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Pourdavoud Center Workshop: Current Trends in Manichaeism Studies Day 2

March 2, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The origin of the Manichaean religion stands at the intersection of multiple cultural worlds: Iranian, Semitic, & Greco-Roman. Its literary and artistic remains enrich our understanding of those cultures and the exchange that went on among them in late antiquity. The scholars assembled for this workshop offer the latest insights obtained from the painstaking work of extracting information from the fragmentary and effaced relics of this religion with the aid of new research technologies and approaches. They report on work in progress related specifically to conditions and developments in 3rd century CE Iran in which Mani and Manichaeism served as a cultural catalyst, explaining how these new insights are reshaping our understanding of both the religion and the world in which it emerged.

Iain Gardner, Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Sydney

New Research and Sources for the Life of Mani


This presentation will outline recent trajectories in research on the Life of Mani. Evidence from in-process work on new sources will be presented, with particular reference to the editing of surviving remnants from Mani’s letters. Copies of these compositions were revered, collected, translated into many languages and circulated throughout the Manichaean communities, and they provide a remarkable insight into the life of the apostle and his immediate circle.
Jason BeDuhn, Professor of the Comparative Study of Religions and Asian Studies at Northern Arizona University

Manichaean Interpretation of Iranian Religious Traditions


New sources such as the Chester Beatty Kephalaia Codex allow us to begin to break down the long-standing division between “Western” and “Eastern” Manichaeism in modern scholarship, and discover connections especially between Coptic and Middle Iranian Manichaean texts that shed light on the earliest centuries of the Manichaean religion. We are now in a better position to see how Mani and his early followers set out to acculturate their Christian movement to an Iranian context by identifying their teachings as the true interpretations of old Iranian religious traditions, contesting the authority of an emerging Zoroastrian leadership.
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March 2, 2021
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World
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