This project has been launched by the University of Exeter in cooperation with the University of Leiden and has been generously funded by the Arcadia Fund.

Our aims

Although our project is run by academics, we are hoping that it will serve the Mandaean community and that Mandaeans will play an important role too. We understand that on some religious questions there are different points of view in the community and we hope to reflect all of those so that in the future there will be a snapshot of the current situation that can be used as a resource by both Mandaeans and others. It is very important for us that members of the community will be involved in planning and fieldwork, and we are very keen to have their views on our work and their suggestions for how we can improve our website, as it grows, and the data we put online. 

We hope to record on film all the regular Mandaean rituals which occur during the calendar year, and those which mark the human lifecycle (birth, marriage, death, etc). We also aim to interview as many priests as possible about their knowledge, training, community role and their views of the future.  Two fieldworkers will carry out this work, one a Mandaean priest himself and the other a PhD student working on a thesis connected with the Mandaeans.  Once the data is collected, it will be stored in a digital archive in Exeter and will then be made available online, on open access. It will remain permanently available to anyone accessing the internet.

We also plan to make an ethnographic documentary film which can be shown to audiences at academic and cultural events, and which will promote awareness of the Mandaeans and their way of life.

We will plan these activities in collaboration with members of the Mandaean community and experienced scholars.