Arash Zeini


Bahari Research Fellow

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Research Interests:

I am historian/philologist of pre-Islamic Iranian cultures and languages, focusing on Zoroastrianism, particularly the late antique exegesis of the Avesta. My research interests include the religious culture of the Sasanian era, the Middle Persian administrative documents and digital humanities.

Recent Publications:

In 2021, I published The Roar of Silence, a Festschrift in honour of François de Blois, jointly edited with Adam Benkato. My monograph, Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity (2020, EUP), won the inaugural 'AIS Book Prize for Ancient Iranian Studies' in 2022. In this book, I examine the Middle Persian version (Zand) of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, a liturgical text composed in the Old Iranian language of Avestan, as a text in its own right and challenge the view that considers the study of the Zand an auxiliary science to Avestan studies. In a broad investigation of the Middle Persian literature, I argue that Zoroastrian exegesis shares the common traits of Cabezón’s decontextualized scholasticism.


Zeini, Arash. 2023. Towards a manifesto for Middle Iranian philology. Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology 0. 1–12.

Zeini, Arash. 2022. Multiple Translation Activities: Translation in Iranian Cultures. In Sonja Brentjes (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Science in Islamicate Societies. Routledge.

Benkato, Adam & Arash Zeini (eds.). 2021. The roar of silence: A Festschrift in honour of François de Blois. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31 (3).

Zeini, Arash. 2021. Ritual and ritual text in the Zoroastrian tradition: The extent of Yasna 41. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31 (3). 637–646.

Zeini, Arash. 2020. Zoroastrian scholasticism in late antiquity: The Pahlavi version of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti (Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia). Edinburgh University Press.

Zeini, Arash. 2018. The king in the mirror of the Zand: Secrecy in Sasanian Iran. In Touraj Daryaee (ed.), Sasanian Iran in the context of late antiquity: The Bahari lecture series at the University of Oxford (Ancient Iran Series 6), 149–162. Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

Zeini, Arash. 2018. Various entries. In Oliver Nicholson (ed.), The Oxford dictionary of late antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Adurbad-i Mahraspand, Arday Wiraz Namag, Bundahishn, Letter of Tansar, Matigan-i Hazar Datastan, Vendidad, Xwaday Namag, Andarzbad, Astodan, Bahram VI, Beth, Bozorgmihr, Hazarbad, Hormizd II, Hormizd IV, Marzban, Peroz, Qobad II, Spahbad)

Zeini, Arash. 2018. Middle Persian papyri, ostraca and parchments: An introduction. Sasanika Papyrological Studies, No. 1.

Zeini, Arash. 2016. A Unique Pahlavi Papyrus from Vienna (P.Pehl. 562). With an introductory note by Dieter Weber. Studia Iranica 45 (1). 39–52.

Zeini, Arash. 2015. Preliminary Remarks on Middle Persian <nc> in the Pahlavi Documents. In Anna Krasnowolska & Renata Rusek-Kowalska (eds.), Studies on the Iranian World I: Before Islam, 67–73. Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press.

Zeini, Arash. 2015. Preliminary observations on word order correspondence in the Zand. DABIR 1 (1). 31–35.

Zeini, Arash. 2013. ‘The Everlasting Zoroastrian Flame’: An interview with Dr Sarah Stewart. Published at

Zeini, Arash (ed.). 2012. The Avestan Manuscript Pt4_400 (Iranian Pahlavi Yasna) of the Bodleian Library (Avestan Digital Archive Series 39). Digital Publication.

Zeini, Arash. 2010. Review of Hinnells, John & Alan Williams (eds.): Parsis in India and the Diaspora. Numen 57 (2). 258–263.

Zeini, Arash. 2008. Review of Alberto Cantera: Studien zur Pahlavi-Übersetzung des Avesta. Bibliotheca Orientalis 65 (5–6). 785–790.

Further Information:

In 2015 I founded the collective bibliographic blog Bibliographia Iranica. I am also the co-editor, with Adam Benkato, of a new open-access journal, Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology.

Arash Zeini