Category Archives: Books

Architecture et représentations dans l’Iran sassanide

Callieri, Pierfrancesco. 2014. Architecture et représentations dans l’Iran sassanide (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 50). Peeters.

This volume contains the text of the five “Ehsan and Latifeh Yarshater Distinguished Lectures on Iranian Studies”, organized by the Unité Mixte de Recherche 7528 “Mondes iranien et indien”, and delivered in 2014 at the College de France in Paris. The aim of this book is to take stock of the architectural and figurative culture of Sasanian Iran on the basis of a new comprehensive evaluation of the varied range of architectural and artistic evidence known to us, and in the light of the recent discoveries published in Iran over the last few years. Without any pretence of being exhaustive, the idea is to bring more light to bear on the utilisation of built-up areas, forms of expression and visual communication, and the mechanisms involved in artisanal production. Two chapters are dedicated to the architecture, a field in which we are far from having arrived at a general consensus, while another chapter deals with a category of artistic production closely linked to the architecture, namely stucco work. The other two chapters look into the technical-stylistic aspects of types of production so far studied mainly from the iconographic point of view: the rock reliefs and the seals.

Judeo-Persian manuscripts in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Moreen, Vera Basch (ed.). 2015. Catalogue of Judeo-Persian manuscripts in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Études Sur Le Judaïsme Médiéval 63). Leiden/Boston: Brill.
The intellectual legacy of the ancient community of Iranian Jews rests in several large but neglected Judeo-Persian manuscript collections. The largest in the West, and the third largest collection in the world (198 manuscripts), belongs to the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York. Primarily a work of reference, this Catalog informs scholars in the fields of Judaica and Iranica about the range of subjects (history, poetry, medicine, philology, etc.) that engaged Iranian Jews between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It reflects the intellectual parameters of Iranian Jewry by describing the extent to which they were acquainted with classical Jewish texts while they were deeply enmeshed in the literary and artistic sensibilities of their Iranian environment.

About the Author:

Vera Basch Moreen, Ph.D. (1978), Harvard University, is an Independent Scholars who has taught Islam and Judaism Islam at several colleges. She specializes in the history and culture of Jews in the Muslim world, primarily Iran. In Queen Esther’s Garden: An Anthology of Judeo-Persian Literature (New Haven, 2000) is among her many publications.

A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian

Paul, Ludwig. 2013. A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.
Early Judaeo-Persian (EJP) is the form of Persian that was spoken by Jews, and written in Hebrew script, in ca. the 8th-12th centuries C.E. Most EJP manuscripts have been found in the Cairo Geniza from the late 19th century onwards. Since the dialectal basis of EJP is different from the Early New Persian (written in Arabic script) that was spoken in north-east Iran at the same time, the study of EJP is essential for an understanding of the development of New Persian. So far, only isolated grammatical features of EJP have been studied. The present work is the first attempt at a comprehensive description of EJP grammar in its own right, based on the study of the most important EJP texts, published and unpublished.
For more information, see the ToC and the preface to this vollume. You can also download and read a sample chapter of this book.
 About the Editor:
Ludwig Paul is professor of Iranian Studies at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg. He is a scholar of Iranian Linguistic, dialektology as well as Iranian modern history.

Das Zentrum und sein Kreis

Below is a link to Rezania’s introduction and own contribution to his volume, Raumkonzeptionen in antiken Religionen, which was published last year.

Rezania, Kianoosh. 2014. Einleitung: Raum und Religion. In Kianoosh Rezania (ed.), Raumkonzeptionen in antiken Religionen. Akten des internationalen Symposions in Göttingen, 28. und 29. Juni 2012 (Philippika 69), 1–19. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Rezania, Kianoosh. 2014. Das Zentrum und sein Kreis, Ahura Mazdā und sein Kosmos. Die rituellen und zeitlichen Homöomorphismen eines topologischen Modells. In Kianoosh Rezania (ed.), Raumkonzeptionen in antiken Religionen. Akten des internationalen Symposions in Göttingen, 28. und 29. Juni 2012 (Philippika 69), 211–243. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Greater Khorasan

Rante, Rocco (ed.). 2015. Greater Khorasan: History, Geography, Archaeology and Material Culture (Studies in the History and Culture of the Middle East 29). Walter de Gruyter.

The modern sense of “Greater Khorasan” today corresponds to a territory which not only comprises the region in the east of Iran but also, beyond Iranian frontiers, a part of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. In the past this entity was simply defined as Khorasan. In the Sassanid era Khorasan defined the “Eastern lands”. In the Islamic era this term was again taken up in the same sense it previously enjoyed. The Arab sources of the first centuries all mention the eastern regions under the same toponym, Khorasan. Khorasan was the gateway used by Alexander the Great to go into Bactria and India and, inversely, that through which the Seljuks and Mongols entered Iran. In a diachronic context Khorasan was a transit zone, a passage, a crossroads, which, above all in the medieval period, saw the creation of different commercial routes leading to the north, towards India, to the west and into China. In this framework, archaeological researches will be the guiding principle which will help us to take stock of a material culture which, as its history, is very diversified. They also offer valuable elements on commercial links between the principal towns of Khorasan. This book will provide the opportunity to better know the most recent elements of the principal constitutive sites of this geographical and political entity.

Tomb of two Elamite princesses

tomb-Elamite-princeseesShishegar, Arman. 2015. Tomb of the two Elamite princesses: Of the house of King Shutur-Nahunte son of Indada. Neo-Elamite period, phase IIIB (ca. 585–539 B.C.). Tehran: Pažuhešgāh-e Sāzmān-e Mirās̱-e Farhangi.

This book, published in Persian, is an archaeological report of a tomb excavated in the village of Jubaji,  south-east of Ramhormoz, on the eastern boundary of the province of Khuzestan, south-western Iran. In April 2007, during the digging of a water channel by Khuzestan Water and Power Authority, a subterranean Tombstone was discovered but unfortunately was almost entirely ruined. Later, an excavation team directed by Arman Shishegar was immediately dispatched to the site to carry out rescue excavation. The tomb was completely excavated in three months. The tomb belongs to two Elamite Princesses from the house of a Neo-Elamite king: Shutur-Nahunte son of Indada.

Continue reading Tomb of two Elamite princesses

On orality and textuality

Rubanovich, Julia (ed.). 2015. Orality and textuality in the Iranian world: Patterns of interaction across the centuries (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture 19). Brill.

The volume demonstrates the cultural centrality of the oral tradition for Iranian studies. It contains contributions from scholars from various areas of Iranian and comparative studies, among which are the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian tradition with its wide network of influences in late antique Mesopotamia, notably among the Jewish milieu; classical Persian literature in its manifold genres; medieval Persian history; oral history; folklore and more. The essays in this collection embrace both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, both verbal and visual media, as well as various language communities (Middle Persian, Persian, Tajik, Dari) and geographical spaces (Greater Iran in pre-Islamic and Islamic medieval periods; Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan of modern times). Taken as a whole, the essays reveal the unique blending of oral and literate poetics in the texts or visual artefacts each author focuses upon, conceptualizing their interrelationship and function.

Mani in Dublin

Richter, Siegfried, Charles Horton & Klaus Ohlhafer (eds.). 2015. Mani in Dublin: Selected papers from the seventh international conference of the International Association of Manichaean Studies in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 8–12 September 2009 (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 88). Brill.

In 2009 the Seventh International Conference of Manichaean Studies was held at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. The 22 selected papers of this volume offer a deep insight into the faith of Manichaean communities ranging from the very beginning of the 3rd century up to the last traces of worship today. Among others the authors deal with sources from Augustin, John the Grammarian, Ephrem the Syrian and further sources written in Coptic, Sogdian, Middle Persian, Parthian and Chinese. Several studies about Manichaean art and iconography offer a visual impression, which gives a new opportunity for understanding the religion of Light.

Persian language, literature and culture

Talattof, Kamran. 2015. Persian language, literature and culture: New leaves, fresh looks. Routledge.

Critical approaches to the study of topics related to Persian literature and Iranian culture have evolved in recent decades. The essays included in this volume collectively demonstrate the most recent creative approaches to the study of the Persian language, literature, and culture, and the way these methodologies have progressed academic debate.

[…] In dealing with these seminal subjects, contributors acknowledge and contemplate the works of Ahmad Karimi Hakkak and other pioneering critics, analysing how these works have influenced the field of literary and cultural studies.

The reign of Shah ‘Abbas

FazliGhereghlou, Kioumars (ed.). 2015. A chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas: Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani. Gibb Memorial Trust.

This substantial and largely unknown Persian chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas I (1587-1629) exists in a unique manuscript, recently discovered in the Library of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Its author, Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani, member of an important bureaucratic family, provides an insider’s account of this crucial period in Persian history, with a wealth of detail about the central and provincial administration and much information not found in other sources. Shortly after the succession of Shah Safi (1629-42), Fazli Beg left for India, where he continued to work on his chronicle. So far, three volumes of the Afzal al-tavarikh have come to light, covering the reigns of Shah Isma‘il, Shah Tahmasp, and Shah ‘Abbas; none of them is complete and each exists only in a sole copy. Volume 3 on Shah ‘Abbas is a composite work, containing many of the author’s handwritten corrections and marginalia, making it a fascinating example of the composition of a work in progress. The complete text of 579 folios has been edited by Kioumars Ghereghlou (Columbia University Center for Iranian Studies); the publication is accompanied by detailed indexes and a substantial introduction by Kioumars Ghereghlou and Charles Melville (University of Cambridge) on the life and career of Fazli Beg, the significance of his work, and the manuscripts on which it is based. Volume 1 covers the years 996-1019 AH/ 1587-1610. Volume 2 covers the years 1020-1037 AH / 1611-1629. Both volumes are accompanied by a DVD with the text of the manuscript for the years in question.