Daniel Sheffield will deliver The Khorshed F. Jungalwala Memorial Lecture at the Congress. Entitled Living the Good Religion among Others: Cosmopolitan Zoroastrian Thought from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Professor Sheffield will take us on an insightful journey of the endurance of our religion.
Zoroastrians have never been isolated from the world around them. As Iranians in antiquity left their homes for commerce and conquest, they came into contact with a variety of religious traditions spanning the Asian continent. The Zoroastrian priestly communities of Iran and India remained highly literate, interpreting and reinterpreting their religious traditions according to their changing circumstances.
“In this talk, I delve into the universe of medieval Zoroastrian thought written in Persian (Farsi), Sanskrit, and Gujarati to discover the intellectual spaces that Zoroastrians shared with their Muslim, Hindu, and Jain neighbors. I examine the emergence of ideas of religious pluralism among Zoroastrian thinkers in the 17th and 18th centuries”, says Dr. Sheffield. “I also consider the impact of European education on Zoroastrian communities, meditating upon how language and education affect how we interpret our faith, our view of the world, the place of our communities within it, and the role of other communities around us.”
Daniel Sheffield holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, where he specialized in Iranian and Persian Studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Cosmopolitan Zarathustras: Religion, Translation, and Prophethood in Iran and South Asia, which tells the story of the Zoroastrian communities of Iran and South Asia by tracing how the embrace of a cosmopolitan theological vocabulary and the reception of the canon of Classical Persian literature affects these communities. He is also preparing a critical edition and translation of an unpublished Zoroastrian Middle Persian text, The Book of Religious Judgments (Wizirgerd ī Dēnīg), for publication.
In 2012, he co-organized with Dinyar Patel a conference in Navsari, Gujarat, entitled Celebrating a Treasure: 140 Years at the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library. He is affiliated with the UNESCO Parsi Zoroastrian Project (Parzor), and is currently editing for publication the collected scholarly writings of Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal. At Princeton, Dr. Sheffield offers courses on Zoroastrianism and related subjects, including the application of translation theory to religious studies, and he reads Avestan, Pahlavi, and Classical Persian texts with interested graduate students.
The Khorshed F. Jungalwala Memorial Lecture Series was set up by FEZANA to honor Mrs. Khorshed Jungalwala, for her work and dedication to FEZANA. The Series is administered by the Education, Scholarship and Conference Committee of FEZANA.
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