Tag Archives: Literature

Cosmic, cultic and social spaces in Early Zoroastrianism

Rezania, Kianoosh. 2017. Raumkonzeptionen im früheren Zoroastrismus. Kosmische, kultische und soziale Räume (Iranica, GOF III/NF 14). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Space, like time, is one of the basic categories of our thinking. Their concepts do not remain constant in different cultures or in changing periods, which is why dealing with a historical cultural phenomenon always requires a review of these categories in their specific culture and time. Based on the oldest linguistic and architectural evidence of Iran from the 12th to the 4th century BC, for the first time Kianoosh Rezania offers a comprehensive study of space concepts in Zoroastrianism in ancient Iran.
Based on current and historical theories of space, the Zoroastrian spaces are divided into cosmic, cultic and social spaces. The depiction of the cosmic spaces describes spatial abstractions in ancient Iranian languages as well as Zoroastrian boundary principles. Rezania examines the coordinate systems that ancient Iranians used for orientation in space and how they transformed their cognitive maps into text. This also includes the portrayal of the Zoroastrian worldview according to their older texts. At the intersection of cosmic and cultural spaces, there are transcendent spaces that contain, on the one hand, utopian spaces for communication with gods, some of which are written by poets. Since the study does not rule out dynamics and change processes in the ritual domain, reconstructions of Zoroastrian ritual surfaces in the Avestan period are presented without the inclusion of recent materials. In addition, the spatially represented social structure of the awestischen society and their spatial symbolic orders are presented.
For the table of contents of this volume visit here.

A manual for Iranian Studies (Handbuch der Iranistik, Vol. 2)

Paul, Ludwig (ed.). 2017. Handbuch der Iranistik. Vol. 2. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.
The second volume of the Handbook of Iranian Studies  follows the concept of the first volume and develops it further. It follows the division of the first volume (for the first Volume see here) into eight discipline-defined sections and completes the research overview of the first volume in a comprehensive way with about 50 articles. Thus, in the second part, the few gaps of the first volume are closed in eight sections, and the “Iranian Philosophy and Sciences” are added in a ninth section. The view is also directed increasingly at the geographical periphery of the Iranian world. Several articles deal with the history, culture and present of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kurdistan and other regions. The second volume of the handbook of Iranian Studies, in addition to the first volume, also provides research reports. In the second volume, specialized research reports on certain areas are added in the second volume, such as “Persian Literature”: Contributions to Iranian exile and travel literature, current innovative topics such as gender, bio-ethics, the Internet and new media.
You can see the table of the contents of this volume here.
About the Editor:
Ludwig Paul is professor of Iranian Studies at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg. He is a scholar of Iranian Linguistic, dialektology as well as Iranian modern history.

The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes

Nawotka, Krzysztof. 2017. The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes. Leiden: Brill.

The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes of Krzysztof Nawotka is a guide to a third century AD fictional biography of Alexander the Great, the anonymous Historia Alexandri Magni. It is a historical commentary which identifies all names and places in this piece of Greek literature approached as a source for the history of Alexander the Great, from kings, like Nectanebo II of Egypt and Darius III of Persia, to fictional characters. It discusses real and imaginary geography of the Alexander Romance. While dealing with all aspects of Ps.-Callisthenes relevant to Greek history and to Macedonia, its pays particular attention to aspects of ancient history and culture of Babylonia and Egypt and to the multi-layered foundation story of Alexandria.

Krzysztof Nawotka, Ph.D. (1991), The Ohio State University, is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Wrocław, Poland. He has published on Greek history, including The Western Pontic Cities: History and Political Organization (1997), Alexander the Great (2010), Boule and Demos in Miletus and its Pontic Colonies (2014).

Greek Echos in Pahlavi Literature

Agostini, Domenico . 2016. Greek echoes in Pahlavi literature. A preliminary survey of calques and foreign terms. Linguarum Varietas 5. 13–24.

The vast majority of the extant Pahlavi literature was written or compiled during the Islamic period (mainly during the 9th-10th centuries) and deals with religious themes of theological and scholastic interest. Only a few examples of Sasanian imaginative, scientific and philosophical works have survived, despite the rich testimony towards their existence found in Syriac, Arabic, and Persian sources, as well as references in some Pahlavi texts. In particular, some of them teach us that Greek philosophical systems, astrology, astronomy and medicine penetrated Iranian thought already in the Sasanian period. These new ideas were necessarily reworked as they entered Zoroastrian writings. It is not always easy to
pinpoint when and where certain aspects of the Pahlavi literature rely on Greek culture, although it is quite clear that the latter had a heavy influence on the formation of Iranian, and especially Zoroastrian, thinking in Sasanian period. This article aims to present some evidence of the presence of Greek thought and lexicon in the Pahlavi literature through the textual analysis of some passages belonging to the Zoroastrian literary tradition.

Zoroastrianism: Religious texts, theology, history and culture

moazoroasMoazami, Mahnaz (ed.). 2016. Zoroastrianism: A collection of articles from the Encyclopaedia Iranica  (Encyclopaedia Iranica Extracts – EIE), 2 vols. New York: Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation.
 Zoroastrian theology, cosmology and cosmogony, history of the faith, its rituals and ceremonies, Avestan and Middle Persian texts, festivals such as Nowruz, Mehregan and Sada, and a host of other topics, hitherto dispersed amidst other entries in their alphabetical sequence in the Encyclopædia Iranica, are gathered together here under one cover. The volume enables the readers to chart their way through complex traditions and debates throughout history, and brings into focus the interdependence of these pioneering contributions. As a thought-provoking and authoritative work of reference, it is a testimony to the fine scholarship and remarkable erudition of its contributors, scholars who have been foremost in ensuring that the Encyclopædia Iranica maintains its high reputation for authoritative comprehensiveness and pioneering research.
List of Contents:

Volume 1

  • Religious Concepts and Philosophy
  • Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism
  • The Elements in Zoroastrianism
  • The Divine Beings (Yazatas)
  • Demons, Fiends, and Witches
  • Zoroastrian Literature
  • Sacrifices and Offerings

Volume 2

  • Ablutions and Purification Ceremonies
  • Prayers, Hymns, and Incantations
  • Priestly Titles and Prominent Zoroastrian Priests
  • Legal Aspects of Zoroastrianism
  • Death and the Afterlife
  • Festivals
  • Places of Worship
  • Zoroastrian Heroes and Adversaries
  • Mythical and Historical Locations
  • Parsi Communities

About the Editor:

Mahnaz Moazami is a Visiting Professor at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University. Her research focuses on religion in pre-Islamic Iran, and she has published several articles on different aspects of Zoroastrianism.

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.

Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes

Askari, Nasrin. 2016. The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes (Studies in Persian Cultural History 9) Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Nasrin Askari explores the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Through her examination of a wide range of medieval sources, Askari demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites. In order to illustrate the ways in which the Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, Askari analyses the account about Ardashīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, as an ideal king in the Shāhnāma. Within this context, she explains why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr.

Nasrin Askari, PhD, (2012), University of Toronto, has completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, and will be working on her next project at the University of Oxford as a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book.

Twelve Zoroastrian Treatises

Folio 4, codex K 29, written in Pahlavi with an interlinear translation in Persian. Photograph after Asmussen, 1968, p. 293. © Encyclopædia Iranica

Gheiby, Bijan. 2015. Twelve ancient treatises. Translation and Commentary. Bielefeld: Nemudar.

 The volume presents in 386 pages a collection of twelve Zoroastrian treatises together with their Persian translations and editorial explanations and commentaries. The edited texts are as follows:
  • Ayādgār ī Zarērān “Memorial of Zarēr”
  • Wizarišn ī čatrang  “Explanation of Chess”
  • Mādayān ī yōšt ī Friyān “The Book of Yōšt of the Friyān”
  • Māh ī Frawardīn rōz ī Hordād “The Sixth (Hōrdad) Day of the Mounth Frawardīn”
  • Abar Madan ī Wahrām ī Warzāwand “On the Coming of the Miraculous Wahrām
  • Sūr saxwan “Banquet Speech”
  • Xweškārīh ī redagān “The Duty of Children”
  • Čim ī kustīg “Reasons for the Sacred Girdle”
  • Čim ī drōn “Reasons for the Sacred Portion”
  • Āfrīn ī [payγāmbar] Zardušt “A Blessing of Zarathustra”
  • Tohmag ošmārisn ī  Zardušt
  • Farox-nāma
About the Author:
Bijan Gheiby was born in Teheran in 1954. He studied media in Tehran and in Long Beach as well as Iranian Studies in Hamburg and Göttingen, where he received his doctorate. He is an independent researcher of Zoroastrianism and ancient Iranian Studies.

 

In Original:

غیبی، بیژن. ۲۰۱۵. دوازده متن باستانی. انتشارات نمودار: بیلفلد.

Ġeybi, Bižan. 2015. dawāzdah matn-e bāstāni. Nemudar: Bielefeld.

A Zoroastrian Doubt-dispelling Exposition

ŠGV Asha 2015

Asha, Raham (ed.). 2015. šak-ud-gumānīh-vizār. The Doubt-removing book of Mardānfarrox. Paris: Ermān.

The ŠGV is a treatise in which the author intends to present the arguments to refute in detail the alien schools and sects, establish the teaching of the two principles, and lead us to believe the veracity of the Religion, Daēnā Māzdayasni, and that of the teachings of the old Aryan guides, the Paoiryō.t̰kaēša. The complete original Pārsīg text is irretrievably lost, and we only possess its transcription into Pāzand (the vernacular Pārsī language written in Dēn-dibīrīh) and its translation into Sanskrit, made by the Pārsī high-priest Neryōsang Dhaval. Continue reading A Zoroastrian Doubt-dispelling Exposition

From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.
Continue reading From Old to New Persian