Mandaeans and Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity at #AARSBL19

Mandaeans and Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity at #AARSBL19 November 7, 2019

Below are details about our TELA sessions at AAR in San Diego. I thought I’d also include some links of related interest to the Mandaean Book of John, which will be the focus of a review panel in one of the sessions. First is the just-released Bible and Beyond podcast episode in which I talk with Shirley Paulson about this fascinating text and the group that produced it.

My review of Bogdan Burtea’s latest translation of a Mandaean text into German will also be of interest. There are a couple more links at the end of the post. Now, here are the details about all our sessions this year:

Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Unit
Theme: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Intersections with Eastern Late Antiquity
Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Haverford College, Presiding
Sunday – 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Aqua E (Third Level)

This session includes three papers each of which focuses on the eastern form of one of the three major Abrahamic traditions, and each of which explores points of intersection between that tradition and others in that time and place.

Jason Mokhtarian, Indiana University
Rabbis and Others in Babylonian Talmudic Medicine
Laura Locke Estes, Saint Louis University
Accessorizing Faith: Dress as a Sign of Conversion in Two Christian Martyrdom Accounts
Mark Leuchter, Temple University
Ezra, the Great Assembly, and the Mythopoesis of a Rabbinic Future

Business Meeting:

Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Haverford College
James McGrath, Butler University


Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Unit and SBL Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity Unit
Theme: Esoteric Religious Groups in Antiquity
April D. DeConick, Rice University, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront-Sapphire 400B (Fourth Level)

A session that includes book review panels as well as papers.

Book Review: Michael Stone, Secret Groups in Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)
Kelley Coblentz Bautch, St. Edward’s University, Panelist (10 min)

James Davila, University of St. Andrews, Panelist (10 min)

Written Reflections from Michael Stone
Discussion (15 min)

Christian H. Bull, University of Oslo
Stobaeus and Hermes Trismegistus in the Neoplatonic Tradition (25 min)
Tag(s): Comparative Religion / History of Religion (Comparative Religion / History of Religion)

Discussion (5 min)

Papers Continued
Tuomas Rasimus, Helsingin Yliopisto – Helsingfors Universitet
Holy of Holies in Late Antique Jewish and Christian Imagination (25 min)
Tag(s): Nag Hammadi codices (Early Christian Literature – Gnostic Literature), Early Christian Literature (Early Christian Literature – Other), Biblical Interpretations (Early Jewish Literature – Dead Sea Scrolls)

Discussion (5 min)

Book Review: Charles Häberl and James McGrath, The Mandaean Book of John (De Gruyter 2019)
Charles Haberl, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Panelist (5 min)

James McGrath, Butler University, Panelist (5 min)

Jorunn Buckley, Bowdoin College, Panelist (10 min)

Edmondo Lupieri, Loyola University of Chicago, Panelist (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)


Religion in Premodern Europe and the Mediterranean Unit and Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Unit
Theme: Religious Life on the Silk Road
James McGrath, Butler University, Presiding
Monday – 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-23C (Upper Level East)

This session explores the movement of people, texts, and ideas along the Silk Road, with particular attention both to local cultural exchange and to the long-distance influences facilitated by this vital trade route.

Richard A. Freund, University of Hartford
The Caves of Letters: Jewish Texts and Communities from the Silk Road to the Via Maris
Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, Northern Arizona University
The Syro-Mesopotamian Ties of Uygur Manichaean Book Culture
Giselle Bader, University of Sydney
Processes of Globalisation in Early Armenian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Also about the Mandaeans, as a reward for those who read posts to the end: An article from a while back about the Mandaeans in Iraq, and a web gallery about the Ardwan-Lidzbarski Mandaic font.




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