Tag Archives: Middle Persian

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.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 26

Issue 26 of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute will be published in December. The information on this issue is not yet available on the journal’s website, but the content has been circulated. We are publishing the table of content based on a request by the journal.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 26

December 2016

Articles

  • Zsuzsanna Gulácsi and Jason BeDuhn, “The Religion of Wirkak and Wiyusi: The Zoroastrian Iconographic Program on a Sogdian Sarcophagus from Sixth-Century X’ian
  • Harry Falk, “’Buddhist’ Metalware from Gandhara”
  • Dieter Weber, “Studies in Some Documents from the ‘Pahlavi Archive’”
  • Martin Schwartz, “Pahlavi = Adiantum capillus-veneris L.: Ethnobotany, Etymology, and Iranian Cultural History”
  • Ofir Haim, “An Early Judeo-Persian Letter Sent from Ghazna to Bāmiyān (Ms. Heb. 4°8333.29)”
  • Siam Bhayro, “Sergius of Reš ʿAyna’s Syriac Translations of Galen: Their Scope, Motivation, and Influence”
  • David Frendo, “Alexander’s Anti-Persian Rhetoric and the Destruction of the Achaemenid Empire: A Re-examination of the Sources”
  • Michele Minardi, “New Data on the Central Monument of Akchakhan-kala”

Shorter Notice

  • Ali Mousavi, ”Shahyar Adle (1944–2015)”

Reviews

  • CANTERA. Vers une édition de la liturgie longue zoroastrienne: Pensées et travaux préliminaires (Skjærvø)
  • HILL. Through the Jade Gate—China to Rome. A Study of the Silk Routes 1st to 2nd Centuries CE (Dien)
  • BAUMER. The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Silk Roads (Rose)
  • WHITFIELD. Life along the Silk Road (Rose)
  • FALK, ED. Kushan Histories: Literary Sources and Selected Papers from a Symposium at Berlin, December 5 to 7, 2013 (Bromberg)
  • SHAYEGAN. Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran: From Gaumāta to Wahnām (Brosius)
  • JULLIEN, ED. Husraw Ier: Reconstructions d’un règne. Sources et documents (Choksy and Dubeansky)

Books Received

Abbreviations

198 + v. pp.

$80 + shipping Individual orders

For more information, please contact: bai34@comcast.net

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.

Studia Iranica 45(1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 45 (2016) has been published. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

7 – 15 – Unité et diversité du rite avestique
KELLENS, Jean
abstract details download pdf
17 – 38 – Zāwulistān, Kāwulistān and the Land Bosi
On the Question of a Sasanian Court-in-Exile in the Southern Hindukush
AGOSTINI, Domenico, STARK, Sören
abstract details download pdf
39 – 52 – A Unique Pahlavi Papyrus from Vienna (P.Pehl. 562)
ZEINI, Arash
abstract details download pdf
53 – 64 – A Pamir Cereal Name in Medieval Greek Sources
WITCZAK, Krzysztof Tomasz, NOVÁK, L’ubomír
abstract details download pdf
65 – 88 – Institutional Metamorphosis or Clerical status quo?
New Insights into the Career and Work of Sayyid Mīr Muḥammad Bāqir Khātūnābādī
MOAZZEN, Maryam
abstract details download pdf
89 – 126 – The Authentic Layout of the Main Avenue of Fin Garden in Kashan
JAYHANI, Hamidreza, REZAEIPOUR, Maryam
abstract details download pdf
In memoriam
129 – 132 – Malek Iradj Mochiri (1927-2015)
GYSELEN, Rika
abstract details download pdf
Comptes rendus
135 – 155 – Comptes rendus abstract details download pdf

Pahlavi and Judeo-Persian Bible Manuscripts

The Pahlavi Psalter. Ps 5 recto: Psalms 121 (opening is missing) and 122; discovered at Bulayïq/ Turfan oasis. © Turfanforschung (BBAW), Digitales Turfan-Archiv
The Pahlavi Psalter. Ps 5 recto: Psalms 121 (opening is missing) and 122; discovered at Bulayïq/ Turfan oasis.
© Turfanforschung (BBAW), Digitales Turfan-Archiv

Pehlivanian, Meliné, Christoph Rauch & Ronny Vollandt (eds.). 2016. Orientalische Bibelhandschriften aus der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK. Eine illustrierte Geschichte. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

The volume presents an illustrated history of the Oriental Bible Manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. It includes discriptions of the manuscripts which are among the oldest and most fascinating items in the Oriental Collection of the State Library of Berlin. The overwhelming majority of the manuscripts presented here come from the very cradle of the Abrahamic religions. The texts range across more than 1,500 years of Christian and Jewish history in the Near and Middle East and Africa, from Late Antiquity to the 19th century.
They are written documents which have, not least, also left
traces in the Islamic tradition. Another concern of the volume is to allow readers insights into the extremely extensive and varied collection of Oriental manuscripts in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, whose outstanding treasures are in many cases only known to specialists in the field. The biblical texts, written on leather, parchment, papyrus, and paper bear witness not only to the complexity of the religious and theological traditions, but also impressively document the diversity of materials to be found in the Oriental manuscript culture, and not least the artistic achievements of the “Peoples of the Book”.

Some most related chapters of this book regarding the Iranian Studies are:

  • Dennis Halft OP: “The ‘Book of Books’ in Persian” (pp. 150-154)
  • Dennis Halft OP: “A Persian Gospel Manuscript and the London Polyglot” (pp. 155-157.)
  • Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst: “A Middle Persian Pahlavi Psalter-Fragment in the Berlin Turfan Collection” (pp. 114-116).
  • Simone-Christiane Raschmann: “Christian Texts from Central Asia in the Berlin Turfan Collection” (pp. 105-113).
  • Friederike Weis: “Illustrated Persian Tales of the Prophets (Qis.as. al-anbiyāʾ) (pp. 163-172).

Middle Persian abāz-handāxtan

Saadat, Yusef. 2014. “Middle Persian abāz-handāxtan,” Journal of persianate studies 7, 137-148.

The verb abāz-handāxtan is used in Dēnkard IV. Different definitions of the verb caused two divergent interpretations of the history of the Zoroastrians scriptures during Sasanian era. This article does not attempt to provide a third category of meaning, but tries to suggest a kind of modification to the traditionally accepted meaning of ‘to collate’. The new proposed meaning is derived from New Persian texts, which include similar usage of the verb and were written not much later than Middle Persian ones. The suggested meaning is ‘to (re-)measure’.

Sexual Desire in Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian Ethics

Reżā ʿAbbāsī (1570-1635). Deatil of Two Lovers (A.H. 1039 A.H./1630 A.D.)
Reżā ʿAbbāsī (1570-1635). Deatil of Two Lovers (A.H. 1039 A.H./1630 A.D.)

Kiel, Yishai. 2016. Dynamics of Sexual Desire: Babylonian Rabbinic Culture at the Crossroads of Christian and Zoroastrian Ethics. Journal for the Study of Judaism 47. 1–47.

The article examines the inherently dialectical view of sexuality reflected in Babylonian rabbinic culture, which differentiates the sexual act, consisting of the indivisible elements of procreation and sexual gratification, from notions of sexual desire. On the one hand, the Babylonian Talmud accentuates the relative role of both male and female sexual gratification in the sexual act, but, on the other hand, it expresses a pessimistic view of the sexual urge, which is reified as part and parcel of the demonic realm. This dialectical perception is resolved in Babylonian rabbinic culture through a paradoxical mechanism that seeks to extinguish sexual desire via marital sex. The article situates different aspects of this distinctive construction of sexual desire in the context of contemporaneous Christian and Zoroastrian views. First, the Babylonian rabbinic mechanism is contextualized with the Pauline view of marital sex as a therapy for those “aflame with passion” (1 Cor 7:9) and its reception in patristic literature. Second, the Babylonian rabbinic dialectic of sex and desire is viewed in the light of a similar bifurcated perception evident in the Pahlavi tradition: while Zoroastrianism advocated full-fledged marital relationships from its very inception, an important strand in the Pahlavi tradition expresses an ambiguous view of sexual desire, which is linked in various ways to the demonic sphere.
The article is here online available .

On the Explanation of Chess and Backgammon

Touraj, Daryaee. 2016. On the explanation of chess and backgammon: A Middle Persian text (Ancient Iran Series 2).  UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies. H&S Media.

The book is an edition of the earliest text in Middle Persian on the rules and views of the games of chess and backgammon, reported to be from the time of Khusro Anushirvan in the 6th CE.

Table of Contents

Sasanian legal terminology in religious context

Capital and Yield: Sasanian Legal Terminology in Religious Context

A lecture by Arash Zeini on the occasion of a meeting of Corpus Avesticum (CoAv), a European network of scholars aiming to create new and accessible editions of the Zoroastrian sacred texts.

Location: Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Time: 16.06.2016, 18:00 – 20:00

Arash Zeini (PhD 2014, SOAS), is a scholar of Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian philology, history and culture. His main research interests include the study of ancient Iran, Zoroastrianism, particularly the late antique exegesis of the Avesta, and aspects of digital humanities.