Ancient Manichaeism: A Great Example of the Christian Insider-Outsider Debate
An interview with Dr. Jae Hee Han
Jae Hee Han
Scholar Jae Han describes the ancient Manichaean Christian religion as an outsider in the minds of Roman western Christians because it originated in Persia. Manichaeans considered themselves Christian, but heresiologists called them “Manichaeans.” In the same vein, Manichaeans called Catholic Christians “Jews.” From a Western perspective, if any religion originated in the East, it can’t be truly Christian. It was unnatural for Westerners (Romans) to consider a religion Christian if it originated in the East.
Dr. Jae Han is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department and in the Program for Judaic Studies at Brown University. He did his undergraduate work at Princeton University and studied with Elaine Pagels. He completed his Master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School and received his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He is broadly interested in “gnostic” literature, especially Manichaean literature, and in contextualizing it with other ancient literature.
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