In late antiquity, Zoroastrian exegetes set out to translate their ancient canonical texts into Middle Persian, the vernacular of their time. Although undated, these translations, commonly known as the Zand, are often associated with the Sasanian era (224–651 ce). Despite the many challenges the Zand offers to us today, it is indispensable for investigations of late antique exegesis of the Avesta, a collection of religious and ritual texts commonly regarded as the Zoroastrians’ scripture.
Arash Zeini also offers a fresh edition of the Middle Persian version of the Avestan Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, a ritual text composed in the Old Iranian language of Avestan, commonly dated to the middle of the second millennium bce. Zeini challenges the view that considers the Zand’s study an auxiliary science to Avestan studies, framing the text instead within the exegetical context from which it emerged.
This volume includes a commentary and translation of three Middle Persian texts. The first is the Fifth book of Dēnkard, part of a compendium of Zoroastrian religious knowledge from the Sassanian Iran, compiled in the IX-X centuries according to the earlier sources. The Book V contains a short account of human history up to the time of Zoroaster. The second text is a fragment from the Fourth Book of Dēnkard, which sets out the history of the preservation of Zoroastrian liturgical books in ancient Iran under the auspices role of the Persian kings in the defense of Zoroastrianism, beginning with Darius III (336-31 BCE) and ending with Xosrō I (590-628 CE). The third text is called Ardā Wirāz-Nāmag “the Book of the Righteous Wirāz”, compiled at the early Islamic time, dating back to the Sasanian era. The translation of this literary monument into Russian is accompanied by extensive commentaries.
Nasrollahzadeh, Cyrus. 2019. Middle Persian Private Inscriptions in the Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Period: Funerary and Memorial Inscriptions, Vol I: Text & vol. II: picture. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
The present book is a corpus of private inscriptions written in Middle Persian dated to, in words of the author, Sasanian and post-Sasanian periods. The first section of first chapter deals with the funerary in ancient Iran with special interest to the Sasanian period which is followed by an introduction of epitaphs in the second section of this chapter. Memorial inscriptions are presented and interpreted in chapter 2 and finally in chapter 3, the author investigates the private inscriptions from Sasanian period and those of the Iranian Christians.
نصرالهزاده، سیروس. ۱۳۹۸. کتیبههای خصوصی فارسی میانه ساسانی و پساسانی (گورنوشته، یادبودی)، جلد اول: متن، جلد دوم: تصویر. تهران: پژوهشگاه علوم انسانی و مطالعات فرهنگی
This volume presents texts in the Iranian languages, Middle Persian and Parthian, preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection. These hymns are predominantly in Middle Persian. They were identified by M. Boyce in the registers of her Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean Scripts in the German Turfan Collection as “Hymns in Honour of the Hierarchy” and “Installation Hymns, Hymns in Honour of Church Leaders and Patrons”. Few of the fragments have been published, and mainly in editions dating back to the time of their discovery. New and updated readings, transliterations, translations into English, notes and commentaries are provided here for all the fragments identified by Boyce. The Introduction provides a description of the main features of the hymns to the Manichaean elect hierarchy, to the local hierarchies, and to the hierarchies of the Hearers, as well as of the installation hymns, and those in honour of high clerics and lay patrons. Reflections are provided on the use of cryptography in the Manichaean texts in Manichaean script, and about the learning habits inside scriptoria in Manichaean monasteries in Central Asia, the existence of which has long been suspected. The volume contains a complete glossary and bibliography, as well as facsimiles of joined fragments.
Hutter, Manfred. 2018. Rivalität und Konflikte zwischen Christen und Zoroastriern. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte 112. 91–104.
The encounter of Christianity with Zoroastrianism in the Sasanian Empire started already in the 3rd century. But it was only since the 5th century that a sizable number of Zoroastrians, mostly from the upper classes, converted to Christianity. This led to reactions by the Zoroastrian clergy against the adherents of the agdēn, the «false» or «bad» religion, as this religion was seen as unfitting to Iranian culture. Thus, Middle Persian texts discuss the necessity to avoid contacts with members of agdēn. This term is not restricted to Christianity, but can also be applied to other religions. It is only from the early Islamic period in Iran that two Middle Persian texts, the Dēnkard and the Škand Gumānīg Wizār, discuss (and refute) Christian teachings more systematically. The reason for this theological discussion about Christianity can be seen in the minority situation which Zoroastrianism faced in the Islamic period.
Asha, Raham. 2017. Pārsīg Language (The so-called Pahlavi). Parts of Speech, Word Formation, and Phonology. Tehran: Sade Publication.
The present book is, in the first place, a descriptive grammar of the Pārsīg language as far as we have it. It includes morphology and phonology; but it gives no syntax. Whereas the first two parts of the book concern morphology, the last deals with phonology. The book intends to be accessible to those who wish to study the Pārsīg texts as well as those specializing in the study of Perso-Aryan languages. A forthcoming compendious dictionary will complete this work.
This volume presents for the first time a full collection of the personal names attested in Iranian sources of Manichaeism, an ancient dualistic and syncretistic world religion (3rd–14th century). This extremely heterogeneous corpus from the Central Asian Turfan oasis (Xinjiang, China) goes back to the golden age of Manichaeism in the Uygur steppe empire and the kingdom of Qočo (8th–11th century) but can be partly traced back to more ancient originals. It comprises ca. 4700 text fragments in Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian and New Persian written in Manichaean, Sogdian and Old Turkish runic scripts. The 766 entries contain Iranian, hybrid, and non-Iranian names, which reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the peoples along the Silk Road. The name bearers are historical persons as well as fictitious characters from myth and literature. Obsolete and differing readings as well as “ghost names” are specifically marked. The presentation of the names follows the guidelines of the Iranisches Personennamenbuch. Each entry lists transliteration, transcription and all references of the name, including spelling variants, text duplicates and versions in other scripts or languages, followed by prosopographical data: titles, designations of offices or professions. Reference is made to indirect transmissions of the name (“Nebenüberlieferung”) in non-Iranian Manichaica, the writings of Arabic historians and in antiheretical Christian and Zoroastrian scriptures. At the end follows the morphological and etymological interpretation of the name. The explored material is displayed in detailed indexes. The volume is of special interest to specialists in Iranian studies, linguistics, religious studies and history.
Davari, Shadi & Mehrdad Naghzguy-Kohan. 2017. The grammaticalization of progressive aspect in Persian. In Kees Hengeveld, Heiko Narrog & Hella Olbertz (eds.), The Grammaticalization of Tense, Aspect, Modality and Evidentiality: A Functional Perspective (Trends in Linguistics Studies and Monographs 311), 163–190. Berlin: De Gruyter.
This paper investigates the development of the Persian lexical verb dâštan ‘have’, which has grammaticalized into an auxiliary verb functioning primarily as a progressive aspect marker in durative situations, and which is currently developing into a prospective marker with achievement verbs. Possessive progressives are a cross-linguistic rarity and deserve attention. We suggest that the progressive function arose through context-induced reinterpretation based on metonymic relations. The resulting reinterpretation of dâštan ‘have’ to ‘ongoingness of a durative event’ represents a conceptual shift, in the form of metaphoric extension, from possessing a physical object to possessing the continuum of an action in a focal point of utterance. We will also illustrate that the progressive’s focus on subjective notions leads to its development as an expression of the speaker’s attitude that does not describe properties of a situation in the extralinguistic world but rather in the subjective conceptualization of the speaker. The auxiliation process of dâštan ‘have’ in Persian will be analyzed based on the Auxiliation Dimensions Model proposed by Davari and Naghzguy-Kohan (forthcoming), which focuses on the force, the source and the degree of auxiliation. We also point out that these changes are in tune with the overall directionality of semantic change in grammaticalization according to Narrog (2012), namely, increase in speaker-orientation.