Stille!

“Kann ich der Welt nicht durch Gehen, Klettern oder Segeln entkommen, habe ich gelernt, sie auszusperren”.

Stille | Erling Kagge

Not my style of literature, but whoever writes about walking, mountains and silence gets my attention! Werner Herzog’s (@wernerhurtzog) “Vom Gehen im Eis” and Robert Walser’s “Der Spaziergang” remain clear favourites.

There There!

“There There”, a beautifully written novel and incredible storytelling by Tommy Orange. I sometimes read e-samples before buying a book. This one’s caught my attention immediately and read it to the end. I got off the plane and almost went to Dussmann shortly before midnight to buy the book. Luckily they had an open Sunday the next day. I look forward to reading more by @thommyorange.

History of Humanities

Last week, I taught about Anquetil-Duperron, William Jones, the discovery of language similarity and the beginnings of IE Studies. Disciplines such as Iranian Studies or #Indology, as we know them today, would not have been possible without those efforts and contributions. I also made it a point to at least briefly discuss “genesis amnesia” and the critical examination of Oriental Studies offered by @tavak in

  • Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad. 2001. Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, occidentalism and historiography. Palgrave Macmillan.

I was glad to discover this morning, the wonderful 2019 themed issue of “History of Humanities“, Vol 4(2), dedicated to “Classics of the Humanities” & edited, it seems, by @rensbod & Kasper Eskildsen. This is the original tweet by Rens Bod:

Our anthology on The Classics of the Humanities has been published, and it’s free!
https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/hoh/current
It includes foundational texts from philology, historiography, art history, literary theory, oriental studies, archaeology, linguistics, digital humanities and more.

https://twitter.com/rensbod/status/1188024358071087104

As @rensbod writes, the volume “includes foundational texts from philology, historiography, art history, literary theory, oriental studies, archaeology, linguistics, digital humanities and more.”

“Some texts have been translated into English for the first time.” For instance, “Karl Lachmann’s introduction to stemmatic philology” which has until now been available only in Latin.

The original texts are here: historyofhumanities.org/resources/

Japanese cat writing

I love cats, but am not crazy about them and certainly not a cat vs dog person. I like cats a reasonable amount. A while ago, however, I stumbled upon Junichiro Tanizaki’s cat story, read it out of curiosity and absolutely loved it. Months later, I caught myself remembering it as a B&W film, so lucid and expressive is its language and storytelling.

I’ve been going back to it again and again, and so thought of making a little reading project with #Japanese #cat stories. So far, I’ve discovered another four, but suspect there might be more. For the moment, I’ll read three to see how it goes.

The second cat novel in the project is “The Guest Cat” by Takashi Hiraide. This one, also a novella type, is about a cat that visits a couple in #Tokyo as a guest. My children and I can relate to this, as we regularly host guest cats :), mostly in the summer time.

I am undecided as to what to read as the third story. There is the contemplative “The Travelling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa, the perhaps funny “If Cats Disappeared from the World” by Genki Kawamura, or Soseki Natsume’s classic “I am a Cat”.

While I’m here: I feel two more reading projects coming up: one with owls and one with wolves. I could start the owl project with “The Owl who Liked Sitting on Caesar”, but how to continue? I will make another post for the wolf project when I start it.

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.

Continue reading “Reception of Islam in Iran”

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.

 

 

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.

The Avestan hymn to ‘Justice’

Hot off the press, it’s a great pleasure to announce a book by Leon, a colleague and a dear friend:

Goldman, Leon. 2015. Rašn Yašt: The Avestan hymn to ‘Justice’ (Beiträge zur Iranistik 39). Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

This book contains a critical edition of the Avestan language composition known as the Rašn Yašt, or ‘Hymn to Justice’. The text is accompanied by an English translation, philological commentary and glossary. In addition, the main themes of the Rašn Yašt are taken up for detailed discussion, covering the Zoroastrian deity Rašnu, ancient Iranian cosmography, and the use of ordeal rituals in pre-Islamic Iran.

Preface
Table of Contents
Sample

About the Author: Dr. Leon Goldman was born in 1981 in London, England. Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) degree from the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2004, with a particular focus on Indian religions and Sanskrit, he returned to London to pursue an M.A. in Iranian and Zoroastrian studies at SOAS. In 2012, he was awarded a Ph.D. from SOAS for his doctoral thesis entitled: Rašn Yašt. The Avestan Hymn to ‘Justice’. Text, Translation and Commentary. From 2012 to 2015, he held the post of British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at SOAS with a project devoted to the Sanskrit version of the Zoroastrian Yasna liturgy.