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...]

Independent Scholars

The late Maurice Casey described himself as an “independent historian,” but for the most part, that term “independent scholar” has been used for people who dabble in scholarly inquiry, having advanced studies in the area, but who are not employed at a university or similar institution of higher education. I have at times offered cautionary [Read More...]

Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei

I had the privilege of visiting the rare books room at Christian Theological Seminary yesterday. One item that caught my eye is the one I took a photo of above, Matthias Norberg’s Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei. It is a dictionary of the words in the Ginza Rba (Great Treasure), the principal sacred text of the Mandaeans. [Read More...]

The Peacock’s Lament

Charles Häberl wrote a new blog post, about a connection between the traditions of the Yazidi and the Mandaeans, noting that both groups have been in the news lately because of their persecution by ISIS in Iraq. Click through to read his post, including a transcription and translation of part of the Mandaean Book of John. Of [Read More...]

Notsrim in the Talmud: Mandaeans, Christians, or Both?

A recent article in Tablet magazine mentions the reference to notsrim in a Talmud discussion of Sunday. There is a longstanding use of this term in reference to Christians, inasmuch as Jesus himself is described as “Yeshu ha-notsri.” But the term “notsri” does not naturally denote Nazareth, and the use of “Nazarenes” to describe Christians [Read More...]

The First New Testament

Jason BeDuhn’s book, The First New Testament: Marcion’s Scriptural Canon, offers both a reconstruction of the text of Marcion’s Gospel and Apostolikon (a collection of letters of Paul which corresponds to those judged authentic by modern scholars), and a discussion of the relevant scholarly matters and their implications. Scholars of the New Testament should not [Read More...]

Books of John

As I’ve been working on the commentary on the Mandaean Book of John this summer, I’ve been struck from time to time by seemingly close parallels and points of intersection with the New Testament. For instance, here’s an excerpt from the start of chapter 13, from which the quote above is taken: It is to [Read More...]

Translating Names

Charles Häberl has blogged about an issue that translators regularly face, and which we must deal with as we work towards the final version of our translation of the Mandaean Book of John (or as it might perhaps better be called, The Doctrine of John or The Teaching of John). How are names best translated? When [Read More...]

ASMEA Opportunity to Research the Mandaeans

The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa has research awards to support scholars. The 2014 subject areas include repressive regimes, Minority Faiths and Co-existence/Adaptation, and the Ancient Sources of the Modern Religious Traditions. If there’s someone interested in branching out to include the Mandaeans as part of their scholarly research, this would [Read More...]

AAR Call for Papers (Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity)

The American Academy of Religion call for papers for the 2014 annual meeting is now live, and it includes a brand new program unit which I co-chair. Here are the details. Click through to submit a paper proposal! Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Group Statement of Purpose: This program unit focused on Late Antiquity in [Read More...]


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