Anush-Uthra vs. Jesus: Smackdown in Jerusalem

I just posted another draft of a chapter from the Mandaean Book of John. In this chapter, chapter 76, there are a few places where the meaning of the text is not entirely clear (do I need to mention this when it is true of pretty much every section of every Mandaic text?). But the [Read More...]

Contrasting Views on the Authenticity of the James Ossuary (and related subjects)

Michael Heiser indicates that his mind is changing about the matter of the authenticity of the James ossuary, because of a photo of the ossuary, with its full inscription, dated prior to the discovery of the Talpiot tombs. The photo has apparently been authenticated by someone from the FBI. If this is correct, it seems [Read More...]

Melammu, the Mandaeans and other Mesopotamians

Charles Jones posted at Ancient World Online about the Melammu project, which has a digital library dedicated to “The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in East and West.” The site contains numerous interesting pieces, but not surprisingly the one that grabbed my attention was Amar Annus’ “Some Otherworldly Journeys in Mesopotamian, Jewish, Mandaean and [Read More...]

Matthew Morgenstern reviews Charles Häberl’s The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr

Here’s the conclusion from a review of the book The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr by my co-worker on the Mandaean Book of John translation project, Charles Häberl: In summary, we have before us an outstanding contribution to the study of one of the rarest Semitic languages spoken today. Häberl is to be thanked for having [Read More...]

The “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is None of the Above

After it came up on this blog a while back, I’ve wanted to return to the topic of the “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer.” Why? Because the thing that can be found online referred to in this way is not original, not Aramaic, not a translation, and not the Lord’s Prayer. Let me elaborate further. This [Read More...]

Web Yeshiva

Today I learned about the site Web Yeshiva, which has links to a wide range of important classic Jewish texts -the Tanach, Mishnah, Talmudim, Midrashim, other commentaries, and more. I’ve added it to the “Useful Sites” page as well. [Read more...]

The Lord’s Prayer in Indiana Public Schools?

As if the news of attempts to get creationism into science classrooms were not bad enough, there is another proposed law that seeks to allow schools to mandate the recitation of the Lord’s prayer. Here’s the text of Senate Bill 251: Sec. 4.6. (a) In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development [Read More...]

Prof. Matthew Morgenstern on the History of Jewish Aramaic

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Mandaean Artifacts in the British Museum

Via AWOL and Abnormal Interests, many of us had drawn to our attention the fact that the British Museum has made digital images of some of its collections available online. I did what anyone would do (well, anyone with my particular interests): I typed in “Mandaean.” It came up with a few incantation bowls – [Read More...]

More on Ancient Language Acquisition

Amber Baker shared contrasting experiences of learning Hebrew. Brian Schultz posted about fluency and reading comprehension. Jim Davila did better on Daniel Streett’s quiz than most. Steve Caruso asked us to try the same quiz with Aramaic. Jim Davila shared information about a course on Zoharic Aramaic (with links to pdfs of the text). [Read more...]

Discussion of Languages and New Testament Study around the Blogosphere

The discussion of which languages you need for New Testament study seems to have gone viral. Here are links to those who have chimed in since I wrote my own post on the subject: James Crossley Chris Brady Duane Smith Larry Hurtado (twice) BW16 (twice) Jim West Matthew R. Malcolm See also Mike Kok’s contribution [Read More...]


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