It has been argued that the adoption of the Zoroastrian religious world view by the Sasanians was instrumental in maintaining the nobility’s loyalty to the goals of the empire. Most arguments in favour of this view, however, derive from examinations of source material dating from the early Islamic era. This lecture will revisit the pertinent arguments and further discuss previously unexplored textual material.
Speaker: Arash Zeini Where: University of St Andrews, School of Classics, Swallowgate, S11. When: 14 May 2014, 17:30
2. The Sasanian Empire and religious authority: The case of Zoroastrianism
As one of the major political and economic powers in the region, the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE) elevated Zoroastrianism to the dominant religious and cultural force within its polity, bringing to the foreground the question of the interaction between religion and sovereignty in the Sasanian era. By providing an historical overview this lecture highlights the dynamics between political and religious authority during the Sasanian era.
Speaker: Arash Zeini Where: University of St Andrews, School of Classics, Swallowgate, S11. When: 07 May 2014, 17:30
The parable has received little attention as a form in Zoroastrian Pahlavi literature. Taking a first step to correct this deficit, this article examines an extended parable that appears in the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, the ninth century theological and political treatise. The parable likens Ohramzd’s conflict with Ahriman and his creation of the world to a gardener’s attempt to keep hungry vermin from his garden by means of a trap. Borrowing tools developed in the study of rabbinic exegetical parables and poetics, the article argues that the garden parable not only aims to make a theological point as part of its immediate context in the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, but also it itself is an interpretation of the Zoroastrian account of creation. The article shows how the parable reinterprets inconsistencies and contradictions in that cosmogony, relating to the account of creation just as rabbinic parables relate to the gaps in canonical, biblical narratives.
This article examines seemingly monotheistic, polytheistic and dualistic features of Zoroastrianism from the point of view of the Zoroastrian creation myth. Exploring the personality of the principal deity, Ahura Mazdā, the origin of the spiritual and material worlds and the worship of the Yazatas, it is argued that Zoroastrianism has its own particular form of monotheism.
The second international Summer School on Communication in the Achaemenid Empire: Achaemenid Elamite, Bisotun and the Persepolis Archive will be taking place at the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia on 12–21 May 2014.
1. 4 days on Bisotun (1 day repetition of grammar, 3 days reading)
2. 4 days Persepolis Fortification Archive and Achaemenid culture
Every day 15–18 by Wouter Henkelman
3. 3 days Old Persian Inscription of Bisotun
13–15 by M. Jaafari-Dehaghi
Application deadline is May 5, 2014. For more Information please contact: Dr Jaafari-Dehaghi.