Tag Archives: Middle Persian

Rivalry and conflicts between Christians and Zoroastrians

Hutter, Manfred. 2018. Rivalität und Konflikte zwischen Christen und Zoroastriern. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte 112. 91–104.

The encounter of Christianity with Zoroastrianism in the Sasanian Empire started already in the 3rd century. But it was only since the 5th century that a sizable number of Zoroastrians, mostly from the upper classes, converted to Christianity. This led to reactions by the Zoroastrian clergy against the adherents of the agdēn, the «false» or «bad» religion, as this religion was seen as unfitting to Iranian culture. Thus, Middle Persian texts discuss the necessity to avoid contacts with members of agdēn. This term is not restricted to Christianity, but can also be applied to other religions. It is only from the early Islamic period in Iran that two Middle Persian texts, the Dēnkard and the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, discuss (and refute) Christian teachings more systematically. The reason for this theological discussion about Christianity can be seen in the minority situation which Zoroastrianism faced in the Islamic period.

A Grammar of Pahlavi

Asha, Raham. 2017. Pārsīg Language (The so-called Pahlavi). Parts of Speech, Word Formation, and Phonology. Tehran: Sade Publication.

The present book is, in the first place, a descriptive grammar of the Pārsīg language as far as we have it. It includes morphology and phonology; but it gives no syntax. Whereas the first two parts of the book concern morphology, the last deals with phonology. The book intends to be accessible to those who wish to study the Pārsīg texts as well as those specializing in the study of Perso-Aryan languages.
A forthcoming compendious dictionary will complete this work.

Personal names in Iranian Manichaica

Colditz, Iris. 2018. Iranische Personennamen in manichäischer Überlieferung (Iranisches Personennamenbuch Mitteliranische Personennamen II/Faszikel 1). Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
This volume presents for the first time a full collection of the personal names attested in Iranian sources of Manichaeism, an ancient dualistic and syncretistic world religion (3rd–14th century). This extremely heterogeneous corpus from the Central Asian Turfan oasis (Xinjiang, China) goes back to the golden age of Manichaeism in the Uygur steppe empire and the kingdom of Qočo (8th–11th century) but can be partly traced back to more ancient originals. It comprises ca. 4700 text fragments in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian and New Persian written in Manichaean, Sogdian and Old Turkish runic scripts. The 766 entries contain Iranian, hybrid, and non-Iranian names, which reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the peoples along the Silk Road. The name bearers are historical persons as well as fictitious characters from myth and literature. Obsolete and differing readings as well as “ghost names” are specifically marked. The presentation of the names follows the guidelines of the Iranisches Personennamenbuch. Each entry lists transliteration, transcription and all references of the name, including spelling variants, text duplicates and versions in other scripts or languages, followed by prosopographical data: titles, designations of offices or professions. Reference is made to indirect transmissions of the name (“Nebenüberlieferung”) in non-Iranian Manichaica, the writings of Arabic historians and in antiheretical Christian and Zoroastrian scriptures. At the end follows the morphological and etymological interpretation of the name. The explored material is displayed in detailed indexes. The volume is of special interest to specialists in Iranian studies, linguistics, religious studies and history.

The grammaticalization of progressive aspect in Persian

Davari, Shadi & Mehrdad Naghzguy-Kohan. 2017. The grammaticalization of progressive aspect in Persian. In Kees Hengeveld, Heiko Narrog & Hella Olbertz (eds.), The Grammaticalization of Tense, Aspect, Modality and Evidentiality: A Functional Perspective (Trends in Linguistics Studies and Monographs 311), 163–190. Berlin: De Gruyter.
This paper investigates the development of the Persian lexical verb dâštan ‘have’, which has grammaticalized into an auxiliary verb functioning primarily as a progressive aspect marker in durative situations, and which is currently developing into a prospective marker with achievement verbs. Possessive progressives are a cross-linguistic rarity and deserve attention. We suggest that the progressive function arose through context-induced reinterpretation based on metonymic relations. The resulting reinterpretation of dâštan ‘have’ to ‘ongoingness of a durative event’ represents a conceptual shift, in the form of metaphoric extension, from possessing a physical object to possessing the continuum of an action in a focal point of utterance. We will also illustrate that the progressive’s focus on subjective notions leads to its development as an expression of the speaker’s attitude that does not describe properties of a situation in the extralinguistic world but rather in the subjective conceptualization of the speaker. The auxiliation process of dâštan ‘have’ in Persian will be analyzed based on the Auxiliation Dimensions Model proposed by Davari and Naghzguy-Kohan (forthcoming), which focuses on the force, the source and the degree of auxiliation. We also point out that these changes are in tune with the overall directionality of semantic change in grammaticalization according to Narrog (2012), namely, increase in speaker-orientation.

Their Evil Rule Must End!

Agostini, Domenico. 2017. Their evil rule must end! A commentary on the Iranian Bundahišn 33:17–28. In Hagit Amirav, Emmanouela Grypeou and Guy Stroumsa (eds.), Apocalypticism and eschatology in late antiquity: Encounters in the Abrahamic religions, 6th–8th Centuries, 21–41. Leuven: Peeters Publishers.

The Middle Persian Book of Kings

Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko. 2018. Khwadāynāmag: The Middle Persian Book of Kings (Studies in Persian Cultural History 14). Leiden: Brill.
The Khwadāynāmag is often conceived of as a large book of stories, comparable to Firdawsī’s Shāhnāme, but Hämeen-Anttila convincingly shows that it was a concise and dry chronicle. He also studies the lost Arabic translations of the book, which turn out to be fewer than hitherto thought, as well as the sources of Firdawsī’s Shāhnāme, showing that the latter was only remotely related to the Khwadāynāmag. It also becomes clear that there were no separate “priestly” and “royal” Khwadāynāmags.
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ره‌آورد هند

صادق هدایت. ۱۳۹۶. ره‌آورد هند: برگردان هفت متنِ پهلوی به فارسی. تهران: کتاب کوله پشتی. به‌کوشش: خسرو كيانراد.

سفر صادق هدایت به هند و اقامتش در بمبئی که حدود یک سال (١٣١٥-١٣١٦خ.) به طول انجامید، به‌جز انتشار رمان «بوفکور» دستاورد دیگری نیز برای او به‌همراه داشت و آن فراگیری زبان و خط پهلوی و ترجمه‌ی چند متن از پهلوی به فارسی بود. برخی از این متون در هند و برخی در بازگشت به ایران ترجمه و در قالب کتاب‌ها و مقالات پراکنده‌ای منتشر شدند. چندی از این ترجمه‌ها امروزه نایابند و در دسترس نیستند. از آنجا که سال‌های زیادی از ترجمه‌های هدایت می‌گذرد و در این مدت دانشمندان و زبان‌شناسان دیگری هم به سراغ این متون رفته‌اند، در مقدمه‌ی کتاب حاضر ضمن اشاره به دیگر ترجمه‌ها و پژوهش‌های صورت گرفته، خوانش هدایت در برخی موارد ازجمله اصطلاحات، اسامی خاص جغرافیایی و اشخاص مورد بررسی قرارگرفته و گاه پیشنهادهایی مطرح شده است.
عناوین این متون که در کتاب حاضر برای نخستین‌بار به‌صورت یک‌جا و در مجموعه‌ای مستقل گردآمده‌اند عبارتند از: «گجسته ابالیش»، «زندِ وهومن‌یسن»، «شهرستان‌های ایران»، «کارنامه‌ی اردشیرِپاپکان»، «گزارش گمان‌شکن»، «یادگار جاماسپ»، «آمدن شاه بهرامِ ورجاوند».

Hedayat, Sadeq. 2018. Rahāvard-e Hend. Edited by Khosro Kiyanrad. Tehran: Ketab-e KoolehPoshti.

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Three Papyri Revisited

Weber, Dieter. 2018. Three Pahlavi papyri revisited. Sasanika Papyrological Studies , No. 2.

Weber revisits three Pahlavi papyri from the period of Sasanian occupation of Egypt (619–628 CE).

Middle Persian Papyri, Ostraca and Parchments: An Introduction

Zeini, Arash. 2018. Middle Persian papyri, ostraca and parchments: An introductionSasanika Papyrological Studies , No. 1.

This essay discusses the state of Middle Persian papyrological, ostraca and parchments studies since its beginning to the present. Dr. Zeini presents a history of the discovery of the Sasanian papyri from Egypt in the nineteenth century, to the new archival finds on the Iranian Plateau which sheds light on the legal and economic history of late antique Iran.

This introductory article is the first issue in the newly launched Sasanika Papyrological Studies and will be followed by a revision of three papyri by Dieter Weber.

Ancient Iranian Terminologies of Armour and Textile

Gaspa, Salvatore, Cécile Michel & Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.). 2017. Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe, 1000 BC to 1000 AD. Lincoln, Nebraska: Zea Books.
This volume is the fruit of a longstanding collaboration in the field of textile terminologies. Since 2005, Cécile Michel and Marie-Louise Nosch have collaborated on numerous academic activities – joint teaching, lectures at conferences, experimental workshops, co-publishing and co-editing. The second conference on textile terminology was held in June 2014 at the University of Copenhagen. Around 50 experts from the fields of Ancient History, Indo-European Studies, Semitic Philology, Assyriology, Classical Archaeology, and Terminology from twelve different countries came together at the Centre for Textile Research, to discuss textile terminology, semantic fields of clothing and technology, loan words, and developments of textile terms in Antiquity.
Three contributions in this volume are related to Iranian Studies, all available for free to read, download and share: