Ziwa (also transliterated as ziua) is an Aramaic term that is typically translated as 'radiance' or 'splendor.' It is frequently used as an epithet for celestial beings and manifestations of God in Gnostic religions such as Mandaeism and Manichaeism.

The Hebrew cognate is ziv (זיו).[1]


Ziwa written in different scripts:


See also: Uthra

In Mandaeism, uthras (celestial beings) often have the Mandaic term Ziwa / Ziua (Classical Mandaic: ࡆࡉࡅࡀ, meaning 'Radiance'; Neo-Mandaic pronunciation [ˈziː.wɔ][2]) attached after their names, due to their origins from the World of Light.[3][4]

Pairs of uthras also typically have rhyming names. The names can be alliterative (e.g., Adathan and Yadathan), or one name may have an infixed consonant or syllable (e.g., Kapan and Kanpan).

Uthras commonly referred to as "Ziwa" include:[5]

Other uthras that are also referred to as "Ziwa" include:[5][6]

Adam Kasia (the "hidden Adam") is also referred to as Adakas Ziwa in the Ginza Rabba. One of the epithets of Adam Kasia is S'haq Ziwa.[5]


See also: Manichaeism

In Manichaeism, the Syriac term Ziwa (Syriac: ܙܝܘܐ) is also used to refer to Jesus as Ishoʻ Ziwā (Syriac: ܝܫܘܥ ܙܝܘܐ, Jesus the Splendor), who is sent to awaken Adam and Eve to the source of the spiritual light trapped within their physical bodies.

Ṣfat Ziwā, or The Keeper of the Splendor (Syriac: ܨܦܬ ܙܝܘܐ; Latin: Splenditenens; Chinese: 催光明使; lit. 'Urger of Enlightenment'), who holds up the ten heavens from above, is one of the five sons of The Living Spirit (Syriac: ܪܘܚܐ ܚܝܐ ruḥā ḥayyā) in the second creation.

In Manichaeism, pairs of celestial beings can also have rhyming names, such as Xroshtag and Padvaxtag.

See also


  1. ^ Gelbert, Carlos (2005). The Mandaeans and the Jews. Edensor Park, NSW: Living Water Books. ISBN 0-9580346-2-1. OCLC 68208613.
  2. ^ Charles Häberl (2009). The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-3-447-05874-2. OCLC 377787551.
  3. ^ Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515385-5. OCLC 65198443.
  4. ^ Aldihisi, Sabah (2008). The story of creation in the Mandaean holy book in the Ginza Rba (PhD). University College London.
  5. ^ a b c Gelbert, Carlos (2011). Ginza Rba. Sydney: Living Water Books. ISBN 9780958034630.
  6. ^ Drower, E. S. (1959). The Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
  7. ^ Haberl, Charles and McGrath, James (2020). The Mandaean Book of John: critical edition, translation, and commentary. Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-048651-3. OCLC 1129155601.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)