The life of Serapion in Sogdian

Sims-Williams, Nicholas (ed.). 2015. The life of Serapion and other Christian Sogdian texts from the manuscripts E25 and E26. (Berliner Turfantexte 35). Turnhout: Brepols.
The Sogdian texts published in this volume are of interest and importance in various ways. The Life of Serapion is particularly significant from a linguistic point of view, being a close translation of a known Syriac text, so that its rare words and unusual grammatical forms can be interpreted with confidence. The Life of John of Dailam, on the other hand, differs substantially from the surviving Syriac versions and preserves details unrecorded elsewhere concerning the history of western Iran in the early Islamic period. A text on omens represents an extremely ancient, pre-Christian survival, with clear parallels not only in Syriac but even in Babylonian omen texts, while a refutation of Manichaeism sheds light on the attitude of the Christian community in the Turfan oasis towards their Manichaean neighbours. All these texts are provided with translation and detailed commentary, and the volume concludes with grammatical notes, complete glossary, bibliography, index of words discussed, and eleven plates. This work will be of interest to specialists in Iranian languages, mediaeval Iran and Central Asia, Syriac literature and the history of the “Church of the East”.