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description of EJP grammar in its own right, based on the study of the most important EJP texts, published and unpublished.
Tag: Middle Persian
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.
Ohrmazd’s better judgement
Agostini, Domenico, Eva Kiesele & Shai Secunda. 2014. Ohrmazd’s better judgement (meh-dādestānīh). A Middle Persian legal and theological discourse. Studia Iranica 43(2). 177–202.
This article presents a transcription, translation, commentary, and discussion of a ritual and theological passage taken from the long-neglected Middle Persian work, the Zand ī fragard ī Jud-dēw-dād. The selection is notable for the way it mixes theological and ritual forms of discourse while considering situations in which impure or Evil things, like corpses, wolves, and sins, naturally come into contact with pure and Good elements, like water, fire, and good deeds. Along with explaining this rich text and its various textual parallels, the article considers the potential research value of the Zand ī fragard ī Jud-dēw-dād for Iranists and scholars of late antique religious literature.
Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond (ed.). 2014. Miscellaneous hymns: Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection (Berliner Turfantexte 31). Brepols Publishers.
This is an edition of a large number of fragments of Middle Persian and Parthian Manichaean hymns in the Berlin Turfan Collection. M. Boyce in the register of her 1960 Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean script in the German Turfan Collection identified fragments of hymns ‘to the Third Messenger’ (group 44); ‘Parthian hymns written in couplets, unclassified’ (group 58) and ‘Hymns, unclassified, including poems’ (group 81). Though some of these fragments have been published in the meantime and others are very small, this yields more than 250 previously unpublished fragments, many of considerable size. The fragments are presented in diplomatic edition together with a transcription and translation into English. Since most of the hymns are abecedarian they are presented as far as possible in strophic form. An extensive introduction, notes, a complete glossary and facsimiles of joined fragments accompany the edition.
For more information, see the publisher’s website.
Women in the Hērbedestān
Strauch Schick, Shana. 2014. Women in the Hērbedestān: A re-examination of the Bavli’s Beruriah narratives in light of Middle Persian literature. Zion 79(3). 407–424.
The Babylonian Talmud contains a number of dicta which unambiguously exclude women from the study of Torah. Yet the narratives concerning Beruriah, supposedly the daughter of R. Hanina b. Teradyon and wife of R. Meir, suggest otherwise. She is depicted as having received formal instruction at the same level as rabbinic sages. Yet, these traditions appear only in the Babylonian Talmud, a few centuries after she would have lived, and contain a number of common literary motifs. This and other factors indicate the constructed nature of these stories, as David Goodblatt and Tal Ilan have noted. While it is possible to explain the local function of these narratives on literary and didactic grounds, given the Babylonian Talmud’s general stance regarding women and Torah study, the figure of a woman well-versed in Torah learning is indeed surprising.
This paper proposes that the appearance of the character of Beruriah is best understood within the Middle Persian milieu when the late Talmudic narratives arose. It is clear from Zoroastrian texts that religious study was a possibility open to men and women and that both were equally viable candidates to leave their home in order to engage in religious training at the Hērbedestān. A passage from Mādayān ī Hazār Dādestān, for example, depicts women who are well versed in jurisprudence and shares other significant parallels with the Beruriah narratives. By turning to relevant Middle Persian sources it thus becomes clear that the idea of the scholarly woman was not simply a literary motif called into existence, but was in fact a real possibility that Jews of Babylonia had to confront—a novel phenomenon unknown (or perhaps suppressed) in earlier Palestinian sources. Within a larger culture in which women participated in religious scholarly pursuits, the exclusion of women from Torah study and the community of scholars was addressed by the creation of Beruriah. Although the existence of a woman of Beruriah’s erudition within an elite rabbinic family could now be presented as a plausible historical persona, her existence served as a cautionary tale to justify the importance of keeping Torah study exclusively male.
نامهای به یزدانگرد
An introduction by Touraj Daryaee to Pahlavi papyri and their importance for historical research.
دریایی، تورج. ۱۳۹۲. نامهای به یزدانگرد: درآمدی بر پاپیروسهای پهلوی. در جشن نامه دکتر فتح الله مجتبی.
مقاله را اینجا بخوانید.
Reading history anew
Dr Dieter Weber to speak on Reading history anew: Pahlavi documents from early-Islamic times at the School of History, University of St Andrews on Thursday 3 April 2014 at 5.15pm.
For Dr Weber’s list of publications, see here.
The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian
Jügel, Thomas. 2013. The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian. Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 67(1). 29–56.
Read the article here. Abstract:
The verbal particle BE in Middle Persian can be linked to three Old Iranian inputs: an adverb and an emphatic particle, both inherited from Proto-Indo-European, and an Old Iranian adverbial compound. After a short overview of previous studies, the use of various forms of BE in Middle Persian will be exemplified and the semantic and functional development will be discussed.