Lecture on Zoroastrian Revelations

A colleague just pointed me to an upcoming lecture on Zoroastrian revelations and poetry.

Sponsored by the International and Comparative Studies Division at Stanford University, the lecture will be given by Professor Martin Schwartz of U.C. Berkeley.

I know Schwartz a bit through a seminar I took with him about a dozen years ago. (We had only three students in the seminar.)

Schwartz is very modest and a great professor in his field and he can have some very surprising stuff in his talks and public lectures. The best may be to take a seminar with him, if you can help it and are close to Berkeley. (I think this can be arranged through UC Extension for one of the official UC courses he teaches.)

The graduate seminar I took with Schwartz in Berkelely focused on a piece of Pahlavi text, some 1100 years old. We worked, specifically, on the first few pages of DeenKard, a Zoroastrian text of sacred knowledge collected by Zoroastrian scholars between 1400 to 1100 years ago. The text, if I remember correctly, while in middle Persian (Pahlavi) is written in Aramaic script.

We spent about a semester on 5 pages of DeenKard --- a time totally well spent and well deserved.

This was in spring of 1993 while I was doing graduate studies in logic and methodology of science at Berkeley. (L&MS was a gradudate group combining philosophy, math and computer science.)

Because I wanted to better understand scholarship on Deenkard, I took one year worth of intensive German in the summer of 1993.

I should also note that, concurrently with Schwartz' class, I was also taking a seminar in the philosophy department at Berkeley on "Ethics". In this philosophy course, we read about 2000 pages of western philosophical works on "ethics," and I can tell you with great confidence that I learned far more about ethics from those 5 pages of Pahlavi text in DeenKard than I did form 2000 pages moder philosophical works on ethics.

Here's the announcement for the May 11, 2006, lecture and a few paragraphs about Schwartz: " Revelations of Zarathushtra: Poetry of Mysteries, Mysteries of Poetry"

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