The Mandaeans are found in the marshy lands of South Babylonia (al-bataih), particularly in the neighbourhood of Basra (or Bussorah), and in Khuzistan (Disful, Shuster).
2 The existence of the Mandaeans has been known since the middle 'of the 17th century, when the first Christian missionaries, Ignatius a Jesu and Angelus a Sancto, began to labour among them at Basra; further information was gathered at a somewhat later date by Pietro della Valle' and Jean de Thevenot 5 (1633-1667), and in the following century by Engelbrecht Kaempfer (1651-1716), Jean Chardin (1643-1713) and Carsten Niebuhr.
Wearing a jewelled crown, he stands before Abathur's door at the gate of the world of light; the Mandaeans accordingly invariably pray with their faces turned northward.
The earth is conceived of as a round disk, slightly sloping towards the south, surrounded on three sides by the sea, but on the north by a high mountain of turquoises; behind this is the abode of the blest, a sort of inferior paradise, inhabited by the Egyptians who were saved from drowning with Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and whom the Mandaeans look upon as their ancestors, Pharaoh himself having been their first high priest and king.
Two hundred and forty years after the appearing of the false Messiah there came to the world sixty thousand saints out of Pharaoh's world to take the place of the Mandaeans, who had been completely extirpated; their high priest had his residence in Damascus.
The Mandaeans observe also with the elements of bread (pehta) and wine (mambuha, lit.
As regards secular occupation, the present Mandaeans are goldsmiths, ironworkers, and house and ship carpenters.
The Mandaeans are strictly reticent about their theological dogmas in the presence of strangers; and the knowledge they actually possess of these is extremely small.
And the position assigned by the Sethians (EnOcavoi) to Seth is precisely similar to that given by the Mandaeans to Abel.
The genesis of Mandaeis.m and the older gnosis from the old and elaborate BabylonioChaldaean religion is clearly seen also in the fact that the names of the old pantheon (as for example those of the planetary divinities) are retained, but their holders degraded to the position of demons - a conclusion confirmed by the fact that the Mandaeans, like the allied Ophites, Peratae and Manichaeans, certainly have their original seat in Mesopotamia and Babylonia.
The sanctity with which water is invested by the Mandaeans is to be explained by the fact that Ea has his seat "in the depths of the world sea."
On the other hand, among the speculations of the Mandaeans, we find a different and perhaps more primitive conception of the Seven, according to which they, together with their mother Namrus (Ruha) and their father (Ur), belong entirely to the world of darkness.
30.6, the Mandaeans (Brandt, Religion der Mandder, p. 36), and the Manichaeans (Baur, Religionssystem, p. 118 seq.).
17) were a semi-Christian sect of Babylonia, the Elkesaites, closely resembling the Mandaeans or so-called "Christians of St John the Baptist," but not identical with them.
There are about 4000 Jews and perhaps 6000 Christians, among whom are reckoned the remains of the curious sect of Sabaeans or Mandaeans, whose headquarters are in the neighbourhood of Suk esh-Sheiukh.