Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera (Freie Universität Berlin) will deliver the final three Ratanbai Katrak Lectures this autumn in Oxford.
The talks will also be on Zoom.
Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera (Freie Universität Berlin) will deliver the 9th Ratanbai Katrak Lectures 101 years after the inauguration of the Ratanbai Katrak Lecturership at the University of Oxford.
Please use this link to attend the lectures on Zoom.
Lecture 1: Manuscripts and Rituals: The Written Transmission of the Zoroastrian Rituals
11 May 2023, 5:30pm – 7:00pm; Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD
Lecture 2: The Questioned Antiquity of the Zoroastrian Rituals: Their Reception in Western Academia
18 May 2023, 5:30pm – 7:00pm; Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD
Lecture 3: The Ritual System: Modularity and Productivity
25 May 2023, 5:30pm – 7:00pm; Ertegun House, 37A St. Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LD
Peschl, Benedikt. 2022. The First Three Hymns of the Ahunauuaitī Gāθā. The Avestan Text of Yasna 28–30 and Its Tradition (Corpus Avesticum 4). Leiden: Brill.
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
Part 2 Yasna 28–30: Text, Translation, Selected Commentaries and Glossary
Part 3 Studies on the Ritual Setting of the Ahunauuaitī Gāθā (Yasna 28–34)
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.
Redard, Céline. 2021. The Srōš Drōn – Yasna 3 to 8. A Critical Edition with Ritual Commentaries and Glossary (Corpus Avesticum 3). Leiden: Brill.
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.
Redard, Céline and Kerman Dadi Daruwalla (eds.). 2021. The Gujarati ritual directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad ceremonies: Transcription, translation and glossary of Anklesaria 1888 (Corpus Avesticum 2). Leiden: Brill.
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.
Redard, Céline, Juanjo Ferrer-Losilla, Hamid Moein & Philippe Swennen (eds.). 2020. Aux sources des liturgies indo-iraniennes (Collection Religion 10). Liège: Presses universitaires de l’Université de Liège.
The volume is the proceeding of the international colloquium entitled Aux sources des liturgies indo-iraniennes, which was held on 9 and 10 June 2016 at the University of Liège.
Table of Contents
Moazami, Mahnaz. 2020. Laws of Ritual Purity. Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād) (Iran Studies 19). Leiden: Brill.
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.
Sadovski, Velizar. 2017. The columns of R̥ta: Indo-Iranian lexicon and phraseology in the ritual poetry of the Avesta, Veda and Beyond. In Ivo Hajnal, Daniel Kölligan & Katharina Zipser (eds.), Miscellanea Indogermanica: Festschrift für José Luis García Ramón zum 65. Geburtstag (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 154), 715–743. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck.
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.