Sunday, September 22, 2013

New early Manichaean fragments

SOME (SORT OF) NEW MANICHAEAN (MANICHEAN) FRAGMENTS IN SYRIAC have been recovered by Cambridge University: The Allberry fragments: Manichaean texts rediscovered.
The Allberry fragments contain portions of a Manichaean text, written in Syriac and in a form of Aramaic script often referred to as Manichaean script. Only a small number of such tiny fragments seem to be preserved worldwide. In fact Mani (c. 216-277 AD), the founder of the Manichaean world-religion, wrote his oeuvre in Syriac, but the huge Manichaean literature which in the 20th century has been found in Central Asia and Egypt, and which is of great interest for the history of religions, theology, and many philologies, is not in Syriac. Many scholarly efforts are invested in reconstructing the original Syriac terminology of Mani and the first Manichaeans.

These fragments pre-date, by a couple of centuries, the only other material written in this script, which are on incantation bowls from Mesopotamia, though there are a few other fragments of Proto-Manichaean in existence. These particular fragments appear to have come from the Manichaean communities in Egypt and represent the most western location for the spread of this Syriac font which originated in Mesopotamia.
Even though the fragments are small, this is an exciting discovery.

HT Adam McCollum on Facebook.