Persian language, literature and culture

Talattof, Kamran. 2015. Persian language, literature and culture: New leaves, fresh looks. Routledge.

Critical approaches to the study of topics related to Persian literature and Iranian culture have evolved in recent decades. The essays included in this volume collectively demonstrate the most recent creative approaches to the study of the Persian language, literature, and culture, and the way these methodologies have progressed academic debate.

[…] In dealing with these seminal subjects, contributors acknowledge and contemplate the works of Ahmad Karimi Hakkak and other pioneering critics, analysing how these works have influenced the field of literary and cultural studies.

The reign of Shah ‘Abbas

FazliGhereghlou, Kioumars (ed.). 2015. A chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas: Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani. Gibb Memorial Trust.

This substantial and largely unknown Persian chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas I (1587-1629) exists in a unique manuscript, recently discovered in the Library of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Its author, Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani, member of an important bureaucratic family, provides an insider’s account of this crucial period in Persian history, with a wealth of detail about the central and provincial administration and much information not found in other sources. Shortly after the succession of Shah Safi (1629-42), Fazli Beg left for India, where he continued to work on his chronicle. So far, three volumes of the Afzal al-tavarikh have come to light, covering the reigns of Shah Isma‘il, Shah Tahmasp, and Shah ‘Abbas; none of them is complete and each exists only in a sole copy. Volume 3 on Shah ‘Abbas is a composite work, containing many of the author’s handwritten corrections and marginalia, making it a fascinating example of the composition of a work in progress. The complete text of 579 folios has been edited by Kioumars Ghereghlou (Columbia University Center for Iranian Studies); the publication is accompanied by detailed indexes and a substantial introduction by Kioumars Ghereghlou and Charles Melville (University of Cambridge) on the life and career of Fazli Beg, the significance of his work, and the manuscripts on which it is based. Volume 1 covers the years 996-1019 AH/ 1587-1610. Volume 2 covers the years 1020-1037 AH / 1611-1629. Both volumes are accompanied by a DVD with the text of the manuscript for the years in question.

The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism

The long awaited Wiley-Blackwell companion to Zoroastrianism, edited by M. Stausberg and Y. Vevaina, is finally out. I have not seen the volume myself, but those who have, praise it highly, expecting it to have an impact on the ailing field of Iranian and Zoroastrian Studies. One expects nothing less from the editors and the contributing scholars.

Stausberg, Michael & Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina (eds.). 2015. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. John Wiley & Sons.
This is the first ever comprehensive English-language survey of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest living religions

  • Evenly divided into five thematic sections beginning with an introduction to Zoroaster/Zarathustra and concluding with the intersections of Zoroastrianism and other religions
  • Reflects the global nature of Zoroastrian studies with contributions from 34 international authorities from 10 countries
  • Presents Zoroastrianism as a cluster of dynamic historical and contextualized phenomena, reflecting the current trend to move away from textual essentialism in the study of religion
The eBook version of the companion can be purchased here.

 

Final -y

Juan Jose, Ferrer-Losilla. 2014. Final -y in Non-Manichaean Parthian and the Proto-Parthian ‘rhytmic law’  (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 52). Peeters Publishers.

This work traces the uses of the co-called “final -y” in Inscriptional Parthian, and provides the distributional rules that govern its presence or absence in certain words. Following the introduction, the bulk of this study consists of three main headings involving, firstly, the presentation of the Aramaeographic forms and the words outside the nominal inflexion, secondly, the classification of the nominal forms in connection with the final -y and, finally, a feasible history of the Parthian nominal inflection.

Persian kingship and architecture

I haven’t seen the ToC of this book, but know that Matthew Canepa has a chapter here, entitled Dynastic sanctuaries and the transformation of Iranian kingship between Alexander and Islam, focusing on the ‘Middle Iranian’ period. It is an excellent article and will hopefully be available soon.

Babaie, Sussan & Talinn Grigor (eds.). 2015. Persian kingship and architecture: Strategies of power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis. I.B.Tauris.

Since the Shah went into exile and the Islamic Republic was established in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, the very idea of monarchy in Iran has been contentious. Yet, as Persian Kingship and Architecture argues, the institution of kingship has historically played a pivotal role in articulating the abstract notion of ‘Iran’ since antiquity. These ideas surrounding kingship and nation have, in turn, served as a unifying cultural force despite shifting political and religious allegiances. Through analyses of palaces, mausolea, art, architectural decoration and urban design the authors show how architecture was appropriated by different rulers as an integral part of their strategies of legitimising power. They refer to a variety of examples, from the monuments of Persepolis under the Achamenids, the Sassanian palaces at Kish, the Safavid public squares of Isfahan, the Qajar palaces at Shiraz and to the modernisation and urban agendas of the Pahlavis. Drawing on archaeology, ancient, medieval, early and modern architectural history, both Islamic and secular, this book is indispensable for all those interested in Iranian studies and visual culture.

Iranische Personennamen

Hutter, Manfred. 2015. Iranische Personennamen in der Hebräischen Bibel (Iranisches Personennamenbuch Bd. 7 / Faszikel 2, Iranische Onomastik 14, Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-historischen Klasse 860). Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Der Band verbucht insgesamt 54 Namen der Hebräischen Bibel (einschließlich der Abschnitte in Aramäisch), für die eine iranische Deutung sicher oder plausibel ist; ferner werden 17 Namen kritisch diskutiert, für die in der Forschung unterschiedliche iranische Herleitungen vorgeschlagen wurden, die jedoch abzulehnen sind. Mit dem Band liegt somit ein verlässliches Referenzwerk vor, durch das die Einträge dieser Namen in Ferdinand Justis „Iranischem Namenbuch“ (1895) und die Analyse von Isidor Scheftelowitz („Arisches im Alten Testament I“, Königsberg 1901), auf die in Studien zur Bibel im letzten Jahrhundert regelmäßig verwiesen wurde, überholt sind. Für alle 71 Namen werden – soweit eine Entsprechung vorliegt – für spätere Studien die Namensform der Septuaginta sowie die Belege nachgewiesen. Nach in der Regel kurzen Angaben zur Prosopographie liegt der Schwerpunkt des Textes in der Diskussion der etymologischen Deutungsmöglichkeit(en), wobei auch Herleitungen der Namen aus semitischem Sprachgut evaluiert werden. Ausführliche Register erschließen das onomastische Vergleichsmaterial. Neben dem Ertrag für die Iranistik ist der Band von besonderem Interesse für die Bibelwissenschaften.

Vers une édition de la liturgie longue zoroastrienne

03_J2_YH35Cantera, Alberto. 2014. Vers une édition de la liturgie longue zoroastrienne: Pensées et travaux préliminaires (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 51). Peeters Publishers.

The long liturgy is the most important ceremony in Zoroastrian priestly tradition. Most extant Avestan texts have been composed for their performance within this liturgy. It is highly likely that it acquired its current form, in which it is still celebrated, during the Achaemenid period or even earlier. Like any living ceremony with a long history, it has several synchronic and diachronic variations. Nevertheless, current editions of the Avestan text recited in the liturgy do not take into account its ritual nature, synchronic variations or its evolution over time, or even the changes in the way the text itself is recited. The aim of this book is to report on the recent discoveries that raise doubts over the methodology used in current editions, and propose certain alternatives in order to further the debate.

Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins

Jongeward, David & Joe Cribb. 2015. Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins. American Numismatic Society.

This catalogue presents all the Kushan coins in the American Numismatic Society, with selected illustrations, detailed descriptions and commentary. The production system of Kushan coinage is presented with major revisions of chronology and organization compared with previous publications. This presentation has been based on the latest coin-based research, including die studies and site find analysis. The coins are classified by ruler, metal, mint, production phase, denomination, type and variety. Introductory essays present the historical and cultural contexts of the kings and their coins. All the ANS gold coins and a selection of copper coins are illustrated. This catalogue also features two series of coins issued by the Kushano-Sasanian and the Kidarite Hun rulers of former Kushan territory because they followed and adapted the Kushan coinage system.

Farāmarz, the Sistāni hero

van Zutphen, Marjolijn. 2014. Farāmarz, the Sistāni hero: Texts and traditions of the Farāmarznāme and the Persian epic cycle. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

In Farāmarz, the Sistāni Hero Marjolijn van Zutphen discusses the manuscripts, storylines and main themes of the shorter and the longer Farāmarznāme (c. 1100), in relation to Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāme and several other later maṡnawis about the warriors from Sistān (the Persian Epic Cycle). Farāmarz, a secondary figure of the Shāhnāme, gained importance in later epic traditions and as the invincible protagonist of both Farāmarznāmes reached a status that equalled, if not surpassed, that of his famous father Rostam.

A cultural history of Aramaic

Gzella, Holger. 2015. A cultural history of Aramaic: From the beginnings to the advent of Islam. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

Aramaic is a constant thread running through the various civilizations of the Near East, ancient and modern, from 1000 BCE to the present, and has been the language of small principalities, world empires, and a fair share of the Jewish-Christian tradition. Holger Gzella describes its cultural and linguistic history as a continuous evolution from its beginnings to the advent of Islam. For the first time the individual phases of the language, their socio-historical underpinnings, and the textual sources are discussed comprehensively in light of the latest linguistic and historical research and with ample attention to scribal traditions, multilingualism, and language as a marker of cultural self-awareness. Many new observations on Aramaic are thereby integrated into a coherent historical framework