John the Baptist (not) in the Apostolic Fathers

Brian Le Port decided to take a look and see what the Apostolic Fathers have to say about John the Baptist. He discovered that it is next to nothing. That is very interesting, don’t you think? Any thoughts on why that might be the case? I have an idea for a book about John the Baptist, [Read More…]

Exploring the Matrix and the Mandaeans

The second half of my Talk Gnosis interview is now available as a podcast (and the video is available to subscribers, who will get to see me put on my Fourth Doctor scarf at the end of the discussion, when the conversation turns from the Mandaeans to classic Doctor Who. Click through to have a listen, on [Read More…]

Talk Gnosis Interview about the Mandaeans

The video above is the first part of an interview I did for the online podcast series Talk Gnosis. In a couple of days, they will release the second part which is for subscribers only. Click through for more details about how to become a subscriber, and let me know what you think of the [Read More…]

Bordering Others: Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity #aarsbl15 Sunday Afternoon Session

The first paper in the TELA session on the theme “Bordering Others: Examining Religious Community in Eastern Late Antiquity” was by Jennifer Hart and focused in using orthopraxy to define “true” Mandaeism. She began with a quote from the work The Thousand and Twelve Questions, which is focused on ritual error and what to do [Read More…]

Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta

For those interested in Judaism, Mandaeism, Late Antiquity, ancient magic, Aramaic, and any number of other topics, there are two sessions at AAR this year that you ought not to miss. One is the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session, about which I’ll include details further below. But the other is a session which will [Read More…]

First Mandaean on Pluto

Jim Davila noticed before I did that Charles Häberl‘s social media campaign to get part of Pluto named after Krun – the Mandaean lord of the underworld – was successful. The designation of one of Pluto’s recently-revealed land features with the name Krun marks the first time that a celestial body has been given a Mandaean name [Read More…]

Mandaean Contributions to Islamic Civilization

I received word about the new book series below, and wanted to share it here, since it explicitly mentions the Mandaeans! New book series: Edinburgh University Press Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation Series editors: Professor Carole Hillenbrand and Dr Myriam Wissa Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation is a new edited series which deviates from the [Read More…]

Mandaeans: Mysteries and Misunderstandings

The Mandaeans and related topics have gotten mentions in the blogosphere and elsewhere online recently, and so I thought I would round up some of those instances: Brian LePort has been teaching about John the Baptist, and in the process, has been diving into the Mandaean sources. Tony Burke noted, as did I, the Mandaeans [Read More…]

Baptism for the Dead: Paul and the Mandaeans

A student who gave a presentation on the Mandaeans in my “Heresy” class used the phrase “baptism for the dead” to describe the masiqta – more frequently translated as “mass for the dead” or something similar in English. The masiqta proper, of course, is a ritual meal which takes after someone has died, and not an [Read More…]

John the Baptist’s Bones, Serapion, and the Mandaeans

As a result of the episode of the CNN series Finding Jesus which focused on John the Baptist, significant attention is being paid to bones which are supposedly his, and genetic testing of which has suggested they belong to a first-century Middle Eastern man. See  Tony Burke’s earlier post about Serapion’s “Life of John the Baptist” and [Read More…]


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