Department of Ancient History

Dr Gunner Mikkelsen

ancient-staff gunnerContact Details
Telephone: +61 2 9850 8868
Fax: +61 2 9850 8240
Office: W6A 522

Keywords: Silk Road studies; religions in China and Central Asia; history and archaeology of early and medieval China; Manichaeism


Gunner Mikkelsen is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Ancient History and member of the Ancient Cultures Research Centre. He is a sinologist and a historian of religions with special interest in the spread and meeting of religions along the Silk Road, in Central Asia and China. Before joining Macquarie in January 2008, he was an Associate Professor and a Carlsberg Foundation Research Fellow at the Department of Church History and Practical Theology, University of Aarhus. From 2000 to 2005 he worked as editor of the Chinese part of the Dictionary of Manichaean Texts project at the Ancient India and Iran Trust in Cambridge and lectured at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East, Department of Religious Studies). He studied at the University of Aarhus, the University of Oxford (1991-92) and Shandong Normal University (1988-89).

Gunner has served on the Board of the International Association of Manichaean Studies as editor of the Manichaean Studies Newsletter since 2001, and he has been a member of the editorial team of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum since 2002. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (1992-).

Major Grants & Projects

  • Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation Research Grant (with Sam Lieu) (2006-9): Nestorian (Jingjiao) inscriptions from China and Central Asia;
  • Carlsberg Foundation Research Fellowship (2005-7): Mission and inculturation: the Nestorian stele inscription in Chinese and Syriac from Xi'an;
  • Danish Research Council Research Grant (1997): Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum;
  • Danish Research Council Doctoral Research Grant (1994-98): Manichaean skilful means: a study of missionary techniques used in the introduction of Manichaeism into China

Selected Publications


  • Dictionary of Manichaean texts, Vol. III. Texts from Central Asia and China, Part 4. Dictionary of Manichaean texts in Chinese (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006).
  • Bibliographia manichaica: a comprehensive bibliography of Manichaeism through 1996 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997).


  • 'Sukhavati and the Light-World: Pure Land elements in the Chinese Manichaean Eulogy of the Light-World', in J. BeDuhn (ed.), New Light on Manichaeism: Papers from the Sixth International Conference on Manichaean Studies (forthcoming from Brill, 2009).
  • 'Haneda's and Saeki's editions of the Chinese Nestorian Zhixuan anle jing - a comment on recent work by Lin Wushu', in R. Malek (ed.) in coll. with P. Hofrichter, Jingjiao. The Church of the East in China and Central Asia, (Skt. Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica - Nettetal: Steyler, 2006), 143-48.
  • 'Mani, un Bouddha de Lumière: l'expansion du manichéisme en Asie centrale et en Chine', Religions & histoire 3 (2005), 48-53.
  • 'Shared features in the terminology of Chinese Nestorian and Manichaean texts', in A. van Tongerloo (ed.) in collaboration with L. Cirillo, Quinto Congresso Internazionale di Studi sul Manicheismo. Atti. Il Manicheismo - Nuove prospettive della ricerca. Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici, Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Napoli, 2-8 Settembre 2001 (Lovanii & Neapoli: Brepols, 2005), 263-75.
  • 'The fragments of Chinese Manichaean texts from the Turfan region', in D. Durkin-Meisterernst, S. Raschmann, J. Wilkens, M. Yaldiz, P. Zieme (eds.), Turfan Revisited - The First Century of Research into the Arts and Cultures of the Silk Road (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2004), 213-20, 458.
  • 'More light on the Chinese Manichaean texts from Dunhuang and Turfan - a publication overview and some comments on X. Tremblay's Sérinde', Manichaean Studies Newsletter 18 (2003), 25-32.
  • '"Quickly guide me to the peace of the Pure Land": Christology and Buddhist terminology in the Chinese ManichaeanHymnscroll', in R. Malek (ed.), The Chinese face of Jesus Christ, I (Skt. Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica & China-Zentrum - Nettetal: Steyler, 2002), 219-42.
  • 'Work in progress on the Chinese Manichaean Traité / Sermon on the Light-Nous in Chinese and its parallels in Parthian, Sogdian and Old Turkish', in D. Christian & C. Benjamin (eds.), Realms of the Silk Roads: Ancient and Modern.Proceedings from the Third Conference of the Australasian Society for Inner Asian Studies (A.S.I.A.S), Macquarie University, September 18-20 1998 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), 13-28.
  • 'Skilfully planting the trees of Light: the Chinese manichaica, their Central Asian counterparts, and some observations on the translation of Manichaeism into Chinese', in S. Clausen, R. Starrs & A. Wedell-Wedellsborg (eds.), Cultural encounters - China, Japan, and the West. Essays commemorating 25 Years of East Asian Studies at the University of Aarhus (Århus: Aarhus University Press, 1995), 83-108.

Entries in reference Works

  • 'Mani; Manichaeism', in D. Patte (ed.), Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press).
  • 'Paulicians', in D. Patte (ed.), Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (forthcoming from Cambridge UP).
  • 'Dunhuang', in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Kegan Paul); published on the Encyclopædia's website: in 2003.


  • 'Li Tang, A Study of the History of Nestorian Christianity in China and Its Literature in Chinese. Together with a New English Translation of the Dunhuang Nestorian Documents. 2nd revised edition (Frankfurt a.M. etc. 2004)', China Review International 14 (2007), 232-35.
  • 'I. Gardner & S. N. C. Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire (Cambridge 2004)', Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 69 (2006), 163-64.
  • 'R. E. Emmerick, W. Sundermann & P. Zieme (eds.), Studia Manichaica. IV. Internationaler Kongreß zum Manichäismus, Berlin, 14.-18. Juli 1997 (Berlin 2000)', Acta Orientalia 65 (2004), 152-59.
  • 'P. Pelliot, L'inscription nestorienne de Si-ngan-fou, ed. by A. Forte (Paris & Kyoto 1996)', Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 10 (1997), 87-88.
  • 'Wm. Th. de Bary & I. Bloom, Eastern Canons: Approaches to Asian Classics (New York 1995)' (rev.), Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 9 (1996), 137-40.
  • 'L. Kohn, Early Chinese Mysticism. Philosophy and Soteriology in the Taoist Tradition (Princeton 1992)', Temenos - Studies in Comparative Religion 31 (1995), 263-66.
  • 'L. Kohn, The Taoist Experience. An Anthology (Albany 1993)', Temenos - Studies in Comparative Religion 31 (1995), 266-68.
  • 'M. LaFargue, Tao and Method. A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching (Albany 1994)', Temenos - Studies in Comparative Religion 31 (1995), 273-76.
  • 'Recent publications', in Manichaean Studies Newsletter 16- (2001-).


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