“The Religion of the Manichees” spreads to Iranian bookstores

April 5, 2022 - 18:32

TEHRAN – English theologian Francis Crawford Burkitt’s book “The Religion of the Manichees” has been published in Persian by Saless in Tehran.

Originally published in 1924, the book has been translated into Persian by Seyyed Saeidreza Montazeri and Payman Samimi.

This book contains the Donnellan lectures given by Francis Crawford Burkitt (1864-1935) at Trinity College, Dublin in June 1923. 

Their subject is Manichaeism, a dualistic form of Christianity that thrived during the fourth and fifth centuries in Central Asia. 

In particular, Burkitt focuses on the discovery of fragments of Manichaean literary texts in Chinese Turkestan, near the Siberian border, early in the twentieth century. 

The first lecture introduces the history of the Manichees and reviews the sources of information available about them. 

The second discusses the Manichaean view of Jesus, Manichaean church organization and Manichaean eschatology. 

The third analyses the influences behind Manichaean thought and teaching, including the important influences of Marcion and Saint Augustine. 

Burkitt’s lectures were influential in publicizing the new finds of Manichaean manuscript fragments, and remain an important resource for those studying heterodox movements in early Christianity.

As Norris Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge from 1905 until shortly before his death, Burkitt was a sturdy critic of the notion of a distinct “Caesarean Text” of the New Testament put forward by B. H. Streeter and others.

Burkitt was a noted figure at Cambridge from 1912 to 1935 for his chairmanship of the Cambridge New Testament Seminar, attended by other prominent theologians, including Robert Newton Flew, who left an account of it in an obituary for Burkitt in the Proceedings of the British Academy.

He was also president of the Cambridge Philological Society from 1904 to 1905. Burkitt was one of the founding members of the Cambridge Theological Society that was dedicated to research, and its president from 1907-to 1909.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian edition of Francis Crawford Burkitt’s book “The Religion of the Manichees”. 

MMS/YAW

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