Mandaeans at AAR/SBL 2013

Those interested in the Mandaeans find themselves overlapping the AAR and SBL groups, and there is a session hoping to lead to a new AAR program unit which is offered this year with a view to providing a natural home for the study of the Mandaeans and other traditions. Since some who study Mandaeism are in AAR but not SBL or vice versa, I thought I would gather here a list of the sessions and papers that are sure to be of interest.

The entire AAR exploratory session A24-258, Traditions of East Late Antiquity, will be of interest. There is more than one paper related to the Mandaeans (by Charles Häberl and Jennifer Hart), and the session itself is intended as a trial run for what we hope can be a new program unit with this name. (Yes, we did choose it in part because we can abbreviate it to “East LA.”) AAR members can access a draft of Charles' paper online.

SBL session S25-148, “Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity” features a paper by David Frankfurter, “Scorpion/Demon: On the Origin of the Mesopotamian Apotropaic Bowl” which focuses on a ritual item that the Mandaeans made, as did their Aramaic-speaking Jewish neighbors. And since the session also includes a paper on how to remove demons from a toilet seat, it is clearly one that is not to be missed!

In addition to these more obvious listings, note as well Gerhardus van den Heever's paper in session S26-124 “Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity,” on diverse baptismal rites, a draft of which has been uploaded to


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  • Jon Henry

    I’m looking forward to this – good work!