Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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Did/do Mandeans practice ritual animal sacrifice? I confess my ignorance, but it hasn’t been something I’ve heard mention.
Sorry I wasn’t able to comment sooner. I’m getting caught up now after my iPad issues. They do practice animal sacrifices but they occur, unless I am mistaken, on much less frequent occasions than the rituals involving bread (pihta) and a juice and water mixture (mambuha). And the ritual slaughter of a dove is more frequent than other kinds of animal sacrifice. Those things are all in service of the baptismal ritual which remains the focus of the entire ceremony, whichever particular sort of baptism it happens to be.
I can understand ‘Baptism’, ‘sacrifice of chickens’ and ‘sacrifice of sheep’ but what does the caption under the picture of two adults and a child translate as? Interesting that they’re wearing turbans in all the pictures; is that part of their ritual wear or just the artist’s way of representing them as ‘Eastern’?
bread, wine and oil.
(I’m guessing a bit on oil, but I’d be prepared to put money on it :-))
You are exactly right! Huylle is oil. As in “huylle d’olive”…
the modern french spelling is ‘huile’, though, so there seemed to be some room for error…
Sorry I didn’t manage to chime in until now. If you read Drower or another source about Mandaean rituals, and search for the keywords for the bread and drink (pihta and mambuha) or the “mass” (masiqta), you’ll find more details.
I suspect that the “vin” of “pain, vin, & huylle” may actually be the hamra, a kind of ritual beverage made from water into which raisins have been soaked and pressed. In Arabic, the cognate word ḫamra means “wine,” but wine isn’t part of the Mandaean ritual.
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