Bordering Others: Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity #aarsbl15 Sunday Afternoon Session

The first paper in the TELA session on the theme “Bordering Others: Examining Religious Community in Eastern Late Antiquity” was by Jennifer Hart and focused in using orthopraxy to define “true” Mandaeism. She began with a quote from the work The Thousand and Twelve Questions, which is focused on ritual error and what to do [Read More...]

Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta

For those interested in Judaism, Mandaeism, Late Antiquity, ancient magic, Aramaic, and any number of other topics, there are two sessions at AAR this year that you ought not to miss. One is the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session, about which I’ll include details further below. But the other is a session which will [Read More...]

First Mandaean on Pluto

Jim Davila noticed before I did that Charles Häberl‘s social media campaign to get part of Pluto named after Krun – the Mandaean lord of the underworld – was successful. The designation of one of Pluto’s recently-revealed land features with the name Krun marks the first time that a celestial body has been given a Mandaean name [Read More...]

Mandaean Contributions to Islamic Civilization

I received word about the new book series below, and wanted to share it here, since it explicitly mentions the Mandaeans! New book series: Edinburgh University Press Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation Series editors: Professor Carole Hillenbrand and Dr Myriam Wissa Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation is a new edited series which deviates from the [Read More...]

Mandaeans: Mysteries and Misunderstandings

The Mandaeans and related topics have gotten mentions in the blogosphere and elsewhere online recently, and so I thought I would round up some of those instances: Brian LePort has been teaching about John the Baptist, and in the process, has been diving into the Mandaean sources. Tony Burke noted, as did I, the Mandaeans [Read More...]

Baptism for the Dead: Paul and the Mandaeans

A student who gave a presentation on the Mandaeans in my “Heresy” class used the phrase “baptism for the dead” to describe the masiqta – more frequently translated as “mass for the dead” or something similar in English. The masiqta proper, of course, is a ritual meal which takes after someone has died, and not an [Read More...]

John the Baptist’s Bones, Serapion, and the Mandaeans

As a result of the episode of the CNN series Finding Jesus which focused on John the Baptist, significant attention is being paid to bones which are supposedly his, and genetic testing of which has suggested they belong to a first-century Middle Eastern man. See  Tony Burke’s earlier post about Serapion’s “Life of John the Baptist” and [Read More...]

Gnostic Survivors: 2015 David Noel Freedman Lecture

If any readers are in the vicinity of Ann Arbor, Michigan, I’ll be speaking at the University of Michigan tomorrow evening on the subject of the Mandaeans. Here’s the blurb from the University of Michigan website: 2015 David Noel Freedman Lecture Gnostic Survivors: the Mandeans in their relations with Judaism, Christianity and Islam The 20th [Read More...]

Mandaean Music

One of the best questions I was asked after my recent talk about the Mandaeans was from a music professor, who asked whether the Mandaeans have a distinctive musical tradition. I did not know the answer, and still do not, but the question is an important one, and I hope that some musicologist might one [Read More...]

The First Baptists, The Last Gnostics

Here’s a recording of the talk I gave about the Mandaeans yesterday to an audience of faculty, staff, and students at Butler University, as part of the Faculty Brown Bag series. [Read more...]

Brown Bag Talk on the Mandaeans

I am very impressed with the poster that Rebecca DeGrazia made for my upcoming brown bag lunchtime talk on the Mandaeans. On Thursday, January 22nd, I’ll be talking about the Mandaeans, their history, scholarship on them, and my work on translating and commenting on the Mandaean Book of John. [Read more...]