Lecture by Neda Mohtashami: Conceptual Metaphor in the Zoroastrian Young Avestan Corpus: A Preliminary Study
Eschatological ideas in Zoroastrianism are not evenly spread over the three millennia of its emergence and evolution. While later Middle Persian literature evidences a fully developed picture of both individual and collective eschatologies, the journey of the soul after death receives comparatively little treatment in the Young Avestan corpus and a minimum, if any, in the oldest layer of Zoroastrian literature, the Gathas. This presentation aims to discuss some of the issues confronting Avestan scholarship regarding the question of eschatology and its development. For this purpose, the Young Avestan adjectival phrase anaγra- təmah-, lit. ‘beginningless darkness’ is chosen as case study. It will be shown how the problem of translation imposes confusion in the determination of the target domain, and the extent to which our understanding of the possible connotation of this term is influenced by the limited occurrences of the concept of darkness (təmah-) in the Old and Young Avesta.