Published Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian texts Purpose

The Dictionary of Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian of the Manichaean Dictionary Project was compiled from digitised versions of the published Parthian and Middle Persian texts. S.N.C. Lieu initiated the collection of these texts for the Manichaean Database and passed the collection on to D.N. MacKenzie for checking and augmentation. MacKenzie also included texts provided by W. Sundermann. S.N.C. Lieu and D.N. MacKenzie made the files available to D. Durkin-Meisterernst for further work. D. Durkin-Meisterernst converted them to a database format and checked all the material sometimes with the originals in Berlin (and St. Petersburg), sometimes with photographs or facsimiles to make it as complete a collection of the published Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian texts as possible.

The textual basis of the Dictionary is presented here in a form designed to be as accessible as possible. Since the Dictionary does not regularly record discarded readings it can prove difficult for the user of an older edition of a particular text to find the words of that text in the Dictionary. Therefore it seems desirable to make the textual material available to document the readings on which the dictionary is based. This material covers all the published texts in Parthian and Middle Persian in Manichaean script in the Turfan Collection in Berlin as well as the published texts of the Salemann collection in St. Petersburg, the equivalent texts in the Otani-Collection and some other scattered fragments. Unpublished texts have not been included. When a fragment has been identified as a duplicate of a known text it is not included separately but incorporated in the combined text. The texts are based on the various editions published in the now hundred years of work on the material. The editions have been revised on the basis of the originals or of reproductions. Published revisions of readings, new interpretations etc. have also been included. Shorter quotations from otherwise unpublished texts have also been included as far as possible. Towards the end of the file the quotations included in Boyce’s Catalogue have been entered.

The order of the texts, which is the same as in the Dictionary, is not governed by any strict principle and reflects the order in which the texts were added to the database. Though the languages Parthian and Middle Persian, as well as the occasional parts in Sogdian and Uighur, are clearly distinguished this does not affect the order of the texts.

In the coming years it is planned to combine the textual database presented here with additional information on the form of the text, with a catalogue containing links to the online digital images of the Turfan Collection. New texts will also be added successively.



This presentation is in three columns:

Column 1 contains a reference to the edition of the text if the text has been edited with continuous line-numbers or in a form that presents the units of the text as opposed to its presentation on the page of the manuscript;

Column 2 contains the reference to the manuscript. In the case of a text preserved on more than one manuscript fragment each individual reference is given, separated by ‘=’. For technical reasons, references of this kind are given for the first word in the line only. If the first word is missing no reference is given.

Column 3 contains the text in a diplomatic edition which aims to reproduce each line of the original in a convertible way. Some additional information and occasional comments are added in ‘{}’. If the text is attested in more than one manuscript then a complied text is presented which differs from a diplomatic edition in two respects: 1. The complied text will not reflect the text of any given fragment entirely, either in the distribution of the lines or in the words of the text and their spellings; and 2. Occasionally variants from the duplicates are included here where they are joined by ‘=’.



Reference is made to the manuscripts in the following order, i.e. page I and II, the front and back side, heading, column and line. If the lines of the text have been given consecutive numbers or if the text has been divided into strophes or paragraphs these references are given in the first column. If the text has been edited on the basis of more than one manuscript the reference to the complied edition is placed in the first column. In the second column, the actual attestation is presented. Because of the way the texts are held in the databank from which this internet version derives, the detailed reference refers to the first word in the line only. Since duplicate texts are not always written in the same size script on pages of the same format the line numbers of the duplicates are rarely identical and, in some cases, only the division into paragraphs etc. is given. If the first word is entirely conjectured no reference is given at all. This unfortunate limitation will be removed when the texts are presented in a database of text, catalogue and image planned for the next few years


Indication of the publication history

The publication history of each fragment has not been added. This can be established for most fragments by referring to Boyce 1960 and Sundermann 1997 and Weber 2000. Some fragments edited in the last few years, e.g. in Colditz 2000 have been included with a reference to the source. A complete documentation of the publication history of the fragments will be one of the aims of the online database combining edition, catalogue and image.

On the whole only published texts and published quotations from texts are included. In some cases this means that disjointed lines are presented.

The texts are in unicode.


Signs used

[]          mark lost portions of the original. Letters between these brackets are entirely conjectured.

()          mark damaged but basically legible portions of the original. Letters between these brackets are regarded as being identifiable.

//          indicate that the letters have been added above the line.

<>        indicate an addition to the text either because something has been left out or because part of the text is not preserved, i.e. on a page before or after a preserved page.

{}          indicate an editorial ‘comment’ on the text. This concerns things such as the colour of the ink, the size of a letter etc.

=          joins references for duplicate texts.

_          inidicates that the original has a blank space. In comments (between {}) the word spacing is also marked by ‘_’.

*           marks conjectured forms if no bracket is included in the spelling to indicate its status.

Abbreviations used in the first column:

Abcd.   M. Boyce: 'Some Parthian abecedarian hymns', BSOAS 14, 1952, 435‑450.

A.R.      M. Boyce: The Manichaean Hymn‑Cycles in Parthian, London/New York/Toronto: Oxford University Press 1954; W. Sundermann: The Manichaean Hymn cycles Huyadagmān and Angad Rošnān in Parthian and Sogdian. Photo edition. Transcription and translation of hitherto unpublished terxts, with critical remarks (CII Supplementary Series Vol.II), London 1990.

BBB      W.B. Henning Ein manichäisches Bet‑ und Beichtbuch, APAW 1936, 1O, Berlin 1937 [= Sel.Papers I, 417‑558].

CPar     I. Colditz: 'Bruchstücke manichäisch‑parthischer Parabelsammlungen', AoF 14 (1987), 274‑313, Taf.I‑XI.

Gloss.  W.B. Henning: Sogdica, London 1940 (James G.G. Forlong Fund, XXI) [= Sel. Papers II, 1‑68]. Errata sheet with some addenda to sogdica, 1941.

GW       W. Sundermann: Der Sermon von der Seele. Eine Lehrschrift des östlichen Manichäismus. Edition der parthischen und soghdischen Version mit einem Anhang von Peter Zieme Die türkischen Fragmente des "Sermons von der Seele". Mit 98 Abb. auf 47 Taf., Turnhout 1997 (Berliner Turfantexte XIX).

H.          The Hymn-Cycle, Huyadagmān; edition as for A.R.

HCfr      Fragments of the Hymn-Cycles; edition as for A.R.

Hu         M. Hutter: Manis kosmogonische Šābuhragān‑Texte , Wiesbaden 1992 (Studies in Oriental religions 21).

Kaw      W.B. Henning: 'The Book of the Giants', BSOAS 11, (1943), 52‑74 [= Sel.Pap. II, 115‑37.

KPT      W. Sundermann: Mittelpersische und parthische kosmogonische und Parabeltexte der Manichäer. Mit einigen Bemerkungen zu Motiven der Parabeltexte von Fr.Geissler, Berlin: Akademie‑Verlag 1973 (Berliner Turfantexte IV).

L           W. Sundermann: 'Ein weiteres Fragment aus Manis Gigantenbuch', in: Orientalia J.Duchesne‑Guillemin emerito oblata, Leiden 1984, 491‑505 (Ac.Ir.23).

LN        W. Sundermann: Der Sermon vom Licht‑Nous. Eine Lehrschrift des östlichen Manichäismus. Edition der parthischen und sogdischen Version, Berlin 1992 (Berliner Turfantexte XVII).

MKG     W. Sundermann: Mitteliranische manichäische Texte kirchengeschichtlichen Inhalts mit einem Appendix von N.Sims‑Williams, Berlin: Akademie‑Verlag 1981 (Berliner Turfantexte XI).

MMii      F.C. Andreas‑W. Henning: 'Mitteliranische Manichaica aus Chinesisch‑Turkestan. II', SPAW 1933, 294‑363 [= Henning, Selected Papers, I, 191‑260].

MMiii     Andreas‑W. Henning: 'Mitteliranische Manichaica aus Chinesisch‑Turkestan. III', SPAW 1934, 848‑912 [= Henning, Selected Papers, I, 275‑340].

Mo         E. Morano: 'My kingdom is not of this world: Revisiting the great Parthian crucifixion hymn', in: Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies, 1, 1998, 131‑145, Pl.13‑16.

Šbrg      D.N. MacKenzie: 'Mani's Šābuhragān BSOAS 42.3, 1979, 500‑534; D.N. MacKenzie: 'Mani's Šābuhragān  ‑ II', BSOAS 43.2, 1980, 288‑310

For further abbreviations, s. D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Dictionary of Manichaean Texts. Vol. III: Texts from Central Asia and China. Part. 1: Dictionary of Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, Turnhout 2004 (Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum. Subsidia).


Corrections and comments would be very welcome. Please send them to:

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst





Prof. Dr.
Abdurishid Yakup


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