Examines debates about the inclusion or exclusion of Zoroastrians in Islamic society circa 600-1000 C.E.
Makes a significant contribution to the literature on interfaith relations in Islamic history
Demonstrates the role of advocacy in shaping early Islamic policy
Argues against the assumption that Zoroastrians were People of the Book
Engages theories of accommodation and of memory, from North America, the Middle East and Europe
Utilises archival material from Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States
The second Muslim caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, once reportedly exclaimed, ‘I do not know how to treat Zoroastrians!’ He and other Muslims encountered Zoroastrians during the conquest of Arabia but struggled to formulate a consistent policy toward the adherents of a religion that was neither biblical nor polytheistic. Some Muslims saw Zoroastrians as pagans and sought to limit interaction with them. Others found ways to incorporate them within the empire of Islamic law. Andrew D. Magnusson describes the struggle between advocates of inclusion and exclusion, the ultimate accommodation of Zoroastrians, and the reasons that Muslim historians have subsequently buried the memory of this relationship.
Pirart, Éric. Le Sentiment du Savoir. Présentation, analyse, traduction et commentaire de la Spentā.mańiiu Gāθā (Y 47-50). Précédé d’une introduction générale, suivi de quatre Marginales grammaticales et d’une Concordance des textes vieil-avestiques (Acta Iranica 61).
Les cinq Gāθā, avec le Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, sont les seuls témoignages des conceptions zoroastriennes de la première heure: l’archidémon Aŋhra Mańiiu n’était pas encore né. Le Sentiment du Savoir, la conviction des adorateurs qu’Ahura Mazdā sait ce qui est bon et pourra, de ce fait, leur apporter son aide, tel est le sens du titre de la troisième Gāθā, tiré de son incipit. Pour la recherche de la portée primitive des Gāθā de l’Avesta et de leur statut premier, il est pris, dans le présent ouvrage, l’exemple de la troisième qui est alors présentée, étudiée de façon approfondie et traduite. Cette recherche est accompagnée de plusieurs outils grammaticaux.
The present volume deals with the hidden meaning of the traditional date of Zoroaster, customarily placed 258 years before Alexander. But despite all the confusing appearances, the synchronism with the acme of the Iranian prophet was paradoxically anchored to the beginning of the Seleucid era (312/311 BCE). This solution gave Zoroaster a (pseudo)-historical character, removing him from the clouds of an undetermined past, although with a number of inevitable consequences, which this book tries to analyze. This study also shows that the early Sasanians had no fear of their future and that their religious chronology did not suffer a temporal reduction in order to avoid the risks of the approaching turn of the millennium. On the contrary, Zoroastrian millennialism was optimistic, despite the emergence of later apocalyptic doctrines, which, in any case, never countered the diffusion of a kind of eschatology based on the idea of the apocatastasis, which promised peace and salvation to everybody, including all the sinners in hell. The volume contains four additional contributions by Domenico Agostini (Tel Aviv University), Jeffrey Kotyk (University of British Columbia/University of Bologna), Paolo Ognibene (University of Bologna) and Alessia Zubani (Labex Hastec – École Pratique des Hautes Études), which develop some particular problems connected with the main subject of the present research.
The work of the Polish-Slovenian Iranian scholar Marijan Molé (1924-1963) has had a profound influence on the religious sciences that can be observed to this day. In barely fifteen years (1948-1963), he was able to give unprecedented impetus to Iranian studies, thanks to the meticulous study of corpora ranging from the Avesta and Middle Persian Zoroastrian literature to treatises on Islamic mysticism, including Persian epics and mythical gestures. Too soon interrupted, the vast project that he had begun during his years of study in Krakow and which he pursued in Paris and Tehran had as its main axis the uncovering of a unitary system that would underpin the evolution of a religious doctrine over the long term, an “Iranian continuity”.
The recent discovery of his Nachlass (IRHT and BULAC, Paris) provides us with the opportunity to take stock of his legacy and to try to highlight the originality of his approach and his contribution to the history of ideas and to the intellectual debate on the religions of Iran, by identifying both the achievements and the dead ends, the innovations and the extensions.
The present volume gathers the contributions on Zoroastrianism and Islamic mysticism, presented at the international study day entitled “Between Mazdeism and Islam”, dedicated to the work of Marijan Molé, which was held on 24 June 2016 in Paris.
Table of Contents
Chronologie de la vie de Marijan Molé (1924-1963)
Bibliographie de Marijan Molé
Gianroberto Scarcia: “Souvenir de Marijan Molé”
Anna Krasnowolska: “Marijan Molé’s Early Works and his Study of Persian Epics
Jean Kellens: “1956-1964: Le printemps des études gâthiques”
Philippe Swennen: “Marijan Molé à l’aube du nouveau comparatisme indo-iranien”
Panaino, Antonio. 2021. Gayōmart e Adamo. Simmetrie e Asimmetrie tra Zoroastrismo e mondo islamo-giudaico-cristiano. In Carlo Saccone (ed.), Adamo, il secondo Adamo, il nuovo Adamo (Quaderni di studi indo-mediterranei). Milano: Mimesis Edizioni.
The frequent and direct association between Gayōmart and Adam, well attested within the Arabo-Islamic literary tradition, hides a number of embarrassing ethnic and cultural problems emerging from the taboo of the incest and directly connected with the impending desire to accommodate the origin of humanity, as inevitably generated by a couple of siblings, within a moral covered scheme, and in spite of the totally different sexual ethics of the Mazdean tradition. In the framework of this operation, the comparison with the Zoroastrian customs, which emphasized the habit of the next-of-kin marriage, presented a serious problem of moral nature. Then, the necessary accommodation of the origin of humanity was given a special solution, in which the story of J̌im e J̌imāg or of Mašyā e Mašyāne had no particular weight, and were practically covered, while an isolated Gayōmart, devoid of any emphasis for the union with his own mother, was identified with Adam.
Zoroastrianism is both an ancient and still practiced religion. At its height it was the state religion of the Sasanian empire (224 to 651 AD) that ruled in the land of Persia. Arab conquest of the area destroyed that empire and a multitude eventually converted to Islam. Under Islamic rule Zoroastrians lived under severe restrictions, persecution while paying burdensome taxes. Many converted to Islam to escape these conditions and so Zoroastrian numbers dwindled. By 1850 no more than 8000 lived in their original homeland. Those who survived did see some periods of prosperity and eventually thrived under the secularizing rule of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925-41) and his son (1941-79) who promoted an Iranian nationalism that embraced the Zoroastrian heritage. The main challenge to Zoroastrian persistence was the increasing secularism of society. With the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again the nation’s Zoroastrians found themselves subject to myriad discriminations, even their touch deemed polluting. Islam permeated Iran to a degree not seen before. The present work offers a unique socio-political history of the challenges faced by the Zoroastrian community from the 19th to 21st centuries as they confronted and adapted to the dramatic changes before them. The author, Anthropologist Janet Kestenberg Amighi lived and researched among her Zoroastrian in-laws in Iran from 1971-1978 and subsequently visited post-revolutionary Iran several times. This work is based on scholarly research as well as over 120 interviews with Zoroastrians, amusing personal experiences and the knowledge and experiences of her collaborator Bahman Moradian, an Iranian Zoroastrian scholar and community activist. Their collaboration provides varied insights and analyses of the socio-cultural and political change we see happening over the decades. The diverse Zoroastrian community perspectives are well represented.
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.