New readings and interpretations in the mandaic priestly commentary Alma Risaia zuta (The lesser 'first world')

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Abstract

In 1963 Lady Ethel Drower published the esoteric priestly commentary Alma Risaia zuta (The Lesser 'First World') from MS Drower Collection 48 copied in Šuštar in 972 AH (1564 5 CE). Drower's edition based itself by necessity upon the single manuscript of this work in her possession, since at the time, no additional textual witnesses were known. During the course of our work in preparing tagged digital editions of the corpus of Mandaean literature and analyzing them lexically for a new dictionary of Mandaic Aramaic, we have gained access to previously unstudied manuscript sources. MS Rbai Rafid Collection 3F, copied in 1238 AH (1822-3 CE), now provides us with an additional textual witness, which, although of a relatively late date, draws upon an independent textual tradition. Our article seeks to demonstrate that the procurement of additional textual evidence and the subjection of Drower's work to renewed scholarly scrutiny enable us to improve the reading and interpretation of Mandaean works in numerous places.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMuseon
Volume131
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

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