Duration of the Course: 4 weeks
Frequency: 2 classes per week (Mon.; Wed.)
Duration of the Class: 2 hours (9pm Yerevan Time)
Participation Fee: 260 USD
Application deadline: January 10
Level of Persian: None, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Location: Online (Zoom classroom)
Textbooks/Texts: Prods O. Skjærvø (2020). Pahlavi Primer. Electronic Edition; Vahman, Fereydun (1986). Ardā Wīrāz Nāmag. The Iranian ‘Divina Commedia’. London: Curzon Press.
Suitable for: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postgraduate students.
Activities: reading pahlavi texts; grammar discussions; cultural & literary discussions; etymology; pahlavi script learning
Payment Method: Bank Transfer
The “Learn Pahlavi with Ardā-Wīrāz” course is an online program designed for students with little or no prior familiarity with the Middle Persian language. This less intense 4-week course consists of two-hour-long classes held twice per week on Mondays and Wednesdays. Throughout the course, participants will be introduced to Middle Persian grammar and actively engage in reading authentic texts, such as Sasanian royal inscriptions and the Ardā-Wīrāz-nāmag—an intriguing eschatological text often likened to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
[Another 4-week course can be scheduled if participants are interested in further deepening their knowledge of Pahlavi].
The method I have chosen for this introductory course can be described as the “practical approach.” This entails learning Middle Persian grammar not through the memorization of lengthy theoretical rules and their numerous exceptions, but by engaging directly and practically with nearly all the grammatical features and key points of Middle Persian while actively reading the text. Of course, during the first couple of classes we will deal with the grammar more intensively, in the way of introduction, but starting from the very second class.
The Benefits of the Course
Familiarity with Middle Persian offers advantages not only for those interested in Zoroastrianism and Iranian linguistics but also for students seeking a deeper understanding of Classical Persian literature and the Persianate world. Moreover, it serves as a gateway to studying Late Antique Iran, a period when the country was governed by the illustrious Sasanian dynasty and adhered to Zoroastrianism.
It is essential to note that the study of Sasanian Iran and Zoroastrianism is virtually impossible without a grounding in Middle Persian. Acquiring knowledge in Middle Persian equips students with the necessary tools to explore and comprehend the phonetic structure of Persian across its various developmental stages. Additionally, the course delves into lexical and semantic patterns crucial for a precise interpretation of Classical Persian texts. Throughout the program, considerable time will be devoted to elucidating and exploring diverse cultural, historical, and social aspects of Sasanian and Zoroastrian Iran.
The importance of Middle Persian cannot be overstated in attaining a precise and profound understanding of Classical Persian literature and language in general. There exists a misconception about the purported wide gap between pre-Islamic Iranian culture and Islamic Iran, which, upon closer examination, reveals itself to be rather shallow. Through the study of Pahlavi and Pahlavi literature, participants will gain insight into the enduring traditions that persisted for centuries, if not millennia.
To enhance comprehension, students will have access to various academic articles on Middle Persian, providing insights into the underlying academic principles shaping our current understanding of the language.
Instructor of Classical Persian and Pahlavi Literature