The Bundahišn: The zoroastrian book of creation

Domenico Agostini, Samuel Thrope

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Bundahišn, meaning primal or foundational creation, is the central Zoroastrian account of creation, cosmology, and eschatology and one of the most important of the surviving testaments to Zoroastrian literature and pre-Islamic Iranian culture. Touching on geography, cosmogony, anthropology, zoology, astronomy, medicine, legend, and myth, the Bundahišn can be considered a concise compendium of Zoroastrian knowledge. The Bundahišn is well known in the field as an essential primary source for the study of ancient Iranian history, religions, literature, and languages. It is one of the most important texts composed in Zoroastrian Middle Persian, also known as Zoroastrian Book Pahlavi, in the centuries after the fall of the Sasanian Empire to the invading Arab and Islamic forces in the mid seventh century. The Bundahišn provides scholars with a particularly profitable window on Zoroastrianism’s intellectual and religious history at a crucial transitional moment: centuries after the composition of the Avesta, the Zoroastrian sacred scriptures, and before the transformation of Zoroastrianism into a minority religion within Iran and adherents’ dispersion throughout Central and South Asia. However, the Bundahišn is not only a scholarly tract. It is also a great work of literature in its own right and ranks alongside the creation myths of other ancient traditions: Genesis, the Babylonian Emunah Elish, Hesiod’s Theogony, and others. Informed by the latest research in Iranian Studies, this translation aims to bring to the fore the aesthetic quality, literary style, and complexity of this important work.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bundahisn
Subtitle of host publicationThe Zoroastrian Book of Creation
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780190879044
ISBN (Print)9780190879068
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2020. All rights reserved.


  • Apocalypse
  • Astrology
  • Creation
  • Eschatology
  • Iran
  • Myth
  • Pahlavi
  • Persian
  • Sasanian(s)
  • Translation
  • Zoroastrianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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