Myths on the Origin of Language or on the Plurality of Languages
08.02-09.02.2017, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
Session 1: The Tower of Babel
Hindy Najman: “The origin of language and the Tower of Babel”
Florentina Geller: “The Tower of Babel from parabiblical sources”
Session 2: Ancient Greece and Rome
Filippomaria Pontani: “Greek and Roman materials”
Comments by Glenn Most.
Session 3: Iran and India
Shervin Farridnejad: “The Language of the Gods: Some Reflections on the Origin of the Language in Zoroastrianism”
Roy Tzohar: “Language originated in dreams: Why Indian Buddhists do not have (almost) any myths about the creation of Languages”
Comments by Sonja Brentjes
Session 4: China and Inner Asia
Wolfgang Behr: “Some Ideas on the Origin of Language in Late Imperial China,” with a few words on early China”
Mårten Söderblom Saarela: “Accounts of the invention of scripts in Inner Asia”
Comments by Dagmar Schäfer
About the working group:
This working group brings together around a dozen historians and philologists with diverse kinds of linguistic expertise to discuss the relation between plurilingualism and the creation and reception of monolingual and plurilingual texts in various Eurasian societies. Through joint readings and translation the group explores how the text is affected by its origin in a plurilingual society and, conversely, the effect plurilingualism has on reading practices and on a “polyglot’s” understanding of the text (its concepts and ideals). In the past – as much as in the present – the majority of people in the world, and most probably most elite communities, were enmeshed in plurilingual practices. Elites from India to the Central Asia plains, Bengali Zamindars, Parsi businessmen, and scholarly travellers and the politically privileged inhabitants around the Mediterranean or the East Asian seas used two or more languages on a daily basis. Plurilingualism was widespread and a common response to the phenomenon of great linguistic diversity, not necessarily in the sense of language mastery, but rather in the form of effective negotiation of the immediate exigencies of communication. Seeking to better understand this dynamic, the seminar investigates topics such as the impact of filtering information through varied languages; the interplay between declarative and procedural knowledge; methods and means of classification; covert translations and covert multilingualism in monolingual texts; and scholarly ideals regarding reading, writing, and linguistic media, be they purportedly perfect or original languages or newly minted would-be rational or universal languages.
Mani in Cambridge: A Day-Symposium on Manichaean Studies | Ancient India & Iran Trust
On Saturday 25 March, as part of an ongoing research project, we are holding a one day Symposium on Manichaean Studies sponsored jointly by the Ancient India and Iran Trust, the International Association of Manichaean Studies and the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum Project.
Participants: M. A. Andrés-Toledo, T. F. Aufderheide, A. Cantera, S. Farridnejad, J. Ferrer, L. Goldman, A. Hintze, J. Kellens, G. König, J. Martínez-Porro, A. Panaino, B. Peschl, É. Pirart, P. Widmer and A. Zeini
J. Kellens: “Exégèse et grammaire: le destin de l’Ahuna Vairiia”
A. Panaino: “Y. 71-72 and the end of the Ritual”
É. Pirart : “Pour de nouveaux fragments avestiques”
G. König: “Xorde Avesta as an editorial concept? Some considerations.”
A. Cantera: “Yašt ī keh /yašt ī meh: Sasanian taxonomies of the rituals in Avestan language”
K. Rezania: “When the text and diagram do not accord. On the textual and diagrammatic representations of the ritual surface of Barǝšnum in Avestan manuscripts”
B. Peschl: “Simple thematic presents with root vowel ā in Avestan: Textual corruption, genuine Avestan innovation or PIE archaism?”
J. Martínez-Porro & A. Cantera: “huuarə.xšaētəm. …. raēm and the aporias of the archetype”
J. Ferrer: “Paleographie et édition”
T. F. Aufderheide: “Avestisch <ṇ>: Über den Einfluss der einheimischen Sprachwissenschaft des Alten Indiens zur Verschriftlichung des Avesta”
F. Dragoni: “The Pāzand of M51”
P. Widmer: “Editing the Atharvaveda in the 21st century: The Zurich Paippalada project”
A. Hintze/L. Goldman: “Transcribing Avestan manuscripts”
M. A. Andrés-Toledo: “Editing the Pahlavi Widewdad”
A. Zeini: “Editing the Pahlavi Yasna”
S. Gholami: “Editing the colophons of Avestan manuscripts”
Round Table: “Editing Avestan texts in the 21th century: Problems and perspectives”
Time & Place: 23.03.2017 – 24.03.2017, Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
Center for Iran, Balkans and Central European Studies
Bulgarian National Library “St, Cyril and Methodius’’
Sofia University ‘’St. Kliment Ohridski’’
23-24 February 2017
Center for Iran, Balkans and Central European Studies in partnership with the Cyril and Methodius National Library of Bulgaria, the “St. Kliment Ohridski” Sofia University, and Allameh Tabataba’i University are going to convene the international conference on “Persian Manuscripts in the Balkans and Central Europe”. The conference will be held in Sofia, with the contributions of scholars and researchers from 16 countries, expert in codicology. Scope of the topics to be discussed in this conference includes: Persian manuscripts; Persian documents; manuscripts about Iran in other languages; documents about Iran in other languages; and exploring Eastern manuscripts. Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU) will publish the approved papers. Along with the conference, a workshop on “Codicology” will also be held.
The Gandhara Connections project identifies chronology and dating as one of the key problems outstanding in the study of Gandharan art. Chronology is not only fundamental for establishing the nature of Gandharan art’s connections with the traditions of Greece and Rome, but also for any other systematic attempt to put it in context or explain its development.
Rituals play a prominent role in Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest continuous religions of humanity. The importance and practice of the Zoroastrian rituals extend over a wide range of social and local environments, from houses to fire temples as well as from antiquity to modernity. While the sources for exploring Zoroastrian rituals in pre-modern times are predominantly confined to traditional and priestly texts, we have a broader set of sources for modern and contemporary times, including the living ritual tradition of priests and laities. The lecture deals with the presence and importance of the rituals as well as the ritualistic traditions in Zoroastrianism.
You can download the whole program of this talk series here.
Shervin Farridnejad is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute of Iranian Studies (IFI) at the Academy of Science (ÖAW) in Vienna and at the Institute of Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Many congratulations to Professor Elton Daniel, who has been appointed the Interim Director of the Center for Iranian Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopædia Iranica. See below for the full text of the announcement:
It is with great pleasure that the Board of Directors of the Foundation announces the appointment of Professor Elton Daniel by Columbia University as the Interim Director of the Center for Iranian Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopædia Iranica.
For many years now, the Encyclopædia has consistently benefitted from Professor Daniel’s impressive contributions as an erudite scholar with a formidable knowledge of Iranian culture as well as proven qualities as an able and energetic administrator. During his tenure as Professor of History at the University of Hawaii, he served for four years as Senior Research Scholar and Associate Editor of the Encyclopædia at the Center for Iranian Studies, ensuring a steady progress in publishing well researched and edited entries. Since then, Professor Daniel has been closely involved with the progress of the project, reviewing entries before publication as well as contributing several substantial articles of his own.
As an international enterprise, the Encyclopædia project requires exceptional leadership with a wide range of experience and close familiarity with current scholarship worldwide. In the course of his academic career, Professor Daniel has studied and taught in different continents (including in the Middle East and Iran) and has held several prestigious fellowships. As well as authoritative articles and monographs on early medieval history in which his linguistic and philological expertise in Persian, Arabic and Turkish are displayed to the full, he has written a highly acclaimed general history of Iran intended for a general readership which is now in its second edition.
The Board welcomes Professor Daniel’s appointment and looks forward to working with him in ensuring the successful progress of the project under his leadership.
For the orientation in space and the linguistic expression of spatial relations of objects, different coordination systems can be used. One of these systems utilizes fixed cardinal directions. The four compass points north, south, east and west constitute the cardinal directions of our absolute frame of reference. Did the Old Iranians employ the same frame of reference likewise with these compass points?
After the representation of different coordination systems, absolute, intrinsic and relative, the paper addresses the Old Iranian absolute frame of reference. By means of the orientation of Achaemenian palaces, the order of countries in the Old Persian list of nations as well as Avestan linguistic evidence, it will be demonstrated that the Old Iranian people did not used our todays compass points for their orientation in space, but employed a different absolute frame of reference. The paper will present the cardinal directions of this system.
You can download the whole program of this talk series here.
Kianoosh Rezania is a professor of Western Asian Religious Studies at the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.