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Books

A Manichaean Prayer and Confession Book

Sims-Williams, Nicholas, John S. Sheldon & Zsuzsanna Gulácsi. 2022. A Manichaean prayer and confession book. (Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum: Series Iranica 1). Turnhout: Brepols.

The Manichaean Prayer and Confession Book is the best-preserved Manichaean book found in the Turfan area and the only one which survives in the form of a bound codex. It constitutes a precious treasure-trove of information on its three Iranian languages, on the Manichaean religion itself, and on Manichaean codicology and book-art. The surviving parts of this beautifully decorated miniature paper codex include Middle Persian and Parthian hymns and readings for the Bema festival, the high-point of the Manichaean liturgical calendar, followed by an elaborate confessional formula for the Elect in the Sogdian language. Until now this manuscript has been accessible for scholarship only from its 1937 edition in German by W. B. Henning, titled ‘Ein manichäisches Bet- und Beichtbuch’ (BBB). This new edition provides the first English translation by Nicholas Sims-Williams, the first codicological study by Zsuzsanna Gulacsi and an introduction by John S. Sheldon. It also includes the supplementary Sogdian texts which Henning added to his ‘BBB’. It incorporates magnificent colour photos, codicological diagrams, and digital reconstructions never seen before. This beautifully-produced volume appropriately inaugurates the Series Iranica of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum.

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Articles

Translations from Greek into Middle Persian as
Repatriated Knowledge

Zakeri, Mohsen. 2022. Translations from Greek into Middle Persian as Repatriated Knowledge. In: Dimitri Gutas (ed.), Why Translate Science? Documents from Antiquity to the 16th Century in the Historical West (Bactria to the Atlantic), 52-169. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

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Articles

Eating Meat: The Sin of Zoroastrian Primordial Heroes and Villains

Daryaee, Touraj. 2022. Eating meat: The sin of Zoroastrian primordial heroes and villains. In Caseau, Béatrice and Hervé Monchot (eds .), Religion et interdits alimentaires. Archéozoologie et sources littéraires (Orient & Méditerranée 38), 237–242. Leuven: Peeters.

This article dicusses the significance of meat consupmtion in Iranian mythology and the Zoroastrian tradition. The idea of meat consuption appeares in the earliest remains of the Iranian poetic tradition, namely the Gāthās of zarathustra. In these hymns there is a referenc to the premoridal culture hero, Yima /Jamšid who introduced the consumption of eating meat. However, by the time of the Zoroastrian commentators in late antiquity, Yma is absolved of the sin, and the Villain Aži Dahaka / Zohhak, is blamed for turning canibal, tricked by Ahreman, the evil spirit in the Zoroastrain tradition.

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Books

The Reward of the Righteous. Festschrift in Honour of Almut Hintze

Cantera, Alberto, Maria Macuch, and Nicholas Sims-Williams (eds.). 2022. The reward of the righteouse. Festschrift in honour of Almut Hintze (Iranica 30). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The volume is dedicated to one of the foremost scholars in the field of Zoroastrian and Iranian Studies, reflecting the broad range of scholarly interests and research work of the dedicatee. In addition to an appreciation of Almut Hintze’s work and a bibliography of her publications, the volume contains thirty-four contributions written by renowned specialists in their fields. These cover a wide range of topics, stretching from antiquity to the present, and offer many new insights and original perspectives on religious, linguistic and historical problems. The articles, which include many editions of previously unpublished texts, encompass studies on (1) The oldest Zoroastrian textual sources (A. Ahmadi; J. Kellens; A. Panaino; M. Schwartz); (2) The Zoroastrian ritual (A. Cantera; E. Filippone; F. Kotwal; J. Martínez Porro; C. Redard; Y. Vevaina); (3) Avestan manuscripts (G. König); (4) Zoroastrianism in the Middle Iranian and Islamic periods (Sh. Farridnejad; Sh. Shaked); (5) Pahlavi texts, documents and inscriptions (J. Choksy/M.U. Hasan; J. Josephson; M. Macuch; D. Weber); (6) Zoroastrian and Manichaean iconography (F. Grenet/M. Minardi; Y. Yoshida); (7) Manichaean texts in Middle Iranian languages (A. Benkato; I. Colditz; E. Morano/M. Shokri-Foumeshi/N. Sims-Williams; N. Sims-Williams/Bi Bo); (8) Iranian philology (M.A. Andrés-Toledo; Ph. Huyse; E. Jeremiás; P. Lurje; M. Maggi; É. Pirart; A. Rossi); (9) Historical and cultural studies (C. Cereti; J. Palsetia; J. Rose; A. Williams).

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Articles Journal

Vostok (issue 5)

Issue 5 of Vostok (Oriens), published on 29.10.2021, has a couple of articles that relate to the Sasanian era, and others related to areas and eras covered by BiblioIranica:

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Journal

Studia Iranica 49 (1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 49 (2020) is out. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

  • Antonio PANAINO & Franco MARTORELLO: The ‘Amphibology’ of the Time in Astrology: The King and the Rebel in Sasanian Astrological Literature
  • Bahman KARGAR, Ali BINANDEH & Behruz KHANMOHAMADI: Excavations at Tepe Qalaychi, a Mannaean Site in Western Azerbaijan, Iran
  • Cyrus NASROLLAHZADEH & Ebrahim QEZELBASH: Une inscription funéraire inédite en moyen-perse tardif (Dašt-e Rum, Yāsuj, Iran)
  • Leila KOOCHAKZADEH: La charte de l’Anjoman-e Ma’āref de 1901: Une source retrouvée de l’histoire de la reforme éducative en Iran
  • Alexandre KAZEROUNI: Ḥājj Ḥoseyn Āqā Malek (1871-1972), sa bibliothèque et son musée à Téhéran: Bourgeoisie marchande pieuse et espaces publics culturels en Iran
  • Comptes rendus
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Books

A Relative Chronology of Persian

Korn, Agnes. 2021. Contributions to a relative chronology of Persian: The non-change of postconsonantal y and w in Middle Persian in context. Indo-European Linguistics 1–43.

Old Persian shows a change of postconsonantal y, w to iy, uw, respectively. However, if one applies (pre-)Middle Persian sound changes to the Old Persian forms, the result is at variance with certain Middle Persian forms. If one were to assume a syncope reversing the Old Persian change of y, w to iy, uw, this would also affect old cases of iy, uw and likewise yield incorrect results for Middle Persian. The Old Persian change can thus not have operated in the prehistory of Middle Persian, and there is a dialectal difference between attested Old Persian and the later stages of the language, which is to be added to those already noted. The paper also discusses some sound changes that are connected to the Old Persian change in one way or the other. Cases in point are the processes called Epenthesis and Umlaut in previous scholarship, which this article suggests to interpret as occurring in different contexts and in different periods. The former is limited to Vry, which yields Vir and feeds into a monophthongisation that, as shown by some late Old Persian word forms, occurred within Achaemenid times, giving ēr and īr from ary and əry. Epenthesis did not occur in the prehistory of Parthian, whereas the monophthongisation did. The Appendix presents a tentative sequence of the processes discussed in this article, which is intended as a contribution to the relative chronology of Persian historical phonology.

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Books

Materials for a History of the Persian Narrative Tradition

Orsatti, Paola. 2019. Materials for a History of the Persian Narrative Tradition. Two Characters: Farhād and Turandot. Venezia: Ca’ Foscari.

This book gathers together two essays. The first deals with the origins of the character of Farhād, the unlucky lover of Shīrīn, who – in the Persian narrative tradition – digs a route through Mount Bīsutūn and accomplishes other admirable works. The essay suggests that Farhād, as we know him from long narrative poems, historical chronicles, and reports by geographers and travelers, is the issue of a conflation between the legendary character of the Master of Mount Bīsutūn and a historical personage, Farrahān, the general-in-chief of the Sasanid king Khusraw II Parvīz’s army (r. 590-628 EC), as this figure was re-elaborated in a number of later legends. 

The second essay identifies a character named ‘Būrān-dukht’ as the prototype from which Turandot, the heroine of the tale well-known in Europe from Puccini’s opera (1926), springs. Two historical personages, both called Būrān or Būrān-dukht, are relevant in this line of development: the first is the daughter of the Sasanid king Khusraw II Parvīz (r. 580-628 CE), who was queen of Persia for a short period (630-631 CE); the other is the daughter of Ḥasan b. Sahl, wife of Caliph al-Maʾmūn (813-833 CE).

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Books

Studies in Persian Language and Literature in Honour of Paola Orsatti

Maggi, Mauro, and Mohsen Ashtiany, eds. A turquoise coronet: Studies in Persian language and literature in honour of Paola Orsatti. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2021.

Paola Orsatti is currently professor at La Sapienza University in Rome. In the course of a long and distinguished academic career combined with an impressive record of dedicated teaching, she has made significant contributions to the study of classical Persian poetry, its connections with pre-Islamic traditions, the history of the Persian language, and Islamic manuscripts. Along with a profile of the dedicatee and a comprehensive bibliography of her publications up to 2019, the volume contains eighteen papers by her colleagues, friends, and former students to celebrate her 65th birthday. The papers mirror her diverse research interests. They deal with a variety of themes relating to Persian literature from Middle Persian texts to twentieth-century poetry—approached philologically, historically, and critically—as well as to the history of Middle and New Persian and the dialects of Iran, and include significant Persian literary texts translated and edited for the first time in this volume.

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Books

An Iranian Vision of the Afterlife

Kłagisz, Mateusz M. 2020. An Iranian vision of the afterlife according to the Middle Persian “Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag.” ARAM Periodical 32 (Afterlife in the Ancient Near East). 421–461.

Detail from a Persian Zoroastrain Ardā Vīrāf-Nāme, 1789

This paper (re-)discusses the otherworld journey of the pious Zoroastrian clergyman Wīrāz, the subject of the Middle Persian opus entitled Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag (Book of Pious Wīrāz). The paper consists of 15 chapters. It begins by discussing the issue of the afterlife (Chapter 0); Chapter 1 provides general information regarding the text. In Chapter 2 the protagonist’s name and sobriquet are discussed. Chapter 3 considers the reasons for undertaking the journey. Chapter 4 presents the questions that need to be answered by Wīrāz. Chapter 5 considers relations between the protagonist and his community, followed by the myth of paradise lost (Chapter 6), the protagonist’s trial (Chapter 7), and preparations for the journey (Chapter 8). The author also discusses the dream visions themselves (Chapter 9), including the psychoactive drug used by the protagonist (Chapter 1 0), and the various afterlife locations, which Wīrāz visits (Chapters 11-16). Chapter 17 considers the nature of sin and retribution, as presented in the text, and in Chapter 18 the author discusses the end of the protagonist’s journey, before considering the journey as a whole as a rite of passage (Chapter 19), in relation to Grofs cartography of the psyche (Chapter 20).