or Ketāb al-fehrest; a celebrated catalogue of books in Arabic, drafted in 987 by Ebn al-Nadīm. Some scholars regard him as a Persian, but this is not certain. However, his choice of a rather rare Persian word for the title of a handbook on Arabic literature is noteworthy.


FEHREST or Ketāb al-fehrest, a celebrated catalogue of books in Arabic, drafted in 377/987 by Ebn al-Nadīm.

i. The Author and His Work.

ii. Middle Persian to Arabic Translations.

iii. Representation of Manicheism.




Abu’l-Faraj Moḥammad b. Abī Yaʿqūb Esḥāq al-Warrāq al-Nadīm, wrongly but almost invariably called Ebn al-Nadīm (the correct form is simply al-Nadīm; see Ebn al-Nadim, tr. Dodge, p. xv-xvi; Maškūr, pp. 343-46), was born probably in Baghdad ca. 320/932 and died there on Wednesday, 20 Šaʿbān 380/12 November 990. Some scholars regard him as a Persian (Gray, p. 24; Nicholson, p. 362), but this is not certain. However, his choice of the rather rare Persian word pehrest/fehrest/fehres/fahrasat (cf. comments by W. Henning quoted in Borhān-e Qāṭeʿ, ed. M. Moʿīn , p. 1509, n. 1) for the title of a handbook on Arabic literature is noteworthy in this regard.

Like his father, Ebn al-Nadīm earned a living by copying and selling books, hence his nomen professionis of AL-FEHRESTal-warrāq, or occasionally al-kāteb (Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, p. 91). Both father and son were men of considerable distinction and social standing. Ebn al-Nadīm’s large bookstore in Baghdad appears to have been a popular meeting place for scholars. Having acquired an unusually extensive education, he cultivated ties with the luminaries of Baghdad learned society, counting among his teachers and informants such savants as the poet ʿAlī b. Hārūn Monajjem, the anthologist Abu’l-Faraj Eṣfahānī (q.v.), the Jacobite Christian philosopher Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī, the grammarian Abū Saʿīd Sīrāfī, the literary historian Abū ʿObayd-Allāh Marzobānī, and the logician and translator of philosophical books from Syriac into Arabic Ḥasan b. Sowār, known also as Ebn al-Ḵammār (see Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, index). He heard hadith from Esmāʿīl Ṣaffār and was also a friend of the philosopher Abū Solaymān Moḥammad b. Ṭāher b. Bahrām Manṭeqī Sejestānī, whom he addresses as “our master” (šayḵonā) or simply as “the master” (šaykò). The priest Yūnos Qass gave the author of the Fehrest (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 25) information about the Christian scriptures, and so did Abu’l-Ḥasan Moḥammad b. Yūsof [Nāqeṭ] ʿĀmerī Nīšāpūrī (q.v.), a scholar of Arabic and Greek, who was in Baghdad when the Fehrest was begun (ibid., pp. 27-28). It was probably Ebn al-Nadīm’s association with the logician ʿĪsā b. ʿAlī, the son of the vizier ʿAlī b. ʿĪsā (q.v.) in Baghdad, or his attendance at the court of Nāṣer-al-Dawla (d. 358/968), the ruler of Mosul, which brought him the title al-nadīm, “the companion.” Reynold A. Nicholson’s suggestion (p. 362) that this may signify his family ties with Esḥāq b. Ebrāhīm Nadīm Mawṣelī was rejected by Johann Fück (EI² III, p. 895).

Although broad-minded and careful in religious matters, Ebn al-Nadīm preferred Imami Shiʿism, and—not unusual for the times wasalso an advocate of the Muʿtazilite doctrine (Yāqūt, Odabāʾ VI, p. 408; Ebn Ḥajar, V, p. 72), to which he devoted a large part of the fifth chapter of the Fehrest. He was the author of another book, now lost, entitled al-Awṣāf wa’l-tašbīhāt (Yāqūt, ibid; Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 14), on the merit of books and on writing and its instruments.


The Fehrest, intended to be a catalogue including all books, lecture notebooks, papers, etc., available in the Arabic language at the time of the author, developed into a unique specimen of literature, an encyclopedia or a compendium of the knowledge possessed by a learned Muslim in 10th century Baghdad. Not only is it a valuable reference source for the culture of medieval Islam and the literary men who represented it, but it also gives precious information about the heritage of antiquity available to the Muslims. The Fehrest contains miscellaneous pieces of rare information. In many cases, our only information on certain early authors and their works comes from this book. Often blank spaces have been purposely left in the text for later additions, with a request addressed to the readers to add whatever information the author might have overlooked (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 244).

The collected notes were arranged thematically and in chronological sequence in ten discourses (maqālāt), each subdivided into several sections: (1) on the revealed Scriptures of Muslims, Jews and Christians, with an emphasis on the Koran and Koranic sciences; (2) on Arabic grammarians and philologists; (3) on historians, biographers, epistolographers, and genealogists; (4) on poetry and poets; (5) on theology and Muslim sects; (6) on jurisprudence (feqh), legal authorities, and hadith; (7) on philosophy, logic, mathematics, astronomy and medicine; (8) on legends, fables, charms, conjuring, magic, sorcery, talismans and the like; (9) on the doctrines of the non-monotheistic religions (Sabians, Manicheans, Mazdakites and other dualists) and the creeds of India, China, and other countries; and (10) on alchemy.

Following the historical methodology current at the time, Ebn al-Nadīm looked for the origin of each science he dealt with and continued its history up to his own period. His introductory remarks on the art of writing reveal his attempt to be exhaustive, and present a fascinating model of conciseness and research on the distribution, history and characteristics of languages and scripts of different peoples (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, pp. 7-23). Each discourse begins with a general introductory survey, as on the early stages of Arabic grammar (ibid., pp. 45-47), or the beginnings of philosophy (ibid., pp. 299-303). Generally, a short biographical notice on the authors is followed by a list of their works. Ebn al-Nadīm attempts to give an objective picture of the authors he names ,making detached observations based on reliable material. Occasionally a list is dedicated to publications on a particular theme, as for example the literature on Koranic exegesis (ibid., pp. 36-37), on love stories (ibid., pp. 366-67), or on fairy tales (ibid., p. 375). In the ninth maqāla, a treatise on the history of religion, the bibliographical announcements occupy only a minor place. Curiously he left out Mazdaism altogether, although his discussion of Old Iranian writings shows that he was familiar with Mazdakite sources. The last four discourses focus on the Arabic translations from Greek, Persian, Syriac and other languages, together with books composed in Arabic on the model of these translations. These sections are detailed enough to be considered a veritable history of literature.

Some information about the sources of the Fehrest may be extracted from the book itself. Apparently several such “catalogues” on specific topics or the works of individual authors had been in circulation prior to Ebn al-Nadīm. Among these he names a fehrest kabīr and a fehrest ṣaḡīr that Jāber b. Ḥayyān had made of his writings (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, pp. 421-23), a fehrest by Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī of Aristotle’s books (ibid., pp. 311, 312), another by Moḥammad b. Zakarīyā Rāzī of his own works (ibid., pp. 357-59) and an inventory Ḥonayn b. Esḥāq had penned of his own translations from Galen’s writings (ibid., p. 353; this has survived, see EI2, s. v. “Ḥunayn b. Isḥāḳ al-ʿIbādī”). Works of this kind had until then been mostly restricted to collections of biographies of authors and poets, such as the Ketāb al-moʾallefīn (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 163) of Ebn Abī Ṭāher Ṭayfūr, Ketāb aḵbār al-šoʿarā al-kabīr of Hārūn b. ʿAlī b. Yaḥyā (ibid., p. 161), orthe Aḡānī (ibid., p. 128) of Abuʾl -FarajEṣfahānī. Ebn al-Kūfī, whom the Fehrest mentions as a source many times, may have composed a list of authors using preliminary work done by Ebn al-Kalbī and Madāʾenī (see Lippert, p. 155). Ebn al-Nadīm had probably examined personally many of the books which he records, though at times he also furnishes the names of his trustworthy informants.

Later bio-bibliographical authors such as Yāqūt, Ebn al-Qefṭī, Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, Ebn Ḵallekān, Kotobī, and Ḥājjī Ḵalīfa are all heavily dependent on the Fehrest for information. Yāqūt (Odabāʾ VI, p. 197) averred that he used a copy of the Fehrest in the handwriting of Ebn al-Nadīm himself and also an expanded copy provided by Wazīr Abu’l-Qāsem Maḡrebī. The material in the Fehrest dating after the year 380/990 (e.g., Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, pp. 95, 146, 149, 195) very likely originated from the pen of Maḡrebī.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

Editions of the Fehrest: (1) G. Flügel, ed., 2 vols., Leipzig, 1871-72 (published after Flügel’s death by J. Roediger and A. Müller; the first volume contains the text, the second an extensive commentary and references); reprinted Cairo, 1348/1929; Cairo, ca. 1380/1960 (incl. the Leiden Fragments publ. by M. T. Houtsma, 1890); Beirut, 1964.

(2) R. Tajaddod, ed., Tehran, 1971 (a new edition based on better manuscripts; the edition used for references in this article); 2nd ed., 1973 (reviewed with valuable suggestions for emendations by Y. Ḥ. al-Bakkār, “Naẓarāt fī Fehrest Ebn al-Nadīm,” Elāhīyāt-e Mašhad 5, 1351 Š./1973, pp. 189-228; and by M. J. Maškūr, “al-Fehrest,” Rāhnamā-ye ketāb 15, 1351 Š./1973, pp. 263-73, 449-59).

(3) N. ʿA ʿOṯmān, ed., “An Edition of Kitāb al-Fihrist by Ibn al-Nadīm (d. 380/990) based on the version of Riḍa Tajaddud,” Ph.D. diss., Exeter, 1983, pub. as al-Fehrest le-Ebn al-Nadīm: ṣeyāḡa ḥadīṯa, Qatar, 1985 (with book titles arranged alphabetically under authors’ names, and sometimes with information added about existing manuscripts or editions).

(4) Š. Ḵalīfa and W. M. al-ʿAwza, ed., as al-Fehrest le-Ebn al-Nadīm, 2 vols., Cairo, 1991 (the first volume has a long introduction on Ebn al-Nadīm, the manuscripts of the Fehrest, all its editions and a statistical study of its contents; the second volume, a total of 964 pages, consists of various indices).

Translations: R. Tajaddod, tr. as Ketāb al-fehrest, Tehran, 1343 Š./1965; 2nd rev. ed., 1346 Š./1967.

B. Dodge, tr. as The Fihrist of al-Nadīm: A Tenth-Century Survey of Muslim Culture, 2 vols., New York, 1970 (Dodge’s introduction brings together the scanty information on Ebn al-Nadīm and gives a description of all known manuscripts).

Studies and references. M. Abuʾl-Qāsemī, “Šarḥ-e al-Fehrest-e Ebn al-Nadīm: ʿaqāʾed-e Mānavīān,” Āšenā 5/22-27, 1374 Š./1995.

E. Ābyārī, “al-Fehrest le-Ebn al-Nadīm,” Torāṯ al-ensānīya (Cairo) 3, 1965, pp. 193-210. J. ʿAlī, “ʿElm Ebn al-Nadīm beʾl-Yahūdīya waʾl-Naṣrānīya,” Majallat al-majmaʿ al-ʿelmī al-ʿEraqī 8,1380/1961, pp. 84-113; 10, 1382/1962, pp. 156-83. ʿA. Amīn, “Ebn al-Nadīm fī Ketāb al-fehrest,Majallat al-aqlām (Baghdad) 5, 1969, pp. 43-55. Ḥ. Amīn, “Ebn al-Nadīm,” al-Mawsūʿa al-Eslāmīya (Beirut) 2, 1976, pp. 174-83. A. Baumstark, Syrisch-arabische Biographien des Aristoteles, Leipzig, 1898; repr. Leipzig, 1900 (contains a translation of and a detailed commentary on Ebn al-Nadīm’s material on Aristotle). M. Berthelot, La chimie au moyen-âge, 3 vols., Paris, 1893 (repr., Osnabrück, 1967), III, p. 26-40 (includes Fr. tr. by Octave Houdas of the Tenth Discourse, with the exception of the section on the Pyramids). Brockelmann, GAL I, p. 147 [=153]; S, I, pp. 226-27. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia 1, pp. 373-74, 383-87 (English translation of the Preface of the Fehrest with an evaluation of its contents). Y. A. Dāḡer, Maṣāder al-derāsāt al-adabīya men al-ʿaṣr al-jāhelī elā ʿaṣr al-nahḍa, vol. 1, Beirut, 1961, s.v. “al-Fehrest.” B. Dodge, “The Subjects and Titles of Books Written during the First Four Centuries of Islam,” Islamic Culture 27, 1954, pp. 525-40.

Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, ʿOyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭebbāʾ, ed. N. Reḍā, Beirut, 1965.

Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalānī, Lisān al-mīzān, 5 vols. Haidarabad, 1329-31/1911-13.

G. Endress, The Works of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī: An Analytical Inventory, Wiesbaden, 1977.

J. van Ess, “Die Muʿtazilitenbiographien im Fihrist und die muʿtazilitische biographische Tradition,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 1-6.

H. G. Farmer, “Tenth Century Arabic Books on Music as Contained in "’Kitāb al-Fihrist of Abu’l-Faraj Muḥammad Ibn al-Nadīm’,” in The Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society 2, 1959-61, pp. 37-47 (translates the third fann of the third maqāla, which comprises the stories of the boon companions, the men of letters, the musicians, the jesters, etc.).

G. Ferrand, Relation de voyages et textes géographiques arabes, persans et turks relatifs à l’Éxtrème-Orient, 2 vols,Paris, 1913-14, I, pp. 118-36.

M. Fleischhammer, “Johann Fücks Materialien zum Fihrist,” in Wissenschaftlische Zeitschrift der Universität Halle 25/6, 1976, pp. 75-84.

S. Fraenkel, “Zum Fihrist,” ZDMG 46, 1892, pp. 741-43 (suggests several improved readings).

J. W. Fück, “Eine arabische Literaturgeschichte aus dem 10. Jahrhundert n. Chr. (Der Fihrist des Ibn an-Nadīm),” ZDMG 84, 1930, pp. 111-24.

Idem, “The Arabic Literature on Alchemy According to an-Nadīm (A.D. 987): A translation of the Tenth Discourse of The Book of the Catalogue (al-Fihrist) with introduction and commentary,” Ambix 4, 1951, pp. 81-144.

Idem, “al-Nadīm,” EI1 III, pp. 808-9. Idem, “Ibn al-Nadīm,” EI² III, pp. 895-96.

I. Goldziher, “Beiträge zur Erklärung des Kitāb al-Fihrist,” ZDMG 36, 1882, pp. 278-84.

L. H. Gray, “Iranian material in the Fihrist,” Le Muséon, 3/1, 1915, pp. 24-39.

P.A. Grjaznewitsch, “Südarabien im Fihrist von Ibn an-Nadīm,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 7-20.

ʿA.-Ḥ. Ḥalwajī, “Men torāṯenā al-beblīūḡrāfī: Ebn al-Nadīm wa ketāboho al-Fehrest,” Majallat kollīyat al-loḡa al-ʿarabīya (Riyadh) 7, 1977, pp. 461-78.

M. Y. Ḥosaynī, “Aṯar ḵāled fī tārīḵ al-fekr al-ʿarabī: Ketāb al-fehrest le-Ebn al-Nadīm,” Revue de l’Académie arabe de Damas/Mājallat majmaʿ al-loḡa al-ʿarabīya be-Demašq 11, 1931, pp. 678-87.

M. Inostranzev, The Iranian Influence on Moslem Literature, tr. G. K. Nariman, Bombay, 1918.

S. Ḵalīl, “Théodore de Mopsueste dans le Fihrist d’Ibn an-Nadīm,” Le Muséon 90, 1977, pp. 355-63.

K. Kessler, Mani, Forschungen über die manichäische Religion: Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Religionsgeschichte des Orients, I: Voruntersuchungen und Quellen, Berlin, 1889, pp. 331-38, 382-401.

R. Köbert, “Ein Kuriosum in Ibn an-Nadīm’s berühmtem Fihrist,” Orientalia 47, 1978, pp. 112-13.

P. S. van Köningsveld, “Das von J. H. Hottinger (1620-1667) benutzte Exemplar des Kitāb al-Fihrist = Cod. Or. 1221 der Universitätsbibliothekzu Leiden,” Der Islam 49, 1972, pp. 294-95.

P. Kraus, Jābir ibn Ḥayyān: Contribution à l’histoire des idées scientifiques dans l’Islam, Vol. I, Le Corpus des écrits Jābiriens, Cairo, 1943.

P. Kunitzsch, “Die Nachricht über Ptolemäus im Fihrist,” Zeitschrift für arabische Linguistik 25, 1993, pp. 219-24.

S. Leder, “Grenzen der Rekonstruktion alten Schrifttums nach den Angaben im Fihrist,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 21-31.

J. Lippert, “Ibn al-Kūfī, ein Vorgänger Nadīm’s,” WZKM 11, 1897, pp. 147-55.

M. J. Maškūr, “Ketāb al-fehrest le’l-Nadīm al-maʿrūf ḵaṭaʾan be-Ebn al-Nadīm,” Revue de l’Académie arabe de Damas/Mājallat majmaʿ al-loḡa al-ʿarabīya be-Demašq 52, 1977, pp. 336-59.

R. J. McCarthy, al-Taṣānīf al-mansūba elā faylasūf al-ʿarab, Baghdad, 1382/1962 (a monograph on Yaʿqūb b. Esḥāq Kendī swork based on the Fehrest and other sources).

G. Monnot, Penseurs musulmans et religions iraniennes: ʿAbd al-Jabbār et ses devanciers, Paris, 1974 (relies heavily on the fifth and ninth maqālāt of the Fehrest).

P. Moraux, Les listes anciennes des ouvrages d’Aristote, Louvain, 1951.

A. Müller, Die griechischen Philosophen in der arabischen Überlieferung, Halle, 1873 (a translation of the section on the Greek philosophers in the Fehrest with extensive commentary).

S. Nadvi, “Literary relations between Arabia and India,” Islamic Culture 6, 1932, pp. 634-41; 7, 1933, pp. 83-94 (examines the Indian material in the Fehrest).

C. A. Nallino, ʿElm al-falak, Rome, 1911.

R. A. Nicholson, A Literary History of the Arabs, Cambridge, 1907.

C. Pellat, “Nouvel essai d’inventaire de l’oeuvre Gāḥizienne,” Arabica 31, 1984, pp. 117-64.

V. V. Polosin, “Ob odnom pis’mennom istochnike Fikhrista Ibn an-Nadima (On one of the written sources of Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest),” in Pis’mennye pamyatniki vostoka (Written sources of the East), Moscow, 1974, pp. 86-108 (the source discussed is Ketāb al-waraqa of Ebn al-Jarrāḥ).

Idem, “K voprosu o dvukh redaktsiyakh Fikhrista Ibn an-Nadīma (On the two redactions of Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest),” in Pis’mennye pamyatniki problmey istorii kultury narodov vostoka (Written sources on the cultural history of the Eastern peoples)13, 1978, pp. 113-18.

Idem, “Molāḥaẓāt ḥawla Fehrest Ebn al-Nadīm,” in Abḥāṯ jadīda le’l-mostaʿrebīn al-sūfyāt, Moscow, 1986, pp. 124-63.

Idem, “Zametki o Fikhriste ibn an-Nadīma (Comments on Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest),” in Pis’mennye pamyatniki vostoka (Written sources of the East), Moscow, 1987, pp. 91-107.

Idem, “Fikhrist Ibn an-Nadīma kak istoriko-kul’turnyĭ pamyatnik X veka (Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest as a historical and cultural monument of the 10th century),” Moscow, 1989 (discusses mainly the organization of the Fehrest and the classification of sciences at that time).

Idem, “Die Erforschung des Fihrist von Ibn an-Nadīm nach J. Fück und die Aktualität einer neuen wissenschaftlichen Ausgabe des Textes,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 32-37 (in Russian).

H. Preissler, “Die arabische ‘Sektenliste’ des Qaḥṭabī: Ein Rekonstruktionsversuch,” in idem and H. Seiwert, eds., Gnosisforschung und Religionsgeschichte, Marburg, 1994, pp. 499-510 (surveys the list of Christian and Dualist religious sects appearing between the time of Jesus and Muḥammad, as given in the Fehrest).

Idem, “Ordnungsprinzipien im Fihrist,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 38-43.

N. Rescher, al-Kindī: An Annotated Bibliography, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1964.

H. Ritter, “Philologika I: Zur Überlieferung des Fihrist,” Der Islam 17, 1928, pp. 15-23; 18, 1929, p. 316.

V. Rosen, “Byl li v 988 g. v Konstantinopoly avtor Fikhrista? (Was the author of the Fehrest in Constantinople in 988 A.D.?),” Zapiski Vostochnago Otdyeleniya 4, 1889-90, pp. 401-4 (corrected Flügel’s assumption that Ebn al-Nadīm visited Byzantine territory).

Idem, “K Fihristu,” Zapiski Vostochnago Otdyeleniya 23, 1915, pp. 233-44.

J. Ruska, Turba Philosophorum: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Alchemie, Berlin, 1931, pp. 268-73 (partial translation of the Tenth Discourse).

Z. Sardar, “Al-Nadim: ‘Books Smile as Pens Shed Tears’,” Afkār Inquiry 1/5, 1984, pp. 62-64.

ʿA. E. al-Ṣāwī, “al-Fehrest,” al-Marājeʿ al-ʿarabīya, Cairo, 1956, pp. 3-35.

R. Sellheim, “Das Todesdatum des Ibn an-Nadīm,” Israel Oriental Studies 2, 1972, pp. 428-32.

Idem, “Ibn an-Nadīm’s Fihrist und J. W. Fück,” Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 92, 1997, pp. 149-58.

Sezgin, GAS, I, pp. 385-88.

M. Steinschneider, Die arabischen Übersetzungen aus dem Griechischen, 7 parts, Leipzig and Berlin, 1889-96; repr. in 1 vol., Graz, 1960.

Idem, “Arabische Mathematiker mit Einschluss der Astronomen,” Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 4, 1901, pp. 89-95, 183-90, 269-78, 345-54, 441-44; 5, 1902, pp. 1-5, 177-84, 261-68, 375-81, 463-69; 6, 1903, pp. 101-13.

G. Strohmaier, “Die ḥarrānischen Sabier bei Ibn an-Nādim und al-Bīrūnī,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 51-56.

D. Sturm, “Die arabische geographische Literatur im Historikerkapitel des Kitāb al-Fihrist von Ibn an-Nadīm,” Hallesche Beiträge zur Orientwissenschaft 10, 1986, pp. 23-36.

Idem, “Ibn an-Nadīm’s Hinweise auf das Verhältnis zum geistigen Eigentum im Historikerkapitel des Kitāb al-Fihrist,” Hallesche Beiträge zur Orientwissenschaft 13-14, 1990, pp. 65-70.

Idem, “Der Fihrist des Ibn an-Nadīm als Quelle für die Kenntnis sozialer Zusammenhänge am Beispiel der dritten Maqāla,” in Ibn an-Nadīm und die mittelalterliche arabische Literatur, Wiesbaden, 1996, pp. 44-50.

H. Suter, “Das Mathematiker-Verzeichnis im Fihrist des Ibn Abī Jaʿḳūb an-Nadīm,” Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik 37, 1892, pp. 1-87.

Idem, Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber und ihre Werke, ed. R. Mehmke and M. Cantor, Leipzig, 1900.

Idem, “Nachträge und Berichtigungen zu meinen ’Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber und ihre Werke’,” Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der mathematischen Wissenschaften 14, 1902, pp. 157-85.

G. Tropeau, “Sur un astrologue mentionné dans le Fihrist,” Arabica 16, 1969, p. 90; 39, 1992, pp. 118-19.

A. A. Vasiliev, Byzance et les Arabes, 3 vols., Brussels, 1935-50, II, pp. 295-96.

H. H. Wellisch, “The First Arab Bibliography: Fihrist al-ʿulum,” University of Illinois at Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Occasional Papers 175, 1986.

F. W. Zimmermann, “On the Supposed Shorter Version of Ibn an Nadīm’s Fihrist and its Date,” Der Islam 53, 1976, pp. 267-73 (disproved the hypothesis put forward by H. Ritter and J. Fück that al-Fehrest has a shorter earlier version).




The Fehrest gives ample testimony to the knowledge of pre-Islamic Persia and its literature in classical Islamic civilization, but unfortunately only a minute sample of the numerous Persian books listed by Ebn al-Nadīm is extant.

In the chapter on languages and scripts the author quotes, among other things, a passage from Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ (q.v.) about the languages of the Persians (Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 15; all subsequent textual references are to this edition), followed by a description of their various styles of script, some of them illustrated by tables, unfortunately hopelessly corrupt in the existing editions (pp. 15-16). Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ is apparently also the source for an accurate description of the Middle Persian system of ideograms (p. 17), illustrated by the Pahlavi spellings BSLYʾ (for gōšt, “meat”) and LḤMʾ (for nān, “bread”). The same chapter contains descriptions of Manichaean (p. 19) and Sogdian (p. 20) scripts, both illustrated by their alphabets.

In the chapter on scribes and bureaucrats there is a biography of Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ and a list of the Persian books that he translated into Arabic, among them Ḵoḏāy-nāma, Āʾīn-nāma (q.v.), Ketāb Mazdak, Ketāb al-tāj fī sīrat Anūšerwān (p. 132). This is followed by a shorter entry on Abān Lāḥeqī, and the books that he translated into Arabic rhymed couplets, among them Kalīla wa Demna, Sīrat Ardašīr, Sīrat Anūšerwān, Belawhar wa-Būḏāsaf (see BARLAAM AND IOSAPH). The author returns to Abān Lāḥeqī in the chapter on poetry (p. 186), adding to the previous list of translations the titles Ketāb Sendbāḏ and Ketāb Mazdak.

At the beginning of the chapter on philosophy Ebn al-Nadīm gives, mainly from Abū Sahl b. Nawbaḵt and Abū Maʿšār Balḵī (qq.v.), a for the most part legendary account of the scientific knowledge of the ancient Persians and of how some primeval Persian writings on occult matters had recently been unearthed in Isfahan (pp. 299-302). This is followed by a somewhat more factual account of Persian translations of Greek books made during the Sasanian period and of how some of the books on logic and medicine which had formerly been translated into Persian were later rendered from Persian into Arabic by Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ “and others” (pp. 302-3). A few pages later (p. 305) there is a long list of those who translated from Persian to Arabic, but with few details of titles. Some books translated from Persian, or from “Indian” via Persian, are mentioned at the end of the chapter on medicine (p. 360).

The chapter devoted to what the author rather dismissively calls “bed-time stories” (asmār) and “fables” (ḵorafāʾ) contains a large amount of Persian material. Ebn al-Nadīm begins (p. 363) by mentioning Ketāb hazār afsān (q.v.; “Book of the thousand stories”), evidently the ancestor of the Thousand and One Nights, and gives a summary of its well-known frame story about Queen Šahrāzād. Several other books of similar nature are named. Concerning Kalīla wa Demna and Ketāb Sendbād al-ḥakīm Ebn al-Nadīm says that it is debated whether they were composed by the Indians or the Persians; of the latter he knew two versions, a long one and a short one (p. 364). There follows a list of ten books of “Persian bed-time stories,” including Ketāb hazār dastān (sic; different from the aforementioned Hazār afsān?); the remaining titles are otherwise unknown. The next section gives titles of books dealing with lives of Persian kings, including a book about Rostam and Esfandīār (q.v.), translated by Jabala b. Sālem; one about Bahrām Čōbīn (q.v.), from the same translator; a book about Šahrīzād (read: Šahrbarāz?) and Abarwēz; a Ketāb kārnāmaj fī sīrat Anūšerwān; a story about Dārā (see DĀRĀ[B] ii) and the golden idol; one about Bahrām (see BAHRĀM iii) and Narseh; and some of the titles already mentioned in the section on Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ. Under the following heading “books of the Indians about fables” etc., he again discusses Kalīla wa Demna, saying that it was “interpreted” by Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ “and others” and rendered into Arabic verse by Abān Lāḥeqī and one ʿAlī b. Dāʾūd. Then he adds that “the poets of the Persians (al-ʿajam) have reworked this book in poetry and translated it into the Persian language in Arabic (script?),” referring, no doubt, to Rūdakī; this appears to be the only explicit reference to Neo-Persian literature in the whole of the Fehrest. The Indian list continues with reference to the long and short versions of the book of Sendbād, the book of Būḏāsaf and Belawhar, etc.

In the chapter on anonymous works of assorted content there is a section on “Persian, Indian, Byzantine, and Arab books on sexual intercourse in the form of titillating stories” (p. 376), but the Persian works are not separated from the others; the list includes a “Book of Bahrām-doḵt on intercourse.” This is followed by books of Persians, Indians, etc. on fortune telling, books of “all nations” on horsemanship and the arts of war, then (p. 377) on horse doctoring and on falconry, some of them specifically attributed to the Persians. Then (pp. 377-78) we have books of wisdom and admonition by the Persians and others, including many examples of Persian andarz (q.v.) literature, e.g., various books attributed to Anūšervān or to Ardašīr (q.v.).

The chapter on non-Muslim sects, after detailed accounts of the Ḥarrānians and Manichaeans, discusses various religious movements with their roots in the Iranian past, among them Ḵorramīya and Mazdakites (pp. 405-6), the followers of Bābak Ḵorramī (pp. 406-7) and of Abū Moslem Ḵorāsānī (pp. 407-8; qq.v.).

Bibliography: given in the text.




Moḥammad b. Esḥāq b. Abī Yaʿqūb al-Nadīm al-Warrāq al-Baḡdādī included in his Fehrest al-ʿolūm an extensive account of Manicheism, which gives details about Mani’s life, teachings, and the fate of the Manicheans in the Islamic countries. The account is comparable to some non-Manichean descriptions of Manicheism: the Acta Archelai, which, however, narrates Mani’s life as an anti-legend; the account of Theodor bar Kōnaiʾs in his Scholia, limited to cosmogony; and most accurately with the shorter, more consistently philosophical stylised accounts of Šahrastānī in his Ketāb al-melal wa’l-neḥal and of Ebn al-Mortażā in the Ketāb al-baḥr al-zaḵār on the teachings of the Manicheans. The account in the Fehrest is the most extensive, varied, and reliable non-Manichean description of Mani and his teachings, and it is of the highest value for research on Manicheism even after the discovery of numerous Manichean original sources. Ebn al-Nadīm writes that he had known around 300 Manicheans in Bagdad at the time of the Buyid Moʿezz-al-Dawla (334-56/945-67), but at the time of writing (ca. 377/987-88) there were “hardly more than five” there (tr. Dodge, p. 803). This reduction in the number of Manicheans in the capital of Islam almost to the point of disappearance enabled his account of them to become a work of scientific-historical dimensions. It was easier for the author to report objectively, unpolemically, and to the best of his knowledge on a foreign, often persecuted, religion which had almost disappeared.

An overview of the content of Ebn al-Nadīm’s chapter on the Manicheans is given in tabular form (see Table 1). The table offers a synopsis of the most important editions and translations of the text, and it may be used to locate passages in Flügel’s now outdated edition corresponding to those cited in this article. A detailed account of the contents has also been given by E. G. Browne (Lit. Hist. Persia I, pp. 384-87).

Sources. An unfortunate consequence of the dwindling presence of the Manicheans in Baghdad was the decreasing knowledge of their teachings. Ebn al-Nadīm names the books and letters by Mani and his followers known to him (tr. Dodge, pp. 797-801). They are: (1) Ketāb sefr al-asrār (The Book of Secrets). (2) Ketāb sefr al-jabābera (The Book of Giants). (3) Ketāb farāʾeż al-samāʿīn (The Book of the Duties of Auditors) as well as Ketāb farāʾeż al-mojtabīn (The Book of the Duties of the Elect; Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, p. 399, l. 24). Flügel identified the first of these as the Kephalaia (Flügel, 1862, p. 363), but both titles listed have exact Iranian correspondents—Sogd. Niγōšākāne wiδvāγ "The Homily of the Auditors” (Henning, 1944, p. 137) and Parth. Wižīdagān saxwan “The Homily of the Chosen” (cf. Sundermann, 1984, p. 229). (4) The Šābuhragān (Ar. *Šāborqān). (5) Ketāb sefr al-eḥyā (“The Book of Animating” according to Flügel, Mani, pp. 367-68; the “Living Gospel,” or, more probably, the “Treasure of Life”). (6) Ketāb feraqmāṭayā (The Book of Pragmateia). Then Ebn al-Nadīm names the titles of 76 (?) letters, which could have been the content of the collection of the Epistles of Mani, i. e. one of the canonical texts of the Manicheans (the seventh in this list). That does not necessarily mean that these are solely the letters of Mani, which would be grammatically possible but contradictory to Ebn al-Nadīm’s words. Manichean sources mention a pentad or heptad of canonical texts but never include the Middle Persian Šābuhragān (Henning, 1952, pp. 204-5).

The chapters of the aforementioned “Book of Secrets” and the Šābuhragān are named, so one must assume Ebn al-Nadīm had a detailed knowledge of these works. Certainly, further information on the “Book of Giants” and other texts could have been lost in the manuscript transmission. The eschatalogical chapters of the Šābuhragān on the fates of the auditors, the elect, and sinners after death are also mentioned (tr. Dodge, p. 798). This fits in with F. W. K. Müller’s realization that an exact correspondence between the apocalyptic damnation of the sinners in the Fehrest and in the MP fragments of the Šābuhragān exists (Müller, pp. 20-22). Bīrūnī’s statement that a chapter “On the coming of the Prophet” (bāb majīʾ al-rasūl) belonged to the Šābuhragān proves, however, that the eschatological fragments cannot be the whole work (Āṯār, p. 118, l. 15). Carsten Colpe justifiedly tried to derive whole sections of the Fehrest (individual, cosmic eschatology, role of the sons of the Living Spirit) from the Šābuhragān (Colpe, 1954, pp. 124, 218-20).

Could the author of the Fehrest have directly referred to these texts as sources for his presentation? This supposition is supported by the fact that Ebn al-Nadīm elsewhere describes and even reproduces the alphabet of the holy books of the Central Asian Manicheans (tr. Dodge, pp. 32-33; ed. Tajaddod, p. 19). The letters in the extant manuscripts are mostly damaged beyond recognition, but this does not speak against Ebn al-Nadīm’s reliability. On the other hand, one can prove that he followed at least one Arabic source extensively. It is unlikely that he used additional Modern and Middle Persian and Aramaic texts. The different, “western” terminology (Colpe, 1954, p. 124) of the Fehrest-presentation speaks against a direct use of the Šābuhragān.

It is clear, even if Ebn al-Nadīm does not say it, that his presentation depends at least in the sections Cosmogony, Ethics, Commandments, Events after Death, and End of the World on a lost text of Abū ʿĪsā Warrāq (Colpe, 1959, pp. 82-91; Vajda, tr. Widengren, pp. 454-76). Abū ʿĪsā’s text itself contained citations from the Šābuhragān, Mani’s Gospel and perhaps other canonical texts. The sources of other sections of the Fehrest cannot be identified with certainty.

Unfortunately Ebn al-Nadīm differentiated between his sources only generally. When describing Manichean teachings he introduces all sections with qāla (Mānī) “he/Mani said.” Sections dealing with Mani’s life or the history of the Manicheans after Mani are introduced with wa qīla “and it has been said” and qālat al-mānawīya “the Manicheans have said.” Here the author, or his source, was using perhaps non-canonical writings (eg. hagiographic homilies) or was relying on oral information. The author refers to his information on Mani’s genealogy and the dating of his public appearance as his own summaries or calculatons: qāla Moḥammad ebn Esḥāq "Moḥammad b. Esḥāq said.”

References to sources in Iranian languages. If Ebn al-Nadīm’s information does also go back to the Šābuhragān, i.e. a Middle Persian work, we can expect references to a Persian model in the text of the Fehrest. Hans Jacob Polotsky had reported Walter B. Henning’s observation that in the description of “Satan” the feet are described as “reptilian” (dawābb, ed. Tajaddod, p. 393, l. 7), which could have been the result of a confusion of MP dēwag “worm” with dēw “demon” (Polotsky, col. 250; Widengren, pp. 113-14; otherwise, unconvincingly, tr. Dodge, p. 778 with n. 157). It has been pointed out that the concept “the righteous ones” (ṣeddīqūn), i. e. the electi, could be translated from an Iranian tradition where they were called ardāwān (Böhlig and Asmussen, p.334, n. 3), which is not compelling. One may also mention that in the story of Adam and the Adamites two of his descendants are called by the Persian names Faryād and Bar-faryād, “cry for help” and “bring help” (ed. Tajaddod, p. 395, ll. 5 + 6; differently tr. Dodge, p. 784).

In other cases it is possible to compare terms of the Fehrest with their Iranian correspondents. But the possibility cannot be excluded that they are translations from the Aramaic. The “Mother of Life” is called “Happiness” (al-bahja, ed. Tajaddod, p. 393, l. 20, tr. Dodge, p. 780 reads al-bahīja “the Happy One”). Bahja can be compared with the Sogdian name rāmrātox vaγi (M 172 /I/r/18/) if this literally means “the god Sense of Joy” (pointed out by N. Sims-Williams, oral communication). The Fehrest mentions as a failing of auditors “being in two minds” (al-qīām be hemmatayn; ed. Tajaddod, p. 96, p. 396, l. 23; explained in the Fehrest as religious doubt). This corresponds exactly to MP pad dō manohmed ēstādan (attested in the Hermas fragment, cf. Colpe, 1972, p. 412 and n. 2). Somewhat more distantly related is Aramaic plyg brʿynʾ “ambiguous in opinion” (mentioned by Polotsky and Schmidt, 1933, p. 68, n. 4). The party name al-māsīya could have arisen in Iranian circles (ed. Tajaddod, p. 394, l. 20, tr. Dodge, p. 783), if it comes from Sogdian māse “old” and means the “party of the old-believers,” which makes good sense (they professed the teaching of the irredemptibility of a part of the Light-soul), but needs historical justification (Flügel, Mani, p. 242, derives the word from a personal name). Ebn al-Nadīm certainly knew about the Central Asian Manicheans. From there, he was acquainted with the Manichean script (and cf. the place names in tr. Dodge, p. 803). It is also asserted here that the Sogdian Manicheans were called ajārī (or ājārī; ed. Tajaddod, p. 401, l. 6), which one could also read ācārī and derive from (Buddh.) Skt. ācārya- “teacher, master” (Asmussen, p. 137), in the sense of the heresy of following a teacher (Flügel, 1862, p. 399, “wage labourer”; tr. Dodge, p. 803, n. 330 suggests “al-Bukhārī”). A particular East-Iranian influence on the legend of Mani’s first meeting king Šābuhr I is assumed in J. Tubach’s still unpublished article “Ostiranische Traditionen in der arabischen Überlieferung bei Ibn an-Nadīm.”

Structure of the Manichean chapter. The author seems to have used two sometimes contrary principles in the structuring of his description of Mani and his teachings: (1) the desire to present the material logically and coherently, (2) the preservation of traditional pieces. The first principle is apparent in the sequence of the five portions of the text: (1) Mani’s biography until his public appearance, (2) Mani’s teachings from cosmogony to commandments and the innovations after his death, (3) Mani’s end and eschatology, (4) Mani’s writings, (5) history of the Manicheans in the Islamic era. The second principle resulted in the description of the worlds of light and darkness being given (tr. Dodge on p. 777 and then repeated with more detail on pp. 786-87). The description of Mani’s end and the final evaluation of his personality in the passage on the reprimands of the Meqlāṣīya against the Mehrīya seem strangely out of place in the manuscripts (see also Flügel, Mani, pp. 99-100). But, in fact, the two are to be separated (thus correctly tr. Dodge, p. 794) and Mani’s end is to be connected rather with the presentation of Manichean eschatology. Two differing versions of the liberation of the primal man from the power of darkness are given one after the other: (1) the “Friend of the Lights” (ḥabīb al-anwār), i.e., the first divinity of the second evocation redeems the primal man (tr. Dodge, pp. 779-80); (2) the “Spirit of Life,” i.e., the third figure of the second evocation, completes the task along with the “Mother of Life” (tr. Dodge, p. 780). The second version is the usual one. The first appears only here in the Manichean tradition.

Hagiographic traditions. The presentation of Mani’s life contains noticably more variants than that of his teachings. Ebn al-Nadīm gives three variants for the name of Mani’s mother (tr. Dodge, p. 773). There are also three descriptions of Mani’s death (tr. Dodge, p. 794). This is due less to the difficulty of correctly preserving personal names and historical events than to the fact that there was no canonical account of the life of the prophet. Instead its parts were constantly re-arranged, enlarged and corrupted by the following generations. It is possibly due to the sources available to Ebn al-Nadīm that the information on the larger, second part of Mani’s life becomes steadily scanter.

The division of Mani’s life into periods of twelve years, characteristic of the hagiographically stylised story of his life, is most apparent in the account of the Fehrest. The Fehrest is the only account to mention that the revelation of his spiritual twin occurred with the completion of his 12th year (cf. Sundermann, 1981, pp. 18-19) as well as that the command to proselytize was given by the twin when he was 24 (tr. Dodge, pp. 775-76, cf. Koenen and Römer, pp. 10-13). It does not mention, however, Mani’s death at the age of sixty. On the contrary, if the assertion of the Fehrest that Mani had spread his teachings for “about” forty years as far as China (tr. Dodge, p. 776) before he met King Šābuhr I rested on a secure tradition, then this must have happened when he was 24 plus 40, i.e., 64 years old. (The proposal of Maricq, pp. 257-58, n. 2, that arbaʿīn in the text be emended to arbaʿa “four” is problematic in view of the enormous extension assumed by Ebn al-Nadīm of this journey.) As we can see, the impressive reconstruction of the myth of Mani’s life by Henning (in Taqizadeh, 1957, pp. 115-21) has not yet been found complete in any work of the Manichean or non-Manichean tradition (cf. Sundermann, 1986).

That material of antiquity and historical value is to be found among the hagiographically stylised information of the Fehrest is shown by a tradition which was once doubted but has since been verified by the Cologne Mani Codex (Koenen-Römer, pp. 66 ff.). Mani’s father joined the baptist sect, the moḡtasela (tr. Dodge, p. 774). Another passage of the Fehrest, which names the leader of the sect al-Ḥasīḥ (Flügel, Mani, pp. 132-34; tr. Dodge, p. 811; ed. Tajaddod, p. 403-4), i.e. Elchasaios (Sundermann, 1974, pp. 148-49; de Blois, pp. 55-56), shows this to be Elchasaits of the Cologne Mani Codex.

The description of Mani’s first historical appearance (tr. Dodge, p. 775) also has a historical basis. It has a parallel closer to the events in the “Cologne Mani Codex” (Koenen-Römer, pp. 10-13, 74-75), and both accounts can now be dated to the year 240 (Henrichs and Koenen; cf. Sundermann, 1990, pp. 295-99). Among the various accounts of Mani’s passion and end, Ebn al-Nadīm (tr. Dodge, p. 794) mentions the historically correct one of his death in prison (cf. Puech, pp. 51-53). It is remarkable that the topos of “Mani the Painter,” which in other Islamic accounts has almost replaced that of the founder of a religion, does not appear in the Fehrest.

Presentation of the teachings. Most Muslim scholars and poets who dealt with Manicheism in their writings were more interested in the person Mani than in his teachings, especially if they were praising him as a skilled painter. In the Fehrest it is the other way round. The description of Mani’s teachings occupies the main part. The high reliability of the account can be demonstrated in several ways.

Ebn al-Nadīm describes in detail the good deeds of the cosmic Elements of Light for the terrestrial world (tr. Dodge, pp. 780-81). He mentions the “pleasantness and refreshment” (men al-laḏḏa wa’l-tafrīḥ; ed. Tajaddod, p. 393, l. 24) afforded by the ethereal light. This corresponds to the Manichean “Sermon of the Soul,” which accords each element five “merciful gifts” (išnōhr). Particularly close is the Arabic choice of concept in the Old Turkish version of the work, which has ärdäm sävïnč, “preference and joy” (thus P. Zieme in Sundermann, 1977, p. 187 par. 36; see further Sundermann, 1977, p. 116, n. 22).

The puzzling naming of the “Spirit of Darkness” (Lat. concupiscentia, in Iranian languages āz) as homāma (ed. Tajaddod, p. 394, l. 18; tr. Dodge, p. 783 translates “the bold chieftainess”) can be shown to be an exact rendering of this demoness’s epithet “Enthymesis of death” (MP andēšišn ī marg, etc: cf. Polotsky and Schmidt, p. 77). Homāma thus belongs to Ar. hamma “plan something, aim for” (cf. Sundermann, 1978, pp. 491-93).

Of basic value for modern research because of their detail and and singularity are still the story of Adam, Eve, and their children (tr. Dodge, pp. 783-86; cf. also Stocks), with which one can now compare the fragments of a Manichean account (Sundermann, 1973, pp. 70-75); and the descriptions of individual and cosmic eschatology (tr. Dodge, pp. 795-97; see now Gardner, pp. 42-44, 53-58). Of unique value, at least as long as the Coptic corpus remains unpublished, is the information on the letters of Mani and his students (tr. Dodge, pp. 799-801). Certain details of the cosmogony are also not to be found in such detail in any other textual source, e.g., how the primal man arms himself with the elements for the fight against darkness (tr. Dodge, pp. 778-79) or how he obliges them as his sons to serve the world of light against the darkness (tr. Dodge, p. 781).

Generally one can say that Ebn al-Nadīm is most reliable and exhaustive in his account of the Manichean teachings. A remarkable gap is the almost complete lack of the “Third Ambassador,” who is merely mentioned with the name bašīr “messenger of good news” (ed. Tajaddod, p. 394, l. 26; p. 397, l. 13 [here to be understood as sun god]; p. 399, l. 10). Jesus and an “accompanying” god (elāhon) are active in his place (tr. Dodge, pp. 783-84). This is a peculiarity shared with original Manichean sources (cf. van Lindt, pp. 221-22).

More importantly, however, the description of Mani’s teachings given in the Fehrest shows clear features of an adaptation to Islam, which Ebn al-Nadīm already found in his sources, particularly in Abū ʿĪsā Warrāq, who “accomplished the for us most impressive adaptation of Manicheism to Islam” (Colpe, 1954, p. 217). Often, but not always, the Manichean gods are called “angels” (malāʾeka), which must have softened the impression of what was for Muslims the blasphemy of polytheism (“the sons of the primal man,” tr. Dodge, p. 781; “the Living Spirit,” tr. Dodge, p. 781; and “the sons of the Living Spirit,” tr. Dodge, p. 781 are “angels”). The emphasis that the devil, contrary to the chaotic world of darkness, is not eternal like the Father of the World of Light (tr. Dodge, p. 778) does not have to be an adaptation to Islam but it did perhaps attenuate Manichean dualism.

The adaptations to Islam distance the picture given in the Fehrest from Mani’s own myth of his teachings, but this distance becomes larger in view of the fact that the basic Gnostic idea of cosmic redemption by light as the Self-redemption of the divinity, often mentioned in Manicheism, is not spoken of at all.

Manicheism under Islam. On the statements made about Manicheism during the Islamic period see the essay by G. Vajda in the bibliography. The statements on the Manichean split into the parties Meqlāsīya and Mehrīya (tr. Dodge, pp. 793-94) are very important for the history of the Manicheans, and, as Henning showed (1936, pp. 16-18), can be confirmed by Sogdian-Manichean letters from Turfan (cf. Sundermann, 1983). According to the Fehrest the Meqlāsīya introduced innovations in the “long fasts” (weṣālāt), i.e. in ritual affairs, thus differing from ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s account, which attests for the Meqlāsīya a dogma assigned by Ebn al-Nadīm to the Māsīya (tr. Dodge, p. 783), viz. the irredemptibility of part of the Light (Monnot, p. 169).


Bibliography (for cited sources not given in detail, see “Short References”):

Text editions and translations. M. Abu’l-Qāsemī, “Šarḥ-e al-Fehrest-e Ebn-e Nadīm: ʿaqāʾed-e mānawīān,” in Āšenā 5/22-27 1374 Š./1995 (text, Pers. translation).

G. Flügel, Mani: seine Lehre und seine Schriften, Leipzig 1862 (text, translation, com mentary).

K. Kessler, Mani: Forschungen über die manichäische Religion, Berlin, 1889, pp. 331-38 (commentary), 382-401 (translation up to the section “End of the World”).

S. Ḥ. Taqīzāda and ʿA.-ʿA. Šīrāzī, Mānī wa dīn-e ū, Teheran 1335 Š./1956, pp. 149-79 (text).

Studies: J. P. Asmussen, Xuāstvānīft: Studies in Manichšism, Copenhagen 1965.

F. de Blois, “The ‘Sabians’ (Ṣābiʾūn) in Pre-Islamic Arabia,” Acta Orientalia 56, 1995, pp. 39-61 (especially pp. 53-60).

A. Böhlig and J. P. Asmussen, Die Gnosis III, Zürich, 1980.

C. Colpe, “Der Manchäismus in der arabischen Überlieferung,” Ph.D. diss., Göttingen, 1954.

Idem, “Anpassung des Manichäismus an den Islam (Abū ‘Īsā al-Warrāq),” ZDMG 109, 1959, pp. 82-91.

Idem, “Die Formulierung der Ethik in arabischen Manichäergemeinden,” in Ex orbe religionum: Studia Geo Widengren, Leiden, 1972, pp. 401-12.

I. Gardner, “A Manichean Liturgical Codex Found at Kellis,” Orientalia 62, 1993, pp. 30-59.

W. B. Henning, “Neue Materialien zur Geschichte des Manichäismus,” ZDMG 90, 1936, pp. 1-18 (repr. in idem, Selected Papers I, Acta Iranica 14, Leiden, Tehran, and Liège, 1977, pp. 379-96).

Idem, “The Murder of the Magi,” JRAS, 1944, pp. 133-44.

W. B. Henning and G. Haloun, “The Compendium of the Doctrines and Styles of the Teaching of Mani, the Buddha of Light,” Asia Major N. S. 3, 1952, pp. 184-212.

A. Henrichs and L. Koenen, “Ein griechischer Mani-Codex (P. on. inv. nr. 4780; vgl. Tafeln IV-VI),” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 5, 1970, pp. 97-216.

L. Koenen and C. Römer, eds., Der Kölner Mani-Kodex, Opladen, 1988.

A. Maricq, “Les débuts de la prédication de Mani et l’avènement de Šāhpuhr Ier,” Annuaire de l’Institut de Philologie et d’Histoire Orientales 11, 1951, pp. 245-68.

G. Monnot, Penseurs musulmans et religions iraniennes, Paris 1974.

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(Rudolf Sellheim and Mohsen Zakeri, François de Blois, Werner Sundermann)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 24, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 5, pp. 475-483