Kotwal, Firoze M. 2018. The Collected Scholarly Writings of Dastur Firoze M. Kotwal. (Ed.) Firoza Punthakey Mistree & Cashmira Vatcha Bengalli. Vol. 1. Mumbai: Parzor Foundation.
For over a thousand years, Zoroastrian priests in India have sustained their belief system and the ritual infrastructure of their faith, by the constant enactment of rituals with exactitude in their religious life.
It is this exactness of practice that High Priest Dastur (Dr.) Firoze M. Kotwal has strived throughout his life to support through his writings. His knowledge of priestly history and of ritual practice is unparallel. His historical insights take one to the core of a tradition well kept and sometimes hidden from even its community members.
His familiarity with Avestan, Pahlavi and old Gujarati, has enabled an understanding of the classical theology and the practices of the faith. His work has helped to sustain the relevance of the ritual tradition in modern times, and his essays illustrate patterns of differences in priestly expressions in rituals, among the priesthood in India. In doing so, he has not shied away from explaining the changes which have taken place and the influence of those who determined these changes.
His work has been published in academic journals, and he is sought after internationally, by scholars wanting to understand the traditions and comprehend the ancient manuscripts of the faith.
The biographical note in the volume covers his life as a pious priest and reveals his early childhood, immersed in the warmth of priestly life in Navsari. His rise as a learned high priest, his position in the world of academia and the value his guidance and directives have brought to disputes and controversies that have mired the community over the last forty years, form part of the biography. As one of the foremost Bhagaria priest in Mumbai, his declarations on issues that matter within the community, have shaped decision making and have illumined the core of what the Parsis consider sacred and inviolable.
For priests, lay-people and academics, this volume provides a resource for the future study of the faith. Its exploration both in time span and in its detail reveals the choices that lie ahead for the community, which Zarathushtra so pertinently articulated in the Gathas, three thousand five hundred years ago – the clear choice which is to be made between good and evil and between the better and the best.
List of Contents of Vol. 1:
Zoroastrian Bāj and Drōn-I, co-author Mary Boyce
Zoroastrian Bāj and Drōn-II, co-author Mary Boyce
Some Notes on the Parsi Bāj of Mihragān, co-author James W. Boyd
The Zoroastrian Paragnā Ritual, co-author James W. Boyd
To Praise the Souls of the Deceased and the Immortal Spirits of the Righteous Ones: The Staomi or Stūm Ritual’s History and Functions, co-author Jamsheed K. Choksy
A Link with the Spiritual World: The Stum Ritual
The Jashan and its Main Religious Service: The Āfrīnagān
The Zoroastrian Nirangdin Ritual and an Old Pahlavi Text with Transcription and Translation
Initiation into the Zoroastrian Priesthood: Present Parsi Practice and An Old Pahlavi Text
The Parsi Dakhma : Its History and Consecration
Two Ritual Terms in Pahlavi: The datuš and the frāgām
Some Notes on the Pahlavi Visperad
Select Ritual Aspects of the Gāthās and their Continuity in the Later Tradition
Prayer, co-author Philip G. Kreyenbroek
Continuity, Controversy and Change: A Study of the Ritual Practice of the Bhagariā Priests of Navsari
The Divine and Exalted Status of the Consecrated Fire in Zoroastrianism
An Ancient Irani Ritual for tending Fire
Gãthũ Bhārvānī Kriyā: The Ritual of Preserving a Burning Knotted Billet below the Fire-Ash
The Ritual of Shifting the Sacred tash Bahrām Fire from the Qibla to its Temporary Qibla
The Middle Persian (Pahlavi) literature from the early Islamic centuries frequently deals with practical theological issues faced by the Zoroastrian communities under foreign domination. Here, we present a number of questions regarding a Zoroas- trian’s conversion to Islam and his subsequent repentance and desire to return to Zoroastrianism and answers given by ninth- and tenth-century Zoroastrian priestly authorities. It is shown how the priests cite ancient traditions found in the Pahlavi versions of Avestan texts to justify their answers, and then apply them to the contemporary social reality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This study attempts to broaden the Judeo-Christian prism through which the rabbinic legends of Adam and Eve are frequently examined in scholarship, by offering a contextual and synoptic reading of Babylonian rabbinic traditions pertaining to the first human couple against the backdrop of the Zoroastrian and Manichaean creation myths. The findings demonstrate that, while some of the themes and motifs found in the Babylonian rabbinic tradition are continuous with the ancient Jewish and Christian heritage, others are absent from, or occupy a peripheral role in, ancient Jewish and Christian traditions and, at the same time, are reminiscent of Iranian mythology. The study posits that the syncretic tendencies that pervaded the Sasanian culture facilitated the incorporation of Zoroastrian and Manichaean themes into the Babylonian legends, which were in turn creatively repackaged and adapted to the rabbinic tradition and world-view.
This Memorial Volume is dedicated to one of the most proliﬁc and renowned scholars in the ﬁeld of Ancient Iranian Archaeology and History, the late Professor Klaus Schippmann (1924-2010), who held the chair of “Near Eastern Archaeology with special reference to Iran” at Georg-August University of Göttingen until his retirement in 1990.
The volume consists of eleven papers, written by some of the foremost scholars in the ﬁeld of Iranian Studies as well as some of his lifetime friends and colleagues. The articles are essentially concerned with different aspects of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Numismatics and Religion, reﬂecting the scholarly interests of Klaus Schippmann. The volume is accompanied also by parts of his unpublished private diary (1959) from his Nachlass, reflecting his ideas, visions and memories of his excavations as well as one report of his last trip to his favourable archaeological site of taḫt-e soleymān (Iran), written by his personal tour leader. The book is illustrated by numerous plates.
This volume could be of interest for scholars and students of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Religion and other neighbour disciplines.
Addressing the question of the origins of the Zoroastrian religion, this book argues that the intransigent opposition to the cult of the daēvas, the ancient Indo-Iranian gods, is the root of the development of the two central doctrines of Zoroastrianism: cosmic dualism and eschatology (fate of the soul after death and its passage to the other world).
The daēva cult as it appears in the Gāthās, the oldest part of the Zoroastrian sacred text, the Avesta, had eschatological pretentions. The poet of the Gāthās condemns these as deception. The book critically examines various theories put forward since the 19th century to account for the condemnation of the daēvas. It then turns to the relevant Gāthic passages and analyzes them in detail in order to give a picture of the cult and the reasons for its repudiation. Finally, it examines materials from other sources, especially the Greek accounts of Iranian ritual lore (mainly) in the context of the mystery cults. Classical Greek writers consistently associate the nocturnal ceremony of the magi with the mysteries as belonging to the same religious-cultural category. This shows that Iranian religious lore included a nocturnal rite that aimed at ensuring the soul’s journey to the beyond and a desirable afterlife.
Challenging the prevalent scholarship of the Greek interpretation of Iranian religious lore and proposing a new analysis of the formation of the Hellenistic concept of ‘magic,’ this book is an important resource for students and scholars of History, Religion and Iranian Studies.
For ToC and haveing a look inside the book see here.
About the Author:
Amir Ahmadi is an Adjunct Researcher at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University. He has published in Philosophy, History of Religions and Iranian Studies.
Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst is the head of the long-term project “Turfanforschung” at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Professor of Iranian Studies at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.