Original Research - Special Collection: Christina Landman Festschrift

John Chrysostom on Manichaeism

Chris L. de Wet
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5515 | © 2019 Chris L. de Wet | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2019 | Published: 04 September 2019

About the author(s)

Chris L. de Wet, New Testament and Early Christian Studies, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity, Adelaide, Australia


This article examines John Chrysostom’s (ca. 349–407 CE) statements about Manichaeism. The study enquires regarding the extent of Chrysostom’s knowledge of Manichaean beliefs and practices, and whether he possibly had contact with Manichaeans. The study is not so much interested in determining how accurately or inaccurately Chrysostom understands and characterises Manichaeism, although at some points the analysis does venture into some of these issues. In the first instance, Chrysostom’s views about Manichaean theology and, especially, Christology are delineated. Proceeding from the negative evaluation of the material cosmos in Manichaeism, the study then looks at Chrysostom’s critique of Manichaean views of the body, especially as it relates to freedom of choice. Chrysostom’s accusations of Manichaean practices, namely, starving as salvation and the accusation of castration, are also examined. Finally, Chrysostom’s response to the Manichaean rejection of a corporeal resurrection is analysed, after which some conclusions are drawn.


John Chrysostom; Manichaeism; Late antiquity; Corporeal resurrection; Practices of Manichaeans


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