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The Mandaeans
The Last Gnostics
POD; Published: 11/7/2001
ISBN: 978-0-8028-3350-1
Price: $ 38.50
300 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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This book brings together for the first time a complete introduction to Mandaeanism, a fascinating branch of Gnosticism that survives into modern times.

The first part of the book provides a historical and sociological introduction to Mandaeanism. Edmondo Lupieri begins by portraying the traditional way of life of the Mandaeans in Iraq and Iran and introduces readers to the world of Mandaean ideas and their literary production. He then reconstructs the history of the interaction between Mandaeanism and the Western world, beginning with Ricoldo di Montecroce, a thirteenth- century Italian monk who is the first known European to write about the Mandaeans, and continuing on to present scholarship. Lastly, Lupieri provides a critical analysis of 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.

The second part of the book is an anthology of translated Mandaean texts 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.
Karen L. King
— Harvard Divinity School
"Edmondo Lupieri's excellent introduction to the Mandaeans both fills an important gap in contemporary historical scholarship on religion and offers an opportunity for a broad audience to become acquainted with this fascinating people and their tradition. Among the most ancient of the world's living religions, the Mandaeans have preserved their tradition through periods of persecution and plenty. Lupieri's well-researched book tells this story and introduces the texts of this tradition in a finely written style."
Pheme Perkins
— Boston College
"This book makes an important contribution to the study of a religion whose modern adherents are largely unknown and whose ancient sources are not accessible to students of religion with access to a scholarly library. For the scholar, Lupieri's careful analysis of the historical information about Mandaeanism provides a new look at how this movement was shaped by the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The annotated anthology of selections from Mandaean texts provides a readable guide for the novice. Its attention to texts that refer to the religion of others will be particularly valuable to students of comparative religion."
Michael A. Williams
— University of Washington
"Lupieri's eminently readable and highly informative introduction to the Mandaeans fills a large gap in academic treatments of this still understudied tradition, whose origins and history are both fascinating and shrouded in considerable mystery. His engaging style of analysis offers an insightful framework for understanding the nature and evolution of Mandaean culture and its relation to other religious cultures — Jewish, Christian, and Islamic — among which and over against which it has shaped its own identity. This book should be very useful in helping students to see Mandaean religion as not merely an obscure curiosity but as one case study with some remarkable relevance for exploring the dynamics of religion and ethnicity in our world at large."