Dear Admin, I was wondering what your opinion of …
Comment posted Lifestyle of Kerala Syrian Christians by John Mathew.
I was wondering what your opinion of W. Germann’s allegation (as reported by the 1911 Encyclo. Britannica’s article on Manichaeanism found at: http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Manichaeism) that Manichaeans lived beside the St. Thomas Christians in the 15th century? Does the Synod of Diamper make any reference to Manichaeans? How about the “Book of Persian Medicine” that was (supposedly) denounced at Diamper?
I understand and have read that in the Middle East, Gnostic Christians, Manichaeans, and Bardaisanites were persecuted by Christians and Muslims (with the Church of the East taking a dominant role thanks to its dominant position in the East). However, since in Kerala the Christians were, after all, a minority in a sea of Buddhism (in early times) and Hinduism (both of which were probably not hostile to Manichaeanism), I don’t think the Christians would have been in a position to severely persecute the Manichaeans. Moreover, being allied speakers of Syriac, perhaps the Manichaeans would have been seen as being somewhat close to us and hence it would not have been wise to actively persecute them (after all, minorities often stick together, until they become strong enough to fight!).
I’m not speaking from authority, obviously (just “brain storming” as George Mathew puts it!). But I think there might be more to this than meets the eye. I don’t think the Persian crosses are Manichaean, however, since like you mentioned, (1) the inscriptions seem very Christian (although, the Manichaeans had some Christian beliefs) and (2) Pahlavi was also used by Nestorian/Jacobites Christians (thanks Admin, for pointing this out!). But I also think that the absence of Manichaean monuments in Kerala is not proof against Manichaeanism either: after all, Christian monuments in Kerala haven’t been dated that far back, and the existence of our manuscripts also only goes back to the 13th century (as far as I can see from the SRITE project). Also, Buddhist monuments have turned up in Mavelikara after being buried in paddy fields for several centuries—perhaps there are similar buried Manichaean monuments…
Related NSC Network Articles
- Some of the traditions and rituals among the Syrian Christians of Kerala
- ‘The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Demographic and Socio-Economic Transition In The Twentieth Century’ by K. C. Zachariah
- ‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India’- Volume II , Chief Editor Prof.George Menachery
- Names, Middle Names and Last Names among the Syrian Christians
- ‘The Indian Christians of St. Thomas’ by Dr. Leslie Brown
- A Syrian Christian Family Portrait – Circa 1620 A.D.
- ‘St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews and Sangam Literature – A Historical Appraisal’, Bosco Puthur (Editor)
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