April 2007




Master of Arts (MA)


Michael S Jones

Primary Subject Area

Religion, General


Missions; Mandaeism; Sabean; Unreached People; Middle East; Subbi



This thesis argues that the status of Iraqi Mandaeans, who are fleeing their native country and becoming refugees by the thousands, presents an unprecedented opportunity for the gospel message. The Great Commission requires taking the gospel message to every people group in the world. However, the Mandaeans have been an inaccessible sect until the present time.

The Thesis

This thesis evaluates the current situation of Mandaeans through academic journals and books, consultation with missionaries to Mandaeans, and interviews with Mandaean refugees. As a result of their physical isolation, deep within the Muslim world of Iraq and Iran, and their philosophical isolation, based on their emphasis on secret truths, the Mandaean sect has not previously been exposed to the gospel. This thesis argues that their unique status as refugees has created the first opportunity in centuries for Mandaeans to have the opportunity to hear the gospel.

The evaluation of the Mandaeans’ potential receptivity toward the gospel is evaluated based on five comparative categories by which religious motivations and ethics can be understood. These categories are: history and origins of the religion; membership and community; authority and organization; rituals and holidays; and signs and symbols. The history and origin of Mandaeism is broken into two parts. The first investigates Mandaeism’s relationship to the Gnosticism of the first through third centuries AD. The second evaluates the syncretic adaptations of Mandaeism to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


The Mandaeans, a historically inaccessible people group, is in an unparalleled, unique situation to receive the truth of the gospel message due to the diaspora currently taking place.