All posts by Shervin Farridnejad

The Pahlavi Yasna of the Gāθās and Yasna Haptaŋhāiti

Malandra, William W. & Pallan Ichaporia (eds.). 2013. The Pahlavi Yasna of the Gāthās and Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. Wiesbaden: Reichert. 2nd ed., corrected.

As the title suggests the book is a study of the Pahlavi Yasna, a Middle Persian (Pahlavi) gloss on the liturgical text, the Yasna. The study is restricted to the Gāthās or Hymns of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) and to the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, a prose text composed in the same dialect of Avestan. There are three main sections: Introduction, The Text, and Glossary. In addition there are two Appenices: I Parallel Text of the Avestan and Pahalvi Gloss; II The ašәm vohū and its Variants in the Dēnkart. The Introduction is a text-critical study of the Pahlavi Yasna which addresses the main issues of the nature of the text, its authorship and dating, and its relationship to parallels in the Dēnkard. In the presentation of the text, the position is taken that the fundamental text is a nearly word-by-word gloss on the original Avestan. That is, it is not a translation as we might understand the term. Interspersed in the gloss are miscellaneous comments inserted by later hands to illuminate certain words and passages. Appendix I is provided to portray how the glosses line up with the Avestan, ignoring the later comments. The text itself is based on the 1946 critical edition of B. N. Dhabhar given in the Pahlavi script and to which we have provided many improvements. In footnotes we have cited all the parallel passages from the Dēnkard. These reveal that there were exegetical traditions other than the official Pahlavi Yasna. Although Dhabhar’s edition included a glossary, it is not up to the philological standards of current scholarship. There is deliberately no translation into English, as a running gloss of this sort does not lend itself to a coherent translation.
The contribution to the fields of Middle Persian and Zoroastrian studies is really threefold: 1) to establish a reliable text in Roman transliteration; 2) to provide an extensive glossary of all lexical items; 3) to contribute to an understanding of the nature and formation of the text. The intended readership is primarily scholars and students who have some acquaintance with Pahlavi and have an interest in the history of Zoroastrianism.

For more information see the ToC and read both the Preface to this volume as well as a Sample Chapter.
About the authors:
William W. Malandra is Associate Professor of Indo-Iranian Philology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Pallan R. Ichaporia has BA in Avesta/Pahlavi from Bombay University and attended Columbia University for Post Graduate Study in Iranian Languages under James Russell. He obtained doctorate in Business Administration from Oklahoma.

The policy of Darius and Xerxes

Vasilev, Miroslav Ivanov. 2015. The policy of Darius and Xerxes towards Thrace and Macedonia (Mnemosyne Supplements. History and Archaeology of Classical Antiquity 379). Leiden: Brill.

The campaigns of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes in Europe led to the subjugation of part of the southern Thrace and Greek cities situated between Byzantium and Strymon River, along with the subordination of Macedonia. While the relations between Persians and Greeks are well developed by numerous publications, including many monographs, the Policy Darius and Xerxes towards Thrace and Macedonia appears undeservedly neglected.

In The Policy of Darius and Xerxes towards Thrace and Macedonia Miroslav Vasilev analyses in detail the policy of the Persian kings towards their European possessions in the years 514–465 BC.

For more information and take a look inside the book see here.

 
Miroslav Ivanov Vasilev, PhD (2010), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, is an independent researcher. He has published articles concerning early Macedonian history (before Philip II), includingThe military-political campaign of Sitalces against Perdiccas II and the Chalcidians (431–429 B.C.), Živa Antika, Skopje 2011.

Corpus Avesticum meeting: “Ḫorde Avesta”

Corpus Avesticum | Meeting in Berlin 22–23 May 2015

Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

The Project of Corpus Avesticum (CoAv) is a pan-European Co-operation that aims at making the Zoroastrian Texts, called the Avesta accessible in a new Edition. The current one stems from 1896 and is erroneous with regard to many crucial aspects, the most important of which is the amalgamation of the liturgical and exegetical text witnesses.

The next meeting of the European research network Corpus Avesticum will take place in Berlin. 22. and 23. May 2015 researchers from Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK will meet at Free University of Berlin to discuss various projects in preparation of a new edition of the Avesta.

This meeting is dedicated to the research questions mainly regarding to a new edidion of the Ḫorde Avesta/Khorde Avesta.

Program:

  • Paul Widmer/Florian Sommer: “Vortrag zur Fehlertypologie in den Yašt-Handschriften bzw. den Einfluss derselben auf das Verständnis der Grammatik”.
  • Almut Hintze: “The Vištāsp Yašt and an obscure word in the Hadoxt Nask”.
  • Leon Goldman: “On the Sanskrit Yasna manuscript S1″.
  • Alberto Cantera: “On the wāz gīrišnīh”.
  • Mehrbod Khanizadeh: “A Preliminary Study on the Relationships Between the Pahlavi Version of the Exegetic Yasna Manuscripts”.
  • Celine Redard: “On the Paris Mss”.
  • Antonio Panaino: “The corpus of the Yašts and their Pahlavi Translations. Considerations about a Textual Loss and its Reasons”.
  • Götz König: “Research on the Bayān Nask. State of the Art”.
  • Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo: “The Drōn Frawardin Yašt Ceremony in the Avestan Manuscripts”.

The other members of the research group CoAv are also Arash Zeini (London), Kianoosh Rezania (Bochum), Salome Gholami (Frankfurt), David Buyaner and Shervin Farridnejad (Berlin).

*Image: An illustrated copy of the Avestan Wīdēvdād Sāde. Copied in Yazd, Iran, in 1647 ( © British Library RSPA 230, ff. 151v–152r). Published in: Farridnejad, Shervin. 2014. The Avestan Manuscript 4060 (RSPA230), Videvdad Iranian Sade of the British Library. (Avestan Digital Archive Series 75). Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca.

Studies on classical Persian poetry

Bürgel, Johann Christoph. 2013. Nachtigallen an Gottes Thron: Studien zur persischen Dichtung. Edited by Mehr Ali Newid and Peter-Arnold Mumm. Wiesbaden: Reichert.
To date, only a few pioneers have made classical Persian poetry and philosophy accessible to the occidental eye. During the 17th and 18th centuries, influential travellers brought goods, travelogues and translations back from Persia. Around 1800, enthusiasm for the oriental brought about more translations as well as more systematic research. In 1812, Joseph v. Hammer(-Purgstall) translated the Dīvān of Ḥāfeẓ. It is with him that Friedrich Rückert studied Persian and went on to set new standards in oriental philology and translation. Despite the tremendous contributions of the chairs in Iranian Studies which were subsequently founded in Europe, the wealth of Persian literature has hardly been exhausted.

Johann Christoph Bürgel was born in Silesia in 1931, received his doctorate in Göttingen in 1960 and was director of the Institute of Islamic Studies in Bern from 1970 to 1995. With his research method, characterised by scientific accuracy and a creative gift for language, he continued the tradition of Rückert and laid cornerstones for today’s Iranian Studies. He received numerous awards for his research as well as his translations.

This volume combines selected papers by distinguished orientalists from 1978 to 2008, dealing with Neẓāmī, ʿAṭṭār, Ḥāfeẓ, Rūmī, Sanāʾī and other Persian mystics and poets, as well as their European reception.

Continue reading Studies on classical Persian poetry

The Kurdish Šāhnāma

Chaman Ara, Behrooz. The Kurdish Šāhnāma and Its Literary and Religious Implications. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

The Kurdish Shanama and its Literary and Religious Implications, as the result of a long-time fieldwork in the cultural spans of Zagros, focuses on the newly survived epic-heroic narratives known as Razm-nama, Jang-nama or Shanama. In this work, author draws attention to the existence of an unexpectedly rich epic-heroic tradition in literary Gurani (a composite idiom used in the Zagros regions) and strongly suggest that this tradition is largely independent of the Ferdowsi’s Shahnama but has many common features with other works of the Sistani cycle of epics and the Persian Naqqali tradition. This work addresses the structural and contextual similarities and differences between this tradition and its counterparts in Persian literature, and subsequently proposes a new understanding of the term Shahnama and the term Xwadaynamag. In this work, Chaman Ara, challenges the common understandings of the concept of Gurani, and presents analysis and descriptions of some linguistic features of the theory of Gurani literary language.
See here for the ToC and the Preface to this volume.
Behrooz Chaman Ara received his PhD in 2014 from the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Georg-August University of Göttingen. His research focuses on the Kurdish languages, literature and cultures.

Parthian sources online

Parthian Sources Online

This website is a digital collection of texts from the Parthian empire, one of the biggest and longest-lasting empires of antiquity. Under the kings of the Arsacid dynasty (c. 247 BCE to 224 CE), the Parthians ruled a kingdom that stretched from central Asia in the east to the Euphrates river in the west. Their history is a crucial part of the legacy of ancient Iran, though in many respects it is still poorly understood.

Some of the texts here are in ancient Greek. Others are in Parthian, an Iranian language that outlasted the Arsacid empire and remained in use even after the overthrow of the dynasty. Coming soon are a few inscriptions in Latin composed by Parthians living in the territory of the Roman empire.

At the moment this site is a work in progress, with content being added on a regular basis.

This site is authored and maintained by Jake Nabel, a PhD student in the Department of Classics at Cornell University. His research focuses on Parthia’s relationship with Rome, its imperial peer (and sometimes rival) to the west.

 

Books as material and symbolic artifacts in religious book cultures

Books as Material and Symbolic Artifacts in Religious Book CulturesBooks as Material and Symbolic Artifacts in Religious Book Cultures

Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr University Bochum: 28 & 29 May 2015

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg Workshop on Books as Material and Symbolic Artifacts in Religious Book Cultures will analyze the connections between books and manuscripts as material artifacts and the formation of religious book cultures before the printing era. It will also explore the ways in which, in religious book production, the medium, in its forms of “human and institutional interactions,” influences the transmission of the religious message, allowing for the material format to receive further alterations from the religious message itself. Finally, this workshop will investigate interactions between modern religious groups and the very academic books which describe them.

Programm of The KHK Workshop on Books as Religious Artifacts (May 28-29, 2015)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

  • Costantino Moretti (Paris): “Non-Textual Uses in Buddhist Medieval China”
  • Grégoire Espesset (Bochum): “Petitioning in Pre-Modern Taoist Liturgy”
  • Vladimir Glomb (Bochum): “Sagehood for Young Boys: Confucian Primers in Traditional Korea”
  • Shervin Farridnejad (Berlin): “The Zoroastrian “Holy Book”: The Understanding and Construction of the Avesta as a Book in Zoroastrian Tradition and Oriental Studies”
  • Kianoosh Rezania (Bochum): “The Zoroastrian “Pahlavi Book”: The Genesis of the Dēnkard in the Early Abbasid Period”
  • Marie Efthymiou (Aix-Marseille): “Suras Collections in Central Asia: From Manuscripts Used in Daily Devotions to Teaching Subject in Quranic Schools”

Friday, 29 May 2015

  • Ksenia Pimenova (Bochum): “Ethnographers, Their Books, and Their Shamans: The Scripturalization of Post-Soviet Tuvan Shamanism”
  • Mareile Haase (Bochum): “The Zagreb Mummy Wrappings: An Etruscan Linen Book from Egypt”
  • AnneMarie Luijendijk (Princeton): “Put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time (Jer. 32:14): On Saving and Discarding Sacred Books”
  • Flavia Ruani (Ghent): “Books of Protection, Books of Perdition: Book Imagery in Ephrem the Syrian’s Heresiology”
  • Eduard Iricinschi (Bochum): “No one in Rome really has time to attend readings (Pliny, Letters, 3.18.4): The Anxiety of Publishing Books in Late Antiquity”

Zoroastrianism: History, rituals, theology and tradition

Kreyenbroek, Philip G. 2013. Teachers and teachings in the Good Religion: Opera minora on Zoroastrianism (Göttinger Orientforschungen, Iranica, NF 10). Edited by Kianoosh Rezania. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

The volume edited by Kioanoosh Rezania brings together seventeen articles by Philip Kreyenbroek on the subject of Zoroastrianism. The collection represents the author’s most important short contributions on that subject, written over a period of more than 30 years. Although the papers are concerned with a range of different subjects, they are to some extent interconnected, and in several cases one may find lines of argument emerging in one article which the author develops in subsequent papers.
The papers cover six important aspects of Zoroastrianism: History; the Zoroastrian tradition and its oral transmission; Cosmology, Cosmogony and Eschatology; Priesthood; and Ritual. Topics discussed there include the history of the Zoroastrian tradition in various periods; the mainly oral nature of the Zoroastrian religious tradition until well into the Islamic period, and some of the implications of this for our understanding of that tradition; Kreyenbroek’s views and hypotheses on the nature and origin of the Indo-Iranian and Zoroastrian cosmogonies; the various developments in the structure of the priesthood, particularly during and after the Sasanian period; and lastly various questions concerning the Zoroastrian ritual, which are informed by the author’s extraordinary familiarity with the Zoroastrian ritual literature.

Continue reading Zoroastrianism: History, rituals, theology and tradition

Space, territory, and ideology in the Seleucid Empire

Kosmin, Paul J. 2014. The land of the elephant Kings: Space, territory, and ideology in the Seleucid Empire. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

The Seleucid Empire (311–64 BCE) was unlike anything the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds had seen. Stretching from present-day Bulgaria to Tajikistan—the bulk of Alexander the Great’s Asian conquests—the kingdom encompassed a territory of remarkable ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity; yet it did not include Macedonia, the ancestral homeland of the dynasty. The Land of the Elephant Kings investigates how the Seleucid kings, ruling over lands to which they had no historic claim, attempted to transform this territory into a coherent and meaningful space.

Based on recent archaeological evidence and ancient primary sources, Paul J. Kosmin’s multidisciplinary approach treats the Seleucid Empire not as a mosaic of regions but as a land unified in imperial ideology and articulated by spatial practices. Kosmin uncovers how Seleucid geographers and ethnographers worked to naturalize the kingdom’s borders with India and Central Asia in ways that shaped Roman and later medieval understandings of “the East.” In the West, Seleucid rulers turned their backs on Macedonia, shifting their sense of homeland to Syria. By mapping the Seleucid kings’ travels and studying the cities they founded—an ambitious colonial policy that has influenced the Near East to this day—Kosmin shows how the empire’s territorial identity was constructed on the ground. In the empire’s final century, with enemies pressing harder and central power disintegrating, we see that the very modes by which Seleucid territory had been formed determined the way in which it fell apart.

Continue reading Space, territory, and ideology in the Seleucid Empire

Wine culture in Iran and neighbouring countries

Fragner, Bert G., Ralph Kauz & Florian Schwarz (eds.). 2014. Wine culture in Iran and beyond (Sitzungsberichte der phil.-hist. Klasse. Veröffentlichungen zur Iranistik 75). Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Starting from important new archaeological findings and insights that have led to a rethinking of the history of viticulture in Iran and its wider Asian context, this volume explores various aspects of the cultural, social and political significance of grape wine in the Iranian cultural sphere. It assembles specialized studies and interpretative essays ranging from the question of the origins of viticulture and winemaking and the trade of wine between the Iranian plateau and China to viticulture and wine consumption in 20th-century Kafiristan, from the place of intoxicating beverages in hadith to the nature and function of wine in classical Persian poetry and Iranian architecture, from the ambiguities of alcohol in pre-modern Persia to the challenges of modernity and colonial encounters.
Table of Contents (ToC):
Continue reading Wine culture in Iran and neighbouring countries