Topographies of Rhetoric

Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina, University of Oxford, will deliver four public lectures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études:

Topographies of Rhetoric and Moral Reasoning in Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Zoroastrianism

These four proposed lectures are designed to both introduce and excavate the broad contours of Zoroastrian moral reasoning and religious ‘thought’ during and after the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE). Despite 250 years of scholarship on Zoroastrianism and early Iranian Studies more generally, we still do not possess an up-to-date survey of Zoroastrian theological discourse and hermeneutics as found in the Pahlavi (Zoroastrian Middle Persian) corpus which straddles the late antique (i.e., Sasanian) and early Islamic periods in the Iranian world. A principled examination of the often opaque ‘emic’ or indigenous strategies of knowledge production is crucial for developing a more nuanced historiography of moral reasoning, rhetoric, and identity formation in the rich religious history of the early Iranian world.


The lectures are:

  • The Past is a Foreign Country: Romanticisms and the Weight of ‘Tradition’ (16 May 2024)
  • Dispute and Difference: Disciplining Selves and Critiquing Others in a Multi-Cultural Empire (23 May 2024)
  • Doubt and Decision-making: The Hermeneutics of ‘Choice’ in a Dualist World(view) (30 May 2024)
  • Profit and Loss / Benefit and Harm: Cosmographies and the Teleologies of Human History (6 June 2024)

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