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A Manichean hymnal found in Dunhuang

Beginning of the manuscript

Beginning of the manuscript

by Lucie Rault, ethnomusicologist and sinologist, Lecturer at the National Museum of Natural History.

The translation of the hymns contained in this manuscript allows us to sketch a new vision of the message of the Iranian prophet Mani (216-276), the magnitude of which reached a universal scope. This message, spread by his followers to the West and to the East, emanates from the numerous works written by Mani himself and has benefited from various influences according to its migrations across Asia, along the Silk Roads, land and sea. The various languages ​​that conveyed it enriched it while making it complex in its interpretation. While Mani wanted to be the Seal of the Prophecy by refunding his Gnostic, Zoroastrian and Buddhist heritage, so that his religion could “connect men from around the whole world, regardless of their origin, their language. or their history”, its adaptation to the Chinese vision of the Tang era has worked a new syncretism, culminating in China with the Religion of Light.

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