Associate professor of church history princeton theological seminary baker book house



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MANDEANS.


Outlined. plea of John the Baptist, who had fled

thither from persecution, being led to

this view by the honors paid by them to the Bap­

tist, their many legends of him, and their practise




The raphy below for his book). He re­

System garded them as descendants of disci‑




Reports. adherents to Christianity (see bibliog‑


s. Recent Basra and converted some of the


The first knowledge of this sect in modern times was brought to Europe by the Carmelite missionary Ignatius a Jesu, who in the middle of the seven­teenth century lived many years in


sad an original Babylonian and early Names. Aramaic basis of religion. Connection is to be found also with the heretical sect of disciples of John the Baptist, and derivation is allowed by the Mandxans themselves from the Sabians of pre‑Mohammedan Arabia (Koran, ii. 59. v. 73, xxii. 17). Indeed, " Sabian " is an Arabized word meaning " baptist." In their prin­cipal sacred work, the Ginza or the Sidra Rabba (" Great Book "), the Mandaeans call themselves Nasorayya, the " Nazarenes." In the same source the name Mondayya is also employed, from the word madda.`, " knowledge," with which is com­bined hayya, " life," in the sense of gnosis or knowl­edge of life (see GNOSTICISM). Theodore bar Choni gives them other names, as Mashkenayye, from Mashkena, the Mandaean word for church; Dosti, from Persian dolt, " friend "; and AdonEeans, from their assumed founder, Ado, who was perhaps a reformer or leader of a party. Theodore makes Ado come from Adiabene to the district of Maishan (Mesene) on the lower Euphrates and Tigris, where he lived as a mendicant (perhaps like the Brah­manic bhikshu or fakir), surrounded by disciples. Ado is then said to have heard of a man named Papa on the upper course of the river Ulai (the modern Karun), of whom he sought shelter. There he settled by the wayside to beg from travelers. Theodore gives also the names of Ado's father, mother, and brothers, which names all have signifi­cance in the Mandaean religion. On account of the honor which they pay to John the Baptist, the Man­daeans bear also the name Christians of St. John, though there is little in their life and nothing in their dogma which merits the name Christian, their doctrine of redemption going back to the god Mar­duk (see BABYLONIA, VIL, 2, § 10).


x. Origin tisnity, and Saseanian Parseeism with


The many Gnostic sects against which the Church Fathers strove left little literature to survive till the present. The Mandieans, who still are found in scanty numbers in Persia and the region of southern Babylonia, are an exception; and their rich literature is very suggestive of the varied sources of Gnostic systems. This sect, belonging to ophitic Gnosticism, to form its system combined elements from Judaism, early Chris‑


Origin and Names (§ 1). Recent Reports. The System Outlined (§ 2). The Earliest Theogony and Cosmogony (§ 3). Later Theogony and Cosmogony (§ 1). Mandaean Cosmology (¢ b). Chronology and Eschatology ($ 8).


Mendseens THE NEW SCHAFF‑HERZOG 148


System of Ceremonial (¢ 7). The Clergy (§ 8). Last Rites; the Soul's Hap 0 9). Present Conditions; the Language (10). Sources of Mandzean Doctrines (§ 11). Babylonian and Manichean Ideas, Borrowed (§ 12).

of baptizing only in rivers. He gave their number as from 20,000 to 25,000 families, scattered through Babylonia, Persia, Goa, Ceylon, and India, in the latter country reckoning to them the Thomas‑Chris­tians (Nestorians). Further information came through Abraham Ecchellensie (q.v.), the mission­ary Angelus a Sancto Josepho, Pietro dells Valle, Jean Thwenot, Carsten Niebuhr, and others. The reports of these writers have considerable value, dealing as they do with a time when the sect was relatively large. The sources of first importance for knowledge of the Mandwans are their own wri­tings, especially the Ginza, which are, however, only fragments of a once large religious literature. The older parts of the Ginza date back to the early Mohammedan period, 700‑900 A.D. Besides the great collections of the sect, there are many tracts for priests and for laity, dealing with sickness and demoniacal possession, often employed as amulets and worn on the breast. The present Mandiean religion has, under Mohammedan influence, taken on a monotheistic form. But study of the Ginza shows that this is the result of development; the early form was polytheistic (cf. W. Brandt, Die manddische Religion, Leipaic, 1889) and dealt with theogony and cosmogony; this was succeeded by a combination of Jewish‑Christian sources under Indian influence. The next stage appears to have been under the ascendancy of Persian thought, es­pecially in its eschatology, followed by a period of confusion, which in turn gave way to a monotheis­tic type of theology with a " Great King of Light " as the chief deity, from which the step to Allaha as God was easy.

The earliest priestly form of the religion dealt, as did the systems of Phenicia and Babylonia, with the origins of gods and of the world. There stand out in this two forms, now distinct, now united, the " Great Fruit " (cf. Hebr. periy), Pira Rabba, and Mans Rabba, " Great Spirit."

Pira Rabba is the All, the comprehensive basis of things, bounded only by itself, from which all things came. It is the " golden egg "

3. The of the Brahmanic cosmogony which, Earliest at first a unit in which rests Brahma

Theogony or Purushs, divides into heaven and and earth. It is regarded as an independ­Cosmogony. ent and spontaneous deity and as crea­tor. This is a conception not peculiar to India and the Mandaeans. With Pira Rabba is closely connected Ayar Ziwa Rabba, " Great Lus­trous Ether " (cf. Syr. o'ar, Gk. d'er), or Yora Rabba, ` Great Brilliance," from which last sprang the " Great Jordan" or stream of heaven. In Pira Ayar appears as a personal spirit Mans. Rabba de el~ara, " Great Spirit of Excellence," usually called in the system Mans, Rabba (ut sup.). While the origin and meaning of this last term are not clear, derivations are given from the Indo‑Persian man,





RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA




147


" thought," and Arabic mas'na, " mind," " mean­ing." It probably corresponds to the Indian at­man, " principle of life or individuality." With it, as female potency, Demutha, " image," is joined, and a triad of Pira‑Ayar, Mane Rabba, and Demu­tha is formed. Thus far no visible world or life existed, only the transcendental. Hence there ap­pears Ijayye Kadmaye, " First Life," formed from Mans Rabba; and in Mandaean prayers he is al­ways the first invoked. From him proceeded the countless emanations of gods, eons, and angels, whose task it was to create the visible world. (This theogony is not the only one present in the system, since other parts speak of a Nitufta, " Material of Life," corresponding to Hayye Kadmaye; another name given is Nebat, " sprout," who creates 800 eons and other beings.) From Man& Rabba pro­teed in fantastic completeness other Manes, called also Piras, more commonly Uthriyye (LTthras), " dominions " or " powers." From " First Life " emanated Hayye Tinyaniyye, " Second Life," called also Yoshamin (cf. Hebr. sJedmayim, " heavens "), who evoked Uthras, erected dwell­ings, and called a " Jordan " into existence. Three of these Uthras desired to enter upon the work of creation, to which Second Life agreed, but First Life was averse and called into existence Keba.r Rabba or Manda de hayye, " Spirit of Life," which personifies knowledge of life. This last creation becomes the center of Mandxan theology and its preexistent Christ, with which Hibil Ziwa, the power acting as redeemer in the world of fact, was identified. Yet this redemption and this " Christ " are not at all parallel to the conceptions carried by the same names in the Christian system. Manda de hayye is to be derived from Marduk, and his work may be equated with Marduk'a in vanquish­ing the monster Tiamat. Many epithets applied to Marduk are applied also to Manda de hayye, such as " beloved son," " good shepherd," " word of life "; and, like Marduk, Manda de hayye be­came potent in creation, acting in opposition to the presumptuous Uthras and Second Life. Before this, however, he had to make a " descent into hell," during which he came into conflict with the powers of darkness, including one Ru)aa (Heb. rush, the " Spirit of God " of Gen. i. 2, converted by the Mandaeana in their anti‑Christian bias into a chief devil), conquered them and appointed as their punishment that their food should be fire and their drink foul water. He Created Gabriel, who was to be the demiurge (known also as Petahil, who appears elsewhere as an emanation of "Second Life "). The seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac are created, land, water, and the fir­mament follow in order, then the first man, in whose creation Hibil, Sitil, and Anos (cf. the Biblical Abel, Seth, and Enos), " brothers " of Manda de hayye, cooperate, after which they marry Adam to Eve. The " seven " (planets) attempt to lead the pair into sin, but are pro­vented by the creators of man; vain attempts are also made to destroy man. Yet the evil spirits maintain their hold on the world, the " twelve " (zodiacal signs) divide the world‑age among themselves, and the " Seven " found false


religions and call into existence beasts of prey and other evil beings.

When the religion began to develop toward monotheism (ut sup., § 2, end), the divine figures took another form. Pira, Ayar, Yora, and Mana

disappear, and instead of them the 4. Later " great king of light " reigns alone.

Theogony The portrayal of the world of light,

and in which this being sits enthroned,

Cosmogony. agrees with the Manichean picture of

the " kings of the paradise of light." The address to him at the beginning of the Ginza is noteworthy: " Praised, blessed, glorified, cele­brated and highly honored be thou, O god of truth, whose might is great, who bast no bounds, who art pure glory and sheer light which nothin8 dims

a gracious, approachable and spiritual existence [art thou], a kind deliverer of all who are faithful, supporting and upholding all good in strength and wisdom." The bridge to the creation of the visible world is found, according to this phase of Man­daean thought, in the unfolding of the light‑god in his shining ether. From this early epitome of light go forth the numerous eons (`Uthre, " splendors "), Second Life, sometimes called Yoshamin (" Yah­weh of the heavens "), then Manda de hayye, the life‑spirit, mediator and savior of Manda?an theol­ogy, the first man. Second Life seeks to gain su­premacy over First Life, fails, and is exiled from the world of pure ether into that of dimmer light. Then there issue a series of emanations, the first of whom are Hibil, Sitil and Anos (ut sup.). The

last is John the Baptist. These appear both H8

brothers and as eons of Manda de bayye, and also in other relationships. Of these I‑libel, or Hibil Ziwa, is the most celebrated. He receives the same titles as Manda, has the same activity, and indeed is merged as though he were the same being. From Second Life also emanate sons, the last one named variously Third Life and Abathur, the " Ancient One," also called Father of Uthra. He sits at the outermost bound of the world of light, where is the great gate which leads to the middle and lower regions; there he weighs the deeds of the departed who come to him, returning to the lower regions those spirits whose deeds prove too light, while to the others Abathur opens the way to the higher regions of light. In the beginning there was under Abathur an immense void, and at the bot­tom the troubled black W414rl (~ ~~ l~b~ jllto

this and saw bis image reflected, Petahil (the mate­rial nature of the deep of Chaos) came into exist­ence as his son to become the demiurge of the Manda:ans, equivalent to the Yaldabaoth (" Chaos­son ") of the Ophitea. He was commanded by his father to create the earth and man. Some passages make him do this alone, others assign to him de‑

mons as his helpers, especially the seven spirits of the Planets. From this point confusion exists as to the sequence of events. Here begin " the en­tanglements of Mandaean theology " (A. J. H. W.
Brandt, ut, sup., pp, 4g‑55). The course of action follows in part the usual Semitic Cosmogony‑

, erects the heaven, reduces the diffused,

floating matter into form as the earth and fixes it in position, and creates the bodies of Adam and



Nandeeans THE NEW SCHAFF‑HERZOG 148




Eve, but can not give them life, which was accom­plished by Hibil, Sitil, and Anon, who obtained life from Mans, Rabba. Petahil, because of his failure, was by his father Abathur excluded from the world of light until the judgment day, when he will be raised by Hibil, be baptized and made king of the Uthrae, and receive worship.

The underworld, described in the Ginza, consists of four entrances and three hells. Each of the en­trances is governed by a king and queen. The

kingdom of darkness is divided into 5. Man‑ three stories, each ruled by an old deean king. These kings, named from above Cosmology. downward, are S'dum, the "Warrior,"

Giv, the " Great," and Krun or Kar­kum, the oldest and mightiest, most often called the " Great Mountain of Flesh." The entrances to hell contain filthy, slimy water; in hell there is no water, and in the lowest hell (Krun's) there are only ashes, dust, and vacancy. In these regions fire continually burns, but, though it consumes, it gives no light. From these kings Hibil Ziwa took away all power by descending, clothed with the might of the god of light, Mans, Rabba, into the lowest hell and wresting from Krun the knowledge of the secret name of darkness (see NenE). Above the entrances to hell is the dwelling‑place of Rubs, a mighty she‑devil, mother of Kin, queen of the fourth entrance. She was brought out from the underworld by Hibil and prevented from returning thither. The conception of Rubs. finely illustrates Mands'an hostility to Christianity, since she is the Syriac ruha dekudeaha, " the Holy Ghost " (cf. Gen. i. 2). She corresponds to the Manichean Hawwa (Eve). She is the mother of Ur, Fire, the moat fearful of all devils, corresponding to the original devil of the Manicheans. Ur attempted to take by storm the world of light, but was by Hibil cast back into the " black waters," chained there, and surrounded by seven iron and seven golden walls. While Petahil was engaged in the work of creation, Rubs, bore to her son Ur first seven sons, then twelve, and finally five more, all of whom Petahil set in the heavens, the seven as the planets, the twelve as the zodiacal signs, while what the five were is as yet undetermined. The planets are the sun, Venus, Mercury, the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, and the names given td the last five are the old Babylonian names. These planets were set in the seven heavens; the sun is the ruler and is in the middle (fourth) heaven. They were intended by the creator to be helpers of man, but instead they sought to do him harm. They are the sources of evil. They have their stations to which they return after completing their heavenly journeys, and these stations are fined on anvils which rest upon the belly of the conquered Ur. Heaven is by the Mandaeans regarded as created out of the pur­est, clearest water, but so solidified that even the diamond will not cut it. On this water the planets and other stars sail; these are all, like evil demons, dark by nature, but are illuminated by radiant crosses carried by angels. The clearness of the firmament enables man to look through all seven heavens to the polar star, the central sun about which the other bodies revolve, and to which Man‑




daeana turn their face at prayer. The earth they regard as a circle, inclining somewhat to the south, and surrounded on three sides by the sea. On the north is a great mountain of turquoise, the reflec­tion of which causes the sky, to appear blue. Bo­hind this mountain is the world of the blessed, s kind of lower paradise, where the Egyptians reside who did not perish with Pharaoh in the Red Sea. They are regarded as the ancestors of the Man­daeana, since Pharaoh had been high priest and king of the Mandeeans. Both worlds are surrounded by the Yamma rabba d'suf, the outer sea.

The period of duration of the earth is fixed at 480,000 years, divided into seven epochs, each of which is governed by a planet. According to the Ginza, the human race has been three

6. Chro‑ times destroyed by water, fire, sword,

nology and pestilence, only one couple re­and Eacha‑ maining alive after each time. At the

tology. time of Noah, the world was 466,000

yearn old. After him rose many false

prophets. The first prophet was Abraham, who

came 6,000 years after Noah, when the sun ruled

the world. Then came Moses, in whose time the

Egyptians had the true religion. After him came

Solomon, to whom the demons yielded obedience.

The third false prophet is Yishu Meaiba (i.e., Jesus

the Messiah), the planet Mercury, a sorcerer. Forty­

two years before him lived, under King Pontius

Pilate, the only true prophet, Yahya, or Yuhana

bar Zikaryl (i.e., John, son of Zacharias; Luke i.

13), whose mother was Enishbai (Elizabeth);

Yahya, being deceived by the Messiah, baptized

him. He is an incarnation of Hibil, who had

preached repentance in the time of Noah. As a

contemporary of the Messiah and John the Baptist

lived Anon Uthra, a younger brother of Hibil, who

had descended from heaven, was baptised by John,

wrought miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead,

was the cause of the crucifixion of the false Messiah,

proclaimed the true religion, and, before his return

to the world of lights, sent 360 prophets into the

world to proclaim his teaching. Jerusalem, which

was once built at the command of Adunay (Adona,i),

was destroyed by Anon, while the Jews were dis­

persed into all the world, having killed John the

Baptist. Two hundred and forty years after the

appearance of the Messiah, 60,000 Mandaeans came

out of the world of Pharaoh. Their high priest set­

tled in Damascus, and their sacred writings are

concealed there in the cupola of the mosque of the

Omayyade. The last of the false prophets was

Mohammed, called " the Perverter." After 4,000

or 5,000 dears, mankind will again be destroyed by

a terrific storm; but the earth will be again re­

peopled by a man and a woman from the upper

world, where descendants will dwell on earth for

50,000 years in piety and virtue. Then will Ur

destroy the earth and the other middle worlds,

after which, bursting asunder, he will fall into the

abyss of darkness, to be annihilated there with all

worlds and powers of darkness. Then the universe

will become a realm of light, enduring forever.

The weekly holy day of the Mandseans is Sunday, which is celebrated by abstention from work and by divine service, with reading of the scriptures by



RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA




the priest. Modern travelers record the use of

Thursday also as holy and as sacred to Hibil Ziwa

The Ginza does not enjoin other sacred


7. System seasons, but it seems clear that cer­

of Cere‑ tam festivals have been long in use.

monial. New Year's Day is mentioned in the

Ginza as a time to abstain from ablu­

tions in running water, probably on the ground that

on that day the angel who protects the waters is

engaged in celebrating a festival and consequently

the evil powers find their opportunity for assailing

men; Mandmans are therefore on that day not to

leave the house and especially not to approach

water. Yet scholars testify to the celebration of

a New Year's festival, called Nauruz rabba, be,­

ginning on the first day of the first winter month

and continuing six days, or seven, if with them be

reckoned the last day of the old year. On the first

day of the year the priests and scholars forecast the

prospects of that year. From the eighteenth to the

twenty‑second of the fourth month is celebrated

the feast of the ascension of Hibil Ziwa from the

regions of darkness to his own realm of light. The

five days intercalated between the eighth and ninth

months of the year are a great festival of baptism

during which all Mancheans must bathe three times

daily, before meals, and dress wholly in white. The

first day of the eleventh month is a feast in honor

of the 360 Uthras. The first day of the fifth month

is employed to cornmmorate the Egyptians who

perished in the Red Sea. The last day of the old

year is preparatory to the New Year's festival. The

MandEean year is solar, divided into twelve months

of thirty days each, with five days intercalated be­

tween the eighth and ninth months. The year is

further divided into seasons of three months each,

beginning with winter. The week has seven days,

named after the planets. In the matter of the

time for prayer there is some contradiction; one

Passage seems to require it three times a day and

twice in the night, another seems to forb‑ld it dur­

ing the darkness. Prohibition Of fasting appear,

as a mark Of Opposition to Christianity, though a

pretense of fasting is said now to be made because

of fear of the Mohammedans. Yet spiritual fasts

are enjoined in keeping the member, and organs

of the body from sinning; moreover, there are times

when the priests abstain from flesh. Mandieans

MAY Dot eat of the blood of animals, Of anything

that is Pregnant, or of that which stiff has life or

which a beast of prey has pulled down. What has

been killed with iron, cleansed, and purified is edi­

ble, provided it has not been prepared by others

than the faithful. There is no distinction made be­

tween what in the natural world is clean and un­

clean, since " all things which Petahil has made

were made for Adam." Of Mandioan sacraments

the chief is baptism with which is bound up com‑


muniOn. Unbapt I

ized children are not reckoned as belonging to the Mandmn community, Baptism must be Performed in running later and not in Pools Or tanks, and is by complete and trine immer­siOD‑ The baptism




number of cases; Of adults is required in a great

when demanded by an act of

consecration or of 'in, 11 Sunday and festivals, on

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