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Department of the Study of Religions

Avestan

Course Code:
158000182
Unit value:
1
Year of study:
Any
Taught in:
Full Year

This course is an introduction to Avestan, the language of the earliest sacred texts of the Zoroastrians. It is designed to provide students with a clear understanding of the basic principles of the Avestan language in a way that enables them to translate simple Avestan texts and to analyse their grammar. Students who complete the course successfully will be able to handle simple primary sources of the Zoroastrian religion in the original Avestan and to assess critically translations made by various scholars.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The objective of this course is to provide students with a clear understanding of the basic principles of Avestan languages in a way that will enable them to translate simple Avestan texts and to analyze the words from a grammatical point of view.

Students who complete this course successfully will be able to handle simple primary sources of Zoroastrian religion in original, Avestan language and assess critically translations made by various scholars.

Workload

Two hours of classes per week over 22 weeks. The course is based on lessons covering basic grammar. Students are required to submit weekly written work for correction and prepare texts for reading in class.

Method of assessment

Two term tests (each 10%) and one three-hour written examination in May/June (80%).

Suggested reading

  • Hoffmann, K.: "Avestan language" in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica III (1989) 47-62
  • Jackson, A. V. W.: An Avestan Grammar in Comparison with Sanskrit. Part 1: Phonology, Inflection, Word-Formation. With an Introduction on the Avesta. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1892
  • Kellens, J.: "Avesta" in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica III (1989) 35-44
  • Reichelt, H.: Avesta Reader. Texts, Notes, Glossary and Index. Strassburg, 1911