The Zoroastrian New Year coincides with the Spring Equinox. It marks not only the beginning of the calendar, but the renewal of life in its perennial struggle with death. This annual milestone is an occasion for celebration, and involves a series of ritual arrangements and acts.
A commented photo essay from last year by Behrad Mistry over at the Ajam Media Collective.
The following is a photo essay by Behrad Nafissi Mistry. Born into the caste of Zoroastrian priests, Behrad is half Indian Parsi, half Iranian and is currently training to also serve as a priest. Behrad is a photo-journalist at Amordad Zoroastrian News Agency and Humans of Tehran. He holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Shahid Beheshti University. This series will focus on Tehran’s Zoroastrian community and their practices before, during, and after Nowruz.
Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes.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.
“Alt-Iranistik” has always been considered a small and exotic field, a so-called “Orchideenfach”. Despite its small size and the limited financial resources available for research, Alt-Iranistik is an unexpectedly vibrant field. The many job announcements of the past year will hopefully continue as a trend and create stable research and teaching environments for the many talented people active in the field. May there be more announcements like this:
Legal texts are among the more important sources for the reconstruction of the political and economic institutions, and cultural practices, of late antique Iran, as they considerably further our understanding of past social complexities that are decisively different than our own. This year’s Ehsan Yarshater Biennial Lectures shall provide a sweeping overview and detailed analysis of the principal fields of jurisprudence in Sasanian Iran (third to seventh centuries CE). The five lectures will be investigating the genesis of legal institutions that were instrumental in consolidating the social status of Sasanian élites, notably, the Zoroastrian clergy and the Iranian aristocracy.
Legal Sources and Instruments of Law
The opening lecture will provide an overview of the available legal material, dispersed in a great variety of sources, and discuss the many pitfalls Iranists encounter in reconstructing the Sasanian legal system.
Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances
The second lecture examines questions pertaining to Family Law, in particular, the role of kinship ties that are of paramount importance in Sasanian jurisprudence. The lecture also elaborates on the significance of legal institutions within the context of marriage and succession.
Property and Inheritance
The third lecture explores the general concept of property, in particular,
how it gave rise to complex categories crucial to preserving the possessions of affluent élites, while ensuring that proprietary rights were preserved from one generation to the next.
Civil and Criminal Proceedings
The fourth lecture reviews the judicial system, the foundation upon which the privileges of the élites were built, and the position of religious minorities, the Jews and Christians, within the framework of the judiciary.
Sasanian Law and other Legal Systems
The final lecture discusses the impact of Iranian law on other important legal systems of the Near East, be it Rabbinic and Nestorian-Christian, or be it Islamic and especially Shi’ite, law.
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:
An interesting ZDF documentary about racist ideologies in Germany. 35 minutes into the documentary Josef Wiesehöfer is interviewed about the term ‘Arier’ followed by interviews with people in Abyaneh, presumably because they are believed to be Zoroastrians! The journey to Iran ends with a few shots at Naqš-e Rostam .
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).