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Haran Gawaita / Re-edited by Aassam Dawood Khamisi

Re-editing with notes, Haran Gawaita which
was translated from Mandaic language to
English by E.S. DROWER, with notes and
In 1953.
Re-edited by Aassam Dawood Khamisi
Translation note
The Haran Gawaita, on account of its fragmentary character, has suffered more than
any other Mandaean text at the hands of copyists who emended and edited parts
which were faulty or misunderstood. Their grammatical solecisms and misspellings
have added to the difficulty of translating an already obscure text.
The most sanguine (hopeful) of translators could hardly claim with a clear nonscience
that the more difficult and involved passages had been adequately rendered
into English. The present translator is aware that some rendering are too free and
other too literal, and can only ask for indulgence on such counts.
The Haran Gawaita is perhaps the most difficult of all the Mandaean books, the
Kabbalistic portion of the Alf Trisar Shuialia accepted. It bounds in ambiguous words
and phrases and its predictions concerning the future are often veiled by dark
vagueness of language akin to that employed by Nostradamus and others who have
peered into the future. The prophecy concerning the return of the Messiah, although it
calls Jesus a “false” messiah, paints a picture unexpectedly fair of his reign on earth.
One is inclined to wonder if a Christian text has been inserted or whether a passage
recounting his downfall has disappeared from the original.
The colophon attached to D.C.9 is more than usually illiterate and I have not
translated it.
D.C. : ( Drower Collection) Mandaean manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and in the
possession of the author of this book.
G.R. Ginza: der Schatz oder das grosse Buch der Mandaer uherstzt und erklart, von
Mark LidzBarski (Giittingen: Vandenhoeck &I Ru-precht,1925).
J.B.Das Johannesbuch :der mandaer von Mark Lidzbarski ( Topelmann,
J.R.A.S. : The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.
M.L. : Mandaische Liturgien, mitgeteilt, ubersetzt und erklart von Mark Lidzbarski(
Berlin, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1920).
MMII : The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran, their Cults, Customs ,Magic, Legends and
Folklore , by E .S .Drower (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1937).
P. :Persian.
Present day Mandaeans living in Lower (Iraq and in Khuzistan) have often assured
me that their ancestors migrated from the north.
Of this very definite tradition I gave some account in my book The Mandaeans of Iraq
and Iran1, in which I incorporated some corroborative legends taken down verbatim
from some of the older men. In these stories, a ‘ Tura a Madaia ’ occurred too often to
be a pure invention. The ‘ Jebel Haran ’ was mentioned once.
The Haran Gawaita2, the text here translated, is considered by Mandaeans to be the
true history of their race. Yet, in the Gnza Rba there is only one reference to “ Haran’’
(cedars from Haran ), although there are two references to a, place called Hauraran
which the Drasha ad Yahia refers once. To quote from these books (translations of
them may be found in Lidzbarski’s Der Ginza (G. 33.pp. 20 and 593), and his Das
Johannisbuch der Hanndaer (J. B.p. 232) :
( Speak to them of the pure Hauraran ).
( He lifted him up and showed him Hauraran in which souls become Perfect )
( This living water has come from the great Hauraran ) (J. B.). .
Hauran and Hauraran appear in a personified form in the ( Niania ), a volume of
liturgical prayers, sometimes as a single genius or heavenly power, and a being called
Hauraran-Karkawan-Ziwa is invoked.
Lidzbarski rocked for the original home of the Mandaeans in the West. In his Introduction to
G. R. he says:
‘‘ Ich suchte ihren Sitz auch enger zu lokalisieren: im Transjordan gebiete angesichts des
Hauriin-Gebirges ... Von Genins Haman vermutete ichi dass in iha das vergottete Hauran-
Gebirge erhalten sei …(p.vi)
And in his Mandaische Liturgien, p. xix:
“In den Gebeten begegnen wir ofter dem Genienpaar ( nakvch und nakakvach ….. Der zweite
Name ist eine Erweiterung des ersten durch
1: (Clarendon Press: Oxford 1937).
2: The two words are pronounced Ha-rang-awaitha: the ‘’ rang ” as something
between the English words “ rang ” and “ rung ”: the ‘th’ as th in “ thought ”. Note
that Haran is not pronounced How-ran.
Wiederholung eines Konsonanten ... Der Name nakvch ist also der primke. Ich identifiziere
ihn mit dem geographiachen Namen nkvch. Es konnte an sich die Hauran-Ebene wie das
Hauran-Gebirge sein. Aber fiir die Vergottung‘von Bergen haben wir viele Beispiele aus der
semititwhen Welt. Daas nun der Hauran unter ihren hoheren Wesen eracheint, mtzt voraus,
dass er in ihrem Gesichtskreise gestanden hat. ..
Daher ist nicht anzunehmen dass jene Urgemeinschaft ihren Sitz in den oden Gebieten ostlic
von Hauran-Gebirge hatte. Hingegen kommt die in Weaten liegende fruchtbare Hauran-
Ebene, in deren ostlichem Horizont das Gebirge sich erhebt, gut in Betracht”.
In J. B. xvi he contended that Mandaism can, only have originated in Jewish circles:
‘ Ihre Terminologie in Lehre und Kultus ist so stark durch Alte Testament und das
Hebrgische beeinflusst, wie man es sonat, auseerhalb das Judentums nicht findet ” (J. B, xvi).
He notes elsewhere that, although a bitter hatred of Jews is constantly shown in Mandaean
literature, the Mandaean themselves refer to a group of followers led by John the Baptist
(Yahia-Yuhana) in Jerusalem. He recognises, however, and scholars have recently
accentuated this fact, that Mandaean rites and religion are strongly tinctured by Persian
ideas, eschatology and rituals, words, and details: of cults are often purely Persian.
While John the Baptist is in no sense the founder of their faith in Mandaean ayes, he is
mentioned in the prayer which asks for the remission of sins for the dead, a prayer which
names spirits of light, patriarchs, and holy men of past times as well as the recently dead.
This prayer also petitions for:
“ those three hundred and sixty-five priests who came forth from the place of Jerusalem
the city; forgiving of. sins be there for them”.
The story of “ Mariai” ,her conversion to the Mandaean faith and her flight from an already
partially ruined Jerusalem to the Euphrates is referred to several times in the Drasha ad Yhaia
specially in the Mariai fragment (see J, B. pp. 123 ff.), and in the Ginza Rba there is a
reference to Mariai which resembles the story in the Haran Gawaita. Anush-Uthra1
“ I took upon me a bodily form and went to the place of Jerusalem; I spoke with
my voice and preached, I became a Healer to Miriai. A
1: Professor F. C, Burkitt (Church and Gnosis, Cambridge University Press
1932,pp.110-112) suggested that the Mandaean Anush –Uthra was “ the Marcionite
Healer I was for her, for Mariai, and I gave her complete health. I was called a
Healer of Kushta that cureth and taketh no fee. I took Mariai down in to the
Jordan and baptised her and sighed her with the pure sign. And from Mariai,
the perfect one, Yaqif and Bnia-Amin went forth. From Yaqif and Bnia-Amin
three hundred and sixty-five disciples (or “priests”) went forth. They went forth,
and Jerusalem, home of the Jews, waxed worth and dew the disciples who
pronounced the name of Life…1.
When Anush-Uthra appeals to Heaven, Jerusalem is completely destroyed, as in the
Haran Gawaita. Mariai conversion is also the theme of a song in the ‘Niania’ 2.So
much for published texts. I will now select a few relevant passages from some of the
legends which I collected, condensing them as far as possible.
a) MMII pp. 268-9: The narrator said that wood to build the Ark was collected on the
“Jebel Harran” (The story was told in Arabic).
b) MNII pp. 261-3: Moses was against the Mandaeans and had quarrelled with them
in Egypt. King Ardban (Artabanus) of the Mandaeans had a vision and heard a voice
coming out of the House of Life saying “ Rise ” ... (etc.). He rose and led them out of
Egypt by way of a sea which divided (The crossing of the ‘Yama ad Suf’ [Red Sea ]
follows). The legend continues with- the settlement of sixty thousand Mandaeans led
by Ardban (Artabanus) in the “Tura d Madai” , (Median hill-country?). The story of
Yahia-Yuhana follows embroidery on the story related in the Drasha ad Yahia.
c) MMII pp. 266 ff.: “Abraham was of our people we called him Bahram ”. The
narrator continued by relating the story of his circumcision as a result of disease (c.f.
the account given by the Egyptian Manetho). Al-Birani (tenth century) repeated the
story, more or less in the ‘Mandaean form, beginning’’ he remnant of these Sabians
are living in Haran, their name (al-Harraniya) being derived from their place”.
d) MMII pp. 273-282. : In this Legend a darwish named Bahram (or Bihram) was
described as being a Mandaean, and member of a celibate community “in the north”.
It describes making images of the planets, in a manner which wag apparently not
inconsistent with the faith. “At one time the Mandaiia (Mandaeans) were the
masters of the north and of this country also. Their origin was of the mountains,
and they always loved the mountains better than the plains, for ‘in the hills’
there are springs in which to bathe, in winter warm, and in summer cold. For
our people have always loved bathing and
1: For the German translation see G. R. 341. ff
2: See M. L. pp. 209 ff.
Washing”. The story ends with the baptism of John by “ Manda d Hiia” almost as
told in the Ginza Rba (G.R. pp 192-6).
e) MMII pp.282-6. : This story makes Miriai daughter of a “king of Babylon”, and
‘’she was a Jews ”. “ Once on a time the Mandaeans and Nasoraeans and ‘Tarmidi’
(priests , disciples) had their dwellings in Jerusalem ,The story ends with “ the flight
of Mandaeans and Nasoraeans from persecution in Jerusalem to the ‘Tora d Madai” “
The Mountain of the Madai and the destruction of Jerusalem.
F) MMII pp. 309-318. : “ the Mountain of Mada… Where are our people? In which
spot? It Replied: “ they are in Jebel Madai” ,(for Arabs call the Jebel Mandai the
Jebel Maddai) ’. The story hints that the northern Mandaeans were vegetarians.
g) MMII pp319-325. : “ How the Mandai ( Mandaiia) and their ‘Ganzaabra left the
Mountain of the Madai for a better country further North ”. This story describes how
some Mandaeans in Madai (Media?) decided that “ they would leave the Jebel
Mandai and go back with those who had come from their country in the north, the was
no dirt, nor wild beast, nor any harmful thing ”.
h) MMII pp. 369-399. : Towards the end of this story which is largely Persian and
gives a version if a story of the Shah-Nameh, a place named at-Tib is mentioned near
the river Karun it’s name was not formally at-Tib but was called ‘ Matha d Nasuraiia’.
The Jewish origin of the Sabiyun1 is supported by the scholarly Al-Birlini, who
writing at the beginning of the eleventh century says that the “ real Sabian” (C.A.N.
p. 188) are:
“the remnants of the Jewish tribes who remained in Babylon when the other tribes left
it for Jerusalem in the days of Cyrus and Artaxerxes. These remaining tribes adopted
a system mixed up. of Magism and Judaism like that of the Samaritans in Syria ”.
In my Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran I quoted – not always correctly , as my knowledge
of Mandaic wag still that of a beginner - from the Haran Gawaita which I thought
then, and still of importance . the text is highly prized by the Mandaeans themselves
,and it undoubtedly chronicles an ancient and sincerely believed tradition. I venture to
think that it may contribute to the solution of the problem of the origin and religious
background of this most interesting people. We are no longer quite where we stood
1: Mandaeans are called Sabiyum by Arab Writers; (sabba or Subb’ba in the
Considering this question. ‘’Reitzenstein1, and recently several Swedish scholars 2,
have drawn attention to Persian elements in Mandaean beliefs, practice& and
language.” A book published, in Uppsala in 1949 brought evidence to show that some
of the most ancient Manichaean psalms, the Coptic Psalms of Thomas 3, were
paraphrases and even word-for-word translations of Mandaic originals; prosody and
phrase offering proof that the Manichaean was the borrower and not vice-versa. It was
therefore suggested that at an early stage Manichaeanism was contemporary with
Mandaeanism and that the writer of the psalms was steeped in Mandaean literature.
It is worthy of note that the Haran Gawaita speaks of Nasuraiia , Nasoraeans, rather
than of Mandaiia, Mandaeans. In the ritual literature of the sect the term
‘’Nasoraean” is used to describe the priest, and Mandaean ‘the layman’, Mandaiuta: is
the state of the layman, Nasiruta: that of the priest, the adept.
This being so, may not Mandaia be a form of Madaia , ‘‘ Mede ” rather than a
derivation from the non-Mandaic word ‘ manda ’ as meaning “ gnosis ”.
Not only is there no instance of ‘ manda ’being used for the word “ knowledge ” or
‘’gnosis” in Mandaean writings, but it is employed in a totally different sense as
denoting the cult-hut and enclosure. As will be seen, the Haran Gawaita, trustworthy
or not, states that in the highlands of Media there were Nasoraeans, and that it was to
these that the persecuted disciples of John fled from Jerusalem.
The author of our text sometimes speaks of Nasoraeans as if they were Parthians. It
must be remembered that, until comparatively recently, nationality in the Middle East
was barely recognised; it was religion rather than blood which claimed loyalty4.
Mandaeans speak as if their original “home ” was Tura d Madai , the Median
highland. Distinctive in type Mandaeans certainly are; many remark a striking
likeness between the priestly caste and Samaritans. Recent anthropological research
carried out with painstaking thoroughness, has revealed that the “ Subba”
1. Die Vorgmhichte dm Christlichen Taufe, R. Reitzenstein (Teubner, Leipzig and
Berlin, 1929). For an inscription referring to a baptised sect found in the Hauran see
op. &. p. 18 and note.
2. E.g. G. Widengren, Ivan Engell,, etct. See also Reitzenstein op. cit. pp. 48-9.
3.Studies in the Manichaean Psalm-Book, Torgny Save-Soderbergh.
4. Jews are an example of this confusion of race and religion. There are black Jews in
India and Abyssinia and fair, snub-nosed Jews. Coming from Eastern Europe; yet all
are “Jews”.
(Mandaeans) can be classified as members of the Iranian Plateau race1. Bar Khuni in
the Scholion2 repeats a foolish story attributing the foundation of the sect to a
Mendicant named Ado, who “ was born, in Adiabene ”, and although the absurdities
of the tale are self-evident, Theodore Bar Khuni was apparently familiar with some
Mandaean literature, and Ado’s journey south into Mesene may be a distortion of the
Mandaean migration into Khuzistan and Lower Mesopotamia.
I have two copies of the Haran Gawaita: one, copied in 1088 A. H. forms the eighth
section of a very long scroll entitled Alf Trisar Shuialia (D. C. 36) 3. The first seven
parts represent a Mandaean priest’s library, and are a collection of manuscripts,
mostly fragmentary; some begin and end in the middle of a sentence. (I have a second
copy of Alf Trisar Shuialia, D. C. 6,( which like scroll Code Sabeen 16 in the
Bibliothque Nationale, Paris, has no eighth part).’ My other copy of the Haran
Gawaita (D. C. 9) appears to have been detached from a copy of the Alf Trisar
Shuialia, for the copyist writes:
“ Then ye shall know that these are seven (eight?) diwan which are put together into
one diwan ”.
A diwan according to Steingass 4 is in itself a miscellany: “ a miscellaneous
collection from various authors ”, and the seven diwan may be the missing section
referred to above.
The two copies differ little, even reproducing obvious errors which is natural since
both, judging by the list of copyists, started
l .Dr.Henry Field (The Anthropology of Iraq, pt. 1, no. 2, p. 303) notes that ‘‘ in
general the Subba were considerably lighter in skin colour than the Arabs of central
and southern Iraq ... often as light in pigmentation as northern Europeans,.. the Subba
are distinguished from all other people in Iraq ,by the quantity of head, face ,head and
body hair “ . And on p. 310: ‘‘ a definite number of the Subba can be classified as
members of the Iranian Plateau race ”. Dr. Field’s research was the more valuable
because the Subba (Mandaeans) have been segregated over a long period by strict
religious law. In spite of a high degree of homogeneity, however, Dr, Field concludes
that the Subba are not an entirely single racial stock. On the whole, Dr. Field’s report
corroborates the Mandaean tradition of a migration from Media into Southern
Babylonia and Persia.
2. See Pognon, Inscriptions Mandaites, Paris, 1898, pp. 224ff.
3. In J.R.A.S. 1941 ,I summarised the contents of the first seven sections of Alf Trisar
4. A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary , F.Steingass ,Ph.D (Kegan Paul,
Trench, Trubner &Co.Ltd) London, 1930.
from a single and rare copy in a mutilated condition1. For some time I was reluctant
to translate the text for much of it, especially at the beginning, seemed oddly
inconsequent, disconnected and senseless. When I re-examined the manuscripts
recently, I discovered the reason. Here and there, especially in the fist part, the
Narrative is sprinkled freely with double circles. Now the double circle in other
Mandaean texts indicates either a complete break in matter or subject corresponding
to the period or full stop, or it is a sign that a recitation in antiphon is to pass to the
other priest or priests participating. It dawned upon me that the lavish use of the
symbol represented breaks in a manuscript badly damaged by fire or water, pages
which were either missing or unreadable. The conscientious copyist, unwilling to
leave any part of so precious a document unrecorded, filled in blanks by the double
circle. My theory was confirmed by the fact that as the roll continued, the double
circle disappeared.
The text begins in the middle of a sentence, and is in itself a riddle. Who was the
“him”? Who was it that took refuge in “Haran Gawaita” just before the Christian era?
It is evident that he was neither John the Baptist nor Christ, although a fragmentary
and polemical reference to Christ and his brother follows, succeeded by a legendary
life of John the Baptist. The story of John differs from that in other Mandaean texts;
for instance, Zachariah is not mentioned. The Mandaean has no theory of divinely
inspired scripture; to him the immutable and sacrosanct elements of his religion are
the ancient rituals, baptism and the various forms of the sacramental meal. It does not
worry him that there are a number of creation stories, contradictory of one another or
that there is confusion in his heterogeneous pantheon of spirits of light and darkness.
What does matter is that no rule of ritual purity be broken, and that every gesture and
action prescribed for ritual shall be rigidly observed.
1. I have discovered no copy in European libraries
Haran Gawaita
( D. C. 9 , D. C. 36 )
(Note: Where breaks in the text are indicated by a double circle I have
substituted points).
My Lord be praised. In the name of the Great Life, healing , vindication, health,
soundness, speaking and hearing, joy of heart and forgiving of sins be there for me,
Zakia Zihrun son of Shadia, and far my offspring and brothers (and sisters), and for
my parents, in the strength of Yawar- Ziwa and Simat-Hiial. Finis.
……………………and Haran Gwaita2 receiveth him and that city in which there
were Nasoraeans, because there was no road for the Jewish rulers. Over them was
King Ardban 3. And sixty thousand Nasoraeans abandoned the Sign of the Seven and
entered the Median hills4, a place where we were free from domination by all other
races. And they built cult-huts (bimandia) and abode in the Call of the Life and in the
strength of the high King of Light until they came to their end 5. And they loved the
Lord that is, Adonai6, until in the House of Israel there was created something which
was not placed7 in the womb of Mary 8 a daughter of Moses. It was hidden in her
womb for nine months and bewitched9 her until the nine months were fulfilled and
she was in labour and brought forth a messiah.
…………. and he called the people to himself and spoke of his death and took away
some of mysteries of the (sacred?) Meal10 and abstained
1. Thus D.C. 36. D.C. 9 begins ‘‘This is the Diwan of Haran Gawaita,” and the
copyist gives his name as Ram Zihrun son of Maliha.
2. “The Inner Haran”. Is this the city Harran or the Haurran Probably the latter?
3. Artabanus, but which? History knows five kings of Parthia with this name. The
Artabanus contemporary with Christ was Artabanus III, but the passage above might
refer to an earlier Artabanus.
4. In both manuscripts ‘ tura d Midai ’.
5. ‘ alme d akaliun ’. Unusual: one would expect ‘ akiliun ’.
6. In D.C. 36 this is plainly ‘ marh d Adunai ’ “ the lord of A ”.
7 .’ d layahib’ = ‘ not given’ i.e. not begotten by her husband?.
8. Later in the manuscript; Mary is called Mariam.
9. The Pael form of HZA with ‘ l ’ or ‘ ‘1 ’ = “ to influence ” (for evil), “ get the better
of ”, “ bewitch ”(of a demon).Lit. ‘Bewitching her”.
10 .‘unasiblh Irazia d akilta mnh ulgat pumh mn akilh’. The passage is obscure. I take
it to refer to the sacramental meal eaten for the “raising up ’’ of the soul (‘ akilta ’ = ‘‘
food ”, “ a meal ”). The first half of the sentence might also mean “he took the
mysteries of the food therewith:”
Haran Gawaita
From the food. And he took to himself a people and was called by the name of the
False Messiah. And he perverted them all and made them like himself who perverted
words of life and changed them into darkness and even perverted those accounted
Mine. And he overturned all the rites. And he and his brother dwell on Mount Sinai,
and he joineth all races to him, and perverteth and joineth to himself a people, and
they are called Christin.
…….and from Nisrat1 (Nazareth), a city of the Jews, which is called the city of
Qum.2 ... because it is a shrine3 for Mercury founded a community in Qum, and
Saturn founded a, community in Sinai ...
……. (Jews were settled?) in the Arab region which is called Basra, which is (also)
called Sufat-Zaba4. ..
... one. The First Life conceived a plan for gaining a grasp5 in order to destroy the
mysteries6 of Adonai from the seas and to destroy the plot of Ruha 7 and Adonai
which came (emanated) from the House of Ruha to ruin the scheme of Ruha, before
the presence of the great Father of Glory and to propagate8 the mysteries (of the great
life ? ) ...
1. Cf. the Syriac 13p. I have not found this place name in any other Mandaean text.
2. ‘Qum’, P.S. Supp. '' Qum, W. of Hamadan and 80 kilometres NNW of Kashan ".
Does this fragment mean that Jews had named some settlement in after Nazareth?
3. shkinta in Mandaic usually applies to the cult-hat in the sacred area; hence
sanctuary, shrine.
4. D.C. 9 has ‘Suf Zaba’ and D.C. 36 ‘Sufat-Zaba’. The former means “River of
Reeds’’ and the latter " River of the End ". Both would be applicable to the Shat-al-
Arab, which is the stream formed by the Tigris and Euphrates after they have joined at
Qurns. This river opens after the port of Basrah into the Persian Gulf. The lower part
of the former province of Basrah is marshy and overgrown with reeds.
5. Or ‘gaining a party or faction’.
6. ‘Mysteries’ refers throughout to rituals, particularly to ritual meals
commemorating the dead.
7. Ruha is the personification of human desire and lust. She is sometimes called Ruhad-
Qudsha (Holy-Spirit), but not in this text. By her son 'Ur she was mother of the
seven planet and the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
8. Adonai is described in Madman texts as the sun-god worshipped by the Jews. Yahu
never figures as a Jewish deity but is named often in exorcisms and magi..
9. I have ventured to think that ‘sharhab'il’ (in both texts) is an. Early miscopying of '
sharubia ' '' to propagate ", Sharhabiel, a fertility spirit, is mentioned later in the
Haran Gawaita
….. in Tmar1, the pure Jordan, and bore witness to the Truth 2 And in the great
Jordan a pure seed was formed ... and came and was sown in the womb of Eishbai, so
that from it3 a child might; come into being a prophet of the great Father of Glory,
praised be His name! in order to destroy the building of Ruha and Adanai.
…....in the House which Ruha, and her seven sons built I surrounded all the district. ..
…….Madai 4, which Ruha and her seven sons could not reach because on it (were
people who belonged?) to Hibil-Ziwa 5.. ..
…….. of the Life, and to propagate a race in the House which Ruha and her seven
sons built, so that she should not have dominion ...
in the midst of the worlds, and he shall be called Yahia-Yubna, the prophet of Kushta
6, the apostle,.. who dwelt at the city of Jerusalem; a healer7 whose medicine was
Water of Life, a healer that healeth ...(evil spirits?)which go forth from Ruha and
Adonai to destroy the physical body. ... Then ... when the boy was born Anush-'Uthra
8 came by command of the great Father of Glory and they came before Hibil-Ziwa by
command of the great Father of Glory and9 travelled over deserts towards Mount
Sinai and proceeded ... towards a community called Ruha’s that is situated near the
place where the Ark was built (...?)
1. A small town named Thamara was situated to the S.E. of the Dead Sea.
2. Kushta = (Right, Right-dealing, Truth) is personified by the Mandaeans and
resembles the Persian ‘Aka’. See p. 17 n. 5.
3.D.C.9 has ‘mana’ for ‘mnh’.
4. Judging by the context the words preceding ‘Madai’ were ‘tura d Media’ .
5. A saviour-spirit, sometimes called Yawar-Ziwa.
6. Kushta , see note 2.
7. This ‘ healer’ according to the Ginza Rba ( see G.R.pp. 29-30) is Anush Uthra ,
‘’who cometh and travelleth into Jerusalem when he had clothed himself in a
garment of clouds of water" (baptism?). “ He assumed a bodily appearance but
was not clad in an earthly garment. In him there is no heat or wrath. And he
cometh in the years of Pilate, a governor of the world, but Anush-'Uthra cometh
to the world in the strength of the high King of Light. He maketh the sick to
walk, he openeth (the eyes of) the blind, he cleanseth lepers and setteth the
broken upright and maketh cripples walk, the deaf and dumb to speak and the
dead to live, and he winneth converts amongst the Jew “. Professor Burkitt
(Church and Gnosis , p. 111) saw in this passage an adaptation from Marcionite
teachings about Jesus. This is possible, but it is very certain that Mandaeans never
identified Anush-'Uthra with Jesus.
8. See p. vi, note 1.
9. The text has ‘d’ in both copies, but the particle is meaningless.
Haran Gawaita
And she l will be a deliverer, (midwife?) to the child2 :into Parwan3,the white
mountain, an earthly place. And (in?) that place the fruit and sky 4 are1arge. There ...
(groweth?) the Tree which ,nourisheth infants 5. And they took back Sufnai the lilith
to a place so that when they should perform6 a living7 baptism to purify the child,
the apostle of Kushta, Yahia-Yuhana ...
..... And they did not alter the order or commands which emanated from the presence
of the great Father of Glory... Sufnai the lilith took him (the child) before the eyes of
his mother fell upon him... at the order of Anush-Uthra. And they mounted up towards
Parwan, the white mountain ... (a place where) fruit and sky is (are?) large. There they
set down Yahia near the Tree which nourisheth nurslings ... Then the lilith returned to
her place. When thirty days had passed, Hibil-Ziwa came at the command of the great
first Father of Glory, and he come to the Median hill-country8 and sent Anush-Uthra
to Bihram, son of uthras and to the Median
1. ‘She’ probably refers to,the lilith Sufnai, who must have been named in a missing
passage as the midwife.
2. D. C. 9 has ‘yardna’ for ‘yalda’. Perhaps ‘parqa’ means “crossroad ", making the
sentence; ‘’it is the cross-road to the Jordan’’. D. C. 36, the older text, is probably the
correct version.
3. Parwan. In the Drasha d Yahia it is related that at the birth of John, the Jews,
furious at the promised greatness of the child, sought to destroy him.
" When Anush-Uthra heard this, he took the babe and brought it to Parwan the
white mountain, upon which sucklings and babes are reared upon ‘ mambuha’ "
(sacramental water). Lidzbarski thinks (J. B. p. 116, note 3) that Parwan Tura
must be identical with another mountainous district often referred to as Tarwan.
It is worthy of note that the five-day feast of purification in the spring is called
Parwanaiia by Mandaeans.
4. The Sentence is corrupt. In two passages where this phrase occurs (see below) ‘rba’
is singular. The sky or firmament is never called ‘large’ elsewhere. It probably was
‘fruit and crops’ or something of the kind.
5. Mandaeans believe that children who die before baptism; are conveyed to a
pleasant limbo where they suck the milky fruit of a tree called ‘ lana d mrabia yanqia’
There is a picture of this tree in the Diwam Abatur ( Studi e Testi, 151).
6. Literally ‘showed forth’.
7. A corrupt or mutilated sentence. ‘ Haita’ (living), the fem of ‘haia’, means also
‘midwife’ . The sentence probably meant originally that the midwife Sufnai was
baptised with the infant . Mother and midwife should both be baptised after birth, and
the baby should be baptised as soon as possible.
8. D. C. 9 has ‘tura d madai’ ; D. C. 36 here and in another passage ’tura d midai’.
9. Bihram (called Behram and Bahram by modern Mandaeans) might be the founder
of Mandaean baptism-rites. When immersion takes place, the Mandaean Baptist says,
‘ Sbiit bmasbuta d Bihram rba br rurbia’ means ‘ Thou art baptised with baptism of
great Bihram, son of mighty’. Bihram is a name pronounced at the ritual submersion
of polluted vessels. Bihram is the Avestan and Iranian Verethraghna, the genius of
victory; but perhaps the Bihram mentioned at baptism is a human Bihrem.
Haran Gawaita
mountains. And they took Bihram from the Medin hills and went..:(to Pbrwan?) and
performed baptism and baptised the child beside the Tree that nourisheth nurslings.
And (when) he was seven years old, Anush-Uthra came and wrote for him the A, Ba,
Ga, Da l.
……. and, until he was twenty-two years old, he taught him about all Nasiruta2.
…….. then, at the command of the great Father of Glory he set the crown on him3
and seated him beside himself, until they came to the city of Jerusalem amongst the
community which Ruha founded …..all belonged to her and to her seven sons except
(those from?) the Median hills 4, Aharan5...
….... Hibil-Ziwa, of the Median hills, upon which they wandered from mountain to
mountain. ... mountain6 to the city of the Nasoraeans is a distance of six thousand
parasangs; it is called the enclave ( hdara ) of Hibil-Ziwa ... Then Yahia-Yuhana took
the jordan and the medicine Water (of Life) ... and he cleansed lepers, opened (the
eyes of) the blind and lifted the broken (maimed) to walk on their feet7.. by the
strength of the lofty King of Light - praised be his Name! – and gave speech and
hearing to all who sought (him).And he was called in the world ‘envoy of the High
King of Light’- prised be his Name- (even) at the (very) abode and building of Ruha
and Adonai and her seven sons.
And he taught disciples and proclaimed the Call of the Life in the fallen House
(Temple?). Forty-two years (he dwelt) therein, and then his Transplanter 8 looked
upon him and he arose with his Transplanter, praised be his name! ... and a time
arrived, sixty years after Yahia-Yuhana had departed the body .... the Jews, just as
1. Cf. a similar anecdote in the Gospel of Thomas.
2.’Nsiruta’ comprises all that a priest learns: prayers, rituals, theology, secret
interpretations, exorcisms and astrology.
3.That is, consecrated him priest. The ‘taga’ (crown, Suet) is the badge of priesthood.
4. ‘Tura d Madia’. It is evident in this passage that ‘tura’ refers to a range of hills, not
to a single mountain.
5.’Aharan’in both MSS.
6. ‘From the hills’ if the ,missing words were ‘mn tura’.
7 .Verbally identical with the passage, in the Ginz-Rba quoted in note 7,p .5, except
that there the healer was Anush-Uthra.
8. The death-angel, Sauriel.
Haran Gawaita
Their former strength (returned?) to Ruha and Adonai, who became arrogant…
Hence, after sixty years, Ruha and Adonai planned to erect…..the fallen House
(Temple) and spoke to Moses the prophet and the children of Israel who had built the
House (Temple).
…… Then they raised an idle cry against the tribes of Anush-Uthra, the Head of the
Age, and shed their blood so that not a man of the disciples and Nasoraeans were
left........ Then the Jordan and its tributaries shrank back and mounted the dry land
beside it l. And the light of the banners of Abatur and Anuis-Uthra (was quenched?)
…… Then Raha scattered the Jews ... who is called ‘of the House of the Seven’,
and then Adonai sent a staff... And he spoke over it and struck Suf-Zaba 4 and the
waters that abide in Suf-Zaba were divided, like the two mountains of a gorge and
there was a road. And Ruha brought those (Jews?) over Suf-Zaba. And she5 built for
them, and pressed out for them clay brick that is sacred, and constructed a building
and they set up for it column after column of falsehood, and raised up each (fallen?)
column ... and Darkness was formed there from, and they settled (thierein?) the Jews,
who sinned and caused havoc.. .
(The new Jerusalem had) three walls… of which each was removed from its fellow,
and he teacheth about them.. . And Ruha surrounded the latter Jerusalem of the Jews
(with these walls) and then Ruha ... the Jews, and they could not remove the walls
from them 6...
Then Anush-Uthra mounted up to his fathers and said, to them, to his fathers: ‘Thou
didst bring the Jews and Ruha over Sufa-Zaba and she (Ruha) has built a building and
has surrounded (it by) seven walls so that I am unable (to aid?) their armies7. What
have ye ordered about us? ... (In this wise) did Anush-Uthra speak with
1. The word in the plural means ‘banks’ or ‘ the dry ground beside water’. Cf. a
passage in the Ginza Rba ‘shaq lriqath’ means ‘ it leapt it’s banks ".
2. For most Mandaean ceremonies a banner is planted in the ground. The streamer, of
white silk, is several yards long. See MMII pp. 108-9.
3.Abatur Muzania weighs departed souls in his scales, Abatur Rama is his heavenly
4. River of Reeds (see p. 4, note 4). The narrator has harked back to the Israelitish
crossing of the ‘Red Sea’ (Yama Suf) of which the Cambridge Ancient History says
(vol. ii, p. 361) "the account of the journey from the ‘Red Sea’ ( Sea of Reeds ; the
precise identification is uncertain) is built up of stories that belong to a later stage ..
Since ‘Suf Zaba’ was identified earlier in the text with the Shatt-d-'Arab in Lower
Mesopotamia, this ‘crowing’ may refer to some return of Jewish settlers in Babylonia
to Palestine.
5. Read ' bnatlun ' for ' bndun '.
6. The besieged Jews?
7. The besieging host; Romans?
Haran Gawaita
his fathers; and told them, how it had happened. Then there came and arose the great
Father of Glory together with his mild son-Hibil. and they acted1, and then! Hibil
came... towards Anush-'Uthra and said to him: ‘Go down: into Media and take seven
shafts, that is seven darts, and go and pronounce (magic) words over them. And take
with thee seven guards from Mount Parwan2 and take for them bows and they, shall
speak over them seven (magic) words ,and they will crumble the sacred brick in the
House of Ruha; for at every place where those arrows fall fire will break out and will
devour (it, rising) into the sky and eat into the ground for twelve nasks by virtue of
those pure and important spells. And the rule of Ruha and her seven sons and of the
Jews will be brought to nought from now until the end of the world’.
Thereupon Anush- 'Uthra changed nothing of that which they commanded him (to
do), and Hibil-Ziwa came and burnt and destroyed Jerusalem and made it like heaps
of ruins 3. And he went to Baghdad4 and killed (there) all the cohens and took away
government from them and pounded (to) dust5 every city in which there were Jews6.
Moreover for the eight hundred years that their government wan in Baghdad they
exercised autonomy amongst themselves - four hundred rulers - (for) the duration of a
Jewish autonomy in Baghdad was eight hundred years; four hundred rulers from the
Jews (Jewish community) wielded kingly office.
Thus the House of the Jews came to naught and met its end, the Host of darkness
became powerless.
Those seven guards, who (were of the?) Chosen Elect7, summoned.
1. D. C. 9 has ‘ wabar’ for ‘wabad’.
2. See p. 6, n. 3. Note that in this passage Parwan is stated to be in Media.
3. The destruction referred to here must be that. by Titus in 70 B. C. If the narrative is
continuous, rebellion of the Jews followed by siege and destruction began ‘sixty
years’ after John the Baptist. It is unlikely to be Hadrian's massacre and conquest of
the Jews in 135 A. D. after Bar-Cochbar's rebellion.
4. Far Baghdad read Babylon and Babylonia throughout. The Whole vila yet of
Baghdad as well as the city was called Babil by travellers well into the Middle Ages,
and the narrator is addressing readers of his time,
5.D. C. 9 has ‘uharga’ , D. C. 30 ‘ nharqa’.
6. This might refer -to a massacre of the Jews which occurred during the anarchy
which prevailed after the conflict of Artabanus III with Tiridates.
Dr. N. C. Debevosie (Political History of Parthia, Univ. of Chioago, 1938, p. 164)
says: ‘ within Seleucia there was continual strife between opposing elements.The
native or Babylonian group and the Jews at first combined against the Greeks with
success; but the Greeks managed to alienate the natives from their former allies, and
together they massacred thousands of Jews’.
7 .I. e., were ‘Nasuraiia’ , Nasoraeans.
Haran Gawaita
by Anush-Uthra at the word and command of Hibil-Ziwa , came as the great Father
of Glory had commanded And one of them was Zazai son 'of Hibil-Uthra1. Him
Anush-'Uthra installed in the city of Baghdad, And Anush-Uthra installed one whose
name was Papa son of Guda upon the great-Tigris and at the mouth of the Ulai (Karun
river). And one, named Anush son of Natar-Hiia, Anush-'Uthra installed at its source.
Anush-Shaiar son of Nsab (he installed) on the Euphrates, and one whose name was
Brik-Yawar son of Bihdad he placed2 at Pnmbit (Pumbdita 3) a territory situated at
the end of Sura4. And one, whose name was Nsab son of Bihram, he placed on the
mountain(s) of Glazlak5 and one whose name was Ska-Manda he set at the extremity
of the mountain of the Water springs situated at the tail-end of the Parwan range at the
place from which those seven kings went forth and dispersed, (namely those seven
guards) who came with Anush-'Uthra to conquer Darkness and to bring the plot of
Ruha to nought. And they annihilated the rulers of the Jews and made them as if they
had never existed.
And Anush-'Uthra placed them (the seven viceroys) at the seven corners of the
House6, upon the seven horns of the worlds, in order to crush the power of Darkness
and to establish the Call of the Life and to make void the rebellious outcry.
When Anush-'Uthra had done that by order of Hibil-Ziwa, whom the great Father of'
Glory commanded, Anush-Uthra went to the ‘Turn a Madai’ (Median mountains),
called Haran Gawaita, and brought Bhira son of Shiti7, a descendant of Artabanus
king of the Nasoraeans and set him up in Baghdad (Babylon) and installed him in
sovereign power (as its sovereign). And in his company there were sixty Nasoraeans,
and the Nasoraeans in Baghdad (Babylonia) multiplied and became many.. Some of
the tribe of Bhira son of Shitil, Nasoraeans, with him until there were four hundred
Mashknia8 in Baghdad.
1. This name and others in the text appear to be ‘malwashia’, secret names used for
religious and magical purposes. See MMII pp. 81-2.
2. ’yatib’ . One would expect ‘autiblh’.
3. This must be Pumbditha on the, Euphrates where there was a celebrated Jewish
academy. The site is near the modern town of Falujah on the Euphrates.
4. At Sura, a town in southern Babylonia between the csnals, there was a noted Jewish
5. I have been unable to identify this place -name.
6. Mandaean writers often refer to the earthly world as ‘the House’.
7. See note 1.
8. The cult-hut and sacred enclosure called the ‘mashkna’ or ‘manda’, the hut itself
being the bit mashkna , or ‘bimashkha’ or ‘bimanda’. I
Haran Gawaita
And it was revealed tome (?) and to all of them in this, book, and they acted upon this
reliable base1 acting according to this (its):light2 and removing nothing from the
writing of great revelation3 that was given to Adam the first man and to his
descendants (and to) all who bear witness unto this light and illumination until
worlds’ end. Naught shall pass away from the Word of the great Father of Glory,
praised be his Name!
….Then the said Zazai, one of the righteous elect4, rose to the firmament and abode
with Yurba5 sixty-two days, and ascended to his fathers; but those (other) six chosen
righteous ones sent forth, their descendants into the world. And in the earthly world
there are some of the children (descendants) of disciples whom Yahia-Ynhana taught,
and amongst the Nasoraeans some from the first planting of kings6 from the
beginning, middle and end; (yea) there: are some amongst the Nasoraeans at the latter
end of the age, for they go forth that ye may be filled, and Nasoraeans of the end of
the age are amongst their descendants. (But) from the Root of those disciples of
Yahia-Yuhana there come forth (also) people of no degree 7, for when they speak of
descendants of kings of Baghdad (of the kingdom in Baghdad8), (they forget that?)
two hundred and eighty years have passed since some of the sons of those disciples
1. The expression ‘shirsha taqna’ or ‘sharsha taqna’ has a wide application ( ‘taqna’
= firm, true, reliable, orthodox, ‘shirsha’ = rod, basis, source, foundation).It can
therefore be applied to the Mandaean faith, race or stock, or to a piece of orthodox
literature, and in general is often Used when referring unity, as in Christian literature
is the word ‘Church’(D. C. 9 has mistakenly ‘wa’ before ‘ taqna’).
2. The word ‘zhara’ also means ‘’warning’’ or admonition and as used when referring
to the liturgy indicates that at certain passages names of deceased persons are to be
3. I have been doubtful about this word. The usual words for ‘revelation’ and ‘scroll’
respectively are ‘galiuta’ and ‘magalta’. The doubling of the ‘l’ points to ‘roll’ or
‘scroll’, but the root GLA in the Pael (to die-close , reveal) double the l.
4. Lidsbarski translated ‘bhiria zidqa’ as " Manner von erprober arechtigkeit ". 1 have
paraphrased by Using a religious phrase expressive of the meaning.
5. ‘Yurba’, a spirit associated with the sun. The purgatory of Samish(the sun), is that
to, which those of other religions are sent (See Diwm Abatur p. 30; Studi e Testi
6. Here ‘kings’… probably means ‘priests’. See p, 7 note 3.
7. Taksa = (a) order, rang; degree, station; (b) rule, regulation, eta. A person ‘d
lataksa’ is one who is ill-bred and lawless, uncontrolled, ill-mannered.
8. Un bracketed words in italics are a gloss.
Haran Gawaita
Of Yahia-Yuhana went forth, so that Ruha cometh and coafuseth them and twisteth
words and perverteth seals1 and changeth phrases and prayers” by agency of
descendants of those disciples, that is, those disciples that were propagated from
Jewish seed 3.For the Son of the Pure Drop, the Mystery4, (was of?) the Jews,
Jerusalem of the Jew5. Ruha caused them to obey the mysteries of the body, and (so)
they fell away from purity (the pure doctrine?).
I will tell you, (Oye) priests who live in the Arab age, (of that which occurred)
before the Son-of-Slaughter 6, the Arab, went out and prophesied as a prophet in the
world so that they performed circumcision like Jews and changed sayings for he is
the most degraded of false prophets. Mars accompanieth him became he is the Seal of
prophets of the Lie, (although) the Messiah will appear after him at the end of the age!
I will inform you, Nasoraeans, that before the Son-of-Slaughter, the Arab, emerged
and was called prophet in the world and Mars descended with him, he drew the sword
and converted people to himself by the sword. About eighty-six years before the Sonof-
Slaughter, the Arab, Adonai sent Shurbish- Ruha8 who is his spouse, to the city of
Tib, called locally the City Ashganda9 because of all that was done (during) his
rule10 in Baghdad. (For) Ashganda (dwelt?) in Tib; it was his native place and it was
called “ the city of Shganda ” (also) because in it there were Nasoraeans and Rishama
(ethnarchs) ll. And there was one Rishama called Qiqil.
1. ‘ Hatmia ’ = “ signs ”, “ seals ”; i. e. the signings with water and oil at baptism.
2. An inversion the root is QHD “ to cry, call aloud ”. The psalm beginning
‘Tushbihan’ (praises) is called the great ‘qadaha’ in D.C.34.
3. D. C. 36 has ‘zida ’ (“ malice ”) for ‘ zira ’ (“ seed ”).
4. Anush-‘Uthra, Bihram , Yahia-Yuhana.
5. Unbracketed words in italics are a gloss.
6. ’Shat’ , SHT = ‘ to cut the throat, slaughter ritually ’.Cf. Arabic ‘to be
bloodstained’. Muhammad is meant of course.
7. D. C. 9 has ‘ Shafil ’. The Imperfect tense is used; I have substituted the Perfect
8. ‘Shurbii ’. Possibly a composite word from the, root SRHB “ to propagate” and ‘
bii ’ “ evil ”.
9. ‘ Shganda ’ or ‘ Ashganda ’ is sometimes used as a ‘malwsha ’ name (see p. 10 n.
1). The child or youth of priestly family who assists priests during rituals
is called an ‘ ashgnda ’ or ‘ shganda ’ (Sumerisn ‘ ash-gan-da ’ = “ minister,
messenger ,”, Accadian ‘ashgandu ’).
10. ‘malkuth ’ i.e. Ashganda’s term of office as head of the sect?
11. A ‘Rishama’ (= “ head of the people”) is a higher in rank than a Ganzibra ’. The
grade is now obsolete.
Haran Gawaita
And Adonai sent Shurbish-Ruha, into this world, and said to her: “Go, appear to Qiqil
of the Nasoraeans disguised as Hibil-Ziwa, so as to take his judgement away from
him.. ..And distort the words by which the structure of (their faith) is defined. When
thou hast done this, the whole nation of the Nasoraeans will turn to us ”.
And Ruha-Shurbish, wife of Adonai, went and dwelt upon (entered into) Qiqil of the
Nasoraeans and disguised herself Hibil-Ziwa -and there is none lovelier than Hibil-
Ziwa whom the souls acknowledge!
And she taketh away the judgement of Qiqil and instruct him and saith to him: “I,
Hibil-Ziwa, have brought1 parchment and reed-pen 2, so write a Root of Life3 and a
Saying and a Mystery, and disseminate (them) send (them) forth and act in
accordance with them. For the Life hath sent me and I have come to thee ”.
Thereupon Qiqil brought parchment and reed-pen and wrote- and distributed (doctrine
emanating) from Ruhe, whilst his understanding was reft from him. So schism ensued
amongst the Nasoraeans and candidates for priesthood 4 as result of those writings
which he had written. Then she removed herself from his presence, and Qiqil’s mind
and understanding returned and he recanted his wards and revoked phyhteries5
(scrolls) of her construction and that which had been taught to him by Ruha, ya,
every, writing that he had by him of those writings (dictated) by Ruha, ,he burnt
in the fire. And he sent to the Nasoraeans and candidates for priesthood (saying):
‘( Bring the writings which I give (gave?) you; burn them with fire, for she (Ruha)
deluded me6 when I hew not from whom she came ”. And he took away his writing
from such Nasoraeans as practised the orthodox faith, and they gave it to him and he
burnt it in the fire. But all those who were of the Root
l. D, C. 36 has ‘ atit ’ for ‘ aitit ’; D. C. 9 has ‘ aita ’ (“ them exists ”).
2. For ‘ magalta uhilfa ’ (parchment and reed-pen) both Mss have ‘ magalta usilfa’ (
Cf. ‘maglaba usilfa means lash and whip). A miscopying.
3. The title or titles of some heretical composition?
4. ‘ Ashwlania ’, learners, neophytes, are candidates for priesthood during the time of
their instruction and initiation .
5. Elsewhere, ‘ qmahia ’ is a word meaning phylacteries, talismans, written exorcism
meant to be carried on the person.
6. D. C. 9 has ’ amintul d shraqtan kt layadit mn manh’ (‘ Ashraqtan ’ = ‘ashragtan’,(
tricked me by illusion)
7. see p. 11, n. 1.
Haran Gawaita
of the Jews did not bring it back nor give it back to Qiqil and some of those writings
remained with them.
And Hibil-Ziwa hath delivered this saying and writings to Nasoraeans who exist
at the end of the last age: "Beware, and again beware Act only (in accordance) with
this writings of the Great Revelation l. The (Mandaean) Root (Church2) shall be
steadfast, shall testify, shall act and not neglect this pure warning, and (80) will
ascend to the presence of the Father3. (But) any man who doth not testify to this Way
or lay hold of it, seeketh darkness and will fall. (O)ye Nasoraeans that shall exist at
the end of the last age, I exhort you, be firm arid act according to this book - its name
is the Great Revelation. For at that time peoples, nations and tongues will multiply,
and every individual will seek his own gain. And books and religions treatises4 of
Ruha and Adonai (a making) will be many, and through them souls5 will sink down
to the Darkness ''.
Thus, before the appearance of the Son-of-Slaughter, the Arab,the Christian,
Idumaean 6, Jewish, Hurdabaean7 and Dilbilaean8 peoples became many. The
peoples were divided and languages become numerous; even the languages of
Nasoraeans multiplied.
This; and then sovereignty was taken from the descendants of King Artabanus, and
(they were driven) from Baghdad; the Hardbaeans (Sasanians) taking over the
kingdom. (Nevertheless) there remained one hundred and seventy banners9 and
bimandia10 in Baghdad 11.
1. I think that this must refer to the Alf Trisar Shuialia, which deals minutely with
many questions of ritual and doctrine.
2. See p. I1 n. I.
3. Here the plural may refer to the Great Life (Hiia Rbia) which is plural= the All-
Father), or it .may be " fathers " (ancestors).
4. ‘Sigia’ (lit, " a way ") is at term often applied to a ritual scroll. Hence, any
document which deals with doctrine and ritual.
5. Their souls " is written.
6.’ Dumaiia’, Edomites, Idumaeans.( see Diwan Abatur, Studi , Testi, no.151,p45)
7.’Hurdabaiia’ .The Hardbaiia , Hurdbaiia , Hirdubaiia , Hardnbaiia or Ardbaiia
(those that seek strife ) are mentioned often in Mandaean texts. It is evident that the
Sasanians are meant, since their rule followed that of the Parthian in Babylonia. The
term seems to be applied also to the inhabitants of Persis.
8. ‘Dilbilaiia’. This appears to be a miswriting of the ‘Dilmaiia’.i. e. the inhabitants of
the ancient Dailam (me Sfar Malwshia, Luzac, London, 1949, P. 207).
9. See p. 8, n: 2.
10. Mandaean sanctuaries see p. 10, n. 8.
11. As before, (see p.10, n,4) read ‘Babylonia’ for ‘Baghdad’.
Haran Gawaita
And, so a Hardabaean (Sasanian) dynasty ruled for three hundred and sixty years l,
and then the Son of Slaughter, the Arab, set up as king, went forth and took a people
to himself and performed circumcision. (Even them), after this had happened and
these events had taken place, sixty banners (still) remained and pertained2 to me3 in
Baghdad. then he took the sword and put to the sword from the city of Damascus unto
Bit Dubar, which is called Bdin 4.He governed it all and ruled, over the lord of the
hill-country of the Persians who are called Hardbaeans5 and took away sovereignty
from them.
Then, when this had taken place, in time there came (one) Anush* , called the son of
Danqa, from the uplands of the Arsaiia (from (to?) the city of Baghdad bisush6 kings
of the planting of Artabanus, and brought in his own, belonging to Muhammad, son of
'Abdallah son-of-Slaughter, the Arab 7, when he was seven hundred years old) 8.
And he took him from his city to Suf-Zaba which is called Basrah, and showed him
the hill-country of the Persians (unto?) the city of Baghdad. And Anush (-' Uthra?)
instructed the Son-of-Slaughter, as he had instructed hug-son-of Danqa, about this
Book10 (compiled) by his fathers, upon which all kings of the Nasoraeans stood firm
And a list of kings l1 is in this book, which teacheth (chronicleth?)from Adam, king
of the world, unto King Artabanus, (yea even) unto Anush-son-of-Danqa, who were
(all?)of the Chosen Root. Then he told him about the king of the Ardubaiia l2
(Sasanians); about all he sought to do and (of) his connection13 with the children of
* . Anush here have the meaning of (a person). ( the re-editor).
1. Sasanians ruled from A. D. 226-636 (see.Noldeke, Tabari, p. 436).
2. The author uses continuously the historic present.
3. Presumably Hibil-Ziwa. He is supposed to be the narrator.
4. I have not identified this place name.
5. Or ‘bihnush’. I have come across no such word hitherto. The whole passage is
unintelligible. Should it be ‘band’ ( with Anush) meaning that Anush-bar-Danqa was
accompanied by his namesake, the spirit Anush-'Uthra?
6. See p. 14, n. 7.
7. D. C. 9 has ‘Arabs’.
8. The obscure paragraph in square brackets, must be corrupt. I can make nothing of
9. See p. 14, n. 7.
10. The ‘Book’ here probably refers to the Cinza Rba, which contains a list of
Parthian rulers.
11. See n. 10.
12. D. C. 9 has mistakenly ‘Arbaiia’ (Arabs). I have followed the older text.
13. Were ‘kibsa’ ( conquest) here, it would not be followed by ‘mn’ (cf. J. p. 630).
Haran Gawaita
great Nation of Life1, in order that they (the Muslims) should not harm ,the
Nasoraeans who lived in the era of his government 2.
Thus did. Anush-son-of-Danqa, explain and speak so that, through power of the
lofty King of Light - praised be his name! – it was not permitted to the Son-of-
Slaughter, the Arab, to harm the congregation of souls, owing to the protection
afforded by these explanations of the Great Revelation - praised be its name!
And, concerning that which I found in these commentaries on the Great Revelation3, I
found not (its equal?) amongst all the treatises and misria4 and miscellanies about the
Great Life which were in libraries and in my possession. I went round to all the
Nasoraeans and Rishamia5 that there were; I saw many scripts, writings of research
and manuscripts of the Great Revelation, but saw not the like of this well established.
Source. For it is reliable, existing from ancient times and eternally from the beginning
of the eighth world unto worlds' end. (These are) writings which teach orthodox6
procedure, that are all clarity. Instruction about the beginnings of all light and the end
of all darkness is found in these writings of the Great Revelation and not found in any
other books. That which is taught in this book and Road of the Righteous hath been
bestowed upon the righteous7 unto worlds' end; this Road of the Righteous hath been
bestowed upon (every) son of the True Root, upon (every) son of the Pure Drop who,
when listening to the words and teachings of this writings of the righteous, witnesseth
publicly thereto, and his mind testifieth thereto and is enlightened. But when a foolish
person heareth these trustworthy words his mind groweth dark and he doth not
appreciate them, nor can (such a person) discern that they are pure sayings. And
(their) colours die away from his mind like as a burgeoning plane (fadeth) and the mot
from which it appeared’’.
1.’Surba d hiia’ (lit. ‘Planting of Life’) an expression often used for ‘the Mandaeans’.
2. This episode suggests that Anush-'Uthra inspired his namesake And bar-Danqa to
convince Muslims that Mandaeans were ‘people of a book’ and that he showed the
Ginza Rba, or other sacred Writings as a proof that they were not pagans.
3. I. e., the Alf Trisar shuialia? (See pp. x-xi).
4. ‘Misra’ ,’boundary’, ‘ line of demarcation’. Here, if ‘sigiia’ (c'ways) refers to books
(see p. 14 n. 4), ‘misria’ must mean some kind of literary composition - exorcisms?
5. See p. 12, n. 11.
6. ‘Tuqna’ (Cf. J. ‘to do a thing properly’).
7. Read ‘lshalmania thib’. D.C.36 omits.
Haran Gawaita
‘Hibil-Ziwa expounded these interpretations and revealed and declared :’’Any
Nasoraean man in whose library these explanations are found should beware lest he
reveal in the presence of foolish persons (mysteries) penetrated 1 and revealed by
deeply thinking theologians2 because he that revealeth anything that is weighty in
this writing (book) in the presence of foolish and ill-conditioned ‘uthras who would
bring pure words into contempt, layeth up for himself sixty causes of stumbling and
sixty sins3. (But he that is silent before foolish persons concerning such
interpretations)4 sixty offences and sixty sins shall be forgiven him and Abathur will
grasp (his hand) in honourable kushta5.
Then Hibil-Ziwa - praised be his name! - taught that every man who concealeth
(the Great Revelation?) it but observeth it, when his measure is full6 he will rise up
without sin and (moreover) will loose and take with him sixty (souls) who are bound.
‘And he will rise up towards his fathers and his Father will take in honourable
kushta and he will be acclaimed as one in a thousand like Abathur Rama. And he will
behold the great Countenance of Glory and will take His hand in honourable kushta
and win be set at the King's right hand. (For) he whose mind testifieth
1. A play on words such as Mandaeans love. In the previous paragraph, teaching
revealed to an unappreciative and stupid person is likened to a burgeoning sprout
(qadaha) which withers away. Here we have ‘qdihia’… penetrated (mysteries).. and
‘qadahia’ those who penetrate deeply (into hidden meanings).
2. ‘Qadahia’ (Cf. J. p. 1313 ,in Hebrew = one able to enter' into the depth of a Biblical
subject). I have translated freely in order to convey the sense.
3.This passage is a faulty paraphrase of sentences in (a) Alf Trisar shuialia and (b)
Ginza Rba, left side, viz. (a) ‘anat latigalil '1 'utria blilia d mashitilun lrazia dilan
ulayadia mahu amria’ (Reveal nothing to foolish 'uthras who will bring our
mysteries into contempt and know not what they say); (b) ‘Kulman d mitqal
ulaiitlh lmuta saiim lqudamh shitin uishit tiqlata’ (He that stumbleth and
curseth Death layeth up for himself sixty-six causes of stumbling). See G. R. p.
4. Some such sentence must have occurred here; as it stands, the passage is
5. Kusta is a ceremony of pact and peace; a sign of fealty and acceptance of fealty. It
is performed by two persons. Each clasps the right hand of the other, and when the
grip is released, each of the two carries his right had to his lips and kisses it. In
Mandaean literature, Kushta is often personified. See p.5 ,n.2.
6. Literally ‘ when his measure is complete’ i.e. ‘ when his time ( to die) has come’.
D.C.36 ‘ shalimlh’ D.C.9 ‘shlimlh’.
7. The Great Life ( see p. 14, n.3). The verb is in the singular.
Haran Gawaita
to these teachings about orthodox procedure1 belongeth to the portion of the lofty and
great King of Light, and hell-beasts2 and purgatory demons have no power over him’.
And then Hibil-Ziwa - praised be his name! - taught Nasoraeans about the end of
the last age. For evil will increase and pollutions will be many and abound in the
world, since it is decreed that wickedness will increase and pollutions multiply greatly
in the world; because it is destined in that age. So that of a great shekel of gold but
half a drachma's weight will rise up to the Light; everything will sink down into
Darkness In that period and epoch -from the rule of the Arab Son-of-Slaughter unto
the end of the worlds - persecution and tribulation will increase for Nasoraeans; purity
will decrease ,and pollutions, adultery, theft and fraud will increase. And men will be
polluted and during that period man will drink the blood of fellow man. All that is fair
(will disappear)4, (but),amongst Nasoraeans, he that is steadfast in and holdeth 'to
these teachings and this great revelation will rise up by the path of believers and will
behold the great Countenance of Glory.
Hibil-Ziwa taught concerning this sage - that is, the age of the Arab Law - that
it must needs occupy its destined span5, for the Law is constituted of four mysteries;
part6 therein is (of) the Light, and part therein wholly Root of Darkness. And it
endureth for (?) two kings7. To it was imparted a kind of order. It is formed from four
natural humours: the Root of Darkness is composed of and arrayed in blood, gall,
(wind) 8, and mucus.
1. ‘Tuqna’, see p. 16, n. 6. (Much of the Alf Trisar Shuialia is concerned with the
proper performance of rituals, with purificatory rites etc.).
2. See Diwan Abatur, p. IS., notes 4 and 6.
3. Read ‘dukia’.
4. The sentence seems incomplete,
5. ‘Mnawatb baiia mikal’, ‘seeketh to accomplish its allotted portions’.
Mandaeans have a belief, founded on astrology that the stars allot a certain period to
Arab rule and religion. The great epochs and ages of the world are governed by
certain stars and constellations, and by spirits of Light or Darkness according to, the
period allotted to each.
6. D. C. 7 has ' mn ' for ' mna '.
7. ‘akil trin malkia’ (Af. of KUL or KIL = (a) to measure, compute, (b) to complete,
finish, to endure for, last). Here doubtful. " Two reigns "?
8. Acommentary on the prayer ‘Tushiban’ ( see M.L.P 131) has ‘ and where it said
‘Turn away, cast cub, remove and bring to naught angels of wrath, ice and hail from
the land and house of N. son of N.’, these are the four mysteries, blood, gall, wind and
mucus; they are the angels of wrath ice, hail hunger and thirst from which the soul
was freed ‘’. (Blood, gall, venting wind, and mucus or spittle, are polluting in the eyes
of Mandaeans). The passage occurs in the Alma Rishaia Rba (D. C. 4L).
Haran Gawaita
(Bt) the habiliments of the soul are formed of mystery1, light and the jordan; the sod
is formed by proper observance2 of the three mysteries, by purification3 of the four
natural humours is the soul's vestment formed4. For this' is the eighth world, and
it will turn from this 'habiliment, this ‘garment’ -in which it dwelleth; it will not tarry
(During) this Arab age every evil creature multipleth like evil weeds that grow
apace, and peoples, nations and languages disperse and become measureless and
numberless, like the Darkness that came into being with abundance 5.
Hibil-Ziwa taught that ‘’At the latter end of the world, when the Arab, the Sonof-
Slaughter, hath completed his (allotted) four thousand years, it will come to pass
that the false messiah, son of Miriam, will succeed him, and that he will come and
will show forth signs (wonders) in the world until the birds and the fish from see and
rivers open their mouths and bless him and give testimony, until (even) the clay and
mud brick in a building bear witness to him, and until four-legged creatures open their
mouths and testify to him’’ 6.
And Hibil-Ziwa explained (further): ‘’ (But) you, O Nasoraeans, and righteous
elect men, testify not to him, for he is a fake Messiah that walketh by fraud and
sorcery. He is Mercury, who attracteth attention7 and doth whatsoever he wisheth and
his mind is filled with sorcery and frauds. I declare to you, (ye) chosen righteous ones
and (ye) perfect ones that that are stedfast, abide by this pure line of separation8 and
alter no word or command of the great Father
1 .The word ‘raza’ (mystery) is especially applied to ritual meals consumed in the
name of the dead.
2. ‘Tuqna’, see p. 18, n. 1, and p. 16, n. 6.
3. ‘shfita’ as several meanings: (a) purification, cleansing, (b) lucidity, clearness . (c)
rushing-out , pouring forth , coming in abundance.
4. D. C. 9 has ‘stararlh bshuba lbushia’ , D. C. 36 ‘stararlh lbusha’.
5. See note 3.
6.Cr.Ginza Rba (left side):- ‘’ It will happen that the false Messiah will come and
become lord of the world … From East to West he will come in a day and even
clay brick will testify to him from’’ (G. R- P. 414).See also Pognon, op- cit, PP155
and 226.
7. D.C. 36 ‘mlagat anina’ ; D.C.9 ‘ mlagtia aninia’ lit. ’holdeth eyes’.
8. ‘Misra’ (see p. 16, n. 4).
Haran Gawaita
of Glory, that He may take, you by the hand, watch over you and deliver you out of
the hands of the children1 of Krun’ 2.
Hibil-Ziwa taught: ‘’When the Messiah hath returned, ascending to the sky and
his reign will last six thousand years he will ascend and assume his first body. From
that epoch until worlds end, wickedness will depart from the world; that which issued
from the earth will enter the earth and that which descended from the sky will return
and enter the sky. And there will be righteous3 people in the world, and no man will
covet his neighbour's goods. And people's senses will return to them and they will not
perform circumcision; they will be converted and Nasoraeans will increase in the
world. The eye of envy4 will be lifted from them and the sword will depart from the
world. It will be as if the sword brought by the Son of Darkness 5, he whose sword
was of the world of Satan7, had never been in the world 6. And with it (goeth?) a
force which he possessed not in the world 8, until Mars came and set up his sign and
bound him thereto by oath.
‘’(Pea), there will be righteous people and government will revert to sons of the
Great Family of Life, and they will be diligent and have the ascendance. (But) kings
bring accusation against the age, just as the Root of Nasoraeans reprove it9, for,
before all (else) they cared for agriculture and gladdened the king (?)l0. And people
will be converted, and there will be righteous people and righteousness will increase.
And fifty thousand years will pass in calm ease without disturbance, and all will keep
to one word (speak one language?), and there will be no hatred, envy or dissension
amongst them, and ill-will1 shall be removed from the minds of all peoples, nations
and tongues’’.
Hibil-Ziwa explained (further): ‘’When (these) portents occur
1. D. C. 36 ‘bnh d bnh d Krun’ ; D. C. 9 ‘bnh d Akrun’.
2. Krun (Chronos?) is a ruler of the world of darkness or under-world.
3. Or " perfect ".
4. Or " crookedness of vision ".
5. D.C.9 has ‘balma’ ; D.C.36 ‘alma’. Here D.C.9 seems the more likely.
6. ‘Ayum’. Cf. the spirit in G. R. called ‘Daium’ (Of-Darkness).
7. D. C. 9 has ‘aita’ (deception, illusion) for ‘Shaitana’ (Satan).
8. D. C. 36 has ‘alma’ after ‘balma’, making the sentence " force he had not in the
world until Mars cometh and set up his sign '?.
9. D. C. 9 has ‘maukia’ (Af. NKA); D. C. 36 ‘malkria’. Context indicates that D. C. 9
is the more likely word here.
10. The whole passage is obscure, and translated tentative.
11. ‘Zira’ is obviously a miswriting for either ‘zida’(wrath ,malice ). Or ‘zhira’
(resentment, venom). ‘ ill-will’ covers both meanings.
Haran Gawaita
and the time hath came; those fifty. thousand years1 will be my allotted portion, mine,
Yawar-Ziwa's, because the first age was (the age of). Anush-Uthra and it’s
consummation (or ‘development’)2 was bestowed upon me, Hibil-Yawar-Ziwa.
‘’ Then the latter part of the age and the decadence and end of the world will be
given to Mamit3 the Least-of-her-Brethren 4;(her portion) followeth my portion,
‘’Thus the latter end of the age and the decadence and final end of the world
is given to Mamit daughter of Qin 5, the mother of the Seven (who?) occupied seven
portions, and the eighth was given to Amamit as hers, for her own. And as the utter
end of light meaneth 6 the beginning of total darkness, so the portion of Qin, the
decadence of the Arab age and the end of the eighth world (succeeded mine)’’8.
Hibil-Ziwa - praised be his name! - taught concerning the Word, that is the
Great Mystery: ‘’ This writing, that is the Diwan of the Great Revelation from the
beginning of worlds of light unto the end of the eighth world, this Road of the
Righteous shall not I fail, because it is (concerneth?} the portion of Father-Life, the
Ancient, the First - praised be His name!
‘’ Let every man of the Nasoraeans and Mandaeans who may be living in the
eighth world be steadfast and bear testimony and according to this reliable basis, and
with a sincere heart and believing lips be of my allotted portion, mine the High king
of light, thereby HabShaba (Sunday) 9 may be his deliverer, and save him from the
children10 of Krun; and I will set him at my right hand.
(But) any Nasoraean or Mandaean that is of the True Root, yet doth not bear
testimony to this Road of the Righteous but testifieth according to the way of Ruha,
their words have I rejected. (such a one) will not be my- allotted portion but will
belong to Ruha
1. D. C. 36 has ‘zibnia’ for ‘shnia’.
2.Pa. of SQM (to complete, make perfect, consummate, develop).
3.D. C. 9 has Amamit for Mamit throughout. Amamit appears in the Ginza -Rba as
the wife of Zartai-Zartanai (a king of the underworld) and as an epithet for Libat
(Venus). The word ‘mamit’ (in Hebrew) = ‘death’, ‘pestilence’.
4. ‘Ahia’ = Geschwister , i.e. both brothers and sisters.
5. Qin a queen in the underworld.
6. ‘tbiat’ ,(Ethpa. BUA. To produce, bring about, result in).
7. D. C. 9 has ‘ushfulta’ for ‘shifulta’.
8. A free translation. See p. 18, n. 5.
9. ‘Habshaba’ ( the first day of the week) is personified by Mandaeans as a saviourspirit.
10 see p. 20, n. 1.
Haran Gawaita
And the Messiah, HabShaba will not be his helper, and he will not be delivered out of
the hands of the sons of Krun’’.
These doctrines were imparted by Hibil-Ziwa to the sons of the great family of
Life. And he enlighteneth their minds and instructed their intelligence about the King
of Light - praised be His name!
And this is a copy of the Diwan d Gadana Rabtia1. Finis2.
This is the Diwan of Great Revelation called the Harm Gawaita which I
copied for myself for the third time. I am poor, striving and childlike, a slave that is
all sin, (unworthy to) kiss the shoes on the feet of Nasoraeans, dust beneath the feet of
the pious and least amongst my fellow Ganzivri 3. I am Zakia-Zihrun son of Rabbi
Ram son of Rabbi Yahia-Yuhana son of Rabbi Ram son of Yahia-Baktiar son of
Rabbi Adam-Mhatam son of Rabbi Bihram-Brhiia son of Rabbi Adam-Zalcia son of
Rabbi Brhiia, family name Kuhailia. I copied from my own copy a third time. I am
Zakia-Zihrun son of Rabbi Ram son of Rabbi Yahia-Yuhana son of Rabbi ... 4
family name Kuhailia ... from a copy of a Diwan belonging the great, lofty and
respected one, a reliable priest, Rabbi Mhatam son of Yahia-Bayan son of Yuhana-
Bayan son of Zakria-Br-Hibil son of Zakria, known as Dihdaria, and his family name
Sabur. And he had no copy but this. And Life is victorious, Finis.
Thus this venerated Diwan,, Explanations and Great Revelation called the
Haran Gawaita was set in order and completed on Friday the twenty-sixth of the,
Month of Second Sowing, which is Nisan (in the, sign of) the Ram, the year of Friday
in the year one thousand, and eighty-eight of Arab chronology - may the (world)
founder, upon them, and Manda-d-Hiia make impotent their raging against the great
Congregation of Souls! (It was copied) in the city of Shushtar by the waters of the
Duganda and in the court of the respected craftsman Nairuz son of Hadat, his name
being Yahia son of Bihram son of Adam son of Yuhana-shadan son of Zakria-br
Hibil son of Zakria son of Zihrun, known as Dihdaria, his family name being Sabur -
may Manda-d-Hiia forgive him his sins. So
l. Gad was the Babylonian gad of good fortune, to whom even Jewish exiles paid
tribute. ‘Gadana’ = ‘fortunate, auspicious’ or ‘divine’, ‘godlike’.
2.S. . . . . .a = ‘Saka’, terminus, end.
3. A ‘Garnzibra’ is a rank above ‘Tarmida’ ‘priest’.
4. A break.
5. I.e. a year which began on a Friday.
6. A ‘tarbasa’ appears to have been. a three-walled chamber, the open side of which
fronts an outer courtyard or private garden.
7. That is , his ‘malwasha’: see p. 10 n. 1.
Haran Gawaita
these venerated Diwans were assembled from beginning to end with care, knowledge
and meticulous research. And my co-editor was my elder brother, a reliable and
skilful priest, Rabbi Yahia- Yuhana son of Rabbi Ram (his) family name being
Kuhailia. Manda-a-Hiia forgive him his sins!
(Here the text of D.C. 36 breaks off. An autobiographical note added about 168 years
later conclude the manuscript. It describes an outbreak of cholera which carried off
the entire Mandaean priesthood, and the uncanonical methods resorted to in order that
a few literate members of priestly families could be ordained as priests) l.
D. C. 9, (copied by the same priest who wrote the autobiographical appendix
added to D. C. 36) ends:
‘’This is the Diwan of Great Revelation called Haran Gawaita which I, poor
and lowly (etc.) Ram Zihrun son of Rabbi Sam-Bihram (etc. etc.)
copied from two Diwans ... ‘’.
One of the two was a copy of a copy of a copy of the Haran Gawaita of D. C. 36, and
the other is also traced back to D. C. 36
so that it seems likely that by 1088 A. H. only one ancient and imperfect copy had
1 . See pp. 67-8 and Translator's note.
Notes of the Re-editor
This Diwan (Haran Gawaita) considered to be truly the only Mandaean historical
record, despite some notes written here and their in the colophons of the other
Mandaeans books and texts. But this Diwan is the only text which talks about the
Mandaean immigration from Jerusalem to the Media area and then their settlement
south of Mesopotamia. Careful examination of this text yelled of some points :-
1- The text starts with the immigration of 60000 Nasoraeans to the Median Hills
where there fellow Nasoraeans, living under the rule of the king Ardban
(Artabanus), and the text explain that the reason was the domination of the
Jews of Jerusalem which the Nasoraeans considered evil. The rest of the text
talk about how they build (Bimandia) and were free in their warship till their
end. The text did not note any second immigration from that place. The text
open the door of assumptions about The true relation with the Parthian
dynasty, the text mentions more than once the protection of the king Ardban
(Artubanos) during the immigration and also talks about that king and his
descendents as Nasoraeans!!! The history mentions fights between the king
Artubanos and Moses and call him (Artubanos of Alexandria), does the
Nasoraeans allied with that king because they consider the Jews evil?
2- It tell that the Jews loved their God Adnai and for that Mary who is a Jews
bear a child which was hidden inside her and bewitched her…. That means her
son was from that evil god , the writer here justify Jesus later actions by
linking him to the evil god. The text explain that Jesus changed the
Nasoraeans true faith and teachings and allowed his followers to eat the food
that the Mandaeans consider improper. and called himself a God and perverted
the people and even some of the Nasoraeans.
3- Then the story continued to talk about John the Baptist , but who comes
first???. The miracles which said to be preformed by Anush-Uthra (one of the
great life messengers to earth) ones and by Yahea-Yuhana second, and the
Christians refer it to Jesus, could be more than one person in that area in that
time perform the same miracles??. It can be a person with a healing abilities
and that is not so strange preformed that ‘’miracles’’ at that time and now
every group wants to link him to them!!. The whole point here is a person took
the power from the Jews.
4- The story of the John the Baptist Baptism to Jesus is not mentioned in this text
at all, and the story of his death is very short with out any details unlike the
story in Drasha-d-Yahea which tell his death in details explaining that Mandad-
Haii came in person and grasped his hand so his body fall on the Jordan
side, Mandaeans consider this story is the only true and do not believe in the
history records which shows that he was killed in the prison. And that is
understandable because he was important figure in their faith.
5- The text talk about how the Jews crossed the river and build re-build their
Temple, could that be a hint for the Persian Impair concur of Babylon by
crossing the Euphrates river and then realising the Jews at 539 BCE to return
to Jerusalem and re-build their Temple?. The text continue to tell the story of
the revenge from the Jews after they became strong and killed the Nasoraeans,
the story goes and comes between Baghdad and Jerusalem as if the two cities
are next to each other!. From the date of the Jews return till the destruction of
Jerusalem is a long time may be about 400 years and Babylon and Baghdad
faced many wars and conquests which the narrator did not mention at all.
6- The destruction of Jerusalem may be at the Hand of the Roman Impairer Titus
in 70 B.C.E amazingly told in a legendary way describing it as an act from
the Great father of Glory?. as a punishment for the Jews for their killing of the
all Nasoraeans. But the Nasoraeans still exist? And the war and the siege
against Jerusalem was because the Jews rebellion against the Roman. I do not
know if it is worthy to mention that the name of the son of that Impairer was
Titus Flavius Sabinus. And Sabine is a region in ancient Italy.
7- The narrator continue to explain that after Anush-Uthar destroyed and killed
all the Jews , he brought Bihra son of Sitil the descendent of Ardban king of
the Nasoraeans from Median Mountains which is called Harran Gawaita and
in his company 60000 Nasoraeans to Baghdad. This story needs to be
examined carefully.
8- The text stat clearly the name of the city in which the Nasoraeans lived as
Baghdad, but E.S. Drower think it is Babylon instead. I do not agree with her
cause the name of the city Baghdad is an ancient name and there are more than
one theory about it’s origin, one theory say it is Persian name and other say
Turkish name but it may be a Mandaean name after all!! Dr.Qais Al-Saadi say
that Baghdad name is an ancient Aramaic name contains from tow parts, the
first is the Ba which comes from the word (Bet = house), and the second part
is (Gdada = sheep), so BaGdad = house of the sheep.
9- We notice in this text that every bad incident interpreted as an act of the Evil
and legendary story attached to it and it is always followed by a revenge from
the Great life, even the dispute between the Nasoraeans priests and the ideas of
the Rishama Qiqil which was allegedly written and distributed, here also we
find that the indirectly the Jews was blamed for it, the writer mentions a
Nasoraeans from Jewish seeds. Does that mean that the Nasoraeans were
allowed to marry Jews just before the Arab era?
10- The Islamic-Arab era and the persecution the Nasoraeans faced then, the text
have clear description about that ear and the effect on the Nasoraeans whom
their sanctuaries reduced in numbers and their living in fear of their lives, and
that is clear even when the copyist documenting the date of his copy at the
time of the Arab he write a note wishing that the Great Life protect the
Nasoraeans form the Muslims , that all inspired the ideas of that the era of the
Islam was from the Ruha ( the power of evil ) and will be succeeded by a
peaceful ear ruled by Jesus again.
However this Diwan is short and it’s narrative mostly legendary but the Mandaeans
truly lucky to have it survive the immigrations and fights and occupations and harsh
environments. To deliver the only clues about their origin, this text clearly tell that the
Nasoraeans lived in Jerusalem and Media region and Babylon and their numbered
varied between 60000 to few members depending on the state of peace or war they
have been in, but yet with all that they never disappeared and we find thorough out
the text they re-appear always. Babylon was under the Persian Impair rule for long
centuries and we find that in the names of some of the characters mentioned in the
One can not tell how exactly the Mandaeans survived all that long time but I may
speculate it’s reason to be allaying with who ever rule them and keep peaceful relation
with any government unlike the Jews who fight always. We still find this tendency for
peace in every corner of the Mandaean faith as well as the Mandaean personal
character. They adapted a way of living which ensured their existence and protection
by not mixing with their surroundings, one can notice for example the strong
influence of the Arabic-Islamic culture over the Mandaeans of today like they adapted
Arabic names and clothes and behaviours and language even if that in some cases
rejected by the orthodox faith but they had to survive.
in the text their was a hint for ( a Jewish seeds) just before the Arab era, but with a
centuries long hatred does the Nasoraeans and the Jews married from each others???
Personally I dismiss that idea however the Iraqi Jews and the Mandaeans look alike to
a degree that no one can distinguish between them.
The description given for the Arab era in this text is precisely correct, and also we see
how the Nasoraeans protected themselves my learning the Arabic language and
reading the Muslims book and finding the name (Sabians) in their book which match
one of the Mandaeans names and convincing the Muslims rulers at the time when the
Islamic army concurred the Sassaneis.
The strange that the Islamic priests till the present day argue about who is that
(Sabians) mentioned in their book and even some of them issued a killing order
against them accusing them of being (not believers), so it was really clever movement
form the Nasoraeans of that age to act in that way which protect the Mandaesim till
the present day.