The Hymns to the Living Soul: Middle Persian and Parthian Texts in the Turfan Collection

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Desmond Durkin
Brepols, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 235 pages
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The 'Hymns to the Living Soul' presents texts in the Iranian languages Middle Persian and Parthian from the Turfan Collection in Berlin together with two fragments from the Otani Collection in Kyoto and one from St. Petersburg. The texts belong to the Manichaean community in Central Asia of a millennium ago which used Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in its rituals and celebrations. These hymns are predominantly in Parthian. They focus on a key area of Manichaean theology, the imprisonment of the divine principle light in the material world and the need for the Manichaean Chosen Ones to free this light, as they free themselves, in order to send it back to the paradise of light to where the Chosen Ones will eventually follow it. This edition gathers all the relevant published and unpublished texts (lists of hymns, hymns and 'cantillated' hymns as well as some possibly related hymns) and presents them in diplomatic edition together with a transcription and translation into English on facing pages. Unlike in previous editions great attention is paid to the formal structure of the hymns. An extensive introduction, notes, a complete glossary and facsimiles of fragments not previously reproduced accompany the edition. Will interest: Students of Manichaeism; of Central Asian history and cultures; of comparative religion; of Iranian languages and literatures.

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