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The Zoroastrian Flame


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Zoroastrianism has always commanded interest way beyond the circles of its actual adherents. Its unbroken history, remarkable texts and distinctive beliefs span three millennia, making it one of the world's most venerable faiths.

About the Author

Alan Williams is Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester and a British Academy Wolfson Professor from 2013-2016. His publications include The Zoroastrian Myth of Migration from Iran and Settlement in the Indian Diaspora (2009) and The Vision of Rumi: Revealing the Masnavi, Persia's Great Masterpiece (I.B.Tauris, 2016). Sarah Stewart is Lecturer in Zoroastrianism at SOAS, University of London. She is co-general editor of the series 'The Idea of Iran', within which she has co-edited six volumes (all published by I.B.Tauris), and editor of The Zoroastrian Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination (I.B.Tauris, 2014). Almut Hintze is the Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism at SOAS, University of London. Her publications include A Zoroastrian Liturgy: The Worship in Seven Chapters, Yasna 35-41 (2007).


This impressive multi-authored volume by internationally renowned specialists embraces a large range of topics crucial to our understanding of one of the world's oldest yet still living religious traditions. Covering the huge timespan of three millennia, Zoroastrianism - the ancient Iranian religion - has not only shown surprising longevity among its adherents in Iran and India, but has also continually attracted and fascinated outsiders, from ancient Greeks and medieval Islamic Sufis to early modern European Christians. Many, over the centuries, have sought to unlock the enthralling mysteries of the religion of the magi. Despite much progress in modern scholarship, numerous questions regarding almost every aspect of Zoroastrianism remain to be discussed. The present volume offers a rich array of enquiries into some of the most intriguing problems of the field, extending from historical matters to modern practice. All the contributions here are of the highest quality, written from different perspectives by a wide spectrum of the foremost experts - Western academics as well as scholars from the Zoroastrian community - who provide absorbing new insights. Together with its beautifully illustrated companion volume, The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination (I.B.Tauris, 2013), this new book will be an essential resource for those readers, laypeople and scholars alike, interested in Zoroastrianism and more broadly in the time-honoured, long-lasting cultural traditions of the Near and Middle East. - Maria Macuch, Professor of Iranian Studies, Freie Universitat Berlin; Zoroastrianism, revealed by God to Zoroaster/Zarathushtra, was the religion of the ancient Iranians who populated the Iranian Plateau in the first millennium BCE and was the religion of the rulers of Iran for over a thousand years, when it was supplanted by Islam. Although as old as Hinduism and Judaism, it is the great religion least known to the general public. For anybody who wonders what Zoroastrianism was and still is, this is the perfect volume. With outstanding contributions by Western specialists as well Zoroastrians themselves, it provides a superb overview of the content and history of the religion, as well as scholarly approaches to it, its traditions in the West throughout history and its relevance in the modern world. We also learn about its astral cosmology and how the Zoroastrian calendar was inscribed on a silver plate from Bactria (Afghanistan); how Zoroaster was portrayed in images and in the Persian Book of Kings; how to weave the sacred belt worn by all Zoroastrians and the enduring importance of its symbolism; and the question that occupies both Zoroastrians and their non-Zoroastrian friends: how will they survive in today's world while still preserving their identity? - Prods Oktor Skjaervo, Aga Khan Professor of Iranian Studies Emeritus, Harvard University

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