'Durch Dein Wort ward jegliches Ding!' I 'Through Thy Word All Things Were Made!': 2. Mandaistische und samaritanistische Tagung. Edited by RAINER VOIGT. Mandaistische Forschungen, vol. 4. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2013. Pp. x + 393, illus. [euro]98.
When still a graduate student, this reviewer gave a presentation on some intricacies of Samaritan Aramaic phonology at a University of Heidelberg research seminar. The late Professor Klaus Beyer, Nestor of Aramaic Studies in Germany, was present and--amicable as always--shared some of his thoughts on the late Prof. Rudolf Macuch, whose name had naturally come up a number of times throughout the talk: "I always wondered," said Beyer, "why Macuch chose to concentrate his scientific efforts on two areas so wide apart as Mandaic and Samaritan languages. But then again, they share a number of common denominators: Both are located at the extreme eastern and western ends, respectively, of the Aramaic-speaking world of Late Antiquity. Both were spoken by religious minority groups that survive, in very small numbers, unto this day. And both lack laryngeals and pharyngeals." It is impossible to know whether Beyer's rationalization of Macuch's choice of research topics is correct, but is it this very peculiar choice that dictated the contents of the twentythree articles on different aspects of Mandaisms (about two-thirds of the book) and Samaritanism in the volume under review, which originated in the Second International Conference of Mandaic and Samaritan Studies in Memory of Prof. Rudolf Macuch. For reasons of space, we cannot review all articles in detail. Rather, we shall concentrate on particularly noteworthy items.
Ionut Daniel Bancila opens the volume with "Die Stellung der mandaischen Version des 114. Psalms im Qolasta: Eine semantische Kontextualisierung" (pp. 3-44). While this surprising parallel between the psalm and a Mandaic prayer has been treated before, e.g., by
Jacob N. Epstein and Jonas C. Greenfield, it is worthwhile to return to this and similar parallels every now and then, if only to expose researchers from other fields to them. After all, such small and very specialized disciplines like Mandaic and Samaritan studies have many hidden pearls to offer to mainstream fields like theology or history.
Gaby Abu Samra, "A New Mandaic Magic Bowl" (pp. 55-69), publishes the transliteration and translation of a Mandaic incantation bowl housed at the library of the Holy Spirit University...