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...]

A Neo-Mandaic Story

Steve Caruso drew attention to a video that Charles Häberl has made of a Neo-Mandaic folk tale, narrated by Nasser Abu Issa Sobbi. If you are interested in the Mandaeans, the Middle East, or modern spoken Aramaic, you should definitely watch this video. [Read more...]

Son of Man

I’ve been wondering for some time whether extreme skepticism of the depiction of Jesus even in our earliest sources hasn’t gone too far. A number of scholars have been bringing the pendulum back the other way. Bart Ehrman, for instance, thinks that Jesus thought himself to be the Messiah. If we remove all such views and [Read More...]

Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

AWOL shared a link to the Virtual Magic Bowl Archive, which features photos taken by Matthew Morgenstern, I believe. The practice of making and using magic bowls is something that Jews and Mandaeans in Mesopotamia shared in common. [Read more...]

Abba isn’t Daddy

Both Steve Caruso and I have made this point before. But Steve has reduced the point to a very simple infographic, and so I thought it was worth sharing.   [Read more...]

Targum Neofiti Online

Via Ancient World Online, I learned that the Vatican Library has put Targum Neofiti online! If you are not familiar with them, the Targumim are Aramaic paraphrases of the Bible, which provide important insights into how ancient Jews understood their Scriptures.   [Read more...]

Abba Again

It is now two weeks since we finally dived into the details of the Lord’s Prayer in my Sunday school class. Moving at our usual fast pace, we covered one word on that occasion: Father. I highlighted the evidence for Jesus have addressed God as abba in Aramaic, and the misconception that abba meant “daddy” [Read More...]

Review of Lexical Tools to the Syriac New Testament (Logos Edition)

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to review the Logos version of an incredibly helpful Syriac language-learning tool, Lexical Tools to the Syriac New Testament by George Kiraz. I used the print edition of this book when learning Syriac, and found it very helpful. It incorporates learning aids of a sort that [Read More...]

Win a Slightly Defective Jesus!

OK, so I left the word “pendant” out of the title. Steve Caruso is holding a giveaway on the Aramaic NT site. Click through to enter! [Read more...]

Comparison and Collation of Mandaean Texts

The second paper this morning was by Tania Notarius, and is on the relationship between a variety of overlapping and partially-overlapping manuscripts we have, each of which is a compilation of smaller collections of individual magical incantations, together with explanations for how to use them. Often these sorts of things were copied by scribes who [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...]