Manichaean sources in Gnostic Christianity


Manichaean Sources and Sacred Books

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Persian Gnosticism
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   Manichaean Sources
Until the 20th century, the only sources of information regarding the Manichaean religion were criticisms written by Christians, Muslims and Zoroastrians. While these works were critical of Manichaeism, they also incorporated many direct quotations from the Manichaean scriptures. In the early 1900’s, German scholars excavated the ancient site of the Manichaean Uigur Kingdom and found original Manichaean sources. Despite the bad shape of these texts, scholars still found hundreds of the Manichaean scriptures, written in three Persian languages. The majority of the texts were composed in a version of Syriac script known as Manichaean script. After the German researchers translated and published these writings, a group of French scholars went into China. There, these French scholars discovered perhaps the most complete set of Manichaean writings ever written – all in Chinese. These texts were published in Tokyo in 1927. Concerning the Manichaean Sacred Books, there were seven original books written by Mani that contained the teachings of his religion. Today, only scattered fragments and translations remain.

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