At the center of this book stands a text-critical edition of three chapters of the Gāthās, exemplifying the editorial methodology developed by the “Multimedia Yasna” (MUYA) project and its application to the Old Avestan parts of the Yasna liturgy. Proceeding from this edition, the book explores aspects of the transmission and ritual embedding of the text, and of its late antique exegetical reception in the Middle Persian (Pahlavi) tradition. Drawing also on a contemporary performance of the Yasna that was filmed by MUYA in Mumbai in 2017, the book aims to convey a sense of the Avestan language in its role as a central element of continuity around which the Zoroastrian tradition has evolved from its prehistoric roots up to the modern era.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Editing Old Avestan in the Context of the MUYA Project
Methodology of the Collation Process (1): Transcription of the Manuscripts
Methodology of the Collation Process (2): Regularisation of Variant Readings
Scope of the Constituted
Editorial Decisions Regarding Non-Trivial Phonetic and Orthographic Alternations
Part 2 Yasna 28–30: Text, Translation, Selected Commentaries and Glossary
Preliminaries to the Edition of the Avestan Text
Yasna 28: Edition of the Avestan Text
Yasna 29: Edition of the Avestan Text
Yasna 30: Edition of the Avestan Text
Yasna 28: Constituted Text and Translation
Yasna 29: Constituted Text and Translation
Yasna 30: Constituted Text and Translation
Notes on the Translation of the Avestan Text
Selected Commentary Essays Proceeding from the Avestan Text
Glossary of the Avestan text of Yasna 28–30
Part 3 Studies on the Ritual Setting of the Ahunauuaitī Gāθā (Yasna 28–34)
Ritual Actions During the Recitation of the Ahunauuaitī Gāθā
Considerations on the Rationale Behind Specific Ritual Actions
Ritual Directions Accompanying Yasna 28–30 in the Manuscript Tradition
Studies on the Exegetical Reception of Yasna 28
Re-approaching the Pahlavi Gāθās
Edition and Translation of Pahlavi Yasna 28
Pahlavi Yasna 28: Commentary
On the Marginal Headings Accompanying the Old Avesta in the Exegetical Manuscripts of the Yasna
Yasna 28.11, Yašt 1.26 and the Warštamānsar Nask: Untangling an Intertextual Network
Appendix to Part 4: Edition and Translation of the Commentary on Yasna 28 in the Dēnkard Epitome of the Warštamānsar Nask (Dk 9.28)
Concluding Thoughts: Advancing a Holistic Approach to the Zoroastrian Textual Tradition
Benedikt Peschl holds a BA in General and Indo-European Linguistics from the University of Munich, an MA in Religions of Asia and Africa from SOAS University of London, and a PhD in Study of Religions from SOAS (2021). He now works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Iranian Studies of Freie Universität Berlin.
The interactive film of the Performance of the High Zoroastrian Ceremony of Yasna
Open Access to the full film of the performance of the most solemn Zoroastrian ceremony the standard Yasna with the dedicatory of Mīnō Nāwar (the version edited by Geldner), the film is prepared in the frame of the multi-disciplinary Multimedia Yasna project (MuYa), based at SOAS, University of London and funded by the European Research Council (ERC) with an Advanced Investigator Grant (2016-2022), which had as its focus the Yasna – the core ritual of the Zoroastrian religion:
“You can watch the film at different speeds by moving the dot on the speed line below the Chapter and Stanza & Subsection tabs. The recording of this film was made in November 2017 at the Dadar Athornan Institute in Mumbai. The two priests, who performed the ceremony are the late Ervad Asphandiarji Dadachanji and Ervad Adil Bhesania.”
The Multimedia Yasna (MUYA)
The Multimedia Yasna (MUYA) examines the performance and written transmission of the core ritual of the Zoroastrian tradition, the Yasna, whose oldest parts date from the second millennium BCE. Composed in an ancient Iranian language, Avestan, the texts were transmitted orally and not written down until the fifth or sixth century CE. The oral tradition continues to be central to the religion, and the daily Yasna ceremony, the most important of all the rituals, is recited from memory by Zoroastrian priests. The interpretation of the Yasna has long been hampered by out-dated editions and translations of the text and until now there has been no documentation and study of the performance of the full ritual. The project MUYA examines both the oral and written traditions. It has filmed a performance of the Yasna ritual and created a critical edition of the recitation text examining the Yasna both as a performance and as a text attested in manuscripts. The two approaches have been integrated to answer questions about the meaning and function of the Yasna in a historical perspective.
Combining models and methodologies from digital humanities, philology and linguistics, the project has produced a subtitled, interactive film of the Yasna ritual, an online platform of transcribed manuscripts, editorial tools, digital transcriptions of manuscripts and digital editions with a text-critical apparatus, and with print editions, translations and commentaries of the Yasna. Information which was formerly restricted to students of Iranian philology and practising Zoroastrians has now become accessible to a world-wide audience through digital humanities. The project, based at SOAS, University of London and funded by the European Research Council, ran from October 2016 to September 2022. It was headed by Professor Almut Hintze and included an international team of researchers in the UK, Germany, India and Iran.
This book is a multi-faceted study of the Srōš Drōn, comprising chapters 3 to 8 of the Yasna ceremony, the core ritual of the Zoroastrian religion. It provides a critical edition produced with the electronic tools of the project The Multimedia Yasna, and a study of the performative aspects of the Srōš Drōn both through the lens of the ritual directions and in comparison with the Drōn Yašt ceremony. By analysing the Srōš Drōn both as a text attested in manuscripts and as a ritual performance, Céline Redard applies a new approach to unlock the meaning of these chapters of the Yasna.
Dastūr Nāmdār & Dastūr Rostam. Yasna, Visperad, Yašt-e Rapitvan bā ādāb-e dīnī [Yasna, Visperad and Yašt ī Rapiθwin together with Ritual Instructions]. Edited by Kūroš Bolandī. Tehran: Fravahar, 1400 š .
This volume is an edition of the Persian manual for the performance of the Yasna, Visperad, Yašt ī Rapiθwin and some other rituals, written and compiled by Dastūr Nāmdār and Dastūr Rostam, which was published in 1262 AY. The present edition gives the Persian text together with some explanations and a glossary. The importance of this priestly manual lies in the fact that it presents the last stage of the performance of the Zoroastrian high rituals by Iranian priests, before their performance were abandoned, and thus an essential source for the study of the Zoroastrian rituals in Iran.
This edition gives a transcription of Anklesaria’s text, an English translation, a Gujarati-English glossary, an introduction to Gujarati-language works on ritual directions and a study on the relationship between Anklesaria’s text and the liturgical manuscripts in Yasna 3–8. Unlocking the meaning and performative aspects in this first-ever edition in any European language, of these core Zoroastrian rituals in India, Céline Redard and Kerman Dadi Daruwalla open up the Indian tradition for future research and highlight its importance.
Laws of Ritual Purity: Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād) describes the various ways in which Zoroastrian authorities in the fifth-sixth centuries CE reinterpreted the purity laws of their community. Its redactor(s), conversant with the notions and practices of purity and impurity as developed by their predecessors, attempt(s) to determine the parameters of the various categories of pollution, the minimum measures of polluted substances, and the effect of the interaction of pollution with other substances that are important to humans. It is therefore in essence a technical legal corpus designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a central aspect of Zoroastrian ritual life: the extent of one’s liability contracting pollution and how atonement/purification can be achieved.
The focus of the present article […] is laid on the phraseological and poetical combinatorics of the word for ‘pillar, column’, Ved. sthū́ṇā-, YAv. stū̆nā-, OPers. stūnā-, fem. […], which as a common appellative designates a constructive element of the Vedic and Avestan house (incl. the ‘mobile house’, the [migration] wagon) and functions, as well, as a key metaphor in hymns of house, e.g. in the ceremony of ‘ascending the pillar’ (by the beams) in the ritual of building a new home […]. Both in its everyday usage and in its metaphoric applications in texts of ritual character, the word seems to belong to a common lexical stratum of Indic and Iranian.
Die Arbeit präsentiert Untersuchungen zu einer Reihe von Begriffen aus dem Bereich des indoiranischen Kultus bzw. Rituals einerseits in ihrem Kontext innerhalb der vedischen und avestischen Ritualdichtung und -praxis und andererseits vom Standpunkt ihrer mythologischen Relevanz, insbesondere in Bezug auf ihre Rolle für die „Mythopoia“ in den Sakraltexten von Indern und Iraniern. So werden einerseits Personifikationen bzw. Deifikationen derartiger Kultbegriffe geschildert, andererseits verschiedene Mechanismen ihrer Kombinatorik auf syntagmatischer, intra-textueller Ebene (innerhalb des Kontexts eines liturgischen Hymnus/Vorgangs) bzw. auf inter-textueller Ebene, im Rahmen des Hypertexts der aus zahlreichen einzelnen Litaneien bestehenden Ritualhymnen und in den aus ganzen solchen Einzelliturgien bestehenden Ritualkomplexen dargestellt. – Der vorliegende Aufsatz entwickelt dabei die Idee über die fundamentale Rolle von Katalogen, Listen und Enumerationen als poetische, aber auch als mythologische und kosmologische Form: Basierend auf mehreren früheren Studien des Verfassers, die das Funktionieren solcher intertextuell verbundenen Textcorpora in der indoiranischen Ritualdichtung vor allem textlinguistisch, vom formalen, kompositionellen und kognitiven Standpunkt behandeln, gibt nun das Thema „Ritus im Mythos“ die Gelegenheit, die katalogisch aufgebauten Formen von Litaneien und Liturgien in den vedischen Sakraltexten vom RV an (insbesondere in den RV-Khilas und dem Yajurveda) und in der ‚Langen Liturgie‘ des Avesta sowie ihre Bedeutung sowohl zur rituellen „Wieder-Erschaffung des Universums“ mit jedem Kultakt und -text als auch zur Mythologisierung entsprechender Begriffe mit rituellem Inhalt zu untersuchen.