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His critical investigations have resulted in his delineating convincingly the history of the formation of the canon and in his establishing an important point of methodology, namely that the extant Avesta is not that of the authors but that of the Sasanian diascevasts.

Thus the primary task of the philologist is to determine exactly what was written in the canon that the Sasanian priesthood collected in the course of the fourth century. The only sound way to answer this question is to combine the traditional methods of philological analysis with the handling of a linguistic postulate. The different readings must be evaluated on the basis of criticism of the manuscripts, and the reading which must be considered as genuine in the sense that it belonged to the Sasanian archetype must be confronted with the linguistic postulate, i.

If both agree, we can consider it as a proof. A short outline, with references, can be found in J.

Avestan alphabet

Some of the Pahlavi texts containing the history of the sacred books are conveniently gathered in H. On the Avesta in Persis, see the suggestions by K. Hoffmann in J. Harmatta, ed. On the Zand , see, e.

Gathas _ Avesta

Also Bailey, ZoroastrianProblems , pp. Complete editions and translations: N. Part editions and translations select titles : H. Reichelt, Avesta Reader , Strasburg, , repr. Berlin, 90 pages of texts with commentary and glossary. Barr, tr. Narten, Wiesbaden, Also included in H. On the sacred prayers, see most recently H. Cama Oriental Institute 51, , pp.

The Yasna : J. Waag, Nirangistan. Geiger, Leipzig and Erlangen, , repr. Hildesheim, Haug and E. Haug, pp. For the remaining fragments see bibliography in the text.

Zoroastrian Sacred Texts

Pahlavi versions: B. Dhabhar, Pahlavi Yasna and Visperad , Bombay, text, glossary, and index.

Kapadia, tr. Idem, Glossary of Pahlavi Vendidad , Bombay, Sanskrit versions: F. Dictionary: Chr. A complete bibliography of editions and studies up to about is in B. Vorarbeiten I, Wiesbaden, A very useful survey of Avestan studies in the twentieth century is J.

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Duchesne-Guillemin, Kratylos 7, , pp. Kellens, ibid. On the manuscript tradition, see the fundamental remarks by K. Hoffmann in I. Gershevitch and M.


Boyce, eds. Henning Memorial Volume , London, , pp. Further K. On the history of Avestan studies, see the comprehensive survey up to about in J. Select studies: W. Hinnells, ed. I, Wiesbaden, , pp. Nyberg, Die Religionen des alten Iran , tr. Schaeder, Osnabruck, , repr. Submitted tags will be reviewed by site administrator before it is posted online.

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If you enter several tags, separate with commas. Topic select a topic Survey of the history and contents of the book the holy book of the Zoroastrians. The extant Avesta comprises the following texts: I. In detail: Y. It comprises: 1. Five introductory chapters Intr. Zendavesta , pp. We distinguish six manuscript families: 1. Sanjana, Nirangistan. The Vendidad, for example, according to tradition, is one of the surviving Nasks; but even a superficial examination of this book shows that in its present form it can not be complete; the framework is all there, but the material is in a more or less disjointed and fragmentary condition.

The Mohammedan invasion also, it must be added, has done much toward destroying a great deal that would otherwise have survived in spite of 'the accursed Iskander's' conquest. Fragmentary as the remnants are, let us rejoice in them. The following sketch will give some idea of their character.

The Yasna , 'sacrifice worship,' is the chief liturgical work of the sacred canon. It consists chiefly of ascriptions of praise and of prayer. It answers, in fact, partly to what we might call a book of common prayer. It comprises seventy-two chapters; these fall into three nearly equal parts. A treatment of these sacred and interesting remnants of the prophet's direct words and teachings must be reserved for elsewhere. The opening chapters of the Yasna contain passages for recitation at the sacrifice — a sacrifice consisting chiefly of praise and thanksgiving, accompanied by ritual ceremonies.

The priest invokes Ahura Mazda Ormazd and the heavenly hierarchy; he consecrates the holy water, zaothra , the myazda , or obligation, and the baresma , or bundle of sacred twigs, and then with due solemnity he and his assistant prepare the haoma the soma of the Hindus , or juice of a sacred plant which was drunk as part of the religious service.

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In the Yasna ceremony, the priest begins at chapter 9, to chant the direct praise of Haoma. The latter is personified as having appeared to Zoroaster in a vision, and as telling him what blessings the haoma-worship brings. The lines are metrical and somewhat resemble the Kalevala verse of Longfellow's Hiawatha. Zoroaster again enquires, asking questions about the pious persons who in the past have worshipped Haoma, and prepared the sacred draught.

The divinity names several holy men; among them is Yima, in whose reign was the Golden Age.

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His blessed rule is thus described:.