I am delighted to be giving a lecture as part of the Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series on 11 January 2023. I will talk about the role of the Sasanians and philology in the creation and transmission of the abestāg, which is my preferred term for the collection of the texts we have come to know as the Avesta.
Scholars have often discussed Zoroastrianism as an ancient Iranian religion that reaches back thousands of years into the middle of the second millennium BCE. For a long time, the idea of monolithic continuity has dominated the scholarly discourse in the study of this religion. While Boyce preferred a theological continuity, a view mostly rejected today, others have ardently, but to my mind unconvincingly, argued for ritual continuity. Both camps have at some point associated all pre-Islamic empires, but particularly the Achaemenid and Sasanian eras, with the religious system of Zoroastrianism. After a brief examination of these views, I will lay out some methodological concerns as a challenge to the discipline, before turning my attention to the reception of an antique Iranian heritage in the Sasanian era (224–651 CE). I will argue that the late antique response played a major role in forming the heritage it was claiming as its own.
Today we had Kristina Richardson, @krisrich, speak to us at the @invisible_east. She delivered a fascinating lecture based on her recent book, which has opened my eyes to a large set of theoretical questions to be asked in the study of ancient and late antique history of any geography.
“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:
At BiblioIranica, we usually do not comment on issues beyond our academic interests in ancient Iran. However, it would be wrong, if we did not express our disappointment after hearing the news of the closure of ‘small Humanities programmes’ at the University of Copenhagen. As the University Post reports, the “Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen will shut down five smaller study programmes permanently”. A full list of the threatened programmes, and the university’s plans are published here.
We are now accepting notes and reviews for the next issues of DABIR. Please contact us, if you would like to contribute a paper.
The journal accepts submissions on art history, archaeology, history, linguistics, literature, manuscript studies, numismatics, philology and religion, from Jaxartes to the Mediterranean and from the Sumerian period through to the Safavid era (3500 BCE–1500 CE). Work dealing with later periods can be considered on request.