Category Archives: Books

The Iranian Talmud

Secunda, Shai. 2013. The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in its Sasanian context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

For the book, see here. Short abstract:

Although the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, has been a text central and vital to the Jewish canon since the Middle Ages, the context in which it was produced has been poorly understood. Delving deep into Sasanian material culture and literary remains, Shai Secunda pieces together the dynamic world of late antique Iran, providing an unprecedented and accessible overview of the world that shaped the Bavli.

Perceptions of Iran

Ansari, Ali (ed.). 2013. Perceptions of Iran: History, myths and nationalism from medieval Persia to the Islamic Republic. London: I.B. Tauris.
For the book, see here. Abstract:
From the Sasanian to the Safavid Empire, and from Qajar Iran to the current Islamic Republic, the history of Iran is one which has been colored by a rich tradition of myths and narratives and shaped by its wealth of philosophers, cultural theorists and political thinkers. Perceptions of Iran dissects the construction of Iranian identity, to reveal how nationalism has been continually re-formulated and how self-perceptions have been carried by Iran’s literary past, in particular the mystical love poetry of Rumi, Sa’adi and Hafez. It traces a long history of encounters with the Western world and tracks Iranian thought from Herodotus’ representation of Cyrus to the Constitutional Movement of the early twentieth century. This book ties together the diverse threads of Iranian intellectual activity that have underpinned social and political movements, spanning Kermani’s writing on ancient Persian history and liberal nationalism, through to the strident anti-Westernism of figures such as Sayed Jamal Al-Afghani and Ayatollah Khomeini.


Mousavi, Ali. 2012. Persepolis: Discovery and afterlife of a world wonder. Boston/Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Persepolis was recently chosen for the 21st “world prize for the book of the year” of the Islamic Republic of Iran. For an interview with the author, see here.

For more on the book, see here. Abstract:

Persepolis: Discovery and Afterlife of a World Wonder presents the first full study of the history of archaeological exploration at Persepolis after its destruction in 330 BC. Based in part on archival evidence, anecdotal information, and unpublished documents, this book describes in detail the history of archaeological exploration, visual documentation, and excavations at one of the most celebrated sites of the ancient world. The book addresses a broad audience of readers ranging from students of the archaeology, history, and art history of ancient, medieval, and modern Iran to scholars in Classical Studies and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.