Jerusalem’s Construction and Destruction (Right Ginza 15.11.328-333)

This is a quick translation of this passage from the Great Treasure (Ginza Rba), the Mandaean sacred text. It relies heavily on Lidzbarski’s German translation, cross-referenced with the online Ginza concordance mostly when either the German was ambiguous, or I was curious what the underlying Mandaic was. In most instances when I looked because the German [Read More...]


No, the title of this post does not say “Omaha.” It says “Qmaha,” a term for a particular kind of Mandaean phylactery or amulet. It contains text, which is believed to ward off evil and illness, and iron needles which are thought to be effective protection against evil spirits. Brian Mubaraki kindly provided me with these photos, [Read More...]

Mandaean Resources Online

In one of those interesting internet convergences, two blogs I subscribe to offered links to web resources related to the Mandaeans in the past couple of days. First, Hieroi Logoi highlighted several online resources, in particular the Mandaean Book of John project that I am involved in. And then shortly after, Ancient World Online shared [Read More...]

Re-Examining Spelling and Pronunciation in Coptic

I am grateful to David Mihalyfy for sending me a copy of his recent article, and I want to draw it to the attention of readers who have an interest in the Coptic language. The full title of the article is “RE-EXAMINING SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION IN COPTIC: A Case For The Intervocalic And Post-Nasal Allophonic [Read More...]

Open Access Scholarship

I had a librarian mention to me that they had heard about a scholar whose blog got not merely quoted but responded to and interacted with in a peer-reviewed journal article. I quickly responded by saying that I know the blogger in question – Mark Goodacre, who blogged about his experience recently. Blogging is just [Read More...]

Richard Carrier, Jesus, and Heracles

I was struck by a statement Richard Carrier made on his blog, and I wonder whether it is not telling of something fundamentally amiss in his approach to the matter of the historical Jesus. Carrier mentions a talk which he will be giving, in which he will ask “what it might mean to study Jesus [Read More...]

No Wait, I Can Fix This…

Steve Caruso shared an image related to his work on the Mandaean Book of John project – this image illustrating a scribe’s “indecisiveness” about what to write, as it unfolded in an era before erasers: Click through to read more about it, and to see Steve’s color-coded explanation of the letters. It is a good [Read More...]

Spoiler about the Doctor’s Regeneration?

Is this a leaked set of images from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special? No, actually the Doctor at the end is Chris Brady, of the blog Targuman, in his new Facebook profile picture. Steve Caruso made the composite image and shared it on his Aramaic Blog. When I dress up in my regalia for [Read More...]

The Evolution of Language

In a post about five jobs a creationist cannot do, linguistics was included. Since some might be surprised, I thought I’d comment a bit more on that. Creationists deny linguistics, just as they deny evolution and astronomy and geology, because of an approach to Genesis which they think is literal. In this case, the story [Read More...]

AAR Traditions of East Late Antiquity Session

Here is the lineup for the Traditions of East Late Antiquity Exploratory Session that will take place at AAR in November: From Jerusalem to the Karûn: What can Mandaean Geographies Tell Us? Charles Häberl, Rutgers University “On the Creation of Adam”: A Greek/Syriac “Kephalaion” from Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos Timothy Pettipiece, University of Ottawa [Read More...]

Easter Flash Mob

I’m grateful to Mike Bird for sharing the above video. Christianity is a diverse global phenomenon – indeed, so diverse that Eastern Christians will be celebrating Easter on May 5th this year! And so sharing this song, with words characteristic of the Orthodox branch of Christianity, on the day that Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter [Read More...]