"The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD marked the beginning of a new era in Christianity. For the first time, doctrines were organized into a single creed. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers did most of their writing during and after this important event in Church history. Unlike the previous era of Christian writing, the Nicene and Post-Nicene era is dominated by a few very important and prolific writers.
In Volume IV of the 14-volume collected writings of the Nicenes and Post-Nicenes (first published between 1886 and 1889), readers will find Augustine¿s writings defending the Catholic church against the Manichaeans and the Donatists. Manichaeanism was a religion developed in Persia by the prophet Mani. According to this religion, creation has two parts: darkness and light. Light is God and has ten attributes. Opposing this, and coeternal with it, is darkness and its five attributes.
Saint Augustine was originally a Manichaean, so his defense of Christianity against this religion comes from a deep understanding of its nature. Donatists were a group of believers who refused to forgive those who had renounced their faith during a time of persecution, which caused a schism in Christianity. In opposing these men, Augustine attempted to mend the rift.
Those with an interest in ancient religions will find Augustine¿s writings on Manichaeanism one of the most important historical records of that religion¿s practices."