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WMO 1(22), 2015 Print E-mail

of the Orient
1 (22)
Spring-Summer 2015

Journal based in 2004
Issued twice a year

Selected Materials as a *.PDF file


Manuscript of Mongolian Folktale “A Tale of the Old Man Borontai” from IOM, RAS Collection. Foreword, Transcription and Translation from Mongolian by D.A. Nosov 5
Manuscripts and archival materials are used by Mongolists in their research work on Mongolian folklore. Still, manuscripts collections in Asia and Europe contain much data still to discover. The manuscript in question is probably one of the earliest variants of the Mongolian folktale “of the old man Borontai”. This cumulative story is widely spread in Mongolia and Buryatia. Its oral version is well known to folklorists. The manuscript, transcribed and translated into Russian, is the first version of the tale written down in Mongolian-Uyghur script.


A.L. Khosroyev. Some More Reflections on the Apophatic Theology of Gnostics12
The author demonstrates with many examples from Platonic and Gnostic texts of the second and third centuries that the Gnostics were the first in the Christian world who promoted the apophatic (or negative) theology by interpreting the Platonic idea of the transcendent godhead in their own way. L.V. Goriaeva. Two Manuscripts of The Kings of the Pasai Chronicle (Notes on the Text’s History) – 37
The Kings of the Pasai Chronicle (the 15th century) is the earliest Malayan chronicle and perhaps the earliest of the compositions written in Malay which narrates the history of the Samudra-Pasai kingdom (North Sumatra) and covers the events from the mid-13th to the mid-14th century. There are only two manuscripts which contain the text of the chronicle housed at the British Library and the Royal Asiatic Society collections (London). The paper proposes an analysis of the existing versions of the text’s history with a number of additions and amendments to them.

I.S. Gurevich. On Two Buddhist Texts as Sources to Study the Vernacular Chinese Language of the 3rd-9th Centuries 47
In this paper, two Buddhist texts are being examined as best examples to study the vernacular Chinese language of the time. The Sutra of the Prince Sudana, being compared with the original Chinese works of the time, represents the vernacular Chinese of the 3rd.5th centuries at its best. The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, as the earliest text in the yulu genre, recorded the grammatical structure in its transitional stage from the Liuchao period to the Tang epoch.

K.G. Marandjian. Confucian Treatise of Nakae Toju “Dialogue with an Old Man” as a Reliable Historical Source, or Were the Warriors Illiterate at the Beginning of the 17th Century?57
The article centers on the question whether lamentations of Nakae Toju about ignorance and illiteracy among warriors reflected the real situation or were just a necessary preamble to the unfolding of the new teaching when the term “ignorance” meant the spiritual blindness of the people who were offered a new alternative worldview.

Z.A. Yusupova. A Look into the History of Studies in the Luri Dialects 67
The present article is a brief review of sources and literature (in Russian, Kurdish and Western languages) on the Lurs and Luri dialects. It considers different viewpoints on the position of the Luri dialects within Iranian languages reflected in various sources studied by the author.


M.M. Yunusov. From the Нistory of the Decipherment of West Semitic Writing: Events and People. (III) Palmyra Texts in Europe: S. Petit and N.-C. de Peiresc 75
This is the third article of a series of essays on some major stages of early Europe.s West Semitic epigraphy. During the first third of the 17th century, a Greek-Palmyrene bilingua carved on a marble bas-relief and published in the collection of J. Lipsius and M. Smetius Inscriptionum antiquarum in 1588 (PL. XXXII) attracted the attention of S. Petit. He tried to translate the Palmyrene part of the bilingua but failed. We know about it from J. Spon’s information (1679) who presented an excerpt with a translation from one of S. Petit’s private letter to N.-C. de Peiresc (1632). But this translation had been taken out of context of the author’s arguments on the subject. So it is unfair to consider this text a translation in every sense of the word. More likely, it is a reconstruction of an oral sacred ritual during the sacrifice ceremony in front of the relief.

Y.A. Ioannesyan. The Shaykhi Teaching on the Tripartite Spiritual Reality of the Human Being 98
The article is a study of the concept of the human being’s tripartite spiritual reality in the Shaikhi school of Shi‘i Islam. The author sets himself the task of revealing this concept as it emerges from primary sources, i.e., the works of Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa’i, the founder of the school, and those of Sayyid Kazim Rashti, his successor. The present research is based on texts (manuscripts and lithographs) in Arabic and Persian from the collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. The article is amply supplied with quotes from these texts in the author’s translation.

A.I. Kolesnikov. Topography of the Christian Dioceses in Eastern Iran and Khurasan under Sasanians (3rd-7th Century) 118
The paper deals with the analysis of information derived from the medieval Syriac, Arabic and Middle- Persian sources which contain valuable data on the area of dissemination of Christian communities in the Eastern extremities of Iranian ecumene under Sasanian rule. The author comes to the conclusion that, with all variations of primary sources in terms of genre and ideological attitudes, they refer to the same main centers of the Eastern Christianity dispersed along the South branch of the Great Silk Road.

V.M. Rybakov. “Misappropriation” in T’ang Dynasty Criminal Law 128
The traditional Chinese criminal law numbered six kinds of crimes against property. On the basis of the T’ang dynasty criminal code T’ang lü shu yi, this article describes the sixth of them - the so-called “misappropriation”, or “illicit goods obtained through malfeasance”. The definition of this crime stipulates that, under the norms of “misappropriation”, officials of lower ranks who received from other persons any property in connection with management of their service should be punished. But in fact this concept was interpreted by the T’ang legislators much more loosely. Firstly, norms of misappropriation could be applied to non-ranked commoners, whenever they were expected to strictly comply with a specific law relevant to this or that situation. Secondly, misappropriation was generally perceived not as wrongful obtaining of some goods, but rather as wrongful moving of these goods. Therefore the person, who was thereby enriched could appear as not guilty. But the one whose activities caused the reallocating of values, became the one who bore the responsibility for “misappropriation”. For the empire claiming total control of social motion, not criminal appropriation of property was intolerable, but criminal appropriation of the right to move this property.

S.L. Burmistrov. Dattātreya and His Place in Hindu Mythology 141
Dattātreya is a syncretic deity (supposedly a real historical person - a yogin, deified later), considered an incarnation of Viṣṇu. Nevertheless, his image combines features of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva and bears signs of influence of Hindu Tantric cults. Philosophical aspect of the teaching, professed by the adepts of the Dattātreya cult is a synthesis of Sāṃkhya, Yoga and Dvaita Vedānta. In one of the hymns addressed to Dattātreya, this deity is conceived of as “the Ātman of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva” who creates this illusory world, so that the souls endowed with potential activity might fully realize it.


E.P. Ostrovskaya. N.D. Mironov's Contribution to the Description of the Buddhist Manuscripts at the Indian Collection of Asiatic Museum, IOM, RAS 153
Two first decades of the 20th century in the history of Indian collection of Asiatic Museum, IOM, RAS were connected with the name of Nikolay Dmitrievich Mironov (1880-1936) who worked in these years with this collection containing numerous manuscripts written in many languages and in many scripts. The topic of the article is his approaches to the problem of description of these documents and the results of his work. Buddhist manuscripts in Sanskrit housed in this collection before 1913 were first systematized by N.D. Mironov as a whole set demonstrating fundamental genres of Mahāyāna written heritage - hymns, sūtras (homiletic texts), śāstras (treatises) and different variants of the terminological dictionary Mahāvyutpatti.

S.I. Marakhonova. Russian Japanologist Serge Elisséeff at Harvard in 1932-1957 169
This article deals with the life and scholarly and pedagogical activities of the Japanologist Serge Elisséeff in the USA where he was the first Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a Chairman and Professor of the Department of Far Eastern Languages at Harvard University for 23 years. The author bases his work on the documents found by him in the archives and libraries of Harvard University and the Harvard-Yenching Institute. Published and unpublished letters of S.G. Elisséeff to his Russian colleagues are also used. Serge Elisséeff.s activities as an organizer of science and of teaching Eastern disciplines is also examined.


T.A. Pang. The 57th Annual Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (Vladivostok, September 9.14, 2014) 177

S.L. Burmistrov. The 31st Сonference on Comparative Philosophy “Philosophical Comparativistics and the Comparative Philosophy of Education”. Center for Comparative Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University. (St. Petersburg, November 21, 2014) 181

Т.V. Ermakova, E.P. Ostrovskaya. The 8th All-Russian Oriental Conference in Memory of O.O. Rozenberg (St. Petersburg, November 24-25, 2014) 184

M.M. Yunusov. International Conference Dedicated to the Centenary of Igor Mikhailovich Diakonov (St. Petersburg, January 13-15, 2015) 189

S.Kh. Shomakhmadov. The 10th Open Theoretical Seminar of the Section of South Asia, Department of Central and South Asia IOM, RAS (St. Petersburg, February 11, 2015) 200

Yu.A. Ioannesyan. Conference on Iranian Studies “Philosophy, Religion, History and Culture of Iran” (St. Petersburg, February 18, 2015) 204


Kritzer Robert. Garbhāvakrāntisūtra: The Sūtra on Entry into the Womb. - Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies of The International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, 2014 (Studia Philologica Buddhica, Monograph Series XXXI). - 438 pp. (V.P. Ivanov) – 208

Borkin L.Ya. Izvara, N.K. Roerich, the Himalayas, - St. Petersburg: Izdatelstvo “Yevropeisky Dom”, 2014. - 256 pp. (T.V. Ermakova) – 211

Vassilkov Ya.V. Myth, Ritual and History in “Mahābhārata”. St. Petersburg: Izdatelstvo “Yevropeisky Dom”, 2010. - 397 pp. (E.V. Tanonova) – 213

Rudenko M.B. Studies on Medieval Kirdish Literature. Prepairing Manuscript for Publication, Introduction, Comments, Index by Zh.S. Musaelyan; Appendix by M.B. Rydenko. Records for the lecture “Kurds: Life, Morals, Customs and Culture”. - St. Petersburg: Kontrast, 2014 (Asiatica). - 280 pp. (Z.A. Yusupova) – 216


Vladimir Aronovich Yakobson (1930-2015) (N.O. Chekhovich) – 219

Valery Viacheslavovich Polosin (1939-2014) (Sh.M. Iakerson) – 221

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