The ‘Speech of the Living Soul’ (gōwišn ī grīw zīndag) is the only Middle Persian verse-cycle extensively preserved in the Turfan Collection in Berlin. It constitutes an important Manichaean text dedicated to the central Manichaean concept of the Living Soul, the light trapped in the material world which desires to return to its proper place in the paradise of light and which the Manichaeans have a duty to save. The fact that the language of the text is Middle Persian rather than Parthian suggests that it may have been made during Mani's lifetime though perhaps not by Mani himself. A small part of a Sogdian translation is also preserved. This edition presents 252 verses of the text on the basis of 54 fragments, some of which have never been published before. The fragments reveal extensive passages of a carefully composed and elegant text but it has not been possible to establish the overall sequence of the preserved parts of the text.
The German-language edition comprises an extensive introduction to the contents of the text, a description of the fragments, a critical edition of the individual fragments, a complied text presenting the Middle Persian and Sogdian fragments with a German translation on facing pages, notes, a glossary, a bibliography, an English translation of the complied text and five plates showing selected fragments.
Will interest: Students of Manichaeism; of Central Asian history and cultures; of comparative religion; of Iranian languages and literatures.