Intangible spirits and graven images

Congratulations to Michael Shenkar for publishing his book, which is already being endorsed by many scholars.

Shenkar, Michael. 2014. Intangible spirits and graven images: The iconography of deities in the pre-Islamic Iranian world. Leiden: Brill.

In Intangible Spirits and Graven Images, Michael Shenkar investigates the perception of ancient Iranian deities and their representation in the Iranian cults. This ground-breaking study traces the evolution of the images of these deities, analyses the origin of their iconography, and evaluates their significance. Shenkar also explores the perception of anthropomorphism and aniconism in ancient Iranian religious imagery, with reference to the material evidence and the written sources, and reassesses the value of the Avestan and Middle Persian texts that are traditionally employed to illuminate Iranian religious imagery. In doing so, this book provides important new insights into the religion and culture of ancient Iran prior to the Islamic conquest.

See here for more.

The image of cosmos reflected in the body

Delaini, Paolo. 2014. The image of cosmos reflected in the body. The theory of microcosm-macrocosm and its spread in Sasanian Iran. In Antonio Panaino (ed.), Studies on astronomy and its history offered to Salvo De Meis (Indo-Iranica et Orientali 13). Milan: Memesis.

Read the article here.

Symposium: British Library Persian manuscripts

The British Library is holding a one-day symposium on the theme of digitisation and new research on its collection of Persian manuscripts, one of the most significant in the world in both size and importance.

British Library Persian Manuscripts: Collections and Research
British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Friday, 31 October 2014, 9.30-18.00

Booking will be available from Monday 22 September from British Library Events. Tickets include a light lunch and refreshments and are priced at £15 (£10 concessions).
For more information, see here.

Review: The transmission of the Avesta

Piras, Andrea. 2014. Review of Alberto Cantera (ed.): The transmission of the Avesta. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 104. 365–368.

Read the review here. More information on the volume is available here.

The last ruling woman of Ērānšhahr

Daryaee, Touraj. 2014. The last ruling woman of Ērānšahr: Queen Āzarmīgduxt. International Journal of the Society of Iranian Archaeologists 1(1). 77–81.

Queen Āzarmīgduxt was the last queen from the Sasanid dynasty who ruled Ērānšahr during the 7th century CE. In this paper we intend to review her life and her decision to revive the memory of her father Khusro the Second (Parwez). One of Āzarmīgduxt’s actions was to mint coins with the image of her father, but her own name. In this paper, we propose a new theory about Āzarmīgduxt’s decision to do so. The paper concludes with an analysis of the reasons behind Āzarmīgduxt’s assassination by a group of Arsacid nobility Spāhbed Farrox-Hormizd and his son, Rustam ī Farroxzādān.

Read the article here.

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.

A predominantly bibliographic blog for Iranian Studies