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Grant number like: RQ-50485-10

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Butler University (Indianapolis, IN 46208-3443)
James Frank McGrath (Project Director: November 2009 to September 2012)

Scholarly Editions and Translations
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$130,000 (approved)
$130,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2010 – 5/31/2012

The Mandaean Book of John: Critical Edition, Translation and Commentary

Work on one of the central ancient texts of the only surviving Gnostic sect, the Mandaeans, who number some 60,000 people now mostly in diaspora from their Mesopotamian homeland.

The Book of John is one of two central texts of the Mandaean religion, and yet it has never been translated into English in its entirety. The Mandaeans are the only Gnostic group from the ancient world to have survived until the present day, and their texts are the only Gnostic texts composed solely in a Semitic language (Mandaic is a dialect of Aramaic). The Book of John mentions figures from Judaism such as Adam, Seth and Moses, as well as figures central to early Christian writings, such as Jesus and John the Baptist. The proposed project will produce a critical edition of the Mandaic text typeset in Mandaic font, together with an English translation and commentary. Our work will provide an invaluable resource to scholars studying the Mandaeans, other Gnostic groups and their literature, ancient Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as the Mandaeans themselves, as they increasingly struggle to preserve their heritage in an English-speaking Diaspora.