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HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies

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Biblical quotations in Faustus’s Capitula

JA van den Berg

Abstract


Scholars are still of the opinion that Augustine first started to read and discuss the Bible only once he became a Catholic Christian, or even only after his appointment as a Catholic priest. The possibility of Manichaean influences on Augustine’s reproduction of biblical texts is therefore,
in many cases, not taken into account. However, the study of (Latin) Manichaean sources gives us reason to rethink that position. This article is an investigation of the use of Scripture in the most extensive, still existing Manichaean work, originally written in Latin, namely the Capitula. Its author was the Manichaean bishop Faustus (flor. app. 380 CE Roman Africa). The most important subject in the Capitula concerns those parts of Scripture that bear relevance to the real Christian. Therefore, the work provides important insight into the Manichaeans’ use and appreciation of Scripture. Faustus was well-known to the young Augustine and as a
consequence the Capitula could well give us important insights into Augustine’s knowledge of and opinions on Scripture as a Manichaean hearer. One problem with this theory is the fact that Augustine only received the work some 13 years after his conversion to Catholic
Christianity. However, the examination of the quotations from Scripture, that have as its focus those from the Old Testament, illustrates, amongst others, that Faustus mainly used Biblical texts already quoted in the works of Addas/Adimantus (flor. 270 CE). The Capitula turns out to be an eloquent recycling of earlier Manichaean biblical arguments – a fact that makes it very likely that the content of the Capitula was known to Augustine in his Manichaean years. As a consequence, one should reckon with Manichaean influence on Augustine’s reproduction of biblical texts.



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