Categories
Books

Constructions of Gender

Towers, Susanna. 2019. Constructions of gender in late antique Manichaean cosmological narrative (Studia Traditionis Theologiae 34).

Manichaeism emerged from Sasanian Persia in the third century CE and flourished in Persia, the Roman Empire, Central Asia and beyond until succumbing to persecution from rival faiths in the eighth to ninth century. Its founder, Mani, claimed to be the final embodiment of a series of prophets sent over time to expound divine wisdom.
This monograph explores the constructions of gender embedded in Mani’s colourful dualist cosmological narrative, in which a series of gendered divinities are in conflict with the demonic beings of the Kingdom of Darkness. The Jewish and Gnostic roots of Mani’s literary constructions of gender are examined in parallel with Sasanian societal expectations. Reconstructions of gender in subsequent Manichaean literature reflect the changing circumstances of the Manichaean community.
As the first major study of gender in Manichaean literature, this monograph draws upon established approaches to the study of gender in late antique religious literature, to present a portrait of a historically maligned and persecuted religious community.

Table of Contents

Categories
Books

The City of Babylon

Dalley, Stephanie. 2021. The City of Babylon: A History, c. 2000 BC – AD 116. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The 2000-year story of Babylon sees it moving from a city-state to the centre of a great empire of the ancient world. It remained a centre of kingship under the empires of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Alexander the Great, the Seleucids and the Parthians. Its city walls were declared to be a Wonder of the World while its ziggurat won fame as the Tower of Babel. Visitors to Berlin can admire its Ishtar Gate, and the supposed location of its elusive Hanging Garden is explained. Worship of its patron god Marduk spread widely while its well-trained scholars communicated legal, administrative and literary works throughout the ancient world, some of which provide a backdrop to Old Testament and Hittite texts. Its science also laid the foundations for Greek and Arab astronomy through a millennium of continuous astronomical observations. This accessible and up-to-date account is by one of the world’s leading authorities.

Categories
Books

Zoroastrian High Rituals with Persian Instructions

Dastūr Nāmdār & Dastūr Rostam. Yasna, Visperad, Yašt-e Rapitvan bā ādāb-e dīnī [Yasna, Visperad and Yašt ī Rapiθwin together with Ritual Instructions]. Edited by Kūroš Bolandī. Tehran: Fravahar, 1400 š [2021].

This volume is an edition of the Persian manual for the performance of the Yasna, Visperad, Yašt ī Rapiθwin and some other rituals, written and compiled by Dastūr Nāmdār and Dastūr Rostam, which was published in 1262 AY. The present edition gives the Persian text together with some explanations and a glossary. The importance of this priestly manual lies in the fact that it presents the last stage of the performance of the Zoroastrian high rituals by Iranian priests, before their performance were abandoned, and thus an essential source for the study of the Zoroastrian rituals in Iran.

Categories
Books

Festschrift for Rüdiger Schmitt

Luther, Andreas, Hilmar Klinkott & Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.). 2021. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Kultur des alten Iran und benachbarter Gebiete Festschrift für Rüdiger Schmitt (Oriens et Occidens, 36). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Die wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten des Indogermanisten und Iranisten Rüdiger Schmitt sind nicht allein für die Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft wegweisend, sondern auch für die historische und orientalistische Forschung. Seine Veröffentlichungen bezeugen eindrucksvoll die große Breite seiner Interessen, aber auch sein Anliegen, Forschungsfelder neu zu erschließen.

Die Autorinnen und Autoren ehren Schmitt in dieser Festschrift mit Beiträgen zur Geschichte und der Kultur des iranischen Raumes und angrenzender Gebiete: der chronologische Rahmen spannt einen Bogen von der altorientalischen Zeit bis ins frühe Mittelalter. Ein inhaltlicher Schwerpunkt liegt auf der Geschichte des Achaimenidenreiches (550–330 v. Chr.), den Herrscher- und Herrschaftsvorstellungen der Perserkönige, der iranischen Religionsgeschichte und den politischen und kulturellen Kontakten zwischen den Iranern und ihren Nachbarn, vornehmlich den Griechen und Römern.

Categories
Books

Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran

Lincoln, Bruce. 2021. Religion, culture, and politics in pre-Islamic Iran: collected essays (Ancient Iran Series 14). Leiden; Boston: Brill.

In Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran, Bruce Lincoln offers a vast overview on different aspects of the Indo-Iranian, Zoroastrian and Pre-Islamic mythologies, religions and cultural issues. The book is organized in four sections according to the body of evidence they engage most directly: Avestan, Old Persian, Pahlavi, and Iranian materials in comparison with other data, including studies of myths, especially those with cosmogonic implications, ritual practices, cosmological constructions of space and time, points of intersection between religion, ethics, law, and politics, ideological aspects of scientific and medical theorizing, social organization and gender relations, and other diverse topics.

Categories
Books

Exilarchal Propaganda and Zoroastrians in Tenth- to Eleventh-Century Baghdad

Gross, Simcha. 2021. The Curious Case of the Jewish Sasanian Queen Šīšīnduxt: Exilarchal Propaganda and Zoroastrians in Tenth- to Eleventh-Century Baghdad. Journal of the American Oriental Society 141(2). 365–380.

The Provincial Capitals of Ērānšahr, a medieval Zoroastrian Middle Persian text, recounts how the daughter of the Jewish exilarch married the Sasanian king Yazdgird I and gave birth to Wahrām Gōr, his successor. While the historicity of the text has been largely undermined, scant attention has been given to its authorship and purpose. This article proposes that the story’s creators were members of the exilarch’s household in the tenth through eleventh century who internalized the broader concern with (invented) Sasanian pedigree during the period known as the Iranian intermezzo in an effort to appeal to Iranian Jews and other elites alike. Studying this text and its origins provides evidence of contact between Jews and Zoroastrians during this period and offers a new suggestion about the cultural context of the Zoroastrians who produced The Provincial Capitals.

Categories
Books

End of History and the Last King

Janzen, David. 2021. End of History and the Last King: Achaemenid Ideology and Community Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah. London & New York: Bloomsbury.

This book examines community identity in the post-exilic temple community in Ezra-Nehemiah, and explores the possible influences that the Achaemenids, the ruling Persian dynasty, might have had on its construction. In the book, David Janzen reads Ezra-Nehemiah in dialogue with the Achaemenids’ Old Persian inscriptions, as well as with other media the dynasty used, such as reliefs, seals, coins, architecture, and imperial parks. In addition, he discusses the cultural and religious background of Achaemenid thought, especially its intersections with Zoroastrian beliefs.

Ezra-Nehemiah, Janzen argues, accepts Achaemenid claims for the necessity and beneficence of their hegemony. The result is that Ezra-Nehemiah, like the imperial ideology it mimics, claims that divine and royal wills are entirely aligned. Ezra-Nehemiah reflects the Achaemenid assertion that the peoples they have colonized are incapable of living in peace and happiness without the Persian rule that God established to benefit humanity, and that the dynasty rewards the peoples who do what they desire, since that reflects divine desire.

The final chapter of the book argues that Ezra-Nehemiah was produced by an elite group within the Persian-period temple assembly, and shows that Ezra-Nehemiah’s pro-Achaemenid worldview was not widely accepted within that community.

Categories
Books

The Herodotus Encyclopedia

Baron, Christopher (Ed.). 2021. The Herodotus Encyclopedia, 3 Volume Set. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

The first work of its kind, this book offers students and faculty of all levels an easy-to-use, up-to-date reference tool on Herodotus of Halicarnassus (the “Father of History”) and provides Herodotean scholars with a collection of important strands of recent work. Topics include the debt of Greek historical writing to epic poetry (and other genres); narratological analysis of the text; Herodotus’ position vis-à-vis his predecessors and contemporaries; his use of sources; his notion of Greekness; and the growing body of Persian and other Near Eastern evidence for sixth- and fifth century events.

Spanning three volumes, The Herodotus Encyclopedia surveys the current state of knowledge and understanding of Herodotus’ work, and discusses past, current, and emerging approaches to the text. Featuring contributions from an international team of more than 150 scholars, it offers more than 2,500 entries which cover the individuals, peoples, and places Herodotus names in his Histories; the composition and central themes in his work; and the historical, social, intellectual, and literary context of the period. Many entries also explore the text’s scholarship and reception from antiquity up to the present day.  Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

* Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories

* Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship

*Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived

*Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond *Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities

* Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry

The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

Categories
Books

Susa. Stratigraphic survey of the Acropolis 1: Layers 21 to 18 (campaigns 1977-1979)

Le Brun, Alain (with a contribution from Naomi F. Miller). 2020. Suse. Sondage stratigraphique de l’Acropole 1: Couches 21 a 18 (campagnes 1977-1979). Paris: De Boccard.

Ouvert en 1969 dans le cadre du programme de recherches stratigraphiques de la Mission de Suse, le chantier dit de l’Acropole I a permis de distinguer trois périodes dans l’histoire de Suse au cours du IVe millénaire. La période I (couches 27 à 23) correspond à la première occupation de Suse. La période II (couches 22 à 17) est une période au cours de laquelle Suse et la Susiane vivent dans la mouvance culturelle et socio-politique de la Mésopotamie. C’est également une période au cours de laquelle se met en place un système complexe de comptabilité. La période III (couches 16 à 14), marquée par l’apparition dès le niveau 16C des premiers documents écrits, traduit le basculement de Suse dans une nouvelle zone d’influence, la zone d’influence proto-élamite. Six campagnes de fouilles ont été conduites entre 1969 et 1979. Les résultats des quatre premières campagnes, 1969-1972, ont été publiés dans les Cahiers de la Délégation archéologique française en Iran. Le présent ouvrage rend compte des campagnes effectuées entre 1977 et 1979 qui avaient porté sur des couches de la période II, les niveaux des couches 21 à 18. Il comprend la description des vestiges architecturaux, du matériel céramique, des documents glyptiques, ainsi que des documents de comptabilité que complète l’analyse d’échantillons archéobotaniques. Incomplète, les événements politiques survenus en Iran en 1979 ayant arrêté ce programme de recherche, cette publication n’en constitue pas moins une contribution utile à la connaissance de Suse et de la Susiane au cours de la seconde moitié du IVe millénaire et, plus largement, du monde urukéen.

Categories
Books

Ramat Raḥel VI: The Babylonian-Persian Pit

Lipschits, Oded, Liora Freud, Manfred Oeming, and Yuval Gadot. 2021. Ramat Raḥel VI: The Renewed Excavations by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005–2010). The Babylonian-Persian Pit. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.

This is part of a three-volume final report of the renewed excavations at Ramat Raḥel by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005−2010). It presents the finds from the Babylonian-Persian pit, one of the most dramatic find-spots at Ramat Raḥel. The pit yielded a rich assemblage of pottery vessels and yhwd, lion, and sixth-century “private” stamp impressions, including, for the first time, complete restored stamped jars, jars bearing two handles stamped with different yhwd impressions, and jars bearing both lion and “private” stamp impressions on their bodies. Residue analysis was conducted on many of the vessels excavated from the pit to analyze their contents, yielding surprising results. The finds contribute to our understanding of the pottery of the Babylonian and early Persian periods (6th−5th centuries BCE) and to the study of the development of the stamped-jar administration in the province of Yehud under Babylonian and Persian rule.