Aramaic Magic Bowls at #AARSBL16

I found that there is one disadvantage to blogging on one’s phone: it can look like you are texting rather than taking notes or blogging, and so I wasn’t comfortable doing so while seated at the front in the Digital Humanities session where I presented on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. And so I will [Read More…]

Singing Psalm 53 as the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer

This is labeled on YouTube as a sung version of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. But it is elsewhere labeled as Psalm 53 in Syriac, sung in Georgia, for Pope Francis! It is beautiful either way, but this illustrates nicely the problems that arise when people start discussing texts in languages they don’t understand. Not [Read More…]

The Eye of a Needle

The page The Christian Left shared this image on Facebook, and a couple of comments that were made on it there deserve responses. First, you will sometimes hear that the Eye of the Needle was an actual gate in Jerusalem which a camel could indeed pass through, on its knees and leaving any goods it [Read More…]

Learn Aramaic Online

It is aimed at speakers of German, but I imagine that even if you don’t know German yet (and if not, why not?!), this site focused on teaching the modern spoken Aramaic/Syriac of Eastern Christian communities will still be of interest and useful to you. http://userblogs.fu-berlin.de/aramaic-ol/ I’ve added it to the list of Useful Sites that [Read More…]

Call for Papers on Aramaic Magical Bowls

The American Academy of Religion’s Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity program unit, and the Society of Biblical Literature Aramaic program unit and Religious World in Late Antiquity Section, are co-sponsoring a session on the Aramaic and Mandaic magical bowls. A session is being planned on the Aramaic magic bowls. Given the interdisciplinary sponsorship, we propose [Read More…]

Straining Out Two Corinthians

It struck me, in discussing the flap about Donald Trump saying “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians,” the reaction says a lot about conservative Evangelicalism. Conservative and fundamentalist Evangelicals will react more strongly to how you refer to the Bible, than to a betrayal of the Bible’s moral teachings. And hence my paraphrase of Jesus’ saying about straining [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…]

A Neo-Mandaic Story

Steve Caruso drew attention to a video that Charles Häberl has made of a Neo-Mandaic folk tale, narrated by Nasser Abu Issa Sobbi. If you are interested in the Mandaeans, the Middle East, or modern spoken Aramaic, you should definitely watch this video. [Read more…]

Son of Man

I’ve been wondering for some time whether extreme skepticism of the depiction of Jesus even in our earliest sources hasn’t gone too far. A number of scholars have been bringing the pendulum back the other way. Bart Ehrman, for instance, thinks that Jesus thought himself to be the Messiah. If we remove all such views and [Read More…]

Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

AWOL shared a link to the Virtual Magic Bowl Archive, which features photos taken by Matthew Morgenstern, I believe. The practice of making and using magic bowls is something that Jews and Mandaeans in Mesopotamia shared in common. [Read more…]