Mandaeans Around the Blogosphere

Two mentions of things to do with the Mandaeans in the blogosphere recently – one exciting, one disappointing.

First, today Jim Davila mentioned the Aramaic DNA project, which is seeking to collect DNA data from Aramaic speakers. I had heard about the project from Paul Givargidze, and was and remain excited about the fact that Mandaeans can and are encouraged to participate. (See my article on the Miriai story and Mandaean origins, forthcoming in ARAM Periodical and already available online, for my perspective on why DNA testing may not tell us everything we’d like to know about the historical origins of the Mandaeans).

The disappointing one was the mention on the blog Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources of digitized open access manuscripts at the Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum (MDZ). The site has a lot that is of interest, but among the manuscripts there is one listed as Codex Mandaicus which apparently no one thought it worth digitizing.

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  • Hi JamesI went to the link and saw that the Samaritans aren't listed as Aramaic speakers. If you subscribe to their monthly newspaper the AB you'd see very well that the Samaritans continue to publish articles in Samaritan Aramaic. Perhaps with only 700 souls their DNA is already accounted for?Stephan

  • Hi Stephan. There is a project devoted to the study of Samaritans as well. When we created the Aramaic Project a few months ago, the plan was to have an exclusive Samaritan project, and an Aramaic project for all remaining speakers (My Aramaic Project co-admin, Matthew Gross, is one of the admins of the Samaritan DNA Project). Since then, as can be seen by the Y-DNA results page of the Aramaic project, we changed our minds. I do, however, need to update the introduction page of the Aramaic project to reflect this change. Thank you for calling it to my attention. http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Samaritan/default.aspxAlso, you may be interested in reading a past study of Samaritan DNA: http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Shen2004.pdfBest,Paul G.