Category Archives: Articles

Zoroastrian exegetical parables

A thorough examination of the structure of one of the parables in the ŠGW. Sam’s comparison with examples from the Rabbinic literature is illuminating.

Thrope, Samuel. 2013. Zoroastrian exegetical parables in the Škand Gumānīg Wizār. Iran and the Caucasus 17. 253-274.

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The parable has received little attention as a form in Zoroastrian Pahlavi literature. Taking a first step to correct this deficit, this article examines an extended parable that appears in the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, the ninth century theological and political treatise. The parable likens Ohramzd’s conflict with Ahriman and his creation of the world to a gardener’s attempt to keep hungry vermin from his garden by means of a trap. Borrowing tools developed in the study of rabbinic exegetical parables and poetics, the article argues that the garden parable not only aims to make a theological point as part of its immediate context in the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, but also it itself is an interpretation of the Zoroastrian account of creation. The article shows how the parable reinterprets inconsistencies and contradictions in that cosmogony, relating to the account of creation just as rabbinic parables relate to the gaps in canonical, biblical narratives.

Monotheism the Zoroastrian way

Hintze, Almut. 2014. Monotheism the Zoroastrian Way. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 24(2). 225–249.

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This article examines seemingly monotheistic, polytheistic and dualistic features of Zoroastrianism from the point of view of the Zoroastrian creation myth. Exploring the personality of the principal deity, Ahura Mazdā, the origin of the spiritual and material worlds and the worship of the Yazatas, it is argued that Zoroastrianism has its own particular form of monotheism.

La terminologie normative

Azarnouche, Samra. 2013. La terminologie normative de l’enseignement zoroastrien. Studia Iranica 42(2). 163–194.

The abstract and the article are available here.

Since orality holds a prominent role in the religious culture of Zoroastrianism, we are not surprised to find direct allusions to this means of transmission within the textual corpus itself (liturgical and theological texts). Unfortunately not much is known about the teaching methods that teachers employed to train their disciples in priesthood. The sole exception lies in a few recurring expressions — around ten — that the Zoroastrian literature in Middle Persian/Pahlavi has handed down to us. Among this normative terminology that primarily relates to the mnemonic learning of sacred texts (hymns and prayers of the Avesta), four technical terms will be discussed here: ōšmurišn, dranjišn, warm kardan and xwastan. As this semantic analysis will show, these terms describe various stages of recalling the chapters of a prayer, recitation and memorization practices, and finally the achievement of a uniform recitation.

Markets for land

Rezakhani, Khodadad & Michael Morony. 2014. Markets for land, labour and capital in late antique Iraq, AD 200-700. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 57. 231–261.

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Lack of direct evidence on the functioning of factor markets in Sasanian/Late Antique Iraq makes it difficult to present a clear picture of the production side of economy during this period. However, relying on the Talmudic evidence, as well as what is men-tioned in the Mādayān ī Hezār Dādestān (MHD), this article aims to provide an idea of factor markets during the Sasanian period, as well as demonstrating the areas where further evidence and research could render better results and allow us to understand the economy of this region in more depth.

Manuscripts of the Wīdēwdād

Andrés-Toledo, Miguel Ángel & Alberto Cantera. 2012. Manuscripts of the Wīdēwdād. In Alberto Cantera (ed.), The transmission of the Avesta (Iranica 20), 207–243. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

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Perceptions of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti

Hintze, Almut. 2013. Perceptions of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. In: E. Pirart (ed.), Le sort des Gâthâs et autres études iraniennes in memoriam Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin (Acta Iranica 54), 53–73. Leuven – Paris – Walpole, MA: Peeters.

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A Sasanian chariot

Shenkar, Michael. 2013. A Sasanian chariot drawn by birds and the iconography of Sraosha. In Sergei Tokhtasev & Pavel Lurje (eds.), Commentationes Iranicae. Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicium, 211–223. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Historia.

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Le jour se lève à la fin de la Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī

Kellens, Jean. 2013. Le jour se lève à la fin de la Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī. Journal Asiatique 301(1). 53–84.

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Talking with god

Cantera, Alberto. 2013. Talking with god: The Zoroastrian ham.paršti or intercalation ceremonies. Journal Asiatique 301(1). 85–138.

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Among the different variants of the Zoroastrian long liturgy attested in the manuscripts we find two in which a coherent text in Young Avestan is divided into sections that are intercalated between the central part of this ceremony, the recitation of the Old Avestan texts. They are the Widēwdād and Wištāsp Yašt ceremonies. Usually they are considered late compositions in which the long liturgy has been extended artificially through the intercalation of of already exiting Young Avestan texts without any relationship to the Old Avestan texts they accompany. Actually, these intercalation ceremonies reflect a ritual that is as old as the version of the long liturgy we know. The journey of the sacrifiants to the hereafter during the recitation of the Old Avestan texts made possible an encounter and an interview with god. The questions and, above all, Ahura Mazdā’s answers are reproduced live in the sacrifice. Thus, all Young Avestan texts belonging to the frašna-genre that is consisting of Zaraθuštra’s questions and Ahura Mazdā’s answers have been composed probably for being intercalated between the Old Avestan texts in the Zoroastrian long liturgy.

The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian

Jügel, Thomas. 2013. The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian. Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 67(1). 29–56.

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The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian can be linked to three Old Iranian inputs: an adverb and an emphatic particle, both inherited from Proto-Indo-European, and an Old Iranian adverbial compound. After a short overview of previous studies, the use of various forms of BE in Middle Persian will be exemplified and the semantic and functional development will be discussed.