The Transmission of the Avesta

Cantera, Alberto (ed.). 2012. The Transmission of the Avesta. (Iranica 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
The Avesta is a collection of liturgical texts considered as their sacred book by the Zoroastrian community. It contains the recitatives of the Zoroastrian liturgies still celebrated in the 17th century, some of them even celebrated until today. The texts integrated in these ceremonies were composed in different places and at different times, and transmitted orally for centuries. The exact date of the fixation of the ceremonies in the shape in which they are presented in the manuscripts and the creation of the different manuscripts is unknown. But today it is proven that even after the creation of the first manuscripts, the transmission of these liturgical texts was the result of a complicated process in which not only the process of copying manuscripts but also the ritual practice and the ritual teaching were involved. The only deep analysis of the written transmission of the Avesta was made by K. F. Geldner as Prolegomena to his edition of the Avesta. Since then, many new manuscripts have appeared. In The Transmission of the Avesta contributions by the main experts in this field are gathered: the oral transmission, the fixation of the different collections, the first writing down, and the manuscripts. Special interest is devoted to the manuscripts. Some contributions of the volume were presented at the correspondent colloquium held in Salamanca, September 2009; others were added in order to make of the volume a comprehensive work on the different aspects of the Avestan transmission.

Table of Contents:
I. From the Oral Composition to the Writing Down of the Avestan Texts
  • Prods Oktor Skjærvø: “The Zoroastrian Oral Tradition as Reflected in the Texts”
  • Jean Kellens: “Contre l’idée platonicienne d’Avesta ou les Considérations revisitées”
  • Ulla Remmer: “Remarks on Language and Composition of the Avestan Prayer Formulas in Niyāyiš 1 “
  • Antonio Panaino: “The Age of the Avestan Canon and the Origins of the Ritual Written”
  • Xavier Tremblay: “Ibant obscuri uaria sub nocte : Les textes avestiques et leurs recensions des Sassanides au XIIIe s. ad en particulier d’après l’alphabet avestique. Notes de lecture avestiques VIII”
  • Éric Pirart: “La métrique et l’histoire de l’Avesta”
II. The Manuscripts and their Analysis
  • Katayoun Mazdapour: “Twelve Newly Found Avestan Manuscripts in Iran”
  • Ursula Sims-Williams: “Zoroastrian Manuscripts in the British Library, London”
  • Fateme Jahanpour: “The Vendidad Manuscript of the Astan-Qods Library”
  • Firoze M. Kotwal and Dan Sheffield: “A Treasury of Zoroastrian Manuscripts: The First Dastoor Meherjirana Library, Navsari”
  • Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo and Alberto Cantera: “Manuscripts of the Wīdēwdād”
  • Almut Hintze: “Manuscripts of the Yasna and Yasna ī Rapithwin”
  • Alberto Cantera: “Building Trees: Genealogical Relations Between the Manuscripts of Wīdēwdād”
  • Jaime Martínez Porro: “The Manuscripts of the Family of L 4”
  • Götz König: “Das Nask Bayān und das Xorde Awesta”
  • Juan José Ferrer: “Citations avestiques de la Traduction Pehlevie dans la tradition manuscrite Vīdēvdād-Sādé”
III. The Edition of the Avesta
  • Almut Hintze: “On Editing the Avesta”
  • Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo: “A Revision of Geldner’s Critical Edition”
  • Alberto Cantera: “Why do we Really Need a New Edition of the Zoroastrian Long Liturgy? “
IV. The Transmission and Edition of Other Zoroastrian Texts
  • Kianoosh Rezania: “Mazdakism and the Canonisation of Pahlavi Translations of the Avestan Texts”
    Götz König: “The Pahlavi Translation of Yašt 14”
  • Maria Macuch: “Editing Pahlavi Legal Texts: Difficulties and Future Tasks”
  • Judith Josephson: “The Evolution and Transmission of the Third Book of the Dēnkard”