The ancient correspondence allegedly between the Toparch Abgar V of Edessa and Jesus of Nazareth is usually treated in modern scholarship as legendary, though possession of it was important for the legitimation of Armenia as the first Christian kingdom in ca. 314 A.D. (prior to Constantine’s ‘Christian’ rule of a united Roman Empire from 324, and well before Theodosius I’s Edict of Thessalonica in 380). This paper attempts to create a demythologized space in which to reconsider the historical probability that Jesus, widely reputed as a healer in the chief (Near Eastern) Jewish centre of influence, was asked for help by an ailing eminent and replied to his request. Along the way, questions will be raised for further research (italicized) and so in this sense the article takes the form of an Agenda.
The present article examines the peculiar shape that the Middle Iranian word for ‘praise’, āfrīn, has achieved as a loanword in the language of the Caucasian “Albanians” where it appears as afre- in the complex verb afre-pesown ‘praise, bless’. Based on a thorough investigation of the morphology of formations with the light verb -pesown in Caucasian Albanian, it is proven that a recent proposal, which assumes the influence of an agreement marker, is untenable; instead, it is shown how afre- can have emerged from a metanalysis of afrin as a case form.
This study presents a detailed analysis of the narrative of Goyama and the ascetics of Mount Aṭṭhāvaya in the Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi, including text and translation. By identifying a range of themes, intertexts and allusions in the narrative, a variety of Jain perspectives on the nature of asceticism are uncovered. Topics covered include the Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi as “commentary”, the Āvaśyaka Niryukti background to the Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi narrative, some possible Śaiva allusions in the narrative, the significance of Goyama’s physical appearance, Goyama’s explanation of the canonical story of Puṃḍarīa, and Goyama’s power of bestowing limitless food. In addition to the narrative told in the Āvaśyaka Cūrṇi, its earliest metrical version in the Uttarādhyayana Niryukti is discussed and translated as well.
It is generally accepted that the etymology of the Gāndhārī and Sanskrit official title guśura(ka)- has to be sought within the Iranian sphere, but the details remain debatable. In this article, I first give an overview of recently discovered evidence for an early sound change of *w- > *γw- in some Iranian dialects from the Indo-Iranian borderlands. On this basis, I then propose to derive guśura(ka)- from a dialect form such as *γwazurg / *γwuzurg / *γuzurg < *wazr̥ka- ‘strong’. Two by-products of this article are a new Bactrian etymology for the Gāndhārī personal name G̱aṇavhryaka and some notes on the etymology of the Gāndhārī title sturaka-*.
The Buddhist Sanskrit Saṃghāṭa-sūtra includes several longer or shorter passages in verse, mostly ślokas. Many though not all of these verse passages also appear in metrical form in the Khotanese version, which makes use of all three of the metres known from the longest Old Khotanese poem, the Book of Zambasta. The aim of the present article is to analyse these metrical passages in order to determine to what extent the treatment of the metres conforms to the practice of the Book of Zambasta. The relevant passages are therefore presented with a detailed metrical analysis as well as an English translation and brief commentary.
The paper focuses on the 12th chapter of the *Saddharmaparikathā, a Buddhist homileticians’ guidebook containing sample sermons, dealing with the topic of gambling (dyūta). I edit, translate, and discuss the chapter with an introduction that includes a short overview of gambling in Sanskrit literature at large. The anonymous author is dismissive of gambling in all its forms, whether it is practised for material gain, for mere pleasure, and even if studied as an art. In spite of its exiguity, his discussion of the topic is, as far as we are aware, the most comprehensive in classical Buddhist literature.
The 17th-century manuscript M7709 (held in the Matenadaran, Yerevan, Armenia) includes an Armenian copy of the History of the City of Brass, to which an unknown scribe has added short poems about Alexander the Great. This is the second of three articles that together present the Alexander poems of M7709 in full, with English translation, for the first time (see Part I in Iran and the Caucasus 25.4: 334–351), focusing on sixteen poems: the death of Alexander, and Alexander’s confrontation with emissaries of Darius III. It adds commentary on the poems’ relationship to the corresponding part of the History of the City of Brass on each page, proposing textual reasons why the scribe added the poems where he did. Across the three articles, this commentary delves into textual relationships beyond the pages of M7709, linking the Armenian History of the City of Brass, Alexander Romance and other texts and traditions, to show how this manuscript is situated amid wider networks of circulating literature. As a microhistorical study, it seeks to provide illumination into the macrohistory of medieval and early modern literature in and beyond the Caucasus.
The Lalitavistara is one of the most influential hagiographies of the Buddha. It has been known in Sanskrit since the early days of modern studies of Buddhism, but was long available only in inadequate editions. That has now changed with the publication of the edition of K. Hokazono, now complete in three volumes. The present paper discusses something of the history of the study of the text, Hokazono’s edition, and another recent book by G. Ducoeur that deals with the text, as well as touching on a contribution by Xi He on the poetics of the text. It includes a concordance of a recent translation from Tibetan published by the 84000 project, aligning its sections with the Sanskrit editions of Lefmann and Hokazono.
This article studies Young Avestan forms in -āiš (formally instr.pl.m./n. of a-stems), (formally nom.-acc.pl.f. of ā-stems) and -īš (formally nom.pl.f. of ī-stems) that are used in contexts where neuter nom.-acc.pl. / collective forms in (a-stems) and (consonantstems) are expected. It is argued that these forms in -āiš, , and -īš are secondarily created pluralizations of original neuter collectives in reaction to the syntactic change according to which their original singular verbal concord is in Young Avestan times changed to plural verbal concord. The choice for forming these newly pluralized collectives with the endings -āiš, , and -īš lies in the fact that these are the plural variants of the singular endings (instr.sg.m./n. of a-stems), (nom.sg.f. of ā-stems) and (nom.sg.f. of ī-stems), respectively, which are formally identical to the collective neuter endings (a-stems) and (consonant-stems). The ‘collective plural’ forms in -āiš, , and -īš can thus be explained through a simple four-part analogy.
This paper argues that Tocharian B koṣko, koṣkīye does not mean ‘hut’, as was taken for granted, but ‘pit, hole’; and that it is not an inherited Indo-European word, but an Iranian loanword in Tocharian B. Although the possibility of a borrowing from an unknown Middle Iranian language cannot be excluded, an unattested (Pre-)Bactrian form *kōškā is demonstrated to be the most likely source of this loanword.