City Psalms (Studies in Comparative Religion (Paperback))

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Though the numerous religious texts dominate in the editorial work there is occasionally an opportunity to work on the above-mentioned profane texts which contain just a few literary genres but which provide information about the real circumstances and objects of interest of the societies in the Central Asian oasis-states and therefore are an important source for the previously badly documented history of the Turkish peoples.

Already early on W. Malov continued his work in St. Petersburg; in Berlin it was G. Arat who prepared a large-scale study of Uigur documents unpublished; in his papers, held in trust by O. Sertkaya, there are numerous photographs of texts the originals of which must be presumed lost. Matsui published Uigur documents and contributed so to the study of the society and economy of the Yuan period. Moriyasu will also present his edition of Uigur letters in BTT.

A few book rolls and books amongst the Middle Iranian material are relatively well preserved. The latter include the group of Christian Sogdian texts. One of the pearls of the collection is an incomplete booklet, whose pages are in the wrong order, published under the name Bet- und Beichtbuch. But the vast majority of the Turfan texts consist of single pages though sometimes pages in sequence are preserved , for the most part, fragments of pages.

Torn from books, the pages were found by the explorers strewn on the ground or they bought them from the farmers in the area. The date of the destruction is unclear and it may be assumed that the conditions under which the fragments were found contributed to further fragmentation. Some pages were never part of a book: Despite the rather desolate state of many fragments the texts are, for various reasons, retrievable.

Many texts are relatively short hymns, two or three of which could fit on a page. Or, since copies of the texts were made and, moreover, many manuscripts contained collections of miscellaneous texts, it is possible that one and the same text is present in a number of copies. Therefore one of the achievements of Turfan Studies is to compare meticulously and to confront these fragments with each other in a synopsis. The particular character of the collection means that a scholar working on a text has to be familiar with the whole collection, since that text may be present in it more than once and even in a form difficult to recognize.

It has been shown that decisive information can be gained even from an apparently insignificant fragment. Part of the work and at the same time one of its results consists of the reconstruction of the original codices. On the basis of page size and writing type a relatively large number of codices have been recognized. These often contain collections of texts in various languages Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian and Uigur. Click to get a larger image. Page from a book from Khocho. Translation of the Old Turkish lines in the cartouche: Information on these languages, e.

In the case of the Middle Persian texts the language of which was already known in the form of Zoroastrian Middle Persian, the fact that the texts from Turfan are written in the clear Manichaean alphabet and have for the most part not been subject to massive influence by New Persian in their transmission has had consequences for the interpretation of the orthographically very opaque Zoroastrian Middle Persian transmitted in late manuscripts. The possibility afforded by the Turfan texts of distinguishing the closely related languages Middle Persian and Parthian according to clear criteria led to a general clarification of the linguistic situation in the west of Iran in the Middle Iranian period and has also had effects on the recognition of Western Middle Iranian loanwords in Armenian and in Aramaic dialects.

Even today the Parthian texts from Turfan still are the most important source for the study of this language. The Sogdian texts from Turfan have, on the basis of their quantity and varied contents, a prominent position amongst the various and widely scattered sources for this language. The Sakan texts from Turfan join the extensive finds from the Sakan language areas proper in the west of Central Asia. The few Bactrian texts from Turfan, that have eluded convincing interpretations, can hopefully now be interpreted with the help of the various discoveries of Bactrian texts from Afghanistan particularly in the last twenty years.

Texts thereby came to light that were from Manichaeans themselves and not, as was the case with most of the texts known up to then, from the bitter enemies of this religion or from slightly more objective Arabic historians, and therefore opened a new door on Manichaeism.

Work on them has given new impulses to the study of Manichaeism and Gnosis. Later discoveries of Manichaean and Gnostic texts - especially in Greek and Coptic - have led to a more profound understanding of the texts of Eastern Manichaeism and allowed their relative position to be established. As far as the Parthian and Middle Persian Manichaean texts are concerned, it is important to note that many of them were composed in Iran and not - quite unlike the Sogdian and even more the Uigur texts - in Central Asia, where they were just copied.

For the most part, though, we have copies from the 8th - 11th c. This can be seen in the names that are sometimes placed at the end of paragraphs in the texts. The Christian and Buddhist texts do not have a pre-eminent position comparable to that of the Manichaean texts. They are often translations that are less well preserved than the originals in other languages.


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Nevertheless, they are eloquent testimony to the spread of Buddhism and Christianity in Central Asia. Christian Sogdian texts were found together with Syriac texts and belong to a bilingual Christian community that is part of the Syriac speaking Nestorian community that was also widespread in the Sasanian Empire.

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Besides translations from the Gospels various ecclesiastical texts are present the Syriac originals of which are often also extant. These are a great help in understanding the Sogdian versions that, in turn, contribute to the history of the transmission of the text. The illustration shows the bottom half of a page n recto in slightly modified Syriac script Estrangelo and Christian Sogdian language.

The text, a translation from an identified Syriac original, contains a dialogue between a younger monk who poses questions and an older monk who gives answers; it belongs to the Apophthegmata Patrum. The page belongs to the large Sogdian codex C 2 and was edited by N. Folio 61 R on p. A unique Christian text is the fragment of the Psalter that found its way to Turfan: The religious affiliation of a text is important not only for its terminology and comprehension, as a rule it also says something about its origin.

Certainly many Middle Persian and Parthian Manichaean texts are translations from no longer extant original texts in an Aramaic language. The Manichaean literature in other languages, in particular the rich Coptic Manichaean literature also contains in part translations and adaptations of the same originals. Most of the preserved Sogdian texts are translations and adaptations of identified Syriac in the case of Christian Sogdian and Chinese in the case of Buddhist Chinese originals. This interdependancy that testifies to what is a special feature of the Silk Road, namely that it was a link not only between trading posts but also between cultures, languages and religions, provides us with many avenues for interpreting the texts and demands of those working on the texts much competence and the willingness to consult with colleagues from neighbouring disciplines.

Salemann in who added a dictionary, grammatical notes and an index a tergo. On the right-hand side of the illustration is a short hymn in Parthian in Manichaean script which F. Lidzbarski conjectured an Aramaic original on the basis of the phraseology and which he even reconstructed. I sprouted from Babylonia, and have stood at the gate of truth. I am a young student, who am gone forth from Babylonia.

Forth I went from Babylonia, so that I might call a call in the world. I beseech you gods: All the gods, forgive my sin s with mercy! As yet the two closely related languages, Parthian and Middle Persian, could not be distinguished. This was done systematically and comprehensively by P. Tedesco in a dialectological study. New editions of texts were presented by E. Lentz and in studies on the religious contents of the texts and by W. Henning , and from F. This work was continued by M. Boyce and W. Boyce collected many of the texts published up to then.

Scholars from all over the world have edited groups of texts or individual texts.

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The Christian Middle Persian psalter fragment was published in by K. Henning and in Parthian A. Brunner published a Syntax of Western Middle Iranian in Editions of more extensive text material usually contain a glossary. Boyce compiled a Word-list in of the texts she published in But a comprehensive dictionary of all Western Middle Iranian texts is still a long way off. Andreas identified it as Sogdian. Henning presented an extensive study of a Manichaean Sogdian text.

Work on Christian Sogdian texts was continued by O. Hansen editor in charge of the texts from and in and , M. Schwartz in and both unpublished and N. Sims-Williams in , the latter being a complete edition of the surviving parts of the Christian Sogdian manuscript C2. Sundermann devoted himself in to an extensive Manichaean Sogdian text and has over the years published many individual texts. The Buddhist Sogdian fragments from Turfan have not received the same attention that the Buddhist Sogdian texts found outside Turfan have. Sundermann , , , , and Yakubovich-Yoshida Gershevitch published a Grammar of Manichaean Sogdian, in B.

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Gharib published a dictionary that comprises the lexis of the published texts. Asmussen and H. Klimkeit and compiled anthologies of Iranian and Turkish Manichaean texts in translation. Since the reconstitution of the Turfan Studies Group the work of editing has concentrated in particular on the Manichaean texts. The fact that for the great part of these texts no originals in other languages exist and that they are written in the by now well studied languages Middle Persian, Parthian and above all Sogdian makes editing them with reference to literary and religious content of primary importance.

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Sundermann has presented his results in the following publications: Reconstruction of original Manichaean literary works. Presents texts of homilies about church history in Middle Persian, Parthian and Sogdian.

The subject of the texts is the life of Mani and the history of the mission in the 3rd c. A Sogdian collection of parables. The parable about religion and the world-sea adapts a Buddhist allegory. Addenda and additions to the first edition of the Parthian version by M.

Boyce; first edition of the Sogdian version. Der Sermon vom Licht-Nous. Reconstruction of the Parthian and Sogdian versions of a didactic text about the liberation of the human Light-Soul, the transformation of the human being to the New Man through the Light-Soul and the characteristics of the New Man. The text is preserved in a more complete form in Chinese. Der Sermon von der Seele. Reconstruction of the Parthian and Sogdian versions of a didactic text about the nature and the beneficial efficaciousness of the cosmic five elements of Light.

Edition of thematically identified groups of works of Manichaean literature. Texts with cosmogonical content, among them numerous fragments of a text that is probably to be attributed to Mani and therefore has canonical status; parabels that suggest the existence of East Manichaean collections of parables.

A further task of the Iranian Turfan editions has been since the publication of facsimiles of the texts published before the 70s which were as a rule not accompanied by photographs of the fragments. The project can be regarded as complete since all new editions contain facsimiles and digital images of all texts are now available on-line. Two volumes appeared with this object in mind: III , continued in: The present Iranian collaborator, D.

The latter has also prepared an as yet unpublished Grammar of Western Middle Iranian. They recognized the most important pieces and published the first impressive results quickly. The administrative stocktaking of the fragments was of secondary importance. In the case of the Middle Iranian fragments in Manichaean script, the first glass plates with fragments were numbered consecutively M 1 to M This could be supplemented by an indication of the finding place e.

These finding place sigla often do not allow a specific fragment to be identified exclusively.

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The reports of the expeditions stored in the Museum for Indian Art in Berlin-Dahlem contain information about the discovery or purchase for each package. After the Second World War the lack of catalogues and unambiguous signatures for the fragments became a serious problem. Though cards, lists, preliminary transliterations and photographic records documented a part of the collection, a systematic inventory of all the finds was not available. Therefore the losses incurred during the evacuation and storage of the fragments during the Second World War could not be determined exactly.

After that a start was made to give each individual fragment a signature. An alphanumerical system was used following the pattern of the Manichaean texts.

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After , the unification of the collection, this system was extended to include all those fragments not yet covered. The script of the text on the fragments was the deciding factor. After the designation the task of making catalogues still remained. Catalogues can not only register and formally describe what is there but also indicate the content of the texts. In this way the catalogues provide a survey of the collection. Concordances of contents and forms make it possible for the philologist to choose specific texts, allowing him therefore, with a degree of certainty, to locate and work on all the material belonging to a topic or a manuscript.

It is always possible that surprising new attributions will arise. In general, therefore, the catalogues prepare the ground for the editorial work. A different case is that of groups of manuscripts such as the Buddhist Chinese ones. Here most of the texts are present in entirety in the canon of Buddhist texts such as e. In this case the catalogue must indicate the correspondence; a new edition is not necessary. Tekin recorded in a preliminary catalogue the for the most part Uigur fragments that were kept in the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz.

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