Monday, 16 December 2013

Forgotten Mandaic Magic Texts in the British Museum

Written by  Marek Vinklát
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Mandaic Magic Texts Mandaic Magic Texts

Many Mandaic 1 texts preserved in the depositories of world museums and libraries still escape the notice of scholars. Some of these scholars have no access to these institutions and so have to rely on already fin-ished publications or on catalogues published by the respective museums. Such catalogues containing Mandaic texts, or at least excerpts from these texts, have been compiled by leading orientalists with William Wright and Hermann Zotenberg compiling between them the two most essential and comprehensive catalogues containing Mandaic manuscripts. 2 Unlike Zotenberg's catalogue, Wright's catalogue contains several unrecognized and unpublished Mandaic texts. During my research, I found that the texts numbered X and XII in the catalogue are actually fragments of well known and already published Mandaean ritual scrolls. Text no. X belongs to Alma
Rišaia Rba (The Great First World)3 and no. XII to Maṣbuta ḏ-Hibil Ziua (The Baptism of Hibil Ziua).4 I will be elaborating more on these fragments
in a different study. In the present article I will be focusing on fragments no. XI and no. XIII of the same catalogue, which we can roughly characterize as the "magic" fragments.

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