Categories
Journal

Studia Iranica 51

Volume 51 of Studia Iranica, dated 2022, is now available with two issues.

Of particular interest to this blog is Olivia Ramble’s article on Kerdīr’s bun-xānag and Funding Foundations in Sasanian Iran.

Issue 1

  • The Caspian Language of Tonekābon; BORJIAN, Habib
  • Pashto Preverbs, I: Indo-Iranian *ā; DE CHIARA, Matteo
  • About ‘Paper’ in Russian, Pahl. pambag, Rus. bumaga; OGNIBENE, Paolo
  • Plague in Sistan, 1905-1906; FLOOR, Willem

Issue 2

  • Kerdīr’s bun-xānag and Funding Foundations in Sasanian Iran; RAMBLE, Olivia
  • Les mots français dans le premier Safarnāme de Nāṣer ad-din Shāh (1873); LENEPVEU-HOTZ, Agnès
  • Pashto Preverbs, II: Indo-Iranian Heritage; DE CHIARA, Matteo
  • From Hurmuz to Aleppo: Observations on the Journey of Alessandro Piccolomini, 1586; TRENTACOSTE, Davide
In memoriam
  • Christophe Balaÿ (1949-2022); HOURCADE, Bernard
  • Bert G. Fragner (1941-2021); SCHWARZ, Florian
  • Florence Hellot-Bellier (1943-2021); HOURCADE, Bernard
Categories
Books

Trust Matters

Vevaina, Leilah. 2023. Trust matters: Parsi endowments in Mumbai and the horoscope of a city. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Although numbering fewer than 60,000 in a city of more than 12 million people, Mumbai’s Parsi community is one of the largest private landowners in the city due to its network of public charitable trusts. In Trust Matters Leilah Vevaina explores the dynamics and consequences of this conjunction of religion and capital as well as the activities of giving, disputing, living, and dying it enables. As she shows, communal trusts are the legal infrastructure behind formal religious giving and ritual in urban India that influence communal life. Vevaina proposes the trusts as a horoscope of the city—a constellation of housing, temples, and other spaces providing possible futures. She explores the charitable trust as a technology of time, originating in the nineteenth century, one that structures intergenerational obligations for Mumbai’s Parsis, connecting past and present, the worldly and the sacred. By approaching Mumbai through the legal mechanism of the trust and the people who live within its bounds as well as those who challenge or support it, Vevaina offers a new pathway into exploring property, religion, and kinship in the urban global South.

Categories
Articles

A Portrait of Slaves and Slaveholders of Fire Foundations in Sasanian Iran

Tamari, Nazanin. 2023. Zoroastrian Fire Foundations: A Portrait of Slaves and Slaveholders. Slavery & Abolition 44(4). 697–719.

Throughout the Sasanian era (224-650/1 CE), Zoroastrian Fire Foundations were some of the most significant landowners in Iran. The sources represented in this study reveal that Fire Foundations were among the most prominent organizations in late antique Iran, actively utilizing slaves and their labour in various social, economic and religious contexts. This article studies the religious, social, legal, and economic aspects of slaves in general, and slaves of Fire Foundations in particular throughout the Sasanian period. Drawing on Middle Persian legal and religious texts, the article examines three interrelated themes: the Fire Foundations characterized as slavers, and the function of priests in mobilizing their immense landed estates, income, and the utilization of slave labour; the relationship between free persons and slaves; and the link between the Fire Foundations and slaves. Analyzing these key questions and the considerable involvement of clerics in all these aspects enables us to discern the structural role of priests in Fire Foundations’ use of slavery and within the broader framework of the Sasanian economy. Through this analysis, the article highlights the close administrative and financial ties binding the priesthood and the monarchy during Sasanian Iran.

Categories
Books

Early Zoroastrianism and Orality

Kreyenbroek, Philip G. 2023. Early Zoroastrianism and orality (Iranica, GOF III/NF 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Early Zoroastrianism was transmitted orally, as is now generally accepted by scholars. There is no consensus, however, regarding the implications of that insight. The few scholars who have referred to the question so far generally based their approach on the assumption that academic theories on orality are valid for all forms of oral transmission, which is demonstrably untrue. Moreover, whilst progress has been made on individual aspects of Avestan texts, the early history of Zoroastrianism as such has received scant attention in recent decades.
Philip G. Kreyenbroek has combined an almost life-long study of Zoroastrianism with empirical research on the oral traditions of two modern Iranian religious groups. In this book he applies his first-hand knowledge of the workings of oral transmission and his familiarity with early Zoroastrian priestly practices to extant Avestan texts in order to uncover their history in the light of their earlier oral transmission. Taking into account a number of recent discoveries by other scholars, the work arrives at new conclusions about the genesis and early development of the Zoroastrian tradition.

See the table of content here.

Categories
Articles Journal

Slavery & Abolition

Volume 44, issue 4 (2023), of the journal Slavery & Abolition has just been published. This special issue, entitled Slavery in Byzantium and the Medieval Islamicate World: Texts and Contexts, is edited by Jelle Bruning and Said Reza Huseini. It features two articles of particular interest to Iranian Studies. One by Said Reza Huseini on Slavery Represented in Bactrian Documents, and one by Nazanin Tamari on Zoroastrian Fire Foundations: A Portrait of Slaves and Slaveholders.

This special issue of Slavery & Abolition presents six studies on the history of slavery in the greater Mediterranean basin, the Near East and the Iranian world during the second half of the first millennium CE. The articles cover a large area that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to Bactria in the east, an area that was at that time largely controlled by East and West Roman emperors, Sasanian shahs and, later, Muslim caliphs. Despite the widely varying nature of the various historical environments brought together in this special issue, they combine to tell a common story.

From the editors’ introduction
Categories
Articles

‘The Coals Which Were His Guardians…’:

Vevaina, Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw. 2022. ‘The coals which were his guardians…’: The hermeneutics of Heraclius’ Persian campaign and a faint trace of the ‘Last Great War’ in Zoroastrian literature. In Phil Booth & Mary Whitby (eds.), Mélanges: James Howard-Johnston (Travaux et mémoires 26), 467–490. Paris: Association des Amis du centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance.

We had previously announced the volume. This article is now available from the author’s academia page.

Categories
Events Online resources

The 9th Ratanbai Katrak Lectures

Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera (Freie Universität Berlin) will deliver the final three Ratanbai Katrak Lectures this autumn in Oxford.

These lectures are convened by Prof. Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina for the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

The talks will also be on Zoom.

Categories
Events

Zoroastrian Conversations

Prof. Yuhan Vevaina will be hosting the 3rd ‘Zoroastrian Conversations’ with Dr. Céline Redard, Lecturer for the Institute of History of Religions at the University of Strasbourg, France.

Saturday, 07 October 2023; 12 Noon Eastern time; 9 AM Pacific time; and 5pm UK time.

Zoom Info: https://fezana.org/conversations/

Categories
Books

Zoroastrian Holy Marriage

Pirart, Éric. 2023. Hiérogamie mazdéenne. Présentation, texte, traduction et commentaire des deux dernières Gāϑā et de leurs annexes (uniés 51, 52, 53 et 54 du Yasna) (Supplementa 2). Girona: Sociedad de estudios iranios y turanios (SEIT).

In a radical departure from the method of Jean Kellens, which is both intuitive and reserved, Éric Pirart, with Hiérogamie mazdéenne (Mazdean Hierogamy), revisits the last archaic texts of Zoroastrianism and their appendices (Yasna 51-54), while ensuring that nothing is left untranslated or without grammatical explanation and that the etymology of all the words is examined on the basis of systematic criteria. In these texts, contemporary with the prophet Zaraϑustra, he looks for the features that differentiate them from the rest of Zoroastrian literature.

Categories
Articles

Notes on the Xorde Avesta V

König, Götz. 2023. Notizen zum Xorde Avesta V: Das Avesta-Pahlavi Ms. T12 betrachtet im Rahmen der historischen Veränderungen des Xorde Avesta. Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology 1(2). 1–32.

Das „Xorde Avesta“ ist eine (in Handschriften und Drucken überlieferte) Sammlung von (größtenteils) kürzeren liturgischen Texten in avestischer Sprache (sowie in persischen und in indischen Sprachen) auf der Grundlage einer sie charakterisierenden, allgemein verbindlichen Struktur folgt. Diese Struktur zeigt typische Variationsmuster gemäß Klasse, Zeit und Ort der Handschrift. Im Rahmen von allgemeiner Struktur und partikularem Muster finden sich wiederum individuelle Differenzen in Material und in dessen Anordnung, die dafür verantwortlich sind, daß Xorde Avesta Handschriften fast immer Unikate sind (und vermutlich darum auch niemals im Rahmen der Hypothese der ‘Stammhandschriften’ diskutiert wurden). Die Hs. T12 aus der Mitte des 16. Jh. gehört zu jenen Handschriften des Xorde Avesta, die für unsere Rekonstruktion der Geschichte einer bestimmten Handschriftenklasse eine herausragende Position besitzen. Sie bildet zudem eine Schnittstelle von frühem iranischen Xorde Avesta (in Pahlavi) und der indischen Tradition, in die die Handschrift (wieder?) eingeführt wird.

Abstract