Tag Archives: Manichaean

Manichaica and Sogdica from Russia

The latest issue of Written Monuments of the Orient (Institute of Oriental Manuscripts; Asiatic Museum; Russian Academy of Sciences), with two articles regarding the Middle Iranian Studies has been published:
Chunakova, Olga Mikhailovna, Federico Dragoni & Enrico Morano. 2017. A forgotten Manichaean Sogdian bifolio in Sogdian script. Written Monuments of the Orient 1(5). 3–25.
The present paper consists of the first edition, translation and commentary of a Manichaean Sogdian bifolio, whose photos are preserved in the Nachlass of Academician Carl H. Salemann at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS (St. Petersburg). The present location of the bifolio is unknown. One joining fragment has been found in the Berlin Turfan collection during the preliminary work on this edition. Two relatively long portions of Manichaean didactic treatises are extant and do not correspond to any known text. The first (I) is a Lehrtext on the duties of Manichaean monks living in a monastery. The second (II) contains the fourth and part of a fifth question, followed by answers, of a catechetical text concerning the fate of the body and of the soul after death.
Benkato, Adam. 2017. Sogdian letter fragments in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, St. Petersburg. Written Monuments of the Orient 1(5). 26–39.
Among the Sogdian fragments from Turfan preserved in the IOM collections are a handful of epistolary texts. A new edition of these fragments is presented here as part of the author’s ongoing project on Sogdian letters from Turfan.

The second issue of Studia Iranica 45

The second issue of Studia Iranica 45 (2016) has been published. Three papers of this issue are related to our interest:

The presence in the Wizīdagīhā ī Zādspram 28,6 of an explicit reference to the figure 6666 in connection with the manifestation of Ahreman’s arrival into the world immediately suggests a direct comparison with the ‘Number of the Beast’, 666, appearing in the Apocalypse of John, 13, 17-18. The author analyses many symbolic interpretations of this number and its importance in the Early Christian tradition, in particular in the framework of Irenaeus’s Adversus Haereses and the related chiliadic milieu. While the presence of this number in the Mazdean context seems to be another evidence supporting the thesis of a Western influence on Iranian apocalypticism (in spite of the apparent absence of Syriac versions of the Apocalypse of John in earlier times), the circulation of millenaristic doctrines presents a more complex situation, in which also the Iranian component should have played its remarkable impact in earlier times.

A number of Sogdian letter fragments are preserved from the Manichaean communities in Turfan. Although the majority are written in the Sogdian script, a small number are written in a cursive variety of the Manichaean script found only in these texts. Their edition and study provides a brief glimpse into the dynamics of the community. Furthermore, the first paleographic analysis of Manichaean cursive is undertaken.

Ancient tales of giants

Goff, Matthew, Loren Stuckenbruck & Enrico Morano (eds.). 2016. Ancient tales of giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, traditions, and influences (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360). Mohr Siebeck.

While there has been much scholarly attention devoted to the Enochic Book of the Watchers , much less has been paid to the Book of Giants from Qumran. This volume is the proceedings of a conference that convened in Munich, Germany, in June 2014, which was devoted to the giants of Enochic tradition and in particular the Qumran Book of Giants . It engages the topic of the giants in relation to various ancient contexts, including the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient Mesopotamia. The authors of this volume give particular attention to Manichaeism, especially the Manichaean Book of Giants , fragments of which were found in Turfan (western China). They contribute to our understanding of the range of stories Jews told in antiquity about the sons of the watchers who descended to earth and their vibrant Nachleben in Manichaeism.

Continue reading Ancient tales of giants

Mani’s Book of Giants in Sogdian

Fig. 4: So20220/I/R/ and So20220/II/V/ [K20]. Depositum der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung. Photos: Fotostelle der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
Detail of K20 © Berlin-Brandenburgischen
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.

Morano, Enrico. 2016. Some New Sogdian Fragments Related to Mani’s Book of Giants and the Problem of the Influence of Jewish Enochic Literature. In Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck & Enrico Morano (eds.), Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan. Contexts, Traditions, and Influences [Antike Geschichten von Riesen aus Qumran und Turfan. Kontexte, Traditionen und Einflüsse], 187–198. (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament 360). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Enochic influence on Manichaean tradition has long been recognized. Much has been written ever since, both on the Book of Giants and on Enochic literature, but many details still remain obscure, owing to the scantiness of the primary literature and to the poor state of the manuscripts. The present paper aims to give further evidence of the important role that Jewish tradition played in the development of Mani’s religion. In the first part, two still unpublished Sogdian texts from, or related to, Mani’s Book of Giants will be presented and edited for the first time. In the second section, a Sogdian text written on a fragmentary page of a bifolio and clearly linked to Jewish Enochic literature, is edited here for the first time. All these texts are part of the Berlin Turfan collection.
About the Author:
Enrico Morano is retired teacher of Classics in High Schools and the current President of the International Association of Manichaean Studies (IAMS), is a scholar of Ancient Iranian Religions, Manichaeanism and Middle Iranian languages.

Mani’s Living Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg Hymns

This doctoral thesis with the title “Mani’s Living Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg Hymns: Edition, Reconstruction and Commentary with a Codicological and Textological Approach Based on Manichaean Turfan Fragments in the Berlin Collection” deals with the fragments of Mani’s Living Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg hymns (The hymn of the Gospel) discovered in the Turfan Oasis in the early 20th century, preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection. 25 fragments have been studied in this work. Some of these fragments have already been published by other scholars, but only the work presented here aims at finalizing the work begun by others, as I was able to identify new fragments and with their help, was able to complete the fragments available. The combination of the new fragment M5439 with the previously published M17, the former completing the latter, proved to be one of the most important examples for my research on the Middle Persian version of Mani’s Gospel. I was able to reconstruct and conclusively join two of the already published fragments of the Ewangelyōnīg hymns with the help of two new fragments. I have also attempted in the scope of this work, to present an identification of several other fragments that were probably part of Mani’s Gospel. To accomplish this, I have analyzed all the Gnostic-Christian and Iranian sources in depth, and contrasted them with the Manichaean documents, both Iranian and non-Iranian. Thus I was able to present new suggestions and was likewise able to prove or disprove prior assumptions made by others about Mani’s Gospel. To ensure a deeper understanding of the Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg hymns, I have added a few explanatory chapters and paragraphs to this dissertation that mainly deal with the inner and outer structure of the Gospel and serve, as I hope, in establishing a comprehensive relation between the Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg hymns. Further research on the Manichaean sources, e.g. the Greek version of the Gospel and the Coptic Synaxeis on the one hand, and the Greek anti-Manichaean sources and accounts by Muslim writers on the other hand, served to deepen our understanding of the content of the Gospel greatly. By incorporating a study of these sources into this dissertation, I was able to close some of those gaps that impeded our understanding of the Gospel. Some important questions pertaining to the alphabetic structure of the chapters of the Gospel and the abecedarian order of the Parthian (Ewangelyōnīg) hymns, I was able to answer in this work. For some hapax legomena I was able to present a reasonable etymology in this dissertation. This doctoral thesis was not only designed to enlarge our understanding of the Turfan texts by presenting the new texts and reconstructions, moreover the new proposed codicological and textological approaches applied to the texts may serve to facilitate or at least simplify further research in this field.
For more information read the author’s introduction to this volume.
A PDF of this Volume is free accesable for download here.
Table of Contents:

Chapter One. Introduction

  • Aim
  • Material and Content of the Living Gospel and Ewangelyōnīg
  • Hymns
  • Outline of the Study
  • History of Prior Research

Chapter Two. Mani and his Gospel

  • The Living Gospel and Manichaeism
  • Position of the Gospel among the Canonical Writings
  • Names and Epithets
  • Composition Date
  • Chapter Order of the Living Gospel

Chapter Three. Living Gospel and Doubtful Fragments

  • Mani and the New Testament
  • Sayings of Jesus in Tatian’s Διà τεσσάρων and the Nag Hammadi
  • Codices
  • Double-edged Sword: Similarities and Differences
  • Possible Quotations of the Living Gospel in other Sources: An
  • Overview
  • The Paraclete as a Main Point of Issue in the Living Gospel
  • Not Near but not Far: Jesus’ Sayings and Acts
  • Citations of the Living Gospel: Some Tentative Suggestions

Chapter Four. Manichaean Turfan Texts of the Living Gospel

  • Overview and General Concepts
  • Turfan Fragments of the Living Gospel: Critical Middle Persian
  • Text and its Alternating Sogdian Version
  • Text I: M 17
  • Text II: M 172/I/
  • Text III: M 644
  • Text IV: A Newly Recognized Small Fragment: M 5439 [= T II D67]
  • Text V: An as yet Unpublished Manuscript Page in Sogdian Script
  • Return to the Verso Side of M 644
  • Unified Middle Persian Text of the Living Gospel
  • Commentary
  • Content of the Living Gospel According to an Unpublished Parthian Manuscript page

Chapter Five. Living Gospel Based on the Non-Iranian Manichaean Codices: Structure and Content

  • Greek Version
  • First Fragment: CMC 65, 23-68, 5
  • Second Fragment: CMC 68, 5-69, 8
  • Third Fragment: CMC 69, 9-70, 10
  • A Textological Commentary
  • Coptic Synaxeis
  • Chapter Titles
  • Plain Text
  • First Discourse (logos)
  • Other Discourses

Chapter Six. The Gospel in the Non-Manichaean Heritage

  • Accounts of the Greek Anti-Manichaean Writings
  • Arabic and Classical New Persian Testimonia
  • Testimonies
  • Commentary

Chapter Seven. Ewangelyōnīg Hymns

  • General Observations
  • Abecedarian System in the Parthian Hymns
  • Texts
  • Text I
  • Text II
  • Text III
  • Text IV
Chapter Eight. Miscellaneous Scraps: Living Gospel and Ewangelyōnīg Hymns
  • Fragment I
  • Fragment II
  • Fragment III
  • Fragment IV
  • Fragment V
Chapter Nine. Content of the Living Gospel and the Ewangelyōnīg Hymns: An Overview
  • Living Gospel
  • Ewangelyōnīg Hymns
  • Living Gospel in Context of the ‘Hymns of the Gospel’
  • Chapter Ten. Glossary of Turfan Texts in this Work
  • Middle Persian and Parthian
  • Sogdian

Chapter Eleven. Conclusion

Mohammd Shokri-Foumeshi (PhD 2014) is a scholar of Manichaean as well as Middle Iranian studies and a lecturer at the The University of Religions and Denominations, Qom (Iran).

Adam & Eve in Zoroastrian and Manichaean Literature

Painting from Manafi al-Hayawan (The Useful Animals), depicting Adam and Eve. From Maragheh in Iran, 1294–99

Kiel, Yishai. 2015. Creation by Emission. Recreating Adam and Eve in the Babylonian Talmud in Light of Zoroastrian and Manichaean Literature. Journal of Jewish Studies 66(2). 295–316.

This study attempts to broaden the Judeo-Christian prism through which the rabbinic legends of Adam and Eve are frequently examined in scholarship, by offering a contextual and synoptic reading of Babylonian rabbinic traditions pertaining to the first human couple against the backdrop of the Zoroastrian and Manichaean creation myths. The findings demonstrate that, while some of the themes and motifs found in the Babylonian rabbinic tradition are continuous with the ancient Jewish and Christian heritage, others are absent from, or occupy a peripheral role in, ancient Jewish and Christian traditions and, at the same time, are reminiscent of Iranian mythology. The study posits that the syncretic tendencies that pervaded the Sasanian culture facilitated the incorporation of Zoroastrian and Manichaean themes into the Babylonian legends, which were in turn creatively repackaged and adapted to the rabbinic tradition and world-view.
The article is available for reading here.

Studies on the Pre-Islamic Iranian World

Krasnowolska, Anna & Renata Rusek-Kowalska (eds.). 2015. Studies on the Iranian World I. Before Islam. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press.
This volume is the proceedings of the Seventh Conference of Iranian Studies of the Societas Iranologica Europaea (ECIS7), organized by Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE), which took place in Cracow, September 7-10, 2011. The first of the two volumes of the ECIS7 proceedings is dedicated to the pre-Islamic Iranian studies.
Table of Contents
Linguistics:
  • Maria Carmela Benvenuto, Flavia Pompeo: “The Old Persian Genetive. A Study of a Syncretic Case
  • Saloumeh Gholami: “Nominal Compound Strategies in Middle Iranian Languages”
  • Paolo Ognibene: “Alan Place-names in Western Europe”
  • Christiane Reck: “Work in Progress: The Catalogue of the Buddhist Sogdian Fragments of the Berlin Turgan Collection”
  • Arash Zeini: “Preliminary Remarks on Middle Persian <nc> in the Pahlavi Documents”
Literature:
  • Elham Afzalian: “Autoritäten im Mādayānī Hazār Dādestān”
  • Iris Colditz: “Two Snake-Brothers on their Way — Mani’s Scripture as a Source of Manichaean Central Asian Parabels?”
  • Seyyedeh Fatemeh Musavi: “Fictional Structure of the Middle Persian Ayādgār ī Zarērān
Religion:
  • Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst: “Aspects of Hymnology in Manichaean Community in Turfan”
  • Raffaella Frascarelli: “Arǝdvī Sūrā Anāhitā: Considerations on the Greek ἀρχἡ”
  • Judith Josephson: “Ohrmazd’s Plan for Creation according to Book Three of the Denkard”
  • Götz König: “The Pahlavi Translation of Yašt 3″
  • Kianosh Rezania: “On the Old Iranian Social Space and its Relation to the Time Ordering System”
History:
Archaeology:
  • Alireza Askari Chaversi: “In Search of the Elusive Town of Persepolis”
  • Jukian Bogdani, Luca Colliva, Sven Stefano Tilia: “The Citadel of Erbil. The Italian Archaeological and Topographic Activities”
  • Carlo G. Cereti, Gianfilippo Terribili, Alessandro Tilia: “Pāikūlī in its Geographical Context”
  • Niccolò Manassero: “New Sealings from Old Nisa”
  • Vito Messina, Jafar Mehr Kian: “The Hong-e Azhdar Parthian Rock Relief Reconsidered”
 About the Editors:

Anna Krasnowolska is a professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University.

Renata Rusek-Kowalska is an assistant professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University.

Vom Aramäischen zum Alttürkischen

J. P. Laut, K. Röhrborn (eds.). 2014. Vom Aramäischen zum Alttürkischen: Fragen zur Übersetzung von manichäischen Texten (Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften Zu Gottingen. Neue Folge, Band 29). De Gruyter.

Manichaeism claimed to be a world religion. Thus, the problem of translating the Holy Scriptures was of paramount importance. The twelve studies in this volume examine the linguistic and cultural diversity and unique features of the translated texts of Eastern Manichaeism. This book will be of great interest to scholars of religious studies and to researchers in the fields of cultural history and language contact.

For more information, see the ToC of this volume.

Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)

 Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond. 2014. Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen: (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch)(Sitzungsberichte / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 850. Grammatica Iranica, Band 1). Wien: Verlag der Österr. Akad. der Wissenschaften.
Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
For more information see the Tables of Contents of  this book.
About the Author:
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst  is the head of the long-term project “Turfanforschung” at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Professor of Iranian Studies at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.