This semester has seen me use this site very little but I will be posting, tonight and over the weekend, all that I have been working on during my research. My initial interest in the topic of Mandaeans came when my Professor and fellow contributor to the blog, James McGrath, began his own research into the subject. He introduced me to the history of the Mandaeans and offered me a chance to do some research over the summer. Unfortunately my application for research funding was turned down so doing research was put on hold. So this fall I decided to take an opportunity to use an independent study that I need for one of my degrees to do my research. We set my goal for the course to be largely about gathering data, working on the basics of the language, and with any luck writing a small paper that would be the beginning for a larger research topic in a more specific area of Mandaean life.
To go about this we decided that a blog would be the best route for posting my findings as I gather data, creating a kind of central hub from which I or anyone else could use to quickly find useful websites, articles, and books. My interest in learning the language came a little later as I began to find that any true research into the field would require at least some knowledge of Mandaic. For anyone interested in the study of Mandaic please refer to Exploring Our Matrix the regular blog of Professor McGrath. In fact his blog regularly includes something on Mandaeans so it is a place to keep in your bookmarks if you are interested in the topic. For my study of Mandaic I began with the alphabet, having no background in languages outside those that use the latin alphabet I was quite amazed at the difference it can make when trying to learn. My progress thus far with the language has been minimal but I will continue working on it and will post my progress as it happens.
The last goal is to write a paper that will hopefully set some groundwork for future research. Many topics are possible and I have yet to decide which to focus on, amongst my choices are looking at the development of the term 'Nasorean' in the context of the Mandaeans and early Christians, Mandaean talismans, and the influence Mandaeanism and Islam had on the development of one another. Certainly this is a varied selection of topics but all are quite interesting to me. Once I have a paper I will be sure to post it or a briefer version of it here. Now off to prepare my next post on reviewing the information available about Mandaeans on the web.