The Books of Kings and the Explanations of This World

BookThe Books of Kings and the Explanations of This World

The Books of Kings and the Explanations of This World

A Universal History from the Late Sasanian Empire

Translated Texts for Historians, 80


May 1st, 2022





The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran are adherents of the last surviving Gnostic tradition from the period of Late Antiquity, and the Book of Kings is the capstone to one of their most sacred scriptures. A universal history in four parts, it concisely outlines the entire 480,000 year span of the material world, from its creation to its destruction in the maw of the great Leviathan, with details including a succession of antediluvian cataclysms that have previously wiped out all human life, the reigns of the kings who have reigned over humanity and are still yet to reign, a lament on the end of pagan antiquity under the reign of the Arabs, and the apocalyptic drama attending those who have the misfortune to live at the end of the world era. For the first time ever, this work appears in English in its entirety, complete and unabridged, and directly translated from original Mandaic manuscripts, with the events mentioned within it coordinated with our calendar. It also includes an extensive commentary illustrating its relationship to contemporary historical writing and with the sacred literature of Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other neighbouring religious communities living under Sasanian rule.

Author Information

Charles G. Häberl is Associate Professor, Religion and African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University. He is a former Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University and the author of (with James McGrath) The Mandaean Book of John (De Gruyter, 2020) and The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr (Harrassowitz, 2009).