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Re: Zoroastrianism and Judaism (was [AUXLANG] We do but jest...)

From:BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Thursday, August 3, 2000, 9:08
At 22:01 02.8.2000 +0000, Leo Caesius wrote:
>I know that this is old news, but I have been away in the Garden State for >the past week, so I was unable to respond until just now.
No problem. I've been busy like #&££ in Real Life.
>I wrote: >"It reminded me intensely of some of the Zoroastrian ceremonies that I >have seen (on tape, of course), and in fact the Mandaean clergy used the >same tools and wore the same clothes as the Zoroastrian clergy." > >And BP Jonsson responded: >"This is highly intriguing! Could you expand on it?" > >Sure, I'll see if I can render it in Iranists' terms, because I can't >remember the native (Aramaic/Mandaic) terms (and there is no reference for >this sort of thing). Please forgive me if I misspell something.
It is hard indeed to misspell stuff in Middle Iranist circles, since everyone's got their own ideas.
> For the most part, it reminded me of the ablutions which preceded the >Yasna ceremony. I can't remember if the analogous ceremony was the snan, >but it was somewhat like that. There were a battery of priests (although I >think one or two would suffice) wearing white outfits including, I believe, >analogs of the kusti and the sudra (it may interest you to know that the >"symbol" of the Mandaeans is a standard made from two crossed olive branches >and a white stole, which is draped around the cross as if it were a >scarecrow).
Did they wear white hats too?
> First water was taken from the Charles and every object used in the >ceremony was "purified" by generous ablutions in the Charles' water.
Zians would of course use _gomez_ (which I rather won't translate for the faint of heart!)
>A small fire was lit and something that looked like a wafer was prepared, >again using the Charles water (Mandaeans will only use "living" or flowing >water in their ceremonies - they call this type of water "yardna" in >Mandaic, a word cognate to the name of the river which separates Jordan and >Israel. Their priests cannot drink water or bath in water unless they have >collected that water from a flowing source.
With Zians it is kind of the other way around: they may not bathe or drink directly out of living water but must "separate" part of it into a vessle. The vessle itself may not be dipped, so a ladle (is that the word?) must be used. Interestingly I know from experience that any old soup ladle from my Orthodox Xian moms cottage kitchen and a metal serving bowl will do! Once used the water must be disposed in a stony place, so as not to pollute the Good Earth. My guest thought the gravel on our parking spot was OK for the purpose, but he would walk 200m to get water from a brook rather than drinking the water from our well. He bathed freely in salt water, but would not bathe in our pond. At the same time he had no problem doing his prayers alongside me doing my B-ist ones; on the contrary he rather enjoyed it and joked about getting the Tibetan words of the refuge mixed into the Ahunvar!:-)
>Thus, when I was looking for a >home for the Mandaean priests during their stay, I needed to find a >waterfront property or something reasonably close to the river!).
Modern Zians drink city tap water without problem; at least Khosru did, explaining that being ultimately taken from living water it was "pure". He preferred spring water on glass bottles, tho. He said that if he bought water in plastic or carton he would have to traqnsfer it to a glass or metal vessel and "purify" it. I don't know how he purified the vessels. Perhaps he knew someone who owned a bull! :-)
>This >wafer was baked in the fire and then broken up and fed to the children who >were being baptised. > Then, one by one, the children would stand in the Charles behind the >priest. The priest would face west and splash each child while reciting the >names of a whole slew of divinities. > Flowing water (and baptisms in it) are central to the religious life of >the Mandaeans. The Arabs refer to the community of Mandaeans as mughtasil, >"washed."
Pure water and pure earth are as important as Fire to Zians, tho this fact is less known, since it is less remarkable to Xians and Muslims! (And jews?)
>Christ himself is both worshipped and reviled in the Mandaean community.
I'd hear about the reviling part. It surprises me to hear he is also worshipped. Can you sort it out for me?
> I hope that I haven't been too generic here. I'm sorry that I don't >have more details about the various implements used
Was there a bundle of twigs or wires involved? I guess they would use one for splashing, but in Zian ceremonies the baresman plays other important roles too. /BP 8^)> -- B.Philip Jonsson (delete X) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull." -- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)