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72579-01 - Seminar: The Great Challenge to Early Christianity: Manichaeism as an Alternative Universalistic Religion (Sassanian Persia and Roman Empire, 3rd to 7th Centuries) 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2024
Angebotsmuster unregelmässig
Dozierende Alberto Camplani (alberto.camplani@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt This course is a survey on the social and intellectual dimension of the religion founded by Mani –Manichaeism–, from the third to the eighth centuries CE. On the one hand, this complex religious phenomenon will be analyzed from the point of view of 1) the sources which testify to it, both literary, documentary and archaeological; 2) the historical context in which Mani and his first disciples acted: Sasanian Persia and the Roman Empire; 3) the religious background, made up of the Zoroastrian religion, but also of numerous Judaic, Judeo-Christian, Orthodox Christian, Marcionite, Bardesanite, Gnostic currents that populate the Near East.
On the other hand, this religious phenomenon will be the subject of historical-religious comparison with the different dualistic forms of the area, highlighting its specificity: this should demonstrate that religious dualism, primary or secondary, takes different forms and can undergo an evolution over time. In addition, a particular attention will be paid to the hierarchical organization of the Manichees, which will be compared to that of Christianity and other religious groups of late antiquity.
Lernziele The main objectives of this course include the following:

- an understanding of the varied typology of the Manichaean sources preserved in the different languages in which they were expressed: 1) literary texts in Greek, Coptic, Aramaic-Syriac, Iranian languages, Turkish, Chinese; 2) sub-literary documents; 3) papyri in Greek and Coptic preserving private letters and other kinds of documents; 4) archaeological remains.
- the use of the comparative method to evaluate religious worlds: in particular a comparison will be offered of Manichaeism with Gnostic systems, Marcionite theology, other Jewish-Christian phenomena, Zoroastrism and other forms of dualism.
- the use of the historical - philological method to explore the sources of inspiration of Mani’s system: apocrypha of the Old Testament, canonical texts of New Testament and apocryphal writings of various orientations; Marcion’s system and Gnostic theologies. A particular attention will be paid on recent researches about the evolution of Manichaeism from Mani to the different and later codifications of his thought.
Literatur 1. Sources translated in English or other Europaean languages:

-A very important collection of Manichaean texts translated into English will be the reference tool of the course: I. Gardner - S.N.C. Lieu (eds.) Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004. See also the Italian translation of Coptic, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Iranian, Turkish, Chinese texts in three volumes: G. Gnoli (ed.), Il manicheismo. Volume I. Mani e il manicheismo. Volume II. Il mito e la dottrina. I testi manichei copti e la polemica antimanichea. Volume III. Il mito e la dottrina. Testi manichei dell’Asia Centrale e della Cina, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla - Arnoldo Mondadori, Milano 2003, 2006, 2008; and the collection organized by A. Magris (ed.), Il manicheismo. Antologia dei testi, Morcelliana, Brescia 2000. See also the German Translation A. Böhlig - J.P. Asmussen, Die Gnosis, III: Der Manichäismus, Artemis Verlag, Zürich-München 1980.

In addition to these volumes, other translations and editions of single texts or collections will be used occasionally in the course:
-the Kephalaia: I. Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher: The Edited Coptic Manichaean Texts in Translation with Commentary (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 37), Brill, Leiden 1995.
-the Psalms : C. R. C. Alberry, A Manichaean Psalm Book, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1938 (see achive.org).
-the Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis: L. Koenen, C. Römer, Der Kölner Mani-Kodex. Über das Werden seines Leben: Kritische Edition (Papyrologica Coloniensia 14), Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1988; R. Cameron, A.J. Dewey (eds), The Cologne Mani Codex (P. Colon. inv. nr. 4780) "Concerning the Origin of His Body", Scholars Press, Missoula 1979 (see archive.org.
-Texts in Iranian languages: J.P. Asmussen, Manichaean Literature (The Persian Heritage Series), Ehsan Yarshater, New York 1975; W. Sundermann, Mitteliranische manichäische Texte kirchen-geschichtlichen Inhalts, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1981 (see archive.org).
-Greek and Coptic literary and documentary texts: K.A. Worp (ed.), Greek Papyri from Kellis: I (Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph 3), Oxbow, Oxford 1995; I. Gardner (ed.), Kellis Literary Texts. Vol. 1 (Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph, 4), Oxbow, Oxford 1996; I. Gardner, A. Alcock, W.-P. Funk (eds.), Coptic Documentary Texts from Kellis. Vol. 1 (Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph, 9), Oxbow, Oxford 1999; I. Gardner (ed.) Kellis Literary Texts. Vol. 2 (Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph, 15), Oxbow, Oxford 2007; I. Gardner, A. Alcock, W.-P. Funk (eds.), Coptic Documentary Texts from Kellis. Vol. 2 (Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph, 16), Oxbow, Oxford 2014 (P.Kellis VII).

2. Studies about the history of Manichaeism and its collocation in the religious landscape of Late antiquity:

J. D. Beduhn, The Manichaean Body in Discipline and Ritual, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore-London 2011.
A. Camplani, From Ismant al-Kharab to Nag Hammadi. Some Observations about Ideological Diversity in Fourth Century Groups of Coptic Manuscripts, Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 86 (2020) 117-140.
I. Gardner, The Founder of Manichaeism: Rethinking the Life of Mani, Cambridge UP, Cambridge 2020.
S.N.C. Lieu, Manichaeism in Mesopotamia and the Roman East, Brill, Leiden 1994.
J. van Oort, “Manichaeology”. Origin and Development of the Study of a Gnostic World Religion, in «Religion & Theology» 29 (2022), pp. 195–219.
H.-C. Puech, Le Manichéisme. Son fondateur. Sa doctrine, Civilisation du Sud, Paris 1948.
J. C. Reeves, Heralds of that Good Realm. Syro-Mesopotamian Gnosis and Jewish Traditions, Brill, Leiden 1996.
J. Ries, Les études manichéennes. Des controverses de la Réforme aux découvertes du XXe siècle, Cebtre d’histoire des religions, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988.
M. Tardieu, Manichaeism, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago 1997, 20083.

On the documentation coming from Kellils’ excavations: G.E. Bowen - C.A. Hope (eds.), Oasis Papers 9: A Tribute to Anthony Mills After Forty Years of Research in the Dakhleh Oasis(Dakhleh Oasis Papers 9), Oxbow, Oxford 2019; H.F. Teigen, The Manichaean Church in Kellis (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 100), Brill, Leiden 2021; M. Brand, Religion and the Everyday Life of Manichaeans in Kellis. Beyond Light and Darkness (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 102), Brill, Leiden 2022.

On Manichaean art: Z. Gulácsi, Mani’s Pictures: The Didactic Images of the Manichaeans from Sasanian Mesopotamia to Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 90), Brill, Leiden 2015; A. Piras, Verba lucis. Scrittura, immagine e libro nel manicheismo, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2012.


Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
Block Siehe Einzeltermine


Datum Zeit Raum
Montag 20.01.2025 09.00-16.30 Uhr Theologie, Grosser Seminarraum 002
Dienstag 21.01.2025 09.00-16.30 Uhr Theologie, Grosser Seminarraum 002
Mittwoch 22.01.2025 09.00-16.30 Uhr Theologie, Grosser Seminarraum 002
Donnerstag 23.01.2025 09.00-16.30 Uhr Theologie, Grosser Seminarraum 002
Freitag 24.01.2025 09.00-16.30 Uhr Theologie, Grosser Seminarraum 002
Module Modul: Antike / monotheistische / aussereuropäische Religionen (Bachelor Studienfach: Religionswissenschaft)
Modul: Erweiterung Religionswissenschaft (Bachelor Studienfach: Religionswissenschaft)
Modul: Erweiterung Religionswissenschaft MA (Master Studienfach: Religionswissenschaft)
Modul: Religionskomparatistik (Master Studienfach: Religionswissenschaft)
Modul: Religionswissenschaft 2 (RWTh 2) (Masterstudium: Theologie)
Modul: Religionswissenschaft 2 (RWTh 2) (Master Studienfach: Theologie)
Modul: Religiöse Überzeugungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Masterstudium: Interreligious Studies)
Modul: Vertiefung in Altertumswissenschaften (Bachelor Studiengang: Altertumswissenschaften)
Modul: Vertiefung in Altertumswissenschaften (Bachelor Studienfach: Altertumswissenschaften)
Modul: Vertiefung in Geschichte und Altertumswissenschaften BA (Bachelor Studienfach: Altertumswissenschaften)
Modul: Vertiefung in Geschichte und Altertumswissenschaften BA (Bachelor Studiengang: Altertumswissenschaften)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Religionswissenschaft