If we are to believe Mandaean history that at one time they were in Egypt and existed as a co-religion then we must find elements of Egyptian culture or words in the Mandaean language and theology.

Surprisingly we do find direct correlation and some indirect inferences. For instance the words that are at the very heart of the Mandaean baptism and creation. Words such as such as Ba, Pirun, root PTA, Usar, root NTR, and theological and cultural items such as the calendar, the ideas of an after life, and even that of a perfect world.

Already as far back as the 5th dynasty (3400 BC) the Egyptians  stated:

This idea is still in use 3,000 years later when it was written

These ancient Egyptians believe that the body was corrupted and  the soul was pure. They also had an idea of where the soul goes after death.

By the 5th dynasty the Egyptians had the concept of a perfect world where every Egyptian strove to be worthy of in life in order to enter. In this perfect world the souls would be attired in white linen garments and wear white sandals upon their feet. They would suffer neither thirst nor drink and that they would eat from the food  (or tree) of LIFE. In this perfect world would be a vast great lake that sits in the middle of the Field of Peace. This perfect world is called Sekhet-Aaru which mean literally "field of the reeds".    It is Moses who in the Haran Gawaithia that leads the Jews over the Suf Zaba or river of reeds and in the Old Testament Moses leads the Jews over the Sea of Reeds to the promise land to the north.

The Egyptians believed that this land is to the NORTH and is generally assumed to be reference to the Delta section of Egypt. It is believed that a mortal can find this perfect world but only through divine intervention. The Papyrus of Nebseni (18th dynasty) describes Sekhet-Aaru as a lush paradise where the souls live.

There is a definite connection between Ptah (the Memphite Theology) and the Mandaeans. The Memphite theology has to be the one used by the P-writer in the Hebrew Bible for the 1st chapter of Genesis. Moses who received the message "I AM who I AM " can also be translated as "I am becoming what I am Becoming." This word phrase can be tied back to Egypt through the word xeper-a xeper xeperu "I am the one who came into being [and] who made come into being the beings who have come into being.  The Memphite theology is similar to the Mandaean theology in that it is demonstration the manifestations of one God into many pieces or asspects.  This does not mean many gods but one God.

This Memphite theology can also be found in Mandaean literature. There is a very good possibility that the Memphite theology still existed at the same time the Jewish hierarchy was detained in Babylon. The Jewish priests in the construction of the torah would have used surrounding stories or ideas in their writings. For example the story of Sargon as the birth story base for Moses.

We must also give considerable thought that there was some variation of a Mandaean thought in Mesopotamia at the time of the Jewish exile, which still contained much of the Memphite theology in their religious base. These Mandaeans could either be part of the Jewish priesthood, OR as the Nazarites that suffered the same fate as the Jewish priests and were exiled to Babylon, OR  the Jewish Priests that had been influenced prior to their exile by a Mandaean group in Palestine are.  It would then be this Mandaean literature that the Jewish priesthood would have come into contact with and could have been influenced by the Memphite theology, to form sections of the Jewish religion. Thus when the Mandaeans say that the Jewish religion came from the Mandaeans might not be so far fetched. Various scholars have suggested that the Jewish priesthood is a composite of Moses’ Egyptian beliefs and Jewish beliefs. In Mandaean theology the Jewish religion received both priesthood and the Torah from the "God" of the Mandaeans who were in Egypt---- thus the Jewish priesthood and Laws came down from Egypt. **They wanted books and Melka d Anhura said, "A book must be written that does not make trouble for the Mandai". … and they sent one of the melki (i.e. angel) to write the Torah. The Jews had no priests, so Anush 'Uthra put seed into the Jordan and the Jewish women drank and became pregnant and brought forth 365 priests. (The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran by E.S. Drower )

The idea of the " I am who I am" wording is a type of self-creation. The examples given from the "Book of Knowing " and the "Memphite Theology " show the idea of one "God" being divided into other "gods". Budge wrote " When we examine these "gods "closely they are found to be nothing more or less than forms or manifestations or phases or attributes of one god-that god being Ra…." (W.A. Budge Egyptian Religion page 28 Bell Publishing Co. --reprint of 1900 edition) This idea of one God being manifested (etc) into other heavenly beings is also found in the Mandaean theology.

From the Mandaena literature

From the Egyptian Memphite theory of Ptah

Please note thenorth celestial pole was the point in which all the stars revolved and showed reverence to the north pole which was the seat of point of God. The sun, the moon, and the planets did not appear to obey him. This brings up interesting similarities in Mandaean theology with the planets being on the darkness side and the stars being seats or points of the uthras—example Abathur.

The theologians of Memphis affirmed a belief in a heart-centered intellect. The Shabaka Stone clearly indicates a belief that the Eyes and Ears and Nose report information to the Heart (Mind) which then deliberated before announcing its response by way of the Tongue. Creation became by way of the WORD. What the Heart of Ptah thought and the Tongue of Ptah announced came into Being. The Tongue of God performed the creative act after the Heart (Mind) of God conceived it. Ptah conceived the world intellectually before creating it 'by his own word'. The whole Memphite theology is preserved on a slab of basalt now exhibited in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. It was composed at an early date, and committed to stone during the Twenty-fifth Dynasty by the order of King Shabaka. Unfortunately, this stone, the 'Shabaka Stone' was subsequently used as a  mill-stone and much of the text has been lost

What does the Memphite theology have to do with Mandaeaism? The Memphite theology is one of the few creation forces that uses Mind and Word to create the world. The Mandaean creation also uses this same idea. It is also very important to note that the Memphite Theology is a peaceful creation of the world not the violent creation that can be seen in other creation stories--i.e  other Egyptian or Babylonian.

The very first prayer in the Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans as translated by E.S. Drower demonstrates this very idea.

From the Memphite theology:


#1--Number of Days:
Egyptian: 360
Mandaean: 360

#2--Extra days:
Egyptian: 5 days added to honor 5 different "gods"
Mandaean: 5 days added to honor the 5 "manifestations" of Mare d Rba

#3--New Year:
Egyptian: July 20th but the date moved around the calendar
Mandaean: July 22 right now (date moves)

The  Egyptians celebrate New Year  and around July 20th because the Nile at that time would flood and deposit the silt for agriculture. So this was the beginning the renew--unlike the spring for most other cultures.

# 4--solar  or lunar:
Egyptian: solar
Mandaean: solar

#5--religious or civil:
Egyptian: religious  (360 days) although there is a  civil calendar(365 days)
Mandaean: religious

#6) The Egyptian priests on New Year's Day would consult a book of Calendar in order to determine what days were "lucky or unlucky" for certain adventures--such as marriage, travel etc.

The Mandaean priests on New Year's Day also consult a book of Calendar for various responses

#7)--The five days dedicated to remembering creation

DAY #1

Osiris--"Lord of Truth" and "Lord of Eternity" (Hail, my Lord, who dost hasten through eternity, whose existence is for ever, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Sovereign, God of the God (The Papyrus of Ani)   was created first

For the first day belongeth to the King of Kings, Father of all worlds, in it He who is great and lofty created Himself. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117 )

DAY #2

Horus --Referred to as the "God of Light" among many other titles and descriptions ([I am] the Great One (Horus) who illumineth the Hememet spirits with the light of his body. (The Papyrus of Ani)

The second day is that in which the Lord of (Celestial ) Majesty (Rabuta) created himself. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117)

DAY #3

Set : Referred to as the "King of Darkness or Evil" among many other titles and descriptions – although he appears to have been the main god of the upper Egypt at one  time.  He was overthrown by the followers of Osiris and was delegated to the underworld. (The Papyrus of Ani)

The third day is Mara d-Rabutha, he who created Manda d Hiia (knowledge of life) : in it he created himself. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117 )


Isis : Female counterpart of Osiris--Positive female power that brings forth --almost a Mother Earth figure.  She was very powerful in that she brought forth the spoken word. (The Papyrus of Ani)

The fourth day is Mara d-Rabutha, he who is Dmuth-Kusta; he created himself therein. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117 )

DAY #5

Nephthys: Female counterpart of Set and sister to Isis. 

The fifth day which is the day of Commemorations running streams were distributed, for he Mara d-Rabutha, Divider of running streams, he created himself therein. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117 )

Additional Egyptian information  on the calendar
Even though this was a solar calendar the Ancient Egyptians did used the rising of the star Sirius, in the constellation of Canis Major (Dog Star) as the beginning of the New Year. The ancient Egyptians were excellent astronomers and used Sirius since it was more accurate.

The act of creating the 360 days was a deliberately done and the seasons being out of place were well known to the Egyptian priests. This then indicates a calendar not in decline but in full vigor. The seasons did not match but this does not appear to be important for the purpose of this religious calendar.

Ba is of course the Egyptian word for the soul that has eternal existence after death. Ba in Mandaic is technically the dove that is sacrificed before a masiqta. We also know that the dove is a symbol of Ruha and thus the ba is symbolic of Ruha.

Another is the root NTR that we find in the Mandaic word Natri (guardians). This root is in Egyptian word NTR which mean "God" whose symbol was a banner or flag attached to a pole. Could this symbol been the forerunner of the Drabsa for mean virtually the same—In Egypt the flag meant the "God" was present and in Mandaean theology it means all the "light" of "God"

The root PTA is derived from the Egyptian word Ptah who in Egyptian mythology is a creator "God" and his name is linked to that of other major Egyptian deities. What is most interesting is that the theology of the creation by Ptah (known as the Memphite theology) was one of knowledge and mind instead the typical physical creation as seen by other Gods of Egyptian or Babylonian origins. The ides of the Memphite theology is so similar to the Mandaic theology of creation in regards to Mara-d-Raba and the first 5 days of creation as depicted in the 1012 Questions. It is the Memphite theology that might have influence the teaching of Moses and the God whose name is "I am who I am" is identical to that of the Egyptian saying: "Nuk pu Nuk" I am that I am".

Pthahil is simply the name Ptah with IL attached to it.  El or IL is the Semitic term for god.

It is Ptah who in Egyptian theology molds man upon a potters wheel.  In Mandaean literature it is Pthahil who creates man (without a soul).  If we can determine where and when Ptah came into the Mandaean picture we can put a date on when the Mandaeans left Egypt.  Where as Ptah in the Old Kingdom was a creator "god" and by the New Kingdom he was delegated to the Osiris "cult" as part of those who receive the soul. Since Pthahil in Mandaean literature is more of a helper than God himself so this might lead the departure of the Mandaeans from Egypt towards the New Kingdom.

The word Pta- is from the Egyptian word Ptah and the word Usar ,  although Drower states it is from the Hebrew word 'owtsar-- I believe that the  ultimate origin is also Egyptian.

It is through Pta-Hai and Usar-Hai that the pihta is created and dispensed. Usar gave the bread to the first hidden Uthras. User-  Hai and Pta-Hai brought the Laufa ceremony. The soul is handed  to 'Usar-Hai and to Pta-Hai during her journey.

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PTA--(Page 383 Mandaic Dictionary) is derived from the Egyptian Ptah.
This word is used as part of a light beings name. It is used in conjunction with the words Usar, Hai, and Hai in the Canonical  Prayerbook.

Usar· (Page 345 -- Mandaic Dictionary) can mean store/treasure/ /  mind/ or thought. One interesting note is this I have conjured thee  by Osar the Repressor as they call him “from D.C. 37 Safta d- Masihfan  Rba (Scroll of the Great Overthrower) I have not yet been able to  find this scroll in English  but this would be good to further study.

USAR· (?) Treasurer
USAR d-PTA PIHTA Mind which created the Pihta
USAR-HIIA--Treasurer of Life
USAR-HAI--Treasurer of Life
PTA-HAI-- He opened Life
PTA-USAR --He opened the treasure
From the Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans as Translate by E.S.

Prayer #17
Great Jordan of Life, I laud thee and adjure thee by 'Usar-Nhura (Treasure-of-Light), the great solace and support of life, that thou givest no room to evil beings (who are) against these souls who go down into thee.

Prayer #27
We were set up and raised up by 'Usar-Hiia: through 'Usar-Hai and Pta-Hai union with the House of Life came to us

In ML27 the baptized ones are speaking, mediating on what really happened to them in the previous acts: By the Treasure of Life we were planted and established (or raise up). By Osar-Hai (Usar-Hai)  and Pta-Hai came to us the laufa from the house of life´
**Masbuta by Eric Segelberg Uppsala: 1958 page 87

There is some question on the translation of the word LUF-to unite. Drower translates as union but concedes that a better word might be communion. **Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans as Translate by E.S. Drower page 23 prayer #27 footnote 1

Now the word laufa is also the name for a the eating for the dead ceremony.   It is not improbable that in this context it refers to that rite as some ceremonies not necessarily connected with baptism are mentioned.  **Masbuta by Eric Segelberg Uppsala: 1958 page 87

Prayer #31
By Usar-Haiia and the greater (longer) Bound and sealed´ and laid his hand upon him and stood and recited Ye are set up and raised up

Prayer #40
I have worshipped and praised Usar who broke bread for the hidden first uthras so that could find rest in their hearts.

Prayer #43
Thou, Manda-d-Hiia, hast established for thy chosen that which thou hast revealed to us from the book Nhur (Be light) and from Pta-Usra (They revealed Treasure) from the first treasure and from 'Usar Nhura (Treasure of Light), a solace, a great support of life, that which shineth in light, the light of which enlighteneth.

In this prayer PTA-HAI AND USAR-HAI are the two guardians ofYawar-Ziwa. In addition to that we should observe that the pair Osar (Usar) Hai and Pta Hai are the two protectors of Yawar and that Pta Hai has some connection to pihta.  The character of Yawar andhis two protector spirits, as creator and dispenser of the sacred bread especially pihta is demonstrated by this. **Masbuta by Eric Segelberg Uppsala: 1958 page 82

Prayer #49
And Adatan and Yadatan hand her over to two 'uthras, to 'Usar-Hai and to Pta-Hai who open the Door of Life, plant the plant of Life and  establish the first counterpart of the House of Life.

Prayer #75
Word And to 'Usar-Hiia, the great solace and support of Life In order  to praise, honour, magnify, bless and exalt Thee.

Prayer #77
We offer up our commemoration, our petition, our prayer, Our submission, our tabuta and our faith In Thy presence, (O) 'Usar-Hiia, Delight and great Support of Life (Meet is it) to praise, honour and magnify And to bless 'Usar-Hai and Pta-Hai Who open (reveal) the pihta of Life And transplant a planting of Light, And install the  First Counterpart In the House of Life

Pirun according to my handy dandy Mandaic Dicitionary page 372 The Mandaic Dictionary does put --?-- mark by the word origin of pirun so it is not sure where the word comes from. I

DC 44 Pirun malka d-misraiia (Pharaoh King of the Egyptians)  Mandaic Dictionary page 372  rigin--- Hebrew and also in Coptic and both from Egyptian

#2---a name of a higher being
pirun 'uthra
pirun zuta
pirun gupna-- In Canonical Prayerbook 54:11
pirun drabsa --In Canonical Prayerbook 358:1

There is another word used for Pharaoh in the Right Ginza and that is parua malka (Mandaic Dictionary page 363).   The first part of parua can be seen in the term paruaniia (Mandaic Dictionary page 363), the name for the 5 days of creation in Mandaic.  This needs further study but it is interesting how we keep turning around back to Egypt.?

Background on Egyptian Religion
The Memphite theory
Egyptian Calendar vs Mandaean Calendar
Some Egyptian Based Mandaic Words
Table of Contents
Pthahil is Ptah
PTA  and Usar
Background on Egyptian Religion
"The Soul to heaven, the earth to body"
"Heaven hath thy soul, and earth thy body"
The Memphite Theology
For the first day belongeth to the King of Kings (Mare d Rba), Father of all worlds, in it He who is great and lofty created Himself. The second day is that in which the Lord of (Celestial ) Majesty (Rabuta) (Mare d Rba)created himself. The third day is Mara d-Rabutha (Mare d Rba) he who created Manda d Hiia (knowledge of life) : in it he created himself. The fourth day is Mara d-Rabutha (Mare d Rba) , he who is Dmuth-Kusta; he created himself therein. The fifth day which is the day of Commemorations running streams were distributed, for he Mara d-Rabutha (Mare d Rba), Divider of running streams, he created himself therein. (From the Alf Trisar Suialia (The Thousand and Twelve Questions) translated by E.S. Drower pages 116-117)
The Memphite theology of ancient Egypt used Ptah, The Great Invisible One, Heaven, the One God though he could appear in any of his aspects. The Great God, Ptah, was the only God. However, parts of himself were granted autonomous, separate existences, that were reassemble into Ptah. Ptah, the Great Invisible One, lived at that point in the northern sky
In the name of the Life (Hiia) and in the name of Knowledge-of-Life (Manda-d-Hiia) and in the name of that Primal Being who was Eldest and preceded water, radiance, light and glory, the Being who cried with  His voice and uttered words. By means of His voice and His words Vines grew and came into being, and the First Life was established in its Abode
There came into being as the heart and there  Ptah, the mighty Great One who communicates life to all the gods, and to their Ka's (souls, spirits). Through his heart and his tongue, both Horus (spirit, lord, king of light) and Thoth (spirit, lord, king of wisdom and truth) came to be. Thus through his heart and his tongue Ptah came to control and form to basis of all gods, all men, all animals, all reptiles--all that exists
Egyptian Calendar vs Mandaean Calendar
Egyptian Words that are in Mandaic
Ptah is Pthahil