Early Christian Literature in Lesser Known Languages

Reading List



Nestorian Steele 781 (Chinese and Syriac)

Title: Stele to the Propagation in China of the Luminous Religion of Daqin

Mogao Caves Manuscripts
Early Sutras (written in the late 630s–650s):
  • The Sutra of the Teachings of the World-Honored One
  • The Sutra of Cause, Effect, and Salvation
  • The Sutra of Origins
  • The Sutra of Jesus Christ
Late Sutras (written by Chinese monks primarily at the end of the eighth century)
  • Taking Refuge in the Trinity
  • Invocation of the Dharma Kings and Sacred Sutras, or Let Us Praise
  • The Sutra of Returning to Your Original Nature
  • The Christian Liturgy in Praise of the Three Sacred Powers, or The Supreme
Feng Yun Gospel (风云福音) (8th or 9th century)
  • Charbonnier, Jean-Pierre. The Chinese Christology of T’ang Dynasty: A Study of the Feng Yun Gospel. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993).
Míng jiào yào lüè (明教要略) (late 8th – early 9th century)

Title in translation: “Book of Luminous Religion,” “Essentials of the Luminous Religion,” “Luminous Religion Scripture,” or “Luminous Religion Classic”

  • Moule, A. C., ed. The Book of Luminous Religion: (Ming-Chiao Yao-lueh): A Parallel-text Edition. San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, 1974.



Ramban Pattu (9th century)

Title in translation: “Song of the Monk” or “Hymn of the Syrian Monk”

  • Menachery, George, trans. “The Ramban Pattu: A 9th Century Syriac/Malayalam Poem.” In Indian Church History Classics, edited by George Menachery, 245-251. Ollur, India: The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, 1998.



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