18-Portents of the Birth of John the Baptist

In the name of the Great Life. May transcendent Light be exalted!
A child was planted from on high,
a secret/mystery was revealed in Jerusalem.
The priests had dreams.
Murmuring falls into (the place of) Wickedness -
Murmuring falls into Jerusalem.
He went to the temple early in the morning
He opened his mouth and uttered heinous things,
and spoke lies with his lips.
“In my night vision, I saw in my vision.
When I lay down I did not sleep, and I did not lie down,
and sleep did not overtake me in the night – And I did not lie down.
Because a star came and stood over Elizabeth
fire burned upon Old Father Zechariah
three lamps appeared
the sun set and lamps appeared
the house of the people was set alight
smoke billowed in the temple
In the Merkabah (throne-chariot) there was groaning
so that the earth trembled from its place
a shooting star flew over Jerusalem
The sun appeared in the night
and the moon rose during the day.”
On hearing this the priests sprinkled dust on their heads
Jacob the priest cried and Benjamin’s tears flowed.
Shilai and Shalbai sprinkled dust on their heads
Eleazar opened his mouth and spoke to all the priests
“Who takes a dream and consults the Book of Visions concerning it?
Who takes the book of dreams and interprets for you dreams that you have seen?”
Eleazar opened his mouth and spoke to all the priests
“Jacob interprets dreams yet he does not understand them,
Benjamin interprets dreams yet he is not a man who conceals your secrets,
Tab Yumin does not reveal to us that which you say concerning what is and what is not.”
The earth spoke suddenly,
and revealed in the midst of the heavenly spheres,
the earth opened its mouth and spoke to Eleazar.
“Go to Liliuk -
he will interpret for you the dreams which you saw.”
Eleazar opened his mouth and said to all of the priests
“Who will go to Liliuk, to interpret for you the dreams which you saw?”
They wrote a letter and gave it into the hand of Tab-Yumin
Tab-Yumin took the letter and (went) straightaway to Liliuk.
Liliuk was still sleeping on his bed
His sleep was not broken
Thunder rumbled in his heart/ snores rumbled in his center/bosom
and his heart became unsettled
Tab-Yumin crossed to Liliuk
Tab-Yumin approached and went up to Liliuk
from sleep he roused him
and Tab-Yumin told him the dream the priest saw.
“Muttering fell in Jerusalem
in the book of days.
he went to the temple early
he opened his mouth in evil
and his lips of falsehood
he opened his mouth and said unto the priests,
he said “I, in my vision, when I lay down
in my night vision I saw a vision
When I lay down I did not sleep and I did not rest
I saw a star come
It stood over Elizabeth
fire burned on Old Father Zachariah
three lamps appeared
the sun set and three lamps appeared
the house of the people was set ablaze
and smoke billowed in the temple
rumbling was heard in the Merkabah (Throne-Chariot)
the earth trembled from its place
the star burned in Judah
the star burned, in Jerusalem it shone.”
When Liliuk heard these things he cast dust upon his head
Liliuk stood up naked from his bed
and went to the book of dreams
He opened it and read these things inside it
He opened it and read it
and interpreted them in his heart
he did not read (aloud) to them,
but wrote a letter for them
and instructed them on parchment (as follows):
“Woe to all you priests! Elizabeth brings forth a child
Woe to you rabbis! A child is born in Jerusalem
Woe to you teachers of little children! Elizabeth brings forth a child
Woe to you experts in the Torah! John is born in Jerusalem
John takes the Jordan (or baptismal water)
(and) is called (a) prophet in Jerusalem.”
Liliuk wrote to them in a letter and said to them,
“The star which came and stood over Elizabeth (means)
the child comes from on high (and) is given to Elizabeth
the fire that burns on Old Father Zechariah (means)
John is born in Jerusalem.”
Tab Yumin took the letter and set off quickly for Jerusalem
and he found all the priests sitting in mourning.
He took the letter and [placed it into] the hand of Eleazar.
He opened it and read it
He saw inside it the wonderful/transcendent/strange/sublime words
He opened it and read it, seeing what is written inside it.
He reads it in his heart and does not teach them about it.
Eleazar takes it away and puts it in the hand of Old Father Zachariah.
He opened it and read it, seeing what is written inside.
He read it in his heart and did not express it (aloud).
He picked up the letter and placed it in Eleazar’s hand.
Eleazar opened his mouth and said to Old Father Zechariah,
“Oh, Old Father, Leave Judaea so that you don’t cause trouble/strife in Jerusalem.”
Old Father raised (his) right (hand) and struck Eleazar on the head and said to him,
“O Eleazar, great house, head of all the priests
Either you knew in your soul that your mother cannot go to our synagogue,
or you knew in your soul you did not read in the Torah.
Because your mother became an adulteress,
An adulteress that was unsuitable to the house of her father-in-law
because your father did not have coins hidden away
so as to be able to write her a letter of divorce
(otherwise) he (would have) immediately divorced her and not asked her.
Is there a day that I shall come gaze, and not see Moses son of Amra?
Yes, is there a day that I shall come and not pray in our congregation?
You have not been raised up, and you have not been established
A word that you did not hear concerning me, you spoke.
Who, once they are dead, can be brought back to life, that Elizabeth bears a child?
Who gives to drink that caused to be opened,
and what cripple sprouted legs,
and who being deaf and mute becomes instructed,
that Elizabeth bears a child?
There are fully twenty two years that I have not seen my spouse, except -
It is not through me, and not through you, that Elizabeth bears a child!”
All the priests stood up from Old Father Zechariah.
They whispered to him: “Be calm and sit down, Old Father,
and the calm of the good rest upon you.
Oh Old Father, either there are no dreams in Judaea,
or there are no visions in Jerusalem.
All that Moses said is a lie except your word and ours.
We preserve the dreams that we saw:
John takes Jordan (or baptismal water)
and is called a prophet in Jerusalem, Old Father.”
He emerged from among them, Eleazar emerged from after him.
Three lamps appeared and went forth from him.
His companion ran and seized him by the shirt and said to Old Father,
“Oh Old Father, what has gone before you?
What came after you?”
He said to them, “Oh Eleazar, great house, head of all the priests
The lamps that went before me I do not know
- our world strikes the staff
the fire which came from after me I do not know.
Together with whom did she… ?
It isn’t through me, and it isn’t through you,
that Elizabeth bears a child!”
All the priests rose from Old Father Zechariah muttering,
and they said to him, “Oh Old Father Zechariah, calm yourself!
Settle down and be settled!
The child was planted from on high
He was taken and bestowed on us, (and) to you.
In your old age John is born
John takes the Jordan/baptismal water, is called a prophet in Jerusalem
we are baptized with his baptism
we are signed in his pure sign
We take the sacramental bread and we drink the sacramental water
we ascend from it to the place of light.”
All the priests arose from Old Father Zechariah.
They spoke in whispers:
“Oh Old Father, we shall speak among ourselves
concerning your home and your father
from whom came Moses son of Amram;
from your family came Abraham and Israel,
from your family came Bnai and Bnia Amin (Benajmin),
from your family came Rishai and Rat,
from your family came Rishai and Bazrai,
from your family came Zakkai and Zakunai,
from your family came Ramish and Mahramir,
from your family came Rabin and Judah,
from your family came Zairab and Razai,
from your family came these sons of the dome of priests
- and dreams and fires inside it, oppression
from your family came Hanai and Hananiah
from your family came these:
the man who wrote the Torah
- The great Thoth is his name.
From your family came Rama and Samuel,
from your family came Rabbi Hanai and Rab Hananiah,
from your family came the sons of Risa and Samuel
From your family came Tab Yumin and teachers of reading
From your family came blessed rulers
These are from your own father, Old Father.
These very ones all did not take a wife
and did not have children except in their old age
Every single son they had, their sons became prophets in Jerusalem
If they went forth from you,
(then) take that prophet (as) family unto yourself
because John is destined to be,
and to be called a prophet in Jerusalem.”
Eleazar opened his mouth and spoke to Old Father, “Oh Old Father,
If John will be, and will take hold of baptismal water,
I will be his humble servant,
baptized with his baptism and signed with his pure sign
I will take his sacramental bread and drink his sacramental water
and ascend from him to the place of light.”
Old Father opened his mouth and said to all the priests,
“If a child is come from on high,
what will you do in Jerusalem?
They brought the child from the reservoir of the Jordan,
and they placed him in the womb of Elizabeth.”

And Life is victorious, and victorious the man that departed to there.

S____________________A

About James F. McGrath

Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Butler University.
This entry was posted in John the Baptist. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 18-Portents of the Birth of John the Baptist

  1. Pingback: The Mandaic Book of John | Exploring Our Matrix

  2. Pam Lane says:

    What is the Date of this Mandean book of John ? TKS, Pam . Send answer to my email. Appreciate that, Pam Lane

  3. Pingback: The Life and Teaching of John the Baptist according to the Mandaean Book of John

  4. Pingback: How Can You Date a Text? « Philologastry

Leave a Reply