung der manichäischen Kritik am biblischen Schöpfungsbericht"), Contra Adimantum, Contra epistulam fundamenti (J. Ries, "Jesus Sauveur dans la controverse anti-manichéenne de saint Augustin"), Contra Faustum, Contra Secundinum (G. Sfameni Gasparro, "Au cur du dualisme manichéen: La polemique augustinienne contre la notion de mutabilité de Dieu dans le Contra Secundinum"), Contra Felicem (F. Decret, "Objectif premier visé par Augustin dans ses controverses orales avec les responsables manichéens d'Hippone"), De natura boni, De duabus animabus, and the Manichaean section of De haeresibus. M.-A. Vannier, "L'interpretation augustinienne de la creation et l'émanatisme manichéen", draws on many of these treatises in her study of Augustine's application of scriptural exegesis in his refutation of the Manichaean cosmogony.

Other textual studies which fall outside the heading of anti-Manichaean treatises are those I. Bochet, "L'unité du De unitate credendi d'Augustin" and W. Beltz, "Augustins manichäischer Erbteil, dargestellt an De mendacio und Contra mendacium".

Important philosophical and theological questions raised by the papers which focus on these texts include: What did Augustine know about Manichaeism when he was a Hearer or afterwards? How reliable a witness was he? (J. Kevin Coyle). Was the conversion of Augustine to Neo-Platonism a Christian or a philosophical one? How radical was Augustine's separation from Manichaeism, since he could not free himself from the culture in which Catholic and Manichaean Christians lived together (W. Beltz)? What books of the Manichaeans did Augustine read and what did he learn from discussions, lectures and preaching (K. Rudolph, "Augustinus Manichaicus - das Problem von Konstanz und Wandel")? What was the understanding of "faith" and its relation to "insight" in the Latin Manichaean sources (A. Hoffman, "Erst einsehen, dann glauben. Die nordafrikanischen Manichäer zwischen Erkenntnisanspruch, Glaubensforderung und Glaubenskritik")? How should we evaluate contemporary charges of Manichaeism against Augustine, such as those made by the Pelagian Julian of Aeclanum (M. Lamberigts, "Was Augustine a Manichaean? The Assessment of Julian of Aeclanum")? To what degree is the claim of the Pelagians justified, that the later Augustine's doctrines of predestination and original sin were the result of a relapse into his old Manichaean ideas (A. Magris, "Augustins Prädestinationslehre und die manichäischen Quellen")?

Two papers which fall outside the three thematic categories mentioned above are H. G. Schipper, "Melothesia: A Chapter of Manichaean Astrology in the West", which looks at the scheme of correspondence between astral signs and human limbs presented in the Coptic Kephalaion LXX; and M. Stein, "Bemerkungen zum Kodex von Tebessa", which offers a transcription of the first six folia of this important manuscript of ancient Theveste. Unfortunately the reader is not aided by any indices. However some authors have supplied useful bibliographies (e. g. W. Sundermann, A. Hoffmann, G. Wurst, and S. G. Richter, "Bemerkungen zu verschiedenen Jesus-Figuren im Manichäismus"). Scholars of Augustine and of Manichaeism in general will find much of value and interest in this collection.