Thesis Title: “Aspects of Manichaeism in the Uighur Kingdom: A Comparison of Two Manichaean Texts (from Dunhuang and Turfan Area”
Abstract: This study concerns itself with three research topics: Firstly, with the reasons for the Uighurs' conversion to Manichaeism following Bögü qaγan’s return from Luoyang 洛陽in 762 AD accompanied by four Manichaeans; Secondly and thirdly, with the comparison of the parallel versions of the Sermon of the Light-Nous (In Chinese: Monijiao canjing 摩尼教殘經) and the parallel versions of the first canto of the Huyadagmān (In Chinese: Tan mingjie wen 歎明界文) in Parthian, Sogdian, Uighur and Chinese.
The present work will discuss the various factors within the historical background of the mid-8thcentury in Central Asia and Central China which related to the conversion of the Uighurs and supplies a suggestion for the reasons why the Uighurs converted to Manichaeism.
The comparison of the different versions of the Sermon of the Light-Nous indicates that the original version of it was very likely in Parthian, but not the one which we have. The content and structure of the parallel versions in Parthian and Chinese are very similar except for sections at the beginning and at the end. The Chinese version and the Uighur version do share great similarities, but they also have very obvious distinctions. The relation between them is still unclear, but this study will show that the Chinese version might have been composed earlier than the Uighur version.
The comparison of the first canto of the Huyadagmān verse by verse in different versions indicates their great resemblance except for the Manichaean terminologies used in the different versions. The comparison of the sentence structure of the first canto of the Huyadagmān in Parthian and Chinese shows that the quatrain format in the Chinese version is also possibly influenced by the original Parthian version.
The present work also supplies two appendices; one is a table containing the comparison of the parallel parts of the Sermon of the Light-Nous in Parthian and Chinese. Another appendix is an analysis of the punctuation marks in the preserved manuscripts of the first canto of the Huyadagmān in Parthian.