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.

Table of Contents

Section I. Indo-Iranian, Avestan, and General Iranian

  • Chapter 1. Human Unity and Diversity in Zoroastrian Mythology                            
  • Chapter 2. The One and the Many in Iranian Creation Myths                                
  • Chapter 3. The Cosmo-Logic of Persian Demonology                                            
  • Chapter 4. Toward a more Materialist Ethics: Vermin and Poison in Zoroastrian Thought        
  • Chapter 5. Before Religion? The Zoroastrian Concept of Daēnā and Two Myths About It            

Section II. Old Persian and Achaemenid

  • Chapter 6. Apocalyptic Temporality and Politics in the Ancient World                  
  • Chapter 7. Religion, Empire, and the Spectre of Orientalism: A Recent Controversy in Achaemenid Studies          
  • Chapter 8. Persian Archers and Paradise Gardens                                               

Section III. Pahlavi

  • Chapter 9. Physiological Speculation and Social Patterning in a Pahlavi Text 
  • Chapter 10. Embryological Speculation and Gender Politics in a Pahlavi Text
  • Chapter 11. Pahlavi kirrēnīdan and traces of Iranian creation mythology          
  • Chapter 12. Cēšmag, the Lie, and the Logic of Zoroastrian Demonology         
  • Chapter 13. Anomaly, Science, and Religion: Treatment of the Planets in Medieval Zoroastrianism  
  • Chapter 14. Of Dirt, Diet, and Religious Others: A Theme in Zoroastrian Thought

Section IV. Iranian Materials in Comparative Perspective

  • Chapter 15. The Indo-European Myth of Creation                                                 
  • Chapter 16. Treatment of Hair and Fingernails among the Indo-Europeans     
  • Chapter 17. The Center of the World and the Origins of Life                               
  • Chapter 18. Hegelian Meditations on “Indo-European” Myths                             
  • Chapter 19. From Purity to Law: Avestan yaoždā and Latin iūs                          
  • Chapter 20. From Ritual Practice to Esoteric Knowledge: The Problem of the Magi