Brock, Sebastian. 2014. The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain (Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 4). Gorgias Press. With an introduction by Paul C. Dilley.
Smith, Kyle. 2014. The martyrdom and history of blessed Simeon bar Sabba’e (Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 3). Gorgias Press.
Around the year 339 CE, Simeon bar Sabbae (the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon on the Tigris) was killed by the Persian king Shapur II. Simeon was arrested for refusing to collect taxes from his flock, and he was beheaded for disobeying the king’s order to worship the sun. The bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was no minor figure. In fact, Simeon’s martyr acts proclaim that he was the leader of the Christians of Persia and the protomartyr of Shapur’s forty-year persecution. Curiously, however, two very different versions of Simeon’s death exist. Each is presented here with an accompanying translation and notes.
Simeon’s Martyrdom and History are fundamental sources for chronicling the history of Christianity in Sasanian Persia. Together, these texts testify to the centrality of martyrdom literature in late ancient Syriac Christianity, and they show how Persian Christians forged their own political and religious identities amidst the ongoing Christianization of the Roman Empire.
McCollum, Adam Carter. 2013. The story of Mar Pinhas (Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 2). Gorgias Press.
Rapp, Stephen. 2014. The Sasanian world through Georgian eyes. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Georgian literary sources for Late Antiquity are commonly held to be later productions devoid of historical value. As a result, scholarship outside the Republic of Georgia has privileged Graeco-Roman and even Armenian narratives. However, when investigated within the dual contexts of a regional literary canon and the active participation of Caucasia’s diverse peoples in the Iranian Commonwealth, early Georgian texts emerge as a rich repository of late antique attitudes and outlooks. Georgian hagiographical and historiographical compositions open a unique window onto a northern part of the Sasanian world that, while sharing striking affinities with the Iranian heartland, was home to vibrant, cosmopolitan cultures that developed along their own trajectories.
The author’s website is here.
Herman, Geoffrey. 2014. Religious transformation between East and West: Hanukkah in the Babylonian Talmud and Zoroastrianism. In Wick, Peter & Volker Rabens (eds.), Religions and trade: Religious formation, transformation and cross-cultural exchange between East and West, 261–281. Leiden: Brill.
When religious traditions travel they tend to adapt to their new surroundings. Like new products seeking to penetrate a foreign market, they often undergo a process of modification and re-packaging that makes them comprehensible and inviting to their potential clientele. This can often be a subconscious process whereby the elements in the imported tradition that evoke more familiar local practices rise to prominence and develop further whereas others sink into the background. This article seeks to account for the development of the ritual observance of the festival of Hanukah, a festival that was brought from Judaea to Babylonia. It pinpoints the holiday’s evolution upon its reception in Babylonia. Observing similarities in ritual between the receiving community – Babylonian Jewry, and the prevalent practices found among the Zoroastrians of the region it suggests a connection between the two. This connection intimates that the ritual celebration of Hanukkah was radically and fundamentally transformed in its new religious environment as a result of its encounter with local religious custom.
Find the article here.
Gardner, Iain, Jason BeDuhn & Paul Dilley. 2014. Mani at the court of the Persian kings. Leiden: Brill.
In Mani at the Court of the Persian Kings the authors explore evidence arising from their project to edit the Chester Beatty Kephalaia codex. This new text presents Mani at the heart of Sasanian Iran in dialogue with its sages and nobles, acting as a cultural mediator between East and West and interpreter of Christian, Iranian, and Indian traditions. Nine chapters study Mani’s appropriation of the ‘law of Zarades’ and of Iranian epic; suggest a new understanding of his last days; and analyse his formative role in the history of late antique religions.
For more information, see here.
This very interesting volume has an article by Jairus Banaji On the Identity of Shahrālānyōzān in the Greek and Middle Persian Papyri from Egypt:
Schubert, Alexander & Petra Sijpesteijn (eds.). 2014. Documents and the history of the early Islamic world. Leiden: Brill.
Historians have long lamented the lack of contemporary documentary sources for the Islamic middle ages and the inhibiting effect this has had on our understanding of this critically important period. Although the field is richly served by surviving evidence, much of it is hard to locate, difficult to access, and philologically intractable. Presenting a mixture of historical studies and new editions of Greek, Arabic and Coptic material from the seventh to the fifteenth century C.E. from Egypt and Palestine, Documents and the History of the Early Islamic World explores the untapped wealth of documentary sources available in collections around the world and shows how this exciting material can be used for historical analysis.
For more information, see here.
Heidemann, Stefan. 2013. Review of Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, M. Elahé Askari & Elizabeth J. Pendleton: Sasanian Coins: A sylloge of the Sasanian coins in the National Museum of Iran (Muzeh Melli Iran), vol. 1 & 2. London: Royal Numismatic Society in assoc. with the British Institute of Persian Studies. JOSA 45. 117–123.
Read the review here.
The proceedings of the workshop The Archaeology of Sasanian Politics, organized by Richard Payne and Mehrnoush Soroush at ISAW, have now been published:
Payne, Richard & Mehrnoush Soroush (eds.). 2014. The archaeology of Sasanian politics. Journal of Ancient History 2(2).
For this issue of the journal, see here. Richard’s introductory notes to the volume are available as a free PDF. Karim Alizadeh’s Borderland projects of Sasanian Empire: Intersection of domestic and foreign policies can be found here.
Payne, Richard. 2014. The Rise of Christianity in Iran. News and Notes 223. 2–7.
Read the article here.