Manichaeism and “Manichean”


Manichaeism is a religion founded by the Persian prophet “Mani” in the 200s AD, claiming to be the true synthesis of religious systems known at the time, including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, elements of Christianity, etc.

A central feature of Manichaeism is the theory of two eternal principles—good and evil— and its emphasis on dualistic cosmology (a struggle between forces of good and evil). The religion flourished primarily in Turkestan, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Northern India, China and Tibet, but died out by around 1000 AD.

The term “Manichean” is widely applied today to mean moral dualism, involving a clear (often overly simplistic) characterization of choices of good and evil.