Felix the Manichaean

Felix The Manichaean was a contemporary of Augustine. He was an elder or elect of the Manichaeans, and had gone to Hippo to gain converts for his sect. Augustine had a discussion with him in the church of Hippo in the presence of the congregation which lasted two days. The proceedings were taken down by notaries, and are still extant (vol. viii of the Benedictine edition of Augustine's works: De actis cum Felice Manichezo, libri ii). On the day before the disputation, Felix declared his readiness to be burned with his books if anything wrong could be found in them; but during the disputation he is reported to have been timid, weak, evasive, and it was thought that be wished to flee. Before the disputation began, his books were taken from him, and placed under the public seal. Felix undertook to prove that Mani was the Paraclete who had been promised by Christ, and he used as an argument the information given by Mani on the construction of the world, on which nothing could be found in Paul and the writings of the other apostles. Augustine replied that the Paraclete had the mission to teach the truths of religion, but not to expound mathematics. The result of the disputation was that Felix declared himself refuted, and publicly renounced and cursed Mani. The protocol of the disputation was signed by both Augustine and Felix. Posidius, in the Life of Augustine, also states that Felix, after the third meeting, acknowledged his error, and accepted the faith of the Church.-Herzog, Real Encykl. 4:350.

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