Monday, December 22, 2008

Paper Topic - Nasuraiia versus Nazirite

I have selected a paper topic that I plan to focus my research over in the coming months. The title for my initial paper proposing my theory Could the Mandaean term Nasuraiia be Related to or have come from Nazirite. The core to my proposal is that I will be attempting to answer the scenario presented by Professor James McGrath at the end of his recent conference paper.

I am aware of the fact that the terms are derived from different roots and my theory shall address that. Not being a scholar that is familiar with reading Greek, Hebrew, or Mandaic I am a little fearful that I may be overlooking something very important in my theory, so I will be relying on others to correct me on this topic. Essentially my theory is that a Judaic group having taken the Nazirite Vow became influenced to believe that they were guarding secrets that others had not had revealed to them. This influence could have come from any number of sources and likely it would have been a combination of several, but I believe that the Zoroastrians played a large part in this influence. This initial group would have remained relatively small and may have even hardly qualified as a Judaic sect. It wasn't until the rise of Christianity that the sect may have felt compelled to open themselves up to followers outside of Judaism being inspired by the growing numbers of the Christians. This group may have even felt that they were kindred spirits to the early Nasoreans. Once the Nazirite sect opened itself up it came to differentiate its members with the original Judaic members being called Nasuraiia, presumably a corruption or possibly playing off of Nazirite, by the Gentiles that where coming into the sect. The sect came to be called Mandaeans in general and the collection of the teachings started to be put down in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The reason the teachings were not collected before would have been to avoid being persecuted as heretics in the Jewish faith.

This is a quick and condensed version of my forthcoming paper which will actually take time to provide citation and logical reasoning for my views and ideas. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on this topic as I am still developing my paper and I would like to be sure to address any major weaknesses to my theory.

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