Digital Analysis of Mandaic Manuscripts

My collaborator on the Mandaean Book of John translation project, Charles G. Häberl of Rutgers University, is scheduled to present on “Digital Analysis of Mandaic Manuscripts” at the workshop “Ancient Religion, Modern Technology” to be held February 13-14 at Brown University.

Some of the other presentations also look fascinating, covering topics from Syriac linguistics to ancient monotheism.

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  • Just Sayin’

    What would be the best way for someone to learn to read Mandaean?

    • James F. McGrath

      There really isn’t an easy or convenient way, unfortunately. Probably the least arduous route is the one I followed: learn a dialect of Aramaic for which better educational and practice reading materials exist, such as Syriac or the Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmud (the latter is somewhat closer to Mandaic, not surprisingly given the geographic proximity) and them get hold of the Mandaic grammar and lexicon of Drower and Macuch, and begin reading Mandaean texts and getting to grips with the differences of grammar, spelling and vocabulary.

      I would love to see some new learning materials produced to help one learn the language, but I wonder whether there will ever be sufficient interest to justify at effort. One can hope…

      • Just Sayin’

        Thank you.

        • James F. McGrath

          There are some rather good textbooks for Syriac that work well for self-instruction, and one can then practice reading the New Testament in Syriac to improve proficiency. There are also many older Syriac and Aramaic grammars and readers on, where there are also some older editions of Mandaic texts as well.