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.

Voice, privilege and writing

The debate about privilege and representing others in writing fascinates me. Who gets to be whose voice? How do you represent others and what role do publishers play in these debates? Does art need to node to the vagaries of social media? Can art provoke? If so, what are the limits, who defines them and what constitutes privilege and/or racism, othering etc? Following up on the Clanchy controversy, the Guardian has a nuanced piece discussing some of these questions.

The idea that writers who tackle difficult subjects cannot necessarily rely on their publishers’ backing in a storm clearly alarms some. One literary agent was approached recently by a white writer, asking if it was still acceptable to write a mixed-race character. “I said, ‘Yes, you’re a novelist – of course you can, but what you do have to prove is that you’ve done proper research, that you’re not just objectifying that character,’” she says. “That’s what fiction is for. It’s to do with looking through other people’s eyes.” But in nonfiction, she concedes, a more permanent shift may be under way. “Maybe we’ve too easily thought that we can tell anybody’s story without any deep understanding.”

The Guardian

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.

The birth of the abestāg

My part in the WZO’s annual seminar this coming Sunday along with my @invisible_east colleagues, @ArezouAzad, Hugh Kennedy and Tommy Benfey:

The birth of the abestāg from the spirit of philology

سخنرانی من در سمینار سالانه «سازمان جهانی زرتشتیان» یکشنبه این هفته به همراه همکارانم در گروه پژوهشی «شرق مکنون».

TEI Template

<news>A first and hopefully usable draft of my #TEI template is finally ready! I have created this template for our @invisible_east corpus that will host a range of documents in Middle Persian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Khotanese, Arabic and New Persian.</news>

اولین پیش‌نویس الگو TEI که برای اسناد فارسی میانه، بلخی، سغدی، ختنی، فارس و عربی نوشتم، آماده شده. ببینیم کی سیستم دیجیتال رو میتونم راه‌اندازی کنم.

The Dead Don’t Die

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.

‘The Dead Don’t Die’ by Jim Jarmusch

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

Über das Schreiben

Ich schreibe über alles gleich gern. Mich reizt nicht das Suchen eines bestimmten Stoffes, sondern das Aussuchen feiner, schöner Worte. Ich kann aus einer Idee zehn, ja hundert Ideen bilden, aber mir fällt keine Grundidee ein. Was weiß ich, ich schreibe, weil ich es hübsche finde, so die Zeilen mit zierlichen Buchstaben auszufüllen. Das “Was” ist mir vollständig gleichgültig.

Robert Walser | Fritz Kochers Aufsätze

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“They Helped Build Modern India but Are Shrinking as a People”

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.