This first came into prominence in the opening decades of the 2nd century A.D., but is certainly older; it reached its height in the second third of the same century, and began to wane about the 3rd century, and from the second half of the 3rd century onwards was replaced by the closely-related and more powerful Manichaean movement.
The only part of the Manichaean mythology that became popular was the crude, physical dualism.
The distinction between electi and auditores, however, does not exhaust the conception of the Manichaean Church; on the contrary, the latter possessed a hierarchy of three ranks, so that there were altogether five gradations in the community.
A Manichaean epistle, addressed to one Marcellus, has, however, been preserved for us in the Acta Archelai.
They must be named first, because ancient Manichaean writings have been used in their construction.
In the Manichaean system it is related how the helper of the Primal Man, the spirit of life, captured the evil archontes, and fastened them to the firmament, or according to another account, flayed them, and formed the firmament from their skin (F.
But in addition to these doctrines of an adoptionist origin, they held the Manichaean dualistic conception of the origin of the world.
In genuine Manichaean documents we only find the name Mani, but Manes, Maims, Manichaeus, meet us in 4th-century Greek and Latin documents.
The Manichaean system is one of consistent, uncompromising dualism, in the form of a fantastic philosophy of nature.
Augustine was an auditor for nine years, while Faustus was at that time the most esteemed Manichaean teacher in the West.