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When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

21 January, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Mandaeism

This week's heresy is a Gnostic sect about which we actually know a lot about, doctrinally at least.
Mandaeism (also known as Mandaeanism) is a late 1st century Gnosticism-family sect that is still practiced in small numbers today with a strong dualistic worldview. Followers today are predominantly Middle Eastern and Mandaeism is mentioned in the Qu’ran. They revered Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and John the Baptist, but denied Jesus and rejected Christianity. There are several specific features to this Gnostic group: there is a supreme formless Entity who was created by the Archetypal Man (creator of the Cosmos); there is a cosmic Father and Mother, known as Light and Darkness or Right and Left (respectively) who are syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form; the soul is an exile, the home and origin of the soul are the supreme Entity to whom the soul eventually returns; astrology (specifically, planets and stars) influence fate and humans, also are like purgatory after death; there is/are a savior spirit(s) that assist the soul on its life journey and into the afterworld of lights; they speak in a language of symbols and metaphor, with ideas and qualities being personified; mysteries (sacraments) aid in purifying the soul and ensure rebirth into a spiritual body; and great secrecy is kept over all initiates, only those considered able to understand and preserve the knowledge are given the ‘gnosis’. There is a high priority placed on marriage and family, with emphasis on an ethical and moral lifestyle. They consider Abraham and Moses as false prophets. There have been some connections made with Elcesaitism, and there is strong evidence that Johannism and Notzrimism are the predecessors of the Mandaeism sect.

2 comments:

Paul said...

Nice use of syzygy. First time I've seen in use outside of a strictly astronomical context.

Sarah Marie Arnold said...

Thanks! Every since I saw it used as the title of a X-Files episode, I try to find excuses to use it. It isn't easy.