Who are the Mandaens?


Who are the Mandaens? They are an ancient Gnostic sect, (probably the last Gnostic sect remaining). They revere John the Baptist, but they don’t think much of Jesus. (Or Christians, Jews, or Muslims for that matter.) Their most important religious rite is baptism (no surprise there). They managed to survive to this day, mostly along the Iran/Iraq border, by trying to stay under the radar. But after the US invasion of Iraq they were severely persecuted, and most of them fled to Worcester, Massachusetts. There is more I could say, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Anyway, could the existence of this group be why the Gospel of John makes such a big deal about John the Baptist being not the light, inferior to Jesus, and so forth?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #2

Considering how they did not exist until centuries later, probably not. Unless you are suggesting than John knew they would exist, if so, then maybe. Why John would warn against a small, insignificant religion is unknown though. Warning against Islam would make more sense.


Their origins are shrouded in mystery, but there were followers of John the Baptist around back in the day who didn’t know about Jesus. (Paul actually ran into a few of them.) As for Islam, Mohammad wasn’t born until the 6th century.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #4

I was referring to Islam in the context that John may have been warning against future religions. Since you mentioned there were worshippers of John in his lifetime, yes you may be right.


I don’t think they went so far as worshiping John, but they did revere him. It would be interesting to meet these guys!