Essays that explore the rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world
The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), the great compilation of Jewish law edited in the late Sasanian era (sixth–seventh century CE), also incorporates a great deal of aggada, that is, nonlegal material, including interpretations of the Bible, stories, folk sayings, and prayers. The Talmud’s aggadic traditions often echo conversations with the surrounding cultures of the Persians, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and the ancient Babylonians, and others. The essays in this volume analyze Bavli aggada to reveal this rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world.
A detailed analysis of the different conceptions of martyrdom in the Talmud as opposed to the Eastern Christian martyr accounts
Illustration of the complex ways rabbinic Judaism absorbed Christian and Zoroastrian theological ideas
Demonstration of the presence of Persian-Zoroastrian royal and mythological motifs in talmudic sources
An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
When Persia fell to Islam in the mid-seventh century, the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism all but disappeared (although it is still practiced by small groups in India and Iran). As one of the dominant religions of antiquity, it influenced the Judeo- Christian tradition as well as some forms of gnosticism. Despite its age and venerable place in the history of world religions, Zoroastrianism remains little known outside of a few philologists and historians of religion. Because of the difficulty of translation, there is little primary textual material available for nonspecialists; the few translations that do exist are quite old.
In An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion, William Malandra provides not only modern English translations of the sacred texts but also a comprehensive introduction to the subject of Zoroastrianism itself. In an introductory essay Malandra outlines the main features of Zoroastrianism in its historical, cultural, and spiritual setting. His new translations of readings from the Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, and selections from the Achaemenid inscriptions of the great kings Darius and Xerxes are accompanied by interpretive notes that allow students to make their way through this difficult material. This book is, therefore, not just a collection of texts but a selfcontained introduction to Zoroastrianism that can be used by the nonspecialist without recourse to additional interpretive works.
Spurned by his first love, Homi Seervai, the Parsi genius from Bombay, creates a machine that lets him scan his brain for memories of the time he spent with her. The machine malfunctions, propelling him instead into his collective unconscious where he encounters ancestors and relatives, both dead and alive. In this wildly inventive book—available for the first time in the United States—Homi, blessed with the memory of elephants, discovers the splendor of his heritage as well as hope for the future.
"Boyce is a, perhaps the, world authority on Zoroastrianism. . . . Prefaced by a 27-page introduction, this anthology contains selections which offer a complete picture of Zoroastrian belief, worship and practice. There are historical texts from the sixth century B.C. onwards, and extracts from modern Zoroastrian writings representing traditionalism, occultism and reformist opinion. Anyone wishing to know more about this 'least well known of the world religions' should sample these selections."—The Methodist Church
"Wide-ranging. . . . An indispensable one-volume collection of primary materials."—William R. Darrow, Religious Studies Review