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Go east, young man!

Go east, young man! A personal journey

In this informal talk the Chair of the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Nicholas Sims-Williams, will describe his research on the Sogdian language and literature, in particular on the Christian texts from the Turfan oasis in Western China, and will try to answer a question which he is often asked: What led you to study such an obscure subject?

Speaker: Nicholas Sims-Williams (SOAS)
Where: AIIT, Cambridge
When: 16 May 2014

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Reading history anew

Dr Dieter Weber to speak on Reading history anew: Pahlavi documents from early-Islamic times at the School of History, University of St Andrews on Thursday 3 April 2014 at 5.15pm.

For Dr Weber’s list of publications, see here.

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Events

Patterns of argumentation in late antique and early Islamic interreligious debates

A workshop taking place on 21–22 February 2014 at King’s College London.

Visit the workshop website. The programme is available here.

The workshop ‘Patterns of Argumentation in Late Antique and Early Islamic Interreligious Debates’ brings together a group of experts on late antique and early Islamic religious texts to reflect on this type of literature. We will discuss how religious ideas in the Eastern Mediterranean world (6th-8th c. CE) were shaped by the challenges of rival religious groups, and especially what patterns of argumentation were employed within the genre of religious disputation in order to formulate answers to critical questions from inside and outside the community.

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The use of Tafsir in translating the Koran

A conference taking place on 28 February 2014 at the Warburg Institute.

Visit the conference website.

The purpose of the conference is to assess the significance of tafsir (Muslim interpretations of the Qur’an) in western translations of the Qur’an from the Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century. The speakers will discuss which tafsir were used, how they were treated, and how they affected western knowledge of Islam.

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EAGLE 2014 International Conference

International Conference on Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Digital Cultural Heritage in the Ancient World

29 September–1 October 2014, Paris, France

Organised by EAGLE with the support of Collège de France Chaire Religion, institutions et société de la Rome antique and École Normale Supérieure.

For more information, see here.

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Blog Events

Introduction to TEI and oXygen

As part of our group’s ongoing engagement with the Yasna, I will be leading a one day workshop on TEI and oXygen. This is an internal meeting with the aim of introducing the participants of the Yasna project to the ideas behind encoding texts and exploring features offered by the oXygen XML editor.

This is the first session in a series of meetings to be held at the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge.

Date & time: Saturday 25 Jan 2014; 14:00–18:00
Location: AIIT, Cambridge

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Blog Events

Sasanian elites and kinship ties

I found Prof. Macuch’s lecture at the FAMES, entitled Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances in Sasanian Law, very engaging. The lecture was in two parts. First, she gave an overview of the  Sasanian interpretation of kinship and discussed wealth, property management and inheritance. In the clearly structured introduction she defined the various models of matrimony such as fully qualified marriage, proxy, temporary and fictive marriages and their purposes. In the shorter second part she interpreted the social purpose of these legal institutions. She argued that the complex Sasanian legal system was carried by the Zoroastrian clergy and served to protect the elites’ wealth, preventing it from passing to commoners. In her view, the protection of wealth in this manner resulted in a two class society with a severe imbalance of wealth. She closed her lecture with the suggestion that this imbalance of wealth may have contributed to the collapse of the Sasanian Empire in the wake of the Islamic conquests.

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Kinship ties and Sasanian law

Professor Maria Macuch to speak on Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances in Sasanian Law at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA on Friday 13 December at 5.30pm.

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CoAv 2.0: Day One

In 2011, when we met for CoAv 1.0, a lot of time and attention were dedicated to organisational matters. Groups were formed, members expressed their interest in texts and types of activities, etc. We have come a long way, and CoAv 2.0 is dedicated to questions pertaining to the study of Zoroastrian manuscripts.

The first day started with a brief summary of each team’s activities since CoAv 1.0. The range of topics discussed on day one was impressive and included prolegomena, palaeography, orthography, colophons, scribal schools and mythologies behind the long liturgy. The Salamanca team, our hosts, presented their systematic approach to the study of the manuscripts. Individuals of this team each work on issues of palaeography, orthography and the colophons. The collective results will inform the forthcoming prolegomena to a new edition of the Avesta. Thanks to the efforts of Alberto Cantera and his collaborators a considerable number of previously unknown manuscripts have been uncovered, and our knowledge of their transmission is continuously improving. The combined results of the study of the colophons, palaeography and orthography bring also to light interesting details about the scribal culture of Iranian Zoroastrians and the community’s history. Around 65 manuscripts are now available online and many more will be made accessible in the near future.

Other participants discussed their work on the Sanskrit Yasna and computational methods for generating manuscript stemmas.

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Events

Corpus Avesticum 2.0

The second meeting of the European research network Corpus Avesticum 2.0 (CoAv) will take place in Salamanca. Between 28 and 30 November researchers from Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK will meet at Europe’s third oldest university to discuss various projects in preparation of a new edition of the Avesta.

CoAv 1.0, where the research network was formed, took place in 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany.