A Report from Down Under

The Centre has close links with the Centre for Ancient Documentary Studies at Macquarie University. In this issue of the Newsletter Prof. Sam Lieu contributes the first of what we hope will be a regular series of Reports from Down Under with a notice about the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum Project based at Macquarie.


The Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum Project

The Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum Project is a major international research project funded by the British Academy (1990-95) and the Royal Swedish Academy of History and Letters (1990-91) as well as the Leverhulme Trust (1990-93), Society of Antiquaries (1990-94) and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust (1990). It aims to publish in 10 series a total of 60 volumes of Manichaean texts found in Central Asia and Egypt as well as research tools such as concordances and dictionaries. A contract for the entire Corpus to be published over a period of 25 years has been signed with the publishers Brepols of Turnhout.

The religion of Mani (c. 216-c. 276 CE) was a missionary religion par excellence. Manichaean texts have been found in Egypt in Coptic, Greek and Syriac, and in N. Africa in Latin and in sites along the Ancient Silk Road in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian, Tocharian B, Chinese and Uighur (Old Turkish) as well as in substantial citations in a wide range of Arabic writings. Australian archaeologists working under the direction of Dr. Colin Hope (Monash) have added substantially to the corpus of rediscovered Manichaean texts through the current excavations at the Dakhleh Oasis which have unearthed texts on papyri and on wooden boards in Greek, Syriac and Coptic in the private houses. The Manichaean text best known to classical scholars is perhaps the Cologne Mani-Codex, a tiny parchment codex containing the life of Mani in Greek (cf. ZPE, 5 (1970) 97ff).

The project began originally as the Database of Manichaean Texts and Dictionary of Manichaean Terms and Concepts. It was a recipient of three consecutive Major Research Grants from the British Academy and an unprecedented fourth renewal under the aegis of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum. The project has to all intent and purposes now left Britain with the appointment of Prof. Sam Lieu to the Chair of Ancient History at Macquarie University. A shared office is still kept at the Institute of Classical Studies in the University of London for continuing work on the Series Graeca and on the Dictionary of Manichaean Texts. The project is now jointly administered from Leuven and Sydney. The administrative HQ for the project is at KU Leuven but the Research Archive of the project is kept and maintained at Macquarie. The reason for the division is because the project is being published by Brepols in Belgium and the Archive is necessary for servicing the research at the highest level at Macquarie as there is no comparable collection in the Commonwealth.

Each volume of the text-series contains introduction, critical text, translation (in English, French or German), commentary and extensive word indices. The first volume of the CFM: Series Coptica: Die Bema Psalmen (Coptic Texts in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin), edited and translated by Dr. G. Wurst (Münster), was published in May, 1996.

The Project Committee consists of Prof. Alos van Tongerloo (Leuven), Director; Prof. Samuel N.C. Lieu (Macquarie), Co-Director; Dr. Johannes van Oort (Utrecht), Co-Director; Dr. E. Hunter (Cambridge and Melbourne), Director of the Series Syriaca; Prof. A. van Tongerloo (KU Leuven), Director of the Series Arabica; Prof. M. Krause (Münster), Director of the Series Coptica; Prof. Werner Sundermann (Berlin Akademie), Director of the Series Iranica; Prof. S. N. C. Lieu (Macquarie) and Dr. Peter Bryder (Lund), Directors of the Series Sinica; Prof. A. van Tongerloo (KU Leuven), Dr. P. Zieme (Berlin Akademie) and Prof. L. Clark (Bloomington, Indiana, USA), Directors of the Series Turcica; Dr. J. Van Oort (Utrecht), Director of the Series Latina; Prof. S. N. C. Lieu (Macquarie), Dr. C. Römer (Cologne) & Prof. L. Cirillo (Naples), Directors of the Series Graeca; Dr. Iain Gardner (Edith Cowan, Perth), Director of the Series Dachlaica; Prof. S. N. C. Lieu and Prof. A. van Tongerloo, Directors of the Series Subsidia.

For more details of the Corpus, contact Prof. Sam Lieu or read the latest news on our Web-page: http://www.chepd.mq.edu.au/ahist/DocCtr/manics/Corpus.html

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