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.
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.
The New York Times has an article on Parsis’ involvement in building modern India and their dwindling numbers. Access it here.
Parsis have supported many of the country’s institutions and nurtured business and the arts. But their numbers have dwindled at an alarming pace. From the porch of his century-old home, Khurshed Dastoor has a front-row seat to a tragedy that he fears may be too late to reverse: the slow extinction of a people who helped build modern India.
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:
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.
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.
The hindustantimes has another article on the Navjote I wrote about yesterday. This one provides a bit more information about other contentious Navjotes. And it briefly mentions gender disparity as one of the arguments that seems to be dividing the Parsi community:
The issue has divided the community, with one section stating the children cannot be initiated into the faith because their father is of a different faith. On the other hand, reformist groups have called the older practice discriminatory towards women.
Those acquainted with Zoroastrianism, at times called the Good Religion, and the Parsi community know of the heated debate that surrounds conversion. People often believe that today’s Zoroastrianism or the Parsi community do not allow or frown upon conversion into the religion. Another fiercely debated issue is the acceptance into the Parsi community of children from mixed marriages, particularly when the father is not a Zoroastrian.