About this Project

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

We have recorded and edited videos of most of the regular and major Mandaean rituals. We have also interviewed priests  about their knowledge, training, community role and their views of the future.  Two fieldworkers have been doing this work, one a trained Mandaean priest himself, Yuhana Nashmi, and the other, Marta Marsano, a PhD researcher working on an ethnographic thesis connected with the Mandaeans in Iran.  

We have interviews on this website with priests in Iran and Australia, with other Mandaeans and with academic and other experts. We have made two documentaries, 'Faith in Exile' and 'Like a Sugar Cube in a Cup of Tea.' We also have more than 2000 photographs to view, mostly collected under 'Festivals'.  

We aim to give a snapshot of this endangered community by featuring the public views of priests. We understand that the opinions featured here may not be shared by all Mandaeans. 

 Aramaic and Arabic words: In the videos on the rituals pages of the website, we have used the conventions used by linguistics specialists, but the subtitles of the interviews reflect a more user-friendly convention, which we hope will be easier to read for non-specialist viewers. We apologise for these inconsistencies.

Most of our interviews are in Arabic. Our priority is preservation of the Mandaean priests' words in their original form; we have used English translation and paraphrase where our resources have permitted. Where we have used simple paraphrase, we have indicated this in the intro to the clips.