Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 11. The Heresies of the Ante-Nicene Age” Sections 112-136, Loc. 17655-18757.
§ 136. The Manichaean System.
Schaff asserts that Mainchaeism is constructed from many different elements and that it at once seems very materialistic in nature and also opposed to materialism (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18696). It contains a strong dualism and asceticism. It rejects Judaism and th Old Testament, taking the apocryphal gospels as authoritative.
Manichaen theology is based on “an irreconcilable antagonism between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18702). This is an eternal conflict from which the current world sprang. It sees Adam as created by Satan (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18708), with Eve also provided by Satan. Cain and Abel are children of Satan and Eve, while Seth is the child of Adam and Eve. All humans have a combination of light and darkness, but males have more light. The Christ redeemed light from darkness. Manichaeism rejects any idea of an incarnation and asserts that the apostles, bound by Judaism, falsified their claims (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18713). Schaff considers that Manichaeism, “instead of being, as it pretends, a liberation of light from darkness, is really a turning of light into darkness” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18725).
Because Manichaeans considered matter to be intrinsically evil, they engaged in rigorous asceticism (Schaff 2014, Loc. 418725). The goal was to get the soul, which is good, set free from bondage to matter. This was accomplished through a threefold “seal” - purity in words and diet, purity in property, and celibacy (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18732).
The Manichaeans had a strict, heirarchical organization (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18736). There were twelve apostolic figures, 72 bishops, and, under them, various other authorities (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18740). Their worship consisted of four daily times of formal prayers, focused on honoring the sun as the redeemer-light. They held some sacraments, but those were kept largely secret, so Schaff notes we know little of them (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18748).