This year’s topic is “Zoroastrianism in modern and contemporary Iran”, where Zoroastrianism exists as a recognized religious minority. The course will address matters such as lived religious praxis, gender and community organizations, social, religious and ritual change, memory and visions of history, nationalist ideologies and minority rights.
Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes.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.
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:
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.
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:
Religious Studies presents: “Learning from the Magi: Zoroastrianism and the New Movement in Talmud Study” with Shai Secunda | Taube Center for Jewish Studies
Friday, May 15, 2015 – 12:15pm – 1:30pm
The lecture is part of a Zoroastrianism Studies Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University. For questions about the series, please contact Dr. Yuhan Vevaina (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The volume demonstrates the cultural centrality of the oral tradition for Iranian studies. It contains contributions from scholars from various areas of Iranian and comparative studies, among which are the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian tradition with its wide network of influences in late antique Mesopotamia, notably among the Jewish milieu; classical Persian literature in its manifold genres; medieval Persian history; oral history; folklore and more. The essays in this collection embrace both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, both verbal and visual media, as well as various language communities (Middle Persian, Persian, Tajik, Dari) and geographical spaces (Greater Iran in pre-Islamic and Islamic medieval periods; Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan of modern times). Taken as a whole, the essays reveal the unique blending of oral and literate poetics in the texts or visual artefacts each author focuses upon, conceptualizing their interrelationship and function.
In 2009 the Seventh International Conference of Manichaean Studies was held at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. The 22 selected papers of this volume offer a deep insight into the faith of Manichaean communities ranging from the very beginning of the 3rd century up to the last traces of worship today. Among others the authors deal with sources from Augustin, John the Grammarian, Ephrem the Syrian and further sources written in Coptic, Sogdian, Middle Persian, Parthian and Chinese. Several studies about Manichaean art and iconography offer a visual impression, which gives a new opportunity for understanding the religion of Light.
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.