The visual world of Persianate culture

A promising and interesting conference hosted by the University of Edinburgh coinciding with the launch of their Masters in Persian Civilization. Congratulations to the University and all who made the conference and the Masters possible. This international conference also coincides with ‘the anniversary exhibition of Rashid al-Din’s World History in Edinburgh (1 August – 31 October 2014), [and explores] the importance of the visual in the Persian world. The conference aims to examine the historic role of visual culture in the shaping, influencing, and transforming of Persian cultures over successive centuries.

For more, see the conference website. More information on the degree is here.

Topographies of power

Canepa, Matthew. 2014. Topographies of power: Theorizing the visual, spatial and ritual contexts of rock reliefs in ancient Iran. In Ömür Harmanşah (ed.), Of rocks and water: Towards an archaeology of place (Joukowsky Institute Publication 5). 55–92. Oxford/Havertown, PA: Oxbow Books.

DABIR: Digital Archive of Brief notes & Iran Review

DABIR, published by the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California, Irvine, is a new open access journal focusing on publishing brief notes rather than full length articles. Our aim is to speed up the publishing process, hoping to enable researchers to communicate and share their ideas more quickly.

Please visit the journal’s website, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages.

The language of heaven in Safavid Iran

Congratulations to Dan Sheffield and Alireza Korangy on publishing this excellent Festschrift. Dan’s own very interesting contribution to the volume:

Sheffield, Dan. 2014. The language of heaven in Safavid Iran: Speech and cosmology in the thought of Āẕar Kayvān and his followers. In Alireza Korangy & Daniel Sheffield (eds.), No tapping around philology: A Festschrift in honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th birthday. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Read the article here. See this page for more information on the volume.

Wrestling with the Demons

Moazami, Mahnaz. 2014. Wrestling with the Demons of the Pahlavi Widēwdād. Transcription, Translation, and Commentary (Iran Studies 9). Leiden/Boston: Brill.

The Pahlavi Widēwdād (Vidēvdād), The Law (Serving to Keep) Demons Away, a fifth-century Middle Persian commentary on the Avestan Vidēvdād, describes rules and regulations that serve to prevent pollution caused by dead matter, menstrual discharges, and other agents. It recognizes the perpetual presence of the demons, the forces of the Evil Spirit –forces that should be fought through law-abiding conduct. In spite of its formidable textual problems, the commentary provides an invaluable quarry for the rules of the Zoroastrian community through its citation of regulations for the conduct of its members. Many topics are covered, from jurisprudence to penalties, procedures for dealing with pollution, purification, and arrangements for funerals. Viewed together, they provide the reader with an exquisite interlace of a community’s concerns.

See here for more.

نامه‌ای به یزدانگرد

An introduction by Touraj Daryaee to Pahlavi papyri and their importance for historical research.

دریایی، تورج. ۱۳۹۲. نامه‌ای به یزدانگرد: درآمدی بر پاپیروسهای پهلوی. در جشن نامه دکتر فتح الله مجتبی.
تهران.

مقاله را اینجا بخوانید.

Introduction to Avestan

This introduction was first published in 2001 in Spanish. It is now being made available in English translation.

Martínez, Javier & Michiel de Vaan. 2014. Introduction to Avestan (Brill Introductions to Indo-European Languages I). Leiden/Boston: Brill. Translated from Spanish by Ryan Sandell.

See here for more.

Of gods and kings

I found the work of Brisch inspiring and guiding, when I was researching the theme of ‘Iranian kingship’ in St Andrews.

Brisch, Nicole. 2013. Of gods and kings. Religion Compass 7(2). 37–46.

Read the article here.

Ioudaios before and after “Religion”

Reed’s insightful reflections on the Greek term ioudaios and how modern assumptions about the concept of ‘religion’ shape our understanding of ancient texts. This piece was published in the Marginalia Review of Books online forum Jews and Judeans.

Yoshiko Reed, Annette. 2014. Ioudaios before and after “Religion”.

Read the article here.

Textuality and memory

Reed, Annette Yoshiko. 2014. Textuality between death and memory: The prehistory and formation of the parabiblical Testament. Jewish Quarterly Review 104(3). 381–412.

This essay revisits testamentary texts and traditions from the Second Temple period in relation to themes of death, memory, and writing. Rather than debating the classification or morphology of the parabiblical testament, it focuses upon its determinative feature—the framing of texts as the first-person teachings of ancient biblical heroes near death. It traces some precedents for this literary choice, and speculates about the cultural worlds in which such a choice made sense. To do so, it surveys the representation and modeling of the written word as a technology of memory, first within Aramaic works with testamentary features from the Hellenistic period (esp., Aramaic Levi, Testament of Qahat, Visions of Amram) and then within some of full-fledged testaments preserved in Greek from the early Roman period (esp., Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs, Testament of Job). In both sets of works, the narrative setting of near-death teaching is used to address challenges of continuity and succession. Representations of textual practices, however, differ; in some, writing and reading are presented as necessary complement to remembered speech and ethical emulation, while in others, books function as safeguard or stand-in. In each, moreover, the intersections of death, memory, and writing are articulated in distinctive ways, often resonating with broader cultural concerns—ranging from Hellenistic ideals of “authorship” to the early Roman interest in wills.

Read the article here.

A predominantly bibliographic blog for Iranian Studies