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On the Date of the Ritual Manual for the Celebration of the Birthday of the Ancestor of Promoting Well-being from Xiapu

Xiaohe Ma
Published Online: 2015-10-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0028


Xingfuzu qingdan ke (Ritual Manual for the Celebration of the Birthday of the Ancestor of Promoting Well-being) was composed by Lin Deng’s offspring and disciples during the Jiayou period (1056-1063) of the Northern Song Dynasty. It cites not only direct quotations from the Hymnscroll, but also a considerable number of Middle Iranian texts phonetically transcribed in Chinese characters from manuscripts of the early Tang Dynasty (ca. 650-732). There are the names of the Manichaean trinity: 1, MC. i-ṣi̭u, Pth./MP. yyšw‘, “Jesus”; 2, , MC. *ki̯ən-ńi luo-ṣi̭εn, Pth./MP. knyg rwšn, “Maiden of Light”; and 3, , MC. γwâk-mi̭ĕn luo-ṣi̭εn, MP. whmn rwšn, “Light-Nous.” There is also the title of Mani, MC. muât-lâ muâ-ńi pi̯uət-lji-si̯ĕt-d’ək *luo-*ṣi̭εn, MP. mr’ m’ny prystgrwšn, “Lord Mani the Envoy of Light”. It replaces Wahman in the Manichaean trinity with Mani and invokes the trinity of the Religion of Light: Mani, the Buddha of Light; Jesus, the Buddha of Harmony; and Lightning, the Royal Buddha. It preserves not only , MC. i̭a-ki̭u-p’i̭u, MP. y’kwb, “Jacob” and the names of four archangels: , MC. *luo-b’i̯wak-i̯ĕt-lâ, MP. rwp’yl, “Raphael”; , MC. *mjie̯-xâ-i̯ĕt-lâ, MP. myh’yl, “Michael”;, *ngi̯ɐp-b’i̯wak-lâ-i̯ĕt-lâ, MP. gbr’yl, “Gabriel”; and , MC. *sâ-lâ-i̯ĕt-lâ, MP. sr’yl, “Sariel”; but also the names of two angels: , MC. *nəng-ˑât-suo-si, MP. nrsws; and , MC. *nəng-si̯ĕt-d‘iei- kəw-si, MP. nstyqws. The Aramaic and Middle Persian terms for the four entities of calmness are transcribed in Chinese characters in its lines 87-90 as in the second phonetic hymn of the Hymnscroll, but some Chinese characters are different. And there are also Parthian terms for the four entities of calmness transcribed in Chinese characters in its line 223: , MC. b’i̯uk-γâ, Pth. bg’, “God”; , MC. luo-ṣi̯ɛn, Pth. rwšn’, “Light”; MC. dz’â-γuət-lâ, Pth. z’wr’, “Power”; and , MC. ńźi-lji-pi̯uət-tâ, Pth. jyryft’, “Wisdom”. Most of these terms transcribed in Chinese characters do not appear in the Dunhuang Chinese Manichean manuscripts and Chinese historical records, but we cannot deny that they are genuine Manichaean terms inherited from Chinese texts of the early Tang Dynasty which are now lost.

Keywords: Manichaeism; Religion of Light; Dunhuang texts; Xiapu texts; phonetic terms


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About the article

Received: 2015-05-28

Accepted: 2015-10-01

Published Online: 2015-10-14

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0028.

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©2015 Xiaohe Ma. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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