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A Manichaean Collection Of Letters And A List Of Mani’S Letters In Middle Persian

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Chapter Summary

Mani, the "Apostle of Jesus Christ", not only copied St. Paul's self presentation in the incipit of his letters; he by far outdid him as a prolific writer of instructive and hortative epistles to individuals and communities of his church. His disciples followed the master's pattern. Single letters or excerpts of Mani's letters, intended to be read in the liturgical service, have turned up among the Iranian Manichaean Turfan texts; but many more letter fragments in Sogdian language are products of the Central Asian community and thus of a later date, as are also most of the recently found Coptic Manichaean letters of the Kellis oasis. Those texts which can safely be determined as letters may be just a minimal choice. But even so, a comprehensive edition and re-edition of Manichaean letter fragments in Iranian languages is a worth-while task for the future.

Keywords: Mani; Manichaean letters; Middle Persian



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