Iraqi Mandeans Close to Extinction Because of War, Says Religion Professor Nathaniel Deutsch

Alisa Giardinelli

Iraqi Mandeans Close to Extinction Because of War, Says Religion Professor Nathaniel Deutsch

by Alisa Giardinelli
10/09/2007

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Associate Professor of Religion Nathaniel Deutsch says the United States didn't set out to eradicate the Mandeans, one of the oldest, smallest, and least understood of the many minorities in Iraq. Instead, he says:

 

"This extinction in the making has simply been another unfortunate and entirely unintended consequence of our invasion of Iraq - though that will be of little comfort to the Mandeans, whose 2,000-year-old culture is in grave danger of disappearing from the face of the earth."   more

Deutsch, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, is a specialist in Judaism, Gnosticism, and early Christianity, and has taught at Swarthmore since 1995. He is the author of The Maiden of Ludmir: A Jewish Holy Woman and Her World (2003), Guardians of the Gate: Angelic Vice Regency in Late Antiquity (1999), The Gnostic Imagination: Gnosticism, Mandaeism, and Merkabah Mysticism (1995) and coeditor, with Associate Professor of Religion Yvonne Chireau, of Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism (2000). He is also the co-founder of the Beit Midrash Center for the Study of Classical Jewish Texts at Swarthmore.