The genealogy of Artabanos II

The last day of 2014 is busier than most other days on this blog:

Olbrycht, Marek Jan. 2014. The genealogy of Artabanos II (AD 8/9–39/40), King of Parthia. Miscellanea Anthropologica et Sociologica 15(3). 92–97.

One of the most controversial issues in the Parthian history of the early 1st century AD is the lineage of Artabanos II. The resolution of this problem determines the image of Parthian history in the 1st century AD, moulded to a large extent by an internecine struggle for the legitimation of rival parties’ claim to power.

Read it here.



Religious transformation between East and West

Herman, Geoffrey. 2014. Religious transformation between East and West: Hanukkah in the Babylonian Talmud and Zoroastrianism. In Wick, Peter & Volker Rabens (eds.), Religions and trade: Religious formation, transformation and cross-cultural exchange between East and West, 261–281. Leiden: Brill.

When religious traditions travel they tend to adapt to their new surroundings. Like new products seeking to penetrate a foreign market, they often undergo a process of modification and re-packaging that makes them comprehensible and inviting to their potential clientele. This can often be a subconscious process whereby the elements in the imported tradition that evoke more familiar local practices rise to prominence and develop further whereas others sink into the background. This article seeks to account for the development of the ritual observance of the festival of Hanukah, a festival that was brought from Judaea to Babylonia. It pinpoints the holiday’s evolution upon its reception in Babylonia. Observing similarities in ritual between the receiving community – Babylonian Jewry, and the prevalent practices found among the Zoroastrians of the region it suggests a connection between the two. This connection intimates that the ritual celebration of Hanukkah was radically and fundamentally transformed in its new religious environment as a result of its encounter with local religious custom.

Find the article here.


Mani at the court of the Persian kings

Gardner, Iain, Jason BeDuhn & Paul Dilley. 2014. Mani at the court of the Persian kings. Leiden: Brill.

For more information, see here.


Islamic cultures, Islamic contexts

Sadeghi, Behnam, Asad Ahmed, Adam Silverstein & Robert Hoyland (eds.) 2014. Islamic cultures, Islamic contexts: Essays in honor of Professor Patricia Crone. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

This volume brings together articles on various aspects of the intellectual and social histories of Islamicate societies and of the traditions and contexts that contributed to their formation and evolution. Written by leading scholars who span three generations and
who cover such diverse fields as Late Antique Studies, Islamic Studies, Classics, and Jewish Studies, the volume is a testament to the breadth and to the sustained, deep impact of the corpus of the honoree, Professor Patricia Crone.

For more information, see the publisher’s website.


Repetitions of the Ahuna Vairiia

Cantera, Alberto. 2014. Repetitions of the Ahuna Vairiia and animal sacrifice in the Zoroastrian long liturgy. Estudios Iranios y Turanios 1. 25–29.

The Ahuna Vairiia prayer is never repeated three times in extant Avestan texts and also the Pahlavi literature excludes this number of repetitions. This is because three repetitions of the Ahuna Vairiia is the Avestan text used for the very centre of the Zoroastrian long liturgy: the slaughter of the sacrificial victim and the meat offerings to the fire. Here again, we discover the central importance of the sacrifice when the Avestan texts used in the long and short liturgies got their current shape. Further, it is shown a ritual parallelism between the slaughter of the victim and the pounding of the haōma.

The PDF of the article is here.


Scribal practices in the Turfan Christian community

Dickens, Mark. 2013. Scribal practices in the Turfan Christian community. Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies 13. 3–28.

A PDF of this article is available here.


Arabic documents from early Islamic Khurasan

Khan, Geoffrey. 2014. Arabic documents from early Islamic Khurasan (Einstein Lectures in Islamic Studies 3). Berlin.


The epic of Farāmarz

The new issue, vol. 24, of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute (BAI) has been published. As of this post, the journal’s website has not been updated to reflect the content of vol. 24, and the issue contains too many articles and reviews of interest to individually list them here.

Michael Shenkar has made a PDF of his article available here:

Shenkar, Michael. 2014. The epic of Farāmarz in the Panjikent paintings. Bulletin of the Asia Institute 24. 67–84.


The following content list has been posted by Carol Bromberg:

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 24 (December 2014)

David Stronach, Solomon at Pasargadae: Some New Perspectives

 Domenico Agostini, Encountering a Beautiful Maiden: On the Zoroastrian dēn in Comparison with Dante’s Beatrice

 Yishai Kiel, Gazing through Transparent Objects in Pahlavi and Rabbinic Literature: A Comparative Analysis

 Dieter Weber, Villages and Estates in the Documents from the Pahlavi Archive: The Geographical Background

 Michael Shenkar, The Epic of Farāmarz in the Panjikent Paintings  (2 color plates)

 Étienne de la Vaissière, Silk, Buddhism and Early Khotanese Chronology: A Note on the Prophecy of the Li Country

 Harry Falk, Libation Trays from Gandhara

 Phyllis Granoff, Maitreya and the Yūpa: Some Gandharan Reliefs

 David Frendo, Sovereignty, Control, and Co-existence in Byzantine-Iranian Relations: An Overview

 Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, The Prophet’s Seal: A Contextualized Look at the Crystal Sealstone of Mani (216–276 c.e.) in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (2 color plates)


Prods Oktor Skjærvø, Gnosis and Deliverance: Werner Sundermann’s “Speech of the Living Soul”

Azarnouche, ed. and trans. Husraw ī Kawādān-ē ud Rēdag-ē: Khosrow fils de Kawād et un page (Jenny Rose)

Agostini. Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg: Un texte eschatologique zoroastrien (Daniel Sheffield)

Jullien, ed. Eastern Christianity: A Crossroads of Cultures (David Frendo)


Avestan research 1991–2014

The first part of a survey by Almut Hintze on Avestan research from 1991 to 2014:

Hintze, Almut. 2014. Avestan research 1991–2014. Part 1: Sources and phonology. Kratylos 59. 1–52.

For more information and a PDF, see here.


Iran and the West

Call for Papers for a conference at the University of Warwick:

Iran and the West: Converging Perspectives

1-3 July 2015