Sources of the Indo-Iranian Liturgies

To the sources of the Indo-Iranian Liturgies

June 9th and 10th 2016, University of Liege

International conference to be held at the department of “Langues et religions du monde indo-iranien ancien” at the University of Liege. This conference is organized by Philippe Swennen, Céline Redard and Hamid Moein and will take place on June 9th and 10th.


  • J. Kellens: “Ahu, mainiiu, ratu
  • A. Cantera: “The threefold structure of the Long Liturgy and its daily times of celebration”
  • J. Jurewicz: “Fire and the immortal self. The meaning of Vedic sacrifice”
  • N. Nishimura: “On the first mantra section of the Yajurveda-Saṁhitā”
  • Ph. Swennen: “Lecture de l’ājyaśastra
  • K. Amano: “What is ‘knowledge’ justifying a ritual action? Uses of yá evám véda / yá ev vidván in the Maitrāyaṇī Samhitā”
  • C. Redard: “Les  āfrīnagāns”
  • A. Panaino: “Mysteries and dangers of the Mazdean Nocturnal Liturgy”
  • A. Hintze: “Rejected Ritual Practices”
  • M. Hale: “Interpreting the Indo-Iranian Tradition of the Gathas: the evidence of the Pahlavi and Sanskrit translations”
  • E. Doyama: “Reflections on YH 40,1 from the Perspective of Indo-Iranian Culture”
  • H. Moein: “Ritual Instructions in the Rivayats”
  • M.Á. Andrés-Toledo: “The Vedic and the Avestan Investitures with the Sacred Girdle”
  • G. König: “daēnā, xratu and the mystical view. Some considerations to Alberto Cantera’s essay ‘Talking with god'”
  • J. Ferrer: “La récitation de l’alphabet avestique dans les rituels : innovation ou archaïsme?”
  • J. Houben: “The Indo-Iranian tradition and ancient Indian ritual and conceptual innovations”
  • T. Goto: “Bergung des gesunkenen Sonnenlichts im Rigveda und Avesta”
  • É. Pirart: “L’idée d’hospitalité dans le sacrifice indo-iranien”

Zoroastrianism: History, Themes and Current Trends

Panaino 2016Panaino, Antonio. 2016. Zoroastrismo: storia, temi, attualità. Brescia: Morcelliana.
Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest living religions, which can be traced back at least to the sixth century BC. In its thousand-year history, Zoroastrianism has experienced profound and sometimes radical changes, however its ethical characteristic nature has less changed. The contribution of Zoroastrianism to the religious history of humanity is fundamental: from the ethical dualism to the conception of the history of salvation, and the eschatology,  the resurrection of the body and the individual judgment etc. Based on a deep understanding of the sources of today’s scholarship on Zoroastrainism, of which the author is one of the most important and well-known characters, the book traces the history of Zoroastrisnism from the begining up to modern time. Furthermore the book presents a comprehensive account of Zoroastrian thought and rituals as well an uptodate discussion on the condition of contemporary Zoroastrianism, in particular among the Pārsis.
Table of Contents (see the ToC here as PDF):
  • Lo Zoroastrismo nel suo sviluppo storico
  • Il pensiero zoroastriano e Ia sua espressione rituale
  • Lo Zoroastrismo dalIa caduta dell’Impero Sasanide alla sua condizione contemporanea
  • Bibliografia critica e Sitografia
  • Apparato iconogrfico
  • Luoghi da visitare
  • Breve raccolta antologica di fonti
Antonio Panaino is professor of ancient Iranian philology and hitory of religion at the University of Bologna.

Zoroastrian Religion, History and Tradition

Williams, Alan, Sarah Stewart & Almut Hintze (eds.). 2016. Zoroastrian flame: Exploring religion, history and tradition. London: I.B. Tauris.
For many centuries, from the birth of the religion late in the second millennium BC to its influence on the Achaemenids and later adoption in the third century AD as the state religion of the Sasanian Empire, it enjoyed imperial patronage and profoundly shaped the culture of antiquity. The Magi of the New Testament most probably were Zoroastrian priests from the Iranian world, while the enigmatic figure of Zarathushtra (or Zoroaster) himself has exerted continual fascination in the West, influencing creative artists as diverse as Voltaire, Nietzsche, Mozart and Yeats. This authoritative volume brings together internationally recognised scholars to explore Zoroastrianism in all its rich complexity. Examining key themes such as history and modernity, tradition and scripture, art and architecture and minority status and religious identity, it places the modern Zoroastrians of Iran, and the Parsis of India, in their proper contexts. The book extends and complements the coverage of its companion volume, The Everlasting Flame.
Part I: Themes and Approaches
  • Philip Kreyenbroek: „Looking to the Past in the Gāthās and in later Zoroastrianism“
  • Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: „Knowledge, Power and Positionally across the Insider-Outsider Divide in the Study of Zoroastrianism“

Part II: Antiquity and Tradition

  • Alberto Cantera: „The ‚Sacrifice‘ to Mazdā: Its Antiquity and Vareity“
  • Almut Hintze: „A Zoroastrian Vision“
  • Daster Firouze M. Kotwal: „Continuity, Controversy and Change: A Study of the Ritual Practice of the Bhagaria Parsis of Navsari“
  • Antonio Panaino: „Betten Astral Cosmology and Astrology: The Mazdean Cycle of 12,000 Years and the Final Renovation of the World“
  • Touraj Daryaee: “Refashioning the Zoroastrian Past: From Alexander to Islam“

Part III: Tradition and Culture

  • James R. Russel: „On the Image of Zarathustra“
  • Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis: „Ancient Iranian Motifs and Zoroastrian Iconography“
  • Franz Grenet: „Extracts from a Calendar of Zoroastrian Feasts: A New Interpretation of the ‚Soltikoff‘ Bactrian Silver Plate in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris“
  • Albert de Jong: „The Dēnkard and the Zoroastrians of Baghdad“
  • Jamsheed K. Choksy: „Friendship in the Pahlavi Books“
  • Ashk Dahlén: „Literary Interest in Zoroastrianism in tenth-Century Iran: The Case of Daqiqi’s Account of Goshtāsp and Zarathustra in the Shāhnāmeh“

Part IV: Modernity and Minorities

  • Shernaz Cama: „The Sacred Armour of the Sudreh-Kusti and its Relevance in a Changing World“
  • Jenny Rose: „Riding the (Revolutionary) Waves between Two Worlds: Parsi Involvement in the Transition from Old to New“
  • Richard Foltz: „Co-opting the Prophet: The Politics of Kurdish and Tajik Claims to Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism“
  • Khojaste P. Mistree: „Collision, Conflict and Accommodation: A Question of Survival and the Preservation of the Parsi Zoroastrian Identity“
  • Sarah Stewart: „Ideas of Self-Definition among Zoroastrians in Post-Revolutionary Iran“
Alan Williams is Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester and a British Academy Wolfson Professor from 2013-2016. His publications include The Zoroastrian Myth of Migration from Iran and Settlement in the Indian Diaspora (2009) and The Vision of Rumi: Revealing the Masnavi, Persia’s Great Masterpiece (I.B.Tauris, 2016).

Sarah Stewart is Lecturer in Zoroastrianism at SOAS, University of London. She is co-general editor of the series ‘The Idea of Iran’, within which she has co-edited six volumes (all published by I.B.Tauris), and editor of The Zoroastrian Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination (I.B.Tauris, 2014).

Almut Hintze is the Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism at SOAS, University of London. Her publications include A Zoroastrian Liturgy: The Worship in Seven Chapters, Yasna 35-41 (2007).



Persian gods and Avestan gods

Pirart, Éric. 2015. Dieux perses et dieux avestiquesJournal Asiatique 303 (1), 47–58.

If we pick up the significant differences they show, the detailed examination of the Old Persian and Avestan theonyms enables us to say that the Zoroastrian Mazdeism of the ancient Persians did not fit into the same tradition as the Avesta.


Sanskrit in Persianate India

Sanskrit and Persian—both as languages and cultural systems—overlapped in time and space for several centuries on the precolonial subcontinent. But only more recently have scholars investigated points of intersection and exchange between these two linguistic and intellectual traditions. Scholars of Indo-Persian have recently devoted substantial attention to various sorts of Sanskrit-Persian encounters, such as the translation of Sanskrit works into Persian and multilingual patronage ties. In this conference, we aim to highlight and spur thinking about similar cross-cultural interactions between members of the Sanskrit and Persian traditions from the vantage point of Sanskrit literary culture.

The last few decades have witnessed a surge in scholarly attention to Sanskrit during the medieval and early modern periods. Within this wider area of interest, many scholars have begun to ask questions about how Sanskrit thinkers conceptualized Persian, the only viable rival to Sanskrit as a transregional idiom, and exchanges between the two traditions. Sanskrit-focused scholarship sheds light on intellectual, social and literary aspects of medieval and early modern India and is thus crucial for understanding these complex periods. Sanskrit texts also provide tools for analyzing the larger categories that we use for precolonial Indian literature, including the popular but problematic idea of “Indo-Persian” as a distinct literary and cultural realm. Yet such scholarship is still in its infancy and struggles for attention among a wider audience. This conference will highlight fresh, dynamic research and consider future avenues, both individually and collectively, for emphasizing Sanskrit materials in the exciting, but currently Persian-dominated, study of medieval and early modern India. We aim to give coherence and visibility to an emerging, vibrant subfield of South Asian studies, especially the crucial place of Sanskrit materials and Sanskritists within that subfield.

For more information see Papers and Abstracts.


Zoroastrians and Christians in Sasanian Iran

Gignoux, Philippe. 2014. Mazdéens et chrétiens en terre d’Iran à l’époque sassanide. (Ed.) Matteo De Chiara & Enrico G. Raffaelli. (Serie orientale Roma 3). Roma: Scienze e Lettere.
The volume edited by M.D. Chiara and E.G. Raffaelli brings together forty-two articles by Philippe Gignoux on Zoroastrianism and Christianity in Sasanian Iran. The collection represents the Gignoux’s most important  contributions on those subject, written over a period of more than 40 years.
The papers are divided in three cathegories: 1. Epigraphy, Onomastics Toponymy, 2. Comparative history of Zoroastrianism and 3. Syriac Christianity, each include articles with different subjects.
This volume is a valuable collection of articles for the scholars of Zoroastrianism and Chistianity in Sasanian Era.
Table of Contents:

Zoroastrianism in Iran and India: Then and Now

Call for Applications

The Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Zurich (UZH) invites to the summer school:

Zoroastrianism in Iran and India: Then and Now
August 30th – September 2nd 2015

Zoroastrism is one of the oldest living religious traditions today. It shaped the Persian Empire and strongly influenced other religions, such as Judaism and Islam.
Zoroastrian communities today in Iran, India and in the diaspora are faced with typical challenges of modernity. They are confronted with the need to negotiate the preservation of tradition in the light of requirements of tolerance and the preservation of identity in an age of globalization.
Our Summer School appeals primarily to Master students and PHDs and will be conducted bilingually (English-German).
In lectures and workshops both historic and contemporary socio-scientific subject areas (rituals, beliefs, conflicts, etc.) are discussed with the contributors.
In the discussion with Zoroastrian guests the contemporary situation in India and Switzerland in particular will be analyzed.

KAA E-11
Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar
Kantonsschulstrasse 1
8001 Zürich


Corpus Avesticum meeting: “Ḫorde Avesta”

Corpus Avesticum | Meeting in Berlin 22–23 May 2015

Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

The Project of Corpus Avesticum (CoAv) is a pan-European Co-operation that aims at making the Zoroastrian Texts, called the Avesta accessible in a new Edition. The current one stems from 1896 and is erroneous with regard to many crucial aspects, the most important of which is the amalgamation of the liturgical and exegetical text witnesses.

The next meeting of the European research network Corpus Avesticum will take place in Berlin. 22. and 23. May 2015 researchers from Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK will meet at Free University of Berlin to discuss various projects in preparation of a new edition of the Avesta.

This meeting is dedicated to the research questions mainly regarding to a new edidion of the Ḫorde Avesta/Khorde Avesta.


  • Paul Widmer/Florian Sommer: “Vortrag zur Fehlertypologie in den Yašt-Handschriften bzw. den Einfluss derselben auf das Verständnis der Grammatik”.
  • Almut Hintze: “The Vištāsp Yašt and an obscure word in the Hadoxt Nask”.
  • Leon Goldman: “On the Sanskrit Yasna manuscript S1″.
  • Alberto Cantera: “On the wāz gīrišnīh”.
  • Mehrbod Khanizadeh: “A Preliminary Study on the Relationships Between the Pahlavi Version of the Exegetic Yasna Manuscripts”.
  • Celine Redard: “On the Paris Mss”.
  • Antonio Panaino: “The corpus of the Yašts and their Pahlavi Translations. Considerations about a Textual Loss and its Reasons”.
  • Götz König: “Research on the Bayān Nask. State of the Art”.
  • Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo: “The Drōn Frawardin Yašt Ceremony in the Avestan Manuscripts”.

The other members of the research group CoAv are also Arash Zeini (London), Kianoosh Rezania (Bochum), Salome Gholami (Frankfurt), David Buyaner and Shervin Farridnejad (Berlin).

*Image: An illustrated copy of the Avestan Wīdēvdād Sāde. Copied in Yazd, Iran, in 1647 ( © British Library RSPA 230, ff. 151v–152r). Published in: Farridnejad, Shervin. 2014. The Avestan Manuscript 4060 (RSPA230), Videvdad Iranian Sade of the British Library. (Avestan Digital Archive Series 75). Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca.