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Title: The Shepherd of Hermas Fragment from Turfan (M97) and its Manichean Context
Author(s): PIRTEA, Adrian C.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 98    Issue: 3   Date: 2022   
Pages: 427-449
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.98.3.3290970

Abstract :
This article discusses the Manichaean Middle Persian translation of the Shepherd of Hermas (Berlin, Turfan Collection, M97) and investigates the possible reasons as to why Manichaeans developed an interest in this early Christian work. After a short overview of previous scholarship, I provide a codicological, palaeographic and philological analysis of M97 and its relationship to the Greek, Latin, Coptic and Ethiopic versions of the Shepherd. The relevance of another Manichaean fragment from Turfan that mentions 'Hermas the Shepherd' (M788) is also briefly addressed. The main part of the article attempts to explain how the text of the Shepherd was transmitted to the Manichaeans in Central Asia and what function this work had in Manichaean church life. I argue that the Manichaean Middle Persian version of the Shepherd played an important, yet hitherto unacknowledged role as a collection of didactic parables, and that its usefulness for homiletics and preaching is analogous to the Manichaean Sogdian Book of Parables (Āzandnāme) derived from Buddhist sources.

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