Arash Zeini


Arash is a historian/philologist of pre-Islamic Iranian cultures and languages, focusing on Zoroastrianism, particularly the late antique exegesis of the Avesta. His research interests include the religious culture of the Sasanian era, the Middle Persian administrative documents and digital humanities. He taught a variety of courses at Freie Universität Berlin.

As a postdoctoral researcher on the Invisible East project, Arash primarily works on the Persian documents from the medieval Islamicate East (Iran and Central Asia ca. 12th to early 13th century CE), contextualising these within the wider research aims of the Invisible East programme.

In 2021, Arash published The Roar of Silence, a Festschrift in honour of François de Blois, jointly edited with Adam Benkato.

In 2020, Arash published his monograph, Zoroastrian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity, where he examines the Pahlavi version of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, a liturgical text composed in the Old Iranian language of Avestan, as a text in its own right, challenging the view that considers the study of the Zand an auxiliary science to Avestan studies. In a broad investigation of the MP literature, he argues that Zoroastrian exegesis shares the common traits of Cabezón’s decontextualized scholasticism.

Arash obtained his MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Study of Religions. He is the co-founder, with Adam Benkato, of a new open-access journal, Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology. In 2015 Arash founded the collective bibliographic blog Bibliographia Iranica.

He has previously encoded D. MacKenzie’s ‘Concise Pahlavi Dictionary’ according to the guidelines of the ‘Text Encoding Initiative’ (TEI) and has developed and applied an encoding scheme for the encoding of sample passages of the Avestan Yasna according to TEI for a pilot project at SOAS. He also acted as a consultant to several projects with aspects of digital humanities. In particularl, he designed the underlying architecture used in ‘Corpus Avesticum Berolinense’ to reflect and mirror the modular character of the Avestan compositions.

For a list of his publications, see his website or page.