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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter talks about Lady Ethel Stefana Drower (1879-1972), who became a pioneer in Mandaean studies. An autodidact, untrained as a scholar, she was well known for her novels and travel accounts, most of them focused on the Middle East. This book is dedicated to Drower's loyal friend, advisor and correspondent: the Semitic scholar Sidney Smith (b. 1889). Drower's chief focus in her last active years remained on what she considers her crowning work, which had been brewing for a long time: a mystical, speculative book (over seven hundred pages in typescript, at some point) that would tie together all of her ideas and research. The publication of this large work ultimately failed.

Keywords:Lady Ethel Stefana Drower; Mandaean studies; Middle East; Sidney Smith

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