The teaching of Mani (216–277 CE) was essentially Gnostic, its constituent elements deriving from Judaism, Judeo-Christianity, and Iranian religion, especially Zoroastrianism in its Zurwānist form. It incorporated features from Marcion of Pontus (d. c. 160 CE) and from pluralistic Syriac Christianity represented by Bardesanes (Bardaisan) of Edessa (154–222 CE). According to the Cologne Mani Codex and several other primary texts discovered in Egypt, it is basically correct to see early Manichaeism as a kind of Christian heresy.

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