Durch Dein Wort ward jegliches Ding!

The proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of Mandaic and Samaritan Studies, held in Berlin in 2008, has appeared in print, published by Harrassowitz Verlag. The title is »Durch Dein Wort ward jegliches Ding!«

You can read the table of contents online in pdf format.

A prepublication draft of Charles Häberl’s chapter on a Mandaean folktale can be found on Academia.edu, as is a draft of Ionuţ Daniel Băncilă’s chapter on a Mandaean version of Psalm 114 found in Qolasta, the Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans.


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  • arcseconds

    My sprechen Sie Deutsch isn’t as good as it used to be. ‘Through Your word, everything became’? Is the reference to a Mandaic work?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      Du übersetzt es sehr wohl! :-)

      The translation is actually on the cover, if you zoom in: “Through Thy Word All Things Were Made”

      I wondered about the title as well. The previous conference proceedings used a phrase that is very common in Mandaean literature, often marking the end of a section in the Book of John for instance: “And Life is Victorious!”

      I wondered whether this time, in the interest of equal time, they went for something Samaritan, since it sounds like part of that broader Biblical tradition.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

        Then again, the frontispiece in the book gives the phrase in Mandaic. I should track down where it appears in Mandaean literature. I suspect that Bultmann must mention it somewhere, given how close it is to phrasing we find in the prologue of John.

      • arcseconds

        There’s a couple of interesting things about the German.

        Firstly, God is being addressed using the informal second-person pronoun ‘du’ (as opposed to the formal ‘Sie’) which is normal in German, although struck me as quite strange when I first encountered it (during a church service, if I recall correctly).

        English used to have an informal second-person pronoun ‘thou’, too, which was, like in German and many other languages, used to refer to God. Nowadays, of course, it is only retained in archaic contexts, usually religious, so now connotes formality.

        So from a certain perspective it’s more correct to translate this as ‘thy’, although one could also argue that it’s actually more correct to translate it as ‘you’, because ‘you’ in contemporary English has no connotation of formality (as ‘du’ does not).

        Secondly, I guessed that ‘ward’ was a form of ‘werden’ (to become) that I either had forgotten about or never had any familiarity with. It seems that it is actually a bit unusual and poetic, given that there’s no official entry but just a note from someone about it in dict.leo.org.

        However, I don’t think ‘werden’ would normally have much semantic overlap with ‘make’, so I like my translation better here :-)

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Sind die meisten amerikanischen Theologen immer noch im Stande, deutsch zu verstehen?

    Anyway, your blogging activity is quite impressive!

    I greatly appreciate scholars of high level who take the time to communicate their ideas to normal people and laymen.

    Lothar’s son – Lothars Sohn

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      Man kann nicht für einen PhD in Großbritannien studieren, ohne Deutsch und auch Französisch sprechen zu können.

      (Of course, I readily understand words like Redaktionsgeschichte, but would struggle to order food at a restaurant…)

      • http://lotharson.wordpress.com/ Lothars Sohn

        That’s interesting, since I come from a region in France where historically a German dialect has been spoken since the early middle age, I’m almost bilingual French-German.

        By the way, are you british or american?

        I fail to understand why French is necessary for protestant theology. Well we had Calvin, but he’s rather an embarassing element of our past 😉

        Lothar’s son – Lothars Sohn

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          You can, I presume, do Protestant theology without either language, if you are focusing on English-speaking theologians. I was studying New Testament, and for that, one is expected to interact with scholarship in English, French, and German.

          I’m originally from the United States.

  • arash

    Because of my dissertation, I need the translation of qolasta in English, German or Arabic. I was wondering if you are kind enough to let me know how I can have