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Dictionary of Manichaean Texts being compiled in Britain


News Category: Cultural

 05 November 2005


Professor Nicholas Simms-Williams


The most comprehensive Dictionary of Manichaean Texts is being compiled at the British Academy.


The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.


The three volume dictionary is being compiled by Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams of SOAS, Dr. Gunner Mikkelsen and a number of other scholars. The first volume entitled “Texts from the Roman Empire” was published in early 1999, and the remaining volumes are now in course of preparation, covering the texts from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia and China.


The aim of the Dictionary of Manichaean Texts is to provide a linguistic key to the complete corpus of materials. It will be presented in the form of a series of glossaries, each covering one language, and a consolidated index, enabling to locate any name, term or concept, in whatever language it occurs.


The Manichaean religion was founded in the third century by Mani, a Persian from Babylon province, and fuses many different elements; it once extended through northern Iranian provinces of Central Asia from the Mediterranean to southern China. Its sources are found in texts in Parthian and Sasanian Pahlavi (Middle-Persian), New Persian, Chinese, Latin, Coptic, Greek, Syriac, Sogdian, Bactrian, Tocharian and Turkish. 


Mani proclaimed himself the last prophet in a succession that included prophet Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus, whose partial revelations were, he taught, contained and consummated in his own doctrines. Besides Zoroastrianism and Christianity, Manichaeism reflects the strong influence of Gnosticism.  





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