The Mandaeans: The Last Gnostics

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001 - Religion - 304 pages
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This Volume presents for the first time a complete introduction to Mandaeanism, a fascinating branch of Gnosticism that has survived to the present day. In an engaging style that mirrors the interesting nature of his subject, Edmondo Lupieri portrays the traditional way of life of the Mandaeans, still found living in Iraq and Iran, and introduces readers to the world of Mandaean ideas. Lupieri reconstructs the history of the interaction between Mandaeanism and the Western world, beginning with Ricoldo da Montecroce, a thirteenth-century Italian monk who is the first known European to write about the Mandaeans, and continuing on to recent scholarship. He also offers a critical analysis of the Mandaean written and oral traditions concerning their origin, history, and self-understanding -- including their view that they are the only ones on earth who possess the true and oldest faith. This book is made even more valuable with the inclusion of an extensive anthology of translated Mandaean texts, complete with notes. This gathering of writings presents the spiritual world of Mandaeanism with fragments of mythical-theological texts and pages of ethical and historical meditations. Special attention is given in the notes to the contraposition against other religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other minor groups) and to the ideas Mandaeans have of biblical and historical figures. Expertly researched, engagingly written, and enhanced with pictures of Mandaean art, this volume will interest a wide range of readers.

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