Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian Astral Mythology, Astronomy and Astrology

Panaino, Antonio. 2014. Sidera Viva. Studi Iranici di Storia della Mitologia Astrale, dell’Astronomia e dell’Astrologia Antica. (Ed.) Andrea Gariboldi, Paolo Ognibene & Velizar Sadovski. . 2 vols. Milano: Mimesis.
This comprehensive two-volume set is a collection of the wide range of articles and short writings written by Antonio Panaino during last decades. The articles are already appeared in academic journals and collected volumes, often not easily accessible to a wider audience. These studies are all dedicated to the different areas of research developed by the author, in particular on the history of ancient Iranian as well as Zoroastrian astral mythology, astronomy and astrology, from the earliest period of Indo-Iranian and Iranian history through the late antiquity up to the High Middle Ages as well as early Islamic era.
About the Author:
Antonio Panaino is professor of ancient Iranian philology and hitory of religion at the University of Bologna.

A Zoroastrian Doubt-dispelling Exposition

ŠGV Asha 2015

Asha, Raham (ed.). 2015. šak-ud-gumānīh-vizār. The Doubt-removing book of Mardānfarrox. Paris: Ermān.

The ŠGV is a treatise in which the author intends to present the arguments to refute in detail the alien schools and sects, establish the teaching of the two principles, and lead us to believe the veracity of the Religion, Daēnā Māzdayasni, and that of the teachings of the old Aryan guides, the Paoiryō.t̰kaēša. The complete original Pārsīg text is irretrievably lost, and we only possess its transcription into Pāzand (the vernacular Pārsī language written in Dēn-dibīrīh) and its translation into Sanskrit, made by the Pārsī high-priest Neryōsang Dhaval.


The Transmission of the Avesta

Cantera, Alberto (ed.). 2012. The Transmission of the Avesta. (Iranica 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
The Avesta is a collection of liturgical texts considered as their sacred book by the Zoroastrian community. It contains the recitatives of the Zoroastrian liturgies still celebrated in the 17th century, some of them even celebrated until today. The texts integrated in these ceremonies were composed in different places and at different times, and transmitted orally for centuries. The exact date of the fixation of the ceremonies in the shape in which they are presented in the manuscripts and the creation of the different manuscripts is unknown. But today it is proven that even after the creation of the first manuscripts, the transmission of these liturgical texts was the result of a complicated process in which not only the process of copying manuscripts but also the ritual practice and the ritual teaching were involved. The only deep analysis of the written transmission of the Avesta was made by K. F. Geldner as Prolegomena to his edition of the Avesta. Since then, many new manuscripts have appeared. In The Transmission of the Avesta contributions by the main experts in this field are gathered: the oral transmission, the fixation of the different collections, the first writing down, and the manuscripts. Special interest is devoted to the manuscripts. Some contributions of the volume were presented at the correspondent colloquium held in Salamanca, September 2009; others were added in order to make of the volume a comprehensive work on the different aspects of the Avestan transmission.

Dēnkard IV

Rezai 2014, Dk IVRezai, Maryam. Dēnkard IV. Transcription, Translation and Glossary. Elmi Publication. Tehran: 2014.

Dēnkard “Acts of the religion”, divided into nine books, is a summary of knowledge of the Zoroastrian religioni, written in Middle Persian (Pahlavi), from which, the first two and the beginning of the third books are lost. Two compilers of Dēnkard are known to us, Ādurfarnbag ī Farroxzādān, first author and Ādurbād Ēmēdān, second author and compiler of the Dēnkard in 9th-century.

The Dēnkard is primarily an apology for Zoroastrian religion, more specifically, Dēnkard IV, the shortest, is a text dealing with different subjects regarding the customs, arts, and sciences, which is from the same genre as one chapter of Book III.  It consists of a philosophical thoughts on the aməša spəntas; an account on the role of the Persian sovereigns in the defense of Mazdayasnian Religion from the Achaemenid Darius III up to Husrauw I; some thoughts on limited and limitless time, fate, action, and free will; some thought on learning Avesta and its commentary; on arts; on the four casts of poeple; as well as on the more abstract concepts of metaphysics, e.g. considerations on the afterlife, the necessity of Mazdayasna religion and the zoroastrian ethical triad.

This volume contains a transcritption of the Dēnkard IV based on the Madan Edition as well as a Persian translation following by a facsimile of the printed Pahlavi text and a Pahlavi-Persian glossary.

In Original:

رضایی، مریم. دینکرد چهارم: آوانویسی, ترجمه، واژه‌نامه. انتشارات علمی. تهران: ۱۳۹۳

reżāyi, maryam. dinkard-e čahārom: āvānevisi, tarğome, vāže-nāme. entešārāt-e ʿelmi. tehrān: 1393


Admonitions of the wise Ōšnar

AODGoshtasb, Farzaneh & Nadia Hajipour (eds.). 2014. Admonitions of Ošnar-i Dānā. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.

The (h)andarz ī ōšnar ī dānāg “The Counsels of the wise Aošnar” (AŌD) is the conventional name of a short didactic treatise in Middle Persian belonging to the so-called andarz “wisdom-literature”. AŌD is pseudo-epigraphically ascribed to Aošnara- pouru.jira “Aošnara, the very wise”, a sage mentioned in Yt.13.131. He is also mentioned in Dēnkard VII.1.36 (DkM 598) to be coeval with the primeval king Kay-Kāōs. The frame story of AŌD is a so-called “number-litany”, in which a disciple asks the sage to give an andarz “wise saying” for every number from one to thousand. However the extant manuscripts of AŌD contains the andarz only up to number six.


From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.


The Pahlavi Yasna of the Gāθās and Yasna Haptaŋhāiti

Malandra, William W. & Pallan Ichaporia (eds.). 2013. The Pahlavi Yasna of the Gāthās and Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. Wiesbaden: Reichert. 2nd ed., corrected.

As the title suggests the book is a study of the Pahlavi Yasna, a Middle Persian (Pahlavi) gloss on the liturgical text, the Yasna. The study is restricted to the Gāthās or Hymns of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) and to the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, a prose text composed in the same dialect of Avestan. There are three main sections: Introduction, The Text, and Glossary. In addition there are two Appenices: I Parallel Text of the Avestan and Pahalvi Gloss; II The ašәm vohū and its Variants in the Dēnkart. The Introduction is a text-critical study of the Pahlavi Yasna which addresses the main issues of the nature of the text, its authorship and dating, and its relationship to parallels in the Dēnkard. In the presentation of the text, the position is taken that the fundamental text is a nearly word-by-word gloss on the original Avestan. That is, it is not a translation as we might understand the term. Interspersed in the gloss are miscellaneous comments inserted by later hands to illuminate certain words and passages. Appendix I is provided to portray how the glosses line up with the Avestan, ignoring the later comments. The text itself is based on the 1946 critical edition of B. N. Dhabhar given in the Pahlavi script and to which we have provided many improvements. In footnotes we have cited all the parallel passages from the Dēnkard. These reveal that there were exegetical traditions other than the official Pahlavi Yasna. Although Dhabhar’s edition included a glossary, it is not up to the philological standards of current scholarship. There is deliberately no translation into English, as a running gloss of this sort does not lend itself to a coherent translation.
The contribution to the fields of Middle Persian and Zoroastrian studies is really threefold: 1) to establish a reliable text in Roman transliteration; 2) to provide an extensive glossary of all lexical items; 3) to contribute to an understanding of the nature and formation of the text. The intended readership is primarily scholars and students who have some acquaintance with Pahlavi and have an interest in the history of Zoroastrianism.

For more information see the ToC and read both the Preface to this volume as well as a Sample Chapter.
About the authors:
William W. Malandra is Associate Professor of Indo-Iranian Philology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Pallan R. Ichaporia has BA in Avesta/Pahlavi from Bombay University and attended Columbia University for Post Graduate Study in Iranian Languages under James Russell. He obtained doctorate in Business Administration from Oklahoma.


Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)

 Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond. 2014. Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen: (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch)(Sitzungsberichte / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 850. Grammatica Iranica, Band 1). Wien: Verlag der Österr. Akad. der Wissenschaften.
Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
For more information see the Tables of Contents of  this book.
About the Author:
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst  is the head of the long-term project “Turfanforschung” at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Professor of Iranian Studies at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.

A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian

Paul, Ludwig. 2013. A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.
Early Judaeo-Persian (EJP) is the form of Persian that was spoken by Jews, and written in Hebrew script, in ca. the 8th-12th centuries C.E. Most EJP manuscripts have been found in the Cairo Geniza from the late 19th century onwards. Since the dialectal basis of EJP is different from the Early New Persian (written in Arabic script) that was spoken in north-east Iran at the same time, the study of EJP is essential for an understanding of the development of New Persian. So far, only isolated grammatical features of EJP have been studied. The present work is the first attempt at a comprehensive description of EJP grammar in its own right, based on the study of the most important EJP texts, published and unpublished.
For more information, see the ToC and the preface to this vollume. You can also download and read a sample chapter of this book.
 About the Editor:
Ludwig Paul is professor of Iranian Studies at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg. He is a scholar of Iranian Linguistic, dialektology as well as Iranian modern history.

A coin of Shāpūr I

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2014. Some remarks on a newly-discovered coin type of Shāpūr I. Studia Iranica 43(2). 281–290.

In this paper a unique gold coin of Shāpūr I, first published by Michael Alram, is reexamined from some iconographic details as well as from an epigraphic point of view, comparing the legend of the coin’s obverse with the Sasanian royal inscriptions.