Etymology
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Manichaeism (n.)

1550s, "the religion of the Manichees" (late 14c.) a Gnostic Christian sect named for its founder, Mani (Latin Manichæus), c. 215-275, Syriac-speaking apostle from a Jesus cult in Mesopotamia in 240s, who taught a universal religion. Vegetarian and visionary, they saw "particles of light and goodness" trapped in evil matter and regarded Satan as co-eternal with God. The universe was a scene of struggle between good and evil.

The sect was characterized by dualism and a double-standard of perfectionist "elects" and a larger group of fellow travelers who would require several reincarnations before their particles of light would be liberated. It spread through the Roman Empire and survived at late as 7c.; its doctrines were revived or redeveloped by the Albigenses and Catharists.

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Definitions of Manichaeism

Manichaeism (n.)
a religion founded by Manes in the third century; a synthesis of Zoroastrian dualism between light and dark and Babylonian folklore and Buddhist ethics and superficial elements of Christianity; spread widely in the Roman Empire but had largely died out by 1000;
Synonyms: Manichaeanism
From wordnet.princeton.edu