Transcendental idealism

Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century. Kant’s doctrine maintains that human experience of things is similar to the way they appear to us — implying a fundamentally subject-based component, rather than being an activity that directly (and therefore without any obvious causal link) comprehends the things as they are in and of themselves. Continue reading “Transcendental idealism”

Subjective Idealism

Subjective idealism, or empirical idealism, is the monistic metaphysical doctrine that only minds and mental contents exist. It entails and is generally identified or associated with immaterialism, the doctrine that physical things do not exist. Subjective idealism rejects dualism, neutral monism, and materialism; indeed, it is the contrary of eliminative materialism, the doctrine that only physical things, and no mental things, exist.

Continue reading “Subjective Idealism”

Objective Idealism

Objective idealism is an idealistic metaphysics that postulates that there is in an important sense only one perceiver, and that this perceiver is one with that which is perceived. One important advocate of such a metaphysics, Josiah Royce, wrote that he was indifferent “whether anybody calls all this Theism or Pantheism“. Plato is regarded as one of the earliest representatives of objective idealism.[1] It is distinct from the subjective idealism of George Berkeley, and it abandons the thing-in-itself of Kant‘s dualism. Continue reading “Objective Idealism”

Neutral Monism

Neutral monism, in philosophy, is the metaphysical view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves “neutral,” that is, neither physical nor mental. This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally different things. Rather, neutral monism claims the universe consists of only one kind of stuff, in the form of neutral elements that are in themselves neither mental nor physical. These neutral elements might have the properties of color and shape, just as we experience those properties. But these shaped and colored elements do not exist in a mind (considered as a substantial entity, whether dualistically or physicalistically); they exist on their own. Continue reading “Neutral Monism”

Manichaeism

Manichaeism (ˈmænɨkɪzəm/;[1] in Modern Persian آیین مانی Āyin e Māni; Chinese: ; pinyin: Jiào) was a major gnostic religion, originating in Sassanid era Babylonia. Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani (in Persian: مانی, Syriac: ܡܐܢܝ, Latin: Manichaeus or Manes) (c. 216–276 CE) have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.

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Mandaeism

Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Modern Mandaic: מנדעיותא‎ Mandaʻiūtā, Arabic: مندائية‎ Mandā’iyyah, Persian: مندائیان‎ Mandå’iyyån) is a gnostic religion (Aramaic manda means “knowledge”, as does Greek gnosis) with a strongly dualistic worldview.

Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist, but reject Jesus of Nazareth and are hostile to Christianity.[1][2] They are sometimes identified with mentions in the Quran of the Sabian religion, particularly in an Arabian context, but the Sabian religious community is extinct today.

According to most scholars, Mandaeans migrated from the Southern Levant to Mesopotamia in the first centuries CE and are certainly of pre-Arab and pre-Islamic origin. They are Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. They may well be related to the “Nabateans of Iraq” who were pagan, Aramaic speaking indigenous pre-Arab and pre-Islamic inhabitants of southern Iraq.[3]

Mandaeans appear to have settled in northern Mesopotamia, but the religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. There are thought to be between 60,000 and 70,000 Mandaeans worldwide,[4] and until the 2003 Iraq war, almost all of them lived in Iraq.[5] Many Mandaean Iraqis have since fled their country (as have many other Iraqis) because of religious persecution by the Muslim majority and turmoil created by the War on Terror.[6] By 2007, the population of Mandaeans in Iraq had fallen to approximately 5,000.[5] Most Mandaean Iraqis have sought refuge in Iran with the fellow Mandaeans there. Others have moved to northern Iraq. There has been a much smaller influx into Syria and Jordan, with smaller populations in Sweden, Australia, the United States, and other Western countries.

The Mandaeans have remained separate and intensely private—reports of them and of their religion have come primarily from outsiders, particularly from the Orientalist Julius Heinrich Petermann, Nicolas Siouffi a Yazidi (1880), and Lady Drower. An Anglican vicar, Rev. Peter Owen-Jones, included a short segment on a Mandaean group in Sydney, Australia, in his BBC series Around the World in 80 Faiths.

Origin of Mandaeism

The term Mandaeism comes from Classical Mandaic Mandaiia and appears in Neo-Mandaic as Mandeyānā. On the basis of cognates in other Aramaic dialects, Semiticists such as Mark Lidzbarski and Rudolf Macuch have translated the term manda, from which Mandaiia derives, as “knowledge” (cf. Aramaic מַנְדַּע mandaʻ in Dan. 2:21, 4:31, 33, 5:12; cpr. Hebrew: מַדַּע‎ maddaʻ without the nasal insert). This etymology suggests that the Mandaeans may well be the only sect surviving from late Antiquity to identify themselves explicitly as Gnostics.

Other scholars[who?] derive the term mandaiia from Mandā d-Heyyi (Mandaic manda ḏ-hiia “Knowledge of Life”, reference to the chief divinity hiia rbia “the Great Life”) or from the word (bi)manda, which is the cultic hut in which many Mandaean ceremonies are performed (such as the baptism, which is the central sacrament of Mandaean religious life). This last term is possibly to be derived from Pahlavi m’nd mānd (“house”).[citation needed]

Other associated terms

Within the Middle East, but outside of their community, the Mandaeans are more commonly known as the Ṣubba (singular Ṣubbī). The term Ṣubba is derived from the Aramaic root related to baptism, the neo-Mandaic is Ṣabi.[7] In Islam, the term “Sabians” (Arabic: الصابئون‎ al-Ṣābiʾūn) is used as a blanket term for adherents to a number of religions, including that of the Mandaeans, in reference to the Sabians of the Qur’an (see below). Occasionally, Mandaeans are called Christians of Saint John, based upon preliminary reports made by members of the Discalced Carmelite mission in Basra during the 16th century.

A mandá (Arabic: مندى‎) is a place of worship for followers of Mandaeism. A mandá must be built beside a river in order to perform maṣbattah (baptism) because water is an essential element in the Mandaeic faith. Modern mandás sometimes have a bath inside a building instead.

Mandaean history

The evidence about Mandaean history has been almost entirely confined to some of the Mandaen religious literature. Suggestions that Mandaeism had a pre-Christian origin are rejected by most scholars.[8]

Arab sources of early Qur’anic times (7th century) make some references to Sabians. They are counted among the Ahl al-Kitāb (People of the Book), and several hadith feature them. Some scholars hold that these Sabians are those currently referred to as Mandaeans, while others contend that the etymology of the root word ‘Sabi’un’ points to origins either in the Syriac or Mandaic word ‘Sabian’, and suggest that the Mandaean religion originated with Sabeans who came under the influence of early Hellenic Sabian missionaries, but preferred their own priesthood. The Sabians believed to “belong to the prophet Noah”;[9] similarly, the Mandaeans claim direct ancestry from Noah.

Early in the 9th century, a group in the northern Mesopotamian city of Harran declared themselves Sabians when facing persecution; an Assyrian Christian writer[who?][when?] said that the true ‘Sabians’ or Sabba lived in the marshes of Lower Iraq. The earliest account we have about the Mandaeans is that of the Assyrian writer Theodore Bar Konai (in the Scholion, A.D. 792). In the Fihrist (“Book of Nations”) of Arabic scholar Al-Nadim (an c.987), the Mogtasilah (Mughtasila…, “self-ablutionists”) are counted among the followers of El-Hasaih. Called a “sect” of “Sabians”, they are located in southern Mesopotamia.[10] No verbatim reference to Mandaeans, which were a distinct group by then, seems to have been made by Al-Nadim; Mogtasilah was not that group’s endonym, and the few details on rituals and habit are similar to Mandaeans ones. Mogtasilah may thus have been Al-Nadim’s term for the Mandaeans, but they may just as well have been a related group which does not exist anymore today.

In any case, Elchasai’s religious community seems to have prospered but ultimately splintered; early on, the prophet Mani renounced Judaism and departed with his followers. Likewise, the Mandaeans may have originated in a schism where they renounced the Torah, while the mainstream Sampsaeans[citation needed] held on to it (as Elchasai’s followers did); this must have happened around the mid-late 1st millennium AD. Al-Biruni (writing at the beginning of the 11th century AD) said that the ‘real Sabians’ were “the remnants of the Jewish tribes who remained in Babylonia 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.”[11] It is not clear what group he referred to exactly, for by then the Elchasaite sects may have been at their most diverse. Some disappeared subsequently, the Sampsaeans for example are not well attested in later sources. The Ginza Rba, one of the chief holy scriptures of the Mandaeans, appears to originate around the time of Elchasai or somewhat thereafter (see below); unfortunately, none of the Manichaean scriptures has survived in its entirety, and as it seems the remaining fragments have not been compared to the Ginza Rba.

Around 1290, a learned Dominican Catholic from Tuscany, Ricoldo da Montecroce, or Ricoldo Pennini, was in Mesopotamia where he met the Mandaeans. He described them as follows:

“A very strange and singular people, in terms of their rituals, lives in the desert near Baghdad; they are called Sabaeans. Many of them came to me and begged me insistently to go and visit them. They are a very simple people and they claim to possess a secret law of God, which they preserve in beautiful books. Their writing is a sort of middle way between Syriac and Arabic. They detest Abraham because of circumcision and they venerate John the Baptist above all. They live only near a few rivers in the desert. They wash day and night so as not to be condemned by God, …”

Some Portuguese Jesuits had met some “Saint John Christians” or Mandaeans around the Strait of Hormuz in 1559, when the Portuguese fleet fought with the Ottoman Turkish army in Bahrain. These Mandaean seemed to be willing to obey the Catholic Church. They learned and used the seven Catholic sacraments and the related ceremonies in their lives.[12]

Mandaean beliefs

Mandaeism, as the religion of the Mandaean people, is based more on a common heritage than on any set of religious creeds and doctrines. A basic guide to Mandaean theology does not exist. The corpus of Mandaean literature, though quite large, covers topics such as eschatology, the knowledge of God, and the afterlife only in an unsystematic manner, and, apart from the priesthood, is known only to a few laypeople.[13]

Fundamental tenets

According to E.S. Drower, the Mandaean Gnosis is characterized by nine features, which appear in various forms in other gnostic sects:[14]

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

Mandaeans believe in marriage and procreation, and in the importance of leading an ethical and moral lifestyle in this world, placing a high priority upon family life. Consequently, Mandaeans do not practice celibacy or asceticism. Mandaeans will, however, abstain from strong drink and red meat. While they agree with other gnostic sects that the world is a prison governed by the planetary archons, they do not view it as a cruel and inhospitable one.

Mandaean scriptures

The Mandaeans have a large corpus of religious scriptures, the most important of which is the Genzā Rabbā or Ginza, a collection of history, theology, and prayers (German translation available here).[15] The Genzā Rabbā is divided into two halves—the Genzā Smālā or “Left Ginza” and the Genzā Yeminā or “Right Ginza”. By consulting the colophons in the Left Ginza, Jorunn J. Buckley has identified an uninterrupted chain of copyists to the late 2nd or early 3rd c. AD. The colophons attest to the existence of the Mandaeans or their predecessors during the late Arsacid period at the very latest, a fact corroborated by the Harrān Gāwetā legend, according to which the Mandaeans left Judea after the destruction of Jerusalem in the 1st c. CE, and settled within the Arsacid empire. Although the Ginza continued to evolve under the rule of the Sassanians and the Islamic empires, few textual traditions can lay claim to such extensive continuity.

Other important books include the Qolastā, the “Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans”, which was translated by E.S. Drower (much of it is found here).[16] and here[17] One of the chief works of Mandaean scripture, accessible to laymen and initiates alike, is the Draša D-Iahia “The Book of John the Baptist” (text; German translation), which includes a dialogue between John and Jesus. In addition to the Ginza, Qolusta, and Draša, there is the Dīvān, which contains a description of the ‘regions’ the soul ascends through, and the Asfar Malwāshē, the “Book of the Zodiacal Constellations”. Finally, there are some pre-Muslim artifacts which contain Mandaean writings and inscriptions, such as some Aramaic incantation bowls.

The language in which the Mandaean religious literature was originally composed is known as Mandaic, and is a member of the Aramaic family of dialects. It is written in a cursive variant of the Parthian chancellory script. Many Mandaean lay people do not speak this language, though some members of the Mandaean community resident in Iran and Iraq continue to speak Neo-Mandaic, a modern version of this language.

Cosmology

As noted above (under Mandaean Beliefs) Mandaean theology is not systematic. There is no one single authoritative account of the creation of the cosmos, but rather a series of several accounts. Some scholars, such as Edmondo Lupieri,[18] maintain that comparison of these different accounts may reveal the diverse religious influences upon which the Mandaeans have drawn and the ways in which the Mandaean religion has evolved over time.

In contrast with the religious texts of the western Gnostic sects formerly found in Syria and Egypt, the earliest Mandaean religious texts suggest a more strictly dualistic theology, typical of other Iranian religions such as Zoroastrianism, Zurvanism, Manichaeism, and the teachings of Mazdak. In these texts, instead of a large pleroma, there is a discrete division between light and darkness. The ruler of darkness is called Ptahil (similar to the Gnostic Demiurge), and the originator of the light (i.e. God) is only known as “the great first Life from the worlds of light, the sublime one that stands above all works”. When this being emanated, other spiritual beings became increasingly corrupted, and they and their ruler Ptahil created our world. The name Ptahil is suggestive of the Egyptian Ptah—the Mandaeans believe that they were resident in Egypt for a while—joined to the semitic El, meaning “god”.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Ptahil alone does not constitute the demiurge but only fills that role insofar as he is the creator of our world. Rather, Ptahil is the lowest of a group of three “demiurgic” beings, the other two being Yushamin (a.k.a. Joshamin) and Abathur. Abathur’s demiurgic role consists of his sitting in judgment upon the souls of mortals. The role of Yushamin, the senior being, is more obscure; wanting to create a world of his own, he was severely punished for opposing the King of Light. Lupieri observes that he is generally considered a positive figure nevertheless. The name may derive from Iao haš-šammayim (in Hebrew: Yahweh “of the heavens”).[19]

Chief prophets

Mandaeans recognize several prophets. Yahya ibn Zakariyya, known by Christians as John the Baptist, is accorded a special status, higher than his role in Christianity and Islam. Mandaeans do not consider John to be the founder of their religion but revere him as one of their greatest teachers, tracing their beliefs back to Adam.

Mandaeans maintain that Jesus was a mšiha kdaba “false messiah[20] who perverted the teachings entrusted to him by John. The Mandaic word k(a)daba, however, might be interpreted as being derived from either of two roots: the first root, meaning “to lie,” is the one traditionally ascribed to Jesus; the second, meaning “to write,” might provide a second meaning, that of “book”; hence some Mandaeans, motivated perhaps by an ecumenical spirit, maintain that Jesus was not a “lying Messiah” but a “book Messiah”, the “book” in question presumably being the Christian Gospels. This seems to be a folk etymology without support in the Mandaean texts.[21]

Likewise, the Mandaeans believe that Abraham and Moses were false prophets,[22] but recognize other prophetic figures from the Abrahamic traditions, such as Adam, his sons Hibil (Abel) and Šitil (Seth), and his grandson Anuš (Enosh), as well as Nuh (Noah), his son Sam (Shem) and his son Ram (Aram). The latter three they consider to be their direct ancestors.

Mandaeans consider the holy spirit that is known as Ruha d-Qudsha in the Talmud and Bible to be an evil being.

Priests and laymen

There is a strict division between Mandaean laity and the priests. According to E.S. Drower (The Secret Adam, p. ix):

[T]hose amongst the community who possess secret knowledge are called Naṣuraiia—Naṣoreans (or, if the emphatic ‹ṣ› is written as ‹z›, Nazorenes). At the same time the ignorant or semi-ignorant laity are called ‘Mandaeans’, Mandaiia—’gnostics’. When a man becomes a priest he leaves ‘Mandaeanism’ and enters tarmiduta, ‘priesthood’. Even then he has not attained to true enlightenment, for this, called ‘Naṣiruta’, is reserved for a very few. Those possessed of its secrets may call themselves Naṣoreans, and ‘Naṣorean’ today indicates not only one who observes strictly all rules of ritual purity, but one who understands the secret doctrine.[23]

There are three grades of priesthood in Mandaeism: the tarmidia “disciples” (Neo-Mandaic tarmidānā), the ganzibria “treasurers” (from Old Persian ganza-bara “id.”, Neo-Mandaic ganzeḇrānā) and the rišamma “leader of thknowledge title=pSaint John Christians /pe people.” This last office, the highest level of the Mandaean priesthood, has lain vacant for many years. At the moment, the highest office currently occupied is that of the ganzeḇrā, a title which appears first in a religious context in the Aramaic ritual texts from Persepolis (ca. 3rd c. BCE) and which may be related to the kamnaskires (Elamite <qa-ap-nu-iš-ki-ra> kapnuskir “treasurer”), title of the rulers of Elymais (modern Khuzestan) during the Hellenistic age. Traditionally, any ganzeḇrā who baptizes seven or more ganzeḇrānā may qualify for the office of rišamma, though the Mandaean community has yet to rally as a whole behind any single candidate.

The contemporary priesthood can trace its immediate origins to the first half of the 19th century. In 1831, an outbreak of cholera devastated the region and eliminated most if not all of the Mandaean religious authorities. Two of the surviving acolytes (šgandia), Yahia Bihram and Ram Zihrun, reestablished the priesthood on the basis of their own training and the texts that were available to them.

In 2009 there were two dozen Mandaean priests in the world, according to the Associated Press.[24]

Possibly related groups

Elcesaites

According to the Fihrist of ibn al-Nadim, the Mesopotamian prophet Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, was brought up within the Elkasaites (Elcesaites or Elchasaite) sect, this being confirmed more recently by the Cologne Mani Codex. The Elkasaites were a Judeo-Christian baptismal sect which seem to have been related, possibly ancestral, to the Mandaeans (see Sabians). The members of this sect, like the Mandaeans, wore white and performed baptisms. They dwelt in east Judea and Assyria, whence the Mandaeans claim to have migrated to southern Mesopotamia, according to the Harran Gawaitā legend. Mani later left the Elkasaites to found his own religion. In a comparative analysis, Mandaean scholar Säve-Söderberg indicated that Mani’s Psalms of Thomas were closely related to Mandaean texts [25]. This would imply that Mani had access to Mandaean religious literature, or both derived from the same source.

4th-century Nazarenes

The Haran Gawaita uses the name Nasoreans for the Mandaeans arriving from Jerusalem. Consequently the Mandaeans have been connected with the 4th-century Nazarenes (sect) described by Epiphanius.

Dositheans

They are connected with the Dositheans by Theodore Bar Kōnī in his Scholion.

Mughtasila, baptizers

Ibn al-Nadim also mentions a group called the Mughtasila, “the self-ablutionists”, who may be identified with one or the other of these groups. The members of this sect, like the Mandaeans, wore white and performed baptisms.

Identifications

Whether groups such as the Elkasaites, the Mughtasila, the Nasoraeans, and the Dositheans can be identified with the Mandaeans or one another is a difficult question. While it seems certain that a number of distinct groups are intended by these names, the nature of these sects and the connections between them are less than clear. At least according to the Fihrist (see above), these groups seem all to have emerged from or developed in parallel with the “Sabian” followers of El-Hasaih; “Elkasaites” in particular may simply have been a blanket term for Mughtasila, Mandaeans, the original Sabians and even Manichaeans.

Mandaeans today

Mandaeans
Mandeyānā

Mandeans.JPG
Mandeans in Iraq

Total population

60,000 to 70,000[4]

Regions with significant populations

Iraq

70,000 (until 2003); 7,000 (as of 2010[update])

Iran

5,000 to 10,000,[24] 60,000 (2011)[26]

Jordan

?

Syria

?

Sweden

5,000[27]

Australia

3,500 to 5,000 [28][29]

United States

1,500 to 2,000

United Kingdom

1,000[30]

Canada

1,500[28]

Germany

1,200[31]

Denmark

150–200

Indonesia

23 [31]

Religions

Mandaeism

Scriptures

Ginza Rba, Qolusta

Languages

Mandaic
Arabic and Persian are also spoken

Mandaeans in Iraq

The pre-Iraq War Iraqi Mandaean community was centered around Baghdad.[32] Mandaean emigration from Iraq began during Saddam Hussein’s rule, but accelerated greatly after the American invasion and subsequent occupation.[32] Since the invasion Mandaeans, like other Iraqi ethno-religious minorities (such as Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidi, Roma and Shabaks), have been subjected to violence, including murders, kidnappings, rapes, evictions, and forced conversions.[32][33] Mandaeans, like many other Iraqis, have also been targeted for kidnapping since many worked as goldsmiths.[32] Mandaeism is pacifistic and forbids its adherents from carrying weapons,[32][34]

Many Iraqi Mandaeans have fled the country in the face of this violence, and the Mandaean community in Iraq faces extinction.[6][35] Out of the over 60,000 Mandaeans in Iraq in the early 1990s, only about 5,000 to 7,000 remain there; as of early 2007, over 80% of Iraqi Mandaeans were refugees in Syria and Jordan as a result of the Iraq War. There are small Mandaean diaspora populations in Sweden (c. 5,000), Australia (c. 3,500 as of 2006), the USA (c. 1,500), the UK (c. 1,000), and Canada.[6][36][37][38][39] Sweden became a popular destination because a Mandaean community existed there before the war and the Swedish government has a liberal asylum policy toward Iraqis.[40] The scattered nature of the Mandaean diaspora has raised fears among Mandaeans for the religion’s survival.[24][33] Mandaeism has no provision for conversion, and the religious status of Mandaeans who marry outside the faith and their children is disputed.[24][33]

The contemporary status of the Mandaeans has prompted a number of American intellectuals and civil rights activists to call upon the U.S. government to extend refugee status to the community. In 2007, The New York Times ran an op-ed piece in which Swarthmore professor Nathaniel Deutsch called for the Bush administration to take immediate action to preserve the community:

The United States didn’t set out to eradicate the Mandeans, one of the oldest, smallest and least understood of the many minorities in Iraq. This extinction in the making has simply been another unfortunate and entirely unintended consequence of our invasion of Iraq—though that will be of little comfort to the Mandeans, whose 2,000-year-old culture is in grave danger of disappearing from the face of the earth. . . . . When American forces invaded in 2003, there were probably 60,000 Mandeans in Iraq; today, fewer than 5,000 remain. . . . Of the mere 500 Iraqi refugees who were allowed into the United States from April 2003 to April 2007, only a few were Mandeans. And despite the Bush administration’s commitment to let in 7,000 refugees in the fiscal year that ended [September 30, 2007], fewer than 2,000, including just three Iraqi Mandean families, entered the country. If all Iraqi Mandeans are granted privileged status and allowed to enter the United States in significant numbers, it may just be enough to save them and their ancient culture from destruction. If not, after 2,000 years of history, of persecution and tenacious survival, the last Gnostics will finally disappear, victims of an extinction inadvertently set into motion by our nation’s negligence in Iraq.

—Nathaniel Deutsch, professor of religion, Swarthmore College, October 7, 2007[5]

Iraqi Mandaeans were given refugee status by the US State Department in 2007. Since then around 1200 have entered the US.[24] Many Mandaeans have began returning to Iraq during the past two years, as the circumstances in Iraq have improved.

Iranian Mandaeans

There were an estimated 5,000 and 10,000 Mandaeans in Iran.[24] Until the Iranian Revolution, Mandaeans had mainly been concentrated in the Khuzestan province,[26] where the community used to exist by side with the local Arab population.[26] They had mainly been practising the profession of goldsmith, passing it from generation to generation.[26] Since the fall of the shah, its members faced increased religious discrimination, and many sought a new home in Europe and the Americas. In 2002 the US State Department granted Iranian Mandaeans protective refugee status; since then roughly 1,000 have emigrated to the US,[24] now residing in cities such as San Antonio, Texas.[41]

Overall, the Mandaean community in Iran has significantly increased over the last decade, due to the exodus of the main Mandaean community from Iraq, which used to be 60,000-70,000 strong. Today, the Mandaean population of Iran is estimated at 60,000.

In Iran the Gozinesh Law (passed in 1985) has the effect of prohibiting Mandaeans from fully participating in civil life. This law and other gozinesh provisions make access to employment, education, and a range of other areas conditional upon a rigorous ideological screening, the principal prerequisite for which is devotion to the tenets of Islam.[42] These laws are regularly applied to discriminate against religious and ethnic groups that are not officially recognized, such as the Mandaeans, Ahl-e Haq, and Baha’i.[43]

Mandaean scriptures

 

 

Books about Mandaeism available online

 

 

References

1.       ^ Mandaeism – Page 15 Kurt Rudolph – 1978 This tradition can be explained by an anti-Christian concept, which is also found in Mandaeism, but, according to several scholars, it contains scarcely any traditions of historical events. Because of the strong dualism in Mandaeism …

2.       ^ The Light and the Dark: Dualism in ancient Iran, India, and China Petrus Franciscus Maria Fontaine – 1990 “Although it shows Jewish and Christian influences, Mandaeism was hostile to Judaism and Christianity. Mandaeans spoke an East-Aramaic language in which ‘manda’ means ‘knowledge’; this already is sufficient proof of the connection of .

3.       ^ Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko (2006). The last pagans of Iraq : Ibn Wahshiyya and his Nabatean agriculture. BRILL. p. 11. ISBN 9789004150102.

4.       ^ a b Iraqi minority group needs U.S. attention, Kai Thaler, Yale Daily News, March 9, 2007.

5.       ^ a b c “Save the Gnostics” by Nathaniel Deutsch, October 6, 2007, New York Times.

6.       ^ a b c Iraq’s Mandaeans ‘face extinction’, Angus Crawford, BBC, March 4, 2007.

7.       ^ Häberl 2009, p. 1

8.       ^ Etudes mithriaques 1978 p545 Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin “The conviction of the leading Mandaean scholars – E. S. Drower, Kurt Rudolph, Rudolph Macuch – that Mandaeanism had a pre-Christian origin rests largely upon the subjective evaluation of parallels between Mandaean texts and the Gospel of John.”

9.       ^ Khalil ‘ibn Ahmad (d. 786–787 AD), who was in Basra before his death, wrote: “The Sabians believe they belong to the prophet Noah, they read Zaboor (see also Book of Pslams), and their religion looks like Christianity.” He also states that “they worship the angels.”

10.    ^ Chwolsohn, Die Sabier, 1856, I, 112; II, 543, cited by Salmon.

11.    ^ “Extracts from E. S. Drower, ”Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran,””. Farvardyn.com. http://www.farvardyn.com/mandaean.php. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

12.    ^ “The Mandaeans: True descendents of ancient Babylonians”. Nineveh.com. http://www.nineveh.com/Mandaeans%20The%20True%20Descendents%20of%20Ancient%20Babylonians%20and%20Chaldeans.html. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

13.    ^ Eric Segelberg “Maşbūtā. Studies in the Ritual of the Mandæan Baptism, Uppsala, Sweden, 1958”.

14.    ^ Drower, Ethel Stephana (1960). The secret Adam, a study of Nasoraean gnosis. London UK: Clarendon Press. p. xvi

15.    ^ “Ginzā, der Schatz [microform] oder das grosse Buch der Mandäer : Ginzā : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive”. Archive.org. 2001-03-10. http://www.archive.org/details/MN41563ucmf_2. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

16.    ^ “The Ginza Rba – Mandaean Scriptures – The Gnostic Society Library”. Gnosis.org. http://www.gnosis.org/library/ginzarba.htm. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

17.    ^ “Internet Archive Wayback Machine”. Web.archive.org. 2007-03-24. http://web.archive.org/web/20070324003136/http://www.geocities.commandaeanworld1/cpindex1.html. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

18.    ^ Lupieri (2002), pp. 38–41.

19.    ^ Lupieri (2002), pp. 39-40, n. 43.

20.    ^ Lupieri (2002), p. 248.

21.    ^ Macuch, Rudolf (1965). Handbook of Classical and Modern Mandaic. Berlin: De Gruyter & Co.. pp. 61 fn. 105.

22.    ^ Lupieri (2002), p. 116.

23.    ^ Eric Segelberg, “The Ordination of the Mandæan tarmida and its Relation to Jewish and Early Christian Ordination Rites”, (Studia patristica 10, 1970).

24.    ^ a b c d e f g Contrera, Russell. “Saving the people, killing the faith – Holland, MI”. The Holland Sentinel. http://www.hollandsentinel.com/lifestyle/x1558731033/Saving-the-people-killing-the-faith. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

25.    ^ Torgny Säve-Söderberg, Studies in the Coptic Manichaean Psalm-book, Uppsala, 1949

26.    ^ a b c d “Iran Mandaeans in exile following persecution”. Alarabiya.net. 2011-12-06. http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/12/06/181123.html. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

27.    ^ Ekman, Ivar: An exodus to Sweden from Iraq for ethnic Mandaeans

28.    ^ a b The Mandaean Associations Union: Mandaean Human Rights Annual Report November 2009

29.    ^ Hinchey, Rebecca: MANDAENS, a unique culture

30.    ^ Crawford, Angus: Mandaeans – a threatened religion

31.    ^ a b Society for Threatened Peoples:Leader of the world’s Mandaeans asks for help

32.    ^ a b c d e Ekman, Ivar (April 9, 2007). “An exodus to Sweden from Iraq for ethnic Mandaeans”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/world/europe/09iht-mandeans.4.5202220.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved May 12, 2010.

33.    ^ a b c Newmarker, Chris (February 10, 2007). “Survival of Ancient Faith Threatened by Fighting in Iraq”. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/09/AR2007020901687_2.html. Retrieved May 12, 2010.

34.    ^ Lupieri (2002), p. 91.

35.    ^ Genocide Watch: Mandaeans of Iraq[dead link]

36.    ^ Survival of Ancient Faith Threatened by Fighting in Iraq, Chris Newmarker, Associated Press. February 10, 2007.

37.    ^ The Plight of Iraq’s Mandeans, John Bolender. Counterpunch.org, January 8/9, 2005.

38.    ^ An exodus to Sweden from Iraq for ethnic Mandaeans, Ivar Ekman. International Herald Tribune, April 9, 2007.

39.    ^ Mandaeans persecuted in Iraq. ABC Radio National (Australia), June 7, 2006.

40.    ^ Ekman, Ivar (April 9, 2007). “An exodus to Sweden from Iraq for ethnic Mandaeans”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/world/europe/09iht-mandeans.4.5202220.html?pagewanted=2. Retrieved May 12, 2010.

41.    ^ Updated 33 minutes ago 12/17/2011 8:29:41 AM +00:00 (2009-01-07). “Ancient sect fights to stay alive in U.S. – US news – Faith – msnbc.com”. MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31680885/ns/us_news-faith/t/ancient-sect-fights-keep-culture-alive-us/. Retrieved 2011-12-17.

42.    ^ Ideological Screening (ROOZ :: English)

43.    ^ Annual Report for Iran, 2005, Amnesty International.

 

Idealism

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/James_Hopwood_Jeans.jpg/240px-James_Hopwood_Jeans.jpg

The 20th century British scientist Sir James Jeans wrote that “the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine”

In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas — especially beliefs and values — shape society. [1] As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit.[2] Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind. An extreme version of this idealism can exist in the philosophical notion of solipsism. Continue reading “Idealism”