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Books

The making of Syriac Jerusalem & Soul and body diseases

Two books that have been published in 2023 and will be of interest to the readers of our site:

Popa, Catalin-Stefan. 2023. The making of Syriac Jerusalem: Representations of the Holy City in Syriac literature of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World). London and New York: Routledge.

This book discusses hagiographic, historiographical, hymnological, and theological sources that contributed to the formation of the sacred picture of the physical as well as metaphysical Jerusalem in the literature of two Eastern Christian denominations, East and West Syrians.

Popa, Catalin-Stefan (ed.). 2023. Soul and body diseases, remedies and healing in Middle Eastern religious cultures and traditions (Studies on the Children of Abraham 10) Leiden: Brill.

Aiming to develop a less studied literary genre, this book provides a well-rounded picture of spiritual and physical diseases and their remedies as they were ingrained in the imagination and practices of Middle Eastern Abrahamic cultures, with a special emphasis of Christian communities (Greeks/Byzantines, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, Ethiopians). The volume traces traditions dealing with the onset of a disease in the body and soul, the search for remedy, the maintenance of healing, and the engagement of these processes with faith—either through their affirmation in the public sphere or remaining within the personal framework, as in monastic traditions. A recurring presence in religious literature and the history of the intellectual world, the confrontation between disease and healing may well still be current for our modern understanding of the paths to seeking and maintaining the health of one’s body and soul, without excluding the factor of faith as a core principle.

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Articles

A new Middle Persian document from Hastijan

Asefi, Nima. 2023. A new Middle Persian document from Hastijan belonging to the Farroxzād family. Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology 1(3), 1–14.

This study publishes a first edition of a newly-discovered Middle Persian document located in a private collection but stemming from the area of Hastijan, Iran. It is related to the ‘Pahlavi Archive’, the majority of which is held in the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, and the contents concern the family of a certain Farroxzād, mentioned in several other documents in the archive.

Abstract
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Journal

Sasanian Studies 2

Farridnejad, Shervin & Touraj Daryaee (eds.). 2023. Sasanian studies: Late antique Iranian world | Sasanidische Studien: Spätantike iranische Welt. Vol. 2. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Sasanian Studies: Late Antique Iranian World is a refereed journal that publishes papers on any aspect of the Sasanian Empire and ist neighboring late antiquity civilizations. The journal welcomes essays on archaeology, art history, epigraphy, history, numismatics, religion and any other disciplines which focuse on the Sasanian world. This annual publication focuses especially on recent discoveries in the field, historiographical studies, as well as editions and translations of texts and inscriptions. We aim to facilitate dialogue and contact among scholars of Sasanian Studies around the world. The journal will publish papers mainly in English, but also in German, French, Italian and may also consider Persian and Arabic.

From the contents:
  • Nima Asefi, Āzādmard in the Pahlavi Archive of Hastijan
  • Iris Colditz, Landesrecht vs. lokales Recht? Fragen an das sasanidische Rechtsbuch Hazār dādestān
  • Götz König, Zur Bedeutung der Sternenlehre in den Rezensionen des Bundahišn und für deren historische Beurteilung
  • Katarzyna Maksymiuk, The Titles of the (h)argbed, the artēštārān sālār and the spāhbed in the Iranian and Non-Iranian Sources
  • Daniel T. Potts, A Contribution to the Location of the Late Antique Settlements Known as Rēw-Ardašīr or Rēšahr
  • Robert Rollinger & Josef Wiesehöfer, Emperor Valerian and Ilu-bi’dī of Hamath. Persian Cruelty, and the Persistence of Ancient Near Eastern Traditions
  • Dieter Weber, Cooking in 7th Century Iran

The full table of contents is available from the website.

Categories
Journal

Studia Iranica 51

Volume 51 of Studia Iranica, dated 2022, is now available with two issues.

Of particular interest to this blog is Olivia Ramble’s article on Kerdīr’s bun-xānag and Funding Foundations in Sasanian Iran.

Issue 1

  • The Caspian Language of Tonekābon; BORJIAN, Habib
  • Pashto Preverbs, I: Indo-Iranian *ā; DE CHIARA, Matteo
  • About ‘Paper’ in Russian, Pahl. pambag, Rus. bumaga; OGNIBENE, Paolo
  • Plague in Sistan, 1905-1906; FLOOR, Willem

Issue 2

  • Kerdīr’s bun-xānag and Funding Foundations in Sasanian Iran; RAMBLE, Olivia
  • Les mots français dans le premier Safarnāme de Nāṣer ad-din Shāh (1873); LENEPVEU-HOTZ, Agnès
  • Pashto Preverbs, II: Indo-Iranian Heritage; DE CHIARA, Matteo
  • From Hurmuz to Aleppo: Observations on the Journey of Alessandro Piccolomini, 1586; TRENTACOSTE, Davide
In memoriam
  • Christophe Balaÿ (1949-2022); HOURCADE, Bernard
  • Bert G. Fragner (1941-2021); SCHWARZ, Florian
  • Florence Hellot-Bellier (1943-2021); HOURCADE, Bernard
Categories
Books

Dining with the Sultan

Komaroff, Linda (ed.). 2023. Dining with the Sultan: The fine art of feasting. Los Angeles: DelMonico Books.

Dining with the Sultan offers a pan-Islamic reach, spanning the 8th through 19th centuries and including some 200 works of art representing a rich variety of mediums. Across its 400 pages, and through an abundance of color plates and new scholarship, the publication introduces audiences to Islamic art and culture with objects of undisputed quality and appeal. Viewed through the universal lens of fine dining, this transformative selection of materials emphasizes our shared humanity rather than our singular histories.

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Online resources

Archaeological Gazetteer of Iran

The Pourdavoud Center at the UCLA operates the Archaeological Gazetteer of Iran, a great resource which we think should be more widely known.

The Archaeological Gazetteer of Iran: An Online Encyclopedia of Iranian Archaeological Sites

The Archaeological Gazetteer of Iran is a research tool for scholars in all branches of humanities, including anthropology, art history, and history, but more specifically for those working on the archaeology of Iran and the ancient Near East. The Gazetteer is a free, open access resource and will be hosted and maintained by the University of California, Los Angeles, which will ensure its up-to-date, long-term use and availability.

From the Introduction
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Books

Socioeconomic Transformation in the Sasanian Empire

Habibi, Hossein. 2023. Socioeconomic transformation in the Sasanian Empire: Late antique central Zagros (Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Recent studies have demonstrated the diverse character of the socioeconomic dynamics behind the socio-political transformations and infrastructural developments in different territories of the Sasanian and Roman Empires. Notwithstanding its distinct environmental and socio-cultural settings, the cultural landscapes in the Sasanian realm are much less studied than those of the neighbouring empire to the west. Based on an inter-disciplinary approach, this monograph bridges this gap and highlights such diversity on a regional scale in the Central Zagros. Socioeconomic Transformation in the Sasanian Empire provides for a deeper understanding of the actual historical events and long-term cultural processes in the Central Zagros by disclosing the roles of various inter-related cultural and natural factors and the demographic and economic transitions that caused them. Ultimately, this work contributes to debates about the reconstruction of sociopolitical transitions in the late antique world.

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Books

Trust Matters

Vevaina, Leilah. 2023. Trust matters: Parsi endowments in Mumbai and the horoscope of a city. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Although numbering fewer than 60,000 in a city of more than 12 million people, Mumbai’s Parsi community is one of the largest private landowners in the city due to its network of public charitable trusts. In Trust Matters Leilah Vevaina explores the dynamics and consequences of this conjunction of religion and capital as well as the activities of giving, disputing, living, and dying it enables. As she shows, communal trusts are the legal infrastructure behind formal religious giving and ritual in urban India that influence communal life. Vevaina proposes the trusts as a horoscope of the city—a constellation of housing, temples, and other spaces providing possible futures. She explores the charitable trust as a technology of time, originating in the nineteenth century, one that structures intergenerational obligations for Mumbai’s Parsis, connecting past and present, the worldly and the sacred. By approaching Mumbai through the legal mechanism of the trust and the people who live within its bounds as well as those who challenge or support it, Vevaina offers a new pathway into exploring property, religion, and kinship in the urban global South.

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Articles Journal

Slavery & Abolition

Volume 44, issue 4 (2023), of the journal Slavery & Abolition has just been published. This special issue, entitled Slavery in Byzantium and the Medieval Islamicate World: Texts and Contexts, is edited by Jelle Bruning and Said Reza Huseini. It features two articles of particular interest to Iranian Studies. One by Said Reza Huseini on Slavery Represented in Bactrian Documents, and one by Nazanin Tamari on Zoroastrian Fire Foundations: A Portrait of Slaves and Slaveholders.

This special issue of Slavery & Abolition presents six studies on the history of slavery in the greater Mediterranean basin, the Near East and the Iranian world during the second half of the first millennium CE. The articles cover a large area that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to Bactria in the east, an area that was at that time largely controlled by East and West Roman emperors, Sasanian shahs and, later, Muslim caliphs. Despite the widely varying nature of the various historical environments brought together in this special issue, they combine to tell a common story.

From the editors’ introduction
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Books

The Central Asian world

Féaux de la Croix, Jeanne & Madeleine Reeves (eds.). 2023. The Central Asian world (The Routledge Worlds). London & New York: Routledge.

This landmark book provides a comprehensive anthropological introduction to contemporary Central Asia. Established and emerging scholars of the region critically interrogate the idea of a ‘Central Asian World’ at the intersection of post-Soviet, Persianate, East and South Asian worlds. Encompassing chapters on life between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Xinjiang, this volume situates the social, political, economic, ecological and ritual diversity of Central Asia in historical context. The book ethnographically explores key areas such as the growth of Islamic finance, the remaking of urban and sacred spaces, as well as decolonising and queering approaches to Central Asia. The volume’s discussion of More-than-Human Worlds, Everyday Economies, Material Culture, Migration and Statehood engages core analytical concerns such as globalisation, inequality and postcolonialism. Far more than a survey of a ‘world region’, the volume illuminates how people in Central Asia make a life at the intersection of diverse cross-cutting currents and flows of knowledge. In so doing, it stakes out the contribution of an anthropology of and from Central Asia to broader debates within contemporary anthropology.