All posts by Shervin Farridnejad

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.

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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

Dictionary of the Old Persian royal inscriptions

Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2014. Wörterbuch der Altpersischen Königsinschriften. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

The present volume is closing a gap of the specialist literature felt for some time, because the glossaries and dictionaries available cover the Old Persian vocabulary only in part and are defective in some respects. For preparing a new Old Persian dictionary the situation is quite favourable at present, since a complete edition of the royal inscriptions has been published in 2009 by the author in his book “Die altpersischen Inschriften der Achaimeniden” (Wiesbaden 2009), where only some texts of minor relevance, the inscriptions on vessels, seals (and sealings) and weights, had been ignored. A dictionary like the present comprehensive work probably never had been tackled before for a corpus language like Old Persian, for in order to cope the divergent needs of all sorts of users it contains six separate lists or indexes: lists of (1) the transliterated and (2) the transcriptional word-forms (this one giving a short grammatical definition and a list of all references), (3) the lexicon proper, arranged by word-stems, roots etc. and giving a translation as well as short information about the (syntactical, phraseological or other) use of the word and its etymology, and finally (4–5) reverse indexes of the first two lists and (6) of the dictionary itself (verbal roots, nominal and pronominal stems and indeclinable words being kept apart).

For more information see the ToC and read the Preface (in German) to this volume .

About the Author:

Rüdiger Schmitt, from 1979 to his retirement in 2004 Professor of Comparative Indo-European Philology and Indo-Iranian Studies at Saarland University in Saarbrücken; born in Würzburg on June 1, 1939; studies from 1958 to 1965 in Würzburg, Erlangen and Saarbrücken, particularly with Manfred Mayrhofer; after publications on Indo-European poetical language, on the Greek and Armenian languages specialized on the ancient Iranian languages, Old Persian epigraphy and, above all, Iranian personal names.

Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)

 Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond. 2014. Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen: (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch)(Sitzungsberichte / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 850. Grammatica Iranica, Band 1). Wien: Verlag der Österr. Akad. der Wissenschaften.
Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
For more information see the Tables of Contents of  this book.
About the Author:
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst  is the head of the long-term project “Turfanforschung” at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Professor of Iranian Studies at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.