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Disputation between Saint Augustine and Faustus the Manichean.

Faustus of Mileve was a Manichaean bishop of the fourth century. He is now remembered for his encounter with Augustine of Hippo, in Carthage around 383. He was from Milevis, Numidia (modern Algeria). From a poor, pagan background, he had become a highly reputed teacher, preacher and debater.

Augustine, a Manichaean at that time, questioned Manichaean teachers in Carthage to find answers, but repeatedly was told that Faustus would have them. Once Faustus made himself available, Augustine was extremely impressed with his rhetorical abilities and discipline, but soon learned he did not have the answers to his questions and realized that he was wise enough to not entertain questions for which he had no sound answer or which might force him to argue an undefendable or foolish position. Augustine determined the Manichaean stories unsubstantiated and his questions unanswerable by the Manichaeans, specially Faustus, its most celebrated proponent.[1][2]

Later, after his conversion to Christianity, Augustine wrote a polemical work Contra Faustum.


  • Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China (1992), p. 154
  • Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
  • Philip Schaff. St. Augustin: The Writings Against the Manicheans and Against the Donatists. Series: "A select library of Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church" (vol. 4). Grand Rapids (MI): Eerdmans, 1956.


  1. ^ Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
  2. ^ Paul S. MacDonald, History of the Concept of Mind (2007), p. 146.