Female Figures in Mandaean Religious Art

The first presentation this morning was by Sandra van Rompaey and was about the way female figures are depicted in Mandaean religious art. There are distinctive features, such as how the bodies are shaded and whether they have hair. But there is also a parity, an equality to male beings, in how they are depicted, [Read More...]

A New Dictionary of Mandaic

Matthew Morgenstern's paper was about his work to produce a new Mandaic lexicon. Much of the talk focused on shortcomings in the Drower-Macuch dictionary, which the current work by Morgenstern seeks to build and improve upon. The photo below indicates the contrast between the image produced from the microfilm of a particular text which suffered [Read More...]

Wadham College, Oxford

Today the ARAM conference on the Mandaeans will be starting at the Oriental Institute here in Oxford, England. Oxford is such a great city, and I am staying at bed & breakfast accommodations at Wadham College. The rooms are very nice ones in a modern building, but that building is situated within a very historic [Read More...]

Abiding Questions

In working on my conference paper on lightworld visitors to Jerusalem in the Mandaean Book of John, I've been looking up related passages in the Nag Hammadi texts. Below is a passage from “The Sophia of Jesus Christ,” which always strikes me, because the response of Philip on behalf of the disciples describes something that [Read More...]

Mandaean Handicrafts

Here is another gallery of photos kindly provided by Brian Mubaraki (for which he and I apologize for the overlaid copyright symbol). They give an illustration of the range of beautiful crafts that Mandaeans produce. While they are most famous for their work with silver, the photos show that their skills are not limited to [Read More...]

Maligning Mythicist and Nazareth Nazorean

Richard Carrier has written a characteristically-long blog post which ends with the following sentence: “But alas, when people make false claims about our work and straw man our arguments in an effort to malign our competence, sometimes we have to pay at least the respect of exposing what they’ve done.” The post also mentions a [Read More...]

Qmaha

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...]

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...]

Mandaean Roots of Christianity?

This book came to my attention recently via Facebook. There is also a promotional video which contains only text plus images that can be found on the internet. This self-published book is unlikely to offer anything useful to scholars interested in the Mandaeans. That doesn’t mean, however, that it is impossible there were connections between [Read More...]

The Bells of Saint John

The end of this month Doctor Who will return and the title of that first new episode will be “The Bells of Saint John.” Regular readers will know that this is a blog which regularly focuses on religion and Doctor Who. But it is also a blog where Johns who might be prefixed by “Saint” [Read More...]


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