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Snatches Of The Middle Iranian “Tale Of The Five Brothers”

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Chapter Summary

Manichaean literature includes many tales used as parables to demonstrate dogmatics. They were intended to help the believers to understand the meaning of mythical events and ethical demands, and to act correctly. The two badly damaged Sogdian fragments So 18058 and So 18197, which belong to the same manuscript, contain parts of one story. The story contained in these fragments tells us something about brothers who are in conflict with a demon. A very common formula for the occasional appearance of the apostles in Manichaean Sogdian texts is zwrnyy zwrnyy, "from time to time". What about literary antecedents of tales about brothers? Tales and mythological legends commonly involve three brothers. The two older ones fail; but the youngest brother, often under-estimated, is victorious.

Keywords: Manichaean literature; Sogdian fragments; tales

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