My main research topics are pre-Islamic Iranian religions, history and society:

  • Zoroastrianism from antiquity through to early-islamic times
  • History of Iran from antiquity to the modern era
  • Old and Middle Iranian languages and literatures
  • Old and Middle Iranian epigraphy
  • Exegesis of the Avesta in antiquity and late antiquity
  • Pahlavi documents
  • Aspects of Digital Humanities

I have previously encoded D. MacKenzie’s ‘Concise Pahlavi Dictionary’ according to the guidelines of the ‘Text Encoding Initiative’ (TEI) and have recently developed and applied an encoding scheme for the encoding of a sample passage of the Avestan Yasna according to TEI for a pilot project at SOAS. These samples now appear on the TEI website.

My dissertation contained at its core an edition of the Middle Persian (MP) translation, or the zand, of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti (YH), a liturgical text composed in the Old Iranian language of Avestan and commonly dated to the middle of the second millennium BCE. Contrary to commonly accepted editorial practices in Iranian Studies, I made no attempts to critically reconstruct one version of the text based on variant readings. Much like a diplomatic or a non-eclectic edition the text of the present edition is based for the first time on one manuscript, namely Pt4, while the apparatus records variants as in a variorum edition. The edition is extended by introductory chapters and commentaries, challenging the view that considers the study of the MP translations an auxiliary science to Avestan Studies, framing the text instead within the exegetical and historical context from which it emerged. In the treatment of the zand of the YH as a text in its own right the so-called glosses are considered for the first time as an integral part of the text. In a broad investigation of the MP literature I argue that Zoroastrian exegesis shares the common traits of Cabezón’s decontextualized scholasticism, a cross-cultural category abstracted from the Medieval European scholasticism. It is also proposed that the ritual fire’s development in Zoroastrian texts from their oldest layers through to the MP literature exemplifies correlative structures, which often emerge in manuscript traditions.