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Basic Elements of Mandaeanism

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  • George
    In the Wikipedia discussion of the Mandaeans, we find surprisingly many correlations between their views and the groups that have been categorized as gnostics.
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 6, 2008
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      In the Wikipedia discussion of the Mandaeans, we find surprisingly
      many correlations between their views and the groups that have
      been categorized as gnostics.

      While there are differences (apparently around the practice of
      ethics of the lowest ranks of their culture), there seems to be
      enough to include them within the variants of diverse gnosticism
      we already know about:

      1. A supreme formless Entity, the expression of which in time and
      space is creation of spiritual, etheric, and material worlds and
      beings. Production of these is delegated by It to a creator or
      creators who originated in It. The cosmos is created by Archetypal
      Man, who produces it in similitude to his own shape.
      2. Dualism: a cosmic Father and Mother, Light and Darkness, Right
      and Left, syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form.
      3. As a feature of this dualism, counter-types, a world of ideas.
      4. The soul is portrayed as an exile, a captive: her home and
      origin being the supreme Entity to which she eventually returns.
      5. Planets and stars influence fate and human beings, and are also
      places of detention after death.
      6. A saviour spirit or saviour spirits which assist the soul on her
      journey through life and after it to 'worlds of light'.
      7. A cult-language of symbol and metaphor. Ideas and qualities are
      personified.
      8. 'Mysteries', i.e. sacraments to aid and purify the soul, to
      ensure her rebirth into a spiritual body, and her ascent from the
      world of matter. These are often adaptations of existing seasonal and
      traditional rites to which an esoteric interpretation is attached. In
      the case of the Naá¹£oreans this interpretation is based upon the
      Creation story (see 1 and 2), especially on the Divine Man, Adam, as
      crowned and anointed King-priest.
      9. Great secrecy is enjoined upon initiates; full explanation of 1,
      2, and 8 being reserved for those considered able to understand and
      preserve the gnosis.
      [END OF QUOTATION]

      If we look at the various differences between individual groups
      that we already categorize as gnostic, the "standard deviation"
      (for want of a better term) of such differences seems more
      than enough to include the Mandaeans.

      Thoughts?

      Regards,

      George
    • pmcvflag
      Hey George Sorry it took so long to get back. I meant to write the same night I wrote my last post here, but I ran out of time and I was a bit busy last week.
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 14, 2008
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        Hey George

        Sorry it took so long to get back. I meant to write the same night I
        wrote my last post here, but I ran out of time and I was a bit busy
        last week.

        This week my library duties take me on a long outreach program that
        I do once a month, so I wanted to try and jump back in before I
        leave for a few days.

        You start....

        >>>In the Wikipedia discussion of the Mandaeans, we find surprisingly
        many correlations between their views and the groups that have
        been categorized as gnostics.<<<

        Although I am often particularly suspicious of Wikipedia articles,
        this one does seem to be pretty well written. It is informative and
        open to various theoretic possibilities offered in academic study.

        In contrast, the Wikipedia article on the Dositheans has some
        important flaws.

        >>>While there are differences (apparently around the practice of
        ethics of the lowest ranks of their culture), there seems to be
        enough to include them within the variants of diverse gnosticism
        we already know about:

        1. A supreme formless Entity, the expression of which in time and
        space is creation of spiritual, etheric, and material worlds and
        beings. Production of these is delegated by It to a creator or
        creators who originated in It. The cosmos is created by Archetypal
        Man, who produces it in similitude to his own shape.
        2. Dualism: a cosmic Father and Mother, Light and Darkness, Right
        and Left, syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form.
        3. As a feature of this dualism, counter-types, a world of ideas.
        4. The soul is portrayed as an exile, a captive: her home and
        origin being the supreme Entity to which she eventually returns.
        5. Planets and stars influence fate and human beings, and are also
        places of detention after death.
        6. A saviour spirit or saviour spirits which assist the soul on her
        journey through life and after it to 'worlds of light'.
        7. A cult-language of symbol and metaphor. Ideas and qualities are
        personified.
        8. 'Mysteries', i.e. sacraments to aid and purify the soul, to
        ensure her rebirth into a spiritual body, and her ascent from the
        world of matter. These are often adaptations of existing seasonal and
        traditional rites to which an esoteric interpretation is attached. In
        the case of the Naá¹£oreans this interpretation is based upon the
        Creation story (see 1 and 2), especially on the Divine Man, Adam, as
        crowned and anointed King-priest.
        9. Great secrecy is enjoined upon initiates; full explanation of 1,
        2, and 8 being reserved for those considered able to understand and
        preserve the gnosis.
        [END OF QUOTATION]

        If we look at the various differences between individual groups
        that we already categorize as gnostic, the "standard deviation"
        (for want of a better term) of such differences seems more
        than enough to include the Mandaeans.<<<

        Many of these attributes listed above certainly do have correlation
        in Gnostic schools. These surely can help us in our study and
        perhaps lend some weight to the possibility of including them
        amongst the "Gnosticism" category. However, it is also worth
        examining whether these attributes are definitive. That is to say,
        whether they relate to what the category was created to define.

        I would point out that these attributes you listed were drawn up by
        Lady Drower, who was an expert in Near East studies, especially the
        Mandaeans. She initially stated her belief that they were a form
        of "Gnostics" but later recanted that belief stating that she was
        not originally familiar with Gnosticism and simply took the word of
        a "friend" (most likely Quispel). On further reflection she believed
        the differences outweighed the similarities.

        I'm not saying I agree or disagree, I am just giving some background
        on the source that may be important to the topic.

        These attributes could also easily be used to tie the Mandaeans with
        the Manichaeans. Certainly some interesting possibilities to explore.

        PMCV
      • Br Benjamin Assisi
        ... this is a lady drower quote, it may be on wiki but it is a good quote.... from the secret adam page 16...see for yourself
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 16, 2008
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          On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 8:26 PM, pmcvflag <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
          Hey George

          Sorry it took so long to get back. I meant to write the same night I
          wrote my last post here, but I ran out of time and I was a bit busy
          last week.

          This week my library duties take me on a long outreach program that
          I do once a month, so I wanted to try and jump back in before I
          leave for a few days.

          You start....

          >>>In the Wikipedia discussion of the Mandaeans, we find surprisingly
          many correlations between their views and the groups that have
          been categorized as gnostics.<<<

          Although I am often particularly suspicious of Wikipedia articles,
          this one does seem to be pretty well written. It is informative and
          open to various theoretic possibilities offered in academic study.


          this is a lady drower quote, it may be on wiki  but it is a good quote....

          from the secret adam page 16...see for yourself

          http://www.egnu.org/~mandaean/The_Secret_Adam_Drower.pdf

           


          In contrast, the Wikipedia article on the Dositheans has some
          important flaws.

          >>>While there are differences (apparently around the practice of
          ethics of the lowest ranks of their culture), there seems to be
          enough to include them within the variants of diverse gnosticism
          we already know about:

          1. A supreme formless Entity, the expression of which in time and
          space is creation of spiritual, etheric, and material worlds and
          beings. Production of these is delegated by It to a creator or
          creators who originated in It. The cosmos is created by Archetypal
          Man, who produces it in similitude to his own shape.
          2. Dualism: a cosmic Father and Mother, Light and Darkness, Right
          and Left, syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form.
          3. As a feature of this dualism, counter-types, a world of ideas.
          4. The soul is portrayed as an exile, a captive: her home and
          origin being the supreme Entity to which she eventually returns.
          5. Planets and stars influence fate and human beings, and are also
          places of detention after death.
          6. A saviour spirit or saviour spirits which assist the soul on her
          journey through life and after it to 'worlds of light'.
          7. A cult-language of symbol and metaphor. Ideas and qualities are
          personified.
          8. 'Mysteries', i.e. sacraments to aid and purify the soul, to
          ensure her rebirth into a spiritual body, and her ascent from the
          world of matter. These are often adaptations of existing seasonal and
          traditional rites to which an esoteric interpretation is attached. In
          the case of the Naṣoreans this interpretation is based upon the
          Creation story (see 1 and 2), especially on the Divine Man, Adam, as
          crowned and anointed King-priest.
          9. Great secrecy is enjoined upon initiates; full explanation of 1,
          2, and 8 being reserved for those considered able to understand and
          preserve the gnosis.
          [END OF QUOTATION]

          If we look at the various differences between individual groups
          that we already categorize as gnostic, the "standard deviation"
          (for want of a better term) of such differences seems more
          than enough to include the Mandaeans.<<<

          Many of these attributes listed above certainly do have correlation
          in Gnostic schools. These surely can help us in our study and
          perhaps lend some weight to the possibility of including them
          amongst the "Gnosticism" category. However, it is also worth
          examining whether these attributes are definitive. That is to say,
          whether they relate to what the category was created to define.

          I would point out that these attributes you listed were drawn up by
          Lady Drower, who was an expert in Near East studies, especially the
          Mandaeans. She initially stated her belief that they were a form
          of "Gnostics" but later recanted that belief stating that she was
          not originally familiar with Gnosticism and simply took the word of
          a "friend" (most likely Quispel). On further reflection she believed
          the differences outweighed the similarities.

          I'm not saying I agree or disagree, I am just giving some background
          on the source that may be important to the topic.

          These attributes could also easily be used to tie the Mandaeans with
          the Manichaeans. Certainly some interesting possibilities to explore.

          PMCV


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          Where no profit wings the word,
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        • pmcvflag
          Hey Ben ... quote.... from the secret adam page 16...see for yourself
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 16, 2008
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            Hey Ben

            >>>>this is a lady drower quote, it may be on wiki but it is a good
            quote....

            from the secret adam page 16...see for yourself<<<<

            I believe I also pointed out that it was a Lady Drower quote, but
            thanks for giving us a link to the whole work. I do want to say,
            however, that when the pdf came up on my computer it was on page 8
            rather than 16..... just in case anyone else is looking and realized
            they don't see it from Ben's link.

            PMCV
          • Br Benjamin Assisi
            well its page 16 on the text itself http://www.egnu.org/~mandaean/ ... -- Better than one thousand verses Where no profit wings the word, Is one solitary
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 16, 2008
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              well its page 16 on the text itself

              http://www.egnu.org/~mandaean/

              On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 8:45 PM, pmcvflag <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
              Hey Ben

              >>>>this is a lady drower quote, it may be on wiki  but it is a good
              quote....

              from the secret adam page 16...see for yourself<<<<

              I believe I also pointed out that it was a Lady Drower quote, but
              thanks for giving us a link to the whole work. I do want to say,
              however, that when the pdf came up on my computer it was on page 8
              rather than 16..... just in case anyone else is looking and realized
              they don't see it from Ben's link.

              PMCV



              ------------------------------------

              Yahoo! Groups Links

              <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
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              <*> Your email settings:
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                 (Yahoo! ID required)

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                 mailto:gnosticism2-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com

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              --
              Better than one thousand verses
              Where no profit wings the word,
              Is one solitary stanza
              Bringing peace of mind when heard.
            • pmcvflag
              Hey Ben ... Hey Ben, thanks for the clarification. I simply wanted to help people who may have found that they did not see the quote directly via the link you
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 16, 2008
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                Hey Ben

                >>>well its page 16 on the text itself<<<

                Hey Ben, thanks for the clarification. I simply wanted to help
                people who may have found that they did not see the quote directly
                via the link you posted. I wanted to post the "pdf" page. However,
                for the sake of providing the most specific way that people could
                find the quote in your link (from a library perspective... if you
                can forgive that), let me be even more exact in stating that in the
                text it is actually not on "page 16", but in the pretext xvi.
                Pagiation generally starts after preface, etc. Although xvi does
                mean "16" in Roman numerals, this is not generally understood as the
                same as "page 16" whithin the Arabic numbers that we use on the rest
                of the pages of our modern books (which you will also find to be
                true in this book. Otherwise you would have to call the page listed
                as "16" page 33 in this case, and that would really confuse most
                people). This is not to disagree or be contrary to Ben's link, but
                only to hopefully help those of you who would like to explore Ben's
                link in spite of assuming normal modern page numeration convention.

                To be more exact, this is on page 8 of the pdf (at least on my
                computer), and page xvi of the introduction in the text.

                PMCV
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