(Mandeans; Mendaeans; from Mandaean Aramaic mandayya, having knowledge [reflecting Gk. gnostikoi, gnostics]. Sabians, Sabaeans, Sabeans, etc.; probably either from an Aramaic word meaning baptize or a Heb. word meaning host, referring to ritual washings or worship of the stars. Nasoraeans, Mandaean for observers [of cult and code] or true believers; cf. Nazarenes, Acts 24:5. St. John's Christians, so called because of veneration for John the Baptist). Gnostic sect; originated possibly as early as the 3d c.; remnants in Iraq and Iran. Sacred books include Ginza (Treasure) or Sidra rabba (the Great Book); Sidra d'Yahya(the Book of John) or Drase d'malke (Recitations of the Kings), also called Drase d'Yahya (Recitations of John); Qolasta (a hymnbook; cf. Syriac kullasa, praise). See also Sabianism.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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