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.

Amǝṣ̌as Spǝṇtas

Kellens, Jean. 2014. Sur l’origine des Amǝṣ̌as Spǝṇtas. Studia Iranica 43(2). 163-175.

The group of the seven Aməšas Spəṇtas of the Young Avesta is not yet constituted in Old Avesta, but its members are joined together once in each polyhâtic Gāthā as a special phase of the liturgical process by the intervention of certain mediatory entities.

Introduction to Avestan

This introduction was first published in 2001 in Spanish. It is now being made available in English translation.

Martínez, Javier & Michiel de Vaan. 2014. Introduction to Avestan (Brill Introductions to Indo-European Languages I). Leiden/Boston: Brill. Translated from Spanish by Ryan Sandell.

See here for more.

Richard N. Frye

Richard Neslon Frye, the Aga Khan Professor of Iranian Studies Emeritus, who passed away on 27 March 2014, has unfortunately become the subject of a political row in Iran. It is good to remember him for what he was, a scholar with a unique and refreshing style and a sharp eye for methodology:

There is always the danger in Avestan studies of seizing upon a device or a theory as the key to the understanding of that enigmatic book to the exclusion of all contrary evidence (which is declared corrupt and untrustworthy), proclaiming that the true meaning of the Avesta lies in this key. Johannes Hertel is the shining example of a competent Indo-Iranian philologist who proposed his Feuerlehre as the key to the understanding of both the Avesta and the Vedas. His ubiquitous fire was not taken seriously by others but his linguistic skill in support of fire was impressive. Just as Th. Noeldeke said of Pahlavi, “In Pehlewi stumpfen wir alle”, so the Avesta may drive all who study it slightly mad.

Frye, Richard Nelson. 1960. Georges Dumézil and the translators of the Avesta. Numen 7(2). 161–171.

See here for an obituary at the HARVARDgazette and here for one by Burzine Waghmar.

Talking with god

Cantera, Alberto. 2013. Talking with god: The Zoroastrian ham.paršti or intercalation ceremonies. Journal Asiatique 301(1). 85–138.

Read the article here or here. Abstract:

Among the different variants of the Zoroastrian long liturgy attested in the manuscripts we find two in which a coherent text in Young Avestan is divided into sections that are intercalated between the central part of this ceremony, the recitation of the Old Avestan texts. They are the Widēwdād and Wištāsp Yašt ceremonies. Usually they are considered late compositions in which the long liturgy has been extended artificially through the intercalation of of already exiting Young Avestan texts without any relationship to the Old Avestan texts they accompany. Actually, these intercalation ceremonies reflect a ritual that is as old as the version of the long liturgy we know. The journey of the sacrifiants to the hereafter during the recitation of the Old Avestan texts made possible an encounter and an interview with god. The questions and, above all, Ahura Mazdā’s answers are reproduced live in the sacrifice. Thus, all Young Avestan texts belonging to the frašna-genre that is consisting of Zaraθuštra’s questions and Ahura Mazdā’s answers have been composed probably for being intercalated between the Old Avestan texts in the Zoroastrian long liturgy.