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The MandaeansAncient Texts and Modern People$
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Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195153859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195153855.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

The Mandaean World

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Introduction
Source:
The Mandaeans
Author(s):

Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195153855.003.0001

Starts by tracing the origin of the Mandaeans to the Jordan/Palestine area (from whence they emigrated, in the first to third centuries CE, to Iran and Iraq), and gives a brief history to the present. Next, the characteristics of the religion are outlined: Mandaeans are the only still surviving group of Gnostics; their religion has an extensive literature with multifarious mythological traditions and intricate rituals; and their world is essentially three‐tiered, with an upper (heavenly) Lightworld on which much emphasis is placed, a middle earthly human world (Tibil), and a gloomy Underworld (which does not receive much attention). An overview is given of ancient Mandaean literature (the Ginza; the liturgies; the Book of John; ritual commentaries; and other works). There is then a brief note on European traditional Mandaean scholarship, which also covers the work of Lady Ethel S. Drower (1879–1972), who broke traditional scholarly moulds and did much of her work on the Mandaeans in the field. Lastly, the parameters and purpose of the book are described.

Keywords:   ancient texts, beliefs, Gnosticism, Iran, Iraq, Lightworld, Mandaeans, Mandaeism, myths, religious history, rituals, Tibil, Underworld

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