Selections from Bayle's Dictionary

By Pierre Bayle; E. A. Beller et al. | Go to book overview

Manichees , heretics, whose infamous sect, founded by one Manes,A begun in the IIId century, and established itself in several provinces, and subsisted a very long time.

[He was a Persian by nation, of a very mean birth, but "well-shaped, and of a good wit," which was the reason that a widow, who bought him, "took a liking to him, adopted him for her son, and took care to have him instructed, by the magi, in the discipline and philosophy of the Persians; wherein he improved so much, that being otherwise naturally eloquent, and expressing himself easily, and with a good grace, he acquired the reputation of a subtile and learned Philosopher."1 He studied chiefly the books of a certain Arabian called Scythianus, and took from him the greatest part of his wicked doctrines. Terebinthus, heir to the estate, money, and impieties of Scythianus, had brought upon himself a great persecution, for having published some doctrines in Persia, and fled to this widow's house. He made a very tragical end; his books and money remained with the widow, and by this means Manes found in her house the writings of Scythianus. "When, according to his* custom, he ascended in the night-time to the top of the house2 to invoke, upon the platform, the demons of the air, as the Manichees have since done in their execrable ceremonies, he was suddenly struck with a blow from heaven, which threw him down from the top to the bottom upon the ground, whereby his head was crushed, and his neck broken"3 St. Epiphanius relates, that Scythianus had the same fate; that is, that he fell from the top of the house.4 Others say, that the devil carried Terebinthus into a desert, and there strangled him, and that Scythianus was crushed under the ruins of his house at Jerusalem.5 They say also

A

____________________
*
ED. NOTE: i.e., Terebinthus.
1
Maimbourg History of St. Leo, book i, pag.71.
2
That is, the widow's house.
3
Maimbourg, ubi supra.
4
Epiphan. adv. Haeres, pag.620.
5
Lamb. Danaeus, notis in librum August, de Haeresibus, fol. 118 verso.

-157-

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Selections from Bayle's Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Editorial Notes xxxiii
  • ABDAS 3
  • ADAM 8
  • ANABAPTISTS 26
  • AUGUSTIN 49
  • BERNARD 77
  • CASTILE 83
  • CONSTANCE 93
  • DAVID 96
  • Hobbes 125
  • JAPAN 142
  • KNUZEN 153
  • MANICHEES 157
  • POQUELIN 183
  • PYRRHO 202
  • REMOND 225
  • RUGGERI 241
  • SARAH 262
  • SPINOZA 291
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