Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies & Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies

Professor Almut Hintze

Key information

Department of Religions and Philosophies Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism, co-chair SOAS South Asia Institute Academic Staff Centre for Iranian Studies Member Centre of Buddhist Studies Committee Member, Centre of Buddhist Studies Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member, Curator, Principal Investigator
MPhil. (Oxon.), Dr phil. (Erlangen), Dr habil. (Berlin), FBA
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
020 7898 4598
Support hours
By email appointment


Almut Hintze studied Indo-European philology at the Universities of Heidelberg and Oxford and earned her PhD in Indo-Iranian Studies at the University of Erlangen.

After her habilitation in Berlin with a study of the semantics of “reward” in Ancient Iranian (Avestan) and Vedic Sanskrit texts, she spent a term at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Subsequently she became Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge and was appointed to the Zartoshty Brothers post at SOAS in 2001.

She was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.

Research interests

Indo-Iranian philology, Zoroastrian literature and religion

Current Research Project (ERC Advanced Investigator Grant 2016-2021): The Multimedia Yasna (MUYA)

The Multimedia Yasna project examines the performance and written transmission of the core ritual of the Zoroastrian tradition, the Yasna, whose oldest parts date from the second millennium BCE. Composed in an ancient Iranian language, Avestan, the texts were transmitted orally and not written down until the fifth or sixth century C.E. The oral tradition continues to be central to the religion and the daily Yasna ceremony, the most important of all the rituals, is recited from memory by Zoroastrian priests.

The interpretation of the Yasna has long been hampered by out-dated editions and translations of the text and until now there has been no documentation and study of the performance of the full ritual. The project MUYA will examine both the oral and written traditions. It will film a performance of the Yasna ritual and create a critical edition of the recitation text examining the Yasna both as a performance and as a text attested in manuscripts. The two approaches will be integrated to answer questions about the meaning and function of the Yasna in a historical perspective.

Combining models and methodologies from digital humanities, philology and linguistics, the project will produce a subtitled, interactive film of the Yasna ritual, an online platform of transcribed manuscripts and editorial tools together with print editions, translations and commentaries of the Avestan Yasna. Information which was formerly restricted to students of Iranian philology and practising Zoroastrians will now become accessible to a world-wide audience through digital humanities.
The project, based at SOAS, is headed by Almut Hintze as PI with an international team of researchers in the UK, Germany, India and Iran. It provides positions for three full-time and one part-time postdoctoral researchers (PDR), and three fully funded PhD scholarships.

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Nan Ni Sogdian Dhāraṇīs along the Silk Road - Textual and Historical Analyses
Stefano Damanins The Conclusion of the Ritual: a Critical Edition of Y. 62-72, with Translation, Commentary and Ritual Notices
Kerman Daruwalla Study of the training of priests in the Zoroastrian tradition; and a text-critical edition of Yasna chapters 12-13
Arish Dastur Imagination and Meaning in the Zoroastrian Yašts
Aleksander Engeskaug Religion and Economy: Zoroastrian Priests and Fire Temples in the Economy of Sasanian Iran
Mr Nevsky Everett The Sacramental Character of the Cross in the Assyrian Church of the East
Chiara Grassi The Avestan hymn to Sraoša
Ruzbeh Hodiwala The Historical Origins and Development of the Neo-Zoroastrian Movement: An ethnographic study of Neo-Zoroastrian settlements in Europe and North America
Wanchun Li A Study of the Relations between the Arab Caliphate and Other Political Entities (the Sogdians, Chinese, Turks and Tibetans) in Transoxiana from 705 AD to the 810s AD
Hamta Mousavi To what extent the architecture of Sasanian Zoroastrian fire temples reflects astrological ideas Particularly in chronocratoria and melothesia?
Dr Martina Palladino The Sanskrit-Gujarati Versions of the Yasna
Seán Pieper Assessing the Impact of Greco-Roman Texts on British and German Writers’ Perception of Iran in the Qajar Period
Myriadne Wang Hypotaxis with subordinating conjunctions in Avestan


Contact Almut