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Khanizadeh, Mehrbod (2024) Understanding the Avesta: Zoroastrian scholastic activities in the 9th–11th centuries and the creation of Avestan-Pahlavi bilingual manuscripts. SOAS University of London. Available from

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The 9th–11th centuries C.E. mark one of the most important periods in the history of Zoroastrianism as Zoroastrians made a special effort to preserve their ancient heritage during that time. Texts in Middle Persian (Pahlavi), usually based on ancient Zoroastrian traditions, were compiled and new texts were created. Furthermore, reforms of the calendar and in the performance of Avestan rituals were introduced. In the early 11th century, the first historically traceable Avestan manuscript, now lost, was produced which combined the Avestan text of the Yasna ceremony with its ritual directions and corresponding Pahlavi translation and commentary. In this illustrated lecture Mehrbod Khanizadeh explores these scholarly endeavours in their historical context. Based on his recent research, he draws a picture of Zoroastrian scholastic activities during the 9th–11th centuries and discusses the history of the creation of the first known exegetical Avestan-Pahlavi Yasna manuscript, and possible reasons for its creation. Dr Mehrbod Khanizadeh holds a PhD in Religious Studies from SOAS where he wrote his dissertation under the supervision of Professor Almut Hintze. Between 2018 and 2022, he was a postdoctoral researcher on the Multimedia Yasna (MUYA) project ( His research resulted in an article on the genesis of the Pahlavi Yasna manuscripts, published at the Bulletin of SOAS in 2021, and a new edition of the Avestan text of the hymn to Haoma, to be published by Brill in 2024. He is currently holding a research fellowship at SOAS and is working on a project on a new edition of the Pahlavi version of the hymn to Haoma. The Welcoming address was given by Professor Almut Hintze, Co- Chair of the SSPIZS institute." This lecture took place on Thursday, 7th March 2024, at SOAS University of London.

Item Type: Films
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2024 18:06

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