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…]

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…]

Gnostic Survivors: 2015 David Noel Freedman Lecture

If any readers are in the vicinity of Ann Arbor, Michigan, I’ll be speaking at the University of Michigan tomorrow evening on the subject of the Mandaeans. Here’s the blurb from the University of Michigan website: 2015 David Noel Freedman Lecture Gnostic Survivors: the Mandeans in their relations with Judaism, Christianity and Islam The 20th [Read More…]

Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity AAR Call for Papers 2015

Here’s the Call for Papers for the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity AAR sessions for the 2015 Annual Meeting. For the AAR meeting in Atlanta, November 2015, we are planning the following sessions: 1) A panel will review Shai Secunda’s new book, The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in its Sasanian Context (U Penn, 2014). The [Read More…]

Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei

I had the privilege of visiting the rare books room at Christian Theological Seminary yesterday. One item that caught my eye is the one I took a photo of above, Matthias Norberg’s Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei. It is a dictionary of the words in the Ginza Rba (Great Treasure), the principal sacred text of the Mandaeans. [Read More…]

Notsrim in the Talmud: Mandaeans, Christians, or Both?

A recent article in Tablet magazine mentions the reference to notsrim in a Talmud discussion of Sunday. There is a longstanding use of this term in reference to Christians, inasmuch as Jesus himself is described as “Yeshu ha-notsri.” But the term “notsri” does not naturally denote Nazareth, and the use of “Nazarenes” to describe Christians [Read More…]

AAR Call for Papers (Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity)

The American Academy of Religion call for papers for the 2014 annual meeting is now live, and it includes a brand new program unit which I co-chair. Here are the details. Click through to submit a paper proposal! Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Group Statement of Purpose: This program unit focused on Late Antiquity in [Read More…]


Yesterday I chaired the “Traditions of East Late Antiquity” exploratory session. Apparently exploratory sessions get a set time slot irrespective of the number of papers, and so we had had to set a time limit of 15 minutes each. The result was actually quite remarkable – each paper was focused and fit exactly in the [Read More…]

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 [Read More…]

Dissimulation and Survival: from the Mandaeans to Doctor Who

Charles Haberl shared his latest publication on the Mandaeans and their religious history. It looks at how they have used a strategy of emphasizing to those in power their relatedness to and acceptability from the perspective of the dominant religion on the one hand, while also emphasizing within their community their own distinctiveness and superiority [Read More…]