Category Archives: BiblioIranica

Non-Mainstream Religion in Persianate Societies

Raei, Shahrokh (ed.). 2017. Islamic Alternatives; Non-Mainstream Religion in Persianate Societies. (Iranica, GOF III/NF 16). Göttingen: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Islamic Alternatives are the proceedings of a symposium which was held in April 2014 within the framework of a research project entitled The Khāksār Order between Ahl-e Ḥaqq and Shiite Sufi Order, funded by the German Research Foundation.
The tradition and belief system of the Khāksār is closely connected to several cultural and religious traditions across a vast geographical area in the Orient: the territory of Persianate societies, which might also be called ‘the territory of wandering dervishes’. The extensive historical and cultural relations and associations, the similarities between the Khāksār Order and the Futuwwa tradition or religious communities (such as the Ahl-e Ḥaqq (Yārsān) and Bektashi order in different geographical territories), the relationship between this order and Dervish groups in Pakistan and Central Asia on the one hand and its connection with the official orthodox Shia on the other hand are the main topics dealt with in the present book.
The commonalities and cultural relations of these numerous and diverse cultural traditions as well as the heterodox movements in this region are so substantial that understanding the related aspects of each helps us gain a deeper knowledge of the whole subject matter. This symposium and the present proceedings attempt to gather as many specialists of these diverse but associated themes as possible in order to achieve a better understanding of these concepts.
Table of Contents (PDF):
Early Shiʿism and Futuwwa
  • Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi: “New Remarks on Secrecy and Concealment in Early Imāmī Shiʿism: the Case of khatm al-nubuwwa – Aspects of Twelver Shiʿi Imamology XII
  • Mohsen Zakeri: “From Futuwwa to Mystic Political Thought: – The Caliph al-Nāṣir li-Dīn Allāh and Abū Ḥafṣ Suhrawardī’s Theory of Government

Ahl-e Ḥaqq (Yāresān)

  • Philip G. Kreyenbroek: “Some Remarks on the Early History of the Ahl-e Ḥaqq”
  • Martin van Bruinessen: “Between Dersim and Dālahū – Reflections on Kurdish Alevism and the Ahl-e Ḥaqq Religion
  • Yiannis Kanakis: “Yāresān Religious Concepts and Ritual Repertoires as Elements of Larger Net-works of Socio-Political ‘Heterodoxy’ – Some Thoughts on Yāresān , Shiite and Qizilbash/Bektashi Sources and Symbolism
Cultural Anthropological Analysis
  • Jürgen Wasim Frembgen: “Beyond Muslim and Hindu – Sacred Spaces in the Thar Desert of Pakistan
  • Alexandre Papas: “Dog of God: Animality and Wildness among Dervishes”
  • Thierry Zarcone: “Sacred Stones in Qalandariyya and Bektashism”
    Khāksār
  • Mehran Afshari: “Quṭb al-Dīn Ḥaydar-e Tūnī and his Connection to the Ḥaydariyya and Khāksāriyya”
  • Shahrokh Raei: “Some Recent Issues and Challenges in the Khāksār Order”
Folk Sufism
  • Razia Sultanova: “Female Folk Sufism in the Central Asian Space-Time Continuum”
 About the Editor:
Shahrokh Raei is an scholar of Sufī and Khāksār Order and lecturer at the Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Freiburg.

Statistics for 2016

Bibliographia Iranica started in May 2015. Although I had received positive feedback about my bibliographic posts on my own blog, it was unclear how well a dedicated bibliographic website for Iranian Studies would be received. I am glad to say that the academic as well as the general reception of our collective effort here at Bibliographia Iranica has been very positive and encouraging. And we know that our user base continues to grow. And so, before the new year advances too far and becomes old news, we should review the statistics for the past year.

In 2016, we had 33,417 views on our website. This number does not account for the post views and shares on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. With 1,147 views, the announcement of the Summer school in the Turfanforschung was the most viewed post on the blog.  We had 17,576 visitors from 127 countries, the USA leading with 8211 visitors. Sajad Amiri, Shervin Farridnejad, Yazdan Safaee and Arash Zeini together published an impressive 165 announcements, “Avesta” being the most searched term on the blog.

The success of Bibliographia Iranica owes much to the fact that it is a collective effort, and we hope that our user base continues to grow. There will hopefully be new developments in 2017 which I will announce in due course.


I (Arash) am not on Facebook, but you can get in touch with me through my own website.

Alexander the Great and the East

Nawotka, Krzysztof & Agnieszka Wojciechowska (eds.). 2016. Alexander the Great and the East: History, Art, Tradition. (Philippika – Altertumswissenschaftliche Abhandlungen / Contributions to the Study of Ancient World Cultures 103). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Even if Alexander’s rule in Asia has to be approached primarily through the study of Greek and Latin authors, many papers in this volume try to look beyond Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius, and Diodorus to Greek inscriptions, papyri, Egyptian, Babylonian, medieval Syriac and Arabic evidence. One focus is on Egypt, from the XXX dynasty to the Ptolemaic age. A lasting achievement of the early Macedonian age in Egypt is the lighthouse of Pharos, probably devised under Alexander to serve both as a watchtower of Alexandria and the focal point of the fire telegraph.
Another focus of the volume is on Babylonia, with caveats against the over-enthusiastic usage of cuneiform sources for Alexander. This focus then moves further east, showing how much caution is necessary in studying the topography of Alexander’s campaigns in Baktria, the land often misrepresented by ancient and medieval authors. It also deals with representation and literary topoi, having in mind that Alexander was as much a historical as a literary figure. In many respects ancient Alexander historians handled his persona in strong connection with Herodotean topics, while the idealized portrait of Alexander translated, through court poetry, into the language of power of Ptolemy of Egypt. Alexander was adopted to cultural traditions of the East, both through the medium of the Alexander Romance and through his fictitious correspondence with Aristotle, sometimes becoming a figure of a (Muslim) mystic or a chosen (Jewish) king.
Table of Contents
  • Krzysztof Nawotka and Agnieszka Wojciechowska: “Alexander the Great and the East: History, Art, Tradition: An Introduction”
  • Ivan A. Ladynin: “An Egyptian Prince at Alexander’s Court at Asia? A New Interpretation for the Evidence of the Statuette of the Son of Nectanebo II”
  • Krzysztof Nawotka and Agnieszka Wojciechowska: “Nectanebo II and Alexander the Great”
  • Adam Łukaszewicz: “Alexander and the Island of Pharos”
  • Giulia Cesarin: “Hunters on Horseback: New Version of the Macedonian Iconography in Ptolemaic Egypt”
  • Eduard Rung: “Athens, Alexander and the Family of Memnon of Rhodes: Some Notes on a New Interpretation of so-called “Memnon’s Decree”
  • Krzysztof Ulanowski: “The Methods of Divination Used in the Campaigns of the Assyrian Kings and Alexander the Great”
  • Micah T. Ross: “Belephantes to Alexander: An Astrological Report to a Macedonian King?”
  • Robin Lane Fox: “Alexander and Babylon: A Substitute King?”
  • Jeffrey Lerner: “Which Way North? Retracing Alexander’s Route to Marakanda in the Spring of 328 B.C.E”
  • Olga Kubica: “The Massacre of the Branchidae: a Reassessment. The post-mortem Case in Defence of the Branchidae”
  • Gościwit Malinowski: “Alexander the Great and China”
  • Guendalina D.M. Taietti: “Alexander the Great as a Herodotean Persian king”
  • Sabine Muller: “Poseidippos, Ptolemy and Alexander”
    Igor Yakubovitch: “The East in Curtius Rufus’ Historiae Alexandri Magni: A Paradoxical Reversion of Standards”
  • Christian Thrue Djurslev: “The Figure of Alexander the Great and Nonnus’ Dionysiaca”
  • Agnieszka Fulińska: “The Great, Son of the Great. Alexander – Son of Darius?”
  • Dan-Tudor Ionescu: “The King and His Personal Historian: The Relationship between Alexander of Macedon and Callisthenes in Bactria and Sogdiana”
  • Przemysław Siekierka: “Another Note on Deification of Alexander in Athens”
  • Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma: “On His Majesty’s Secret Service – Actors at the Court of Alexander the Great”
  • Aleksandra Szalc: “The Metamorphoses of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Motifs Concerning India in the Persian Alexander Romances”
  • Emily Cottrell: “An Early Mirror for Princes and Manual for Secretaries: The Epistolary Novel of Aristotle and Alexander”
  • Richard Stoneman: “Alexander’s Mirror”
  • Aleksandra Klęczar: “Wise and the Wiser: The Narratives on Alexander’s Wisdom Defeated in Two Versions of Hebrew Alexander Romance (MS London Jews’ College no 145 and MS Héb. 671.5 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale)”
  • Josef Wiesehöfer: “Alexander’s “Policy of Fusion” and German Ancient History between 1933 and 1945”

Interpreting Repetitions in Avestan

Jügel, Thomas. 2016. Repetition Analysis Function (ReAF) II: Interpreting Repetitions in Avestan. Indogermanische Forschungen 121(1). 1–38.
Up to this point, most editions of Avestan texts have been concerned with interpreting the text. Although repetitions and abbreviations were known, they were often ignored since they did not offer new insight into the understanding of the meanings of words. The present study takes the opposite approach. Ignoring the meaning of the text (at first), it tries to detect the compositional structure of the Yasna ceremony by concentrating on formal matters such as specific closing sections, frames, etc. In a second step, the content is considered in order to offer interpretations for the compositional structure. In ReAF I (Jügel 2015), information on the technical and theoretical background of the tool “Repetition Analysis Function” (ReAF) was given and textual units were identified. In ReAF II, the results of the ReAF for the Yasna ceremony as it appears in the manuscript J2 will be presented in detail. Furthermore, I will offer an interpretation of how to transfer the structural results to an analysis of the compositional structure of the Yasna. This also allows for the formulation of assumptions on the ceremonial structure.
Thomas Jügel is a Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528) in Paris.

A partial tree of Central Iranian

Korn, Agnes. 2016. A partial tree of Central Iranian. Indogermanische Forschungen 121(1).
Relations within the Iranian branch of Indo-European have traditionally been modelled by a tree that is essentially composed of binary splits into sub- and sub-subbranches. The first part of this article will argue against this tree and show that it is rendered outdated by new data that have come to light from contemporary and ancient languages. The tree was also methodologically problematic from the outset, both for reasons of the isoglosses on which it is based, and for not taking into account distinctions such as shared innovations vs. shared archaisms. The second part of the paper will present an attempt at an alternative tree for Iranian by proposing a subbranch which I will call “Central Iranian”. Such a branch seems to be suggested by a set of non-trivial morphological innovations shared by Bactrian, Parthian and some neighbouring languages. The reconstruction of the nominal system of Central Iranian which will then be proposed aims to show the result one arrives at when trying to reconstruct a subbranch as strictly bottom-up as possible, i. e. using only the data from the languages under study, and avoiding profitting from Old Iranian data and from our knowledge about the proto-languages.
Agnes Korn is a Senior Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528)

Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud: Christian and Sasanian Contexts in Late Antiquity

Kiel, Yshai. 2016.  Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud: Christian and Sasanian Contexts in Late Antiquity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Within this close textual analysis of the Babylonian Talmud, Yishai Kiel explores rabbinic discussions of sex in light of cultural assumptions and dispositions that pervaded the cultures of late antiquity and particularly the Iranian world. By negotiating the Iranian context of the rabbinic discussion alongside the Christian backdrop, this groundbreaking volume presents a balanced and nuanced portrayal of the rabbinic discourse on sexuality and situates rabbinic discussions of sex more broadly at the crossroads of late antique cultures. The study is divided into two thematic sections: the first centers on the broader aspects of rabbinic discourse on sexuality while the second hones in on rabbinic discussions of sexual prohibitions and the classification of permissible and prohibited partnerships, with particular attention to rabbinic discussions of incest. Essential reading for scholars and graduate students of Judaic studies, early Christianity, and Iranian studies, as well as those interested in religious studies and comparative religion.

 

“Five Courses” on Yašts of the Avesta

Kellens, Jean. 2016. Cinq Cours Sur les Yašts de l’Avesta. (Cahiers de Studia Iranica, 59). Paris: Peeters.

This volume includes “five courses” devoted to the Yasts, that Jean Kellens held at the College de France. They are divided into two series, each corresponding to a special period. The first three took place between 1997 and 2000: De la naissance des montagnes a la fin du temps: le Yast 19 and the two Promenade dans les Yasts a la lumiere de travaux recents, which appear here under the new titles La maintenance du monde and Le catalogue des sacrifiants. The last two titles, La notion d’ame preexistante and Le pantheon mazdeen, written in the years 2008-2011, represent a more recent reflection. Three other contributions have been added, which complete or explain more in details some reflections of the “five courses”: Caracteres differentiels du Mihr Yast, Les saisons des rivieres and Les Fravasi.

 

Levantine Epigraphy from the Achaemenid Period

Papyrus with an Aramaic translation of the Behistun inscription's text
Papyrus with an Aramaic translation of the Behistun inscription’s text

Lemaire, André. 2015. Levantine epigraphy and history in the Achaemenid period (539-332 BCE). First edition. (Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology 2013). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Inscriptions discovered since 1980 and fresh epigraph research have revealed much about the Archaeminid period in the Levant (533-332 BCE). André Lemaire concentrates on three areas where new data has shed light on the societies living in the largest empire that the world had known to that date.

Phoenicia played a vital political and economic role in the empire because Persian kings had to rely on the Phoenician navy in their wars against Greece and Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean. Newly discovered inscriptions from Byblos, Sidon and Tyre, as well as the results of research into coins, have illuminated the chronology, history and extent of the Phoenician kingdoms, as well as their influence in Palestine.

New inscriptions have added to our knowledge of the Judean Diaspora in Babylonia, Egypt and Cyprus. The main indirect information about the Exiles previously available to us was in the book of Ezekiel. Now, epigraphic data has revealed not only many names of Exiles but how and where they lived and more about their relationship with Jerusalem.

The third region described is the Persian provinces of Samaria, Judaea and Idumaea, especially during the 4th century BCE. The publication of various, mainly Aramaic, contemporary inscriptions on papyri, ostraca, seals, seal-impressions and coins, sheds new light on the daily life and religion of these provinces. The insciptions help us to understand something of the chronology, society and culture of these three different provinces as well as several Biblical texts in their historical and economic contexts.

With over 90 inscriptions illustrated and fully transcribed, this book provides new insight into a period that has proved difficult to study.

Table of Contents:

  • Levantine epigraphy and Phoenicia: the kingdoms of Aradus, Byblos, Sidon and Tyre during the Achaemenid period
  • West Semitic epigraphy and the Judean Diaspora during the Achaemenid period: Babylonia, Egypt, Cyprus
  • Levantine epigraphy and Samaria, Judaea and Idumaea during the Achaemenid period

About the Author:

André Lemaire (Sorbonne, Paris) has worked, first as a researcher in the French National Center for Scientific Research and later as “directeur d’études ” in the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne, Paris), in the field of West Semitic epigraphy, Levantine history and Hebrew Bible in the first millennium BCE, for more than forty years. He has published many new Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician inscriptions as well as new historical interpretations. He is especially interested in the connection between West Semitic epigraphy and the Biblical tradition and was a member of the Editorial board of Vetus Testamentum for 36 years.

Defining All-Israel in Chronicles : Multi-Levelled Identity Negotiation in Late Persian-Period Yehud

Jonker, Louis. C. 2016. Defining All-Israel in Chronicles : Multi-Levelled Identity Negotiation in Late Persian-Period Yehud. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 106. Tübingen. Mohr Siebeck.

 

In this book, Louis C. Jonker considers more sophisticated and nuanced models for applying the heuristic lens of “identity” in the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible book of Chronicles. Not only does he investigate the potential and limitations of different sociological models for this purpose, but the author also provides a more nuanced analysis of the socio-historical context of origin of late Persian-period biblical literature by distinguishing between four levels of socio-historic existence in this period. It is shown that varying power relations were in operation on these different levels which contributed to a multi-levelled process of identity negotiation. Louis C. Jonker shows the value of the chosen methodological approach in his analysis of Chronicles, but also suggests that it holds potential for the investigation of other Hebrew Bible corpora.

Louis C. Jonker Born 1962; BA, HonsBA, MA, BTh, LicTheol and DTh from University of Stellenbosch; since 2010 Professor in Old Testament at the University of Stellenbosch; Congress Secretary of the 2016 meeting of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT).

 

Table of Contents.

 

On the Explanation of Chess and Backgammon

Touraj, Daryaee. 2016. On the explanation of chess and backgammon: A Middle Persian text (Ancient Iran Series 2).  UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies. H&S Media.

The book is an edition of the earliest text in Middle Persian on the rules and views of the games of chess and backgammon, reported to be from the time of Khusro Anushirvan in the 6th CE.

Table of Contents