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Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism

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Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism provides an annotated anthology of primary sources highlighting Manichaeism, a dualist religion emerging in Mesopotamia in the third century and which spread rapidly throughout the Roman and Sasanian empires until it was violently suppressed by both polities. It nevertheless continued to flourish – largely clandestinely – in the Near East, Central Asia, and China until it finally disappeared at the beginning of the seventeenth century. This book translates and assesses the importance of a number of Arabic, Persian, Syriac, and even Hebrew language testimonies for a better understanding of the cultural importance of what many scholars characterize as the first ‘world religion’.

Published: Nov 1, 2011


Section Chapter Authors
Preface John C. Reeves
Abbreviations and Conventions John C. Reeves
Introduction John C. Reeves
Biographical Testimonia about Mani John C. Reeves
Fragments of Manichaean Scripture: A Classified Collection of Islamicate Testimonia John C. Reeves
Testimonia about Manichaean Teachings John C. Reeves
‘Historical’ Testimonia about Manichaeism and Manichaeans John C. Reeves
Chronological Arrangement of Authorities
Chronological Arrangement of Authorities John C. Reeves
Bibliography John C. Reeves
Index of Citations of Primary Sources John C. Reeves
Index of Ancient and Medieval Authors, Tradents, and Personages John C. Reeves
Index of Scriptural and Parascriptural Characters John C. Reeves
Index of Manichaeans and of Individuals Suspected or Accused of Zandaqa John C. Reeves
Index of Modern Authors John C. Reeves

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Reeves is a superb scholar who has meticulously researched the literature relevant to this project. His extensive learning is manifest throughout. Nothing like this anthology exists in English for the Islamicate testimonia on Manichaeism, and therefore it fills an extremely important gap.
Michael A. Williams, Professor of Comparative Religion and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

At long last, after waiting three decades, we now have a work in English on the history of the religion of the Mani based on the rich original sources in Arabic by a scholar who is eminently qualified to undertake the task. This work is likely to remain a standard in its field for a long time to come.
Journal of Semitic Studies
, 2013

An important source book.
Vigiliae Christianae

These Prolegomena build strong foundations for the future work that will take decades; John C. Reeves made a great service to the scholars by assembling and annotating the scattered sources under one roof.