Both Manichaeism and esoteric Platonism (Plato's 'agrapha dogmata') have an ontological core that is characterized as a strict dualism of primary principles called the Matter (Hyle), and the Good (Agathon). In this context it is certainly a well- posed question whether there is some structural or even phenomenological similarity between these two distinct views concerning a fundamental nature of reality. The article proceeds first to discuss the ontological dualism and theological monotheism of Manichaean gnostic system and then to demonstrate its essentially Judeo-Christian character showing up vividly in its overtly monotheistic formulations concerning the power of the Good (God). The esoteric Platonic teachings are briefly sketched as reconstructed in the so-called Tübingen School, and their central metaphysical dualism is considerably accentuated. Finally, the author presents the set of similarities and dissimilarities between Platonic and Manichaean dualism, and shows that they are essentially comparable on the structural level, despite the fact that they were produced in quite different historical and spiritual 'milieu'. The similarity in perceiving the bipolar structure of reality is stressed, with the different modes of cognition involved (Platonic 'theoria-noesis-epopteia', and Manichaean 'gnosis-apokalypsis').
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