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.

Navrose and Nirang

What’s life like for a Zoroastrian today? A short piece by Dina Katgara (@dinakatgara) published in The Daily Californian.
دینا کاتگارا درباره زندگی به عنوان یک زرتشتی یا پارسی در عصر جدید.

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.

The Colaba Navjote

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.

hindustantimes

Who owns the good religion?

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.

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.

Once more: Looking for Love!

There is a documentary of 27 minutes on Zoroastrian/Parsi attempts of finding love through community events. The clip I posted previously is part of this radio documentary. You need to be registered and signed in to be able to listen to the documentary.

An autumn course in Zoroastrianism

Pir-e Sabz, Zoroastrian pilgrimage site in central Iran. Photo: Courtesy of Kaiyan Mistree. Copyright: UiB.

The University of Bergen (Norway) and the Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies at SOAS, University of London, offer this autumn (23–27 September 2019) a short course on Zoroastrianism. This free course takes place in Rome and offers international students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the study of this religion with its rich history. The course is taught by Sarah Stewart (SOAS) and Michael Stausberg (Bergen) who will be joined by Jenny Rose (Claremont). Application deadline is 24 June 2019.

Ritual Matter(s): Nowruz Ceremonies of the Zoroastrian New Year in Tehran

Another photo essay by Behrad Mistry, again from last year and over at the Ajam Media Collective.

The Zoroastrian New Year coincides with the Spring Equinox. It marks not only the beginning of the calendar, but the renewal of life in its perennial struggle with death. This annual milestone is an occasion for celebration, and involves a series of ritual arrangements and acts.

Source: Ritual Matter(s): Nowruz Ceremonies of the Zoroastrian New Year in Tehran – Ajam Media Collective