12 July 2001
collection of Iranian religious manuscripts dating
from the 3rd century have been collected in one
place for the first time in 70 years.
Gospel of Mani , written on blackened papyrus, is
the last surviving evidence of a now-defunct
by prophet Mani
(Mānī) the sage, who claimed divine
revelation and preached that he was the final
prophet of God in the world, after (Zarathushtra),
Adam, Buddha and Jesus.
religion spread out over Iranian world to the most
of the known world of the 1st millennium CE, from
Spain to China. But the religion disappeared first
from the West in 10th century, and from China in
the 14th century, and today it is believed
defunct. The manuscripts have had a long and
were caught up in the collapse of the Third Reich,
taken to Russia, and has finally ended up in the
Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Alfred Chester
Beatty sent the religious text for restoration by
expert Hugo Ibscher in Berlin in the 1930s.
World War II began, some pages were placed in a
bunker under Berlin Zoo for safety. Others
were kept by Ibscher, who took them to Bavaria to
continue his restoration.
Berlin was conquered by the Russian army, the
manuscripts were discovered by the Russians and
taken to Leningrad. Ibscher returned his
manuscripts to Beatty in 1945. Ibscher's son
continued to restore other pages in West Germany
during the 50s.
the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing
reunification of Germany, the manuscripts were
the request of the Beatty collection, the
remaining manuscripts were returned to Dublin,
some 70 years after they were first sent off for