Were Sogdians Iranian?

This question is being discussed on Twitter, and I was tagged to respond. I honestly don’t know how to do it in a meaningful way on Twitter, as embedded responses are often lost and not seen. I stay away from sub-tweets and believe this topic is too hot to be touched on Twitter anyway :) Below is my simple view:

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There and back again

Reading ‘The Hobbit’ has not been as rewarding as I expected. I was hoping for an epic journey, one that I can read and reread, one that will make me restless, but it has not felt right. Maybe it’s an age thing.

Still, maybe it has had an effect, for I’ve been thinking about mountains again and feel a hiking trip coming up. I often pretend that I can find beauty in the ‘small things and every day deeds’ and thought I had found one here, on this very earth, but it turned out to be an illusion, nothing but a beautiful dream. In heights, where the air can be thin, we tend to hallucinate and imagine things. But for some reason those seem more meaningful than the delusions of the lowlands.

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Not on Twitter

I have been thinking about leaving Twitter for a while now. Not for one, but for many reasons which are not important. I joined Twitter in 2013 and a couple of years later deleted my Facebook account. I have never regretted that decision and feel the time has come to make a soft exit on Twitter. My Twitter app has been under focus mode and timer restrictions, so called digital well-being, for a long time, so that I could reduce my interaction with the platform. I will not delete my account, but have now logged out of the app. I will continue to share the BiblioIranica posts on my profile and might share any post that I write here on my Twitter. But I will not engage with the timeline and will not read direct messages.

If you like to get in touch, please do so on e-mail. I love to hear from you, but social media are not really for me.

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Zoroastrian Scholasticism

The paperback of my book is here! You can order a copy from the Edinburgh University Press. I am grateful to the series editor, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, for giving this book a home and to the editors at the EUP for guiding me through the publication process.

I list the reviews of my book here, and wrote for the EUP a blog about the content of the book and my approach which you can read here.

Now, I get ready for my second book.

Voice, privilege and writing

The debate about privilege and representing others in writing fascinates me. Who gets to be whose voice? How do you represent others and what role do publishers play in these debates? Does art need to node to the vagaries of social media? Can art provoke? If so, what are the limits, who defines them and what constitutes privilege and/or racism, othering etc? Following up on the Clanchy controversy, the Guardian has a nuanced piece discussing some of these questions.

The idea that writers who tackle difficult subjects cannot necessarily rely on their publishers’ backing in a storm clearly alarms some. One literary agent was approached recently by a white writer, asking if it was still acceptable to write a mixed-race character. “I said, ‘Yes, you’re a novelist – of course you can, but what you do have to prove is that you’ve done proper research, that you’re not just objectifying that character,’” she says. “That’s what fiction is for. It’s to do with looking through other people’s eyes.” But in nonfiction, she concedes, a more permanent shift may be under way. “Maybe we’ve too easily thought that we can tell anybody’s story without any deep understanding.”

The Guardian

TEI Template

<news>A first and hopefully usable draft of my #TEI template is finally ready! I have created this template for our @invisible_east corpus that will host a range of documents in Middle Persian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Khotanese, Arabic and New Persian.</news>

اولین پیش‌نویس الگو TEI که برای اسناد فارسی میانه، بلخی، سغدی، ختنی، فارس و عربی نوشتم، آماده شده. ببینیم کی سیستم دیجیتال رو میتونم راه‌اندازی کنم.

The Dead Don’t Die

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog on Zoroastrianism in popular culture, keeping my eyes open for connections. But these days, as I follow the news, I feel I can constantly quote Jarmusch’s entire ‘The Dead Don’t Die’. Here is one dialogue from a scene when the characters try to make sense of the events and the impending apocalypse:

– It’s strange!
– What can I say? The world is kinda strange lately.
– Yeah, it sure is. You ask me, this whole thing is gonna end badly.

‘The Dead Don’t Die’ by Jim Jarmusch

New review

The Abstracta Iranica website has published a new review of my book. This one is by Benedikt Peschl:
Peschl, Benedikt. 2021. Arash Zeini. Zoroastrian scholasticism in Late Antiquity. The Pahlavi version of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. Abstracta Iranica 42-43 (5).
The paperback will be out in May 2022.

Part II contains the newly established text of the Pahlavi YH (in transcription) together with an English translation. The text-critical edition (in transliteration) and apparatus are included in an appendix. This edition of the Pahlavi YH must be considered the new reference point for any future work involving the text.

From the review, par. 4

Since the discussions refer to a wide range of related passages in the wider realm of Pahlavi literature, the book will be essential to consult not only for those working on other parts of the Zand, but also those engaged with Pahlavi literature in general.

From the review, par. 5

Über das Schreiben

Ich schreibe über alles gleich gern. Mich reizt nicht das Suchen eines bestimmten Stoffes, sondern das Aussuchen feiner, schöner Worte. Ich kann aus einer Idee zehn, ja hundert Ideen bilden, aber mir fällt keine Grundidee ein. Was weiß ich, ich schreibe, weil ich es hübsche finde, so die Zeilen mit zierlichen Buchstaben auszufüllen. Das “Was” ist mir vollständig gleichgültig.

Robert Walser | Fritz Kochers Aufsätze

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