Front Page Titles (by Subject) 2.: THE SABIANS — ( P. 26 , 27 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 9
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2.: THE SABIANS — ( P. 26 , 27 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 9 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 9.
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THE SABIANS — (P. 26, 27)
Vague and false ideas prevailed concerning Sabianism, until the obscure subject was illuminated by the labours of Chwolsohn and Petermann in the present century. Gibbon does not fall into the grosser, though formerly not uncommon, error of confusing the Sabians with the Sabaeans (of Yemen); the two names begin with different Arabic letters. But in his day the distinction had not been discovered between the true Sabians of Babylonia and the false Sabians of Harran. The first light on the matter was thrown by Norberg’s publication of the Sacred Book of the Sabians entitled Sidra Rabba, “Great Book,” which he edited under the name of the Book of Adam (or Codex Nasiraeus). But the facts about the two Sabianisms were first clearly established in Chwolsohn’s work, Ssabier und Ssabismus (1856).
This book is mainly concerned with an account of the false Sabians of Harran. It was in the 9th century that this spurious Sabianism was so named. The people of Harran, in order not to be accounted heathen by their Abbāsid lords, but that they might be reckoned among the unbelievers to whom a privileged position is granted by the Koran — Jews, Christians, and Sabians — as they could not pretend to be Christians or Jews, professed Sabianism, a faith to which no exact idea was attached. The religion, which thus assumed the Sabian name, was the native religion of the country, with Greek and Syrian elements super-imposed. It is to this spurious Sabianism, with its star-worship, that Gibbon’s description applies.
The true Sabianism sprang up in Babylonia in the 1st and 2nd centuries of the Christian era, and probably contains as its basis misunderstood gnostic doctrines. Its nature was first clearly explained by Petermann, who travelled for the purpose of studying it, and then re-edited the Sidra Rabba, which is written in a Semitic dialect known as Mandaean. There were two original principles: matter, and a creative mind (“the lord of glory”). This primal mental principle creates Hayya Kadmaya (“first life”), and then retires from the scene of operations; and the souls of very holy Sabians have the joy of once beholding the lord of glory, after death. The emanation Hayya Kadmaya is the deity who is worshipped; from him other emanations proceed. (For the ceremonies and customs of modern Sabians see M. Siouffi’s Etudes sur la religion des Soubbas, 1880. For a good account of the whole subject, Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole’s Studies in a Mosque, c. viii.)