Location: Bowdoin / Jorunn J. Buckley


Jorunn J. Buckley

Professor of Religion Emerita

Jorrun Buckley: Bowdoin College: Religion


  • Cand. mag. (Oslo),
  • Cand. philol. (Bergen)
  • Ph.D. (Chicago)

Jorunn J. Buckley, a historian of religions (comparative perspective), works in Gnostic religions, particularly with the Mandaeans, who are the last, still-living Near Eastem Gnostics from ancient times. Involvement with the Mandaeans themselves, including advocacy, especially in political and religious asylum cases on behalf of Mandaeans. In February 2006 she recorded a podcast at Bowdoin College on her work on–and with–the Mandaeans. One of her books is The Great Stem of Souls: Reconstructing Mandaean History. She has edited a manuscript collection of Iraqi folktales, published together with a reissue of a long out-of-print book (from 1931) by by E. S. Drower. Another book is  Drower’s Folk-Tales of Iraq (see below). Bowdoin College Museums’ etching by William D. MacLeod, Arab Story Teller, graces the book’s cover. Buckley's book Lady E.  S. Drower's Scholarly Correspondence. An Intrepid English Autodidact in Iraq was published by Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands in 2012.  Her current book project is on her experiences in human rights for Mandaeans.

Since the late 1970s, Buckley has held official positions in the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. She has taught more than 40 courses in 12 institutions over a 30 year period. Her background in psychology and philosophy continues to inform her focus on myths, rituals, and theory and method in the study of religion.


Lady E. S. Drower's Scholarly Correspondence: An Intrepid English Autodidact in Iraq, Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. 2012

Drower’s Folk-Tales of Iraq (edited by J. J. Buckley), Gorgias Press. 2007

The Great Stem of Souls: Reconstructing Mandaean History, Gorgias Press, Piscataway, New Jersey. 2005

The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Contemporary People, Oxford University Press/ Scholars Press. 2002

Lady E. S. Drower's Scholarly Correspondence: An Intrepid English Autodidact in Iraq   Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen. Drower's Folk-Tales of Iraq   The Great Stem of Souls: Reconstructing Mandaean History    The Mandaeans Ancient Texts and Modern People

The Scroll of Exalted Kingship (Diwan Malkuta 'Laita) (A Mandaean Priest Initiation Text), American Oriental Society Translation Series vol. 3, New Haven, CT: The American Oriental Society. 1993

Female Fault and Fulfillment in Gnosticism, The University of North Carolina Press. 1986

Plus: a co-authored autobiography, in Norwegian, published in Norway, 2002.

Articles And Book Chapters (46 of them), Book Reviews (ca. 37), and Encyclopedia and Dictionary entries (ca. 27)