An intellectual feast - A Conference in honour of Prof Samuel N.C.Lieu on his Retirement-Don't read if you don't like ideas

by fulltimestudent 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    I've been invited to attend this conference (limited attendance) and consider it an exciting privilege. Maybe for many it would be too boring, as a poster said on one of my threads, (my paraphrase) " Who cares about the past?"

    But, if I started my adult life as a brainwashed slave to YHWH/Jesus (and, don't give me any shit about Jw's ignoring Jesus), I am finishing it as a (somewhat-grin) enlightened man who just may have some understanding of the development of world thought

    For eight years, (thanks to the generous Australia government scheme that allows me to do this) I've been wandering through Asia with the help of two universities, the home (if you count Greece and Egypt as border zones). I've criss-crossed Asia, east to west, north to south and past to present. I have at least some knowledge of major religious and political developments and know where to go for more detailed information. (I will make clear at this point that I have not studied Islamic history and thought - it just turned me off.)

    Macquarie was not my first choice university, but it turned out to be probably the best choice. When I first entertained the idea of studying for a degree, I was torn between learning about my past, in studying the origins of Judeao-Christianity or East Asia. In practise I found I was able to study both areas (with a little manipulation of the courses). One of the reasons for that was the presence of Sam Lieu at Macquarie, he didn't do a lot of teaching these past few years, but his research, particularly in the field of Manichean studies, and the early Asian churches has had great influence on the University courses.

    Maybe the program will give you an insight:


    A Conference in Honour of Prof. Samuel N.C. Lieu on His Retirement - Ancient History Documentary Research Centre

    Macquarie University, Sydney - 26–27 November 2015

    ✮ Program ✮

    Thursday 26 November

    10.00-10.15 Welcome - GUNNER MIKKELSEN - IAN PLANT, HOD Ancient History


    10.15-11.15 HYUN JIN KIM (University of Melbourne)

    Ethnic identity and the ‘Barbarian’ in ancient Eurasia: Classical Greece and early China

    Chair: Paul McKechnie


    11.15-12.15 NICHOLAS SIMS-WILLIAMS (SOAS, London)-

    The Bactrian archives: Reconstructing the lost history of Ancient Afghanistan

    Chair: Ken Sheedy


    12.15-13.15 Lunch


    13.15-14.15 ENRICO MORANO (Turin & Berlin), ACRC Visiting Research Fellow

    Some remarks on the corpus of the Berlin Manichaean Sogdian texts in Manichaean script: among books, glossaries, letters, booklets, bilingual and trilingual texts, normal, bold and cursive script

    Chair: Javier Alvarez-Mon


    14.15-15.00 URSULA SIMS-WILLIAMS (British Library)

    Manuscripts from the Southern Silk Road

    Chair: Peter Edwell


  • fulltimestudent

    If you wanted to know something about the early alternative version of Jewish Christianity that is now called

    Manicheanism, you could consult Lieu's book - Manichaeism in Central Asia and China.

    I've posted info previously about this last temple (being used as a Buddhist temple) in Quanzhou, Fujian province.

  • LisaRose
    It sounds very interesting. One of the best things about leaving the Borg is the opportunity for intellectual freedom, to think for yourself and pursue what interests you. It's only by finding out what you are passionate about that you become your best self, so good for you.
  • fulltimestudent

    Its quite amazing to understand the energy that Mani (the founder) must have put into his mission. He covered far more ground than Paul did and likely achieved greater results. This is how the Quanzhou temple portrays him:

    Pray Hall in Cao'an Manichean Temple

    If you've never heard of Mani, this is a brief history:

    Prophet Mani
    Born216 CE
    Ctesiphon, Parthian Babylonia[1](modern-day Iraq)
    Died2 March 274 AD[2]
    Gundeshapur, Sassanid Empire(modern-day Iran)
    Known forFounder of Manichaeism
    ReligionBorn to Elcesaites
    Later founded Manichaeism
    Parent(s)Pātik and Mariam

    And this is an image of Mani presenting a painting to King Bahram - unfortunately its a 16 C CE painting so unlikely to be accurate.

  • fulltimestudent
  • fulltimestudent

    Another Manichean research project that Sam Lieu has worked on is a collection of all

    sources that touch on Mani and his missionary religion. This compilation makes a study

    of this formerly little known Christian religion much easier.


    Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum

    Ancient History - CFM04

    A Project within the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre
    at Macquarie University in Australia

    Directed by
    Prof. A. van Tongerloo (KU Leuven)
    Prof. Sam Lieu FAHA (Macquarie, Sydney)
    Prof. J. Van Oort (Utrecht and Nijmegen)

    The Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum (Corpus of sources of the Manichaeans) Project is a major international research and publication project sponsored by UNESCO under the aegis of the Integrated Study of the Silk Road. It is a project of the Union of International Academies (Union Académique Internationale UAI) and its sponsoring academy is the Australian Academy of the Humanities. It is also co-sponsored by the British Academy (1990-) and has received major funding from the Australian Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) and the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation for International Academic Exchange (Taiwan, ROC) as well as minor funding from the Royal Swedish Academy of History and Letters (1990-91), the Leverhulme Trust (UK, 1990-93), Society of Antiquaries (UK, 1990-94) and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust (UK, 1990-91) in addition to grants from research foundations in Germany and Denmark. The Corpus is published by Brepols of Turnhout (Belgium). The project is also one of the main avenues of publication for the International Association of Manichaean Studies (IAMS).

    The religion of Mani (c. 216-c.276 CE) was a missionary religion par excellence. Manichaean texts have been found in Egypt in Coptic, Greek and Syriac, and in N. Africa in Latin and in sites along the Ancient Silk Road in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian, Tocharian B, Chinese and Uighur (Old Turkish) as well as in substantial citations in a wide range of Arabic writings. The project aims to publish not only genuine Manichaean texts but also principal witnesses of the religion from Islamic and Christian (Patristic) sources and the voluminous writings of Saint Augustine on the religion of which he was a member for nine years will form a substantial part of the series. Each volume of the text-series contains introduction, critical text, translation (in English, French or German), commentary and extensive word indices. The Series Subsidia produces research tools such as bibliographies and the multi-volume Dictionary of Manichaean Texts. The Series Archaeologica focuses on the artistic and archaeological remains of the sect now in museums and in situ at archaeological sites.

    For more information on Manichaeism consult:

    Project History

    The project began originally as the Database of Manichaean Texts and Dictionary of Manichaean Terms and Concepts at Warwick University, (UK). It was recipient three consecutive Major Research Grants from the British Academy and an unprecedented fourth renewal under the aegis of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum. With the appointment of Professor Sam Lieu to the Chair of Ancient History at Macquarie a substantial part of the project moved base to Sydney, Australia. The Institute of Classical Studies in the University of London participated in completing the work on Volume One of the Dictionary of Manichaean Texts and the project now has a U.K. base at the School of Oriental and African Studies but the research office is at the research library of the Ancient India and Iran Trust at Cambridge. The project is administered from Leuven but the research is devolved and Sydney (Manichaean Documentation Centre, Macquarie University), Cambridge (Ancient India and Iran Trust), Münster (Germany) and Aarhus. The administrative HQ for the project is at KU Leuven but the Research Archive of the project is kept and maintained at the Manichaean Documentation Centre which is part of the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre at Macquarie University. The Centre has facilities for Visiting Fellows and doctoral candidates from other institutions to consult this major collection.

  • fulltimestudent

    First day over. An interesting day, scholars from all over the world. Among the more interesting to me, were Nicholas Sims-Williams from SOAS and Cambridge Universities and his wife ,who is from the British Library, and Enrico Morano, you'll some idea of his academic interests from this page:


    Actually Sam Lieu is not fully retiring, he's retiring (?) from his position at Macquarie and moving onto Cambridge to be involved in pure research, mainly because his wife, Judith, is already at Cambridge.

    Some people in academia think Judith Lieu is the greatest contemporary New Testament scholar in the world. (Sorry about that Fred).

    And that's what fascinates me - the Jws and other (lower case) Christians, tend to denigrate scholarship. Why? mainly because it often shatters their dreamworld. I don't really object if someone wants to live in a dream world (of any sort), that's why I really don't join much in the hate jws sort of posts, but after my taste of a dreamworld that I thought represented spiritual REALITY, I prefer to be more questioning about what is reality.

    Historians spend their lives attempting to discover what really happened in past (and contemporary) events.

    Many discussions yesterday centred around the reconstruction of document fragments that have been treated badly by time and human agency.

    Without the life efforts of guys like Sam Lieu, we would know little about the branch of Christianity that's called Manicheanism. That's because the victorious branch in the early struggles set out to destroy the documents of the groups that they defeated.

    The people at the conference attempt to bring that censored knowledge back to life.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    FTS, enjoy your conference. Hearing the serious thinkers in the field of late classical knowledge is a joy. I heard a lecture last week from the academic Karen Armstrong, (she is extremely well informed and assiduous in presenting an accurate picture but still, I believe, leans towards a deist interpretation). I agree heartily on the matter of JW mistrust of proper disinterested scholars, they are the ones at the coal-face of reality not "Bible scholars" who have only one object in mind. To understand the true birth of christianity demands a knowledge of contemporary life and thought which involves knowledge of the many sects and pagan beliefs. Manicheanism was an important ingredient as was the big cover-up you mentioned once Roman Christianity had gained ascendancy. Have you early textual references for this (cover up)?

    I will read up on Sam Lieu's work.

  • styng
    Hi fulltimestudent, I was an Ancient History student at Macquarie and remember Sam Lieu fondly. Am a bit devastated this conference was not open to the public as I definitely would have come - was it really so packed out so that a few randoms couldn't have come to listen? Do you think you could provide me with more info about what happened, including the program of the second day as I would be really interested to hear more. Thanks for your help!
  • fulltimestudent

    Hi styng, nice to meet a fellow xjw that studied at macquarie.

    I think this function started as a staff thingie (I'm not staff - but got an invite because I'm sort of a barnacle on the place). I wanted to advertise it on my Asian history FB page, but was asked not to, because they could not accommodate more than 50.

    As for the friday program, I shall post tomorrow, as I feel mentally buggered today - after spending the day helping a friend write a sort of academic resume.

    Thnx for making yourself known.

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