Avestan text criticism

Cantera, Alberto. 2014. The problems of the transmission of the Avesta and the tools for Avestan text criticism (TATEC). In Tara Andrews & C. Macé (eds.), Analysis of ancient and medieval texts and manuscripts: Digital approaches, 95-116. Brepols.

The Avestan manuscripts contain the recitatives of several Zoroastrian liturgies that are today still celebrated. These Liturgies took shape around the sixth century BC, long before they were written down for the first time.

Today we know of more than 300 manuscripts, including Avestan texts, but the true number is probably much higher since the tradition of producing manuscripts has continued until recently and the production of copies of parts of Avestan manuscripts is part of the instuction of Zoroastrian priests.

Using the tools proposed in this article will offer a more realistic picture of the complex processes of the Avesta transmission, over and above the simplistic stemmata produced by Geldner solely on the basis of the agreement in error, since errors spread in the Avestan transmission not only through the process of copying from written sources, but also through the influence of ritual practices.