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Dadestan i Denig, part 1: Transcription, Translation and Commentary

Dadestan i Denig, part 1: Transcription, Translation and Commentary. By MAHMOUD JAAFARI-DEHAGHI. Les Cahiers de Studia Iranica, 20. Paris: ASSOCIATION POUR L'AVANCEMENT DES ETUDES IRANIENNES, 1998. Pp. 295.

The book contains an edition of the Avestan and Pahlavi texts of the first part of the Dadestan i denig, "Religious Judgments," written "by Manuscihr i Juwanjaman, the Zoroastrian high priest, in the ninth century A.C. to the questions put to him by MihrXwarsed i Adurmanhan and other members of the community" (p. 7). The entire text contains ninety-two questions and answers, the first forty of which were edited without translation by Tahmuras Dinshah Anklesaria and published after his death (1944) by his son Peshotan Kavashah Anklesaria. A translation of the entire text had already been included among Edward William West's translations in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. 13: Pahlavi Texts, part 2 (Oxford Univ. Press. 1882). No edition of questions and answers 41-92 has yet been published, although they are accessible in P. K. Anklesaria's 1958 Ph.D. thesis from the University of London. Several of the questions and answers have been published separately in articles, notably by Maneck Fardunji Kanga. For a detailed analysis, see Mansour Shaki, "Dadestan i denig," in Encyclopaedia Iranica VI/5 (1993), 550-54.

The present volume contains a detailed table of contents, including the translation of the questions, which makes it easy to orient oneself in the text; abbreviations and bibliography; and a detailed introduction with discussions of the time and life of Manuscihr, date and contents of the text, style of writing, manuscripts, and a brief note on the present edition. The edition itself contains the text with a critical apparatus, translation, commentary, and a glossary. It is thus a welcome and very useful addition to the steadily growing number of up-to-date editions of Zoroastrian texts.

We have detailed information about Manuschir, who after the Dadestan also wrote a series of Letters (The Epistles of Manuscihr, written in 881) and his brother Zadspram, author of the Selections of Zadspram. [1] descendants of Adurfarnbag Farroxzadan, who debated with the Caliph al-[Ma.sup.[contains]]mun (813-33) over the merits of the Zoroastrian faith (pp. 23-24). The first forty questions of the Dadestan deal in the main with religious doctrines, the responsibilities and duties of the righteous man, apocalyptic and eschatological ideas, the relationship between man and God, etc. (p. 25).

The description of the manuscripts is quite deficient, compared to those in P. K. Anklesaria and in Williams. [2] The manuscripts fall into two families: Iranian and Indian. The oldest Iranian manuscripts are from the late sixteenth century: K35 is not itself dated, but its descendant BK contains a colophon dated in 1572, which may belong to K35; TD is from about 1592. Note that the second of the two dates in MSS J1 and J2 is not "1210 A.D.," but "1210 A.Y." that is, 1840 A.D.! The stemma on p. 28 makes little sense without P. K. Anklesaria's (1958) introduction.

The present edition is based upon T. D. Anklesaria's text edition, and apparently the available manuscripts (K 35 in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, is available in facsimile) were not recollated. The critical apparatus contains references to Anklesaria's "Text," individual manuscripts from Anklesaria's edition, and occasional citations of opinions of other scholars. The text on the whole appears reliable, while the translation, although passable, has a few problems. The commentary contains a miscellany of doctrinal and philological issues.

Following are some remarks on details exemplifying some of the problems still remaining:

p. 48, par. 3.3: mard i aso t kat xrad recalls Avestan yo bauuaiti xratu.kato "who is desired for his wisdom(?)" (Yt. 13.16).

p. 62, par. 13.4: ham-bagihist in the text according to TD and (Anklesaria's) text is wrong, as is the commentary's (p. 188) "ham-bkyhsst.'" Anklesaria's edition has hmbyyhst ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] not [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) with main variant hmbwyyhst' ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])

p. 77, par. 19.5: it is unlikely that nigunihed could mean "is inversely proportional," rather than "he is made to fall headlong"; nigun-ih- is the regular passive of a denominative verb nigun-en- "to make fall headlong."

--par. 20.2: dar-kirb must mean "in the form of a tree/log," not "with a wooden bcdy," as made clear in the next paragraph. In the description of the Cinwad bridge in Kerdir's inscriptions. we are told of dar-ew passing across a bottomless well. In Archaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran 16 (1983): 300, I interpreted this dar as "(razor) blade," rather than as "wood, log," but in the present text I am not certain which meaning the author had in mind.

p. 123, par. 36.33: u-s candenid zamig ud skast bun must mean "he shook the earth (or: he made the earth tremble) and (its) bottom was broken (open)," not "and the land was broken down."

p. 184, par. 4.4: The word here transcribed as *wisayg was recognized already by Henrik Samuel Nyberg (Manual of Pahlavi, 2 [Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974], 215-16).

p. 189, par. 14.3: the invention of a word *e(w) "or" to replace ed "this" seems quite unnecessary; the sentence deals with alternatives in Pahlavi (rather than English) style. Par. 14.3 can be translated somewhat as follows: "That sin that (comes) when (one is) a doer of good and this one (that comes) when one is a doer of evil, the one (that comes) when one strives and this one (that comes) when one does not, this one (that comes) when one is satisfied and this one (that comes) when one is not--then (that comes) against one's wish, and no cause for goodness comes with it. Since it comes against one's wish, (all) services (rendered to the gods) and the rewards (for it) are taken away."

(1.) Ed. by Philippe Gignoux and Ahmad Tafazzoli, Anthologie de Zadspram (Paris: Association pour l'avancement des etudes iraniennes, 1993).

(2.) Alan V. Williams, The Pahlavi Rivayat Accompanying the Dadestan 1. Denig, 2 vols. (Copenhagen: Det Kongelig Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 1990), 1: 20-21.
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Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
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Date:Apr 1, 2001
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