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Constructions of Gender

Towers, Susanna. 2019. Constructions of gender in late antique Manichaean cosmological narrative (Studia Traditionis Theologiae 34).

Manichaeism emerged from Sasanian Persia in the third century CE and flourished in Persia, the Roman Empire, Central Asia and beyond until succumbing to persecution from rival faiths in the eighth to ninth century. Its founder, Mani, claimed to be the final embodiment of a series of prophets sent over time to expound divine wisdom.
This monograph explores the constructions of gender embedded in Mani’s colourful dualist cosmological narrative, in which a series of gendered divinities are in conflict with the demonic beings of the Kingdom of Darkness. The Jewish and Gnostic roots of Mani’s literary constructions of gender are examined in parallel with Sasanian societal expectations. Reconstructions of gender in subsequent Manichaean literature reflect the changing circumstances of the Manichaean community.
As the first major study of gender in Manichaean literature, this monograph draws upon established approaches to the study of gender in late antique religious literature, to present a portrait of a historically maligned and persecuted religious community.

Table of Contents

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When the dualists argued

Ruani, Flavia & Mihaela Timus (eds.). 2020. Quand les dualistes polémiquaient: Zoroastriens et manichéens (Orient & Méditerranée, 34). Leuven: Peeters.

The authors of this collected volume show that Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, which share a dualist vision of the world and the primordial entities, have raised in a similar way to Judaism, Christianity and Islam the question of the relationship of their followers to truth and therefore the error made by others. The volume makes a fundamental contribution to the study of the phenomenon of religious controversy in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It allows us to better understand two Eastern systems of thought, both in what they have in common and in their irreducible individuality.

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The New Testament Gospels in Manichaean Tradition

Pedersen, N. A. R. Falkenberg, J. M. Larsen & C. Leurini (eds.). 2020. The New Testament Gospels in Manichaean tradition: The sources in Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian, New Persian, and Arabic (Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum: Series Biblia Manichaica, 2). Turnhout: Brepols.

Biblia Manichaica is a reference work citing all biblical quotations and allusions in the Manichaean sources as far as they are available in editions. The second volume covers Manichaean texts in Greek, Coptic, Semitic, and Iranian languages. The reference work includes an introductory chapter and appendices on the Manichaean use of the Gospel of Thomas and Diatessaron.

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Zoroastrian Dualism in Jewish, Christian, and Manichaean Perspective

Volume 96, issue 2 (2020) of Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses is dedicated to the subject of Zoroastrian dualism in Jewish, Christian, and Manichaean perspectives.

Table of Contents

  • Jan Dochhorn: Zu den religionsgeschichtilichen Hintergründen der jüdischen und christlichen Satanologie. Eine Antwort auf John J. Collins, zugleich Sondierungen zum Verhältnis zwischen der Zwei-Geister-Lehre in 1 Q S III,13-IV,26 und dualistischen Konzepten iranischer Herkunft.
  • Benjamin Gleede: More Zoroastrian than Zoroaster? The Problem of Zoroastrian Influence on Manichaeism Illustrated by a Version of the Manichaean Myth Preserved in Severus of Antioch, Titus of Bostra and Theodoret of Cyrus.
  • Nestor Kavvadas: Sasanian Creed or Byzantine Projection? The Zurvanite Myth and Theodore of Mopsuestia’s Contra Magos.
  • Alexander M. Schilling: Ahreman in Armenien. Untersuchungen zu den christlich-orientalischen Zurwān-Texten.
  • Fazel Pakzad: Deus filius temporis? Divine Derivations and the Nature of Zoroastrian Dualism
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Books

Turkic-Iranian relationships: Uighur newcomers of the Qočo kingdom

Piras, Andrea. 2019. Khan uiguri del regno di Qočo (850-1250) nelle fonti di Turfan. In Giorgio Comai, Carlo Frappi, Giovanni Pedrini & Elena Rova (eds.), Armenia, Caucaso e Asia Centrale (Eurasiatica 12), 145–161. Venice: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari.

This article firstly deals with a general survey of the Turkic-Iranian relationships, from the VI century onwards, by the point of view of epigraphic evidences and sparse linguistic references within the Indo-Iranian borderlands and Central Asia. Secondly, it focuses on Turkic words (onomastic, epithets, titles) recorded in Middle Persian texts of the Manichean religion, in order to highlight the cultural contacts between the Uighur newcomers of the Qočo kingdom and the local population, both sharing common religious beliefs such as Manichaeism and Buddhism. Given the Manichaean faith of the Uighur élites, the Middle Persian Manichaean texts show an appreciation of the Turkic rulership, attested by the panegyrical tone of many compositions dedicated to the khans and their entourages.

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Rethinking the Life of Mani

Gardner, Iain. 2020. The founder of Manichaeism: Rethinking the life of Mani. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mani, a third-century preacher, healer and public sage from Sasanian Mesopotamia, lived at a pivotal time and place in the development of the major religions. He frequented the courts of the Persian Empire, debating with rivals from the Judaeo-Christian tradition, philosophers and gnostics, Zoroastrians from Iran and Buddhists from India. The community he founded spread from north Africa to south China and lasted for over a thousand years. Yet the genuine biography of its founder, his life and thought, was in good part lost until a series of spectacular discoveries have begun to transform our knowledge of Mani’s crucial role in the spread of religious ideas and practices along the trade-routes of Eurasia. This book utilises the latest historical and textual research to examine how Mani was remembered by his followers, caricatured by his opponents, and has been invented and re-invented according to the vagaries of scholarly fashion.

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Articles

Manichaean Sogdian Cosmogonical Texts

Morano, Enrico. 2019. Manichaean Sogdian cosmogonical texts in Manichaean script. In Chen Hao (ed.), Competing narratives between nomadic people and their sedentary neighbours (Studia Uralo-Altaica 53). Szeged.

The present paper gives a survey of the Sogdian fragments in Manichaean script of the Berlin Turfan Collection which deal with cosmogony.

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Fire in Zoroastrian and Manichaean Apocalyptic

König, Götz. 2019. The Idea of an Apocalyptic Fire According to the Old and Middle Iranian Sources. In Jochen Althoff, Dominik Berrens & Tanja Pommerening (eds.), Finding, Inheriting or Borrowing? The Construction and Transfer of Knowledge in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, 313–342. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

A reasonable method through which to approach the reconstruction of religious phenomena in Iran would be to view the phenomena involved from this double perspective involving vertical and horizontal relationships. Defining the perennial and the changing elements, kernels and agglomerations, etc., would surely be helpful in this respect. So too would the drawing up of chronologies related to the history of religious ideas in Iran. The idea of an apocalypse – and this idea is, as we shall see, essentially the idea of the end of the world in fire – is a good example upon which to base a historical analysis located in the aforementioned double bipolar field: Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism; Avesta and late antique religious text.

This article as well as the whole volume are open access, available for free download.

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Books

Personal names in Iranian Manichaica

Colditz, Iris. 2018. Iranische Personennamen in manichäischer Überlieferung (Iranisches Personennamenbuch Mitteliranische Personennamen II/Faszikel 1). Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
This volume presents for the first time a full collection of the personal names attested in Iranian sources of Manichaeism, an ancient dualistic and syncretistic world religion (3rd–14th century). This extremely heterogeneous corpus from the Central Asian Turfan oasis (Xinjiang, China) goes back to the golden age of Manichaeism in the Uygur steppe empire and the kingdom of Qočo (8th–11th century) but can be partly traced back to more ancient originals. It comprises ca. 4700 text fragments in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian and New Persian written in Manichaean, Sogdian and Old Turkish runic scripts. The 766 entries contain Iranian, hybrid, and non-Iranian names, which reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the peoples along the Silk Road. The name bearers are historical persons as well as fictitious characters from myth and literature. Obsolete and differing readings as well as “ghost names” are specifically marked. The presentation of the names follows the guidelines of the Iranisches Personennamenbuch. Each entry lists transliteration, transcription and all references of the name, including spelling variants, text duplicates and versions in other scripts or languages, followed by prosopographical data: titles, designations of offices or professions. Reference is made to indirect transmissions of the name (“Nebenüberlieferung”) in non-Iranian Manichaica, the writings of Arabic historians and in antiheretical Christian and Zoroastrian scriptures. At the end follows the morphological and etymological interpretation of the name. The explored material is displayed in detailed indexes. The volume is of special interest to specialists in Iranian studies, linguistics, religious studies and history.
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Eastern Manicheism as Reflected in its Book and Manuscript Culture

Özertural, Zekine & Gökhan Silfeler (eds.). 2018. Der östliche Manichäismus im Spiegel seiner Buch- und Schriftkultur. Vorträge des Göttinger Symposiums vom 11./12. März 2015 (Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Neue Folge 47). Berlin: De Gruyter.

This volume examines the gnostic-syncretic religion of Eastern Manicheism in China, Iran, and Turkish central Asia. After a scholarly introduction to the religious theory of Manicheism, the essays probe questions of its transmission and cultural interactions with Latin, Coptic, and Arabic Manicheism.