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Reviews

Review: The transmission of the Avesta

Piras, Andrea. 2014. Review of Alberto Cantera (ed.): The transmission of the Avesta. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 104. 365–368.

Read the review here. More information on the volume is available here.

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Books

Introduction to Avestan

This is an English translation of the introduction, which was first published in 2001 in Spanish.

Martínez, Javier & Michiel de Vaan. 2014. Introduction to Avestan (Brill Introductions to Indo-European Languages I). Leiden/Boston: Brill. Translated from Spanish by Ryan Sandell.

This Introduction to Avestan provides a concise grammar of the Avestan language, the language of the followers of the Iranian prophet Zarathustra. The grammar focuses on spelling, phonology and morphology, but also includes a chapter on syntax. Abundant information on the historical development of the language is included, which renders the grammar very useful for students of Indo-Iranian and Indo-European. Also, a small number of selected Avestan texts is added, with a complete glossary, so that students can practise reading Avestan.

From the book’s description.

See here for more volumes in the series.

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Journal

Richard N. Frye

Richard Neslon Frye, the Aga Khan Professor of Iranian Studies Emeritus, who passed away on 27 March 2014, has unfortunately become the subject of a political row in Iran. It is good to remember him for what he was, a scholar with a unique and refreshing style and a sharp eye for methodology:

There is always the danger in Avestan studies of seizing upon a device or a theory as the key to the understanding of that enigmatic book to the exclusion of all contrary evidence (which is declared corrupt and untrustworthy), proclaiming that the true meaning of the Avesta lies in this key. Johannes Hertel is the shining example of a competent Indo-Iranian philologist who proposed his Feuerlehre as the key to the understanding of both the Avesta and the Vedas. His ubiquitous fire was not taken seriously by others but his linguistic skill in support of fire was impressive. Just as Th. Noeldeke said of Pahlavi, “In Pehlewi stumpfen wir alle”, so the Avesta may drive all who study it slightly mad.

Frye, Richard Nelson. 1960. Georges Dumézil and the translators of the Avesta. Numen 7(2). 161–171.

See here for an obituary at the HARVARDgazette and here for one by Burzine Waghmar.

Categories
Articles

Manuscripts of the Wīdēwdād

Andrés-Toledo, Miguel Ángel & Alberto Cantera. 2012. Manuscripts of the Wīdēwdād. In Alberto Cantera (ed.), The transmission of the Avesta (Iranica 20), 207–243. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Read the article here.

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Articles

Perceptions of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti

Hintze, Almut. 2013. Perceptions of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. In: E. Pirart (ed.), Le sort des Gâthâs et autres études iraniennes in memoriam Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin (Acta Iranica 54), 53–73. Leuven – Paris – Walpole, MA: Peeters.

Read the article here.

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Articles

Le jour se lève à la fin de la Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī

Kellens, Jean. 2013. Le jour se lève à la fin de la Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī. Journal Asiatique 301(1). 53–84.

Read the article here or here.

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Articles

Talking with god

Cantera, Alberto. 2013. Talking with god: The Zoroastrian ham.paršti or intercalation ceremonies. Journal Asiatique 301(1). 85–138.

Read the article here or here. Abstract:

Among the different variants of the Zoroastrian long liturgy attested in the manuscripts we find two in which a coherent text in Young Avestan is divided into sections that are intercalated between the central part of this ceremony, the recitation of the Old Avestan texts. They are the Widēwdād and Wištāsp Yašt ceremonies. Usually they are considered late compositions in which the long liturgy has been extended artificially through the intercalation of of already exiting Young Avestan texts without any relationship to the Old Avestan texts they accompany. Actually, these intercalation ceremonies reflect a ritual that is as old as the version of the long liturgy we know. The journey of the sacrifiants to the hereafter during the recitation of the Old Avestan texts made possible an encounter and an interview with god. The questions and, above all, Ahura Mazdā’s answers are reproduced live in the sacrifice. Thus, all Young Avestan texts belonging to the frašna-genre that is consisting of Zaraθuštra’s questions and Ahura Mazdā’s answers have been composed probably for being intercalated between the Old Avestan texts in the Zoroastrian long liturgy.

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Articles

The fractious eye

Secunda, Shai. 2014. The fractious eye: On the evil eye of menstruants in Zoroastrian tradition. Numen 61(1). 83–108.

Read the article here. Abstract:

Like all religions, Zoroastrianism evolved, and its rich textual record provides us with the material to trace some of its developments across the centuries. This article attempts to reconstruct an ancient Iranian myth preserved in Zoroastrian tradition about the dangerous powers of the gaze of menstruating women, and traces its development as it grows out of the Avesta and interacts with Western philosophical traditions in the Middle Persian writings of late antiquity and the early middle ages.