Tag Archives: Avestan Literature

Medicine in the Avesta

Delaini, Paolo. 2017. La medicina nell’Avesta. Widēwdād 7, 20, 21, 22. Studio filologico, traduzione e commento dei testi avestici e medio-persiani. Con un saggio sugli studi sulla medicina zoroastriana dal Settecento ad oggi. I. I Pahlavi Widēwdād 7.1 – 7.44. Sesto San Giovanni: Mimesis.

The present volume offers a philological study of various passages from the Wīdēwdād pertaining to medicine.

Abou the Author
Paul Delaini, is an scholar of Iranian studies at the University of Bologna, Ravenna. His research deals mainly with the history of pre-Islamic medicine in Iran, with particular emphasis on the development and circulation of medical knowledge on the body and the physiology of birth evolved from the ancient world on the late ancient and medieval tradition.

The Zoroastrian Law to Expel the Demons

The text Wīdēwdād – “Law Serving to Keep the Demons Away” – is one of the longest and most important sources for the study of the Zoroastrianism of the ancient Iranian and the Middle Iranian periods. The ancient Iranian text, written in Avestan, was in the Sassanid era (3rd-7th centuries) translated into Middle Persian (Pahlavi) and provided with glosses and extensive commentaries. The Pahlavi version, called zand, is of particular interest for two reasons: firstly, it is the oldest Middle Persian translation of an Avestan text, and thus of major importance for the linguistic reconstruction of Middle Persian; secondly, the annotations approach complex theological, ritual, and legal questions that examine numerous insufficiently studied areas of the Sassanid society. Despite its outstanding importance, this primary source has, due to the high degree of difficulty of the subject matter, until recently attracted hardly any attention.
Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo’s book, based upon a careful collation of all 44 still existing manuscripts, is the first critical edition of the Avestan and the Pahlavi text of the Wīdēwdād.
For more details see the table of the contents of this volume.
Author:
Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo is an scholar of Ancient and Middle Iranian Lingustics as well as Zoroastrianism. He is currently a research fellow of the Department of Classical Philology and Indo-European Studies at the University of Salamanca.

Iranian Linguistic Studies in memoriam Xavier Tremblay

Acta Iranica 57Pirart, Eric (ed.). 2016. Études de linguistique iranienne: in memoriam Xavier Tremblay. (Acta Iranica 57). Leuven: Peeters.
The 57th volume of the Acta Iranica is dedicated to the memory of late Xavier Tremblay (* 26. 6. 1971, Lille—15. 11. 2011), in order to celebrate his contribution to Iranian and Indo-European Studies. Even unfinished, the work of Xavier Tremblay plays a fundamental role to our understanding of the origins of the Zoroastrian liturgy.
Table of Contents (PDF):
  • Philippe Swennen: “Xavier Tremblay et la liturgie longue proto indo-iranienne. Présentation
  • Alberto Cantera: On Avestan text criticism (2): the accusative singular of the ū̆- and ṷa- stems in the long liturgy
  • Juan Jose Ferrer Losilla: “Preconsonantal nasals in the Avestan alphabet”
  • Jost Gippert: “Albano-Jranica II: Avestan +āfše”
  • Jean Kellens: “Deux apologues sur le feu rituel
  • Jaime Martinez-Porro: “The orthography of the Avestan diphthongs aē and aō in the munuscripts of the long liturgy”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The World’s Conflagration and the Manichaean “Great Fire” of 1468 years”
  • Éric Pirart: Les cvi de l’Avesta”
  • Nicholas Sims-Wiliams: “Bactria—Balkh: variations on a place-name”

Repetitions or Omissions? Different Versions of Widēwdād 22

Ferrer-Losilla, Juanjo. 2015. Repetitions or omissions? Different versions of Widēwdād 22. Studia Iranica 44 (2).  207–225.

The present paper analyses two versions that appear in the 22nd chapter of an intercalated text of the Zoroastrian Long Liturgy, the Widēwdād: a longer version in the Iranian manuscripts and a shorter in the Indian ones. It is shown that we stand before two different real versions in the ritual praxis of this ceremony, though it is difficult to evaluate the date in which each version appeared or whether one version could arise from the other after the beginning of the written transmission. Other passages of the Widēwdād containing similar problems are analysed in a brief appendix.

Avestica

Humbach, Helmut & Klaus Faiss. 2016. Avestica. (Münchener Studien Zur Sprachwissenschaft. Beiheft NF 25). Dettelbach: Verlag J.H. Röll.

This volume presents a collection of academic papers (mostly have been presented in the context of academic conferences) on different aspects of the Avestan and Zoroastrian studies, based on a very detailed philological and linguistic examination of various texts and concepts and  in all its phonological, morphological, syntactical, semantic, and etymological aspects.

 Table of Contents
  • Preface 7
  • Publications Helmut Humbach
  • Herz – Feuer – Seele. Bekehrung im vorgeschichtlichen Iran
  • The Avestan world with particular reference to the Mihr Yašt (Yt. 10,14-15)
  • The first chapter of the Avestan Vidēvdād
  • ‘Wind’ an Old Iranian Deity
  • Haoma Dūraoša and Grass in Zarathushtra’s Gāthās
  • Zarathushtra, Gāthic Poetry, and the Two Spirits

Change in the Approach to the Zoroastrian Liturgy

Jashan ceremony, The Banaji Atash Behram in Mumbai, 2011 Photo © KainazAmaria
Jashan ceremony, The Banaji Atash Behram in Mumbai, 2011 Photo © KainazAmaria

Cantera, Alberto. 2016. A Substantial Change in the Approach to the Zoroastrian Long Liturgy: About J. Kellens’s Études avestiques et mazdéennes. Indo-Iranian Journal 59(2). 139–185.

Between 2006 and 2013 J. Kellens published in five volumes (the last one together with C. Redard) a corrected version of the text edited by K.F. Geldner of the longest and most important Zoroastrian ritual usually known by the name of one of its variants as the Yasna. The text accompanies an experimental translation and both are followed by a commentary. J. Kellens is pioneering in translating and studying, not only the standard daily variant of the liturgy, but also its more solemn version. Furthermore, his work is the first attempt to read the complete text of the liturgy as the coherent text (although produced at different times) of an old and meaningful liturgy, although it has been traditionally understood as a late composition. As it appears in the manuscripts and is celebrated still today in India, the liturgy is the result of a series of conscious interpretations, reinterpretations and rearrangements of older versions. Despite of this, it is a coherent text and ritual in which each section of the liturgy plays a concrete role that J. Kellens has tried to bring to light for the first time. In the present review, I try to highlight the extraordinary importance of Kellens’ new approach to the Zoroastrian Long Liturgy and to expose his main achievements. At the same time, I expose the main weaknesses of this monumental work: 1. its dependence on the text edited by Geldner, which hides part of the ritual variety of the Long Liturgy; 2. the conscious disregard of the meta-ritual information provided by the Zoroastrian tradition about the performance of the liturgy; 3. J. Kellens’s Yasna-centrism that prevents him to recognize the close connections between the Long Liturgy and other minor rituals and the participation within the Long Liturgy of many short rituals that can be celebrated independently.
Read the article here.
 About the Author:
Alberto Cantera is a scholar of Ancient Iranian Studies and Avestan and Middle Persian Philology and Codicology. He is the director of the Institut of the Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Penitential Sections of the Xorde Avesta

Buyaner, David. 2016. Penitential sections of the Xorde Avesta (patits). Critical edition with commentary and glossary (Iranica 22). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The Zand ī Xorde Awestā, the Pahlavi version of the compilation of Avestan liturgical texts with the traditional name “Small Avesta” (Xorde Awestā), is one of the main monuments of the corpus of Pahlavi translations and commentaries (called zand) of Avestan original texts. Since the Xorde Awestā and its Pahlavi version consist of a variety of heterogeneous texts which belong to different strata of Zoroastrian literature, they are not only sources of utmost importance for Avestan and Pahlavi philology, but also for the history of Zoroastrianism, and, especially in its penitential sections, for the reconstruction of Zoroastrian law. The recitals of repentance called Padēd ī pašēmānīh (“Penitentiary prayer for repentance”, in two versions) and Xwad padēd (“Penitentiary prayer for oneself”), which are the main focus of this project, are of great interest for the reconstruction of Zoroastrian jurisprudence, since they contain the most extensive enumeration of sins and offences, using the specific terminology of religious and criminal law. The semantic and etymological analysis of legal vocabulary is one of the most urgent desiderata of Iranian Studies. Two other significant problems in this context concern the date of the composition of the Xorde Awestā and the underlying principle of its compilation. An exact analysis of those sections of the Zand ī Xorde Awestā without a prototype in the Avestan original, such as the Padēd texts, which are also known in their Pāzand version (i.e. in Middle Persian written in the Avestan script), would shed light on the question as to why these compositions were included in a zand compilation and the problem of the origins of this unique source.

For more information see the Table of Content of this volume.

Table of Content:

Continue reading Penitential Sections of the Xorde Avesta

Ardwahišt Yašt

Yast_3_KönigKönig, Götz. 2016. Yašt 3. Der avestische Text und seine mittel- und neupersische Übersetzungen. Einleitung, Text, Kommentar. (Estudios Iranios Y Turanios. Supplementa 1). Girona: Sociedad de estudios iranios y turanios (SEIT).
The third Yašt (“hymn”) in the collection of the 21 (22) YAv Yašts is dedicated to (the deity, prayer and the divine correspondence of the fire) Aša Vahišta “Best Order”. The text formulates an (eschatologically significant) ritual context and a magical (= medical) charm. Due to the ritual and medical importance of Yt 3, various translations into Middle and New Persian can be found. They provide insights into the interpretation of the text by the later Zoroastrians.
Ardwahišt Yašt is the third in the series of Avestan hymns addressed to individual divinities. It is devoted to one of the greatest of the Zoroastrian Aməša Spəntas, Aša Vahišta. The Ardwahišt Yašt is itself accordingly recited in rituals to cure the sick.

See the table of contents here.


 Götz König is a scholar of Zoroastrianism and a philologist working on ancient and Middle Iranian languages. He is currently a deputy professor at the Institute of Iranian Studies, Free University of Berlin, Germany. He has made important contributions to the study of Old, Middle and New Iranian Zoroastrian literature. His two monographs, “Die Erzählung von Tahmuras und Gamšid” (Wiesbaden 2008) and “Geschlechtsmoral und Gleichgeschlechtlichkeit im Zoroastrismus” (Wiesbaden 2010), have to be highlighted. They convey an impression of his refined philological technique which is at the service of a history of Iranian culture.

The vision of Ahura Mazdā’s poet

Image © Euromazdean Traditional Reader

Panaino, Antonio. 2015. The vision of Ahura Mazdā’s poet. Notes on Y. 31,5. In M.C. Pelevin (ed.), «НА ПАСТБИЩЕ МЫСЛИ БЛАГОЙ» Сборник статей к юбилею И. М. Стеблин-Каменского [Collection of articles for the anniversary of Steblin-Kamensky], 47–62. St. Petersburg: Контраст.

Y.31,5 is a very intriguing O.Av. stanza, which presents some interesting problems centered on the pivotal role of ərəšiš “seer, inspired poet”, corresponding to Ved. r̥ṣi-, whose insight should be connected not only with the Manah who was Vohu, but also with the inner manah- of Ahura Mazdā himself by means of a word-game played around the stem manah- evoked in its compositional form (mə̄ṇ°). The “better” (vahiiō) rule assigned by the Gods to the poet and priest (Zoroaster) opens his eyes offering the Av. ərəši– a new power of discrimination and comprehension of the world (probably both in the ritual dimension and in reality) so that he might actually impress in his own mind what does not exist and what is really existent. In this respect the text by means of the direct opposition between two subjunctives (yā nōit̰ vā aŋhat̰ aŋhaitī vā) of the root ah (very interestingly, one with a secondary ending, the latter with a primary one), shows how the idea of “existence” and “inexistence” — in this very case deeper than that of “being” or not “being” — was fittingly formulated already in the earliest Mazdean framework.
Antonio Panaino is professor of ancient Iranian philology and hitory of religion at the University of Bologna.

Studies on the Pre-Islamic Iranian World

Krasnowolska, Anna & Renata Rusek-Kowalska (eds.). 2015. Studies on the Iranian World I. Before Islam. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press.
This volume is the proceedings of the Seventh Conference of Iranian Studies of the Societas Iranologica Europaea (ECIS7), organized by Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE), which took place in Cracow, September 7-10, 2011. The first of the two volumes of the ECIS7 proceedings is dedicated to the pre-Islamic Iranian studies.
Table of Contents
Linguistics:
  • Maria Carmela Benvenuto, Flavia Pompeo: “The Old Persian Genetive. A Study of a Syncretic Case
  • Saloumeh Gholami: “Nominal Compound Strategies in Middle Iranian Languages”
  • Paolo Ognibene: “Alan Place-names in Western Europe”
  • Christiane Reck: “Work in Progress: The Catalogue of the Buddhist Sogdian Fragments of the Berlin Turgan Collection”
  • Arash Zeini: “Preliminary Remarks on Middle Persian <nc> in the Pahlavi Documents”
Literature:
  • Elham Afzalian: “Autoritäten im Mādayānī Hazār Dādestān”
  • Iris Colditz: “Two Snake-Brothers on their Way — Mani’s Scripture as a Source of Manichaean Central Asian Parabels?”
  • Seyyedeh Fatemeh Musavi: “Fictional Structure of the Middle Persian Ayādgār ī Zarērān
Religion:
  • Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst: “Aspects of Hymnology in Manichaean Community in Turfan”
  • Raffaella Frascarelli: “Arǝdvī Sūrā Anāhitā: Considerations on the Greek ἀρχἡ”
  • Judith Josephson: “Ohrmazd’s Plan for Creation according to Book Three of the Denkard”
  • Götz König: “The Pahlavi Translation of Yašt 3″
  • Kianosh Rezania: “On the Old Iranian Social Space and its Relation to the Time Ordering System”
History:
Archaeology:
  • Alireza Askari Chaversi: “In Search of the Elusive Town of Persepolis”
  • Jukian Bogdani, Luca Colliva, Sven Stefano Tilia: “The Citadel of Erbil. The Italian Archaeological and Topographic Activities”
  • Carlo G. Cereti, Gianfilippo Terribili, Alessandro Tilia: “Pāikūlī in its Geographical Context”
  • Niccolò Manassero: “New Sealings from Old Nisa”
  • Vito Messina, Jafar Mehr Kian: “The Hong-e Azhdar Parthian Rock Relief Reconsidered”
 About the Editors:

Anna Krasnowolska is a professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University.

Renata Rusek-Kowalska is an assistant professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University.