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The Song Of The Commoner: The Gnostic Call In Yezidi Oral Tradition

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Chapter Summary

The Yezidis are a little-known Kurdish-speaking religious minority, with a religion based exclusively on oral tradition. The religion of the Yezidis shows a strong syncretism. An eloquent example of Gnostic/Manichaean themes permeating certain aspects of Yezidi religious language is the Song of the Commoner, one of the most sacred and respected oral texts of the Yezidis. The metaphors of sleep and awakening were part of late antique religious language, especially among movements with a dualistic outlook on the opposition of spirit and matter. The real promise of a heavenly reward, however, is hidden in the second part of the song, once its obscure references are interpreted. In fact this second, seemingly independent part of the Song, the Hymn of the Headdress, is nothing else but a literary expression of the third element of the Call of Awakening, the promise of a heavenly reward.

Keywords: gnostic call; Hymn of the Headdress; Manichaean themes; Song of the Commoner; Yezidi oral tradition



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