New SBL Consultation on John the Baptist! Mandaean Convention in San Antonio!

New SBL Consultation on John the Baptist! Mandaean Convention in San Antonio! July 3, 2023

It is now official and so I am delighted to be able to announce that a proposal for a new SBL consultation focused on John the Baptist has been approved. Here is the information from the Society of Biblical Literature website:

JOHN THE BAPTIST
Chairs: James F. McGrath and Tony Burke

Description: While there is always a steady trickle of interest in John the Baptist, recent publications in English, Spanish, and Italian suggest that there is a current surge not only in interest in John as a historical figure, not only also as a literary figure in the canonical Gospels, but in his appearance in Christian apocrypha and in Mandaean literature. These areas are often separated among different program units, and this consultation will provide a place for them to come together and interact.

Call for papers: While there is always a steady trickle of interest in John the Baptist, recent publications in English, Spanish, and Italian suggest that there is a current surge not only in interest in John as a historical figure, not only also as a literary figure in the canonical Gospels, but in his appearance in Christian apocrypha and in Mandaean literature. These areas are often separated among different program units, and this consultation will provide a place for them to come together and interact.

I also have more information to share about the visit to the Mandaean Culture Center in San Antonio. The event will be listed in the program book (print and online) but the provisional schedule goes over the character limit, and thus I am sharing the details here.

Mandaean Convention

Saturday November 18, 2023, 6pm to 8pm
Mandaean Culture Center
244 Sherwood Dr, San Antonio 78201

Provisional Program:
6:00 p.m. Welcome
6:05 p.m. City official
6:10 p.m. Mandaean movie
6:20 p.m. Professor Jorunn J. Buckley
6:30 p.m. Professor Charles. G. Häberl
6:40 p.m. Refreshments (Mandaean food)
6:55 p.m. Professor James F. McGrath
7:05 p.m. Dr. Sabah Malallah
7:15 p.m. Ganzebra Valid Ebadfardzadeh
(Mandaean religious leader)
7:25 p.m. Mandaean music
7:35 p.m. Questions and answers
8:00 p.m. Concluding thanks

Meet the Mandaeans of San Antonio! This event at the local Mandaean Culture Center (244 Sherwood Dr) includes a Mandaean movie, music, & food; brief remarks from Mandaean leaders Dr. Sabah Malallah & Ganzebra Valid Ebadfardzadeh, a San Antonio official, & Profs. Jorunn J. Buckley, Charles G. Häberl, & James F. McGrath who study Mandaeism; + Q&A.

The Mandaeans are the only ancient Gnostic group to survive continuously down to the present day. AAR members should seize this invitation from members of the local Mandaean community in San Antonio to meet them!

Finally, Charles Häberl will give a paper, “Reconstructing Mandaean History” on Monday November 20th at AAR in a session jointly sponsored by two program units, the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit and the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Unit, on the theme ‘Pushing the Boundaries of the Late Antique East.’ Here is the abstract: “The Mandaean scriptures have been the subject of sustained interest from non-Mandaean scholars for more than two centuries, beginning with Matthias Norberg’s pioneer edition and translation of the Genzā Rabbā or ‘Great Treasure’ in 1815. Those that followed his are considered banner examples of the philological enterprise, one that processes and thereby subsumes data from texts such as these into its own episteme toward a variety of uses. In Foucauldian terms, the ‘subjugated knowledge’ represented by the various philological editions and translations of this text yet paradoxically disguised within them presents an opportunity to critique those same works of scholarship and by extension the entire enterprise of scholarship on Mandaeans. Because of longstanding Mandaean engagements with the surrounding communities, these texts plainly have much to say about their history and other subjects of interest and relevance to historians working on an array of periods and places.”

In short, there’s lots of reason to be excited about the AAR/SBL joint annual meeting in San Antonio this November if you are interested in John the Baptist, the Mandaeans, or both!

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