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European Science Foundation ranking A

Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

3 Issues per year

Cite Score 2016: 0.12

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.131
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.145

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Volume 17, Issue 2


Once More on Mani’s Epistles and Manichaean Letter-Writing

Iain Gardner
  • FAHA Professor of the History of Religions Chair, Department of Studies in Religion School of Letters, Art & Media Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney N425, Woolley Building (A20), The University of Sydney, NSW, 2006
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Published Online: 2014-03-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2013-0015


The Epistles were originally written during the years of Mani’s public mission in the Sasanian Empire (ca. 240-276 C.E.). They were collected together by his followers and became one of the canonical books of the Manichaean community, carried right across the ancient world from Roman North Africa to Medieval China. No complete edition is known; but scattered remnants and quotations are extant, and the author is engaged in a long-term project to edit and study these remains. Further, he has also been a leading proponent of the idea that a number of known personal letters on papyrus, principally dating from the 4th century and Egypt, should be identified as having been written by members of that community. Here he shows how Manichaeans consciously modelled themselves on their master’s example, and thus how Mani’s Epistles provide a framework for understanding the ethic of the religion as well as having been exemplars for the letters of individual believers. The article concludes with a tentative identification of part of the apostle’s last writing from prison, the Seal Letter.

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Published Online: 2014-03-21

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 291–314, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2013-0015.

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