Book

Margarita Mejtarchiyan

Institut vostokovedeniya RAN, Letnij sad

Moskva, Sankt-Peterburg, 2001, 248 pages

ISBN: 5-89-282-150-1 (ИВ РАН), 5-94381-021-8 (Летний сад)

The mongraph deals with the study of the Zoroastrian funeral rite. The Zoroastrian funeral rite is examined on the basis of the whole aggregate of sources over the full extent of its existence, the general regularities, the chronological and local variants are traced. The all-round and retrospective study of the Zoroastian funeral rite by means of comparative-historical method has allowed to reconstruct the significant features of the Zoroastrians’ world outlook. In the work the general characterization of the sources and the history of study of the Zoroastrians funeral rite are given. In the working out of the problem the paramount importance has been assigned to the “internal” sources. The most important among them is “Avesta”, in particular – one of its main parts “Videvdat”, the significant consideration is given to the middle Persian sources such as “Ardā Virāz Namag”, “Persian Rivayats”, “Iranian Bundahišn”, “Dādestān ī Mēnog-I xrad”, “Dādestān ī Dēnīg”.
In the Avestian and middle Persian texts the ideological meaning of the Zoroastrian Funeral rite is fixed.
The information of the “external” sources are also given – in particular the evidences of the ancient authors, the medieval authors, which wrote in Arab and Persian languages. The most numerous among the “external” sources are the reports of the western travelers on their journeys over Iran and India. They belong to the late middle ages and the Modern time. The reports of the western travelers are valuable as confirmation of or addition to the information drawn from the ritual texts. The archaeological sources clear up in many respects the contents of the written sources on the written sources on the Zoroastrian funeral installations. In the monograph the analytical comparizon of the Zoroastrian funeral rite and the material evidences of the burial of purified bones in the ancient and medieval Central Asia is given.
Also the symbolism of some ceremonies linked with the Zoroastrian funeral rite is examined, in particular, the ceremony Barašnūm ī nō šab – the purification ceremony in connection with the death.
The confrontation of the elements of the beliefs and rites of the contemporary Zoroastrians with the beliefs and funeral rites of the contemporary population of Central Asia and Kazakhstan has allowed to reveal the ancient Zoroastrian layer inherent in the latter.

RUS