Book Award

I am delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the inaugural AIS Book Prize for Ancient Iranian Studies for my book, Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity: The Pahlavi version of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. The prize was announced at the 13th Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, which took place in Salamanca, Spain. As I have said before, I am grateful to the Edinburgh University Press for their support, Prof. Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, the series editor, for giving this book a home early on, and to all publishing staff for putting up with my XeLaTeX shenanigans so patiently. I look forward to my forthcoming projects with the EUP.

با کمال خوشحالی به اطلاع دوستان میرسانم که کتابم، با عنوان “اسکولاستیک زرتشتی در دوره پساباستان”، در سیزدهمین کنفرانس دوسالانه‌ی ایران شناسی در سالامانکای اسپانیا موفق به دریافت اولین «جایزه کتاب AIS برای مطالعات ایران باستان» گردید. از حمایتهای انتشارات دانشگاه ادینبورگ و ویراستار محترم، پروفسور لوید لولین جونز برای پذیریش زودهنگام کتاب و دیگر همکاران انتشارات به‌سبب تحمل شیطنتهای XeLaTeX من قدردانی می کنم و مشتاقانه منتظر پروژه های بعدی خود با EUP هستم.

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.

Roma in the Medieval Islamic World

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.

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

The Roar of silence

On 26 September, I presented François de Blois the Festschrift that Adam Benkato and I edited:

Benkato, Adam & Arash Zeini (eds.). 2021. The roar of silence: A Festschrift in honour of François de Blois. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31(3).

The presentation took place at the Ancient India & Iran Trust in Cambridge a couple of days after François’s 73rd birthday. Here is my speech:

Welcome and thank you for joining us today. It is a great pleasure to celebrate François de Blois and his birthday with his friends, colleagues and most importantly his family.

Ritual and ritual text in the Zoroastrian tradition

I have a new article in a volume I edited with Adam Benkato for the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. More details on the volume will follow soon, but my article is already available on the Journal’s FirstView:

Zeini, Arash. 2021. Ritual and ritual text in the Zoroastrian tradition: The extent of Yasna 41. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

This article examines the extent of the concluding section (Y 41) of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti in light of the manuscript evidence and the section’s divergent reception in a Middle Persian text known as the “Supplementary Texts to the Šāyest nē Šāyest” (Suppl.ŠnŠ). This investigation will entertain the possibility of an alternative ritual being described in the Suppl.ŠnŠ. Moreover, it argues that the manuscripts transmit the ritual text along with certain variations and repetitions while the descriptions of the extent of each section preserve the necessary boundaries of the text as a textual composition or unit.

Genetics and Iranian Studies

چندی پیش در مطلبی کوتاه درباره زبان‌شناسی تاریخی، با عنوان «آیا ایرانیان آریایی هستند؟»، به پژوهشهای ژنتیک اشاره کردم. در ادامه آن نوشته این دو کتاب را با توجه به این که هر دو به ایران هم میپردازند، اینجا معرفی می‌کنم.

پژوهش‌ در مورد ژنتیک، نژاد و دی‌ان‌ای باستانی ممکن است در ابتدا برای مطالعات ایرانشناسی و فعالیت ما در سایت BiblioIranica موضوعی فرعی به نظر برسد. اما نتایج این نوع مطالعات میتوانند نقش مهمی در درک بهتر ما از پرسش‌های پیچیده‌ای مانند مهاجرت، رابطه خانواده‌های زبانی و ملی گرایی ایرانی بازی کنند. دو کتاب زیر، این موضوعات را از دیدگاه‌های متفاوت مورد بحث قرار می‌دهند و هر دو در گوشه و کنار به ایران هم می‌پردازند.

Burton, Elise. 2020. Genetic crossroads. The Middle East and the science of human heredity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

On translation and exegesis

Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity

The following text first appeared on the blog of the Edinburg University Press on 4 August 2020. The original is here. I am reproducing it here without any textual alterations except some minor formatting.

On translation and exegesis in the Zoroastrian religious tradition

Zoroastrianism, now a minority faith in Iran and India, is an Iranian religion with a complex textual transmission reaching back to the remote antiquity.

The oldest layers of the surviving Zoroastrian texts are in Avestan language and commonly dated to the middle of the second millennium BCE. Exact dates and circumstances of composition, however, remain uncertain, so that little is known about the socio-political context from which these texts emerged. After two millennia of oral transmission, the texts were finally committed to writing, at a time when the language must have no longer been in active use.

Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity

It has been a great pleasure to work on the first proof of my forthcoming book, Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity, which will be published in the “Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia“, edited by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones and published by the Edinburgh University Press, with the support of their fantastic editorial team at the EUP.

History of Humanities

Last week, I taught about Anquetil-Duperron, William Jones, the discovery of language similarity and the beginnings of IE Studies. Disciplines such as Iranian Studies or #Indology, as we know them today, would not have been possible without those efforts and contributions. I also made it a point to at least briefly discuss “genesis amnesia” and the critical examination of Oriental Studies offered by @tavak in