TWO MANICHAEAN ‘HYMNS OF GOSPEL’: A CODICOLOGICAL AND TEXTOLOGICAL APPROACH TO SOME PARTHIAN MANUSCRIPT FRAGMENTS

Document Type : Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor, Department of Oriental Religions, Faculty of World Religions, University of Religions and Denominations, Iran.

10.22034/ri.2021.295786.1516

Abstract

The editing, reconstruction, translation and commentary upon all the extant fragments of two Parthian Ewangelyōnīg bāšāhān (the ‘Hymns of the Gospel’) from the Manichaean Middle Iranian collection found in Turfan, Xinjiang, China, i.e. M88/II/, 91/I(?)/, M92, and M898, under one umbrella, is the most important goal of this article. We have tried to answer the substantive question of why the Ewangelyōnīg hymns have nothing to do at all with Mani’s Living Gospel itself, namely the actual prose text of the Living Gospel; in fact, Ewangelyōnīg hymns present a poetic description of the New Testament, as Mani saw it. We have argued that the Manichaean hymnology and tradition of writing ‘hymns’ and ‘psalms’ is not an Iranian tradition, although there was poetry in the Iranian tradition, like the poetry in Avestan and Pahlavi texts. This contribution has endeavored to shed light on the contents of the Ewangelyōnīg hymns, both thematically and structurally.

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