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The religious innovator Tatian: a precursor of Mani in Syrian Christianity?

Lossl, Josef 2020. The religious innovator Tatian: a precursor of Mani in Syrian Christianity? In: Van Oort, Johannes ed. Manichaeism and Early Christianity: Selected Papers from the 2019 Pretoria Congress, Vol. 99. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, Leiden: Brill, pp. 1-23.

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Abstract

Tatian the Syrian, author of an Oration to the Greeks and the Diatessaron, who flourished in the second half of the second century (150–180+), has long been looked at in the context of the study of the early Christian sources of Manichaeism. In the past attempts were made to draw direct links between Tatian, early Syriac Christianity, and early Manichaeism. F.C. Burkitt, for example, suggested that the name “Tatian” might be the Greek version of the apostle “Addai”, protagonist of the Syriac Doctrine of Addai, which H.J.W. Drijvers later proposed to be a Christian appropriation of a Manichaean tradition. Yet later, J.C. Reeves found many elements that occur in Tatian’s Oration recurring in third-century Mesopotamian literature and thus feed into an emerging Manichaean tradition. This paper does not attempt to draw a direct link between Tatian’s second century teaching and Mani’s teaching but looks at some of Tatian’s teachings as put forward in the Oration. It asks to what extent these show characteristics that may be found later in Mani’s teaching. The focus will be on three areas: 1) Tatian’s concept of Pneuma, the working of which Tatian seems to explain (in some places) in surprisingly materialistic terms; this will be compared with a Manichaean text; 2) Tatian’s assumed “leanings” towards Encratism; and 3) in connection with (2), passages in the Oration that deal with issues related to women and gender. Overall, Tatian’s original thinking in some of these areas is analysed with a view to the concept of “innovation” in late-antique religion.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Publisher: Brill
ISBN: 9789004445451
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 15:15
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/136820

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