Tag Archives: Manuscripts

Workshop: Avestan manuscripts

The Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, invites you to a small workshop introducing

A new collection of Avestan manuscripts from Iran (Pouladi Collection)


  • Saloumeh Gholami/Mehraban Pouladi: „Vorstellung der Pouladi-Sammlung“
  • Jaime Martínez Porro: „The ms. 4162 of the Pouladi Collection: Is it the oldest liturgical Vīdēvdād manuscript?“

Time & Location

09.02.2017 | 18:00

Fabeckstr. 23-25
Seminarraum 2.2058

The Diez Albums | Brill

Gonnella, Julia, Friederike Weis & Christoph Rauch (eds.). 2016. The Diez albums: Contexts and contents (Islamic Manuscripts and Books 11). Brill.

The five Diez albums in Berlin are an important source for the study of Ilkhanid, Jalayirid, and Timurid art. The 21 essays of this book contribute to deepening our understanding of the development of Persianate art and its perception in later times. Gonnella, Weis and Rauch unite in this volume 21 essays that analyse their relation to their “parent” albums at the Topkapı Palace or examine specific works by reflecting upon their role in the larger history of book art in Iran. Other essays cover aspects such as the European and Chinese influence on Persianate art, aspects related to material and social culture, and the Ottoman interest in Persianate albums. This book marks an important contribution to the understanding of the development of illustrative imagery in the Persianate world and its later perception.

Source: The Diez Albums | Brill

Interpreting Repetitions in Avestan

Jügel, Thomas. 2016. Repetition Analysis Function (ReAF) II: Interpreting Repetitions in Avestan. Indogermanische Forschungen 121(1). 1–38.
Up to this point, most editions of Avestan texts have been concerned with interpreting the text. Although repetitions and abbreviations were known, they were often ignored since they did not offer new insight into the understanding of the meanings of words. The present study takes the opposite approach. Ignoring the meaning of the text (at first), it tries to detect the compositional structure of the Yasna ceremony by concentrating on formal matters such as specific closing sections, frames, etc. In a second step, the content is considered in order to offer interpretations for the compositional structure. In ReAF I (Jügel 2015), information on the technical and theoretical background of the tool “Repetition Analysis Function” (ReAF) was given and textual units were identified. In ReAF II, the results of the ReAF for the Yasna ceremony as it appears in the manuscript J2 will be presented in detail. Furthermore, I will offer an interpretation of how to transfer the structural results to an analysis of the compositional structure of the Yasna. This also allows for the formulation of assumptions on the ceremonial structure.
Thomas Jügel is a Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528) in Paris.

Corpus Avesticum III: Phonetics and Phonology in Avestan and Beyond

A Vidēvdād Sāde, 1704. (©Jamsheed K. Choksy) via EIr.
A Vidēvdād Sāde, 1704. (©Jamsheed K. Choksy) via EIr.

Corpus Avesticum III: “Phonetics and Phonology in Avestan and Beyond”

Paris, 25-26. April. 2016

The third meeting of the European research network Corpus Avesticum to be held in Paris, 25-26 April. 2016. Researchers from France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the UK will meet to discuss various projects in preparation of a new edition of the Avesta and the special topic of this meeting.

This meeting is dedicated to the research questions mainly regarding to the “Phonetics and Phonology in Avestan and Beyond”.

See here the detaild Programm and the Abstracts.


25. April 2016

  • Briefing: Current state of Avestological project of the members of the Network
  • Salome Gholami: “Newly found Avestan manuscripts from Yazd”
    Martin Kümmel: “Avestan syllable structure: a look from Middle Iranian”
  • Götz Keydana: “Evidence for foot structure in Early Vedic”
    Paul Widmer: “Phonological domains in Avestan”
  • Chiara Riminucci-Heine: “Av. saoka- und av. hu-xšn aora- : zwei altiranische Wortstudien”
  • Almut Hintze: “Proto-Indo-European *h₁u es- ‘to be good’ and Avestan vahma-“
  • Michiel de Vaan: “On the orthography and phonology of <h>”
  • Alberto Cantera & Jaime Martínez Porro: “On the treatment of n before front vowels”
  • Benedikt Peschl: “The transmission of anaptyxis before the endings -biš and -biio in Avestan”

26. April 2016

  • Armin Hoenen: “La statistique des déviations du Yasna”
  • Tim Aufderheide: “Zoroastrian phoneticians? Reconstructing the phonetic knowledge underlying the transmission of the Avesta”
  • Shervin Farridnejad: “Scribal Schools and Dialectal Characteristics in the Transmission of the Avesta”
  • Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo: “Avestan and Pahlavi Paleography
    in the oldest Pahlavi Widewdad Manuscripts”
  • Salome Gholami: “Dialectal phonological variations in the colophons”

The Project of Corpus Avesticum (CoAv) is a pan-European Co-operation that aims at making the Zoroastrian Texts, called the Avesta accessible in a new Edition. The current one stems from 1896 and is erroneous with regard to many crucial aspects, the most important of which is the amalgamation of the liturgical and exegetical text witnesses.

See also the previous posts on the First and Second Meeting of Corpus Avesticum.

Repetition Analysis Function and the Avestan Manuscripts

The Avestan Manuscript J2, fol. 5 Y.07c-Y.09a. Yasna with Its Pahlavi Translation (A.D. 1323). © TITUS, Frankfurt 2001-2002

Jügel, Thomas. 2015. Repetition analysis function (ReAF) I. Indogermanische Forschungen 120(1).177–208.

Repetitions are relevant for several aspects of historical philology. With regard to Avestan, they may allow for the identification of ceremonial frames or opening and closing sections revealing the compositional structure of a ceremony. In case of manuscript comparison, the question arises whether a variant appears only once or in all of its repetitive passages. Furthermore, by analysing the compositional structure we may be able to detect ceremonial structures different to the practice of today. A secondary aspect relates to the interpretation of the grammaticality of Young Avestan passages. The repetition analysis provides evidence that passages which are hitherto considered ill-formed actually follow the rules of Avestan grammar. The scope of this study is to investigate computational means for detecting repetitive sequences. It represents a case study of the manuscript J2 by means of tools that were set up in the LOEWE priority programme Digital Humanities at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main: a digital lexicon, a letter discrimination matrix for Avestan, and the programme Repetition Analysis Function. The article ReAF I offers some basic observations on repetitive sequences in the manuscript J2 and lays the foundation for ReAF II (Jügel forthc.), where the results of the repetition analyses will be used to discuss the compositional structure of the Yasna.

The life of Serapion in Sogdian

Sims-Williams, Nicholas (ed.). 2015. The life of Serapion and other Christian Sogdian texts from the manuscripts E25 and E26. (Berliner Turfantexte 35). Turnhout: Brepols.
The Sogdian texts published in this volume are of interest and importance in various ways. The Life of Serapion is particularly significant from a linguistic point of view, being a close translation of a known Syriac text, so that its rare words and unusual grammatical forms can be interpreted with confidence. The Life of John of Dailam, on the other hand, differs substantially from the surviving Syriac versions and preserves details unrecorded elsewhere concerning the history of western Iran in the early Islamic period. A text on omens represents an extremely ancient, pre-Christian survival, with clear parallels not only in Syriac but even in Babylonian omen texts, while a refutation of Manichaeism sheds light on the attitude of the Christian community in the Turfan oasis towards their Manichaean neighbours. All these texts are provided with translation and detailed commentary, and the volume concludes with grammatical notes, complete glossary, bibliography, index of words discussed, and eleven plates. This work will be of interest to specialists in Iranian languages, mediaeval Iran and Central Asia, Syriac literature and the history of the “Church of the East”.

Biblical and Christian Sogdian texts

Sims-Williams, Nicholas, Martin Schwartz & William J. Pittard (eds.). 2014. Biblical and other Christian Sogdian texts from the Turfan collection. (Berliner Turfantexte 32). Turnhout: Brepols.
This volume in the series Berliner Turfantexte contains the edition, with translation and detailed commentary, of a series of important Christian texts in Sogdian, most of them previously unpublished. The emphasis is on Biblical texts translated into Sogdian from the Syriac Peshitta version: a Psalter in Sogdian script, fragments of Gospel lectionaries, and a double-folio from a lectionary of the Pauline Epistles. Other texts edited in the volume include a retelling of the story of Daniel, a text on the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, and the “Wisdom of Ahiqar”, all of them in recensions which differ significantly from any known Syriac version. Two analytical glossaries, one for the Psalter and other texts in Sogdian script and one for the texts in Syriac script, cover not only the works edited in this book but also a number of Christian Sogdian texts published by the author in scattered articles over the last twenty years or so. The volume concludes with a bibliography, an index of words discussed in the commentary, and seventeen plates. This work will be of interest to specialists in Iranian languages, mediaeval Central Asia, Biblical studies, Syriac literature, and the history of the “Church of the East”.

Zoroastrian Manuscripts in Russia

Kolesnikov, Aly Ivanovich. 2015. The Zoroastrian Manuscript in the Collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS (Short Reference and Structure). Written Monuments of the Orient 1(1). 38–47.

The article introduces unique Persian manuscripts in the collection of the IOM, RAS specially devoted to Zoroastrian matters. In short Zoroastrian scriptures composed in New Persian during the 12th–17th centuries, were not literal translations from the Pahlavi, but free interpretations of the old sources, adapted to the changing circumstances of life.

The artcile is available to download here.

Aly Ivanovich Kolesnikov is Leading Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Vandidād-e Jahānbaxši

ms. 4161
Fol. 2r, Vidēvdād manuscript ms. 4161 (Vandidad-e Jahānbaxši), Tehran University © Avestan Digital Archive

Cantera, A., & Mazdapour, K. (Eds). (2015). The Liturgical Widēwdād manuscript ms. 4161 (Vandidad-e Jahānbaxši). Salamanca; Tehran: Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios.

The ms. 4161 belonged to the Jahānbaxši family and was purchased by the Avestan Digital Archive in 2012. Since then it is hosted in the Central Library of the Tehran University as a long-term loan. It contains the longest version of the Yasna ceremony, which consists of the Yasna with the Wisperad and Widēwdād intercalations together with instructions in Middle Persian for the right performance of the ritual. An exclusive feature of this manuscript is that it includes on the margin and written by a second hand the description of the contents of the Widēwdād that appear in the eighth book of the Dēnkard.
We have chosen this manuscript for the first volume of the series because of its importance for the Avestan textual criticism. Most of the known Avestan manuscripts produced in Iran were written by members of the learned family of Marzbān Frēdōn or were copied from manuscripts produced within this family. Ms. 4161 does not belong to this group, although it was written only some years after the oldest preserved manuscripts of the Marzbān family. It is closer to a very famous manuscript hosted in the Cama Oriental Institute, the ms. 4020 (Mf2), and other manuscripts discovered recently. But, whereas Mf2 is an Indian copy of an Iranian original sent to India, ms. 4161 is the only manuscript of this group that was still produced in Iran and is therefore not affected by the influence of the Indian environment.
The book contains one English preface written in English by Katayoun Mazdapour and two introductions: one in Persian, by Katayoun Mazdāpour and one in English by Alberto Cantera. In these introductions, it is dealt with different aspects of the history of the manuscript and its position among other Avestan manuscripts of the same class. The main section of the book is the high-quality colour facsimile of the 268 folios of the manuscript with indexing in the margins.

The Transmission of the Avesta

Cantera, Alberto (ed.). 2012. The Transmission of the Avesta. (Iranica 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
The Avesta is a collection of liturgical texts considered as their sacred book by the Zoroastrian community. It contains the recitatives of the Zoroastrian liturgies still celebrated in the 17th century, some of them even celebrated until today. The texts integrated in these ceremonies were composed in different places and at different times, and transmitted orally for centuries. The exact date of the fixation of the ceremonies in the shape in which they are presented in the manuscripts and the creation of the different manuscripts is unknown. But today it is proven that even after the creation of the first manuscripts, the transmission of these liturgical texts was the result of a complicated process in which not only the process of copying manuscripts but also the ritual practice and the ritual teaching were involved. The only deep analysis of the written transmission of the Avesta was made by K. F. Geldner as Prolegomena to his edition of the Avesta. Since then, many new manuscripts have appeared. In The Transmission of the Avesta contributions by the main experts in this field are gathered: the oral transmission, the fixation of the different collections, the first writing down, and the manuscripts. Special interest is devoted to the manuscripts. Some contributions of the volume were presented at the correspondent colloquium held in Salamanca, September 2009; others were added in order to make of the volume a comprehensive work on the different aspects of the Avestan transmission.

Continue reading The Transmission of the Avesta