[NB] Of Planets, Trees, and Metals

I have been working my way through a translation of Diwan Malkuta Laita (Scroll of Exalted Kingship) that Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley published. The scroll is a liturgical guide to the consecration of new priests among the Mandaeans and is full of tightly-packed nuggets of their particular Gnostic cosmo-ontology. Considering it as a well-preserved piece of a dialogue with other Gnostic practices from antiquity has been very rewarding.

(I’m not saying it is just a well-preserved bit of dialogue, for it is part of a living Mandaean practice, too. I am, however, outside of that living practice, so for me it is most readily accessible as evidence rather than as testimony.)

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[NB] Snakes on a Cross

I’ve talked about the snake thing before. It’s a through line for me and I continue to marvel at its vivacity. Refutation of All Heresies* devotes the entirety of Book 5 to different expressions of serpentine gnosis. It’s not a small section of the Refutation, coming to some 80 pages of translated material. The text is divided between four main sects identified as Naassenes, Peratai, Sethians (not the same gnostic group identified by many contemporary scholars as Sethian), and the followers of Justin.

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[NB] Trees of Wisdom and Life

I spend a fair bit of my time trying to parse out the Neoplatonic inflections from the Kabbalistic material I am studying, but it’s worth keeping in mind the antiquity of the interactions between the two streams of thought. In part, that is just being intellectually honest. In part, though, it is also because there may be useful Kabbalistic insights entangled in more syncretic models. So, two texts to share and briefly comment on, one from the medieval period, the other from antiquity.

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