The Translation

This section is where the translation will be posted.

4 Responses to The Translation

  1. Paul Bedson says:

    Book 7 of the Ginza Rba (The Great Treasure), translated into English from the German version of Mark Lidzbarski, who originally translated it from Mandaic (a form of Syraic) in 1925.

    In the name of the great life may light shine upon this knowledge and the knowledge of me and my wife.

    This is the wisdom and the teachings that John, the son of Zacharias, made known and announced the revelations of the true and faithful Näsöräen.

    He said:

    “If you have the power as a man of proven justice, which is tested in all his works, the same is a king, the crown on his head erect in the war in the world against evil and liars, and the resulting darkness, and their prostrate helpers. You have no power over the man of proven fairness, the Sun is a true Näsöräen, equal to the parent country of a man, who brings processed seeds out of the Earth and the processed seeds brings out in her, the perfect is an assistant to the men of proved justice and granted power and participates in its merits. The weapon of the men of proved justice is truth, faith, uprightness, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, science, teaching, truth, prayer, praise, reward (granting), charity, gentleness, kindness, humility, justice, truthfulness, caution, accuracy, purity, innocence, modesty, mercy, compassion, meditation and contemplation about life and true love.

    The first is on your truthfulness: do not distort your words and do not like lies and deceit.
    The first is your faith: faith in the king of light, that he is, and stands in all virtues.
    The first level of your awareness is: teach yourself.
    The first is your knowledge: It should not be mixed.
    The first of your insight is: do not throw in dirt.
    The first of thy wisdom was: exaggerate no joke and laugh not at the perfect.
    Lo, the first of your instruction was: teach and explain the words of your Lord.
    The first of your teaching is: do not cut out commands from good teachers that are targeted towards virtues.
    The first was in thy truth: thy word is not one to swap with one that is not yours.
    The first was in your prayers and lavished on with praise: do not love sleep.
    The first is your integrity and goodness: Grant handouts as water to the hungry and thirsty.
    The first is at your mercy: take no pride in, and do not learn from anger.
    The first was by your humility: the name of thy Lord is not soft from your mouth.
    The first of thy righteousness is: you think justly and take the words to the wise.
    The first of your truthfulness is: do not say anything that you do not do.
    Be the first to your abundance: be honorable to everyone.
    The first of your care is: know your account and then speak.
    The first of your correctness is: desire and take nothing that is not yours.
    The first on your purity is: do not throw yourself into the dirt.
    The first is at your innocence: hold it dear to be innocent and hold fast anything hateful.
    The first was by your modesty about lifting: you do not have one that is bigger than you.
    The first is at your mercy: be merciful to the souls of the poor and the persecuted.
    The first is to glorify: praise the place from whence you came.
    The first is at your reflection: the day that you forsake your body.
    The first is your love: true love to grasp the good brothers, who walk in the love of your Lord.
    The truthful is like a balance, just, direct and without crookedness.
    The just is like a true judge, without lies in speech.
    The believer is like a country person who sows seeds so that good and beautiful fruit can come forth.
    The knowledgeable is like a capable architect, building and classifying the construction in all its beauty.
    The excellent is like a painter of beautiful pictures.
    The wise is like an able foreman, who understands all things.
    Good work is excellent, creative, efficient and like a bright light that illuminates everything from left to right.
    The truthful is like a high mountain, which the storms can not move from the spot.
    The prayerful and praising are like a proven and just merchant who doubles thousands to make twice the profit.
    The good and charitable give alms like rich tables placed before the hungry.
    The gentle is like the sweet, tasty fruit.
    The humble is like water that falls over the earth.
    The ordinary is like the acclaimed who wins awards and is in good order.
    The friendly is like a hill with lovely flowers, trees and aromatic plants.
    The careful is like the faithful guardian of the tower, through all bribery will not be bribed.
    The right mind is like the right food, tasting of all kinds of fruits when prepared well.
    The pure one is like the bright, pure source that does not assume and is not mixed by anything.
    The innocent man is like a polished mirror in which all faces are clearly visible.
    The compassionate is like the compassion felt when the sun shines on good and bad.
    The merciful is like the pleasant winds, blowing through all doors, lo and blowing through windows on the pensive with what awaits him, musing and thinking, similar to the knight, who sits locked in a prison, meditating and thinking: when shall I be freed from my bondage?
    Everyone who is full of true love is like a good Father, providing for more children and increasing their property.
    Chosen and perfect! Be on your guard and keep yourself far from cunning, injustice, deceit, lies, deceit, deception, crookedness, wickedness, wrongness, mistake, confusion, obfuscation, infidelity, corruption, folly, singing, dirt, fornication, wickedness, hot-hotheadedness, pride, vanity, dreams, drink, dance, imprisonment, lust and ardor. The children of men are caught by envy, jealousy, narrowness, hatred, impudence, anger, bitterness, rebellion, prostitution, robbery, robbery by robbers, and oppressions, which oppress and plunder the evil of dirt, defilement of the body, stubbornness, and self-esteem. When the bad guys show up with stubborn and contemptuous attitudes towards the perfection, hold dear the commands of your Lord.
    The cunning is like a pit which is covered in the list.
    The unjust is like a pomegranate, showing a resplendent face from the outside, but inside is full of mold.
    The deceitful is like a bird, a wild animal that brings his comrades a piece of string, then binds all his friends and casts them to death with it.
    The liar is like an enemy who claims to be a friend, who knows every law and lowers his voice.
    The fraudster is like a marauding sea, which pirates the ships that are on it.
    The evil is like the bitter tree, which produces fruit with deadly poison, on which no good fruit will grow.
    The sinner is like a fountain of stinking water that can gush a bitter venom on leaves.
    The confused is like bricks of manure, which are thrown into water. The more you look at them, the greater the turbidity.
    The fornicator is like loose gravel that will not be made soft with any amount of moisture.
    The fool is like a rock that was cut. It may fall from under you, it sins against you.
    The proud man is like a magnificent sycamore tree, with shining foliage, but when brought to her Lord it gives no fruit.
    The rebellious is like the heated furnace, which gives neither warmth or light.
    The bitter is like the aloe that falls into honey and spoils.
    The tyrant is like a blazing fire, which blows in the wind.
    The way that is untidy is like a house without a roof.
    The way that is without order is like a noble lady without clothes.
    The way that is immodest is like a mirror, which is not smooth.
    The way that is untidy is like a horse without a saddle.
    The way that is unfriendly is like a dish with no taste.
    The way that is not silent is like an army without a king.
    The way that is imperfect is like a sign that is not decorated.
    The way that is wrongly worded is like a house without a door.
    The way that is not right is like a river with no mouth.
    The way that is not afraid is like a piece of untended land that is not farmed.
    The way that is is not careful is like a ship without a captain.
    If the way is excessive then the voice is held down, the words are cheerful, the walk is quiet, and his greeting is suppressed.
    If the gate is excessive, the voice is loud, it is excited and when he goes he is accompanied without the most important words, and the greeting he greets with your fingertips.
    If the way it is excessive, his speech is right, and he is a helper in all things beautiful.
    If the gate is excessive, his speech is hypocritical, and he is a helper in all things evil.
    If the way it is perfect, his speech is just in all.
    In the arrangements which he makes, he will present himself as the ringleader.
    In all ways for the perfect, the apartment is prepared and the rent is prepared.
    If the gate is excessive, he expects a bill before the mouth of iniquity with his hands and extends shekels and half shekels.
    If you have a dispute with a wise man, he can grant to them the law and let your work go in peace.
    Lo, If you have a dispute with a fool, his speech is piercing, his voice hard and he can get his neck to the sword.
    The way is not to rejoice because he thinks of self and others. The gate has a noose around the neck and he dances around it.
    If you talk the good way, he has sowed in you good and virtuous works. If you turn to a fool, you’re harder than stone.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like a stone, that will not be softened by oil.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like a mirror for the blind.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like rain on poor soil.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like white dresses for the glass blower.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like shoes for walkers.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like balm oil for the foul smelling fishermen.
    The words of the wise man at the gates of glory are like a garment for the tanner.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like pearls on a pig.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like a virgin for the eunuchs.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like coals of fire in water.
    The words of the wise man at the gates are like heralds of glad tidings for the stock pigeons.
    Can you see the gates are hungry, so he insults you with all the follies.
    Satisfy yourself that you are outside, take and receive from him unjust grumblings.
    The wise man who says: I do not need to stay away from the gates, is the first among all gates and all wise.
    The fool who keeps silent, is counted among the wise.
    Who is not your friend, do not to consecrate them in your actions.
    Whose heart is not gentle, do not be humble, to see not a noble one.
    Who does not wrong others, does not need to go to trial.
    Who cries out and is not itself, is like the hose that fills a bucket with a different water and drinks there.
    Who cries out and is not just is like a man who uses an ugly form of paint and painting, while he himself can not make you beautiful.
    Who cries out and is not just is like the wanderer whose kingly robes have been whitened then blemished.
    Who cries out and is not just is like the doves, who do not hear all the chants and songs.
    Who cries out and is not just is like the builder who lists items for construction but does not build for themselves.
    Who cries out and is not just is the sleeper who sleeps and only in dreams kills his enemy. When he wakes up from sleep, he has done nothing.
    Who cries out and is not just is like the gardener who kills himself and gives himself a wreath.
    Who cries out and is not just acts like the judge who does not speak for themselves, but only for the law of others.
    Woe to those who proclaim themselves to act and not talk differently and act differently. From the outside, they show the badge of the faith, and inside they are completely ruined. For they know not what they do.
    Whoever does the will of his Lord, is closer to death than life.
    The perfect ones are the ones who cried out, listened and acted, the punishment does not lie in what their mouth speaks. These are the words and the ways that John, the son of Zacharias in Jerusalem, the city of the Jews, taught and revealed.
    Life, he and all his helpers, made him victorious.
    Life is victorious over all works.”

  2. Christine Veazey says:

    Dear Mr. McGrath,

    I have been studying about the Mandaeans and their religion, especially Elizabeth Drower’s translations so far. New Mandaean books keep popping up on the internet, which I read with great interest.

    Your name sounds familiar to me but I can’t place where.

    I actually wish I could speak with people who are Mandaeans but have left emails on their web pages with no response. It seems they are as cloistered as ever and there may be a language barrier.

    Do you know of a group that discusses the Mandaean religion and texts online? I have not been able to find one. Thanks for your help. Christine

    • Dear Ms. Veazey,

      Hopefully once the complete translation is posted, this site and/or another we set up for that purpose will become a place for discussion of this text.

      Other than that, given the relatively small number of scholars who work specifically on the Mandaeans, in general we tend to interact via e-mail or Facebook rather than in public forums. The Mandaeans themselves have a significant presence on Facebook, and so depending on why you want to make contact, you might be able to do so successfully there.

      As for me, I teach religion at Butler University, blog at Exploring Our Matrix, and have written several books and articles on topics such as early Christianity and religion & science fiction. So perhaps you’ve come across my name in one of those contexts?

      Best wishes,

      James F. McGrath

      • christine says:

        I have not checked into my email for some time! Okay, will occasionally check back to see if the translation is here and look for the discussion. Thanks.
        Hmm, your name is familiar but don’t know where I’ve seen it. I used to post at one of the Gospel of Thomas websites.
        Thanks for your response. — Christine

Leave a Reply