Reception of Islam in Iran

Reposted on the occasion of the volume’s publication:

Crone, Patricia. 2016. The Iranian reception of Islam: The non-traditionalist strands (Islamic History and Civilization 130). Collected Studies in Three Volumes. Vol. 2 edited by Hanna Siurua. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

ToC:

  • 1. Kavād’s heresy and Mazdak’s revolt
  • 2. Zoroastrian communism
  • 3. Khurramīs
  • 4. Muqannaʿ
  • 5. Abū Tammām on the Mubayyiḍa
  • 6. The Muqannaʿ narrative in the Tārīkhnāma: Part I, Introduction, edition and translation
  • 7. The Muqannaʿ narrative in the Tārīkhnāma: Part II, Commentary and analysis
  • 8. Al-Jāḥiẓ on aṣḥāb al-jahālāt and the Jahmiyya
  • 9. Buddhism as ancient Iranian paganism
  • 10. A new text on Ismailism at the Samanid court
  • 11. What was al-Fārābī’s ‘imamic’ constitution?
  • 12. Al-Fārābī’s imperfect constitutions
  • 13. Pre-existence in Iran: Zoroastrians, ex-Christian Muʿtazilites, and Jews on the human acquisition of bodies
  • List of Patricia Crone’s publications

Patricia Crone (1945-2015), Ph.D. (1974), School of Oriental and African Studies, was Professor Emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her numerous publications include Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987); Pre-Industrial Societies (1989); Medieval Islamic Political Thought (2004); and The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran (2012).

Hanna Siurua (BA, School of Oriental and African Studies; MA, University of Sussex) is a professional editor based in Chicago. She specialises in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and has edited numerous books and articles in these as well as other fields.

Abadan:Retold

Abadan:Retold is an innovative, multi-media social history project invented and managed by Rasmus Christian Elling, an Associate Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

A crucial part of the project is an online portal (www.abadan.wiki) with multiple functions.

  • The AbadanMap: a multi-layered interactive map based on GIS data, human data and historical information, drawing on a broad range of maps from open sources and from historical archives;
  • Encyclopaedia Abadanica: an archive of research-based articles by excellent scholars on all aspects of Abadan’s history, from ancient times to present-day, as well as on Abadani popular culture;
  • MemoryLine: a user-driven history wiki – an open platform on which everyone can share memories and knowledge through comments, essays, interviews and pictures, and where you can discover new faces or re-connect with old friends.

Abadan:Retold is part of a larger research project on documenting the history of Abadan in a global context, for which Rasmus Christian Elling received a grant from the Danish Arthur Christensen Foundation. The project has also been supported by private individuals who donated money during the crowdfunding campaign in February 2015.

You can follow the progress of the project on its FB page!

The Multimedia Yasna

Y 35 in J2
Y 35 in J2

“Alt-Iranistik” has always been considered a small and exotic field, a so-called “Orchideenfach”. Despite its small size and the limited financial resources available for research, Alt-Iranistik is an unexpectedly vibrant field. The many job announcements of the past year will hopefully continue as a trend and create stable research and teaching environments for the many talented people active in the field. May there be more announcements like this:

SOAS academic awarded European Research Council grant of €2.5 million to study core ritual of Zoroastrianism

Congratulations to Prof. Hintze for receiving this important grant.

Closure of ‘small Humanities programmes’!

Stop the Cuts
Image source: http://3909.cupe.ca/files/2013/05/Stop-the-Cuts.jpg

At BiblioIranica, we usually do not comment on issues beyond our academic interests in ancient Iran. However, it would be wrong, if we did not express our disappointment after hearing the news of the closure of ‘small Humanities programmes’ at the University of Copenhagen. As the University Post reports, the “Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen will shut down five smaller study programmes permanently”. A full list of the threatened programmes, and the university’s plans are published here.

Oriental Studies have a long tradition in Denmark, and Danish scholars have made and continue to make significant contributions to Oriental and Iranian Studies. It is very distressing to read that some of the ‘small’ programmes will be closed, among which are Indology and Tibetology.

See the following links for the history of Iranian Studies in Denmark:

Hindu ritual and its significance for ritual theory

The following monograph, does not directly relate to Iranian Studies, but promises to be an important book and will be of interest to scholars of religion and Iranian Studies for its content and methodological approach:

Michaels, Axel. 2015. Homo Ritualis: Hindu ritual and its significance for ritual theory (Oxford Ritual Studies). Oxford University Press.

Drawing on extensive textual studies and fieldwork in Nepal and India, Axel Michaels demonstrates how the characteristic structure of Hindu rituals employs the Brahmanic-Sanskritic sacrifice as a model, and how this structure is one of the distinguishing features of Hinduism more generally. Many religions tend over time to develop less ritualized or more open forms of belief, but Brahmanical Hinduism has internalized ritual behavior to the extent that it has become its most important and distinctive feature, permeating social and personal life alike. The religion can thus be seen as a particular case in the history of religions in which ritual form dominates belief and develops a sweeping autonomy of ritual behavior.

Read more here.

Axel Michaels is Director of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe” and Professor of Classical Indology at the South Asia Institute at the University of Heidelberg.

 

 

Amélie Kuhrt to deliver the Harold Bailey Lecture 2015

Friday 11th December, 5.30pm at FAMES, Cambridge
Professor Amélie Kuhrt, FBA – The King Speaks: The Persians and their Empire
The Achaemenid empire was created in the space of less than thirty years and dominated, with considerable success, a region stretching from Central Asia to the Aegean for around 200 years. How did the Persian kings and ruling elite visualise their immense power? How was that vision expressed? In this talk, Amélie Kuhrt, Professor Emeritus at University College London, aims to present an outline of the Persian image of their domain, concentrating on monuments and inscriptions from the royal centres and leaving aside the stories of outsiders, such as Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Jews.
The lecture will begin promptly at 5.30pm, followed by a reception.
Admission free. Booking not required.
Venue: Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA
Enquiries: info@indiran.org
Tel. 01223 356841

Sasanian law in its social context

The 2015 UCLA Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series will be delivered by Prof. Maria Macuch:

Sasanian law in its social context

November 9-18, 2015

Legal texts are among the more important sources for the reconstruction of the political and economic institutions, and cultural practices, of late antique Iran, as they considerably further our understanding of past social complexities that are decisively different than our own. This year’s Ehsan Yarshater Biennial Lectures shall provide a sweeping overview and detailed analysis of the principal fields of jurisprudence in Sasanian Iran (third to seventh centuries CE). The five lectures will be investigating the genesis of legal institutions that were instrumental in consolidating the social status of Sasanian élites, notably, the Zoroastrian clergy and the Iranian aristocracy.

As far as we know, the lectures are announced individually. The brochure for Prof. Macuch's lectures is available here: UCLA Yarshater Lectures 2015 Macuch

The Lectures:

    1. Legal Sources and Instruments of Law
      The opening lecture will provide an overview of the available legal material, dispersed in a great variety of sources, and discuss the many pitfalls Iranists encounter in reconstructing the Sasanian legal system.
    2. Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances
      The second lecture examines questions pertaining to Family Law, in particular, the role of kinship ties that are of paramount importance in Sasanian jurisprudence. The lecture also elaborates on the significance of legal institutions within the context of marriage and succession.
    3. Property and Inheritance
      The third lecture explores the general concept of property, in particular,
      how it gave rise to complex categories crucial to preserving the possessions of affluent élites, while ensuring that proprietary rights were preserved from one generation to the next.
    4. Civil and Criminal Proceedings
      The fourth lecture reviews the judicial system, the foundation upon which the privileges of the élites were built, and the position of religious minorities, the Jews and Christians, within the framework of the judiciary.
    5. Sasanian Law and other Legal Systems
      The final lecture discusses the impact of Iranian law on other important legal systems of the Near East, be it Rabbinic and Nestorian-Christian, or be it Islamic and especially Shi’ite, law.

On obnoxious creatures!

Some nifty and original observations by my colleague and friend Shervin Farridnejad on a passage in the Nērangestān, discussing the priestly duty concerning the care of xrafstars, commonly referred to as obnoxious creatures:

Farridnejad, Shervin. 2015. Take care of the xrafstars! A note on Nēr. 7.5. DABIR 1(1). 11–13.

 

<nc> in the Pahlavi Documents

namāz in P 196
namāz in P 196

Zeini, Arash. 2015. Preliminary Remarks on Middle Persian <nc> in the Pahlavi Documents. In Anna Krasnowolska & Renata Rusek-Kowalska (eds.), Studies on the Iranian World I: Before Islam, 67–73. Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press.

 

In the Pahlavi documents we find a sequence of characters that are commonly transliterated as 〈nc〉, representing Middle Persian namāz `reverence’. The vocalisation as namāz, a word most commonly found in the greeting formulae of letters, is not disputed. The question is rather whether these characters stand for a phonetic, albeit abbreviated, spelling of namāz or whether they constitute an abbreviation that developed out of the heterogram 〈ʿSGDH〉.
In light of recent developments in the field and the rather sizeable evidence, I will revisit the arguments brought forward thus far and propose a new interpretation.