Category Archives: Journal

Richard N. Frye

Richard Neslon Frye, the Aga Khan Professor of Iranian Studies Emeritus, who passed away on 27 March 2014, has unfortunately become the subject of a political row in Iran. It is good to remember him for what he was, a scholar with a unique and refreshing style and a sharp eye for methodology:

There is always the danger in Avestan studies of seizing upon a device or a theory as the key to the understanding of that enigmatic book to the exclusion of all contrary evidence (which is declared corrupt and untrustworthy), proclaiming that the true meaning of the Avesta lies in this key. Johannes Hertel is the shining example of a competent Indo-Iranian philologist who proposed his Feuerlehre as the key to the understanding of both the Avesta and the Vedas. His ubiquitous fire was not taken seriously by others but his linguistic skill in support of fire was impressive. Just as Th. Noeldeke said of Pahlavi, “In Pehlewi stumpfen wir alle”, so the Avesta may drive all who study it slightly mad.

Frye, Richard Nelson. 1960. Georges Dumézil and the translators of the Avesta. Numen 7(2). 161–171.

See here for an obituary at the HARVARDgazette and here for one by Burzine Waghmar.

A few of our favourite things

The The International Dunhuang Project‘s (IDP) series of  A Few of Our Favourite Things is now complete. The 20 contributions cover a wide range of manuscripts found at Dunhuang, featuring among others objects discussed by Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, Nicholas Sims-Williams and Prods Oktor Skjærvø.

Mantiq al-tayr ‘The Speech of the Birds’

Among the recently digitised Persian manuscripts of the British Library is the manuscript BL Add. 7735, an illustrated copy of Farīd al-Dīn ‘Aṭṭār’s Manṭiq al-ṭayr ‘The Speech of the Birds’. The Asian and African studies blog of the British Library discusses this manuscript and the Manṭiq al-ṭayr in a multi-part blog, featuring superb miniatures.

To find out more, see part 1, 2, 34.