Department of Religious Studies

"Workshop on Late Antiquity: New Lights on the Early Mandaeans"

A lecture by Dr. Kevin Van Bladel, Ohio State University

Wed, April 27, 2016 | CLA 1.302B

5:00 PM

The Mandaeans are a relatively reclusive and now-endangered religious group of ancient origins, at home in southern Iraq and southwestern Iran, whose liturgies and rites of regular baptism are administered by specially trained priests to ensure individual purity and heavenly reward after death. Modern scholars have dubbed them "the last Gnostics," and that is how they are popularly known. They maintain a body of scriptures in an otherwise scarcely known ancient southeastern dialect of Aramaic which is called "Mandaic" after the group. A scholarly consensus has emerged in the last five decades that the Mandaean religion originated approximately in the second century. For some it is still earlier, for others it is slightly later, but "circa 200" is normal. This presentation will refute that consensus with primary sources and advocate an origin in the fifth century, under Sasanid rule. To do so means addressing several complicated arguments along the way.

Sponsored by: The Department of Religious Studies

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